Neighbor says woman who killed cat asked him to shoot the pet first

Investigators accuse pet owner of not providing proper care in months leading up to killing

Nancy Just (Photo: Virginia Beach police)

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — A 73-year-old woman is facing an animal cruelty charge after investigators found her cat buried in the backyard of her home.

Virginia Beach Animal Control says Nancy Just, of Westwind Place, killed her animal after not giving it proper care for months.

A neighbor, who talked with 10 On Your Side on the condition of anonymity, says Just asked him to kill the animal one day before she did it herself.

“She said, ‘My cat is sick, will you shoot him for me?’ I said, ‘Nancy, I’m not going to do that, that’s not going to happen.'”

The neighbor says Just even offered him money, but he refused.

“The next day, in the morning… I heard, ‘pop, pop,’ and I went over there and talked to her later on and I said, ‘You did it, didn’t you, Nancy?’ She said, ‘Yeah.'”

Eight days later, the man says he called Animal Control about the situation.

Meghan Conti, an Animal Control supervisor, says an investigator went to the home, interviewed Just and eventually found the decomposed cat buried in the backyard.

“That cat had suffered no veterinarian care for months prior to its demise,” Conti said. “We are the voice for animals… We want owners to be held accountable for their actions when appropriate.”

Longtime neighbor Joe Lassiter expressed his shock over the allegations. He says Just cared for animals at her home in the Oak Springs neighborhood for more than 20 years.

“I would have never thought something like that would have happened… But people do things that’s out of their characteristics sometimes. If she killed that cat, it was unnecessary,” said Lassiter.

Conti says the Virginia Beach Animal Care and Adoption Center allows pet owners to surrender their animals with no financial penalty. She also says under no circumstance is it okay to kill a pet.

“If you can’t take your animal to the veterinarian to have it cared for, then you need to reach out to Animal Control and let us assist you.”

Conti says Just did seem remorseful during interviews with investigators.

A judge released Just from jail under the condition she show up for her next court date in July.