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CABOT, Ark. – An Arkansas veterinarian apologized after a family brought in their cat to be neutered and the feline was returned missing half his ear.

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Danyelle Freeman brought Batman, her family’s 6-month-old cat, to the Cabot Animal Shelter to get neutered, KATV reported.

The veterinarian also told her they would make a small cut on his ear so he can be identified as fixed, something common for cats that are left outdoors. Freeman agreed to the clipping but was shocked when she got Batman back and he was missing half his ear.

“I immediately started crying,” Freeman said. “It was overwhelming. I’m trying to be strong for my kids, but at the same time I couldn’t help it.”

Freeman said her four sons were devastated.

“I don’t even know what to say when I look at him,” Freeman said. “I get knots in my stomach. It’s hard to even look.”

Mike Wheeler, the city’s director of community services, said an area veterinarian comes to the shelter Tuesdays and every other Thursday to offer discounted services to residents. Dr. Mike Pallone and his staff have completed more than 11,000 surgeries since 2012 when he started offering his services to the city, KATV reported.

Pallone said a technician made a mistake and clipped Batman’s ear too short.

“I will totally apologize, it was my crew’s mess up,” Pallone said. “The paperwork and all that was not double-checked and this cat was clipped or tipped for a feral instead of a house cat.”

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He said Batman was not in pain during the surgery. Pallone said they can see up to 30 cats in a day and it can be busy.

“This is a low-cost deal that we do at a fraction of what we normally make,” Pallone said. “This is kind of community service. I mean, there are a lot of animals that come through there and we only have a limited amount of time to be able to do the surgeries so it’s busy.”

He said they have already made changes to ensure a mistake like this does not happen again.

“What we’ve done, and we did it today, those cats are going to be housed in a different area,” Pallone said. “The paperwork is going to be a different color. There’s going to be a tag on the cages to identify these cats to where it’s going to be a lot easier for us to know which cats are feral.”

The city said it will continue to use Pallone’s services.

“The mayor understands that this was unfortunate and we are sorry for the situation,” Wheeler said.