Grandfather Accidentally Shoots Toddler

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WEST COLUMBIA, Tex. -- A grandfather is feeling guilty after he accidentally shot his three-year-old granddaughter. The man says he was aiming at a stray cat but the bullet hit the girl instead.

Gary Van Ness admits he shot the girl as she stood behind his home with her father. He says the neighborhood is overrun with strays. And, some have even snuck into his home.

"The cats are brave enough to come in there and got him a couple of loaves of bread," he said.

Van Ness noticed a cat by his shed and grabbed his .22 caliber shot-gun and aimed.

"I took the opportunity to shoot it," he said.

He didn't know his son and granddaughter were in the same area. The bullet went right through Brianna's leg.

"The only thing I could think was getting her to the emergency room as quick as possible," Van Ness said.

The girl is back at home after being treated at two hospitals. She is expected to be okay. Investigators consider the shooting to be an accident and no charges are expected. He is definitely in trouble with his granddaughter.

"She said, 'I'm gonna spank your butt, Pawpaw,'" he said. "I said, 'okay, I'll even furnish the belt!'"

Child Protective Services will work with the family to make a plan to make the home safer. Van Ness said he will trap the strays in the future instead of shooting them.

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