By Ryan Hill

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — A butcher shop owner is shaken after discovering a dead cat outside her South Sacramento store.

Kelly Shum, a partner at Mad Butcher Meat Company, says a customer left the dead animal in the store’s parking lot, and she believes it was a hate crime.

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“Why are you so messed up in the head that you are so hateful that you decided to hurt like a living being to send a message to us?” Shum said.

Security cameras captured that disturbing discovery by Shum’s customers. Shum told CBS13 that the footage showed a man taking something out of the bed of his truck which turned out to be the cat and tossed it in the parking lot.

“At first, I actually didn’t think it was a racially-charged event. When I first heard about it, I was like okay maybe it’s just some psycho like did it on his own accord,” Shum said.

CBS13 blurred the man’s face since Sacramento police can’t say whether or not they’ve identified a suspect in this investigation.

After going through Monday evening’s security footage from around 4:30 p.m., Shum said she saw the same man, who has visited the store before, paying for items inside and then disposing of the cat.

“Once we looked at the camera footage, it was very clear that it was, you know, premeditated,” Shum said.

When asked if she felt that this is hate crime, Shum, who is Chinese-American, said there’s no doubt.

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Sacramento Police told CBS13 a report has been filed about what happened and it’s being investigated as a hate crime.

Shum’s dealt with multiple incidents of anti-Asian-American sentiments in the past year during the pandemic. But, she hasn’t filed police reports on them until she hit her breaking point.

“People can see who I am and they know who I am. And, I don’t want to be ashamed of it,” Shum said. “But, like, all of the prank calls about bat soup or do you guys carry cats and dogs and all that stuff, I couldn’t take it anymore.”

This is just the latest in a line of concerning crimes or attacks on the Asian-Americans increasing during the pandemic.

A member of the Asian Pacific Islander American Public Affairs organization said when it comes to the bigger picture of these attacks, it shows the importance of shining a light on what’s happening to their community.

“The younger Asian-Americans are beginning to speak up, especially Chinese. Chinese culture is non-confrontational. We like to get things done. We negotiate and come out a good solution,” Joel Wong, the National Governing Board Secretary of APAPA, said.

“We’re learning that we have to speak up. If we don’t speak up, then people will think we just accept the abuse.”

The increase in violence against Asian-Americans led state lawmakers to introduce a bill this week. It would create a hotline and online system for reporting hate crimes.

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On February 17, APAPA called for the California Asian Pacific Islander community to push for Gov. Gavin Newsom to create a similar task force that the state of New York has to investigate and prosecute anti-Asian hate crime.