I got a call a few weeks ago asking me to send thoughts out to a cat who had been missing for some weeks and also a second who had gone astray, both within a very small area. The first cat was recovered a week or so after the call. I tried to get a bead on the second missing cat but failed to do so. Normally, this means the animal is dead.
This was confirmed a couple of weeks later. The owner had searched all over for him, including neighbourhood front and back gardens, put posters up around the area and at the local supermarket, called all the animal rescue organisations in the greater area and contacted the council in case their street collection team had found her pet’s body.
She drew a complete blank in all cases, until one morning, when she had come out of her house to see her other cat sitting in the neighbour’s front yard`. She went up to it and discovered it was sitting next to the remains of her missing cat – a bit of pelt and front paws.
She took the remains to a vet who confirmed that it was one of the worst deliberate cases of animal mutilation she had seen. The damage had not been done by a wild animal. The owner had checked this particular garden in the weeks whilst her cat was missing and there was no sign of the animal or the remains.
The property belongs to a man who is known as a bit of an oddball. He only comes out at night, he does not talk to anyone, his house is painted black inside and the curtains and blinds are drawn most of the time.
The owner called the RSPCA. They informed her that they could not investigate – she needed to gather the evidence of her neighbour’s guilt and then present them with it. The police were not interested in investigating at all.
Now, either he did it or he didn’t. Either way, the owner and the community need to know. Rumour flourishes when fact is absent.
Moreover, research has proven that people who are abusive to animals are normally abusive to humans. Most serial killers start with torturing and killing animals. We obviously have someone in the neighbourhood involved in this sort of behaviour and it needs to be investigated.
The owner is not a silly woman, quite the opposite; and she would not cast aspersions on anyone, no matter how unusual their lifestyle. However, she’s pretty sure that it is her neighbour. She’ll never know because, unless she resorts to illegality, she has no way of finding out whether he is involved or not.
I couldn’t believe my ears when I heard this story. I have not (as you can see from previous articles) had a lot of luck in previous dealings with the RSPCA but this story took some beating. So I called them. They confirmed exactly what they had told the owner. Unless we had clear cut evidence that this man had done it, they were not able or willing to act. I explained we had clear cut evidence (backed up by a vet) that the mutilation had taken place, along with the address of where the remains were found. They just repeated what they told me and eventually I gave up in disgust.
I didn’t bother calling the police after this. However, if this was a case of criminal damage – say, for instance, someone had thrown stones at her windows and broken one, or spray painted her car, the police would have investigated.
So where does that leave us? With a cat who was much loved, and who appears to have died horribly; with an owner who is completely heartbroken and with a neighbourhood looking after its animals in fear, knowing that what happens once can (and probably will) happen again. We have an animal welfare organisation who will not act and a police force who is too tied up with combating terrorism and petty crime to investigation and potentially prevent this situation (or worse) recurring.
If another cat in the area disappears or is found mutilated, a great deal more suspicion is going to fall at the potential perpetrator’s door and tempers will rise. He may be completely harmless. Mob justice is an oxymoron.
Moreover, the UK police’s goals include “the prevention of crime”. Is this situation something that needs to be looked at before it spirals right out of control. At what point does it become important? When another animal is mutilated? When four or five more go the same way? When a child is tortured? Is that not too little, too late?
More idiotic news from the UK comes (unfortunately) again via the RSPCA. They prosecuted a policeman who came across a dying cat and killed it with a spade out of mercy. The Police in the UK are not obliged to call out a vet for a suffering animal and the RSPCA was not available at that time of night.
Despite the policeman’s statement explaining the circumstances and the fact he put the cat out of its misery rather than keep it suffering and an independent vet’s statement saying that the cat would not have survived, the prosecution went ahead. It ended up in the High Court, where it was thrown out, but not before £50,000 and two years had been spent on the case, not to mention the stress caused to the policeman concerned.
In an age where possessions and posturing seem more important that life in some cases, we appear to have lost both our mercy and our common sense.