NEWS AND COMMENT-COLLINGWOOD, NEW ZEALAND: This is a cross post because I think it’s important. In the headline, I’ve said that New Zealanders are reaping what they’ve sowed. What I mean is this: the country’s government and local authorities have, over a long period of time, verbally attacked domestic cats allowed outside and feral cats. They persistently stated that domestic cats should be either confined to the home or impliedly encouraged the eradication of outside domestic cats. They seem to have encouraged the killing of domestic cats. They’ve gradually engendered the idea that outside domestic cats are pests and vermin. They conveniently forgotten that these are people’s cat companions. They are beloved. And scientists have done the same thing.
In this regard, New Zealand has followed Australia where, in general, the same attitude persists. The focus is on protecting native species in these countries. And they perceive the domestic cat as being the killer of native species and a major threat to the dwindling numbers of these precious wild creatures. I understand the concern but New Zealanders need to be a little bit more introspective and think about what they are doing such as allowing global warming to continue which will have a greater impact at the end of the day on wildlife population numbers. Australia is still digging up coal and is one of the world’s biggest exports. They are supporting global warming.
The latest story is from Collingwood; a very pleasant town in New Zealand (except for the cat killings). Cat owning residents there have suffered the disappearance of at least 24 domestic cats over the past five years. And it is causing a lot of discussion and tension in the town because the disappearances continue.
Allegedly the cats are being killed, probably poisoned. The truth is it is almost certain that they are being killed. There’s been finger-pointing at possible perpetrators of these crimes. People have been accused and harassed. Probably unfairly but the town is fractured.
Some residents have upped sticks and gone. They don’t want to live there anymore because their cats are being killed. The police are doing nothing about it. The police will say they can’t do anything about it because there is a lack of evidence. This is the perennial problem with cat killings. It is very hard to find the evidence. The cats disappear. Perhaps they are being killed and buried. Perhaps the cats have been poisoned and they go away to die somewhere in hiding.
Over the past couple of years, I written about the killing of domestic cats by New Zealanders. And a pattern is forming. Some people think it’s okay to kill domestic cats. They forget that this is a family member and families have been devastated. They have a very callous attitude towards sentient beings other than humans. It is disappointing. But when the government fosters this attitude, they cannot be surprised when at least 24 cats disappear in one town.
One resident of Collingwood, Elliott Strange, in his frustration, has decided to employ a private detective to help track down the perpetrators. And he is supplying GPS collars as I understand it to try and prevent further disappearances. It’s about collecting evidence. The residents need to set up CCTV cameras on their homes as soon as possible. And there is a big argument that they should supervise their cats when they are outside or keep them inside. The trouble is that when people get into a habit of allowing their cats to go outside, they are very reluctant to change their ways. But this is a failure in cat ownership in my opinion. It is known that cats are disappearing in a town therefore cat owners have a responsibility to do something about it to protect their cats.
Elliott Strange lost two kittens nine months after he moved to Collingwood. He contacted the police and they did nothing about it. In addition to the above, he has offered a reward for information leading to finding the person responsible. He has a fundraising page to help pay for the private investigator. Names have been bandied about. Elliott Strange said that there is no evidence to support the accusations. He said: “It could be none of them”. He also said: “I got involved after the fourth cat disappeared. I’ve drawn up a map of cat deaths around Collingwood. I know what’s happening, but I can’t prove it.”
He just can’t get together enough evidence to force the council, the police and the SPCA to do something. The idea that the cats are being poisoned is supported by the loss of a cat whose name is Gypsy. Gypsy lived with Shannon Mclellan. Gypsy became ill and vomited. Shannon then heard screaming from under her deck. Her distressed cat was down there. She tried to recover her but she was clawed by Gypsy. Eventually she got her out and wrapped in a towel and took to a veterinarian but she died on the way.
One resident said that the cat disappearances and accusations have made living in the town unbearable. One long-standing resident told Snuff.co.nz that the situation had “snowballed out of control”. Stuff.co.nz has reported on the story. However, not that long ago, one of their journalists was encouraging the killing of domestic cats (see link above). Hypocritical or what?
It is said that a witch-hunt has started in Collingwood. People have been named and some think that it is unfair. One said: “Going door-to-door and naming these people is unfair. It’s a witch-hunt; those people will be labelled forever.”
The SPCA said that they had received a complaint. But there were doing nothing about it seems to me.
The root problem behind these cat killings is the pronouncements of the government and local governments and their negative attitude towards outdoor domestic cats. You gradually change the attitude of the public and among the public there will be one or two people who decide take the law into their own hands and start killing cats. It’s a certainty. I would blame the government for encouraging the cat killings in Collingwood.
Below are some more articles on New Zealand.