After a period of time a rescued cat becomes the property of the animal pound

Delilah. Photo: Kirsty Burton.
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You probably know the situation. Your cat is microchipped. She goes missing for over a month and you are distraught. You search for her and spot your cat on the Internet at an animal pound. You contact them who direct you to another shelter. You try and make contact with them but they seem to fob you off. The clock ticks and as time passes your cat becomes the property of the animal shelter. At this point you’ve lost your cat.

The Pet Rescue webpage and Ms Burton's message
The Pet Rescue webpage and Ms Burton’s message.

Below are the words of a worker at Ballarat Animal Shelter directed at the cat’s ‘owner’:

“Delilah was impounded at Ballarat Animal Shelter on 13 January 2022. She legally was no longer your cat on the 21 January 2022, which we understand will be frustrating to hear. After this period of time impounded, an animal becomes the Council’s property and they can rehome, surrender to a rescue or euthanize at their own discretion. This is for every pound, not just Ballarat.”

Strong Hearts communication to Ms Burton
Strong Hearts communication to Ms Burton

Chilling words directed at a woman, Ms Kirsty Burton. She did indeed lose her cat and tried to get Delilah back. She saw her cat online and the website listed Delilah as being ‘on hold’ (see screenshot above). She phoned the Ballarat pound many times and was told that there was no cat matching Delilah’s description.

And then the Ballarat pound directed her to Strong Hearts Farm Sanctuary where Delilah had been held. She tried to contact them without success. She says that she was blocked from mentioning her cat on the Facebook page of this shelter.

The Strong Hearts Farm Sanctuary blamed the Ballarat pound. Delilah had a severe bacterial infection and bad ringworm. She could not be rehomed particularly as it was in the middle of the kitten season. She was destined to be euthanised within 24 hours but a home was found for her.

The pound says that the microchip was registered to a disconnected number. Strong Hearts believe that everything was done to find the owner i.e. Ms Burton. They believe that they did nothing illegal and followed the protocol. Delilah had been rehomed when Ms Burton finally got through to the shelter.

Strong Hearts allege that Ms Burton has written defamatory remarks against the shelter online and as a consequence they have threatened legal action if it continues.

Ms Burton claims that she did everything she could to contact the shelter but faced obstructions. And as mentioned at a certain point in time the ownership of Delilah transferred from Ms Burton to the shelter and thence to the new owner who wants to keep Delilah.

Strong Hearts say that the new owner is fully aware of what is going on and do not want to return Delilah to Ms Burton. Perhaps they believe, as do the shelter, that Ms Burton did not do an adequate job of caring for Delilah because of the bacterial infection and ringworm. Did this influence them in being allegedly obstructive in failing to communicate with Ms Burton?

Ms Burton said that: “They’re acting like I mistreated Delilah which is far from the case-that cat is my child”. She has lost her child and I don’t see a way back.

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