Animal Control officer dumped weak rescued kitten in woods

Kitten dumped by animal control in woods

Kitten dumped by Animal Control in woods

In outline the story is that a kitten was born in the neighbourhood (Sussex County, DE, USA) and abandoned by the mother. The kitten was ill, barely alive and missing an eye. A guy whose name is Kurt Herring wanted to help the kitten. He rang around, firstly trying unsuccessfully to contact Coastal Cat Rescue and then Brandywine Valley SPCA who passed his message to Animal Control.

Animal Control turned up and Officer Connor took the kitten away. We don’t know what Kurt thought might happen but he probably hoped the kitten would be taken to a rescue center where he’d be treated and eventually rehomed with a bit of luck. The kitten seems to have been tame.

Apparently Coastal Cat Rescue followed up on the kitten’s rescue with the intention of rehabilitating him/her at their facility. They discovered that Officer Connor had gone to woods near Georgetown and dumped the kitten. The intention must have been to let the kitten die. Understandably his behaviour has angered a lot of people including Kurt. Officer Connor did something which is quite probably illegal in some states: abandoning a cat. In fact animal abandonment is a crime in Delaware:

“Cruel neglect” includes neglect of an animal, which is under the care and control of the neglector, whereby pain or suffering is caused to the animal or abandonment of any domesticated animal by its owner or custodian….” [§ 1325 Cruelty to animals; class A misdemeanor; class F felony.]

It was a cruel thing to do and almost certainly a misdemeanour under the animal welfare laws of Delaware. His behavior can’t meet the standards of a decent Animal Control officer. He could have a least had the kitten euthanised.

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Kurt is more than angry, he’s livid. He filed a grievance with Animal Services. Their response was predictable: the officer has the right to make a decision as to (in Kurt’s words) ‘the best situation for the kitten’.

I take that to mean the officer had the choice to decide the best fate for the kitten. How can dumping the kitten in woods to slowly die be the best outcome for the kitten? It might be the most convenient way to deal with the kitten from the officer’s point of view (if he is insensitive to animal welfare) but the treatment is inhumane.

Kurt said:

“if he thought this kitten would make it, he has NO business in his job”.

His boss said:

“In this case the kitten should have been taken to the shelter for care, or information provided to the individual who called for area shelters and rescues that might assist. The officer did not follow OAW protocol in dealing with free-roaming cats by releasing the kitten in a wooded area away from where it is found. The officer truly regrets his actions. We have re-educated the officer about the appropriate protocol and will be re-educating all of our officers as well.”

For me that’s not enough.

Kurt asked that his Facebook post of 27th July be shared which is what I am doing.

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Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 74-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare. If you want to read more click here.

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6 Responses

  1. Cat's Meow says:

    That worthless piece of garbage! The poor kitten probably didn’t survive the night having been eaten by wild animals.

    • Michael Broad says:

      Yes, it sickens me to think about it. And he got away with it because…no one in authority cares and he’s an Animal Control officer.

  2. Frances A Danna says:

    This really incites my anger. Re-educate? Was this “animal control officer” ever educated properly in the first place? With basic common sense, even a child could understand that this kitten needed help to survive.? I fear that it is too late for this poor baby, but miraculously he may have survived. I hope that they find him.?

    • M E King says:

      Do you really have to ‘educate’ an adult that it’s not appropriate to dump a sick kitten in the woods ? He should have been fired. Logic says this wasn’t his first dumping of an animal.

  3. M E King says:

    By definition no animal control officer has the right to decide to take a sick helpless kitten into the woods to let it die a slow painful death. He needs to be fired.

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