There are many examples, three of which have quite recently been reported in the press, of people killing their neighbour’s cat and excusing their behaviour by saying that they thought they were killing a feral cat. As if that is an excuse. As if that could be an excuse. It can’t. The law does not permit a person to kill a domestic, stray or feral cat unless under certain tightly specified and rare situations such as a farmer stopping a predator from killing his livestock. It is never acceptable for a neighbour to kill his neighbour’s cat because it “trespasses” on his property. I defy anybody to produce to me a law in a Western country which allows this.
I’ve written about two examples (there are more), one of which is infamous: the person involved was Kristen Lindsey, who most of us have heard about. She used a bow and arrow to shoot a ginger tabby cat who she claimed was feral. The cat belonged to a neighbour. This happened in Texas.
In a more recently example a man shot dead a black Oriental Shorthair cat who he claimed was trespassing on his private nature reserve. He justified his actions by saying that he thought the cat was feral. This happened in Adelaide, Australia.
In another example from Adelaide Australia (is this a trend?) a 34-year-old man used a crossbow to shoot his neighbour’s ginger tabby cat, George, several times. The cat was under his decking. He claims that he thought the cat was feral and pestering his chickens.
On each occasion the cat either died or was put down because the injuries were so severe. The latter occurred in respect of the last story. George, was found under the decking with four arrows protruding from his body. He was taken to a vet but the vet put him down.
On each occasion the cat killer was prosecuted. We know that Ms Lindsey has been through a couple of tribunals with respect to keeping her veterinary licence which may well be revoked. Her life has been shattered because of her actions. People and the law can see through her weak justification that she thought the cat that she killed was feral, which wouldn’t or shouldn’t have made a difference.
The unnamed man who shot George (a photograph of the man is shown below) has been summoned to appear before magistrates where he will be charged under the Animal Welfare Act. The RSPCA condemned the appalling act of animal cruelty. Sadly, they say that this sort of cat killing is not an isolated case. It is true that in certain parts of the world it is not that uncommon for a person to kill his neighbour’s cat or shoot at the cat because they both dislike cats and cats sometimes come onto their property.
In the case of the Oriental shorthair and George both cats were wearing collars. George wore a distinct collar and could never have been mistaken for a feral cat, said his owner. In addition, an Oriental shorthair is a purebred cat and could also never be mistaken for a feral cat. That said, it is frankly irrelevant whether the cat is feral, stray or domestic. I know people will disagree with me about that. I challenge them to produce to me, in a comment, the law, verbatim (by which I mean the exact law cut and pasted into the comment) which allows a person to kill a cat on their property just because the cat is on their property and for no other reason.
The excuse that they thought the cat was feral is a non-starter. These cat killers should take note of that and think long and hard before they let their hatred for cats cloud their decision making abilities.