Cat killers’ excuse “I thought the cat was feral” does not work

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.

A cat who was shot  several times with a crossbow.The cat had entered the property of a neighbour in Adelaide, Australia.
A cat who was shot several times with a crossbow.The cat had entered the property of a neighbour in Adelaide, Australia.
Until September 7th I will give 10 cents to an animal charity for every comment. It is a way to help animal welfare without much effort at no cost. Comments help this website too, which is about animal welfare.

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.

Man who shot  his neigbour's cat on his property
Man who shot his neighbour’s cat on his property in Adelaide, Australia

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.

21 thoughts on “Cat killers’ excuse “I thought the cat was feral” does not work”

      • That double standard makes me so angry. Dog cruelty cases get more air time and heavier penalties. We need more kitty advocates! I can’t stand to see this differential treatment continuing!

  1. I think is starting to become a very big problem with killing the neighboure cat.What about the killing shelters where they kill houndreds of cats kittens and dogs and puppys what about those poor souls kittens young as a few days old.Change the laws in the USA.

    • I agree with you Mirela. It is a problem both killing neighbour’s cats and, much worse, the millions killed in shelters. The one good thing is that there are less shelter deaths than there were years ago.

    • The laws are not the problem. The pet overpopulation is fostered by pet owners who refuse to s/n their pets. If my SIL was fined each time one of her cats produced a litter they would be fixed. Instead she can let them become feral, die or round them up and dump them at a shelter for someone else to deal with.
      Don’t hate the clean up crew. Hate the people who keep adding to the problem.

  2. So sad. It breaks my heart to see sweet cats suffering for no reason at all! There are very bad people and it is really scary. There needs to be stricter laws to protect our cat/dog friends. 🙁

    • Yes, Mel B. there are many people, usually men, who lack the decency and sensibility to allow them to deal with cats on their property in a sensible and humane way. These are nasty people as far as I am concerned.

  3. Unfortunately, cats are not loved by many people in Australia. The government wants to kill as many as 2 million cats by dropping poison laced bait. All to protect native wildlife. However, I bet loads of that very wildlife will also eat the poisoned bait, or at least eat a poison killed cat and also die.

    This scumbag needs to be shot four times and left to die. I have NO patience or time for cat killers. Kill a cat and feel free to die as well. If I could prosecute cat killers, especially those with rock solid evidence that they did it, they wouldn’t be breathing today. I don’t think I’m alone in thinking that.

    • You are not alone in your thoughts, Mikaela. I for one think exactly the same way. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on PoC.

      • Well said. I feel exactly the same way and almost the visitors to the site do as well. I won’t tell you what I’d like to do to them. Thanks for commenting.

  4. Evil people will always make up excuses for murder, and even if the cat craps in your yard every day you have no right to kill it. Get a dog, idiot.

    They are immature and are playing with toys. It’s just not much fun shooting at targets. They want to kill living things. Some of them can play by the rules of hunting and only take appropriate game animals, but others are deviant and make victims of their neighbors’ pets. Next up will be people, maybe children?

    Shooting a cat 4 times with a crossbow for doing NOTHING is psychotic! He’s probably killed many more animals. This wasn’t his first kill. Keep calling scumbags like him out for their evil and their B.S.

  5. For the most part, laws affecting cats fall under the ambit of animal control laws that concern vaccination against rabies

    There aren’t enough specific laws protecting the cat, but I do know that if the owner is irresponsible as far as caring for the cat and respecting the neighbors rights to not have there yard used as a litter box or not abiding to the spay/neuter objectives__ multiplying at random/outdoors etc. the severity of the plaintiffs sentence for punishment could be lessened.

    • So agree.
      And, why anyone would wonder why people take the law into their own hands should stand back and pay attention.
      Christian dogma states, “An eye for an eye”.
      I could care less about Christianity but feel strongly that justice should be served, even if by my own hands.
      Aside from that, believing that any cat is feral still doesn’t justify killing.

      • By that logic, with “an eye for an eye” type of vigilantism, you touch any pets under my protection in a violent manner, I’m well within that vague notion to bring back violence upon you in justice.

        An animal, by virtually all conditions, is innocent – even of trespassing. An animal in the wrong yard lays the blame on the owner of the animal, not the animal itself. More to the point, people who keep pets adopt them into their care as members of their extended family, and for your “eye for an eye” any action taken upon a member of a person’s family can be met with a vengeful force. That’s why we go through proper channels, no matter how annoyed you might get (besides which, annoyance alone should still never justify cruelty to animals; that’s a sign of a simple, petty mind).

        Not only does a cat being feral not justify killing, it doesn’t justify any acts of violence upon it whatsoever.

      • Never have I wanted to take the law into my own hands and take care of the vet who first blinded and then due to the enrofloxacin overdose killed my Kitten. ( that was her name.)
        It is beyond hard to work within the law as they almost exclusively protect the vet.
        If you give into those base feelings you punish the humans around you that you love. They’re going to have to deal with the legal fallout too.
        You may cause your own pets to be seized and become stuck in a shelter or worse. Legal fees and possible judgments can rob them of their homes too.
        You run the real risk of making the animal abuser look like the victim.
        And most important of all when you act like them you become like them.
        Make no mistake if I caught someone red handed hurting one of my pets I could and would have the legal right to use reasonable force to stop them. Going back for revenge or stalking someone is another legal issue entirely.

        • If I caught someone hurting my cat, I’d hurt him badly and I’d accept the legal consequences. I wouldn’t be able to stop myself.

          • Caught in the act they’d be looking for the bits and pieces.
            Going out for revenge after the fact is likely to backfire.
            There are more and more companies making wonderful cat enclosures and components to attach to your housing or existing fences. Judges need to be mandated to fine abusers. Yeah jail costs us money. I mean the kind of fines that make life miserable and can’t be dismissed through bankruptcy. We also need a list of registered animal abusers. I don’t see why the software used to report and track sex offenders can’t be taken and adapted so that anyone can find the local pet hurter.
            Most important is to push for a legal status that give pets value as living creatures instead of property. Watching the case that declared a dog a sentient being to see if it goes to appeal.


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