Cat Man’s Rampage

The love for his cat turned into a hatred (probably temporary) of the people who provided veterinary care. This is a tragic example of the deep love and affection some people (not everyone loves their cat) have for their cat companion which turned to violence against people. It is two sides of a coin. On one side is a love of cats and on the other a simmering hatred of the people he believed failed him and his cat. I feel sure that he regrets his behavior.

The video says it all but I’ll add a short commentary.

  • The man on a rampage: Charles A. Smith (57 years-of-age)
  • The location: two separate Bellingham veterinary hospitals. Bellingham is in the state of Washington which is on the west coast of the USA.
  • Smith’s alleged crime: stabbing two veterinary employees (a) a female veterinarian at Maplewood Animal Hospital at about 8:15 am and (b) an employee at Fountain Veterinary Hospital which is not that far away.
  • The apparent reason: Smith’s cat had died under the care of one of these hospitals.

As I understand it, the stab wounds are not that serious. Smith was stopped by police in his car and he admitted he was the person they were looking for. He was said by a person who knew him:

‘He loved that cat and he’d been trying to get it help,’

Apparently Smith had collected his cat in a box from the veterinary hospital. It seems to have been a shock, which would imply he was not notified his cat had died. However, we don’t have information about the performance of the hospitals.

It would be nice to know a bit more about what lead up this catastrophe.

Stress and the emotional pain of loss comes to mind. His cat seems to have been ill for a while. I can understand the emotional aspects of that. Obviously the loss of a cat does not justify grievously hurting people but it does highlight the (a) connection between person and cat and (b) the deep pain of loss.

27 thoughts on “Cat Man’s Rampage”

  1. The man was mad with grief, I can relate to that and I’m so sorry for him that he just went out of control and as well as losing the first cat he’s now lost all his other cats and birds. I’d like to know the background story, I bet he was pushed over the edge by the treatment he received or the treatment his cat DIDN’T receive from those vets. That could be any one of us POC regulars, it’s so easy to be driven mad by rage and grief when a loved one doesn’t get proper attention , to be honest I wish I’d gone after the vet after Popsy died, not with a knife but with sharp and cutting words because the letters of complaint I wrote, two of them, were totally ignored. A little bit of compassion from the vet and his/her employees would probably have prevented this situation.

  2. I can so well understand that poor man wanting revenge, he must have ‘lost his head’ with grief. As no one was seriously hurt I think it was a bit cruel to lock him up and take his remaining pets from him.
    I know from working for vets that they can be insensitive at times and it really is important to every client to feel that their pet is special to those caring for him/her. In my day we treated every animal as we would our own. But now that most practices are run as a business, the caring personal touch seems to have gone from most. Money has become more important than spending time with upset caretakers whose pet died and to explain what happened and to help them let out their grief.

  3. I don’t condone Mr. Smith’s actions, but I understand the level of rage that he must have felt.

    I felt that sort of rage when I picked Dreama up from the clinic where she was supposed to be spayed and learned that she had died on the table and had to be revived. Not only did I not even get a call, but I wasn’t told before leaving that she was, subsequently, blind and unable to walk at all. They just handed her to me in her carrier saying that she was lucky to be alive. I discovered those things when I got her to my car and decided to check her well.

    I carried her back into the clinic and just ranted. I wasn’t as much upset over her condition as I was that I hadn’t been informed about anything.

    When I demanded professional license numbers, I was ordered out of the building. All I remember saying is “Trust me. I’ve been thrown out of better dumps than this!”

    Then, I took Dreama to the vet that is in charge of our TNR’s. Dreama relearned to walk and navigates well in spite of her blindness now.

    • My God Dee I don’t know what I would have done!! You were well controlled under such awful circumstances!

      Another person would have had the cat pts after that but you got her walking again thats love and dedication which in many is sadly all too often ‘just too much trouble’

      • Having Dreama PTS would never have crossed my mind.

        Cats with disabilities don’t bother me at all. I recently found a beautiful little baby girl with paralyzed back legs. Sadly, she died from another cause (heat exposure), but I had a plan for her in just the few short days I had her.

        What put me over the edge was that I hadn’t been informed about Dreama; no call that she had to be revived or her exact condition when I came to pick her up. I hate deception.

        Happily, Dreama was spayed a few weeks ago by our TNR vet who had no problem with me being present through it all. I had been terrified to let her undergo anesthesia again, and our Ruth AKA stayed with me online for some days with encouragement and well wishes. But, all went well.

        • no call that she had to be revived or her exact condition when I came to pick her up. I hate deception.

          Dee, I don’t understand this. Are you saying the vets didn’t keep up-to-date about her condition? It seems like that. If so it is very strange to me. My vet would never do that (I hope!).

          • I was clueless until I entered the clinic to pick her up and was told that she had “died” and had been revived.
            Even then, I had no idea of her real condition until I went to my car and took her out of her carrier.
            I was livid that no one had warned me that she was blind, had respiratory problems, and couldn’t walk as a result of the brain damage.
            They were so deceptive that, even today, I start shaking uncontrollably with anger, when I think about it.

            I just focus on my beautiful orange tabby Dreama as she is today. She was so worth the work and the wait.

        • Ah thank you Dee, I couldn’t be there in person to hold your hand, could only be with you in spirit and was so relieved when Dreama came through her spay OK.
          That’s what friends are for x

      • He is still in practice even though there have been countless complaints. I was even told by the Board of Veterinarian medicine that, “His expertise is really with dogs and not cats”.

        How helpful is that?

        There needs to be a wall of shame for incompetent vets too.

        • Absolutely thats shocking Dee! My vets always call me after surgery or I them I’m just used to it that way never dreamed it could be so different

          • What hurt me the most wasn’t for anyone to take any responsibility for keeping me in the dark but that I never heard, “I’m sorry this happened to Dreama”.

            • What a ghastly experience for Dreama and you. I am glad that she survived and adapted.

              The AVMA is really little but a trade body now. Sadly our RCVS is going that way too.

              The State Veterinary Board has the power to remove licences, but I believe it’s a rare case that they ever do. Protecting their own, as ever.

  4. Sorry forgot to say if anyone hurt my family I would make it my lifes work to hunt them down and I would damn well make sure they wished they were dead.

    • Agree.
      That this man was just handed his dead cat in a box, with no forewarning, is unacceptable and qualifies as “deliberate indifference” under the law and is lawsuit worthy.

      • Dee, do we know he was given no forewarning or no up-to-date information about the condition of his cat before, what I presume, was euthanasia? I don’t know what happened at the hospital.

        • From the article you just wrote, Michael:

          “Apparently Smith had collected his cat in a box from the veterinary hospital. It seems to have been a shock, which would imply he was not notified his cat had died. However, we don’t have information about the performance of the hospitals.”

  5. I think I could understand how he felt and why he did what he did. “IF” the hospital did something or failed to do something (after entrusting his pet to their care) that caused his cat to die because of it. Anyone would likely want to cause hurt back for the hurt they caused. BUT .. “IF” they did what they could and couldn’t help that is different because they tried to help. Why would I hurt the people who do their best to help these animals???
    There are always different reasons as to why one might want to hurt/harm someone who would hurt your pet. Especially if that person hurt your pet on purpose (because they like to hurt animals)!!! Sure I’d want to hurt someone who abused/hurt/killed my pet. Anyone who loved their pet .. likely would (just as much as if you would if it was a child)!!!
    “ANYONE” who would hurt something/someone (pet or person) that I loved would likely get the same thing they dished out.
    Then there are those stories I see where some sick douche did something to abuse, torture, etc another persons pet (or even if it was a homeless pet). I put a comment that says the same should happen to that person regardless of their age, race, creed, color, religion because none of that matters. “IF” some sadistic freak hurts an animal willfully because that’s what they “LIKE” to do. Then I say they deserve the same thing. PEOPLE like that DON”T deserve to exist. I make no bones about that and I certainly would NEVER apologize for that. More often than not … animal abusers go on to people eventually. If that can be helped then it should be done!!!!

    • Well said. I agree. I would doubt that the veterinary hospital were negligent causing his cat’s death. It might have happened or they were insensitive and Mr Smith difficult but I sense that Mr Smith was overcome with grief and he has a violent streak.

    • I couldn’t agree more my mind is still reeling from reading Michaels article earlier about the illegal fur trade capturing and torturing (by ripping their fur out) peoples pets. Good people who’s companion animals are their family. The animals suffer horrifically and the caretakers suffer as well after all what could be worse? All for money to make a quick buck you steal and torture animals and in turn you leave good people in torment as well. The world is sick and when that newsreader smirked when she said the cats were all he had I wanted to slap that smirk off her damn face!!! I feel so sorry for this guy who lost his cat.


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