Council cremated lost cat without notification despite being microchipped and wearing an identification collar

NEWS/OPINION – Stockport, UK: the Manchester Evening News reports another disturbing example of how local authorities in the UK can carelessly dispose of a domestic cat that has been lost and killed either on the road or, in this instance, by dogs.

Snaps, a cat killed by dogs and whose body was destroyed by the local authority without notice
Snaps, a cat killed by dogs and whose body was destroyed by the local authority without notice
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

Gemma Robertshaw loved her 18-year-old Persian cat. Gemma had lived with her cat, Snaps, for his entire 18 years. He was microchipped and had a silver tag on his collar which identified him.

On Monday week last (believed) she let him outside for his usual stroll as he likes to potter around. By Tuesday evening Gemma and her husband, Pete, became concerned because he had not returned. Gemma took an entire week off work to try and find him, investing £200 into her search which included searching in the early hours of the morning.

On the Saturday after he went missing a neighbour called her and told her that a white Persian cat had been attacked and killed on their driveway by a couple of dogs from a nearby house. Snaps had been killed by these dogs it appears quite soon after he went for his stroll and before Gemma had commenced her search for him. Comment: why didn’t this person call earlier?

The dogs had escaped a man’s home who had chased after them but it was too late to save her cat. Snaps’ body was put into a plastic bag and taken away by a council worker from Stockport Council to the local tip. At that time Gemma was still hopeful that she could recover Snaps’ body which had been taken to a tip. She went there to look through a freezer of dead animals but he was not there.

She discovered, through what appears to be some frantic telephone calls, that Snaps had been taken to Leyland where his body had been destroyed (cremated). This left Gemma and her family distraught. Their five-year-old child, Georgia, was devastated, said Gemma. Snaps was a very special cat to her family.

Her search was made worse by the fact that some people made prank phone calls having seen her posters. She said that the whole experience was hellish.

It’s extraordinary that the council failed to contact her bearing in mind that Snaps had two forms of identification on him. The council says that they scanned Snaps and could not detect a microchip. We don’t know whether this is a truthful statement because, as mentioned, he was microchipped. Gemma makes the important point that there is no obligation on council workers to scan for a microchip under the current law. It’s just best practice, she says, but there’s no obligation. And they didn’t bother to look at his collar.

As I said, it is another example of local authorities in the UK lacking concern for companion animal owners and disrespecting companion animals. There is a campaign to change the law which would have avoided the distress caused to Gemma and her family.


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