Yes, we are in England, UK. An inebriated pensioner and utterly committed cat hunter (by his own admission) shot a Siamese cat in his back garden. The cat had strayed there from a neighbour’s house. He’s been convicted and sentenced to 12 weeks in prison. He is appealing the sentence.
The city is Cambridge, England. A peaceful and pleasant location well known for its top rated university. Christopher Boswell, 73, shot the Siamese cat with his air rifle.
In court he admitted that he hated cats because they were a menace to wildlife and birds. He admitted that he had hunted them for more than half a century! Incidentally, last night, neighbours claimed that there had been a spate of cat disappearances in the area in the past five years. Twenty pets had gone missing. They don’t know what happened to them. I wonder whether they should question Mr Boswell about this as well? I bet the police won’t though.
The owner of the Siamese cat, Caroline King, had knocked on Boswell’s door when she realised that her one-year-old cat Pia had gone missing in April. Without prompting or provocation, Boswell told her that he hated cats. He also told her in no uncertain terms that cats are a menace to wildlife and birds and “I’ve been hunting them since I was 17 years old”.
She thought he was joking but then he added:
“I’ve shot it twice; once in the head, once in the body and I have put it in the neighbours’ garden, you had better knock on their door.”
Thus, he openly admitted that he had committed a crime. Perhaps he was inebriated. His defence lawyer in the magistrates court said that his client had taken painkillers and a significant quantity of alcohol before he had picked up the airgun.
His aim was off as he missed the cat’s head but he still caused significant damage resulting in the amputation of the Siamese cat’s right-hand hind leg. One pellet lodged in the neck. The vet’s bill came to £5,168.
In court he regretted that he had caused suffering and he apologised through his barrister. He said that his motivation was not born out of a wish to cause suffering but a desire to protect birds.
The magistrate said that he had committed a particularly nasty offence and added:
“This was a deliberate act intending to kill or seriously injure the cat which had strayed into your garden. The shots caused extensive injuries to the leg and to the neck and left it immobilised, clearly in a lot of pain. Clearly this would have caused serious distress not only to the cat but also to the owners.”
Boswell was also ordered to pay £1,500 in compensation and a £115 victim surcharge and to give up his rifle which was destroyed.
Miss King is devastated and horrified. She has struggled to “fathom why somebody I do not know would carry out such an act”.
“I cannot believe Chris would be so calm and calculated over what he has done as if he got some enjoyment from it – as he did not have to tell us and could have chosen to remain quiet” (Miss King’s statement to the court)
She felt vulnerable after the attack and was worried that he would assault her on the street but the magistrates decided that a restraining order was unnecessary because Mr Boswell had not contacted her since the incident.
The story reminds us that in England, a so-called animal loving country, there are people living ostensibly decent lives and presenting a veneer of good neighbourliness who have high levels of motivation to hurt cats. I’m sure that Mr Boswell’s neighbours are as surprised as readers of The Times which is the source of the story.