Dog kills more than a dozen cats at a shelter

On Sunday 9th August 2015, a careless moment by a shelter employee in Whiteville, North Carolina, USA, has resulted in around 15 cats (see below) being killed by a single dog. On leaving the shelter for the day, the employee failed to lock the dog’s cage door and the door leading into the quarantine area.

Cats killed by dog at shelter

Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

As usual, in the quarantine area, there were new arrivals. They were to be assessed on Monday. In looking for a way out of the shelter, the dog found her way to the quarantine area where she killed all the cats. However, it seems one has survived or was not attacked but her kittens were killed. We are not told this but the cats in the quarantine area must have been either (1) outside of cages or (2) their cages were unlocked or (3) there are no cages in that area. Is this normal (see Sue’s comment below for an update on this)?

Whiteville shelter employee negligence leads to a dozen cats being killed by a dog

The Whiteville shelter spokesperson said, on Facebook, that “all cats in this album were killed by the dog…” – The album referred to is shown above.

The careless person involved is a police department employee and animal control officer. His role was to feed the animals and clean over the weekend. His name has not been disclosed and he has been summarily sacked (fired on the spot). Usually, firing someone on the spot can only be allowed if the person has committed a gross breach of contract or negligence.

There are calls for criminal proceedings against him. However, I don’t see how this can be a criminal matter unless he deliberately left the doors unlocked.

Whiteville shelter employee negligence leads to a dozen cats being killed by a dog

Changes in policy appear to be on the agenda to stop a similar tragedy occurring again.

Being a layperson with respect to dogs, I wondered why this individual dog wanted to kill so many cats.  Well, the answer must be that dogs kill any “competing animal”, including cats, as a survival instinct in order to ensure the food supply is unaffected by competitors. The dog was killing for survival. Perhaps she was a semi-feral dog. I find it hard to understand that a fully domesticated and socialised dog would do this but I am quite possibly wrong in that assessment. Update – 12th August 9 pm: the dog was a pitbull. I have just learnt that. Pitbulls are aggressive as we know. They are classified as dangerous dogs in the UK.

Whiteville shelter employee negligence leads to a dozen cats being killed by a dog

Note 1: the number of cats killed (around 15) is based upon the album of photos heading this page which is said to be the cats killed. One of the pictures is of the same mother and her kittens. The shelter knows the exact number but have not told us the figure. Hence the slight vagueness by me.

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Update: this is a photo of the cage locking mechanism:

Cage locking mechanism
Cage locking mechanism

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29 thoughts on “Dog kills more than a dozen cats at a shelter”

  1. I can’t find info that the dog was a pit. I felt, for sure, that it must have been a Jack Russell which is a supreme hunter. One at large killed more than 20 cats in my neighborhhood in a matter of 2 hours until she was rehomed far, far away (a home in the forest where hunting is supreme) by myself and a very grief-strickened neighbor. The “owner” didn’t even care enough to look for her.
    Can someone provide a link that this dog was a pit?

    • Rachel, I can remove them but I don’t mind them on the website. I think they are useful. Also, I don’t think anybody else minds them being there so if you don’t mind, can I please keep them on the website? I think the photographs add to the page. The reason why they are so big is because software enlarges them to fit the width of the comment box. It is just one of those technical things which I can’t do much about unfortunately.

  2. Michael,
    This is so sad, what a horrible way for these cats and kittens to die. I pray it was a horrible mistake and not done on purpose. If it was an accident I actually feel for the worker as well, he has to live with this, and we all make mistakes. I have 5 dogs and 7 cats so I don’t say that lightly.
    I can speak about this with firsthand experience. Pitbulls and bully breeds have a huge prey drive. It is not hunger or “aggression” but the thrill of the chase. If trained early enough this trait can be reduced or in some cases eliminated but it is their nature.

    I had an American bulldog that one day attacked my blind 14 year old cat. This was a family pet who slept with his head on my lap every morning. At no time during the attack did he seem intent on killing, he though it was all in great fun. I fought him for the cat and luckily I saved the cat but I was totally torn up. The cat had one bite on his tail. The bulldog had 2000.00 worth of training, but once he was in that zone, nothing else mattered.
    Dogs breeds have different traits, my Saint Bernards have never been a threat to my cats in any way, but we have another bulldog that I would not trust around the cats due to his prey drive and yet another pitbull/boxer that was raised with cats and poses no threat at all, she actually sleeps with them. All pitbulls aren’t bad, all dogs can bite, the difference is bully breed dogs do not give up, they have a very high prey drive and they are more likely and capable of doing severe damage.
    So much sadness all the way around in the shelter situation. Thank you for your reports, I found this because I am a supporter of Justice for Tiger.

    • Thank you Rachel. I have learned something about dogs and certainly quite a bit about pitbull terriers. I would have thought that if a pitbull is in an animal rescue facility extra care should be taken to make sure that the dog is kept away from the cats. I’m pleased that you are a supporter of Justice for Tiger. Nice to meet you 😉

      The photographs are horrendous. I know that these dogs are dangerous because they are very strong and as you say very driven. They can be quite frightening in fact.

  3. What seems to be overlooked is that many shelters rescue fighting dogs whose sole purpose is to kill. The owners use other animals to train the killers, including cats. It hasn’t anything to do with hunger. Sadly, that training can’t be undone and these dogs can’t conform to society. I don’t quite understand the circumstances, but am inclined to think that this may have been deliberate.


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