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.
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)?
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.
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.
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:
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