I say that when a dog attacks and kills a cat you can’t just accept it. But this is exactly what has happened in Margate, UK recently.
Something is wrong with the law if nothing happens when a dog owned by one person attacks and kills a cat owned by another person.
In the UK cats can roam freely. This applies to most if not all places in fact. When Pete Doherty’s two Siberian Huskies attacked and killed Penny Ward’s cat, Archie, there were no legal consequences. None, even though Doherty ‘hardly lifted a finger to stop them’ we are told (The Sun newspaper online).
The Mail Online says that one of Doherty’s dogs jumped into the garden (backyard) of the cat’s owner Penny Ward, 70, grabbed the cat and took him away where with another of Doherty’s huskies the cat was savaged to death.
Reports suggest that the police have decided no crime has been committed. Under the Dangerous Dogs Act the dogs need to be dangerously out of control and attack a person or livestock or put people in fear of being attacked. Pets are not mentioned and cats are expendable under these circumstances.
It’s deemed an accident and accepted. Huskies have a powerful hunting instinct. Why isn’t there a law which makes it a requirement that they are kept on a lead in public places? This is a clash of two pet animals with one allowed to kill another under the criminal law. It’s a bit bizarre.
There is what is called a ‘lacuna’ in the law; a hole in the law because there should be something there which punishes Doherty for his slack and sloppy behavior in allowing this to happen. It is a form of criminal damage but this has not been raised as a possibility by the police. Once again the problem is that Doherty did not deliberately set the dogs on the cat. There’s a lack of intent.
As it is deemed an accident the only way forward for the cat’s owner is to sue Doherty in the civil courts under the tort of negligence. But will she? Absolutely not because (1) it will be full of stress and hassle (2) she couldn’t do it herself and couldn’t justify using a lawyer (3) the damages would be hopelessly small and make the whole exercise pointless.
So nothing happens. Something should happen because a companion animal has lost his life though no fault of his own.
P.S. Pete Doherty is famous for being the co-frontman of the Libertines. He is described as an English musician, songwriter, actor, poet, writer, and artist (Wikipedia). He owned cats at one time but he admitted to behaving irresponsibly towards them.
P.P.S. This is an opinion article based on the news. It is not meant to be a straightforward recital of the news.