There is a very interesting yet disturbing post on Facebook on the Utah Friends of Felines Cat and Kitten Community Assistance Group page. Bobbi Anthony of the group was contacted by a concerned employee at the Utah Refractories plant in early July 2017. She says that the employee is 30 years old and that he had attempted to talk to management about humane methods to remove community cats (feral cats) from the plant’s property. Apparently, the cats were using sand as litter boxes. The sand is used in the manufacture of bricks at the factory, as I understand it.
She was told, I presume by the employee, that management were continuing to kill cats by poisoning, shooting with pellets and beating and kicking them to death. The employee whistleblower, who remains anonymous, posted a notice regarding animal abuse. He was then cornered and threatened with his job if he did not stop exacerbating so called “cat problems”.
When Bobbi was contacted by this employee he was in fear of losing his long-term employment. It was agreed between them that Bobbi would contact his employer, Utah Refractories, and offer a humane solution regarding the remaining cats. The employee was also given permission to trap and remove the cats from the property at this time. As a consequence, Bobbi and others were able to do TNR work on 16 of the cats and find homes for those suitable for adoption over a three-week period.
They were unable to complete their project and up to 10 cats remain or remained on the property. On 16th August Bobbi was informed that the killing of the feral cats had resumed. Two kittens had shown up. It appears that the mother had been killed and the kittens were orphans. They were hungry. They are pictured above. The video shows one posioned cat, trembling. I believe (s)he died. It is hard to watch. The link to the video is below.
Video – scroll down and you’ll see it and the other images.
At this time another employee came forward who was concerned about the killings. He took the kittens to the Lehi Police Department. From there they were handed over to the North Utah Valley Animal Shelter and thereafter to Utah Friends of Felines Cat and Kitten Community Assistance Group. The kittens were named Solar and Eclipse. They are being fostered and await adoption and rehoming.
The total number of cats rescued thus far is 18. On August 18th Bobbi was told that a supervisor had been carrying out the cat killings under the orders and direction of the facility’s owner. The supervisor was threatening to shoot another cat.
At this point Bobbi left a voicemail for the owner of Utah Refractories, Ray Worthen. She asked whether they could resolve the matter in a more humane way. There was no return call within a reasonable time and therefore Bobbi telephoned the Utah County Sheriff’s Office to inform them of the animal cruelty.
Subsequently, Worthen telephoned her twice. He was upset that he had received a call from the sheriff’s office. Worthen admitted to Bobbi that his employee (I presume the supervisor) was following his orders in killing the cats. This must represent crucial evidence if this does go to court.
Worthen agreed to let Bobbi and her team back on the property to finish their TNR work but then he called back and spoke in a threatening manner to say that they were no longer allowed on the property. She was told that the factory was hiring a professional best exterminator to take care of the remaining cats.
Both the whistleblower and the other employee concerned about the cat abuse were subsequently called into Ray Worthen’s office. Their conversation was recorded. Worthen defended his actions in “kicking a cat in the head”. The objective he said was to put the cat out of its misery. The two employees were allegedly intimidated and told in no uncertain terms to stop creating “cat problems”.
I think I have to comment about this and I hope other people will comment too. It seems there’s been a violation of animal welfare laws concerning the owner and a supervisor and any other employee engaged in cruelty to these cats and violations of employment laws concerning the two threatened employees. I would hope to see further reports on this matter and in due course if the allegations are proved to be true, proceedings taken against the perpetrators leading to convictions and punishment.
For reasons of accuracy in reporting this story I have closely followed the posting of Bobbi.The story has been reported in online newspapers. I believe that they were contacted by Bobbi and her team. The reports are not as accurate in my view as the original one on Facebook.