I say that the animal control officer was very stupid. I have prejudged that based upon what I’ve read. It may be the case that he was both stupid and malicious but we will have to leave final judgement to his manager, the police and the prosecution service in Baldwin County, USA.
This case beggars belief actually. It just seems so mindless and underpinned by the ridiculous behaviour of an individual whose name is Brian Blackwell who has worked with Baldwin County Animal Control for about a year. He has currently been suspended and sent home without pay. His behaviour is being investigated by his manager.
What did he do? Margaret Clark was the owner of a cat that she rescued from the local animal shelter. The cat’s name was Max. He was six years of age.
In around the area where Margaret Clark lived there were stray cats. She reported this to Animal Control because I presume she wanted something done about them.
She said that she showed a photograph of Max to the animal control officer and, as I understand it, she told him that Max usually stayed on the porch of her home.
While Margaret Clark was out, Brian Blackwell visited the area and her home. He said that he tried to catch Margaret’s cat with a noose. Max lunged at him in defence whereupon Mr Blackwell, who was armed with a county-issue .22 calibre rifle, shot Max dead.
Margaret returned home to find blood on her porch. She has spoken to the police and filed the report with them. The report that I have read on the unionrecorder.com website does not tell me whether the police are investigating the matter as a crime which they should do but they probably won’t.
Blackwell said that he disposed of the cat. Where is Max’s body? Margaret needs to know and I would have thought that the police do as well.
Blackwell says that he did not know that the cat on the porch belonged to Margaret Clark until she telephoned him after he had shot Max. We therefore have a conflict in evidence and as there are just two people who can provide evidence in this matter, Mr Blackwell and Mrs Clark, you can tell where this is going; by which I mean nowhere in respect of a criminal prosecution due to lack of evidence.
The incident begs the question as to why Mr Blackwell as an animal control officer was trying to catch a domestic cat with a noose. Is that normal? Don’t they use the usual traps? Wasn’t he using a device which is normally used to restrain dogs?
It is of no surprise that Max was defensive and the animal control officer should have known better. The fact that Max lunged at him does not justify killing him. It is outrageous that the animal control officer who is meant to be a person concerned about animal welfare shot a cat simply because he was defensive in response to the actions of the animal control officer.
There are so many things wrong with Brian Blackwell’s behaviour in carrying out his duties as an animal control officer that his manager should come to the conclusion that he is not fit to work in that role and that he should be sacked summarily for gross misconduct. That won’t happen but it should. What do you think?