NEWS AND OPINION: This bizarre story is doing the rounds on news media online. The overriding aspect of it is the mystifying motivation of the central character in the story which occured at an animal shelter in south-east Melbourne, Australia. At about 10:20 pm last Monday a man in his 50s, dressed in combat clothing including a helmet and a mask, and carrying a gun, entered the animal shelter area and apprehended a shelter employee after she wound down the window of her vehicle thinking that she was being approached by a police officer.
The man threatened to use his firearm on her if she didn’t comply with a request, as I understand it, to take him to where the cats were. The man then walked her into the shelter at gunpoint, tied her hands with cable ties and then asked about the cats. He then left the building and as far as I know is still at large.
The woman was able to free herself and call the police. She is uninjured but shaken up by the bizarre incident. Senior Sgt Glenn Cruse reported that the woman was traumatised and said, “It’s very traumatising to be confronted like that in a dark, remote location. What she’s gone through and how she was able to deal with the situation and communicate with the offender and notify the police, it’s very brave.”
The man’s motivations remain unknown but they think he was concerned about the welfare of the cats at the shelter. It appears that he was under the belief that a lot of animals were being killed and treated cruelly.
So perhaps this man had good motives, pure motives of animal welfare but went about expressing these desires inappropriately. It’s a clash of culture. If what is reported is true you don’t enforce animal welfare in a way which is against human welfare i.e. waving guns at people or intimidating people. The only way to improve animal welfare is by behaving in a moral way. You got to take the high ground and remain there and be patient. It’s a long road to changing attitudes.
We don’t know whether there were issues about animal welfare at the animal shelter concerned, which is The Lost Dogs Home at Cranbourne West, south-east of Melbourne. It appears to be a dogs shelter so it is unclear why the man was enquiring about cats. Perhaps they have cats there as well.
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