This is in Adelaide, Australia. Kent Wilson saw Spock, a two-year-old, black Oriental Shorthair cat belonging to neighbours, on his 5 acre refuge for native flora and fauna. He shot Spock dead without doing any checks because he observed Spock hunting on his property and he was concerned that he would kill animals. He decided that Spock had to be stopped permanently and that he was a feral cat. Are you as dismayed as me?
Spock looked like an Oriental Shorthair. He looked purebred. He did not look like a feral cat and neither did he behave like one. He was micro-chipped. Thankfully, the law in this neck of the woods of Australia states that property owners are limited to only trapping cats on their property and it requires that they check whether a neighbour owns a cat before taking any action. You can’t shoot cats willy nilly like this. The law, in effect, restates what any decent person would do. The law is based on common sense and reasonable behavior.
I am convinced that Kent Wilson took pleasure in killing Spock. I don’t think he did it because he lacks common sense. I think it was because he dislikes cats so much that he had to kill Spock despite risking being convicted of a crime under the law which is exactly what has happened.
Not only did Mr Wilson fail to make enquiries of his neighbours, he did not call his local council. He did not contact animal welfare or the RSPCA. He just shot Spock in complete disregard of decency, the rights of animals and the rights of his neighbours.
Not only that, after shooting Spock he buried him; an act admitting guilt or what? Spock’s owners became suspicious and confronted Wilson who eventually revealed that he had buried the cat after killing him. Good job in getting the admission out of him. Perhaps Wilson was so arrogant he thought he had not committed a crime or done anything wrong.
Having been convicted under animal welfare laws he appealed to the Supreme Court but his appeal failed and he now faces a maximum AU$50,000 fine or four years in jail. How he thought he could win an appeal when the law is crystal clear, and when it is crystal clear he was in breach of it, is beyond me.
Spock’s owner Myles Shepherson is naturally very pleased that the appeal failed. He says that Spock was domesticated and extremely friendly. Spock was approachable towards people and that it was quite impossible to mistake Spock for a feral cat. I can understand that. Mr Shepherson and his family are devastated by the loss as were the neighbours also.
Wilson was probably outraged by the cat’s presence on his property, lost his ability to make sensible decisions and in a fit of simmering rage shot Spock dead. I hope that he is sentenced to the maximum allowable. Update: see ME King’s comment below. If Wilson has asked his neighbours to keep their cat off his property and they refused to act then I’d agree that Spock’s caretakers would be equally to blame.
This story has similarities the well-known story of Kristen Lindsey.
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