Houston, Texas — Friday, August 11, 2017: The words in the title are those of Rachel Dean. She lives in or near Houston, USA. She lost her indoor/outdoor cat, Romeo, on July 28.
Dean distributed flyers with a phone number around her neighbourhood as well. She received calls from people demanding what appears to be ransom money of $300 in exchange for her cat (or was it operational costs! No). They even offered to put her on a monthly payment plan when Dean told them she could not afford it.
She also posted information about the loss of her cat on the Lost Pet Advocates of Galveston County. She entered into a series of text message communications from the person persons purporting to have found her cat.
The messages appear to have come from a person operating some sort of informal cat rescue operation because they have several cats. This probably tells us that they are running several scams and not a rescue operation. They are based in League City, Texas. The text messages are quite interesting and are published below:
“I believe we have a predator out there snatching animals and charging owners for a safe return. Today I received two phone calls from someone saying that they have my cat and want to know how much I would offer for them.”
Dean contacted the police (Dickinson Police Department) but they apparently did not take her complaint seriously. Eventually the police contacted Chron.com (the source of this article) to tell them that they were looking at the problem. I wonder if Chron.com staff had contacted the police Department for comment which prompted them to do something.
Dean feels that she is being tortured. She can see that it’s a scam of some sort but it appears that she half believed that these people do have her cat but she is not sure. She needs some sort of certainty. She needs progress. The scammers are upsetting the recovery of her cat as well as upsetting Dean by demanding money and writing vague text messages which are extremely unhelpful.