Categories: Readers Forum

Stray cats: “I started feeding the cats away from your store but that wasn’t good enough”

A Reader’s Forum article published November 22, 2019 by Lawanna Johnson, President and Director Purr Partners Feline Rescue

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UPDATE November 23 3:35pm

“UPDATE: DOMINO’S PIZZA HAS AGREED TO CALL OFF THE TRAPPING! We just received a call from the area Operations Director of Crum, Inc. the company which holds the franchise license for the Louisburg #Dominos location. They have agreed to call off the #TownofLouisburg and allow Purr Partners to trap and relocate the resident cats and we have permission to be on the property for the next several months. We will work together to help educate the neighborhood on the situation and how they can also be part of the solution through our new Trap, Neuter, Vaccinate, Return program for Franklin County.

We will rescue the #DominosCats that have already been trapped and are at the Franklin County Animal Shelter on Monday morning. If you would like to help cover the cost of getting them released or support the feral cats in our area please go to: purrpartners.org/donations/ or if you would like to volunteer with us go to: purrpartners.org/volunteer/.

We are incredibly touched by the outpouring of support and to every single one of you who gave a voice to those who have none, you saved lives and are now a #catrescuer too! Without your passion, this would not have come to a positive resolution so quickly! THANK YOU.”

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Note from Elisa: When I was sent the information about this business, I knew it would make the perfect story for the Reader’s Forum series. Not only does it bring attention to a growing problem (caregivers clashing with business owners), this is the PERFECT letter those facing the same situation may want to ‘borrow’ from in contacting a business. I did take the store address out but it can be found on the original post here. This is a long post that deserves a read.

colony cats eating (Lawanna Johnson)

An Open Letter to the Manager of Domino’s Pizza

November 22, 2019

Domino’s Pizza Store

To the Manager of Domino’s Pizza:

I used to be a customer of your store. But when a business hires an employee who is rude, unnecessarily cruel, and totally unreasonable, then I will take my business elsewhere — and encourage others to do the same.

Yes, you have cats and wildlife around your store because you have an open dumpster. Yes, I’m sure they get in the trash, but when I tried to offer you a solution, all you could do was yell and scream, and in fact, told me you didn’t have to listen to anything I said, and since I WAS a customer, you had my personal information, and you told me you were going to “give it to the people who can do something.” So, I quit trying to talk to you.

the dumpster area (Lawanna Johnson)

You have cats around your store because there is a neighborhood behind your store that has free-roaming cats. They come up to the area behind your store. You’ve known about them for a long time. Instead of trying to address the issue, you let hurt and injured cats who were starving, hang around and suffer. Yes, you knew about the cat with two broken back legs who was hit by a car, but you didn’t call for anybody to help it. It was only when I asked you about the cats, and tried to explain that I could trap and remove the cats if you would give me time, that you called and complained to the Town of Louisburg asking them to take them away.

Here’s the thing — I wanted to do exactly what you wanted, but you wouldn’t talk to me except to yell at me and tell me “you didn’t have to listen to me.” I started moving the cats. I removed the injured one and another the very next day so that they were no longer hanging around your dumpster. I started feeding the cats away from the store, over 50 yards away, so they would not be near your store. But you decided that was not good enough and called the town anyway. They came out and trapped four cats and took them to the Franklin County Animal Shelter NC, where they have 72 hours to live unless someone claims them. Did you know that two of the four are pets belonging to people in the neighborhood directly behind your store? And the owners could very well be your customers!

the cats stay in the wooded area (Lawanna Johnson)

What’s sad is that even if I remove the current cats, more will take their place. This is a situation that we must address on multiple fronts. You refuse to show any consideration or compassion for these helpless cats or to even have a civilized discussion on how we can work together to come up with a plan. Your solution — to have them euthanized.

Today, I met with the Town of Louisburg and was informed that they trap community cats ONLY when they receive a complaint. And complain you did and now people’s personal pets are in the shelter awaiting their fate.

If you want to fix this problem, why are you unwilling to work with someone ready to help? Why is your go-to reaction screaming and yelling and being completely unreasonable and downright rude? I have moved these colony cats at least 50 yards away from your store, and I will continue to move them further away, but many more are going to die because of your attitude and your cruelty. You are a part of this community, and these cats are also a part of this community. I am working on getting them fixed, vaccinated, and over time, moving them to new locations. Still, when they are taken to animal control per your request and are next in line to be killed, I can’t work fast enough.

another of the cats being cared for (Lawanna Johnson)

As the president of a local non-profit, Purr Partners Feline Rescue, we encounter people all the time who ask us for help, and we do what we can. But sadly, we also encounter people, like you, who are unreasonable and resistant to help in getting what you want and it’s heartbreaking.

I’m sure you don’t care, but these cats have lives too. Multiple people have abandoned them, and the fact that they are homeless is due directly to the irresponsibility of humans. All I want is an opportunity to give these cats a chance at life. But know this — in a month, there will be new cats. There will continue to be wildlife in your dumpsters. If you have those removed and killed, in a month, it will start all over again. What is your long-range plan? When do you plan to listen to someone who can help, will help, and will work to implement a program aimed at a long-term solution? Perhaps you could also help by packaging your garbage better or use the lid to close up the dumpster when it’s not in use?

Based on this information, I sincerely hope that people will not continue to frequent your store. And I hope that Domino’s corporate office is more compassionate and realistic than you, their employee.

I will continue to try to save the lives of these cats and give them some hope for a future as they are no less than deserving than you or me. I should probably feel sorry for you because all you have shown is hateful, rude behavior. Maybe it’s all you know, but I won’t feel sorry for you because kindness is easy. Compassion is easy. Doing the right thing and finding a way forward that doesn’t involve killing innocent animals is the ethical thing to do.

Each day is a new opportunity to do the right thing, to make a difference in what goes on around you. So far, you have chosen to be nasty and deliberately cruel. Maybe someday you will find a way to be a better person and remember that when you are part of a community, you need to give something back. It can be something as simple as being kind, listening to another perspective or just being considerate.

Best Regards,

Lawanna Johnson
President & Director
Purr Partners Feline Rescue
PO Box 905
Youngsville, NC 27596

Lawanna

Afterword by Elisa: Yes, some of these cats are feral but some are pets. If you allow your pets to roam free close to a business who decides they’re not welcome, this could very well happen to your ‘outdoor’ cats.

Please comment here using either Facebook or WordPress (when available).
Elisa Black-Taylor

Elisa is an experienced cat caretaker and rescuer. She lives in the US. As well as being a professional photographer, Elisa has been a regular contributor to PoC for nine years. See her Facebook page.

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