NEWS AND VIEWS: Shirley Gear-Evans, 65, a widow of Adber, near Sherborne in Dorset, UK, said that she can’t have another cat because her neighbour admittedly drowned her cat, Ruby, in a water butt. Her neighbour is Richard Giles, 69, a gardener. He claimed that Shirley’s cat kept on digging up his vegetables.
Mr Giles has a reputation for being a grumpy old complaining man. He spent 20 years working for rope makers Bridport Gundry. Gear-Evans moved to Adber in May 2019 and adopted Ruby a month later.
Initially they got along okay but she learned that Mr Giles hated cats. He went mad when he heard she had adopted Ruby. She said:
“He was very unpleasant when I told him I had adopted a cat, suggesting that I ought to know that he didn’t like cats.”
When Ruby failed to return home, she asked him on Monday last if he had seen her and he said that he had killed her. He said he was driven to it:
“You won’t find her. She’s gone. I killed her.”
Gear-Evans was told later that he had drowned her in his water butt. She said that Ruby was her only companion during lockdowns and now she is gone. She can’t adopt another because of the fear that Giles will do the same again.
Giles was prosecuted by the RSPA. The prosecution recommended imprisonment as the crime is serious. PETA have called for the maximum sentence to be imposed.
Comment: Other than dealing with cruel death of Ruby, the hard part on this story is that Gear-Evans cannot adopt another cat and she is at war with her criminal neighbour who is prepared to kill cats and admit it without concern for the consequences. He is dangerous.
PETA have asked that he is given a lifetime ban on keeping animals. We don’t know if he likes dogs or has a dog. If so that would be a decent punishment together with imprisonment and a fine. The maximum sentence would be 51 weeks in jail and a £20,000 fine under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 which I presume is the law under which he was prosecuted.
No one has even been handed the maximum sentence. I think she’ll have to move home. I can’t see any other way forward. Although at 69 she’ll be reluctant to do it.
There is another point to make. How much damage do you think a cat can do when they poop or pee? Not much is the answer. And it seems that Giles had quite a large garden so the amount of damage would have been minimal. Mr Giles is exaggerating. He just got annoyed because he hates cats and as he appears to have a terrible temper he killed the cat. He is beyond the pale.
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