A Welsh woman, Emma Neville, became enraged when her four-year-old daughter picked up cat faeces on her hands while she was playing in her garden (‘backyard’ in America). She posted on Facebook that she would put poisoned chicken down with the intention of poisoning any cat who entered her garden. The post was picked up by neighbours who quite naturally became very worried. The police were contacted and they investigated the matter. It appears that Miss Neville convinced them that she was pretending and didn’t really mean it.
“I have [cats pooing in the garden] every day but that day it was all over her toys so I wrote that status (I think she means post). I feel stupid now I did it but it was just to let my street know I’ve had enough then it just went viral that [is] it. There was no poison at all. have been harmed at all…..”
The threating FB post which almost got Emma arrested:
However, the neighbours aren’t convinced and one woman who runs a local rescue centre, Sam Murray, of the Usk New Start Cat Rescue, suggested that all animal rescue centres place Miss Neville on their blacklist.
Emma lives in Merthyr Tydfil in Wales and she claimed that cats were defecating in her garden every day and that the faeces were all over her child’s toys so it ended up on her hands and under the fingernails. It does sound awful and I can understand the frustration but it would be a crime to poison a cat for this reason. In fact it would be a crime to poison a cat for any reason.
One of her neighbours offered to clean Emma’s garden every day free of charge if she agreed not to put poison down. Emma rejected the offer.
This is what I would call a combination problem. You could criticise the cat owners because a mother with a child is going to be sensitive to cat faeces in her garden bearing in mind there is a lot of information on the Internet about picking up toxoplasmosis from cat faeces and the consequential dangers to children. But in the United Kingdom, as I’m sure you know, nearly every cat owner lets their cat roam freely in the neighbourhood and therefore they jump over fences and into back gardens “trespassing” wherever they wish. I think cats should be confined to a garden enclosure for their safety and for the peace of mind of the cat’s owner. That concept is alien to British citizens.
I would certainly criticise Emma Neville because she bragged to the world on social media that she wanted to commit a crime by poisoning cats belonging to neighbours. That was simply foolish because if a cat had died through poisoning she would have been successfully prosecuted for animal cruelty because the evidence was all over Facebook in words and photographs. It’s a combination problem as I call it.