To the Editor:
To all pet owners and lovers of their pets:
About a month ago my darling pet cat went missing. I looked for her all over Hedley where we live. I asked questions of neighbours and consulted with those that have more experience than me with the behaviour of domestic animals, in this case, cats… to find out that indeed its disappearance did seem peculiar.
No one had seen her.
My next step was to approach the local SPCA for our region, the Penticton SPCA office. After giving them a description of the cat and letting them know that the cat had been tattooed and a microchip implanted for easier recognition in case she got lost, they said no cat fitting the description had been turned in. Both the microchip and tattoed information were linked to the veterinary hospital in Chilliwack. I contacted the hospital where they too assured me that no one from Penticton had contacted them about my cat.
By this time I started losing hope of ever finding her again. Then, about a week ago, I heard the screams of a woman that was house sitting my next door neighbour’s house. For some reason my instincts told me that the incident might be connected to my cat.
It was revealed to me that a cat fitting my cat’s description had been found in a leg hold trap set by another neighbour prior to going on holidays. Several local residents had stated that this man has a history of taking pleasure in killing defenseless little animals, cats, dogs, and squirrels as an example. I decided to go to the Penticton SPCA to inquire once again.
Penticton SPCA this time around confirmed the identity of my cat by the numbers on her tattoo. They said the cat had been brought into their office with severe injuries as well as being severely traumatized by having been in a trap for more than five days without food or water.
A person wanting to get rid of an animal has several options – first, a person can let the owner of the pet know that the animal needs to be kept out of their yard. If the owner does not understand, they can opt for a live trap and turn the animal over to the SPCA who in turn would contact the owner and warn them of their neglectfulness. Using leg hold traps is inhumane, no doubt about it, they often force the animal to chew their own leg off in an attempt to free themselves.
To make a long and distressful story short, this man with his actions has caused an undue amount of pain to me personally, to my family and most importantly undue pain and suffering to my cat. At present my cat remains in Penticton at the SPCA, who refuse to return her to me. They intially tried to extort $2,500 for her return to my family, and now they are saying I have no right to claim her back!
It is my family’s consolation that the vet at the Chilliwack clinic as well as my GP stand behind us.
I would like to add that let this be a lesson to the importance to stand up against violent acts such as this and many others. People who conduct themselves with violence or commit violent acts have to receive a strong message that bullying will not be tolerated.
If anyone wishes to come forward with more information about the case, you can either contact the Penticton SPCA or report to the local RCMP .
Fear is no way to live in a free nation
Marcela Toro Garland, Hedley