Sunday Cats: A Lost Cat Story With A Happy Ending, UK Takes Cat Abuse Seriously

A North Carolina woman suffered a roller coaster of emotions after she lost her cat, then found out the local SPCA had taken her cat in, only for the shelter’s staff to tell her a family had already adopted the cute tuxedo.

Chevelle Griffin of Asheville says her cat, Sally, went missing on Oct. 18. She didn’t know what happened until a few days later when she saw a Facebook post indicating a neighbor had taken Sally to the local SPCA. Sally was wearing a flea collar, but not an ID collar and was not microchipped.

Griffin blamed herself.

“That was my fault,” Griffin said. “That was my mistake. I should have had her chipped, but I didn’t and she’s mine and I want her back.”

She wasn’t happy when staff at the shelter “very bluntly” told her Sally had already been adopted out.

Sally the Cat
Sally was taken to the SPCA by a neighbor.

Lisa Johns, chief operating officer for the local SPCA, told local ABC affiliate WLOS that the shelter takes in as many as 35 cats a day and holds new animals for 72 hours. After that, if they have no health issues they’re put up for adoption.

Fortunately, the story has a happy ending. After Griffin lobbied the SPCA and WLOS began looking into the incident, SPCA staff contacted the family that had adopted Sally and asked if they would be willing to return her. They agreed, and Griffin said she’s relieved and has learned from the experience.

“I’ve kicked myself so much,” Griffin said. “If I’ve learned anything from this, get your pets chipped.”

It’s a tough balance for shelter operators dealing with overcrowding and the need to constantly free up spaces for new strays, but should the hold period be extended beyond 72 hours?

Zouma apologizes again

Zouma, left, and his Bengal cats, right. Both cats were confiscated and remain in the care of the RSPCA. As part of the sentencing agreement for his animal abuse plea, Zouma will not be permitted to own a pet for at least five years.

Kurt Zouma — the West Ham player who ignited a firestorm earlier this year when his brother uploaded video of Zouma slapping, kicking and harassing one of his own cats — said he learned his lesson and again expressed remorse after he was sentenced by a magistrate’s court.

Zouma, a French national, faced consequences that would be unheard of in the US as a result of the abuse: He lost all his sponsorship contracts, was fined the maximum amount by his club team (£250,000, equal to about $338,00 at the time, a full one fifth of his salary), paid court fines of £9,000, is prohibited from owning pets for at least five years, and was ordered to complete 140 hours of community service. West Ham donated Zouma’s fined salary to animal charities in the UK.

He was persona non grata in the UK football world, subject to hearty boos and chants from crowds any time he touched the ball, and his cats were taken from him and placed in the care of the RSPCA. In addition, he was not selected for the French national team, meaning he won’t compete in the World Cup.

Following his sentencing this week in his first public comments about the controversy — aside from a terse apology in the form of a written statement issued months ago — Zouma said he acknowledges the video was “very tough for people to watch” and admitted he’d “done something very bad.”

Zouma’s brother Yoan was also convicted of animal abuse, receiving court fines and 140 hours of community service for participating in the abuse and filming it in front of his brother’s young son. Our readers might recall the brothers were turned in by a woman who was courted by the younger Zouma and was disgusted when she saw the video.

The woman had initially agreed to meet Yoan Zouma for an informal date, but told him to keep his distance after she saw the abuse clip, then reported the brothers to authorities.

“I don’t think hitting a cat like that is OK – don’t bother coming today,” she wrote in a message to Yoan Zouma at the time. “I do not want to associate with people who find that funny, in front of a child as well.”

Although what Zouma did was terrible, it feels like justice was served and the UK did right by the cats by taking the abuse seriously, both criminally and professionally. Instead of “canceling” Zouma, as would have likely been the response here in the US, the authorities in government and the Premier League made sure the footballer understood the gravity of his actions and took responsibility for them. Hopefully it served as an example to others who would think of harming their pets.

10 thoughts on “Sunday Cats: A Lost Cat Story With A Happy Ending, UK Takes Cat Abuse Seriously”

  1. Is this a joke? Animal abusers should NEVER have another pet. Example. Nearby abuser threw cat against a wall over 10 years ago. All cats were taken away. Two that were adopted to my friend passed away from old age. Guess what? Ex- wife of abuser says this piece of garbage has not changed.Police were called and two dogs were taken away.Visible abuse of these dogs.ANIMAL ABUSERS NEVER CHANGE.


  2. I personally know nothing about football (soccer) or any other sport for that matter. Music is my passion ( I play the drums and recorded albums blah blah etc…), so when it comes to this footballer guy I know nothing about him at all. However, male footballers as a group in the UK are grossly overpaid and live like extremely uneducated and very dumb kings, they are left totally alone by the government as picking on them (tax-wise) would cause a national revolution. This one, however, is getting his sentence passed in the court of public opinion, and of course, his club had to take highly visible immediate action. With a bit of good fortune, his “career” will be over and wrecked ( as will his life hopefully) as their “careers” are generally very short. Good riddance to bad rubbish

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah, the chavs and hooligans.

      It’s funny when someone from the UK comes to a baseball or basketball game in the US for the first time and marvels at the fact that they sell beer. It’s like “Yeah, we’re not going to get drunk and murder each other over the outcome of the game.” lol.

      The whole idea of people getting away with crimes because of athletic ability is insane. I remember the first time I realized that was in HS when a girl in my town was raped by a star football player at the public high school.

      I attended Catholic school, so I didn’t know the football player, but I knew the girl. The football player suffered no consequences, and the girl’s life was made a living hell, with idiots harassing her and calling her awful names for no reason other than they idiotically thought she “ruined” their enjoyment of football — high school football, for crying out loud — by being raped. IIRC, she left the school.

      I don’t think that’s what happened here though. As much as people seem to be angry, a player losing 1/5 of his salary, every single one of his endorsements and a spot on the World Cup roster, in addition to the criminal consequences, is progress to me.

      Not so long ago, the entire thing would have been swept under the rug or declared not a big deal because it’s “just a cat.”

      Do I think Zouma should be allowed to have pets again? No. But I realize the courts can’t invent their own sentencing guidelines. Overall I think this case sends a message that there are some serious consequences for animal abusers.

      FWIW I realize I might feel differently if I had to contend with drunk hooligans on the subway all the time.


      1. You have nailed a full understanding of UK Football perfectly. Your description of the High School “jock” is hugely disturbing, knowing that the guy is still walking around and now thinks he can get away with abuse of women and no doubt, animals as well

        Liked by 1 person

  3. The US needs to institute and enforce a “no pets” punishment, with duration being lifetime. I simply do not believe the crocodile tears/apologies these people give. They are only sorry because they were caught. Given the chance, and no witnesses in sight, they would do it again. Once is more than enough.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well that’s at the discretion of the courts, and it’s one reason why we need updated animal protection laws.

      The Prevention of Animal Cruelty and Torture Act of 2019 was a rare example of good bipartisan legislation, and although he’s polarizing, Trump pushed for that law and signed it after it was co-sponsored by a Democrat and a Republican. It makes intentional animal cruelty a federal crime with a prison sentence of up to seven years if convicted. I’m not a lawyer, so I can’t say why that law isn’t invoked in all serious animal abuse cases.

      But sentencing guidelines for state-level offenses are governed by state laws, and judges usually have pretty wide discretion.

      So it would be nice to see a push for updated animal cruelty laws at the state level as well, which of course would have to happen in each state.

      As for the UK, I don’t know much at all about their judicial system other than that they do have a similar tiered system with magistrate courts and crown courts for more serious crimes. I don’t know how that impacts prosecution. Maybe we have a prosecutor or a barrister among our readers who can explain things in more detail, and perhaps can speak to judicial discretion in sentencing.


  4. Mee-yow what Sally Cat an her Miss Chevelle went thru was sure scarey!!! Wee are so happy there WAS a ‘happy endin’!! An wee applaud THE new adopturss who gave Sally back. They are speshell peepell two!
    As fore Mistur Zouma, may mee go PEE on him an his Brothur two? Mee can not meow what mee wantss to butt Buddy an Big Buddy youss’ can guess!!!! BellaSita Mum sayss dude shuud bee banned fore LIFE with no petss!
    An wee have to meow wee AGREE 150% with Miss Gilda that once an abuser; allwayss an abuser 😦
    ***purrss** * BellaDharma an (((hugss))) BellaSita Mum

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Indeed, the people who adopted Sally showed compassion and understanding by returning her.

      I also believe returning her is in the best interests of Sally too. In the same situation, I know Bud would be extremely distressed if we were separated and he was brought into a new home.

      Shelters should keep the cats’ best interests in mind in these cases, and maybe rewrite their rules to include some formal mechanism for striking an adoption if it’s determined that a cat really is someone else’s beloved pet. I’m sure the adoptees, if they’re decent people, will understand and can be compensated in some way.


      1. Mee-yow Big Buddy your meowed that RITE!!!!
        Mee wuud go to peecess if mee was seppyrated from BellaSita Mum!
        Our Sheltur wuud ree-unite us as they know BellaSita an mee well an wee ARE small town….
        Yore rite that THE 72 hour rule iss outdated….sadly….
        It can take 2-3 weekss to track a MIA 4 legged!!
        ***purrss*** BellaDharma

        Liked by 1 person

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