Tag: news

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

zoumabengals
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.

Police Chief Doubles Down On Cat Lady Arrests, Trial Postponed

You might think if you were the police chief of Wetumpka, Alabama, you’d be embarrassed to learn your officers arrested and cuffed two women — one of them 85 years old — for the alleged crime of managing a cat colony.

Heck, you might be outright mortified that the public saw a video of that outrageous arrest, with your officers laughing about “a bunch of cops beatin’ up on some old ladies” after treating the aforementioned ladies like hardened criminals instead of good local people you’re sworn to protect and serve.

Lastly, you might be furious at your officers for demonstrating abysmal judgment by escalating a situation instead of keeping the peace.

Especially if video of the incident proceeded to go viral, drawing widespread mockery and condemnation of your entire police department

But if you’re Wetumpka Police Chief Greg Benton, apparently none of those things would occur to you.

Instead of apologizing to his community for traumatizing two women doing trap, neuter return (TNR) work in a public park, Benton is doubling down.

Benton told the Montgomery Advertiser that Mary Alston, 60, and Beverly Roberts, 85, were exacerbating a “nuisance” by spending their own money to spay/neuter strays, working with local shelters to find homes for them, and managing a stray cat colony that others were content to ignore.

Benton says the women were warned that they were “trespassing” in a public park — built and maintained with their tax dollars — and were warned not to feed the cats.

bravecop
A Wetumpka police officer wags a finger at Roberts, who was 84 years old at the time, before handcuffing her hands behind her back and rifling through her personal possessions.

The women were arrested on June 25, but the media and public are just now learning the details because police pushed back on local media freedom of information requests for copies of the body camera footage.

Apparently Benton does not understand the distinction between tossing treats at strays and managing a colony at personal expense to reduce the stray population and get the cats adopted. Or maybe he’s one of those guys who thinks the solution is to kill the cats.

Either way, he’s chosen to ignore policing best practices, disregarding time-honored — and evidence-supported — protocols of community policing by endorsing the sort of behavior his officers engaged in.

Instead of charging into a public park, practically screaming “I am the law!” and gleefully cuffing two women while telling them “You’re too old to be acting this way,” a minimally-trained, minimally decent rookie cop almost anywhere else in America would immediately understand Alston and Roberts are not criminals.

That cop would understand the women are part of the community, they have to live with these people, and the productive thing would be to get the police chief, animal control officer, colony managers and local shelter supervisors together, so they can figure out how to support each other and combine their resources to humanely manage local cat colonies.

Instead, we have police moving forward with misdemeanor charges against the women. They’re both charged with criminal trespassing, while Alston faces an additional count of interfering with government operations, and Roberts faces a disorderly conduct charge.

Their attorney, Terry Luck, told the Advertiser that he believes the charges are baseless. Alston and Roberts were originally scheduled for an Oct. 20 trial, but it’s been postponed due to scheduling conflicts. A new date hasn’t been set yet.

Family’s Cat Follows Kids To School, Gets His Class Picture Taken

Ziggy the cat must figure school is an interesting place if his two young human siblings walk there every day, so he’s taken it upon himself to go too.

The four-year-old cat is such a common sight at Drury Primary School in Wales, about 30 miles south of Liverpool, that faculty there consider him an “honorary student.” Ziggy makes himself comfortable for naps on the headmaster’s desk, attends school assemblies and likes to run around the playground.

Ziggy, who pops in and out of classrooms as he sees fit, walks 10 minutes to the school every day with his humans, Megan Roberts, 10, and Chloe Roberts, 7.

Mark Bitcliffe, Drury’s head teacher, told local daily The Leader that it’s “impossible” to keep Ziggy out, so the school has accepted him as a “student.” The cat shows up so reliably that Bitcliffe said he’s “an example to other pupils.”

But Ziggy really “took the biscuit” during school picture day during the last week of September, mom Emma Roberts said. The orange and white feline waited until he felt it was his turn to pose for a school photo, then hopped up onto the chair in front of the photographer as if it was the most natural thing in the world. The school sent his photos home along with school portraits of Chloe and Megan.

“Chloe handed the letter to me [after school] and I expected it to be her photos. But then when I looked I was just in floods of laughter and so were the other mums standing by me,” Emma said. “I asked her what had gone on and she said he just jumped on the chair. He didn’t need any encouragement, he just got up there for a photo.”

Bitcliffe, the faculty and the students at Drury love Ziggy’s antics, and they say he’s been educational too, as he’s given kids without pets the opportunity to learn how to interact with animals.

“It’s difficult to keep a cat off the school grounds, even if you wanted to, but thankfully he’s one of the nicest cats I’ve ever come across,” Bitcliffe said. “He thinks he’s a pupil so it’s fitting he’s had his own photo. I think it’ll be put up on the staff noticeboard. One time he was on the top ledge of the shelves in the secretary’s office and he’s been known to sneak into mine, sit on the chair and fall asleep. It’s his second home I think. His attendance is not an issue and he’s actually setting a good example to the other children.”

“We’ve not been looking to have a school cat or dog really, but he chose us.”

Cat On The Street: What Do You Think About Humans Identifying As Felines?

There have been several controversial stories lately about humans who identify as cats, or want to become cats. Most of them are hoaxes, but you can’t put things past crazy humans. We asked actual cats what they think about the idea.

What do you think?

“Does this mean they’re not going to be our servants anymore?” – Princess Sprinkles, 6, house cat

“I identify as a hulking tiger.” – Tiger, 11, indoor-outdoor menace

“They can identify as Jovian moons for all I care, as long as dinner is still served on time.” – Crispy Cream, 4, house cat

“I say, dear fellow, I should rather think they lack the fur.” – Niles, 10, British cat

“What am I thinking about? I’m thinking about chocolate rivers, candy-coated gumdrops, and Lifesavers made of cheese!” – Chonkmatic the Magnificent, King of North American cats

“WATCH ME GO!!! WATCH ME! I’M GONNA RUN FAST NOW!!! YEEEEAAAHHH!” – Mari, 4 months, house kitten

The Other Buddy’s Looking Strong!

Buddy, the cat who was brutally assaulted when two teenagers sicced their pitbulls on him in Philadelphia last week, is making progress every day.

The little guy began opening his eyes again a few days ago, the Pennsylvania SPCA said, and now they’ve shared a short video of Buddy the Black Cat sitting up, licking his lips and tucking into some yums:

Little Buddy the Cat has been pulling for his fellow Buddy. In the meantime, a lot of people have been asking the SPCA how they can help. Here’s a way to do that and get something in return: A spiffy t-shirt that says “Save Every Buddy” with an original design:

Get well, Buddy!
The League of Extraordinary Buddies.