June 14, 2007

Poison in my neighborhood

Posted in companion animals, cruelty, feral cats, real life, stupid neighborhood at 1:29 pm by nevavegan

Please Note: Poisoning cats is a felony in most states. It is cruel and inexcusable. It also does not reduce feral cat populations, since the cats who see the other cats die will not eat poisoned food, and will quickly breed back to the original numbers.

To learn about humane ways to manage feral cat populations visit:
http://www.alleycat.org/

Now for my story.

For the second time this week Sean found a feral cat convulsing with seizures while walking the dogs. This time a kitten, Monday it was an adult cat. When he found the first cat he rushed him to the emergency vet and the vet said he had no pupil response and euthanized him. Today with the kitten the tests also indicated brain damage and had to euthanize, but now Sean and the vet are both convinced that someone is poisoning the cats. The vet said it’s most likely rat poison.

I have a suspect in mind, as there is someone right by where both cats were found who has repeatedly told me he hates cats. Plus he behaves in ways that worry me, like following me after dark while I walked my dogs. He was in his car and kept a distance, but for blocks he stopped when I stopped, made every turn I made, and just in general frightened me. But I have no proof at all that he’s poisoning the cats. Just saying he’s seriously creepy and scares me isn’t much help.

We feel we have no choice at this point except to ask animal control to intervene. Even though I don’t have much confidence in their ability to investigate. Still if the poison is somewhere obvious, like in a tray on creepy-neighbor’s porch, hopefully AC is competent to handle that. AC has said to people in this area in the past that they don’t trap cats, so I’m not too worried that calling AC will mean they’ll kill the cats.

These poor cats, it’s such a terrible, painful, excruciating way to go. Especially since the problems here aren’t their fault and they’ve never done anything to hurt anyone.

Our prior plans to help sterilize this feral colony never got off the ground. Most of the families feeding the cats don’t speak much English and though I have clearly observed them feeding, only one woman would even admit it when I talked to her. Most just say the cats aren’t theirs and rush into their houses. One guy said the cats were wild and he ignores them, but wanted to know if Jesus was my personal lord and savior. The one woman who told me she did feed said it with a downward glance and a look of shame. “Just to keep the rats away,” she told me.

I’m terrified too because people have thrown food over our fence to our dogs and I worry all the time that it might be poisoned. I don’t leave the dogs in the yard for very long at a time, but it seems that every other week I have to run out and yank chicken bones or moldy bread from their mouths.

I’ll have to make a point tomorrow to go over a couple blocks and try to communicate with the neighbors who do speak English and let them know what’s going on. If nothing else there is one guy Stuart who seems to like cats in general and at the very least should be on the lookout for poison when he walks his dog. There must be 12 kittens just that I’ve observed right now, and we haven’t been able to try to trap and tame them because we’re overflowing already at our house. I’m good at taming, but it’s tough when there are so few good homes around.

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