On June 2, Ferguson Township police shot a domestic cat on a bike path in the Stonebridge community in response to complaints the cat had been “blocking the path,” “charging” and “attacking.” The law requires a domestic animal suspected of having rabies that is known to have bitten or otherwise exposed a human be immediately and humanely euthanized and tested for rabies.
Setting aside whether shooting such an animal is humane, there is evidence this cat was neither rabid nor posing a threat. When reports to the police were being made, other residents of the Stonebridge community asserted the cat was actually exhibiting signs of stress from being lost (or dumped) and was begging for attention. Residents posted photos of themselves sitting with the cat, petting the cat — photos showing what looks to be a healthy, friendly, domestic animal responding in a normal fashion to humans.
Having spent decades taking care of all kinds of animals, including dozens of stray and feral cats, I find this side of the argument entirely plausible. And then there’s this: One of the individuals who reported to the police and maintained the cat was “vicious” backpedaled after the shooting, admitting that the cat was probably “lost and scared.” Seriously?
My point is to please be mindful that if you make such a report to police. There are consequences. If you make that report, it will likely result in the animal being put to death. The police are required by law to do this.
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