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No justice for Zeus: Police say no criminal charges in catnapping case
Back at home, Zeus is noticeably thinner than he was prior to being trapped and dumped in a wooded area of NOTL. SUPPLIED
Zeus was a chunky cat prior to being abandoned in a rural area of NOTL. SUPPLIED

A St. Catharines man who admitted to trapping a neighbour’s cat in his backyard and dumping it in a rural area of Niagara-on-the-Lake will face no criminal consequences.

“The matter has been investigated and concluded and no charges have been laid,” Niagara Regional Police spokesperson Const. Jesse Vujasic said in an April 23 statement.

The three-year-old black and white male named Zeus was found by owners, the Clout family, on the evening of Wednesday, April 17 near Church and McNab roads in rural NOTL.

This was after extensive searches in that area and near the family home on Bowstead Drive in St. Catharines. He had been missing since March 4.

The Clouts first suspected the neighbour after overhearing a conversation between him and another neighbour April 10. They say they heard him remark that he “got rid of” followed soon after by “big black and white cat”.

Initially, the family called police who referred them to PAWS (Provincial Animal Welfare Services) to investigate. A investigator responded and following a conversation with the neighbour, informed the Clouts there was nothing that could be done. There was no way to prove it was their cat. A subsequent investigation by The Lake Report resulted in a full confession from the man. That story was published April 18, the same day police announced that an investigation into the neighbour’s actions would take place.

Now, with that investigation over and no charges being laid, the family wonders if the neighbour will feel free to repeat his actions in the future — if not to their pet, perhaps another family cat.

When asked if abandonment did not constitute a criminal offence, Vujasic answered via email without directly responding to the pointed inquiry.

“(The) investigation has determined that what was believed to be a stray the cat was removed from the area. The owners have since followed up with the investigating officer to inform them that the cat has been recovered. This investigation does not meet the threshold for criminal charges.”

The Clouts are obviously upset with that decision.

“This is frustrating,” said Wendy Clout. “The guy is not facing any consequences to deter him. No criminality Does that give him permission to do it again?”

Despite their concerns, the Clouts are happy their beloved pet is home. While they plan to keep him indoors, that’s not always easy with active cats.

They have purchased an AirTag collar to track his movements.

“We are going to try and keep him in the house as much as we can,” said Clout.

“He’s already made a few dashes for the door. With all the dogs going out and the kids coming and going, that is why we got the collar.”

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