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Niagara Falls
Tuesday, May 28, 2024
Editorial: More ways needed to skin a catnapper
Editorial File

As reported in this week’s issue, and widely circulated on social media, a neighbour of a St. Catharines couple admits he kidnapped their cat Zeus and dumped it in Niagara-on-the-Lake.

When approached by a reporter, the man, who refused to provide his name, didn’t show any remorse or shy away from owing up to what he did.

He thinks he was “in the right” and entitled to cause emotional and likely inadvertent physical harm to a living being.

Whether we’re getting the full story or not is another question — but let’s assume he did in fact drop the cat off alive and well.

Now what? A couple is left wondering about the fate of a beloved household pet.

That is repugnant.

The couple phoned the police about the incident, which is not only theft of property, but also of a living, breathing creature.

But police brushed off the investigation, passing it on to Provincial Animal Welfare Services, known as PAWS, a governing body that has limited resources and a poor track record when it comes to laying charges.

We understand that’s the process. If it involves an animal, it’s PAWS territory.

But the word “shameful” doesn’t even begin to describe how pathetic it is that in Ontario it’s our policy that a police force should treat a laptop, car or other non-sentient item with a higher value than a lifeform.

Disgraceful. Despicable. Deplorable.

In fact, since PAWS took over from the Ontario SPCA and Humane Society, there has been a significant drop in animal abuse-related orders and charges.

And that’s not because there is less animal abuse. Much like domestic violence, abuse cases are likely on the rise since 2020.

That’s a huge problem.

It seems animal theft or cruelty is a crime that goes unpunished — and some organizations and individuals seem to be OK with that.

If, like us, you’re not OK with that, we urge you to write to our politicians, such as MPP Wayne Gates, MP Tony Baldinelli, and to governing bodies themselves, such as the Niagara Regional Police Services and PAWS.

Because what are people like Wendy Clout to do when a remorseless thief steals their household pet and dumps it off in a ravine?

Well, short of vigilantism — which we don’t condone, even though it would be on the top of our list if someone ever decided to touch our pets — there is almost no recourse.

We need some form of real protection for animals in this country.

Canada, Ontario, Niagara Region, St. Catharines, Niagara-on-the-Lake. Every level of government in this supposedly civilized country should get with the program, prioritize animal welfare and enforce strict laws for hurting, stealing or in any way abusing an animal.

Many consider animals’ lives just as valuable as humans’ lives. Some would argue they’re more valuable, because animals don’t do things like kidnap people and dump them in ditches.

Aside from starting a revolution and advocating for change to protect animals, there is something else we can do.

Keep an eye out near McNab Road and Church Road, not far from the Welland Canal, for any signs of a black and white cat.

With luck, a better person than this repulsive neighbour can do the right thing by helping to reunite Zeus with his owners.

We hope we see that day.

And regardless if it comes or not, we hope to see criminal charges against the neighbour who openly admits to stealing the cat.

All the evidence needed is there. He has admitted his guilt, not only to neighbours, but also to a reporter.

We’ll be happy to provide the recording to law enforcement, if necessary.

People who have no regard for the safety and comfort of animals, and who would steal in an effort to deliberately cause harm to an animal, should face hard consequences.

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