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SecaucusFats
02-22-2005, 10:22 PM
Pet cat shot by police in bizarre ordeal

The Belleville Intelligencer
By Jeremy Ashley
Local News - Tuesday, February 22, 2005 @ 10:00

An otherwise “loving family pet” was shot dead by police after the tabby cat went berserk and terrorized a city family late last week, The Intelligencer has learned.

The bizarre ordeal began when the family’s 12-year-old daughter arrived home from school Wednesday evening and began petting the feline, ‘Mickey,’ in the living room of their east end home.

“He was just your average, playful cat,” who never had any behaviour problems before the incident, recalled the homeowner, who asked her family’s name not be used. “He was a sweet and loving household pet.”

While her daughter was stroking the long-haired white and orange tabby in the living room, the feline leisurely walked downstairs.

But when Mickey emerged from the basement-area of the home, it was “ ... a different animal ... it looked as though it was possessed.”

Ears flat back, hair standing on end and eyes bulging, Mickey lunged across the dining room and attacked her daughter, biting through her jeans and slicing into her leg.

When the cat released its grip, it continued coming at the girl, shrieking and hissing.

“I had to intervene ... he was coming right at her again,” the mother recalled.

The husband arrived home a short time later and managed to corner the cat in the living room until his wife and two children could sneak out the back door to safety.

“So I stood there having a stare-off with this cat for 20 minutes until the officer arrived,” he said, adding that both animal control and police were called to the scene.

While it ran wildly around the interior of the brick bungalow, the cat continued shrieking and began defecating throughout the home.

“You could actually hear the cat screaming from the other side of the street,” he said.

A city police officer arrived at 5:20 p.m., according to Insp. Merle Foster, and was informed of the animal’s behaviour.

“The daughter had been taken to the hospital by her mother for treatment .
.. and the information we received from animal control was that they were not going to attend until after a meeting they were currently attending.”

There was a concern the animal could get lodged in the crawl space of the home, which was under partial renovation.

“I said ‘If that cat got into the crawl space in the frame of mind it’s in, it’ll be a nightmare to get it out. And there’s no way, after being viciously attacked by this cat, that we’re ever going to trust it again.’ ”

He asked the officer to, if given the chance, put the animal down.

As the constable entered the home, the cat ran up the stairs and stared the officer down.

Speaking to The Intelligencer on condition of anonymity, the constable said he had “ ... never seen an animal act like that before — it was like it was possessed or something, hissing and growling.”

The officer shot the cat square in the chest with his Beretta .40-calibre handgun.

“Even after he shot it, that cat was so hopped up — we’re talking about a little, eight-pound cat — Mickey ran down the hall into the bathroom and jumped into the tub,” the husband recollected. “He didn’t die for at least five minutes ... he was all nerves and adrenaline ... he wasn’t in his right mind.”

Foster, meanwhile, said a use-of-force report will be submitted as part of police protocol, however, “We did this at the request of the homeowner ... and, quite frankly, I completely support the actions of the officer in this situation.”

“For all he knew, that animal had rabies.”

Government test results earlier this week confirmed the feline didn’t have rabies. An autopsy to determine the exact cause of the animal’s behaviour is not scheduled, however.

As to why details of the incident were not released by police, Foster was blunt.

“I have no idea,” he said. “I don’t know why this wasn’t released earlier.”

Without knowing the animal’s history, Dr. Kim Drysdale of the Belleway Veterinary Hospital on Highway 62 said it would be hard to pin-point the exact cause of Mickey’s wild behaviour.

“There are cats out there that are a little bit aggressive,” whether because of its natural disposition or a medical ailment of some sort, she said.

“There are viruses that can cause changes in behaviour (and) ... there are some cats that just are not as genetically friendly as others.”

But, usually, there are warning signs the animal is not right in the head, Drysdale added.

“Most people seem to think it’s out of the blue, but when you get a detailed history there are smaller incidents that lead up to a major outburst .. but who’s to say, I wasn’t there, I haven’t interviewed these people or seen the cat.”

And an angry feline can be a handful — even more vicious than an aggressive dog, Drysdale said.

“A cat with a behaviour problem or serious aggression problem can be a force to be reckoned with. But that’s not normal — most cats are pretty nice and social.”

“We have heard stories about people not being able to leave their homes because their cat was blocking the doorway. So some cats can be aggressive.”

If any household pet shows aggression, the family should contact their veterinarian for advice, she said.

While the family has nothing but praise for the officer involved, the conduct of the current animal control company contracted by the municipality — Tweed-based Municipal Animal Control — is another story.

When the service was initially called — before police arrived at the scene — the family was told it could be up to a three-hour wait for an officer to arrive, “ ... because they were just about to go into a meeting,” the female homeowner said.

“I told them that wasn’t good enough, and he said ‘Well, I’ll try to break my back and come in before then.’”

After the police officer arrived at the scene, police dispatchers attempted several times to contact the animal control officer, but to no avail.

“When I arrived home from the hospital with my daughter, there was a card put in my door from them,” the female resident said.

Heide Elliott of Municipal Animal Control was tightlipped when asked about the incident.

“All I can tell you is that the cat was cleared of rabies by the public health (unit).”

Elliott did confirm the company responded to the incident — but didn’t arrive until after the cat had been shot.

“There was a timing issue ... we ended up going down after the incident with the police to pick up the body and take it to the lab for testing.”

For the family, who owned Mickey since he was seven weeks old, the cat will always be remembered as a loving pet.

“Mickey was just a sweet little thing ... and had never shown any kind of aggression before this,” the female resident said. “It was as though he didn’t recognize any of us ... and didn’t know where he was, the way he was looking around the home.

“Mickey was our pet and we loved him ... but in that state he wasn’t the cat we knew.”

“He was just wild,” continued her husband. “We really had no choice but to do what we did.”

The officer who shot the animal paid a visit to the family the next day, he added.

“He wanted to check up on (our daughter) and make sure the family was doing all right.”

The couple’s daughter was treated and released at Belleville hospital for her leg wound and is currently taking antibiotics to prevent an infection.

“The Belleville police officer was very compassionate — and I think he was just as shocked as I was to see an animal act in that manner. I would tell anybody who has a cat that starts acting odd to take it seriously.”
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My wife had a Maine Coon Cat and it was a terror. The damned thing would freak out at any moment and bite or claw the living hell out of me for no reason. I love animals, but I was happy as hell when that cat got sick and I got the job of taking it to the vet to be put down. Truth is I was at the point of whacking the nasty s.o.b. myself. God I hated that miserable cat!

PQQLK9
02-22-2005, 10:40 PM
Damm!!! /ccboard/images/graemlins/shocked.gif