Welwyn Garden City cat mauled to death ‘not an offence’

POLICE have apologised to a bereaved animal lover, who was told by an officer that her cat being mauled to death by two dogs was “not an offence”.

Devastated Janet Pearce called Hertfordshire Constabulary following the tragic death of her 14-year-old moggy Bobos, who was killed by what she believes were two bull terriers outside her home in Heronswood Road, WGC, late last month.

The 64-year-old widow called police to report what she believed to be a crime, but was told by an officer that her call would not be followed up.

“They weren’t rude, but they were quite blase and not interested,” Janet, a grandmother of 13, said.

“They reckon a cat isn’t a belonging, so it’s not an offence to maul one. I think it’s totally wrong.

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“I asked them what if I went to the zoo and killed a lion, did that mean that I wouldn’t be committing an offence? They said it was different, but a lion is still a cat.

“To be that blase about a cat I’ve had for 14 years – I was quite upset.”

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Janet said the distress surrounding Bobos’ death has been heightened as she was the last gift Janet received from her husband, Colin, who died of a brain tumour just days after buying the kitten in 1997.

Janet, who also owns five dogs and another cat, also phoned the RSPCA and Welwyn Hatfield Council’s dog warden to report the attack.

An RSPCA spokeswoman said: “In this case the dog owner was spoken to by the RSPCA and advised to ensure the dogs are secure when in the garden so they cannot escape, something which the owner was already taking steps to do.

“All owners have a duty to keep their dogs under control and to train them in a way that discourages aggression towards people and other animals. If a dog is dangerous the police should always be informed.”

A Welwyn Hatfield Council spokeswoman added: “The police should be contacted concerning dangerous or banned dogs.”

A police spokeswoman confirmed that Mrs Pearce had been given the wrong information.

“The woman was regrettably given wrong information by the call handler that it was not a police matter,” she said. “It is an offence for a dog to attack a cat, in a private or public place, under the Dogs Act 1871.

“This incident has been referred to the WGC Safer Neighbourhood Team, who were due to contact the owner to investigate the allegation. Also, the force communications room will conduct an internal enquiry into the initial handling of the call and ensure that any learning is applied.”

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