Save our cat from certain death

RIP – Damian

RIP - Damian - disappeared in November 2012 and was possibly also murdered

Damian disappeared late 2012 – we now believe that he might have also been murdered like his brother Tyson

Update 2014-05-30: Read about the poisoning of our beloved cat Tyson. We always thought that Damian did not disappear on his own and that malicious and criminal activity was involved. We have now opened a criminal case as a number of animals died within our estate.

Update 2012-09-05: After the several legal round trips, the Broadacres Country Estate finally agreed that the “only” possible solution would be to erect pet-friendly fencing around our property to keep our pets within our property. We decided against the erection of a fence, since the complainant furnished no further complaints since June 2012.

Update 2012-06-14: The Broadacres Country Estate HOA left us no option other than going the legal route and due to the bias (the complainant was previously a HOA member), the HOA and the complainant used separate legal representatives. The HOA was very subjective and biased towards the complainant and was not interested in mediating.

Update 2012-02-23: Our HOA as formally responded and is not leaving us any option to resolve the alleged issues – see here:

Save Damian - refusal from Broadacres Country Estate HOA to keep him safe

Update 2012-02-22: We have a petition (PET-I-TION – get it?) going – put your voice forward against “residential bullies” – sign up here.

Update 2012-02-22: The Broadacres Country Estate Home Owners Association has refused the installation of an electric fence on our property to contain our cat. We are now forced to litigate.

Update 2012-02:20: Since we are unable to come to a solution with the complainant, we have notified the HOA about our intent to install an electrified fence around our boundary walls – this way our kitty will be protected from the evil outside and still has the luxury of playing outdoors. Let’s see what the mileage on this very last attempt is.

Update 2012-02-18: Damian was fitted with a microchip – this way we can avoid illegal capture and drop-off at the SPCA.

A simple cat flap is all that is needed to save our cat from certain death. This specific situation demonstrated how so-called “animal lovers” turn and instead of trying to find an acceptable solution will rather suggest euthanasia than accept a compromise.

Let’s step back a bit to describe our upset and outrage. First of – this is our kitty, Damian, a 6 year old neutered male:

Damian after he accidentally fell into a bubble bath

Visit Damian’s Facebook page and support him

We adopted Damian in October 2006 and named him after Saint Damian, a patron of physicians, surgeons and protector of children. As a little kitten, Damian was playful, enjoyed the outdoors and loved going on adventures with our neighbor’s cat, Jack – both of them being black as the night, we often mistook the one for the other.

Damian suffered a traumatic experience in January 2008, where he got kicked by one of the visitors to our complex and subsequently broke his left leg. It took months of physiotherapy and several surgeries to get him to walk properly – Damian’s trust in humankind was shattered and he became shy and retreated when we have visitors. He is paranoid and scared about shoes since that tragic event.

In January 2008 we moved into Broadacres Country Estate, a pet- and children-friendly estate with consisting of a few hundred residential houses. The move was a sad day for Damian, as it meant saying goodbye to his friend Jack, but Damian quickly adjusted and was back to his usual.

On the 21st of December 2011 we found out, that a resident of our estate baited Damian and captured him with a cat-trap and shipped him off to the SPCA. Luckily we managed to pick him up in time, as the SPCA would have closed for the festive holidays, and Damian would have been euthanized the following week if he was not picked up in time.

The resident claimed, that Damian frequently visited her home since January 2011, harassed her cats and marked her house, appliances and entertainment system – a behavior we have never seen in our cat and the described aggression. The owner quoted him to be “… a feral, aggressive and deranged cat”.

The estate manager of our estate had no complaints about our cat until we contacted the Home Owners Association (HOA) and was also not aware of the illegal removal of our cat from the estate. According to the estate rules, the HOA is allowed to remove nuisance pets if no solution can be found and the owner of the pet has been notified – something which did not occur.

The resident describes herself as a pet-lover with two cats of her own and then mentioned that Damian would visit her house between 11pm and 5am on a frequent basis. Although she never physically saw our cat spraying in her house, “puddles” of urine was sufficient evidence for her actions. Although veterinarians agree that even in neutered cats an occurrence of this marking behaviour is rare (about 5-10% of cats could demonstrate this behavior), it was clear to us, that an attraction to that specific house or it’s environment was the cause of this and only introduced this attraction in the last 12 months.

As a logical person, I would have thought that if this was going on for 12 months, the issue would have been reported and attempted to be resolved with a higher sense of urgency. Although we have other cats visiting our home on a weekly basis to nibble on food or just escape from the rain, we have never had any issues and even Damian in his own territory tolerated cats visiting.

For the last 57 days I have kept a journal of Damian’s whereabouts, and as we always lock all our windows at night, Damian was only absent on 3 occasions – in none of them we have received a complaint that he visited the neighbor’s house.

As reasonable people we tried to mediate and resolve the problem and went as far as to replace the neighbor’s cat-flap at our expense with a collar controlled electro-magnetic cat-flap which would ensure that Damian would not visit her home. All our attempts, suggestions and proposals to resolve the alleged nuisance fell on deaf ears.

It came as a shocking surprise, when we received a formal letter from the Home Owner’s Association (the complainant originally drafted the HOA rules and was a member of the HOA) on the 17th February 2012:

As such we would like to request and urge you to find a solution to remedy this situation, failing this, the directors will be invoking clause 4.6 of the Homeowners Association Estate Rules to have the cat removed.

4.6 The Directors reserves the right to demand that an owner or tenant remove a particular pet from the Estate should that pet – in the opinion of the HOA – become a nuisance within the Estate.

Rehoming a 6 year old cat is not a reasonable request as this would result in a traumatic experience for Damian and he would not live a happy life. Since the complainant also suggested euthanasia and has already once baited our cat we will now be forced to litigate this matter. Quite frustrating, considering that the replacement of the resident’s cat-flap would have resolved her complaint more than two months ago.

Equally frustrating is the lack of compassion and disregard for pets and singling out residents – one should consider, if this was a fair request, then any roaming cat (and there are plenty in our estate) would need to comply to the same rules and should equally not be allowed to roam freely.

Show your support by visiting Damian’s Facebook page by just liking his pages and friending him on Facebook. Forward this page to friends and pet-lovers alike.

I leave you with the following quote as food for thought:

“Acknowledgment of the intrinsic value of animals means that animals have value in their own right and as a consequence their interests are no longer automatically subordinate to man’s interests.”