Friday, 19 October 2007

Missing Moggies

Dastardly deeds are afoot in Bramley Crescent, Southampton. According to the Daily Mail, a disgruntled local resident is stealing their neighbours' cats and may be dumping them at least 25 miles from home.

Apparently, the evil catnapper is a bit brassed off about the miscreant moggies going wee-wee and poo-poo in their garden, digging up their flower beds and generally getting on their nerves.

Fair enough, I can understand how other folks' pets can occasionally be a bit of a pain. But there my sympathy ends. To steal - for that is what it amounts to - a treasured pet, for whom the owner obviously cares deeply, is cruel, heartless and evil. The distress caused, both to the owners and, in some cases, their children cannot be justified. But what about the animals themselves?

At least one of them is ill, and needs constant medication. Its chances of survival without that medication are slim. But even this wicked person's more healthy victims must be suffering some degree of fear and distress. Yes, I know, cats are independent creatures. Even so, to do this to one is unfair and inhuman.

Despite my disinterest in the fate of snails and other may-soon-be-extinct sob stories, I am, broadly, an animal-friendly kind of person. I LIKE animals, and have occasionally gone a long way out of my way to help one in distress. Over the years I have come to various conclusions about people too, one of which is that anyone who is unkind - or worse - to animals is not a very nice person. If they will be unpleasant to an animal, they're just as likely to be unpleasant to their fellow humans, too.

My theory seems to be proven yet again in this case, as the cat thief doesn't seem to care that the distress they have caused to the missing cats is reflected back onto their owners.

Fortunately, the perpetrator doesn't seem to be very bright. In fact, I'd suggest that, as well as being unpleasant and cruel, they're dumb as gravel. For, as the Daily Mail reports - and even helpfully reprints - the thief has written to the distressed owners explaining their reasons for stealing the cats.

Apart from the writer's obvious inability to express themselves adequately, the letter contains a number of clues. Assuming that they're not deliberately planted red-herrings, it really shouldn't be difficult to track this person down:

  • They live in the Bramley Crescent area (not necessarily on the Crescent itself) with their family, and have done so for many years. So a swift examination of the electoral role might be in order - newer residents can be excluded.
  • Their residence is somewhere on the map referred to in the letter. I haven't seen that map, but it must narrow things down a bit! If anyone would care to clarify the map referred to, I'd love to see it.
  • They, and apparently their relatively immediate neighbour, have young children - older children are perfectly capable of avoiding "cat poo" on their own! So long-time residents with children who live next door to someone with children, then. Or, perhaps, long-time residents with grandchildren who live with them, or visit frequently.
  • They like "(Very Welcome") birds, so look for bird tables and other assorted ornithological paraphernalia. Membership lists for organisations such as the RSPB might be a good place to look, too, although that might be a little hard to find.
  • They like "expensive shrubs", and have a garden. Presumably, such a garden would be fairly well tended and would look reasonably smart - suburban jungles need not apply. A look at Google maps, in Satellite mode might be handy.
There is much, much more to be derived from the letter - it's a veritable goldmine for anyone with the time and patience to identify this evil-minded individual.

I wish the residents of Bramley Crescent every success in recovering their pets and in locating the criminal who has so wickedly taken them away. They probably won't get more than a slap on the wrist in this permissive era, but the resulting publicity and vilification from society in general might be worthwhile - Britain is still a nation of animal lovers, and someone who would do this isn't likely to find much goodwill wherever they go.

Billy Seggars.

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