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You have to love the media for sensationalising the most trivial - and this article below is the perfect example of newspaper staffers creating horror for the sake of making an article worthy of inclusion.  The sad truth of the matter is that we (the consumer) are driving this trend.  I for one only ever take in the 'feel good' stories when I have nothing better to do or am in desperate need of a does of warm fuzzies.  Yet I find myself compelled to keep informed in cases of abuse, neglect and hardship.  And I know I am not alone.  Just visit any online forum discussing current affairs and you'll see a correlation between the level of outrage caused by a story and the number of comments made in response.  Post an article about a medical misadventure and everyone has an opinion to share.  Post an article about a good samaritan and you're lucky if you even get a couple of 'likes' let alone an actual comment.

So here's an article that grabbed my attention this morning by implying that a poor defenseless beloved pet had been butchered by a spiteful neighbour.  Had it been entitled 'Neighbours band together and pay for a stray cat to be neutered' I would have skipped the article entirely and right now be finishing my shower and heading out to buy groceries.  But alas, I fell for the headline hook, line and sinker.

Having actually READ the full report, I find myself outraged enough to postpone my retail therapy in favour of sharing my opinion.  Interestingly, I'm not so much concerned by what happened to the cat but the negligence of his owner.  I would think that most people (particularly owners of pedigree animals) at minimum put a name tag on their pet even if they won't go to the extent of microchipping.  Had the owner done either of these, the cat would not have been mistaken for a stray and the neighbours without a doubt would have taken a different course of action.

I say good on you Patty and friend for contacting the SPCA and following their advice at your expense to improve your neighbourhood in a humane way.

Furthermore, whilst I can appreciate the owner being 'dumbfounded' over a stranger's ability to have her cat neutered, Michelle Curtis should be greatful Buddy didn't suffer the fate of so many strays that cannot be re-homed.

 | Sunday, 30 Jan 2011

Strangers give cat unkindest cut

by Bay of Plenty Times

The owner of a cat which went missing for two days and returned neutered says she is "dumbfounded" to discover her neighbours were responsible.

Michelle Curtis was called on Thursday by a neighbour who had read a newspaper report about Siamese-Bengal Buddy's mysterious disappearance.

The neighbour told Curtis another local had Buddy neutered last weekend to "save his life".

Curtis said her pet was neutered after a woman called Patty trapped him in a cage, intending to have him put down because he had been defecating in her garden and attacking other cats.

Patty, a 78-year-old who wanted her surname withheld, denied that. "Absolutely not. I'm no cat killer."

She said there was no malicious intent in her actions, or those of the neighbour who paid for Buddy to be neutered.

She said other neighbours in her Tauranga cul-de-sac believed he was a stray. There was no evidence that he was someone's pet and his behaviour was "quite wild".

In desperation she and a neighbour sought advice from the SPCA who provided the cage.

The SPCA advised it would be difficult to rehouse him because of his behaviour. They had no room for Buddy and a vet agreed castration was the best course of action.

Curtis, a former cat breeder, said she had owned Buddy for almost two years and had intended using him as a stud cat.

"I'm absolutely dumbfounded that someone could do this," she said.