I Am Distraught

You know about my husband, the Dog, Cat, and Calf Rescuer. While we both are animal lovers, my husband Alan goes above and beyond the norm to rescue, care for, and love animals. That is why we are involved in a crazy situation that truly is devastating for both of us (Alan in particular).


Alan has been caring for the feral cats in the neighborhood for several years. Out of his own pocket, he feeds, provides medical care, spays and neuters, many cats. Over the time, many have become much more tame. He has raised many of them from the time they were kittens. Several of our neighbors also help to take care of the cats. As for the ones who are not interested, Alan has been a good neighbor, cleaning up after the cats so that the neighbors don’t have that to deal with. It has worked, our neighborhood is friendly and clean, though we do have quite a few cats wandering around.

Until now. A new renter moved across the street about a month ago. Apparently he doesn’t like cats, doesn’t like that they upset his dogs, doesn’t like that they defecate on his property. All of which Alan understands. As with our other neighbors, Alan offered to clean up after the cats. Fine, done. Until he realized that some of the cats, including his pets, the tame, sweet, cats that he considers his babies, had disappeared.

As it turns out, this neighbor has asked animal control to give him traps, which he hides in his garage and his back yard. He baits the cats by putting tuna fish in the traps. Once he lures them in, and they are caught in the trap, he calls animal control to have them picked up.

Alan has talked to him, tried to reason with him. Yes, he understands there are a lot of feral cats, but a baited trap catches all cats. Our pets, tame, neutered, well-fed, are being caught in the trap. Will this man let Alan know so that he can get the tame cats back? No, he has sent all of the cats to their potential death, it didn’t matter if they had collars, were tame, or anything.

Alan tried to make an analogy that it was like we lured the neighbor’s dogs in with hot dogs, then killed them when they came on our property. This man responded by calling the police, saying that Alan had threatened his dogs (something that Alan would never do..hurt an animal). At least we had an opportunity to tell our side of the story. We want to compromise.

We are pretty much at our wit’s end. Calm reason has had no effect on this person. Appealing to any sense of humanity has done nothing. We don’t know what else to do. We are distraught.

Do you have any suggestions? Help!

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  1. says

    I have no experience with this so all I can do is make suggestions that you may quite possibly have already tried–can’t the shelter at least call you when they get one of your cats that has a collar on it??

    Also, I wonder if the owner of the house knows how his renter is being. Can the police do anything?
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    • says

      The shelter will call, we are getting tags for the cats (they all had collars, not tags, it wasn’t a problem before.

      However, every time we have to pick up a cat from the shelter, it costs $100.

      The owner is pretty much a jerk too. He owns three houses in our neighborhood, his other renters are fine, but he won’t do anything to help.
      Debbie recently posted..I Am DistraughtMy Profile

  2. Terri says

    I love what your husband does, that makes me really happy so I feel distraught over your issue. I love animals also, especially cats and I wish I had an idea for you. I would hope the shelter could call you when they get a cat with a collar. I wish people could get arrested for doing things like that. Good luck, keep us updated!
    Love the pic of the kitty, is that one of yours or one of the feral ones? She is so beautiful.

    • says

      The shelter will call if they have tags (which we’re getting, never needed them before). It still costs us $100 every time we have to pick up a cat from the shelter.

      That kitten is Ellie, she is definitely one of ours. Alan took that picture when she was at the vet getting checked out. Probably why she was so wide-eyed.
      Debbie recently posted..I Am DistraughtMy Profile

  3. says

    Aw man that’s a crappy situation. It sucks when someone tries to do the right thing and someone else has to go and ruin it by making complaints. Especially since this new neighbor is the new guy in the neighborhood. As hard at it is, I think you guys have to keep staying as positive as you can because once you turn into a negative force, it’s easier for the one doing harm/wrong, to ‘win.’
    I hope it all turns out for the best! Especially when it comes to innocent animals!
    E recently posted..music to my earsMy Profile

  4. says

    Oh I’m so sorry to hear this. I agree contacting the owner of the house might be an option as well as talking to animal control. They should not be taking pets with collars on and if he is removing the collars then that is a crime he is committing….he stole property.
    Further more my actual advice is to pray. We had a neighbor when we moved into our house that was similarly awful. Spent lots of time with the county sheriff visiting both our homes and it was over not just our dog but others in the area…anyway we decided to pray and ask The Lord to resolve this as nothing we were doing was. Within 3 months she put her house up for sale and moved! We praised The Lord for the resolution.
    Hippygyrl recently posted..the one where I felt sorry for myself and then quickly realized life is bigger then meMy Profile

    • says

      Thank you, we will be praying. The owner won’t be helpful, he is not a nice person, unfortunately. While they all have collars, they don’t all have tags yet (we’re getting that done). However, even if they call, if they transport the cats to the shelter, it costs us $100 to get them out.
      Debbie recently posted..I Am DistraughtMy Profile

  5. says

    There is some good information here, I particularly wonder if trying to talk if over with animal control would help at all: http://www.thecatsite.com/a/tnr-and-the-law-what-feral-caretakers-need-to-know

    It couldn’t hurt to check with the landlord and offer to keep an eye on the property and renter. If the landlord was more in agreement with what you’re doing, that might help.

    One neighbor I had a dispute with had a deep affection for a certain type of beer. Casual conversation and a six pack of Shiner Bock once in a while smoothed over neighbor relations immensely.

    • says

      Thanks for that link, I forwarded it to my husband. It does look like it has some useful info.

      The landlord will not be of help, he is not a nice person.

      I will also tell my husband about the beer idea :-). He actually worked with the previous renters, was friendly, and managed it by cleaning up after the cats.
      Debbie recently posted..I Am DistraughtMy Profile

  6. says

    Such a sad situation, for all concerned.

    On one hand, you have a neighbor who doesn’t want cats in his yard and I can see his point. He doesn’t let his dogs roam free and he thinks cats shouldn’t roam free either.

    I don’t know how you will solve it if what he is doing is legal. He obviously isn’t going to change his stance.

    Perhaps you will have to start keeping your cats indoors or take them out on leashes while he lives in your area.

    Sometimes people who cause upheaval in neighborhoods don’t stay long. Let’s hope that his the case here.
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    • says

      We would love to be able to bring in the cats, but that is not an option with several dogs in the house. We did keep them in the garage for a day or so, but that is difficult too (they tend to all dash out whenever you open the garage!).

      We really can understand his feelings. That is why my husband offered to clean up after the cats. We even understand having the feral cats picked up (as difficult as that is for us,but that is our compromise). We just wish he would tell us if he gets a cat with a collar. Remember, he is luring them onto his property and into the cages.
      Debbie recently posted..I Am DistraughtMy Profile

  7. says

    This sounds awful! I honestly don’t have any advice that others haven’t already shared, except for filing a lawsuit (which is both expensive and a lengthy process). It is obviously causing you and your husband emotional distress. If you put the tags on the collars of the cats, that at least makes a stronger legal case for you as it is essentially theft to capture and send the cats away, no?

    I am sure you don’t want it to get to that point, but it’s a thought if it DOES get there.

    Good luck!
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    • says

      We’ve talked about it, but like you say, it’s expensive and difficult. We are putting tags on the collars, but I suspect the guy is such a jerk he’ll still trap them. Animal control may call, but if they send the cats to the shelter before they call, it costs us $100 to get one out.
      Debbie recently posted..Garlic Pizza. Vegan. Easy.My Profile

  8. Mariann says

    Wow Debbie, I am so sad to read this post. Mean people just suck!! I hope and prayer your neighbor will come to his senses. Has animal control talked to him at all to say that catching other peoples pets may be a bit unreasonable? Certainly if there is a collar you would think animal control might say let’s find the owner before taking their pet?? Have any other neighbors gotten involved?? I wish you luck on this.

    • says

      The guy really is a jerk. Animal control hasn’t been much help. They pretty much know who the cats with collars belong to, but they don’t say anything to us. Until we get the tags on (which we’re getting done), the only way we find out is by going out to the shelter. Alan scans the pictures, but even that is hard to tell. And if we get them from the shelter, it costs $100.
      Debbie recently posted..Garlic Pizza. Vegan. Easy.My Profile

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