WARNING: Details in this story may be offensive to some readers.
Penticton police are asking for people to alert them to possible animal cruelty cases after a local resident alleged that a cat had been burned, starved and dumped on the highway.
On Jan. 19, Kim Wade updated a social media post that Penticton residents, especially those living in the Wiltse area, should be on high alert and keep their cats indoors.
According to Wade, her family cat Mr. Pickles went missing in December for about a month before it was found by a Summerland couple. When Pickles was found, he “had been starved, burned and dumped on the highway at Kickinee Park,” Wade wrote.
Penticton SPCA branch records show Wade reported Pickles missing mid-December and found mid-January.
“He was so skinny we could count the vertebrates down his back,” Wade told the Western News, adding that her veterinary assistant friend told her Pickles “definitely had burns on his lips.”
When asked if Pickles could have run off on his own, Wade said “he’s not like that.”
“We lived out in Keremeos and he’d go hunting and eat,” she said. “It’s weird because he’s definitely a survivor cat so if he was outside for that amount of time it wouldn’t make sense that he would starve like that.”
Wade said she thinks Pickles might have been held captive somewhere indoors.
“We really thought that he was never coming back,” she said.
Since publishing her Facebook post about Pickles, Wade said she has received several private messages from others indicating cat abuse in Wiltse “has been going on for quite some time.”
Wade said her neighbours are sharing stories of their cats being purposefully run down, tortured, poisoned, and in the case of one neighbour, taken only to be returned to the front yard decapitated.
Wade said she saw another social media post on Monday morning, “so it’s still going on.”
Based on the number of messages Wade has been receiving, she said she’s doubtful the stories of alleged cat abuse are calculated or coincidental.
“It’s all completely up in this area, in the Wiltse area, 100 per cent,” Wade said. “I just think that there’s somebody that’s just not happy with the cats roaming around because there’s lots of people that think the cats should be leashed and in the house.”
“It is upsetting because so many people’s cats are being hurt,” she added. “But it’s also sad that there could be somebody out there who needs help and who’s not getting it.”
Penticton SPCA branch manager Carolyn Hawkin said people should report incidences of animal abuse to the SPCA animal cruelty hotline as well as the RCMP, since animal abuse goes against the Criminal Code.
“If something like that happens, any kind of cruelty or abuse or anything like that, we tell people to call the cruelty hotline,” Hawkins said. “That way a special provincial constable will be dispatched, talk to the complainant and try to get a case together.”
Const. James Grandy said he was not aware of any recent animal abuse complaints made in the area, but also advised anyone who witnesses such acts to contact the RCMP and the animal cruelty hotline.
As for Pickles, Wade said he was feeling better after a few days of food and rest.
“Now he’s meowing at the door wanting to go outside,” she said.
The BC SPCA animal cruelty hotline can be reached at 1-855-622-7722.
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