Halifax woman upset after her cat was mistakenly euthanized

HALIFAX – The Nova Scotia SPCA is investigating after a woman took a cat from another woman’s driveway on Saturday, claiming to have thought it was a stray, and then had it euthanized a few hours later at an animal hospital.

Halifax Regional Police had also been looking into the case, but said on Tuesday that the investigation is closed with no charges laid.

“It’s very upsetting,” said Herring Cove resident Kara Jenkins, the owner of the nearly 16-year-old cat named Fuzz.

She learned about what happened to the outdoor cat through a post in a Facebook group yesterday.

Sarah Fraser admitted to the taking the cat on Facebook.

“I have no regrets over the decision I made. I made this decision for the cat, and only the cat.” she told Global News on Monday in her Williamswood home.

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She said she took the cat at about 6 p.m. on Saturday after learning on a Facebook group of what was alleged to be a stray cat in need in Jenkins’ neighbourhood. Fraser found the cat and first spoke to neighbours, giving them cards with her contact information. She then determined that the cat was a stray and in significantly poor health.

Fraser, who said she has rescued over 100 cats before (two of which were euthanized), lured the cat from Jenkins’ property using cat food, then picked the cat up (now in a cat carrier) on the driveway. She said she knocked on the front door, but Jenkins was not home. Fraser left a card on the door.

Fuzz was taken to Lady Hammond Animal Hospital. Dr. Umer Khan confirmed to Global News on the phone on Monday that the cat was found to be gravely ill.

He said in an email sent after 6 p.m. that he was “very sorry” to Jenkins’ family for their loss:

“Upon presentation, the cat was in very bad shape. It was very malnourished, had matted fur all over the body, high grade heart murmur, open-mouthed breathing, extremely emaciated and dehydrated, gingival bleeding with many rotten teeth. The cat had a body condition score of 1.5/10. No muscle mass. The cat seemed to be around 15-18 years old.

“Upon further exam, we noticed that the cat was in extreme pain and was suffering. After the physical exam, we gave a recommendation to the client about diagnostics and critical monitoring and care, as the cat was going downhill quickly. We scanned the cat for a microchip or any identification, none was found. The cat really looked like a stray. Upon discussion with the client, they decided, as they had limited funds to care for the cat, to humanely euthanize the cat as it was suffering and in pain, and its condition was only getting worse.”

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This photo of Fuzz, who was later euthanized, was taken on Saturday. Courtesy: Sarah Fraser
“We never had any concerns with [Fuzz]. The only thing that was visibly wrong [were] the fur knots,” said Jenkins, who disputes the hospital’s diagnosis.

Fraser said Fuzz was euthanized at about 9-10 p.m.

“We should have been responsible to make that decision, not a stranger,” said Jenkins. “I think there needs to be some sort of justice served.”

She added that she wants Fraser to apologize.

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“Absolutely not. I think she should spend the rest of her life regretting how that cat lived,” said Fraser in regards to apologizing.

She said she would not have taken the cat had she known he had an owner; instead, she would have called the SPCA. Regardless, she said she submitted a complaint about the cat’s conditions to the organization.

“We have received a complaint today, and we are investigating,” said the SPCA’s Cst. Jo Anne Landsburg over the phone.

A spokesperson for Halifax Regional Police said they know about the incident, though no details are being released because the investigation is ongoing.

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