Anonymous death threat issued to cats on North Taranaki street
A death threat against neighbourhood cats - hand-delivered to letterboxes - has left residents of a quiet North Taranaki cul-de-sac on high alert
Typed and distributed by an unknown person, the residents of Becklands Pl in Inglewood found the note on Sunday morning.
Short and to the point, it said: "Cat Poison will be laid around Becklands Place next week and every week until the stray cats are brought under control. Please ensure your cats don't stray from your property".
The feline threat, which is being investigated by the SPCA, clearly rattled Dara Robbins, who owns three of the nine cats who call the street home.
"I'm a bit shaken really. I'm really fond of my cats," she said. Robbins shares the care of her pets with husband Buddy and all of the cats were adopted from the SPCA and had been de-sexed.
She said it was the first time she had heard anyone had a problem with stray cats in the area and to resort to threatening cats' lives was extreme.
"It's a pretty evil thing to say," Robbins said.
Neighbour Jo Latter, who has one cat, said the threatening note had come completely out of the blue but the residents of the 10 homes on the street would not take it lying down.
"I think they've picked the wrong street to target as we're going to be proactive," Latter said.
Another resident had already called the police and also informed the SPCA about the threat.
She said instead of posting anonymous threats, the person responsible could have knocked on the door and asked to have a meeting if they felt so strongly about the issue.
Fellow Becklands Pl resident Rebecca Farquhar agreed and said the discovery of the note had been a "little bit disturbing."
The Farquhars don't even have a cat, but they do own a small dog.
"We've never had any issues with stray cats, or any cats, on the property. It's very strange," Farquhar said.
Each of the residents will be keeping an eye out for any more suspicious activity and Latter also intends on making regular sweeps around the neighbourhood to check for any poisonous traps.
Robbins said she would be keeping a closer eye on her cats too but worried how it might impact on their wellbeing if they had to stay inside all the time.
"If I imprison my cats inside, they'll go mad," she said.
North Taranaki SPCA spokeswoman Jackie Poles Smith said the charity wanted to hear from all of the residents who received the notes and from anyone who knew the person behind them.
"If an animal is poisoned it is an offence under the Animal Welfare Act 1999 and the perpetrator may be imprisoned and/or face a fine of up to $100,000," she said.
"Cat owners need to observe their cats for any unusual symptoms and contact their vet immediately if they have concerns.
"Signs of poisoning vary depending on the cause but include, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, blood in urine or faeces, breathing difficulties, increased salivation, twitching or seizures, wobbling or walking difficulty."
The North Taranaki SPCA can be contacted on (06) 7582053 or emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org