Residents allege pet poisoning
BY ROBERT L. BAKER
Wyoming County Press Examiner
Something is killing Meshoppen’s cats and Ruth Oliver wants to get to the bottom of it.
On Sept. 5, the Oak Street resident watched her male housecat Bootsy suffer an excruciating death, and there have been at least five more area cats to die since then.
Another 15 or so just went missing which nobody can account for.
Sara Brown of Allen Street said she believes somebody has deliberately tried to poison cats.
One suggested a pile of spaghetti was left out laced with something that was attracting animals.
And somebody’s nearby pet dog got into that, “and has been sick,” Brown said.
In addition to her own housecat, Oliver said Saturday that her kitten MinniePearl also was showing signs of being sickly.
By Monday, it was getting worse.
Oliver said that an animal feeding station behind Oak Street which had food in it might have been compromised.
Both ladies said that Meshoppen has been inundated with an large feral cat population this summer, and about every other week they had been using a “have a heart” trap to capture one at a time and take to the Bunker Hill Veterinary Clinic in Factoryville.
“We were paying to get the animals spayed and neutered, and then get them to a good home,” Oliver said “but somebody apparently didn’t think we were doing it fast enough.”
“It takes a heartless, cruel person to do something like this,” she added, holding back tears.
On Friday, neighbors put their heads together and decided to post flyers offering a $200 reward “for information leading to the arrest of individual or individuals who has poisoned and killed numerous cats at our feeding station.”
If an arrest leads to a conviction, the reward is increased to $400, the flyer noted.
By the end of Saturday, True Friends Animal Shelter in Montose and the Endless Mountains Animal League had committed additional resources.
Oliver said Monday evening the reward money had grown to $1,000.
Sandy Scalia, animal control officer for the Endless Mountains Animal League, said Monday night that she had never seen anything to the extent to what appeared to be happening in Meshoppen.
“It definitely appears that it is not some kind of disease,” Scalia said, noting that one animal was brought in for a necropsy Monday, and toxicology screens would be done on both animal tissue as well as allegedly contaminated feed from a dish.
She noted, “Somebody out there knows something. Nobody has the right when they see a surplus of cats to just kill them.”
Oliver and Brown said they were disappointed that Meshoppen Police Chief John Krieg wasn’t taking a greater interest in the matter after the first animals started dying a week ago.
Chief Krieg said Monday afternoon that it was an animal control issue for which he was glad a humane society officer was finally looking into.
“However, if we find out someone is breaking the law, I will arrest them,” he said.