Police investigate poisoning of eight cats

2011-09-12 00:00

WHO killed the cats? That’s the question Caryn and Elton Skidmore want answered after eight cats in a feral colony they care for in Mkondeni were killed after being baited with the highly toxic poison Temic on Thursday night.

Five more cats are being treated by a vet and one went missing for a while.

Caryn Skidmore, who with her husband, Elton, runs a business at Roycol Park off Gladys Manzi (Murray) Road, said she was devastated by the deaths of the cats, which live behind the factory.

She said Elton discovered the bodies on Friday morning when he arrived at work.

The couple rushed the surviving cats to a local vet, taking their food, which contained black crystals.

The vet identified the poison as Temic, also known as “Two-step” due to its quick-acting effect.

Skidmore says they have a suspicion of who may have poisoned the cats, as there have been recent complaints about the presence of the cats. She said she has passed information to the police.

The Skidmores have so distraught by the incident that they have even been checking on the remaining cats late at night.

They have been caring for the feral colony of 24 cats for four years, taking them to the vet when they are ill and helping to get them sterilised.

“I really love them,” said Skidmore

“I don’t have children and I am devastated.

“ We know them by name and their personalities,” she added.

They feed them twice a day in the grass area at the back of the factory.

Pietermaritzburg SPCA spokesperson Maureen Vida said they are “appalled that anyone could inflict such suffering on animals”.

She said it is illegal to use Temic, a registered agricultural poison, in this way.

She said the SPCA are awaiting the police investigation and she is optimistic that the SPCA will prosecute the perpetrator under the Animal Protection Act.

Jan Pharazyn, who works closely with the city’s feral cat colonies, said the danger of decimating a well-managed colony like the one being cared for by the Skidmores lies in the fact that as the colony declines, other cats that are not sterilised will move in and the rat population in the area will grow.

The Witness wrote in 2009 about a Temic-laced banana placed in a Hilton resident’s garden and meant for rogue monkeys.

A garden service employee at the banna and died.

Police spokesperson Lieutenant Joey Jeevan said a case of unlawful administration of poison to animals is being investigated.

— stephs@witness.co.za

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