Death threat after retirement village tries to evict 'Mr Cat'

2015-02-18 12:38
Mr Cat (Ian Carbutt, The Witness)

Mr Cat (Ian Carbutt, The Witness)

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Chelsea Pieterse, The Witness

Pietermaritzburg - The chairperson of the body corporate of a KwaZulu-Natal retirement village received a death threat following a bid to evict a resident's cat.

The Witness reported on Monday that the Amber Valley body corporate had issued an eviction notice for “Mr Cat” - a 15-year-old feline belonging to resident Penny Reid.

The move, and an online petition to scrap the eviction, has elicited the support of thousands lobbying for Mr Cat to stay put.

Frightening call

Body corporate chairperson Shirley Benney said she received a frightening call on Monday from an unknown man who threatened her life.

“He told me I must watch where I walk and where I drive and to enjoy every minute of my breath as it could be my last breath.”

Benney said while she understood the Reids’ heartache, Amber Valley residents had created regulations and rules that the trustees had to follow.

“I have worked with the Reids for over 18 months and they have only started looking for solutions recently.

“Amber Valley is an eco-estate, which means we have wildlife. Residents are allowed to have cats as long as they are contained in their unit and exclusive use fenced garden area, which Mr Cat was not,” she said.

Veiled threats

A number of veiled threats were also posted on Amber Valley Retirement Village’s Facebook page.

Reid said Amber Valley Retirement Village was a lovely place to live but needed flexibility in its regulations. “It will honestly finish my mother off if Mr Cat goes,” she said.

Reid said the cat would often go down to the small dam within the estate in his younger years but had not done so in months because of his age.

Underpinning her charge that stringent controls were draconian, she cited an instance in which unnamed complainants had approached the trustee board a few years ago when a couple moved in with their two Jack Russells.

“The couple ended up putting their dogs down after the complaint was made because they didn’t want any trouble.”

Reid added that those making the threats and obscene comments needed to be brought to book and the threats against Amber Valley and Benney were unacceptable.

Pet ownership for seniors

Pietermaritzburg clinical psychologist Dr Leon Grove said animal ownership for seniors helped relieve stress, alleviate boredom and provided devoted companionship.

“There’s nothing so comforting as to be able to hug a pet and be rewarded with a trusting look, a wag of the tail and even a sloppy kiss or two.”

He added the Pet Information Bureau in Washington, DC believes pet ownership is important in increasing interest in life.

“Pets give the elderly something to care for, as well as providing an opportunity for exercise and socialisation,” he said.

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