Cat Taken From Her Yard By Animal Control Later Euthanized

Chica, a 19-year-old cat, was known around her neighborhood in Coronado, California. She had lived there for the past 15 years.

She spent most of her day on the front porch, where she had food, water, blankets and a favorite rocking chair to nap on. This 19-year-old cat did show her age, but she was still able to walk around her yard and greet people passing by.

“A lot of tourists go by and they’d always talk to her, and she’d go down and socialize,” her owner, Lynne Carrier, said. “She was very sociable.”

But Chica’s peaceful world all changed on August 30. A couple was walking by the white-and-black cat’s yard, and the woman said that she thought Chica was ill and was a stray.

A neighbor that was about to run some errands overheard and told the couple that Chica was not ill but instead she was thin and feeble because she was 19-years-old. She also told them that the cat was in her own yard and not a stray.

The woman did not seem convinced. The neighbor was so concerned about the woman’s reaction that she came back early from running errands. When she arrived back at home, she saw a Coronado Animal Control truck pulling in front of Chica’s yard.

The neighbor told the animal control officer that it was a mistake and that Chica was old and not sick. But she said the officer stated: “I’ll be the judge of that”, and he drove off with Chica in his van.

The officer took her to an animal hospital.

Carrier returned home that evening and found a note on her porch, saying that Chica was at the local animal shelter.

She immediately called the animal shelter, but they were closed, and Chica was already dead.

At the animal hospital, the veterinarians found Chica to be dehydrated, malnourished, hypothermic, lethargic, anemic, and infested with lice and fleas. They treated her lice, gave her fluids and heat support, but they decided that she would die soon without blood transfusions.

After three hours away from home, Chica was euthanized.

The hospital director said that Chica was no longer able to stand and was suffering, so the veterinarians had to do what they did. He said many people would have been angry if they saw the condition of Chica.

A local veterinarian said older cats typically lose muscle mass and look malnourished.

“That’s the reality of aging,” she said. “They look like little old people. They kind of waste away and look pretty scrawny. That doesn’t mean they are neglected.”

She also added: “What I don’t understand is why they didn’t hold on and wait to talk to the owner. That blows me away.”

Carrier was upset that Chica was so urgently taken away from her own front yard. She suspects that something the hospital did dramatically changed her condition.

She said: “She was out there in the yard, playing, walking with her tail in the air. She went from that to dead in three hours.”

The director of the animal hospital resented being second guessed by Carrier. He said: “I guess the question is: Who’s best to judge the condition of a cat: a veterinarian or a citizen of the island of Coronado?”

A necropsy has been done on Chica’s body, but the report has not been made public yet.

UPDATE: The chief of police wrote a letter saying that Chica was not removed from the porch, and that officers until acted when they received complaints from neighbors that Chica was ill and malnourished.

Source: The Union Tribune

(Thanks Amber)

32 Responses to “Cat Taken From Her Yard By Animal Control Later Euthanized”

  1. Vettech says:

    I would think I wouls sue the entire system, one the Animal Contro, the vet and the person that reported. To kill this pet this quick sounds like something may have gone wrong at the vet and they killed her to cover it up, or the pet became so stressed she died of a heart attack which also is possible. There is no excuse for this, who gave animal control extreme authority to just take pets and kill them as “THEY” see fit. Old cats get kidney disease and lose weight, but many are managed, they et thyroid troubles, but these are managed, but many people just opt to allow the pet to live out their natural life and that also is not cruel, its nature, a needle with pink juice is not

  2. catmom5 says:

    My daughter has a senior catgirl who has IBD and is hyperthyroid. She is VERY thin, despite a good appetite, has regular vet care and enjoys a good quality of life indoors with people who love her. However, if you were to see her and not know any of this you would probably think she was not being well cared for. The worst part of this situation is that they didn’t keep the poor old girl alive long enough to talk with her owner. I don’t think I agree with keeping a cat of that age and condition outdoors, but she surely didn’t deserve to die for it.

  3. airedalelover says:

    Why is it in these stories that Animal Control shows up so fast? Just wondering….we have such slow response in most counties here in Texas with animal control divisions and many counties have NO animal control officers or departments at all.

  4. Sharon says:

    The animal control officers in Texas kill animals or refuse to respond to neglect until the animals are dead. I really have a problem with shelters and vets euthanizing animals that are not terminally ill and without the permission of the owners. It appears to be happening every day.

  5. shibadiva says:

    The AC in my area is basically animal CONTROL. We have shelters and a city humane society that have high adoption rates and low euthanization rates. AC is the reverse.

  6. Trudy Jackson says:

    This is just so horrible. that they can come right in and take the cat and kill it. I have a cat who is 20 and one who is 19. they are old and look skinny and they are loosing muscle. But they do go to the vets, and they seem very happy. I would surley sue the heck out of someone. what a tragety for the cat and owner.

  7. Cheryl says:

    I know there are probably some decent animal control folks out there but these few who think they are really members of the SWAT team just irritate me. They get a power rush from putting on a uniform - any uniform and they need to do psychological profiles on these idiots. I’d sue that hospital as well - who are they to put an animal to sleep that they know belongs to someone with out at least talking to them first.

  8. ROCHESTER says:

    As a senior pet, I am appalled by this story. Any idiot knows that a senior cat is very sensitive to stress, and there isn’t much that’s more stressful than being taken from your home by a complete stranger, dumped in a vehicle that undoubtedly stinks of animal terror, and hauled off to the kind of place that you fear and loathe most in the world. That alone is enough to kill a cat of advanced years. However well intentioned the authorities might have been, (and I’m going way overboard in giving these animal control people the benefit of the doubt), they made a distasterous mistake that killed Chica. Rather than posturing and making excuses, they should apologize profusely to Chica’s family and resolve to do a much better job in future.

  9. Don Earl says:

    “I’ll be the judge of that”, and, “I guess the question is: Who’s best to judge the condition of a cat: a veterinarian or a citizen of the island of Coronado?”

    That appears to be the problem. Petty civil servants, with minimal police powers, who believe they should be judges or dictators.

    And, of course, we’re talking about California, where I’ve noticed bureaucrats suffer from a mindset that having an opinion is the same as having a clue, especially among those with the most nominal of job titles.

    Yes Mr. Carrier, pet owners are in a far better position to judge the condition of their cats. We see them everyday, in the environment where they’re comfortable. We know their habits and routines, and are in a position to notice changes likely to be a sign of problems.

    There are few things that will terrify a cat more than being stuffed in a box and hauled off to a place they don’t know. Veterinarians NEVER see a cat under circumstances where their observations are reliable without input from the pet owner.

    Also, and as amazing as it may seem to these clowns, neighbors are in a far better position to know the pet is on it’s own property and belongs where it is, doing what it’s doing.

    Naturally, though, the more outrageous a petty official’s behavior, and the more temperamentally and professionally unqualified he is for his position, the more adamantly he will try to defend the indefensible.

  10. Shelley says:

    Unfortunately, this is a problem that can result from well-intentioned people not knowing or understanding what they’re seeing. While there are plenty of instances of real abuse, assuming abuse exists without knowing the facts can result in tremendous hardship and sometimes heartache. Recently a string of 10 horses owned by our therapeutic program (and an 11th in the same barn owned by someone else) was viewed by a passerby. The 11th horse was ancient and arthritic (and was put down two months later), one of ours had recently put his leg through a wooden wall (and was being treated by a vet but it looked bad still), and one other of ours was a recent purchase and needed his feet done (the farrier arrived the next day). This person reported us to the humane society; we eventually proved that all the horses are well cared for, but in the meantime the farm owner’s neighbors saw the HS van rumble in and gossip was rampant. Just a warning to be pretty darn sure of what you’re seeing before you call in the authorities!

  11. 2CatMom says:

    If I read this right, the animal murder officer went onto PRIVATE property to steal someone else’s property. No warrant, no nothing. I’d demand that this bozo be charged with trespassing and theft.

    I’d also like someone to post his picture so that the local community of animal lovers can make his life miserable. No violence please, but I think shunning, not allowing them to shop at your store, posting their picture, are perfectly legitimate ways to pressure someone to change their behavior

  12. Radcliff, Allie, Luna, & Ozzie says:

    Sharon, we were unaware that Coronado, California was part of Texas. Glad you cleared that up for us.

  13. straybaby says:

    totally agree Don. I think i know MY cats better than a vet or AC officer that has NEVER seen them before. when my 2 boys were 18, they both had cancer. i made sure they had quality of life and they chugged along for 6 and 8 more months. yes they lost some weight. and yeah, someone not knowing them *might* think i wasn’t feeding them enough or something, but without talking to me and seeing the stack of vet bills over the last year of their lives, you sure as heck shouldn’t be making any determinations (assumptions) as to their conditions and care.

  14. Christine says:

    Radcliffe, I think that Sharon was responding to airedalelover’s comment directly above hers.

  15. Jay says:

    Lest we forget.

    The BTK killer kept in practice as an animal control officer and used that power to express what was dormant so long. A horrible story of intimidation and cruelty and which convinced me that his supervisor was as much as creep as he was and they should be sharing a cell right now.

    Too many of these stories lately. I hope they are all held accountable — including the Vet, the nosy parker and the person who did the final killing.

  16. lisamin says:

    I had to deal with AC once with my diabetic cat, and despite my and my vet’s protestations that an extended quarantine would be bad for a diabetic cat who has not yet stabilized how much insulin he requires, the officer was adamant that my guy stay in quarantine. He was such a jerk that the tech that Acorn bit said she wished she hadn’t said anything - Acorn didn’t bite her because he was rabid! He bit her because she poked him where he didn’t want to be touched. But tough luck for my guy. (but he’s fine now, thank God, and back home)
    I understand that a lot of the time, everyones’ hands are tied because the way the laws are written, but keep in mind that they were written as a way to protect other people and animals.
    And I’m not defending this a-hole who thought he was a good judge of old cats, or the belligerent, rationalizing vet who put Chica down. Cheryl is right that a lot of people think they’re more authorized (or more important) than they really are. Chica was in her own yard!
    Maybe instead of putting people’s pictures up, writing letters to your local paper or representative about AC law would be better? They probably DON’T have any kind of psych profiling, but cops and teachers do, why not AC (as civil servants, after all)?

  17. Jenny Bark says:

    I’m sorry I only see a couple things different about this sad ugly article. First or all a neighbor saw & talked to him or else nobody would even know. Second the poor cat was taken to an animal hospital.

    Most vets call their place a hospital or clinic, at least around here. Read the Union Tribune article above, he didn’t even know the sex of the cat, keep calling it old Grandpa. I don’t care if it is an old cat, old dog or old person the stress would have been terrible & that vet should have known that. He had a 2 year contract with them that now he has stopped. He is now running tests, big deal, a lot is going to be wrong with an old cat & I wouldn’t believe andything he said. I don’t think too much of MOST vets that work for MOST kill shelters. The vet around here that does, most people who go to her office go for a little while before they change vets. They don’t even hire her to take care of the animals where she boards her horses.

    I believe some of you have good animal control from reading your post on different threads & I know your animal lovers like me. Count yourself very blessed if you have good animal control, it might not be the same way 50 or so miles down the road from you. We have a good humane society officer & the one before her was good too. He went to court with us to save a dog. The only trouble with them is their area is so big & people have to know to call her & have her #. People have posted they had bad hs officers & I believe them, I am old enough to know everywhere is not the same.

    Imo most places hire the cheapest animal control they can get, at least where i live. All the vets know him & all animal lovers do too. He is protested all the time but it does no Da** good. It’s all about the money. I and a lot of people would like our tax $ to go to someone else. If our animal control had gotten this cat it would have been thrown in the back of his truck & only because of the neighbor would have had a slim chance of being taken to a kill shelter. This old cat stayed in her yard & porch & was friendly, proberly came right up to him. Our Animal Control takes the cats to his trailer & gases then & gets $10.00 for a stray cat. The law says it’s still ok to gas.

    I know some of you won’t believe me but that’s ok because I know it’s the truth. I know their are laws that they have to waite & be taken to a shelter if a pet. Laws are good but only if people honor the law & can prove the people didn’t follow the law. Imo if the media would do their job we would be reading articles like this & about some shelters all the time. As I said before count yourself blessed if everything is run right & good where you live, it’s not that way everywhere for the poor babies.

  18. Cathy says:

    This is awful. I have had two dogs that lived past 15 years old, and both of them ended up looking skinny. While registering one for a dog sitting service, I had to give a description….I used one word OLD. The people at the day care understood my description and agreed. (They also saw she was happy).
    The most important thing that made me keep them with me and not believe when some people said to put them to sleep was the way they responded to me. They were happy and loving, and they knew they were loved back. My mom grew older and lost a lot of weight before she died from cancer, but we did not “put her to sleep”!
    I feel so bad for the owner. Obviously, if the cat lived this many years, it had a caring owner.
    I think this person deserves to be known publicly and to be punished for killing an animal.

  19. Sky Eyes Woman says:

    This amazes me that they were allowed to remove the cat in such a short time. Any other kind of call I’ve seen or heard about AC getting involved, they have to make several visits and contact the owner of the animal(s) multiple times before they can do ANYTHING. Even when the animal is clearly in distress they still have to speak to the owner or at least make some kind of attempt at contact before they remove it.

    As heartbreaking as this story is, I also have to say it never would have happened if the cat was kept indoors. Malicious people who will do harm to someone’s pets come in all guises, don’t they?

  20. Jenny Bark says:

    Sky Eyes Woman, are you thinking about the Humane Society or Animal Control. In my area each bourgh, township & city hire their own Animal Control & pay them. Usually 3 or 4 small places will hire the same one. Maybe things are different where you live, I live in Pa..

  21. Cathy says:

    I’m another Cathy (the lucky Cathy actually had dogs live to 15! guess they didn’t eat Nutro). I know you shouldn’t believe everything you see on TV - but on Animal Planet, it seems that the officers go to great lengths to find owners (even bad ones) before they take an animal.

    Here’s what’s so strange about all of this - why would ANY vet put down an animal without first speaking to the owner. I don’t understand how anyone can be a VET and not be compassionate. Unfortunately, there are MDs out there because the pay is great, not because they want to save lives or help people; but vets don’t really make that kind of money - do they? Sounds like Chica is a victim of malpractice.

  22. kikkilu says:

    animal control, in effect, trespassed on the rightful leasehold or land occupied by the cat owner. it’s terrible what they did, based on some snot tourist that put her nose where it didn’t belong. don’t people have anything better to do? who was she to judge the health of this cat? the cat’s owner took care of her, so why did animal control kill the cat without the owner’s consent?

    one thing that would help others, however, is to keep the animal’s collar and tags on it, including an id tag.

  23. 2CatMom says:

    I still maintain that the cat was not stray and was on its owner’s property so that the animal murder officer had no jurisdiction. I’d push for the criminal charges.

  24. Lynn says:

    I’d sue the pants off of all of them and squawk like a banshee to the news media.

    You get what you pay for. In my area the animal control is decent and the personnel are paid decent wages. I’ve lived in other areas where the shelter hires whomever they can get for the pittance they are willing to pay. And have you ever noticed how some of these ACO’s, after donning a uniform, seem to think they control everything. A big power trip for them. I can’t imagine any veterinarian doing shelter work unless he didn’t have the gumption to develop a solid practice on his own.

    This is one more argument in favor or keeping your cats indoors, lest the big bad bogeyman come and take Puss away.

  25. Donna says:

    I find this killing appaling.Sue the pants off ALL involved.It WAS wrong to murder this innocent elderly cat ! My heart and soul go to chica and her owner.

  26. Sharon says:

    Radcliff, Allie, Luna, and Ozzie,

    My response was to the person who posted before me. Maybe if you actually read the thread and had something to contribute you would realize that.

  27. C says:

    The recent article about “Chica” should be a wake up call to anyone
    who is ignorant enough to think that because a cat eats, walks around
    and “looks” healthy it is. In fact, it may actually be very sick.
    Cats, after years of evolution, can mask illness and injury very
    successfully. It’s almost a certainty that a 19 year old cat has
    one or more diseases related to their age. Some, or all of which can
    not be detected by the untrained person. Diseases can be managed
    medically or surgically if properly diagnosed and treated early, but
    for that to happen the owner of that animal must be responsible enough
    to take the animal in for regular examinations by a licensed
    vetrinarian. Simply dropping more kibbles in the bowl and watching it
    lay on the porch is NOT caring for or loving that animal. It might
    make the owner feel better to watch the animal eat, but it’s not
    helping the animal live.

    A domesticated animal that never, over the course of its entire life,
    receives even the most basic medical care can not be deemed a healthy
    or happy animal based on appearance alone. However, in this
    particular case the cat’s physical appearance was obviously abnormal.
    Why else would a member of the public just walking by feel so compeled
    to call the authorities? When a cat is infested with fleas and lice
    it should be easy to see with the naked eye. Especially by anyone who
    claims to care for and love the animal. These parasites are
    indicators of an unhealthy animal that is not being well kept by its
    owner. In fact, this cat was probably slowly dying from blood loss
    day by day as the parasites fed on the host. Perhaps the owners
    should have tried even a simple bath or any one of the numerous over
    the counter flea medicines if they couldn’t manage enough
    responsibility and common sense to take the animal to a veteranarian
    for proper care. Perhaps Chica’s owners should look in the mirror to
    find the real villan in this sad story?

    I had two cats that lived to age 19 and they were never infested with
    fleas and lice and they never suffered. Because I was a conscientious
    pet owner I took them for regular visits to Crown Veterenary Clinic
    where they always received excellent and professional care and love.
    My cats passed away earlier this year and the doctors and staff at
    Crown Veteranary Clinic made that time easier to deal with. They love
    animals more then anyone else I have met. If they didn’t care so much
    they would find another career rather then subject themselves to the
    abuse and false claims made by the owners of this poor helpless cat
    and other people who don’t know the whole truth.

    I want to thank the Doctors and staff at Crown Veteranary Clinic who
    always cared for my little ones as if they were caring for one of
    their vey own. They did everything possible to give my cats the best
    possible life and I am eternally grateful!

    Matt McCaigue

  28. C says:

    I’ve had enough with the ignorance of Coronado residents regarding Chica, Crown Vet, and Animal Control. It is a sad state of affairs when people make judgments on other human beings by taking news stories at face value without obtaining, examining, or even making the effort to understand all sides of a story. You all might as well be a lynch mob and bring back hanging as the death penalty.

    I have friends who work at the Crown hospital and the version I read is not what I’ve heard has been expressed. As the story goes an anonymous caller contacted animal control out of concern regarding the fact they saw what was a very ill kitty on these people’s patio. Upon delivering the kitty to the hospital, the kitty was found to be mauled with an infestation of lice and fleas, severely dehydrated, and displaying signs of anemia. The staff does their best, pumping fluids into the kitty, cleaning her up and trying to make her comfortable. Unfortunately Crown is not a 24/7 hospital and the cat was in obvious need of serious attention as the fear was the cat was going to just suffer and die at any moment.

    First of all, does this sound like a well taken care of kitty? So I have to ask you at what point was Chica this pride of the owner’s household and so beloved? Can you say animal neglect? Who lets their pet get to this state?

    So the hospital follows up with animal control, states Chica needs to be transferred to a full blown medical facility and to see a specialist immediately. Animal Control says “no” and instructs the hospital to euthanize Chica. So I have to ask just what was the hospital supposed to do? Just let the cat suffer and die? Then the news reports would’ve been “Local Hospital Lets Suffering Cat Suffer and Die”. They don’t know the owners; they’ve never seen this little kitty before. They’re just faced with a decision because they’ve been painted into a corner. “Do we not do as we are told and also just ignore the cat’s suffering?”

    Are you kidding me?

    People! They are an animal hospital; it is not their mission to destroy animals. These are passionate animal lovers; they do not callously carry out their profession. It is because of their compassion that the kitty is now in a better place, less the alternative of lice ridden, flea ridden, and dying a painful death. I have to believe it is only out of their professionalism that they have not lashed out at the public for their ignorance. There obviously isn’t any reporters interested in fair representation and to objectively look at this from a “What honestly really happened?” point of view. Why is that? Because… the media drools over a negative story like this because bad news sells, draws readers because of a human’s innate morbid curiosity, and bri ngs in advertising dollars.

    Amazing that there aren’t news reports about the 100s of animals the hospital has saved or how many have been taken in by staff members because a sad excuse for a human will drop off an animal to be put down because they can’t be bothered anymore with taking care of a pet.

    Now go take care of your own pets, be thankful there are people who do care, and don’t believe every news report you read in this world.

    John Simko (San Diego resident)

  29. C says:

    Everyone needs to stop assuming and realize that the article you read was NOT a news article but an editorial article. You do not have the full story, you have an opinion by someone. I understand jumping on any animal rights bandwagon, I do it too, but there was not a conspiracy here. No one got anything out of this. The people who called in an animal in distress don’t get a prize, neither does animal control or the vet.

    Also, why doesn everyone assume the AC Officer said “I’ll be the judge of that” in an argogant tone? What was the tone and exact words from the neighbor before he said it? Maybe he said it nicely. Oh, and it is the Officer’s job to determine if an animal is in disstress once they have been called out.

    Also keep in mind the cat had no tag to prove she was on her property. Yes, a neighbor said she lived there, but without a tag and with the animal being covered in lice and fleas and looking in bad shape, what would you have the Officer do? Leave? Wouldn’t you be mad if he left a disstressed animal that later perished (on the hottest weekend of the year in San Diego) on the porch when he could try to help?

  30. Jean says:

    Another example of ACO seizing property illegally and getting away with it. Happened in PA this past summer.
    Plus a neighbor while not knowing the cat or owner chooses to not believe the neighbor who DOES know the cat and owner.
    Sue the ACO, the neighbor who didn’t do the right thing….

  31. Heather says:

    You can tell that the animal hospital is lying in this story, because the average temp in Coronado, CA in August is 71 degrees. The lowest temperature recorded in Aug was 57 degrees, in 1930. How can a cat suffer from hypothermia while lying in the sun in 70 degree weather in southern CA? Also, when the vet could not tell a male from a female cat, there is something seriously wrong there.

  32. ansy says:

    She should have brought the cat inside. My cat is terminally ill with incurable cancer. I’ve spent 1,000 in vet and 500 in homeopathic medicine and still has gotten extremely worst. She was eating and then stopped eating but was drinking lots of water. Since yesterday not even water. I still give her holistic medicine and chicken broth and electrolyte water with a syringe. And put her in my bedroom as this same heart renching story has happened here in florida too often as well.

    I can no longer afford a vet with no employment but will try to make her as confortable as possible her last days.

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