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.
â€œA lot of tourists go by and they’d always talk to her, and she’d go down and socialize,â€ her owner, Lynne Carrier, said. â€œShe was very sociable.â€
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.
â€œThat’s the reality of aging,â€ she said. â€œThey look like little old people. They kind of waste away and look pretty scrawny. That doesn’t mean they are neglected.â€
She also added: â€œWhat I don’t understand is why they didn’t hold on and wait to talk to the owner. That blows me away.â€
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: â€œShe 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?â€
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