Couple Charged After Drowning Cat

TDWarning: This story may disturb some readers.

A Colorado couple is being charged each with one count of animal cruelty and one count of animal neglect for drowning their cat in a bucket.

Michelle Eshleman and Mark Lewis told authorities that they did not have enough money to euthanize their cat, TD. The cat was diagnosed with the feline version of HIV a few years ago.

To end TD’s suffering, the couple drowned the cat in a bucket of water. They said they were not aware of other options to help their cat.

Eshleman wrote this statement to the media: “I called four vets. Three were closed. One after-hours location was charging over $200 for euthanasia and cremation/burial.”

She added: “I have owned and loved cats all my life, and — right or wrong — we wanted to help TD die as quickly and painlessly as our means allowed at the time.”

Local animal shelters said that people have options when they need to put down a pet. Also, they stated if someone is not able to afford euthanasia, arrangements can be made, so people do not feel they have to end a pet’s life in an inhumane manner.


14 Responses to “Couple Charged After Drowning Cat”

  1. nora and rufus says:

    Poor TD the suffering feline. I have seen bad cases of Feline Luekemia and HIV, and it is a long suffering slow death. But this is soooo sad for poor TD to have to go this way. Just too sad for words.

  2. Lynne says:

    It seems to me that local humane societies could have been contacted for help. In my area, one of the local t.v. stations is good about responding to such pleas from viewers. I can NOT imagine drowning my pet. I would move heaven and earth to find a more humane way to release her/him. And I hope I am never faced with such a dilemma.

  3. Sharon says:

    When my mom was dying of cancer she was in such pain that she asked my dad to take her out into the yard and shoot her. She didn’t want to go to the hospital to die, which is what happened. Though I could never kill an animal I can understand how people can be motivated by another’s pain. Sometimes in our darkest hours we are unable to find the help we need to choose another way.

  4. Lorie says:

    I think that a lot of people find theirselves faced with this problem, vets never seem to cut anyone a break even douring the poison petfood crisis so many people had to watch their animals suffer because they had no money to go to the vet and the vets weren’t willing to even meet people half way and take payments.

    I think what this couple did took a lot of courage and they did it out of love for their cat, and it was probably one of the hardest things they ever had to do.

    My heart goes out to them.

  5. The Lioness says:

    I feel very mixed about this one. I think their hearts were in the right place, but good Goddess! i would hardly think drowning is a pain-free way to go! I think they could have used better judgement, personally, and if some of the vet centers or shelters weren’t open, why not just wait until the next day? Surely, a few hours would have been OK?

    I feel for them, though. I really do. And Lorie, above, is right: Vets won’t cut anyone a break. Even if they really like you, they won’t. I’ve BTDT with my own vet (on more minor issues, which were later fixed.)

    ~The Lioness

  6. NH says:

    I have a secret. I found out years ago one of my older brothers accidentally stepped on his kitten and broke it’s neck or back. Rather than having it euthanized, he drowned it in a sack in the river.

    I’ve never been able to forget it and haven’t been able to look up to him since then.

    It’s amazing what people will do to save a few bucks.

    I have no sympathy for that couple.

    RIP cat.

  7. Lynn says:

    How can any pet parent not know where the local shelter is and what services they perform? And obviously the cat was sick for a while, so how could they NOT have thought about what action they would take? Irresponsible.

    Another wake up call, folks.

    What would YOU do if you were financially strapped and your pet in dire pain? Where would you go? Figure it out now, because you just might need this information. If not for yourself, for someone else.

  8. Moony says:

    I have sympathy for the couple because I’m in a similar situation money wise and have a cat who’s got CRF, and I’ll have to make the decision to put him down one day and hope to God I’ll have the money to pay someone else to kill him.

    Most shelters that I used to volunteer at required surrender of the animal if the people couldn’t afford to pay for the euthanasia, which means the pet is taken to a back room to wait in fear alone with complete strangers, noises, smells, etc, before being killed by whatever means the shelter uses when the vet comes in, which can sometimes mean waiting a few days because the vet only comes in on certain days. Shelter staff aren’t legally allowed to give the injections. And the body would have been disposed of either in a dump or a rendering plant.

    Their method may not have been very PC, but the stress only lasted several minutes, he was with his people up until the end, and they still had a body to mourn over and bury.

  9. mittens says:

    fortunately ive had the money to have my wonderful vet come to my house to euthanize my babies-ive lost 4 this year- 2 went peacefully on their own, 2 needed help. this vet i know will accept payment plans. it doesnt hurt to ask.

    however people need to think a little before they act. drowning in a bucket is brutal and a bit deranged. CO2 fumes from your car’s exhaust would have been kinder.

    i’m of the firm belief that by any humane means necessary is morally correct. i know it’s unsavory and illegal but street drugs like heroin are cheap, readily available and will gently OD the suffering one. it serves it’s purpose- these natural drugs were given to use for a reason- not recreation. their medicinal purpose is valid. vets generally use a barbituate anyway to overdose in the legal manner. money and the law should not stand in the way of ethical treatment of pain and suffering.

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

    Ahh, NH: The cat’s name was TD. It wouldn’t have hurt you much to use it.

  11. Traci says:

    Nitpicky much? So what if NH didn’t refer to TD as TD? What does that have to do with anything including NH’s post. Good grief.

  12. Trudy Jackson says:

    I think what they did was terrible. There are a lot better ways if You have to use them. Drowning is suffering. Did they even bother to ask a neighbor for help? Or wait just one more day?
    I have no money either, but I would borrow it if I had to help my pets.
    I had a girl at the vets once tell Me [secretly] Her cat was so sick she smothered it. Does that make any sense either? these poor animals have to go by what We decide. they don’t have a choice.
    I couldn’t live with Myself if i did that.

  13. Tanya says:

    someone here commented that she woudln’t want to turn the cat over to the shelter cause it might “take a while” to get to the cat, and “the conditions are bad”.

    but honestly, if you can’t afford euthaisa (and i’m highly dubious this is what was really the problem, since the cat was sick. either they were taking it to the vet already or they were not caring for it AT ALL if they were that poor. the cat’s jaw was rotting through…) it still seems to me that a cage with loud dogs in or around the area (that the cat could hear) would be less traumatic than drowning.

    and just cause “on the farm we always did it this way” does’t mean it’ any more humane to “do it that way” as some have suggested.

    if you are drowining kittens on a farm, that’s just as cruel. in a day and age where we don’t have to be overly cruel, there is no reason to let animals suffer unduly.

  14. Cherie says:

    I’ve lived in several states and the most euthanasia has cost was in the $30-35 range. It certainly would cost a lot more AFTER HOURS at an emergency facility — it costs around $75 just to walk in the door of such a place. And when the guy adds in cremation — what? What did they do with the body they ended up with? There are alternatives in all these roadblocks these people made for themselves. I find it completely unbelievable that this couple, knowing their cat had a fatal disease for “several years,” could not have saved that amount over the course of time for a scheduled vet visit. A rescue organization I volunteer for wil consider helping people with pet medical bills if they are considered truly in dire straits financially, and they tell people that they aren’t in dire straits if they have cable TV, cell phones, eat fast food, buy Starbucks coffee, etc., you get my general drift. If people have absolutely ZERO “disposable income,” then they should not take on the responsibility of owning a pet — they need to feed themselves first. I’m not saying people don’t run into serious problems unexpectedly, but we’re talking about $30 bucks here saved in a couple of years. Heck, they could have gone to a blood bank every couple of months and made enough money to cover that — heck, have a YARD SALE. Plus I agree with the person who said why didn’t they wait until the next day, plus call some other agencies. I don’t know what rescue wouldn’t have donated $30 so an animal wouldn’t have to die such an inhumane death. And to know in his last moments that the people he loved and trusted only betrayed him — hurting him for a reason he could not comprehend. I think it comes down to some people just weren’t born with a full deck.

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