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Stephenville woman upset with how town dealt with disposal of her dead cat

Megan LeRoux is not pleased with how the Town of Stephenville handled the disposal of her dead cat George (shown here).
Megan LeRoux is not pleased with how the Town of Stephenville handled the disposal of her dead cat George (shown here). - Contributed

Megan LeRoux has dreams of her beloved cat George being in the dump when she tries to sleep at night.

Her grey cat, a five-year-old male, was killed after being hit by a vehicle on Main Street in Stephenville earlier this month.

Dealing with the loss of her beloved pet has been rough, but how the cat was disposed of by the animal control officer with the Town of Stephenville has made the loss even harder to bear for a mom with two young daughters who miss George terribly.

Susan Fowlow, the deputy mayor of Stephenville, said there were a number of unfortunate circumstances that aligned in this particular case and she offered condolences to the family. She says she has an inkling of what they’re feeling because she’s a pet lover herself.

“He shouldn’t be there. He should be here with my family,” LeRoux said.

LeRoux had been feeling under the weather for about a week and confined to her home when a friend told her that a grey cat had been hit by a car and killed.

She didn’t think much of it at the time, figuring George was out and about being his curious self.

When she was feeling better she went to the town hall to ask about the report of cat being killed because there had been no sign of George for a number of days.

LeRoux said she was told that a cat had been killed and was buried in the landfill in St. George’s. She said when she pressed for more information because she wanted to find out if it was George and, if so, have him buried at home close to her children, she was told that the animal’s body had been dumped in the landfill.

“They told me it would be like finding a needle in a haystack because everything gets crushed and buried,” she said.

LeRoux is upset that she wasn’t contacted about her cat even though she had purchased identification tags for George. She wishes the town had contacted her before sending the cat to the landfill and she hopes no other family will have to deal with a similar incident.

Fowlow said normal protocol for removing dead animals from the road involves the animal control officer picking up the animal after receiving a telephone call for assistance. If the animal is wearing a tag or something visible that identifies the pet owner, especially a tag issued by the town that is easy to track, the town will contact the owner to let them know the animal has been picked up and they can decide if they want to retrieve it. If the pet owner chooses not to pick it up, the remains are brought to the landfill.

In this case, according to Fowlow, the animal control officer was busy in another community when the call came in. The cat had been hit and killed on the busy Main Street and a resident called the animal control officer to inform him that he had removed a dead cat from the road and bagged it.

When the animal control officer arrived, she said, the person who had bagged the cat said the cat wasn’t in very good shape and the bag was soaked with blood.

At that point, Fowlow said, it became a public health issue and the animal control officer knew he shouldn’t open the bag without the proper attire to deal with a public health issue. According to Fowlow, the person who bagged the cat didn’t mention anything about tags, but even if he had, the animal control officer wouldn’t have opened the bag without being equipped with the proper gear.

Fowlow said her heart goes out to George’s family, but disposing of the animal in the landfill was the only thing that could have been done at that point.

“Certainly our condolences go out to her and her girls, and we’re very sorry that this happened and that it happened this way,” Fowlow said.

LeRoux knows nothing can be done to bring George back, but she hopes her story will prevent another family from going through the same thing.

“I just don’t want it to happen to anybody else. It’s heartbreaking,” she said.

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