Family in feud with animal shelter ‘refusing to give back lost cat’

Bobby the ginger tabby cat from Widnes, Cheshire, who is in the centre of a dispute with Warrington Animal Welfare who are refusing the give the pet back
Warrington Animal Welfare are being threatened with legal action (Picture: Bring Bobby Home)

 

A devastated family is threatening an animal shelter with legal action for refusing to return their lost cat and blanking their messages.

Patricia Donegan says she’s tried everything to get her beloved Bobby home after he went missing and was handed to Warrington Animal Welfare (WAW) in early May. She says someone from the shelter told her they had no intention of returning her pet, branding her an ‘irresponsible’ owner because her ginger tabby hadn’t been microchipped or neutered.

While this may be advisable, her solicitor says it is not mandatory for cat owners and that Bobby is quite clearly hers. He has suggested the shelter may have prematurely given the cat to a foster home and is having trouble getting him back.

As a cancer survivor with ongoing health issues, Patricia, 53, from Widnes, Cheshire, is often at home and relies on her pets for company, making her ongoing dispute all the more upsetting. Her daughter Vickie Leadbetter told TotalNews.uk: ‘He’s been my mum’s cat for four years. She’s heartbroken.

Bobby the ginger tabby cat from Widnes, Cheshire, who is in the centre of a dispute with Warrington Animal Welfare who are refusing the give the pet back
The family insist it is their cat and that they are responsible owners (Picture: Bring Bobby Home)

 

Bobby the ginger tabby cat from Widnes, Cheshire, who is in the centre of a dispute with Warrington Animal Welfare who are refusing the give the pet back
They’ve sent pictures and video to the shelter but to no avail (Picture: Bring Bobby Home)

 

‘She’s just not really that well anyway and it’s just causing her so much stress, and us, I just don’t know what to do. It’s just awful to see my mum this upset.’

‘It’s just dead heartbreaking for my mum, she’s crying all the time, she’s not eating, it’s horrible watching my mum like that.’

After finding the cat, who they named George, WAW posted an appeal on Facebook to raise money to have him neutered, chipped and treated for his wound.

Vickie added: ‘As soon as we found out we have been in constant contact asking them. They’ve blocked us so we can’t message them and they’re not even responding to our solicitor now. We’re not giving up. It’s not fair.’

The family say WAW claimed to have seen ‘historic injuries’ on Bobby when explaining why they didn’t want to return him, but an email from vets seen by TotalNews.uk confirmed no members of staff had seen any on his last visit.

Messages from the owners of Bobby the ginger tabby cat from Widnes, Cheshire, who is in the centre of a dispute with Warrington Animal Welfare who are refusing the give the pet back
Bobby snuggles with Vickie’s son Rhys (Picture: Bring Bobby Home)

 

Facebook messages regarding Bobby the ginger tabby cat from Widnes, Cheshire, who is in the centre of a dispute with Warrington Animal Welfare who are refusing the give the pet back
The family are threatening to take WAW to county court (Picture: Bring Bobby Home)

 

Vickie suspects the tabby would have got into a fight with another cat when he went missing for a few days, opening up his healing wound.

Patricia says her son went to the shelter on May 12 and offered to cover all costs to bring him home, to no avail.

She added: They’ve just fobbed me off. They’ve said they have no intention of returning him.

‘It’s just dead upsetting that they won’t give him back. Citizens Advice, the police, the vets, the solicitor, they all said he’s my cat and they should give him back.’

Representing the family, James Parry, of Parry and Welch Solicitors, says he gave WAW a deadline to respond on Friday last week and was told they needed more time to investigate.

A Facebook post from Warrington Animal Welfare about 'George' the cat - whose family claim he is their cat, named Bobby, and are demanding to know why they can't have him back
The shelter named him George when he was taken to them in early May (Picture: Warrington Animal Welfare)

 

A Facebook post from Warrington Animal Welfare about 'George' the cat - whose family claim he is their cat, named Bobby, and are demanding to know why they can't have him back
A picture shared by WAW shows the injuries around Bobby’s abscess (Picture: Warrington Animal Welfare)

 

He told TotalNews.uk: ‘It is quite clearly the family’s cat, I can say that because I have seen the evidence.

‘This cat had been treated, and I’m quite satisfied it had been treated for an abscess, and had been kept in, and then when the weather became hot the cat managed to escape out of the window as cats will do.

‘I have no criticism of the members of the public who took the cat to the Warrington Animal Rescue centre because that’s what good people do.

‘Where it’s gone wrong is when the rescue centre was contacted, they haven’t responded in the manner which one would expect them to respond in, which is to say “well it’s your cat, we have some welfare concerns but if you can show the vets records”, which they have done, “we can set those to one side, we can return the cat now”.’

(Picture: Bring Bobby Home)
The family say this is what his wound looked like when he got out, making them believe he got in a fight in the few days he was missing (Picture: Bring Bobby Home)

 

Bobby the ginger tabby cat from Widnes, Cheshire, who is in the centre of a dispute with Warrington Animal Welfare who are refusing the give the pet back
The family say they are heartbroken to be apart from their cat (Picture: Bring Bobby Home)

 

Facebook messages regarding Bobby the ginger tabby cat from Widnes, Cheshire, who is in the centre of a dispute with Warrington Animal Welfare who are refusing the give the pet back
Vickie has accused the shelter of blanking her (Picture: Bring Bobby Home)

 

‘It’s unfortunate this cat wasn’t microchipped, but there is no obligation to have cats microchipped, perhaps there should be, but there isn’t.’

Mr Parry added that chipping cats is ‘extremely ineffective’ as local authorities have been known to seize them and put them to sleep without even checking details on the chip.

He said mum-of-five Patricia is ‘dependent on the cat for companionship’ and that it is ‘quite frankly wrong for a charity to decide that they should keep the cat themselves’

The lawyer added: ‘I have no wish to have to enter into litigation with an animal shelter, and the reason I don’t wish to do that is because I recognise the value they present to stray dogs and cats and other animals. This charity should be doing the right thing.’

Bobby the ginger tabby cat from Widnes, Cheshire, who is in the centre of a dispute with Warrington Animal Welfare who are refusing the give the pet back
Bobby with Vickie’s nephew Ethan (Picture: Bring Bobby Home)

 

Facebook messages regarding Bobby the ginger tabby cat from Widnes, Cheshire, who is in the centre of a dispute with Warrington Animal Welfare who are refusing the give the pet back
The family say they are being ‘fobbed off’ (Picture: Bring Bobby Home)

 

‘I think that they have probably rather quickly fostered the cat out and are having difficulties getting the cat back.

‘I can understand those difficulties, but the reality is, I think we should have a system where proper efforts are made to identify the owner.

‘The owners in this case have been searching diligently, there can be no doubt about that because they contacted the charity way before the matter came to my attention.’

‘A family would not go to this extent if they were not sure if the cat was theirs, and there’s a very good way of testing that isn’t there? You can introduce the cat to the humans and see what their reaction is.’

Bobby the ginger tabby cat from Widnes, Cheshire, who is in the centre of a dispute with Warrington Animal Welfare who are refusing the give the pet back
Solicitor James Parry says the family ‘need closure’ on the matter (Picture: Bring Bobby Home)

 

‘They are responsible people who have gone about this the right way, they’ve tried desperately hard to deal with the charity on their own.

‘They have gone to the media as a last resort. There are some who go to the media straight away and perhaps inflame the station but this isn’t that sort of family.

‘They really do need to have closure on this matter, which isn’t going to take place anytime soon if we have to go through County Court action.’

A spokeswoman for Warrington Animal Welfare told TotalNews.uk: ‘We are not in a position to comment specifically on your points as this issue is an ongoing legal matter.

‘We are awaiting a requested detailed response from James Parry, and as such, cannot comment further.’

For more stories like this, check our news page.

Follow us:
FacebooktwitterlinkedintumblrinstagramFacebooktwitterlinkedintumblrinstagram

Share this:
FacebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmailFacebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail