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Binned Because The Sight Of Him “Wasn’t Pleasant”

As World Animal Road Accident Awareness Day reaches it's third year, leading pets in lets campaigning organisation AdvoCATS have opened up about their grief following their founders loss of one of her cats in hideous circumstances at the beginning of September.

Jen Berezai fondly remembers Simba as a hugely confident, friendly ginger & white tabby, with a penchant for wandering. Ironically she had only had him four months when she sadly lost him. His previous owner (an AdvoCATS former client) had wanted to rehome him as he was crossing several main roads on his escapades.

Jen recalls that fateful day. Simba didn’t turn up for supper, which was not unusual, so she wasn't unduly worried, but when he failed to appear for either meal the following day, alarm bells started to ring. Jen scoured the local Facebook pages, and found what she really hadn’t wanted to see : a ginger and white cat reported hit & killed just a couple of streets away the previous day. They headed over to the site, but in the dark there was nothing to see, just some marks on the road. They had posted on Facebook that he was missing, and produced flyers and posters, and over the next couple of days, slowly pieced together enough information to suggest that the cat who had been killed was likely to have been Simba. Then came the phone call. A woman living just round the corner from the accident site had asked her neighbour to “do something” as it “wasn’t pleasant.” So what did he do? Scraped the cat off the road and dumped him in a public waste bin.

Jen spoke with Erewash Borough Council, who were incredibly helpful but the bin contents had already been collected and passed on. She spoke to Veolia Waste, again, very helpful, but it was too late, and rubbish sent over from Erewash had already been sent to the incinerator.

At this point, Jen still didn’t know for sure if it was her boy. She begged the woman to let her go and see her/her neighbour to ask some questions and show some pictures, but she ignored her calls and messages. Jen knew which road the neighbour was on, so she walked round, with a mind to knock on every door until she found her…but she chose to visit the accident site again first. “Oh Simba” She whispered quietly. “I wish we knew if this was you or not.” Crossing over to the other side or the road, Jen wandered down a few yards more, and then she saw it. A very distinctive little green collar bell, slightly squashed but certainly recognisable. Closer investigation revealed a small piece of broken green plastic. Both items were clearly identifiable against enlarged images : they were from Simba’s collar, and she had her answer. Her boy was dead and, worse, had been chucked in a bin like a piece of trash with no thought for his dignity, his owners feelings, or indeed any semblance of basic decency.

There is nothing she could have done to prevent Simba being killed, except keep him inside, which would have made him miserable. Some cats are suited to the indoor life, Simba was not one of them. But he was loved, and he was microchipped. If he’d been taken to a vet, if it was law to report any such accidents, they would have at least been able to lay him to rest, but that last thing that they could have done for him was denied to them by someone who thought it acceptable to bin him. That hurts Jen almost as much as losing him in the first place.

AdvoCATS, which champions pets in rented accommodation, and CatsMatter, who challenge the lack of laws that protect cats on the road in the UK, are already well known to each other: CatsMatter were one of the first organisations to sign up for AdvoCATS’ “Heads for Tails!” campaign to make renting with pets easier, which was largely responsible for the inclusion of the issue on the Government’s renters reform white paper, published in June this year. The AdvoCATS team work tirelessly with rescues, landlords and tenants to ensure as many pets as possible can stay with their families in rented properties. With all the dedication and hard work Jen puts in to help people and their pets, it makes it all the more sad that such help was not given to Simba, or Jen and her family when they needed it most.


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