Robert Brooks is heartbroken that the local humane society killed his beloved elderly cat, and he is fighting for changes so that Mistoffelees gets some small measure of justice after the fact and so that other pets are spared her fate.
As we’ve seen in far too many similar cases, the reason – or excuse – given for killing Mistoffelees is that the 19 year old completely domesticated indoor pet who happened to slip outside was a dangerous feral cat. Robert’s experiences dealing with the shelter are all-too-familiar, as well.
Mistoffelees met her end at the Humane Society of Harford County in Fellston, Maryland on Friday, June 28, 2013. A neighbor who found her outside sought help from the Humane Society, not realizing the cat would be killed within a couple of hours at most.
We include the link to a petition at change.org in this post, below Robert’s full telling of the story.
Robert Brooks tells the story of Mistoffelees, her tragic end, and his experience with the shelter that killed her :
First let me tell you about Mistoffelees. I found this sweet girl in the middle of the road, abandoned or lost, in 1995. I stopped and she came up to me crying. I took her home and fell in love with her on the spot. She was tiny, very thin, and her ears were infested with ear mites. We nursed her back to health and she has been my best little friend ever since – that was 18 years ago this year so I am sure this little lady was at least 19 years old.
She greeted me at the door with loud meows every single day. When I woke up she was on the bed meowing and licking me. She did this every day without exception. She would bring me her favorite toy (one she had for over 10 years) and drop it and my feet and expect praise. She did that last Wednesday night, before I left for a trip to Oregon on Thursday, 27 June 2013. I did not know this was the last time I would ever see her!!!!!
Mistoffelees was a 100 percent indoor cat. I never wanted to take any chances with her getting hurt outside. She was spayed and neutered right after I found her. There was no real need for a collar or chip as she was an indoor cat – SO I THOUGHT!!!
While I was gone last weekend she was being cared for by my girlfriend. On Friday, 28 June 2013 I got a text at about 8:30 PM saying she could not find Mistoffelees. Since the cat ALWAYS greeted everyone as soon as they walked in she was panicked.
She said she had been unloading the car before she left for work at noon. She works from 12-8 PM. She said she had seen the cat upstairs but was now afraid she may have slipped out of the house while she had the door propped open. She walked all over the neighborhood calling for the cat but nothing – which is not normal. The few times over the years the cat had sneaked out, she remained in the yard and would cry as soon as she was called. She also searched the house to see if something had happened to her inside with no luck.
On Saturday, 29 June 2013, she called the Humane Society to report the loss. She got their answering machine, like I did later, when she called. She left them a message. It is notable that when you call these folks, the only option you have to leave a message is with their Adoption Section. There is not option to leave a message with the lost and found. This is important to note for later. It is also notable that the Humane Society is open 7 days a week but they did not call back until Monday afternoon after 5 PM and left her a message saying they needed more information on the lost cat. They never indicated a cat meeting her description had been found and KILLED!
She continued to search in vain until I returned on 1 July at about 6 PM. I searched and put up more signs desperately looking for my sweet girl. I was still hoping against hope that she would be ok. Then we noticed an empty can of cat food by our neighbor’s house – not 20 feet from our house.
I went over there and asked them if they had seen a black cat – they had never seen our cat as she did not go out. They said they had and that they had taken her to the Humane Society on Friday evening. It seems she had got out and was hanging out right beside our house. She came right up to him and he took her in! He said she was very friendly and easy to handle. She was taken to the Human Society at about 4:30 or so on Friday so that was why my girlfriend was unable to find her. The cat was picked up before she had gotten home from work and even realized she had gotten out.
I WAS SO HAPPY! My girl had been found. I called the Humane Society which was closed and left a message that I knew my cat was there and I would pick her up in the morning. Again, the voicemail went to the adoptions section as that was the ONLY CHOICE.
I called them yesterday, 2 July as soon as the Lost and Found section opened at 10AM. I was so happy. It took quite a while for them to “find” the information but finally she asked if she was the Black Tuxedo Cat found on Streamview Road. I said yes and with no compassion at all she said, “That cat was euthanized”. I was DEVASTATED, CONFUSED, and Angry! I asked her how this could happen. She told me the cat appeared to be Feral and they put Feral cats down. I told her that was not possible as she was declawed and spayed!!!!!!!!!! She told me the cat was violent and uncontrollable and they could not determine either of those qualifiers. I demanded to talk to the supervisor. She said she would check on some things to be sure and she would call me RIGHT BACK.
I waited for well over an hour for call and it did not come. I was hoping against hope that there was some sort of mix up and my girl was still alive and not killed like she had said. Finally, I tried to call her back and got her voicemail. I called the receptionist and asked to speak the Director. I was sent to his voicemail. I called back and I was told he was in a “Meeting” and he would call me back soon.
Finally around noon he did call me back. He proceeded to tell me the same thing the other person did. How my cat was violent and they could not control her. I asked him how professionals could not spot that she had no front claws even from a distance in a cage. I also told him that violence is atypical behavior for that cat but I am sure she was terrified and did not want to be handled. She did not really like to be picked up at all but I had no problem picking her up, the vet had no problem picking her up, AND the person that brought her in had no problem picking her up. I do not believe they made any real effort to calm her down in order to give her a chance.
I told them that they knew a black cat was missing as we called them on Saturday. I asked him WHY they didn’t call us before the killed her to see if she was our cat? He told me that they had not received any reports until Sunday of lost cats. I told him he was completely wrong and we did call on Saturday. He actually called out to the lady that ran lost and found and I heard her say that we left a message with Adoption on Saturday but she did not get it until Sunday. I told him that the only option to leave them a message was with Adoption and he actually seemed to know that as he did not dispute it. I asked him WHY they did not call me until Monday evening if they got the message even on Sunday and that was to get more info – not to tell me they had found and KILLED my cat! He had no answer. All of this was based on my assumption that they had killed my CAT Monday.
THEN HE DROPPED THE BOMBSHELL on me. He told me she was Killed the very day she came in. She never had a chance for us to claim her. She wasn’t given time to calm down after being thrown in a cage. She was executed terrified and alone without me with an hour or two of her arrival in this ghastly facility. This is TOTALLY UNACCEPTABLE to me. He told me that was their policy for feral and violent cats was to put them down. Again, I demanded to know why they were so negligent in determining this cat was CLEARLY not feral. Also, they had no real problem handling her to execute her but they could not see as they were killing her that she was declawed and grant her the 72 hours as the law demands!
He continued to hold his position and said he was sorry but that they did all they could before the Humanely Euthanized (KILLED) her. I was just destroyed. I asked if I could have her body. He told me she was turned over to a facility and disposed in a mass cremation and burial plot. He said I could go there as it is a nice place – that sickened me. My cat was killed and now I am denied the right to even bury my faithful friend of 18 YEARS!!!!!!!!!!!!
When I got home from work, I went over to the neighbor and told him what happened. He said he knew since the Humane Society had called him earlier yesterday. We worked up timelines and I realized that they called him BEFORE they called me back. The meeting they were in was a DAMAGE CONTROL meeting related to this issue. He said the director was trying to get him to confirm that the cat was violent and hard to handle. He said he told that was not the case at all and the cat was very friendly to him. He did say the cat looked emaciated. My cat was old and thin but she had been checked out fine by my veterinarian. It is notable that no one in the process of killing my cat was a Vet. If they thought she was sickly, they should have treated her, not killed her. Anyway, that is when I realized he was trying to coach my neighbor to help his case. I was outraged!!!!!!!!
Now I want you to see what is posted prominently on their Harford County Humane Society website’s lost Pets page.
All pets that are picked up by the Harford County Division of Animal Control are brought to our shelter. We accept stray animals from the public as well as from Animal Control.
We maintain an extensive file of lost reports. We highly recommend that if your pet is lost, you file a lost report with HSHC, complete with a picture and detailed description of your pet. You should also check back with HSHC in person every couple of days as descriptions can be misrepresenting and many pets are especially difficult to match up to lost reports.
The law requires that stray animals be held for a period of time so that owners can find and reclaim them. Dogs are held for four days (not including Sundays or holidays) and cats for three days on “stray holds”. After this time, the animal is placed up for adoption and becomes the property of HSHC. For this reason, it is important that you check with HSHC via phone and in person frequently during the first few days of losing your pet. However, you may still redeem your pet after the stray hold has ended if the animal is still at HSHC.”
My Cat was murdered within an hour or two upon her arrival to this facility. She was incorrectly deemed to be violent and feral but alleged professionals and executed outside the LAW they are referring to in the excerpt above. If this is the law and it was broken – this should not go unpunished. Unenforced laws are not laws at all.
These people violated the trust of my neighbor who took the cat there for a chance of survival – not to be killed instantly. These people took my sweet friend of 18 years and killed her without any remorse. She died terrified and without me with her – Something that is making me sick to my stomach as I write this tale of the murder of my cat. I loved that cat as much as any other member of my family. She deserved dignity and respect in her last moments – not a needle in some dark cage. Finally these people took the opportunity for me to cremate or bury my cat as I saw fit to grieve her passing!
I hope you can help me make this outrage public. Something needs to be done so this will not happen again. If it was a matter of me paying them to board her for three days I would have gladly pay them. My elation that she was at the “Human Society” and was safe on Monday evening, turned to overwhelming sadness, anger, and outrage when I found out she was really at the Cat Extermination Facility or INHUMANE Society after talking to them on Tuesday.
Finally here are two recent pictures of this VIOLENT and FERAL Cat
Rest in Peace sweet Mistoffelees – You will not be forgotten.
Mistoffelees and Robert Brooks’ supporters are seeking 10k signatures on a petition at change.org that asks for changes in policy and, more importantly, practice at the shelter that will give other pet owners a chance to reclaim their treasured companions , and they ask you to consider adding your name and sharing.
The petition is titled Petitioning Mary Leavens, The Humane Society of Harford County : Enforce a mandatory 72 hour hold on all animals admitted. To visit the petition page at change.org and sign, click HERE.
The H.O.P.E. in Harford County Facebook page is advocating for Mistoffelees, and posted this July 21 update from Robert Brooks:
All, Please keep up the good fight.
This is far from over! I have been working with folks to try to get support for the LONG HAUL.
The folks at HSHC have dug in. They cancelled their meeting with me they insisted they wanted to have with me in there PR messages to the public. One of the Lawyers on the board call my attorney and it seems that didn’t result in a meeting. Seems he thinks I am over emotional about this incident and should back off.
I hope Mr. Fang, the Board of Executives, and even the County Executive, Mr Craig (who was brought into this by the statement in an email from his Chief Of Staff that is posted here) do NOT believe I am going to GO AWAY – or be “Handled”.
The more they try to strong arm me and ignore me the more motivated they make me to fight the good fight!
One only thing in this that has been EASY for me is maintaining the integrity of my story. It has been easy because it is true. My testament to all has not changed, that is just not something the folks on the other “side” can claim.
Sadly there are sides here. The folks empowered to represent the community with regard to the welfare of our animals and the board empowered to oversee them (TO INCLUDE GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS) have aligned themselves as a group against my quest for justice and reform. This is sad, tragic, and SCARY!!
I hope this gets resolved! For Mistoffelees sake and all the animals that will enter the HSHC in the future – especially the CATS!
I still desperately miss MISTOFFELEES!!!