Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Wal-Mart Cat Killers Get Off Easy

If you haven't been following the news lately, you may have missed a story about some Wal-Mart employees in Indiana who took a pellet gun from the store shelves and used it to shoot a stray cat to death.

At first, it looked like these killers were going to face felony charges, but now it appears that only a misdemeanor is in the offing. According to an article published in today's Indianapolis Star, this may not be illegal at all:

Attorney Michael Keating said Indiana law allows people to kill stray animals on their property.

"Had they taken a shotgun with a deer slug and blown it into little bitty pieces, no crime would have been committed," he said Tuesday.

"You can shoot a stray animal on your property; that's been the law in Indiana since the time of the formation of the state," added Keating, who represents former assistant manager Christopher Anderson.

I can see both sides of this issue. I think you'd want the authority to kill wild animals that show up on your property. If this were a rat or even a racoon and it was running around your house, spreading disease, and biting your family, you'd want the right to kill it, without having to think twice.

However, this is not a rat or a racoon. It's a cat, a cat that could have been taken to a shelter and possibly adopted. It may sound hypocritical to make distinctions between different kinds of animal but I believe in them. Yes, I'll eat a chicken, but I would not eat a dog or a horse.

In many other countries, however, cats are considered more of a nuisance than a pet, because large bands of feral cats roam the streets. Can we really judge? I'd like to think so.


Anonymous said...

Sounds like Indiana needs the same law as we have in the UK. It is an offence to cause unecessary suffering to an animal. No distinction between vermin and pets. It is legal to kill feral cats (or any cats for that matter), but if you cause it pain or suffering beyond what the court believes to be reasonable then the penalties are severe.

Anonymous said...

indiana needs to change that law. how could anyone allow that to happen to a cat. maybe those employees should be shot with a pellet gun and see how they like it.