The Tragic Case of Pet Cat Tom: An Incident That Shook North Canterbury

The Tragic Case of Pet Cat Tom

Last Updated on July 4, 2023 by Fumipets

The Tragic Case of Pet Cat Tom: An Incident That Shook North Canterbury


Tragedy Strikes in North Canterbury’s Tranquil Environment

In the serenity of North Canterbury, an incident occurred that shattered the peace of an elderly couple residing near the beautiful Okuku River. Their beloved pet cat, Tom, was mercilessly shot, instilling fear in their hearts and raising significant safety concerns for the entire community.

A Precious Life Cut Short

Tom, an adored family pet, was discovered severely wounded on their property. The incident came just a week after the end of the region’s contentious cat-killing competition, sparking speculations and discomfort among the community.

Despite the competition having concluded, the family suspects some rogue hunters are carrying on with the troubling practice. A normally peaceful night turned to horror as Tom was found in a bloodied state, his shoulder blade brutally shattered by a gunshot.

A Race Against Time

In an attempt to save their beloved feline, the family rushed Tom to a vet in Oxford. The vet confirmed that the culprit was a bullet from a firearm more powerful than a .22 caliber rifle. Regrettably, despite all the efforts, Tom couldn’t be saved. The unfortunate incident prompted an immediate police report due to the lethal nature of the bullet discovered in Tom’s body.

A Challenging Terrain and Disturbing Spotlights

Tanya Seletkoff, the daughter of the affected couple, expressed her concerns to the New Zealand Herald. She explained their property’s location, nestled in rural bush on the riverside of Okuku River, requiring a sturdy vehicle to access it. However, the home remains easily visible from the riverside. Noting that Tom was a home-loving cat and never ventured too far, she expressed her shock, stating that the hunters must have known the feline was a domestic pet.

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Seletkoff also shared that her parents had noticed spotlights emerging from the trees, suggesting illicit hunting activities. Spotlight hunting is strictly prohibited by law, as per the Department of Conservation. Yet, it seemed that someone trespassed onto the couple’s property, likely intending to hunt game.

Controversial Hunting Culture

North Canterbury’s hunting culture has been under scrutiny, particularly because of its cat-killing competition. Interestingly, the competition initially excluded a category that required children under 13 to shoot feral cats. However, it was later reinstated exclusively for adults.

Although Okuku was outside the competition’s boundaries, Seletkoff harbors suspicions that the practice of hunting feral cats in the region continues. One of the competition’s organizers, Matt Bailey, refutes any association with the tragic incident, condemning any hunting activities near residential properties.

Safety Concerns Escalate

This horrifying incident escalated the fear of safety among the residents. Seletkoff, a mother of a 2-year-old, who frequently visits the area for walks and camping, expressed her concerns about their lives being in potential danger due to reckless hunters.

Another Painful Memory Resurfaces

The unfortunate incident brought back painful memories for the family, who had lost their pet dog Fluffy in May during a walk near the Okuku River when it was attacked by two larger dogs. Seletkoff highlighted this disturbing trend to the local police, who marked the case as firearms-related given the seriousness of the bullet used.

Hopes for Justice and Better Animal Welfare

The family reported seeing multiple police units patrolling Riverside Rd after the incident. They hope for justice and more consideration for domestic animals. Alison Vaughan, the SPCA’s scientific officer, expressed her sorrow over the incident, emphasizing the importance of observing strict regulations when dealing with animals. She also mentioned potential legal consequences under the Animal Welfare Act 1999.

Vaughan encouraged cat owners to use cat-proof fencing, catios, or enriched indoor living for the safety and happiness of their feline friends. “Companion cats are much-loved members of many New Zealand families,” she remarked, reminding people of the profound grief and emotional distress caused by such tragic incidents.

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Original article sourced from the Otago Daily Times.


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