In Manchester, United Kingdom, a beautiful cat named Ferdinand (pictured left) was found dead and horribly mutilated on January 11, 2011. Many of his body parts had been cut off and stolen, and his remains were in ghastly shape.
What a heartbreaking find for his grief-stricken family. As an owner of two cats and someone who has had many other cats in the past, I cannot imagine the anguish the poor family endured when they found Ferdinand.
If you're on Facebook, I strongly encourage you to "Like" the group Justice for Ferdinand. This wonderful Facebook group has grown to more than 1,700 members and counting, with new people joining regularly. It was founded by Ferdinand's family, but has grown into a wonderful network of kindred spirits who have rallied around the Manchester family that suffered from this agonizing loss.
I would also ask that you take a moment to visit their Website, Justice for Ferdinand.
Ferdinand's family has created an online petition to bring the issue of cat mutilation to the attention of the public. The petition simply states:
You can find the petition on the Justice for Ferdinand website or Facebook page. This is a very important petition to sign. Even if you don't live in the UK, please - please - take a moment to sign it. I'm Canadian and I didn't hesitate for a second to add my name to the growing list.
This case is about much more than outlawing the theft of domestic animal body parts in a particular part of the UK where such monstrosities are allowed to go unpunished. It is about keeping alive the memory of a cat who lived a wonderful life and met an unthinkable fate.
And it is about taking a stand against the monsters in any society, whether they're in the UK, Canada, the United States or any other part of the world where animals suffer from violence at the hands of cruel sadists.
Don't think for a moment that the death of Ferdinand was an isolated case.
Several of the citizens of Sacramento, California, for example, could easily understand the grief that Ferdinand's family has experienced. Last year, numerous cats in Sacramento's Rosemont neighbourhood were found mutilated. When the death toll reached nine cats in July, a local animal welfare group posted a $3,000 reward for the culprits. (Source)
That same month, a rash of horrible cat deaths occurred in Edmonton, Alberta. (Source) The situation got to be so tense in Edmonton that all cat owners were urged by the Humane Society not to let their cats outdoors.
The previous year, a teenager went around two suburbs of Miami, mutilating more than a dozen cats before his reign of terror was brought to a halt. The disturbed 18-year-old stayed in jail briefly before being released by a judge. (Source) A similar wave of cat killings and mutilations swept across Houston for about year in 2008 and 2009. (Source)
What makes Ferdinand's story stand out as so poignant is that his family has very effectively used the social networking website Facebook to publicize his case and win support for the passage of stricter laws in the UK.
Their petition is gaining more and more signatures each day. At last report, the number of signers shot past the 1,300 mark and was fast on its way to 1,400. What a great tribute to Ferdinand that so many people are so moved by his case that they add their names amongst the countless others who are taking a stand against the horrors of cat abuse.
May we all learn an important lesson from Ferdinand's tragedy - and from the spirited and encouraging public response that arose in his name. None of this will bring Ferdinand back. But it marks the first of many steps toward creating strict punishments against the vile sickos who think they can murder and mutilate cats and get away with it.