The Real Danger to Black Cats at Halloween

The risk of possible animal abuse by a screened adoption applicant exists at all times, not just Halloween. There is no evidence showing the risk of possible animal abuse by a screened adoption applicant increases at Halloween. And yet some shelters and rescue groups “protect” black cats by refusing to place them with screened applicants in the weeks leading up to Halloween. This myth-based practice results in increased cats in the kill room – which is the opposite of “protection”.

While I don’t know if Memphis Animal Services refuses to adopt out black cats at Halloween, I do know they kill them, just like they do all year.  And here, MAS reminds us that the real threat to black cats comes from those with the license to kill, not from mythical animal sacrifice ritualists at Halloween.

Portion of records, obtained via FOIA request, for kitten #247391 at the Memphis pound.
Portion of records, obtained via FOIA request, for kitten #247392 at the Memphis pound.

This pair of black kittens could not have weighed more than 2 pounds combined. They were just one month old when someone brought them to MAS on October 11. James Rogers, the interim director at the pound, allowed them to live overnight before deciding they were taking up too much room and had to die. Each kitten was killed, using enough Fatal Plus to kill a 10 pound dog, on October 12. It must have been difficult to find a vein on these tiny scared kittens and I wonder if they were in fact injected IC or IP instead.  There was no sedative given according to the records.

These healthy baby cats had a right to live.  They were never offered for adoption and to my knowledge no plea was issued to rescue groups, fosters or the public before MAS killed them.  How many more for your chamber of horrors, Memphis?


24 thoughts on “The Real Danger to Black Cats at Halloween

  1. Until someone from Memphis steps up and does something, we will continue to read these horror stories of animals being killed.

    Those wee ones deserved a chance to grow up. MAS, what is it going to take to stop the killing? I know you are reading this blog, but you aren’t even courageous enough to do anything more than lurk.

    Shame on you for taking the lives of these kittens and of all the others who didn’t deserve to die. You people are despicable and will someday have to answer for what you are doing now. And, frankly, everyone who knows what’s going on and turns the other way or doesn’t try to stop it, well, you are also part of the problem.

    I’m sick of learning about the killing – but if we don’t pay attention, then it continues without hope of ever changing. The animals who have died deserve to have their deaths mean something – even if it is too late for them.


  2. What is it with Memphis?? Are they all idiots?? I get so tired of seeing this shelter and the one in Texas that keeps a URI in the shelter at all times. Looks like the “caretakers” should all be fired and a whole entire new crew be hired to take care of these animals and the shelters. I just wonder how much trouble it would take to have this done? Are they all elected or are they hired? I know where I live, at one time, the animal warden was elected and it was always the same person and boy did he LOVE TO KILL THE ANIMALS!! I think it made his day. I know he was in Vietnam, but that doesn’t make him have the right to kill every animal that came into the pound. He was a vicious man. His PTSD showed very well. Now, the people are hired thank God and they are trying their best to get the animals put on Facebook and the girls do everything they can to get the animals adopted before the “executioner” comes around every week or two. I have offered to help in any way I can but was refused because they said it would have to go through the board and have it okay’d before I could help. Sounds like bullshit to me. If you have someone that is willing and able to take the animals for a walk, take some pictures, put them on Facebook and Twitter and other places they should be allowed to. I even offered to sign a waiver stating that I would be liable for any injuries that I obtained while doing this. But they didnt want to get in touch with the “powers that be” and take my help. Oh well, one good thing is that we had an anonymous person give a large amount of money for spay/neuter, shots and vetting on all the animals if they would just adopt them out. We dont’ know who it is and really don’t care. We are just so happy and thankful for this person whoever it was. Now it’s only $10 to adopt a pet from out POUND!! I wish there were more people like this in the world. But I still want to volunteer. :) I wish that Memphis and Texas shelters could get someone like this to come in and just take over for you guys. I pray for your shelter every day and the one in Texas. God Bless you for letting us know about what goes on in that shelter. Hopefully someone with some money and is a phlanthrapist will come along and help you all out. Keep up the good work and the open mouth!! This needs to be heard all over the United States..

    Take Care, Biscuit.. you’re a real advocate and I appreciate every thing you do for these animals.

    much love..



    “Until one has loved an animal, part of their soul remains unawakened” Kathie


  3. What kind of monster could kill a kitten? With probably a heart stick no less. Makes me want to cry, what a travesty.

  4. As a rescue who screens adopters, while I agree with your thoughts in a well screened applicant, we do not allow adopted black cats
    To go home until after Halloween-
    1. It allows us the opportunity to educate the public on the issues of abuse cats suffer at the hands of those creating mayhem during this Holliday period.
    2. A cat in a new environment can become scared and may bolt thru an opened door.
    We also don’t allow cats to go to a new home at other Hollidays if there is going to be a large family gathering for exactly the same reason.
    Cats need to bond with their people and surroundings so they have their established safe place if they feel frightened.
    And people need to know their cats personalities to protect them.
    I have seen the best Vetted applicants do stupid stuff- against our advice because they “know it all”.

    1. You are protecting cats to death.

      How do you know there is going to be a large family gathering or other unusual activity at someone’s home on any given holiday? How do you know those same things ARE NOT occurring when you send pets home on non-holidays?

    2. Holidays may well be the only time a couple or family can be together at home during the week, and the only time they can easily visit the shelter.

      What’s more, many of us – I base that ‘many’ on personal observation in different cities and neighborhoods – many of us are neither rowdy nor especially gregarious on the holidays, nor is there any mayhem in our vicinity.

      And finally, is there actual objective statistical evidence that animal abuse increases during Hallowe’en? Because I’m guessing, just based on my personal observation, that there may not be – that what we’ve got is something like the old assertion that domestic abuse increased during the Superbowl, a story that sounds like it might be true but isn’t.

      1. This might sound sad/pathetic (but yo, it’s not!) but we live in a rural area, in a different county than the family we have locally. They rarely drive out to our house. And when I say rarely, I mean I can’t recall what year it was when family last dropped by our house. I would guess at least 5 years ago. In the 11 years we’ve had this house, we’ve never had a trick-or-treater or xmas carolers. For any rescue group to make an assumption that we would have too much chaos, comings and goings, door openings and closings, visitors, or anything of that nature because it’s a holiday would be foolish and incorrect. In fact, we don’t have those things at any other time of the year either. We are basically hermits living in an isolated area. I doubt we are the only people in the country who fail to fit into this rescue’s stereotype.

      2. I live in the middle of no where also, have very few visitor any time of year, personally I avoid holiday get-togethers. so that wouldn’t be an issue here either.. and if a shelter refused me saving a life during the holidays I would be furious.. I see plenty of pleas on FB begging to take an animal home for the holidays, because they close the doors for an extended holiday vacation and murder animal “because it’s the Holidays” and they need the space and don’t want to work etc etc..

      3. We don’t live in the middle of nowhere, it’s just a quiet neighborhood. They exist, even in cities!

        BTW, I’ve been searching for any statistics on black cats or any cats on Hallowe’en, and so far it looks like there’s no data at all. Certainly none that’s readily accessible. So, looks like everyone’s been talking through their hats.

      4. The local hs and ac facilities actually do a “home for the holidays” to get all of their animals in foster homes during the holiday season. Not too surprising, not all of them are returned. Some of those fosters turn out to be permanent homes and the rest get a break from the shelters. I thought it was a great idea (although taking a foster back is NEVER easy).

  5. I don’t make assumptions -regarding adopters.
    It is part of our adoption questions. Are you planning on being away for the Holidays has just as much significance. For a follow up question would be- what arrangements would you make for the new pet in your absence.
    The animals are adopted out already. We just foster them until it is a better time for not only the adopter but the pet.
    If the adopter thinks about the offer of free boarding and then says they feel they will be able to keep the animal safe during the initial bonding period then the animal can go home. Regardless the animal has been adopted.
    This protocol has eliminated a lot of returns due to sudden behavioral issues.
    Each party involved in giving this animal a home is a participant in making it a forever home.
    Seems like those who have no actual in the field experience in saving, adopting, or otherwise have a lot of typing experience.

  6. So if I follow what the gist of the rebuttals are, then free to a good home should be just fine.

    Just as long as the animal doesn’t go to AC.

    In my dogfighting area of the country- those kittens can fetch at least $5 from a dog fighter to use as bait- pretty good times for the druggies that will drive 1 1/2 hr to get
    Those “free kittens” .

    Oh – yeah these are vetted people- according to the people who want to “get rid of those kittens from that stray mama” The adopters- pull up in the driveway with two ragTag Kids and we just know those little girls will love those kittens. They took three!!!
    And I just “got rid” of those kittens without calling AC who will kill them. I feel so good about myself I could just spit.!!!!

    1. Free to a good home using the same reasonable screening protocols as are used with all adoptions are good by me. I love all my (past and present) free pets very much!

    2. We get so caught up in the either/or. I know there are bad people out there and I know they do awful things to animals. BUT I always do vet checks and careful screenings before my animals go anywhere and I always do follow ups and agree that the animal comes back to me for any reason. Might a FEW fall through the screening process? Maybe, but it’s almost a given that in many animal control/shelter facilities, they will be killed.
      Let’s use some common sense and stop the fighting with each other. We all want the same thing here – and this does not help.
      And, yes, there have been potential adopters who have not gotten my fosters because something didn’t add up or I had a bad feeling about the people after visiting the home or watching them with the animal. And I don’t kill 90% of my fosters, so that puts me way ahead of some of the facilities we read about.
      And, no, I likely would not have adopted to the people with the two little kids without a lot of checking.

  7. Nathan’s Oct 17 post on his Facebook page puts it in a nutshell- “stay laser focused…”
    For when the so called captain champions of the no-kill movement start slaying their own soldiers for not walking lock step to their personal picadillos- and how dare they speak about “their experiences” as if they had something to add to the national discourse,
    Then the battle will be lost as we walk away from uncalled for snide abuse.

    1. Kittypurr,

      This is my blog. I set it up so I could share my thoughts and opinions. And while I don’t expect everyone who decides to come here will agree with all of my views, I certainly feel I can defend my opinions, as vigorously as I like.

      We are not enemies. Just because I expressed my opinion that your group is doing a disservice by refusing to adopt out cats at Halloween does not mean I am “slaying” your group. I am mature enough to sit at the table with people who disagree with me. I do not however sit quietly at that table.

      I am for screening all applicants in the same reasonable manner regardless of arbitrary criteria such as shape of dog, date on calendar or adoption fee. You are obviously free to disagree with any/all of those stances.

  8. My cat Otto, not two years old, vanished yesterday around 10 am and I haven’t seen him since. The darling butterball has never gone more than 3 hours without a meal and I’m worried sick that some f–kheads are planning to slaughter him in a “ritual” tomorrow. He’s not even a black cat. I feel powerless and I can’t sleep. Your blog is the only place on the whole friggin’ ‘net that’s addressed this. Ten cats have disappeared from my town in the past 24 hours.

    Thank you for having a voice. It gives me a bit of comfort to know not everyone calls it an urban legend.

  9. People purposedfully abuse cats during Halloween time, for the sake of it? Wow. Where have I been? Anyway, if the shelter wants the keep the animals for a while then fine, but not if the only other option is to kill it.

  10. I recall a panic about “Halloween ritual abuse” of cats some time ago in San Jose. It turned out that the “ritual abusers” were, in fact, suburban coyotes. I will bet you money that coyotes are much more dangerous to cats than ritual abuse. Often people don’t realize that coyotes (as well as raccoons, skunks, and, in suburbs bordering rural areas, bobcats and mountain lions) do live right alongside people.

    I have never heard of black cats or other cats being specifically targeted on Halloween. Wiccans do celebrate Samhain on October 31, but Wicca is a religion that stresses respect for life and has as its first law “Harm none.” I think there might be some panic among the uninformed about Wicca, but all the Wiccans I know have pets and cherish them. Wiccans aren’t Satanists or “wicked witches!”

    Coyotes, on the other hand, will eat your cat or small dog no matter the time of year.

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