Lost Cat Deemed Feral Upon Impound at Jefferson City Pound, Gassed to Death

On a December afternoon in 2012, a black cat named Stella went missing in owner Linda Laucks’ Jefferson City, Missouri neighborhood.  Ms. Laucks contacted the Jefferson City pound the morning after Stella didn’t come home and asked the director if a black cat had been impounded.  The director said no.

Ms. Laucks then sought out a neighbor who had put out a trap for a pair of feral cats she was trying to help.  The neighbor told Ms. Laucks that one day earlier, Stella had been caught in the trap intended for the feral cats and when the ACO came to pick her up, the neighbor had advised that the cat was not feral, not one of the pair she was trying to help and looked like a pet who lived in the neighborhood.  The ACO took Stella anyway.

Ms. Laucks called the pound back and confronted the person who answered the phone with the report from the neighbor.  She knew her cat had been impounded and demanded she be allowed to pick her up.

“They put me on hold for about three to five minutes, and the girl came back on and said, ‘Well, we did have her, but we don’t have her anymore,’” Laucks said.

At the Jefferson City pound, which kills 56% of the cats in its care, Stella had been scanned for a microchip (which she didn’t have) then deemed feral and put into the gas chamber.  All within 1/2 hour of impound.

[Ms. Laucks] said she went to claim Stella at the shelter, and the feline was unrecognizable to her.
“Foam was coming out of her mouth and her claws were protruded,” Laucks said. “It looked like her head was bent in towards her chest.”

Ms. Laucks is now committed to getting the pound’s feral cat policy, which appears to be stuff-any-unchipped-cat-into-the-gas-chamber-as-fast-as-you-can, changed.

Stella had a right to live and to be reclaimed by her owner.  Feral cats too have the right to live and to be returned to their home, which is the community, after being neutered and vaccinated.  And no animal, regardless of any shelter worker’s opinion on whether the animal is wild or a housepet, should be gassed to death.  The Jefferson City Animal Shelter director and staff need to start doing their jobs to shelter animals.

(Thank you Clarice for the link.)

12 thoughts on “Lost Cat Deemed Feral Upon Impound at Jefferson City Pound, Gassed to Death

  1. Personally, if a ‘shelter’ gave one of my cats back to me looking the way you described I’d be dragging their asses up and down the court-house steps for the rest of their sorry-ass natural born lives.

  2. Disgusting!! :( Did AC actually allow the woman to view her dead cat before they incinerated her or threw her in the trash or whatever they do with the pets that they wantonly kill?

  3. How horrific.

    I do have to wonder about the neighbor “trying to help” ferals who called the ACO. I’m assuming that she only called him because she thought this was a pet he would take to the shelter for safety.

    1. I wondered too but felt inclined to give her the benefit of the doubt since so many people labor under the false belief that animal shelters actually shelter animals.

  4. Gassing should be outlawed, period! Animal cruelty should be outlawed, period! Lost cats and dogs should be cared for until they can be reclaimed, period!

    I hope the owner takes legal action. The AC was told this was not a feral cat (not that they don’t deserve to be TNR’d either ~ they do!)

    RIP Stella

  5. Poor Stella! Was it not bad enough she was gassed, but from the description, it sounds like she died in extreme agony, too…foaming at the mouth, protruding claws, and arched neck. I would consider this an act of extreme animal cruelty, too! I hope this owner sues!

  6. My heart goes out to this woman and her cat, this is too horrific to even find words for. Barbaric? Sadistic? Anything but sheltering, this is slaughter. I hope someday these slaughterhouses are put out of business and no kill shelters take over. But weeks like these I just despair. Time to hug the dogs and regroup.

  7. if any one of us who are everyday pet owners, killed an animal by suffocation or with carbon monoxide…we would be charged with animal cruelty. but it is still ok in so many places for this barbaric practice to continue. WE have to keep working and fighting against the culture of death that exists in so many of our nations shelters.

  8. all shelter-pets have a right to life.. and there are more than enough homes and incredible love in people’s hearts to accommodate them..
    i believe that stringent laws should be considered by the bureaucrats for animal protection in the shelters.. and the shelter-director and staff should be accountable and discharged if found guilty of wrong-doings.. the shelter-director in many cities seems to be having a stable job is spite of being cruel to the shelter-pets and the kill stats hit the sky and animal-lovers are sad in their city..
    if laws could be made that holds the shelter-director responsible for the shelter stats ( which they actually are ) and remove them from jobs if the stats are below 99% then one can see a genuinely caring Shelter- Director.. not these apologies of shelter-directors.

  9. They kill because they get some perverse pleasure out of the control.
    I hope she sues them into oblivion.

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