Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Tale of an Unlucky Black Cat

Liverpool Magistrates' Court had to deal with a killing of a different kind in 1933 when a woman stole her neighbour's cat and had it destroyed.

On 24th January that year Stipendiary Magistrate Stuart Deacon was astonished to hear that Doris Walmsley, of Morningside Road in West Derby, had taken her neighbour's cat to a shelter to be destroyed. Walmsley had told the keeper worker Mary Pennell that she had done this at the cat's owners request as she hated animals and had put it out of her house.

The reality was that Walmsley had stolen the black tom cat and taken this action as she believed it had damaged her garden. Mr Deacon was confused as to why a shelter would destroy a cat and said to Pennell 'What are you, a professional murderer of cats, a shelter does not sound like a place where cats are brought to be killed. I understand a cat's shelter is where it lives and has its being but it appears to be another word for crematorium.' In reply, all Pennell could say was that she was a voluntary worker acting under instructions.

When Walmsley took the stand, she claimed that she was unaware that cats had any value and thought she could do what she wanted with it as it was in her garden. Mr Deacon was not impressed with such a stance, admonishing her by saying 'A cat is a domestic animal, it may have considerable value if it has a pedigree, it may be valuable in killing mice and it may be the object of someone's affection.'  He then fined her twenty shillings.

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