This page: We made many attempts to establish just who was responsible for Blackie's demise - read the story here.
What we are up against
Blackie's betrayal -
Getting to the truth - How we tried to find out what happened and why
We heard about Blackie's tragic end, and we agreed to help Paul and Rita in trying to establish how this could have happened.
It has been an uphill struggle trying to establish the truth, and we still do not know for sure, but it is a story that illustrates the dangers an ex-stray can be in even when rescued and a vet and Cats Protection become involved!
First of all, we wrote letters to all concerned:
The local Cats Protection Branch
Cats Protection head office
We wrote the same letter (more or less) to each, asking for their comment on the responsibilities and legalities involved from their point of view. We sent these by post to be 'signed for' so we knew they had been received.
We had no reply from the vet.
We had no reply from the CP branch;
but we did have a reply from CP head office. This reply from head office was the start of a very frustrating series of emails in which we tried, in vain, to establish the exact involvement of CP with regard to Blackie's demise on 29 January 2015.
We then wrote second, follow-up, letters to the vet and the CP Branch.
Again, neither replied, although the Branch forwarded our letter to CP head office, who then asked us to direct all communications via head office - sadly, they were not able to answer any of the questions we had asked. We got nowhere.
All we can do is look at what we know, and question what might have led to Blackie being put down.
What could have happened?
The vet tested for FIV and put Blackie down when the result was positive - that we know.
The vet would have needed instructions and 'informed consent' in order to do that [see RCVS Code of Practice for vets] - Paul and Rita did not give those instructions or consent. So who did?
The only other party involved was Cats Protection.
Lets look at the possibilities - the three options would appear to be:
1. The vet acted on his own volition in testing and putting down Blackie
2. There was a valid CP neutering voucher
(Note: a neutering voucher is simply a voucher with a monetary value - usually just a proportion of the actual cost - which the vet can redeem from CP on neutering the cat for which the voucher was issued. There is no other CP involvement.)
3. Cats Protection issued the instructions as client
In option 1 - the vet would have needed 'informed consent' from Paul and Rita - this was not requested or given
In option 2 - the vet would still have needed 'informed consent' from Paul and Rita - again, not requested or given
In option 3 - the vet acted on instructions from Cats Protection - CP neither confirm nor deny this
If either option 1 or 2 were the case, and the vet still tested and put Blackie down without consent, he would appear to have committed an offence and put himself in a very serious position professionally.
If option 3 was the case, then it would appear that Cats Protection would have acted beyond their remit and potentially be in breach of the 'Damage of Goods Act' for instructing the testing and killing of someone else's cat.
So the important question is: who was the client to the vet regarding Blackie on 29 January 2015?
If the vet had thought it was Paul and Rita, either with or without a neutering voucher from CP :
- He would have needed a consent form signed when they brought Blackie in for neutering - he didn't request or get one
- He would have needed Paul and Rita's instruction/consent to test for FIV - he didn't request or get one
- He would have needed Paul and Rita's consent to put Blackie down - he didn't request or get it - he simply told Rita what had happened.
- He would have charged them for the test and euthanasia - he did not charge them for anything
All of the above would suggest that he did not think Paul and Rita were his clients that day. Unfortunately, the vet has neither confirmed nor denied this - we wonder why.
If the vet had thought Cats Protection was his client, then he would have done exactly as he did, following instructions and 'CP policy' - well, partly, at least - [see note about CP policy for FIV cats].
Obviously, the CP Branch could have confirmed or denied whether they instructed the vet, but they never responded to any of our three letters with more detailed questions we sent them.
If Cats Protection had not acted as client, we wonder why they would not simply have said so in response to our questions?
The local branch has said nothing, and head office has consistently avoided answering the question - perhaps head office don't actually know what happened, but they did ask us to direct all communications via them, so we feel they should have found out - or perhaps they did?
During our extensive exchange of emails with head office, during which the two options of Cats Protection involvement were discussed, namely - a CP neutering voucher, or CP acting as client and instructing the vet - we received no clear answer as to which was actually the case. Despite repeated requests, all we received were emails that raised all sorts of side issues, but never addressed the all important question.
Finally, somewhat in frustration at not being given a straight answer, we sent an email with nothing but the all-important question :
"did Cats Protection act as client and instruct the vet with regard to Blackie's treatment on 29 January 2015"
- what reply did we receive?
Absolute silence. No reply at all!
- what reply did we receive?
Absolute silence. No reply at all!
The questions still remain:
Who instructed the vet to test, and put down on a positive result?
Who was charged and, presumably, paid for the testing and euthanasia?
Paul and Rita did neither - Neither the vet, nor Cats Protection will answer the question.
So WHY was Blackie put down?
Paul and Rita were told, both by the vet and by the local CP Branch, that it was because it was 'Cats Protection policy'.
But CP had no jurisdiction over Blackie, so whether it is CP policy or not, that is no valid reason to have put Blackie down.
What is Cats Protection policy for stray cats with FIV?
We did investigate just what CP policy is for a stray cat with FIV - it seems that Blackie's treatment did NOT comply with their stated policy even if CP had had jurisdiction [see what we discovered about CP policy]
Who owned Blackie anyway?
The question of who owns a stray cat also has some relevance, so we looked into that as well [see what we found out about ownership of a stray cat] in Blackie's case, it certainly was not Cats Protection.
Our attempts to get to the truth
RCVS - vets code of practice re 'informed consent'
CP - Veterinary notes re FIV and FeLV
CP - flow charts for management of FIV cats
CP - Strays policy
Ownership - general
Cats and the Law (ICC/The Cat Group publication)
Report by those who put together the 'Cats and the Law' publication
The Cat Group - policy on FIV
ICC (International Cat Care) - latest notes on FIV
<back to top>