Part of the letter which was written to a Stoke neighbour threatening to kill her cat. Photo: Supplied.

Owner moves after cat threatened

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A former Stoke resident is so terrified of what might have become of her beloved cat that she moved out of the area after a ‘frightening’ run-in with her neighbour.

The woman, who did not want to be named, told the Nelson Weekly of the incident where her cat went missing late last year.

She was told by neighbours that another neighbour had found it and she needed to go round and collect her.

Her cat had previously had to be collected late at night after climbing onto her neighbour’s roof.

When she arrived, she was greeted by David Riddell, who handed her a note saying that her cat “molests” his pet birds every day and he had resolved to “catch and kill” the cat.

However, in the spirit of Christmas he said that he would give the cat back with a warning.

“Next time it repeats trespass, it will die,” he wrote.

The woman says she was very frightened by the encounter.

She was led into David’s backyard where she saw a cat in a trap. However, it was not her own.

The woman then left the house in tears worried what might become of that cat.

Her own cat was never seen again, and she moved out of the area soon afterwards for fear that she might run into her neighbour again.

When contacted by the Weekly, David Riddell said he did not “hate cats” but just wanted his neighbours to exercise greater control over their animals.

He said that it was not appropriate for the woman’s cat to be climbing on his roof late at night.

He would not explicitly deny that he had killed any cats in the past other than to repeat again and again that his neighbours “have nothing to be concerned about at all”.

The Weekly understands that there have been previous complaints made to agencies about David’s actions regarding cats.

Legally, cats are allowed to trespass, and their owner is not usually liable for any damage they do.

Nelson SPCA manager Donna Walzl says that a complaint was made about the incident, but they were unable to get to the bottom of it. Police were also contacted.

“If a cat comes on your property you are not allowed to kill it. That’s against the law,” she says.

Donna says it can be a “difficult situation” to manage as cats like to wander but there are options.

These included talking to owners about potentially keeping the cat indoors or to the complainant about how to make their properties less attractive to felines.

She says that the SPCA wants to hear about any situations where those encounters escalate and result in animals potentially being harmed.