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Can my neighbor kill my cats?

post #1 of 58
Thread Starter 
Hi, I have a question about laws relating to cats in Texas.

I have a neighbor who has been complaining about our cats going into his yard and pooping. He has a cage set up and has been catching our cats, and then calling the animal shelter, who is putting the animals to sleep. As soon as we found out about this, we contacted the animal shelter and we were told that if our cats had collars showing that they were vaccinated, that they would not pick up our cats. We proceeded to go to the vet and vaccinate our cats and buy them collars and tags.

This morning, our neighbor told us that if the animal shelter wouldn't pick up the cats when he called them, that he was just going to take this into his own cats and KILL any cat that entered his property.

My question is, can he do that? I mean, of course, he can kill a cat, but is it legal? Can this man do whatever he wants to my pet cats if they enter his property? I mean these cats have been raised outside and roam all throughout the neighborhood freely. I can stop them from entering his property. There are 8 cats, most of them are adults, two are small kittens who also roam around freely.
post #2 of 58
Legally I doubt that he can kill your cats. But will he I'm sure he will . Some people are cruel sick and twisted. This sounds like your neighbor. All you can do is either build a contained area in your yard for your cats. Or keep them inside. If you want to keep your cats safe from this sicko neighbor then the cats have to kept inside. Even if you report him to the police its hard to prove he did kill them. He might set out poison or even kill them and dispose of the bodies!
I'm sorry your having to deal with this type of person.
post #3 of 58
Thread Starter 
I was thinking of the exact same thing. This would be very hard to prove unless we'd actually see him do (and that would still be a "she said/he said" type thing). More than likely, he'll kill my cats and dispose of their bodies.

This man is a total psycho and I've told him that not only cats enter his yard, but also dogs. They mess up his home too yet he doesn't have a problem with them.

I wish I could have them all inside my home but we have so many and my parents just won't allow it. For now, I'm just keeping the small ones inside and praying that the older ones would be okay.

I was hoping that there was something I could do legally but I guess not.
post #4 of 58
Helga,

Legally No he cannot.
Will he? Probably.
Will he get in trouble if he does? probably not at least not any real trouble.
and even if he does and you witness it, the odds of a full cruetly suit will be minimal.
Basically, you could watch him kill your cats then see him walk out of the court room with nothing more than a slap on the wrist. and any retaliation that you impose upon him will get you in 10X more trouble with the law.

I would recommend, having your cats spayed and neutered!!!! it sounds like you have kittens every where.
putting your cats indoors.
if you cant, adopt out the cats until you have a manageble number that you can allow in your house.
and ps

Do not let anyone from PETA near your cats.
post #5 of 58
That's horrible, no it's not legal at all. You have to find a way to keep your cats from going over there Build them a cage or get a large covered dog kennel if you can't keep them all in.
Unfortunately I've seen people put down antifreeze to poison cats, skunks, and dogs before. Heck, I even caught my own father doing it. I dumped it out at his feet/over his shoes infront of his then 10 year old step daughter and called him not so nice things. He never did it again.

Beware of any sort of dish or him leaving out food, or worse even putting it in your yard.

Can you possibly contact the shelter or police and ask them what your rights are when a neighbor is threatening to kill your animals? There should at least be some animal cruelty laws. Don't tell them that your animals are roaming as you may get yourself in trouble if there's leash laws If you can get witnesses or some sort of proof that he threatened your pets it might be useful later if something happens.
post #6 of 58
You can build an outdoor enclosure for your cats, if you can not keep all of them inside. You can also buy the chain link dog kennels and set one of them up rather quickly. Just make sure it has a top so the cats don't climb or jump out.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Middletown View Post
Helga,
and ps

Do not let anyone from PETA near your cats.
This is so very true. PETA will KILL your cats faster than your neighbor will
post #7 of 58
My neighbor did shoot and kill my cats. I contacted the local sheriff's dept and ended having our counties DA office charging him with felony animal abuse. It was settled 8 months later with him being charged w/misdemeanor animal cruelty as we couldn't prove the other shootings. However it cost him a fair amount of miney for the attorney, court costs etc... PETA stuck their nose int this unfortunately for me-they must have software that monitors newspapers for animal abuse cases. I would contact a animal control officer to see what Texas law is.
post #8 of 58
Thread Starter 
I've decided to give my 8 cats to my grandmother, who lives in another neighborhood. I don't want to take any chances with my neighbor getting his hands of my cats. I know they like to roam around so I know that no matter what I do, I cannot confine them permenanently to a small area (aka, my home). Plus, it's not fair to them. They have been spayed and neutered and they have their vaccines (with matching collars and tags to show). They are doing nothing wrong, but of course, my neighbor doesn't see it that way.

Alas, I'd rather lose the cats as "pets" than have them be brutally killed by my stupid neighbor.

The problem with taking them to my grandmother's home is that I fear my cats getting lost. How will I make sure that they remember that my grandmother's house is *their* home now. I mean, when I take them there, they will see her lawn, but they will more than likely roam around the neighborhood and then probably forget which house they came from, right?

My grandmother doesn't really like cats all that much so it is out of the question to have them stay *inside* her house. ;( Any ideas? Maybe I can leave some stuff outside her house that will help them remember...but what?

Thanks for any help.
post #9 of 58
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by GailC View Post
My neighbor did shoot and kill my cats. I contacted the local sheriff's dept and ended having our counties DA office charging him with felony animal abuse. It was settled 8 months later with him being charged w/misdemeanor animal cruelty as we couldn't prove the other shootings. However it cost him a fair amount of miney for the attorney, court costs etc... PETA stuck their nose int this unfortunately for me-they must have software that monitors newspapers for animal abuse cases. I would contact a animal control officer to see what Texas law is.
The problem with this scenario is that I don't want to wait until one of my cats has been hurt or killed... I'd rather take action NOW, even though it means letting my neighbor "win".
post #10 of 58
I would talk with your local animal control and the sheriffs office... If he threatens I BET just like the @@# here hes HAS DONE IT .... If you can take a sheriffs deputy and the animal control officer to HIS HOUSE ... I have done it

If you can Keep your cats with u and indoors
post #11 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by sharky View Post
I would talk with your local animal control and the sheriffs office... If he threatens I BET just like the @@# here hes HAS DONE IT .... If you can take a sheriffs deputy and the animal control officer to HIS HOUSE ... I have done it

If you can Keep your cats with u and indoors
Yeah, that wouldn't hurt, I think I would do just that, I would go down to the sheriffs office, that way I could explain things better.

Maybe they could go to the neighbors house, and tell them that it is against the law or something.
post #12 of 58
Definately contact your local authorities, and let HIM know that you've done so. I would also NOT hesitate to inform him that if ONE of your cats go missing, that he will most certainly be under further investigation of harming one of your animals through your local law enforcement agencies.

I'm not sure that putting them in a different neighborhood outdoors will help the situation much, as it sounds like you may end up with a lot of lost cats spread here and there who are having trouble in different territory...not a good scenario.

I also don't want to come off as harsh or judgemental, so please take no offense to my comments, as they are my opinion, and I do respect the fact that you may not agree...

I do feel like the cats need to come inside your home. I have 3 indoor cats of my own (and they are strictly indoor pets), and know from experience that outdoor cats can be acclimated to an indoor life when given a lot of time, patience, and stimulation. Cats that are kept indoors are safe cats...they are free from cat fights, crazy neighbors, the weather elements, problems that can arise from toxic materials (such as antifreeze, and certain plants and flowers), getting hit by a car, and getting lost. It would be far less fair to allow any of these aforementioned things to happen to even one of these cats, than it would to keep them outdoors. Your other option would be to keep them indoors with you, until you can have some type of outdoor enclosure or sanctuary built, where they can then still enjoy the great outdoors, while being confined, and more safe.

Good luck to you...I do understand your frustration and concerns, and you seem to care a great deal for your cats. Please let us know what you decide to do.
post #13 of 58
Oh my I am really sorry about this mental situation , you have already had a lot of suggestions and I do hope you can come up with something that you can feel comfortable with.
I have 3 kits that are all indoor/outdoor, so understand where you are coming from, but luckily all my neighbours are animal friendly

Keep strong
post #14 of 58
I agree, Report this to the police. It's a threat to destroy your belongings.
post #15 of 58
Animals if properly showing ID are considered "property". I hate it when they put it like that, but they do. So yes, it would be illegal to shoot them especially since he knowingly knows they are YOUR cats. What part of TX are you from? I would contact animal control and look up TX state laws.
I would also if possible, depending on how far away your neighbor is, set up a camera, because if it's on tape, there is no way he can deny it. He might already being doing other things he shouldn't and to catch him and have him sent to jail is where he should be...Keep up posted.
post #16 of 58
Here in Arizona, I think anything goes. The only thing that saved my feral colony (even though it is listed with the Humane Society...lot of good that does) was the Animal Control refused to come down and trap and the cats.

This is the first time that non-action has been the best thing. I feel so badly for you.

Tell your neighbor that you are reporting these incidents to the police and Animal Control. Tell him that they are keeping a log of the problems you are having with him about the cats. Inform him that if so much as ONE of your cats is missing, hurt, poisoned... they will be down to talk to him.... and then DO IT.

You may have to make a pain of yourself to them to get them to listen, but keep at it. Go to your local newspaper and write a "letter to the editor" and see if you can get publicity this way. The guy is NOT going to want to have people looking over his shoulder.

Best of wishes to you, hope everything works out.
post #17 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by Helga06 View Post
I've decided to give my 8 cats to my grandmother, who lives in another neighborhood. I don't want to take any chances with my neighbor getting his hands of my cats. I know they like to roam around so I know that no matter what I do, I cannot confine them permenanently to a small area (aka, my home). Plus, it's not fair to them. They have been spayed and neutered and they have their vaccines (with matching collars and tags to show). They are doing nothing wrong, but of course, my neighbor doesn't see it that way.

Alas, I'd rather lose the cats as "pets" than have them be brutally killed by my stupid neighbor.

The problem with taking them to my grandmother's home is that I fear my cats getting lost. How will I make sure that they remember that my grandmother's house is *their* home now. I mean, when I take them there, they will see her lawn, but they will more than likely roam around the neighborhood and then probably forget which house they came from, right?

My grandmother doesn't really like cats all that much so it is out of the question to have them stay *inside* her house. ;( Any ideas? Maybe I can leave some stuff outside her house that will help them remember...but what?

Thanks for any help.
While this may seem like a good solution to you, yes they probably will get lost. They will need to be in her house for some period of time so they know where they live. If you just go let them out over there, they will all become very lost and could wind up in an even worse situation. If there is no way your grandmother can take them inside and you can't take them inside, I recommend pursuing other options - like adopting them out (at least some of them) until you're at a managable size to bring them in. It's just plain safer all around for them.
Definitely report your neighbor as well. This is a threat that they made.
post #18 of 58
I don't think I would feel safe living next door to someone who would kill a cat deliberately without feeling any remorse.

People who harm other animals cannot be trusted around even other people, in my opinion.
post #19 of 58
He can kill your cats, deny it, and nothing will be done, believe me. My father's a Texas rancher (I grew up there) and nobody's going to think twice if someone kills an animal that wanders on to his property.

Is there any way to keep them in? You are not going to have the law backing you up, no matter what might be written on the books. I wish you and your kitties well, and hope you find a workable (and safe) solution.
post #20 of 58
Your neighbor sounds like a heartless brute. To deliberatly kill a cat or any other animal is unhumane and cruel. We had a neighbor who killed one of our previous cats, and we had enough evidence to put him in jail for a year. People like that deserve to be treated like scum.
post #21 of 58
The only real choices you have are to set up surveillance on him. That doesn't sound very realistic either. Your neighbor can do whatever he wishes to your cats and unless he has claimed to kill them by writing it down or being recorded, he can deny it and many police will just ignore it. Most LE don't give a crap about the animals unless it's a cow. If you move the cats to your G-ma's they will be very confused and some WILL run off! They would have to be inside for a time to understand it's THEIR new home.

I hope you can endeavor to get this creep for being so malicious to animals.
post #22 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by Helga06 View Post
Hi, I have a question about laws relating to cats in Texas.

I have a neighbor who has been complaining about our cats going into his yard and pooping. He has a cage set up and has been catching our cats, and then calling the animal shelter, who is putting the animals to sleep. As soon as we found out about this, we contacted the animal shelter and we were told that if our cats had collars showing that they were vaccinated, that they would not pick up our cats. We proceeded to go to the vet and vaccinate our cats and buy them collars and tags.

This morning, our neighbor told us that if the animal shelter wouldn't pick up the cats when he called them, that he was just going to take this into his own cats and KILL any cat that entered his property.

My question is, can he do that? I mean, of course, he can kill a cat, but is it legal? Can this man do whatever he wants to my pet cats if they enter his property? I mean these cats have been raised outside and roam all throughout the neighborhood freely. I can stop them from entering his property. There are 8 cats, most of them are adults, two are small kittens who also roam around freely.
Oh my!! My mom had this problem with her neighbor! He would trap HER cats and then take them to the country We found one that looked like it had been shot. She also had one(of hers) laying dead in her driveway. He admitted to some ppl that he did this because they came in HIS yard and pooped and he didnt like it, and also because there was "too many cats".....he decided it was HIS right to kill them My mom went to the cops over this, and basically they told her he had every right because A) he wasnt shooting them with a gun and B) they were on his property!!

I swear I just dont get it..........
post #23 of 58
The best move, as others are saying, is to preempt him---let the authorities know now of the threat, then let him know you did. I am not from Texas, but my friend is and she is positive you cannot legally shoot cats as your neighbor would like.

I'm sending your babies good thoughts and best wishes from Pennsylvania that they stay safe and far away from evil man's yard!! Is there any way you can try and deter them away from there?
post #24 of 58
First off, best wishes and best of luck on defeating this man and keeping your kitties safe.

Now, having said that, if this ... person... is determined to kill your cat, he can do it any number of ways and it would be impossible for you to prove it. Your cats may just simply go missing and while you'll know that he's at the core of it.. you won't have any idea what happened to it, or where it ended up. If he wants to continue to trap them.. there's absolutely no reason he can't take the collars off of the kitties, and then say, well, it didn't have a collar.

You're going to have to find a solution to your cats being outside. If they continue to go onto his property, whether it's legal or not, he will find a way to get revenge. Until you can figure that out, I'd follow everyone's advice, and start off by calling the local authorities..as well as your local shelters. Find out *exactly* what the laws are. Pre-empt him. Make sure that you contact animal control as well. And I hate to say this, but he may have a right not to have animals that aren't his on his property. I don't think that gives him a right to shoot them, or harm them in any way, but he may actually have part of the law on his side.
post #25 of 58

I don't know why this situation has to happen. We hear it all the time...

Flame suit on...

Look. These are your pets, right? If you can't house and care for them properly, be it for lack of time, space, or money, you should not have so many cats!

Cats belong indoors - period. I hate it when people say "but they like it outside", and "they need to go out" or "they cry till I let them out". Bunk. That's your fault, not the cats, and not the neighbors. Who is responsible for the cats? You are. Either take care of them properly, or don't have them.

Ponder this. If I had 20 dogs because I love dogs, but my house was too little or I was unable to really be responsible for them, or I just wanted the dogs to be able to do whatever they wanted to do, and I let them wander all over the place, would that be OK? No, it wouldn't for obvious reasons. So then why do people think just because they are cats, it is OK for them to go wherever, pooping, killing birds, getting sick, getting lost or run-over, having fights or whatever? It isn't right. Maintain and control them like a responsible pet-owner, or relinquish that duty - its that simple. Cats aren't toys and they aren't a part-time responsibility that many seem to believe.

I'm not defending your neighbor here, but have you put yourself in his shoes? Are you being a good neighbor by respecting his property-rights and trying everything to resolve the issue? Who started this whole mess? Who is not being responsible for their "property" and the consequences that property faces when it is out of your control? YOU are responsible for your cat at all times- -period.

Just because they are cats, does not mean its OK to let them do whatever they want. You have to exist with other people in a society, and respect of one's property goes a long way in that regard.

 

post #26 of 58
Depending where you live, Yes your neighbor can legally kill your cats and this was suggested to us by the Police department.

Our Neighbor has tons of cats alot more than 8. They all look sick and I doubt any of them have had medical attention. My cat is indoors. Anyhow the Neighbors cats, tear into our trash, scratch the cars and When we remodeled the kitchen they were coming indoors. After they started coming indoors our Cat got sick so we got the police involved. They told us Cats don't have the same rights as dogs and to just shoot them when they are on our property. We told him we weren't doing that, It wasn't the cats fault anyhow as I think they were just hungry and have a neglectful owner. They then suggested allowing our Rottweilers to take care of the problem. Again not going to happen and the Rotts love cats as long as the said cats leaves their's alone....so we just put up with it.
post #27 of 58
Our family has a cat, and as others have suggested here, we keep it indoors at all times. This is partly for the cat's benefit, and partly to be neighborly.

If I had dogs that were always in the yard of some of you that are so in favor of free range cats, I bet you'd have a fit. If they were always digging, pooping, peeing, scratching up cars, etc in your yard, I bet you'd REALLY be mad.

If I had cows in your yard, the same would be true. If I had pet snakes, even non-venomous ones, and they were in your yard, I bet you'd be mad.

So why is it that people think it's okay to let their cats have the run of the neighborhood?
post #28 of 58
In Texas, whether he can do this or not, depends primarily only on if he resides in the city limits or not.

If he does, then contact your city government for information.

If he does not, then you really need to keep your cats inside.

He can capture your cat, feed it for 3 days, at which point it becomes his property, and he can pretty much do what he wants at that point.

Or, he can simply shoot the cat as long as it is on his property and does not fire toward the road. About the only thing you could do here is call for a noise disturbance.

He cannot inhumanly kill the cat. Like poison, or wounding it. So if he shoots it, and it crawls home, you can do something to him, likely animal cruelty.

Now regardless of criminal law, you can always take him to civil court.

Best bet, if you care about the animals, stop playing pet roulette.
post #29 of 58
Thread Starter 
Update:

Our cats are finally safe, and all it took was about $400 and a weeks worth of hard labor.

What ended up happening is that we (my brother and I) decided to build them a "safe house" in our backyard. It turned out to be quite an interesting project.

The safehouse looks like the first pic here; this is the design we used:
http://www.just4cats.com/Images/graphic/covernew.jpg

Now it's all finished and for the past two weeks, all of my cats have been in there. Most of them hate it. They cry a lot and they try to claw out. I guess its because they are so used to being outside. To remedy this, I take them out for a few hours a day, but I am outside, watching them closely. I also bring 1-2 cats inside my room each day, alternating between them. So far, so good. There is really only one male cat who absolutely HATES the enclosure. The rest of the cats seems alright as long as they can go out as least for a few minutes a day.

The only really difficult part about this is cleaning after them! I go inside with the shovel at least 3 times a day! lol. We're also looking for tree trunks to put in there so the cats don't get so bored.

As for my neighbor, he came to my house and told us that if he caught one of our cats again, he'd set them free since he has seen that we have made the effort to keep them out of his yard. But don't think of him as a good man yet, he still killed two of my cats and I can barely stand to look at him without having murderous thoughts.

Helga

PS: We covered our safehouse with a plastic tarp; we knew it wasn't going to be the best type of roof but it was the quickest thing to do and I was really worried about my cats getting too much sun exposure. Anyways, the funniest thing happened 2 days ago. It was raining A LOT and the tarp go full of water and then it ripped! It was like an explosion and all the water that had been gathering on the tarp fell on my cats and on my brother, who was trying to quickly take each cat and bring him inside our home. A few cats were saved just in time, but about 3 got completely soaked with water and ran like crazy out of the safehouse! Poor little ones. They got quite a shower that day.
post #30 of 58
Well done you and your brother! I am glad all your cats are going to be safe, even if they cannot be at liberty any more. ANd as far as the neighbour is concerned, at least he is making an effort to be reasonable now.
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