By Joan Chaisson
Special to The Gulf News
Over 200 people gathered Sept. 27 to remember a cat and call for change.
Mittens lived with his owner for 13 years, until his owner passed away approximately a month ago. The situation was brought to the attention of the rescue group In Memory of Shadow, which runs a shelter to ensure animals in the Port aux Basques area do not suffer, who found a home for the cat.
Mittens was adopted by a family who knew the deceased gentleman quite well was also familiar with the cat. The new owner’s application gave no reason to not be accepted.
On Sept. 14, the group was informed that Mittens was now deceased. Shannon Delury, a member of the Rescue Group, feels Mittens had a tragic ending to his life.
"I am 100 per cent sure Mittens was murdered," Delury alleges.
Delury believes the cat's body was put in a bag and thrown over the bridge at Grand Bay West.
A volunteer diver searched the waters around the bridge for an hour without finding the bag.
Channel-Port aux Basques RCMP said Sept. 25 that officers had received a complaint on Sept. 14, alleging a cat was violently killed with a weapon.
Police opened an investigation at the time, and say it is ongoing.
While no charges have yet been laid, the release said that charges are anticipated.
The rescue group held a vigil Friday, Sept. 27 in memory of Mittens on the beach at Grand Bay West, with over 200 people in attendance. In addition to remembering Mittens, the group wanted to highlight animal abuse and to bring attention to the laws surrounding this topic.
The vigil was live streamed on Facebook, with people watching it from across Canada and the United States. Vigils were also held in Stephenville, Corner Brook and St. John’s at the same time.
The vigil started with Delury sharing Mitten’s story. This was followed by personal statements given by Nancy Osmond Anderson and Velda Pretty, volunteers with the rescue group. Then Rev. Patricia Ritchie gave a prayer for Mittens and all other animals that may be abused. This was followed by the people singing Imagine by John Lennon. The service concluded when people tied flowers, teddy bears and a banner on the bridge railings, at the place where it is believed the cat was thrown from.
Denise Pike Anderson attended the vigil and she was very proud of how it was planned.
“I believe the service was serious but also heart-warming to not only hear the volunteers talk but just listen to the town’s people and how outraged they are,” she said.
“We need awareness to be known to the whole town that any animal cruelty will not be tolerated, but more importantly, we need the RCMP to know this will not be swiped under the rug."
Anderson hopes that the banner can stay on the rails of the bridge, for the present time, to remind people of what allegedly happened to Mittens.
It was noted by Delury that one of the videos of the Vigil on Facebook had over 4,500 views and there were many people watching the live stream.
“Even though it was a terrible death, we do not want it to be in vain," Delury said. "We want it to bring better laws for animal abuse.”