Woman’s distress over cremated pet

PUBLISHED: 11:49 06 July 2006 | UPDATED: 10:25 06 May 2010

Snowy the cat

Snowy the cat

A VETERINARY centre phoned a woman to tell her a dead cat had been handed in which matched the description of her missing pet – only to have it cremated before she could identify it. Michelle Free, of Scarborough Avenue, Stevenage, had informed Roebuck Ve

A VETERINARY centre phoned a woman to tell her a dead cat had been handed in which matched the description of her missing pet - only to have it cremated before she could identify it.

Michelle Free, of Scarborough Avenue, Stevenage, had informed Roebuck Veterinary Centre in the town's Roebuck Gate that her nine-month-old cat Snowy had gone missing on June 17.

She was hoping that if somebody handed Snowy in to the centre they would contact her so she could collect it.

Mrs Free said: "They called me up on June 27 to tell me what they thought to be my cat had been handed in. My husband went down at 2pm to look at it only to find out the cat wasn't ours.

"Roebuck called up later that day to tell us that they had cremated a cat which met the description of our cat. I was really annoyed with them and deeply upset. I didn't want it cremated."

The practice manager at Roebuck, Deborah Arbon-Williams, said that on June 19 the surgery received a call from a member of the public saying she had found a dead cat in her garden. The cat was picked up and taken to the centre by a member of staff.

The animal had no collar and was not micro-chipped so Roebuck checked through its lost and found details and phoned to tell Mrs Free that they believed they had a cat which matched Snowy's description.

They told her the animal had been killed in a road traffic accident and it had received facial injuries.

However, between the call being made to Mrs Free and her coming to the centre to identify it the cat had been collected by the surgery's cremation services and had been cremated.

This is the usual procedure for dead animals handed in to the centre that have not been identified within seven days.

Mrs Arbon-Williams said: "On realising this, one of our nursing team immediately informed Mrs Free of the situation who at the time felt assured that what may have been her cat was at least dealt with sympathetically. At no time were we made aware of her concern.

"On behalf of the Roebuck Veterinary Group I would like to apologise to Mrs Free for any distress that she has felt over this situation.


If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Comet. Click the link in the orange box above for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Latest from the The Comet