Police accused of causing tabby kitten ‘physical and mental trauma’ after mistaking it for a rare Scottish wildcat
Richard Evans, local democracy reporter
North Wales Police received 41 complaints about the treatment of a cat after it was seized during an investigation over whether it was a Scottish wildcat.
The North Wales Police and Crime Panel (PCC) met last week at Conwy’s Bodlondeb council hall, where a summary of complaints against North Wales Police between September 2021 and September 2022 were discussed.
The complaints totalled 42, but 41 were received between July and September of this year, all relating to alleged “animal mistreatment”.
According to the report, the 41 complaints were all made about North Wales Police’s actions, their investigation, and the treatment of an animal.
But panel members were informed the PCC doesn’t have the remit to deal with these complaints, which will instead be looked at by a separate sub-committee.
Instead, the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner dealt with the complaints, as it involved operational police issues.
The complaint was deemed as non-recordable and the matter closed, and panel members were told to simply note the report.
The identity of the animal alleged to have been mistreated wasn’t revealed at the meeting.
But earlier this year a conservation group, Wildcat Haven, claimed a cat suffered “physical and mental trauma” while in police custody, and police have now confirmed the complaints related to the cat.
One-year-old kitten Finlay, was seized from a private address in Conwy on February 14 after police suspected he may be an extremely rare Scottish wildcat.
But genetic testing later proved this was false, and the cat was a domestic tabby. At the time, Finlay was being cared for by St Asaph-based Wildcat Haven, who spoke of their “heartbreak” at Finlay’s seizure.
On June 28, more than four months after he was removed by police, Finlay was returned to staff at Wildcat Haven. Following the cat being returned, the conservation group alleged that Finlay “experienced serious physiological and psychological trauma” in police custody.
But North Wales Police said that Finlay had regular visits, consultation, and assessments from veterinary professionals and that all treatments were given under recommendation by vets. They added there was no evidence of clinical disease, overgrooming, or indication of stress or boredom.
Following last week’s meeting, a spokesman for North Wales Police said: “The cat was cared for at a specialist facility, and once it was determined that it was a domestic cat, it was returned to the sanctuary, and the matter is now closed.”
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