Independent Councillor Warren Robinson has called on council to put measures in place with regards animal disposal after he said a Derry woman was told her family pet was ‘turned to biofuel’.
Councillor Robinson was speaking after Shantallow woman Veronica McMonagle told him of her trauma on finding out her beloved young cat Gemini had been rendered - a process that converts waste animal tissue into usable materials - after being killed on a road near her home.
He said Ms. McMonagle was left ‘disgusted, horrified and distraught’ after the incident last week. “Veronica had a family pet called Gemini,” he said. “She was her pride and joy, a rescue cat and she was never far from home. Veronica let her out on Tuesday morning and she didn’t come back. She had asked around and she was told that someone had seen her at the side of the road near Ballyarnett Roundabout. Unfortunately when she arrived her cat had been lifted and taken away.
“Veronica had the cat microchipped so she rang around the vets to see if anyone had her. Then she rang the council and the pound and was told Gemini had been given to a third party and ‘rendered’.
“She told me she called the third party and was told that her cat had been ‘broken down, chopped up, cooked and turned to biofuel’. As you can imagine she was absolutely horrified.”
Colr. Robinson said Ms McMonagle had wanted to have her family pet cremated and the ashes put on her mantelpiece, as the cat meant so much to her. “She hasn’t been well in recent years. She has been through dialysis and had heart attacks and strokes and as such spent a lot of time at home. Her cat Gemini meant the world to her, made her feel better, and she is just devastated by this,” he said.
Colr. Robinson said that he will be asking council to ‘put measures in place to make sure no other pet owner has to go through a similar and horrific ordeal’. He said: “I have pets myself and I know how they become part of the family. I want to pay tribute to Veronica for exposing this situation, now that we know, we can prevent it from happening again.”
A spokesperson for Derry City and Strabane District Council confirmed that the remains of a cat were brought to the dog pound last week. “The remains were checked for a collar with identification information and then scanned in an attempt to find an identifying microchip however no microchip was found and it was passed to a third party for disposal.”
The spokesperson explained that Council’s responsibility is limited to dog licensing, fouling and straying. “In instances where an animal carcass from a road traffic accident is brought to the dog shelter every attempt is made to locate the owner,” he said.