An act of animal cruelty was reported in Vanderhoof this past week, leaving all involved horrified in disgust.
On Tuesday, Oct. 28 at approximately 5:45 p.m., Nicole Tkachyk of Vanderhoof was driving with her three-year-old daughter on Hwy 16 near the old J&S (where the road speed increases leaving town). As she drove up behind a newer-model blue four-door Dodge pickup, she noticed it was oddly swerving all over the road. With heavy rain and approaching darkness, what happened next was completely unexpected, said Ms. Tkachyk.
“The back window opened, a hand came out and somebody threw a kitten out the window,” said Ms. Tkachyk in a phone interview three days after the incident. “It hit my windshield, I slammed on the breaks and I remember my heart skipped a beat as I yelled right away. I was in total shock and instant anger.”
After the incident the truck sped off leaving Ms. Tkachyk and the kitten behind. Thankful for her and her daughters safety, Ms. Tkachyk then focused on finding the kitten. When she got out of her car she noticed the feline by the edge of the brush line ‘looking really hurt’.
“It was hopping and looked funny because it’s front legs were not working properly. It must have hit my tire because I felt something and it’s fur was all over the place,” said Ms. Tkachyk.
The rain had made the road-side ditch full with mud, and after 20 minutes of trying to get the cat to come, it freaked out and ran sideways into the brush, said Ms. Tkachyk.
“I had to leave, I couldn’t chase it. I didn’t feel comfortable leaving my kid on the hwy,” she said.
Once home, Ms. Tkachyk posted what had happened on Facebook. Her comments saw an immediate reaction from numerous concerned citizens. A handful of people even tried their luck at retrieving the cat, including Dana Stark who was in Prince George at the time of the incident. Following the developing story online, she went to the area after returning to town just after 9 p.m. and found the kitten meowing by the Rona sign on Hwy 16.
“We chased her through the bush for almost an hour, she didn’t go far because she just went around in circles. Then as soon as I sprinkled food she came right for it but unfortunately she scooted away four times. She was fast,” said Ms. Stark.
Janice Lane of Vanderhoof also heard of the kitten’s whereabouts through Facebook and decided to go out and look for her.
“It scares me that there are people around out there capable of doing such a thing,” said Ms. Lane, who owns four cats and four dogs all of which are rescues. “It was raining and cold, so I thought she probably isn’t doing so good. I worried she might take off and then no one would be able to find her in the morning. So I figured I better go scoop her while she is still in the area.”
When Ms. Lane arrived where the kitten had last been seen at about 11:30 pm, she noticed the food previously put out by Ms. Stark. She set up her cat trap nearby with food strategically placed inside and, the kitten almost immediately ran over, she said.
“Her condition was good, showing no sign of injuries, said Ms. Lane. “When I brought her back to my warm shop she ate and drank right away. It’s just amazing, I’ve seen her walk and stretch but, when you get too close she still scrambles off so I haven’t been able to touch her. But from what I can see, she is doing well.”
The cat has been renamed Karma, and Ms. Lane is in the process of getting an adoption family to become her new home.
“She is doing great now,” said Ms. Lane, three days after the incident. “She had a full can of meat and a healthy poop.”
The police are continuing with their investigation to find those resposible, but unfortunatly were not able to obtain a large amount of evidence from the witness.
“It’s tragic people hurt animals like this and if there is any avenue to follow up on this we will ensure people are held accountable for their actions,” said Cpl. Thiessen of Vanderhoof RCMP.
The police encourage anyone who has any further information to call Vanderhoof RCMP at 250-567-2222.