MSPCA Puts Down Cat While Owner Searches for Him

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The MSPCA euthanized Dryden, a cat belonging to Jamaica Plain's Benjamin Day, within 48 hours of a neighbor bringing the cat to the clinic.

Benjamin Day

The MSPCA euthanized Dryden, a cat belonging to Jamaica Plain's Benjamin Day, within 48 hours of a neighbor bringing the cat to the clinic.

The MSPCA euthanized Dryden, a cat belonging to Jamaica Plain's Benjamin Day, within 48 hours of a neighbor bringing the cat to the clinic.

Benjamin Day

The MSPCA euthanized Dryden, a cat belonging to Jamaica Plain's Benjamin Day, within 48 hours of a neighbor bringing the cat to the clinic.

Dryden, a cat with six toes on each paw who enjoyed knocking over cups of water, never left Benjamin Day's JP yard. But when the elderly, sick cat didn't show back up one recent Sunday night, his owner started posting flyers. On Tuesday the owner checked in with the JP-based MSPCA to find that, only hours earlier, the animal welfare organization had euthanized his cat.

Someone had picked up Dryden, possibly a well-meaning neighbor who didn't know the 14- or 15-year-old polydactl cat was being cared for by Day. Workers at the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, seeing how thin the collarless, un-microchipped cat was, put him down within two days of him being brought to the facility.

An MSPCA spokesperson explained that their employees were presented with an elderly, emaciated, cat in renal failure with no ID. There are only so many cats they can care for at a given time, said Rob Halpin, director of public relations for the MSPCA, and Dryden was not a good candidate for adoption.

"I feel profoundly sad and I want to relay that to Ben," Halpin said. "We're broken up about it."

It turns out that while stray dogs in Massachusetts must be held for a week before they are euthanized, no such law protects cats. Each shelter or clinic must make its own policies, according to research a shaken Day did in the wake of what happened to Dryden. Halpin said the MSPCA has no iron-clad policy on how long a stray cat must be held before being put down.

A Petition for Longer Stray Cat Wait Times

Day, director of organizing at A close-up of Dryden's six-toed paws.[/caption]

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