A STRING of cat owners in Doncaster fear their pets may have been stolen to be used in a barbaric illegal blood sport.
Distraught Wesley Byrne, whose black cat Spartan disappeared two weeks ago, initially thought he may have wandered off, but after hearing about two other neighbours whose cats had also gone alarm bells started to ring.
After contacting the RSPCA and Cats Protection, Mr Byrne, 34, of Kings Road, near Doncaster town centre, said he was told the charities had been inundated with people in the borough whose cats had gone missing and they feared it could be part of a “cat coursing” craze.
Cat coursing involves the animals being put in cages or wheelie bins and dogs are encouraged to maul them.
Mr Byrne said: “I’m absolutely gutted. At first I thought he might have been lost but when I found out my neighbours cat had gone missing and other people in the area I knew something wasn’t right.
“I’ve also heard three small dogs have gone missing in the area.
“The RSPCA said they’ve been inundated with people ringing them up about this and that it is a problem in the are. I don’t know how anyone can hurt defenceless animals.”
Mr Byrne has put posters up of the cat, who he rescued from an animal sanctuary, around town in the hope someone may have information.
Mark Taylor, 47, of Broomhill Drive, Cantley, fears his black cat, Little Fella, may also have fallen victim to cat coursing.
Little Fella was last seen on May 31 by Mr Taylor, who started to panic when he learned of the other missing cats.
He said: “Missing your cat who has become part of your family is one thing but the thought of your cat trembling with fear and being abused in such a horrible way is devastating.
“It’s heartbreaking, I have a friend who lives near Wesley and when I heard about his cat and the others I knew something wasn’t right. The fear is how many other people is this happening too.”
A Cats Protection spokesman said: “Cats Protection has heard about these terrible incidents and would like to express our deepest sympathies to all the owners who have lost their beloved cats.
“As the UK’s leading cat welfare charity, Cats Protection’s vision is to ensure that every cat is given the chance of a life where it will be treated with kindness and an understanding of its needs. With this in mind, we were extremely distressed to hear of cats being stolen in the Doncaster area and would encourage anyone who has any information to contact the police or the RSPCA.”