Follow-up to Bat-Guy's Catnap Caper in Dallas
Last week, we shared a story that appeared in the Dallas Morning News about a bat-wielding man who catnapped his lost cat ("Mr Gray", in photo, right) from the Dallas Animal Shelter and refused to pay the required fee.
This weekend, Steve Blow -- a columnist for the Dallas Morning News -- provided the backstory.
Bat-man (real name: Roger Booth) had complained to the press that his phone number was on the cat's tag, but the shelter didn't telephone him, opting instead to send a letter notifying him that his cat was at the shelter. Booth claims that his cat could have been euthanized before he ever received the letter.
However, examination of the tag showed that the phone number was no longer legible. Booth had gone the do-it-yourself route and stuck a paper-based address label on the back of a vaccination tag. Most of the phone number had rubbed off. Booth admitted it was, "... kind of smudgy, yes. You couldn't make out all the numbers." He insisted that the shelter should have called directory assistance. Problem is, he's not listed by name in the phone directories. Columnist Blow describes the flak Animal Services manager Kent Robertson received in the wake of this incident:
Animal Services manager Kent Robertson (in photo, right) has been fielding angry phone calls ever since news stories about the Nov. 17 incident ran. Even his wife scolded him.
"We were watching the segment on Channel 8, and she hit me in the arm. She said, 'How come you didn't call that poor guy?' "
Mr. Robertson said the shelter promptly calls any phone number found on a tag. If there's a name but no number, shelter workers try to look it up.
Only when that fails do they mail a letter, he said.
Mr. Booth left another false impression, saying his cat could have been euthanized by the time he received a letter.
While most animals are euthanized after 72 hours, Mr. Robertson said the shelter holds any animal with a tag or microchip for at least 10 days.
"Even if it's not tagged but has been recently groomed, we know that's not a street dog and we will hold it longer," he said.
Mr Booth (in photo, right) says he couldn't afford the $132 fee because he suffers from Stage 4 prostate cancer and has hefty medical bills. Reportedly, a neighbor had turned the cat in to the shelter, even though Mr Gray was wearing tags, and Booth just wanted to get his cat back. Once the story broke, Dallas Animal Services was deluged with calls from people offering to settle Booth's debt, and the fee has been paid by a donor, leaving Booth with one less worry. The case is under review and Booth could still be charged with aggravated assault.
"I didn't rob a bank," Booth said. "I just saved my cat."