A senseless act of cruelty has left a scared cat wandering in the streets and a 17-year-old girl shaken to the core.
The Ottawa Citizen reports that late in the week of August 1, Binx the cat was kidnapped from the Lafontaine Veterinary Clinic in Rockland, Ontario.
Stealing a cat is bad enough, but it turns out that the 20-pound black cat was special to Melissa Gaudrault, a 17-year-old girl with autism. When Gaudrault started volunteering at the clinic three years ago, she bonded with Binx, and their relationship has brought her out of her shell and helped her to gain some life-changing skills.
Gaudrault’s mother, Ann Lalonde, says that Binx seemed to be able to feel the girl’s emotions and would follow her all around the clinic to support her when she was feeling upset or frustrated.
“When they stole Binx, they stole Melissa’s therapy; they stole her confidence,” Lalonde said.
Surveillance video shows a man and a woman, who appear to be in their 20s, walking out of the clinic holding Binx. What makes this act especially horrible is that clinic staff suspect the thieves knew about the cat’s therapeutic role in Gaudrault’s life.
The clinic initially offered a $500 reward for information leading to the arrest of the cat-nappers. Unfortunately, it seems that the reward and all the media attention generated by their reprehensible act scared the couple. Instead of bringing Binx to a safe home, they abandoned him on the streets.
A number of people have reported seeing a cat that looks like Binx in the area of MacArthur Avenue and Vanier Parkway. But his ordeal has understandably caused the cat to become scared of strangers, and now he runs away when he sees people he doesn’t know.
Clinic veterinarian Dr. Jeanne Vachon sent some of her staff out to the area, hoping that Binx would recognize them and allow them to bring him back home.
Thanks to a long-time benefactor and fundraiser for the Ottawa Humane Society, the reward has been doubled to $1,000, and Vachon says the reward will go to whoever finds the cat.
How anyone could be so cruel as to steal Binx, especially if they knew of his special role in Gaudrault’s life, is just beyond me. I’ll keep following this story and let you know when and if Binx comes back home and if the cat thieves are identified and arrested.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Life With Cats recently posted the following: “Got another update. Binx was not on the loose after all, according to the clinic. They say that the people who took him had a change of heart and brought him back. That’s all we have at the moment.”
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