NEWBERG, Ore. -- Phil and Joy White loved William their black cat. They must have after 16 years living with him and spending more than $6,000 on veterinary bills.
“We loved William very much, he was like part of the family.” Phil White said with a slight British accent, Phil responded to a Unit 8 Investigation request to share with us what happened to William this past Labor Day.
A viewer e-mailed Unit 8 with a link to a Craigslist posting warning people not to call Animal Control in Newberg or Yamhill County if they find a lost cat because neither have a policy to deal with them and they might end up like William, dead.
Phil White said he asked Newberg Animal Control what happened to his cat, “So you're telling me you put him down in about an hour and a half or two hours after picking him up and she said, ‘I guess that's about right,’ and I said, ‘that's crazy’.”
On Labor Day around 11:00 am a neighbor less than a hundred yards from the White’s house saw a black cat acting strangely in his front yard. Not knowing whose cat it was they called Newberg Animal Control and they quickly came out and caught the cat using a noose on a long pole.
Joy White sobbed, “She pulled up in her truck with a barking dog in the front seat, she got out a rope grabbed him with a noose on a pole and took him in, and that was the end of him.”
The Whites said they noticed William hadn’t been seen Labor Day evening but William was known to wander at times. The day after Labor Day on a morning walk around 7:30 am Joy White ran into the neighbor who asked her if she owned a black cat. When she responded yes she said he responded, “I didn’t know and called Animal Control last night and they took him in.”
Joy White said she immediately called animal control only to get a message saying they weren’t open yet. She then called police and left them a message that they had her cat.
Around 11:00 am came the call from Animal Control as to what happened to William. Phil White said the woman at Animal Control told him, “’yeah we picked him up yesterday and he was acting strange, he was very wild and I'm sorry to tell you but we put him down.’ I just couldn't believe it.”
Animal Control then admitted to the Whites that they found a microchip in William, but didn’t check for a chip until after he was put down.
Joy White said animal control told her, “’I checked for a chip after I euthanized him.’ And I barely had a question because I can't believe she said that.”
Newberg Animal Shelter Supervisor Jeff Kosmicki said, “We didn't do anything wrong as far as what we did. It's unfortunate. This was a very special situation because the cat was so aggressive or diseased or injured by the way the cat was acting.”
Kosmicki said their one employee “couldn't get close enough to the cat because the cat was very aggressive.”
Phil White said, “you brought him (William) into a cage in a dog pound the cat's not going to be lying there thinking it's a great day.”
Joy White said, “She told us, ‘we checked afterwards,’ and I said, ‘why did you do that?’ She said, ‘in case I had to tell anybody that we put the cat down” and I said, ‘well isn't that a little late, why are you checking afterwards?’”
Unit 8’s Ed Teachout asked Captain Kosmicki, “If you're going to check for a chip why not check before you euthanize it? Well like I said the cat was very aggressive and that's why it was put down.”
The Whites have now created a lost pet website and encourage everyone to check it before calling animal control.