I just spoke to a feeder whom another caregiver asked me to call. She told me that she needed volunteers to help her patrol her area. A cat was killed at the beginning of January and this was witnessed by another woman. The feeder then convinced her to call the police, but the witness refused to go to court.
Apparently the SPCA also went down but the body of the cat was thoroughly decomposed and the suspect was not at home when they visited. They left a note for the suspect.
Since then, no cats have gone missing. The only other caregiver I know in the area is someone the feeder already knows. This caregiver also cannot help. I asked the feeder what she wants to do - she said she wants to sit there every night with the cats till 2 am so that the man cannot hurt the cats. I told her that she could sit there every night, but how long could she keep doing so? For the rest of the cats' lives? At the same time, the one night she is NOT there, may be the night he strikes. Or he may strike after 2 am, or in the day when she is at work.
This is especially so because all has been quiet for the last four months. There's no pattern, or even a sense of regularity to the cases of abuse. She asked if someone could guarantee that her cats not be hurt. I told her that even in a case where someone has threatened to kill someone else, the police cannot do anything until an action is taken.
I do feel sorry for the poor cat killed, and the feeder who is obviously worried. However, removing the cats as she suggested is not an option - she agreed that new cats would be dumped or move in.
At the same time, no one can keep constant vigil all the time - and if the feeder cannot do so, the chances of persuading someone else to do it with her are slim especially in a case like this where all the evidence and information happened a long time ago.
I told her that she is welcome to use the reward poster, but again so many months have passed that peoples' memories of the event even if someone else has seen it may not be very good. If the idea is just bringing attention to the crime, and making sure the abuser knows people are keeping an eye out, that is usually a good reason to use the poster. On the flipside, the abuser may sometimes feel that no one can catch him or her - and this may make them feel even more powerful and spur them on more.
She told me that she asked the town council to put up an earlier poster, but the town council said they could not do so. I asked what her poster said and she had written that killing a cat is cruel and that retribution would come to whomever had done it. I suggested she try again with our poster.