Long slams east Belfast ‘poison cat’ letters

Naomi Long said the poisoning threat is horrific for cat owners in the area
Naomi Long said the poisoning threat is horrific for cat owners in the area

Fears have been raised for the safety of pet cats in an east Belfast neighbourhood after letters appeared claiming to be from a pest control firm.

East Belfast MP Naomi Long said one letter, handed in to her by a resident, stated the person has been “employed by a number of residents” to “sort out the cat problems”.

It adds they will put down bait to cause “instant death” to animals.

It was also claimed an owner’s cat had already been poisoned, three weeks after it had initially disappeared.

The PSNI stressed that there is no evidence any animals have been killed, but advised pet owners to “take suitable precautions”.

“I have dealt with a number of constituents who have reported missing cats and to think they may have fallen prey to someone poisoning them is horrific,” said Mrs Long.

“These are innocent animals and someone’s pet. To treat them as vermin and of no consequence is appalling and illegal.”

The PSNI said it had received two calls from residents in the Rockmount area, on the western edge of Dundonald.

The letters had been seized, and police said their inquiries continue.

The PSNI said: “At this stage local police are not aware that any cats have been killed. One cat has gone missing, however there is nothing to suggest the animal was purposely harmed.

“We understand that this is an emotive issue for local residents.

“While there is nothing to suggest that any harm will come to animals in the area, we would encourage all animal owners to take suitable safety precautions for their pets at this time.”