Spearfish PD admits mistake in killed cat incident

Cavan Jurgens' cat Poobs was killed by the Spearfish Police Department's animal control officer in August after it was trapped and deemed to be acting violent. Courtesy photo

SPEARFISH — A provision in a city ordinance has one pet owner struggling to come to terms with what happened to his beloved 4-year-old cat.

Cavan Jurgens, of Spearfish, would oftentimes allow his cat, “Poobs,” to be outside at night. An issue arose when his neighbor called the police to report the cat as a nuisance, because it would leave remnants of dead animals in his yard. In response, a trap was set up in the neighbors yard. Jurgens admitted that his cat did not have a collar on when it was trapped by an animal control officer with the Spearfish Police Department.

There are certain guidelines that the Spearfish Police Department follows when dealing with stray animals that appear to be sick, injured or vicious. In most cases, an animal at large is impounded and brought to the Western Hills Humane Society, where it is cared for until its owner retrieves them.

But, according to city ordinance, if the officer dealing with the animal considers it to be feral, the animal can be destroyed without notification.

Because of the cat's erratic behavior while in the trap, the animal control officer told Jurgens that he determined the cat to be feral, and shot the animal.

Jurgens said in his mind there was no way his cat was feral. She was up to date on her shots, healthy and loved.

“When I asked the animal control officer why my cat was shot, he said she was acting violent and that he felt she was dangerous,” he said. “I know her, and she wouldn't hurt someone unless they hurt her. Sure, she may have been erratic because she was scared, but there was no reason to bring her out to a field and shoot her.”

Since the incident occurred, Jurgens has met with several city officials, including Mayor Jerry Krambeck.

“Our mayor has been so supportive, and I really feel like he cares about what happened to me, and wants to make sure this doesn't happen to someone else,” Jurgens said. “That's why I'm doing all of this … if it saves one animal from an untimely death then I will know I'm making a difference.”

Krambeck, who met with Jurgens immediately after the incident, which occurred on Aug. 22, said this shouldn't have happened and everyone involved hopefully learned a valuable lesson.

“I feel horrible for Cavan … I really do. This is one of those things that you can't take back,” he said. “This has definitely raised some concerns, especially when it comes to how an officer determines whether a cat is feral or not. In this case, the cat was probably scared and acted out, but the officer should have taken a different course of action.”

Spearfish Police Chief Pat Rotert admitted that in this particular case, Tate Hayford, the animal control officer on duty, should have impounded the animal, rather than destroy it.

“I have no problem acknowledging the fact that if the officer had brought the cat to the humane society this would have never happened,” Rotert said.

If the cat would have been impounded, Jurgens would have had five days to retrieve her. But, because the humane society is a no kill shelter, the cat would have lived even if someone didn't show.

“If a cat comes in, it stays here with us and we just hope that someone who needs cats will come in and adopt them,” said Shar Bergum, director of the Western Hills Humane Society.  Today, they have more than 70 cats, half of which have been brought in as strays. As for feral cats, they too are kept alive and oftentimes adopted as barn cats.

“Our hope is to send the ones that are difficult to deal with and make sure they are given to good homes. Otherwise we just deal with the wild cats,” she said.

If the animal isn't impounded and shows signs of being feral, Rotert said they deal with whether or not to euthanize an animal on a case-by-case basis and added that this particular incident sparked a conversation regarding policy within the department.

“Our hope is that something like this doesn't happen again,” Rotert said.

Stray cats, he said, can become a problem for a community if an animal control officer doesn't address the situation. To assist in those efforts, he said, pet owners must license their cat or dog with the city and do what they can to prevent them from running at large.

“I think we are fairly proactive in dealing with stray animals and that's why it's not really a problem,” Rotert said.

When asked about how an animal is destroyed, Rotert said it depends on the situation. The most common methods are pharmaceutical euthanasia and use of firearms.

As for what is humane and what isn't — that is left up to the individual to decide.

“This term has different meaning to different people,” he said.

Rotert added that since Hayford was hired a few months ago, he's done a good job. On a daily basis, he deals with everything from barking dogs and wildlife complaints to abuse and neglect cases.

“He's handled hundreds and hundreds of calls and to this day we have not received any negative feedback other than in this case,” Rotert said.

According to city ordinance, an animal control officer is provided with the option to destroy any sick or injured animal without holding it for the stipulated 72 hours, if its condition is such that immediate destruction is necessary or desirable. It further states that all animals should be destroyed in a humane manner. If the animal control officer considers a dog or cat to be vicious, they are also allowed to destroy the animal without having to impound it.

If the dog or cat is impounded, the owner shall be notified within 24 hours if their identity and location are provided. The owner then has five days after the animal is impounded to provide a certificate of vaccination, a city license and pay for all of the fees incurred. If after five days the owner does not come to pick up their animal, city ordinance states that the city's liability shall cease and it will be put up for adoption or disposed of in a humane manner by any police officer, animal control officer or veterinarian.

Spearfish's ordinances mirror those of Lead, Deadwood and Belle Fourche. In both Lead and Deadwood, any dog or cat having dangerous propensities or considered dangerous or vicious — meaning they attack or chase a person — may be killed by any police officer without impounding the animal.

In Belle Fourche, if an officer makes the determination that a dog is vicious or dangerous the officer can impound the animal for up to 72 hours while an investigation occurs into the incident. From there, an officer can choose to humanely destroy the animal or impound the animal for an additional 48 hours, or until the owner retrieves it.

The laws are similar in Lawrence County as well. An animal found running at large is impounded for not more than three days, and if it is not claimed by the owner during that time period, the animal can be disposed of at the discretion of the animal control officer or put up for adoption. If the animal is sick or injured, the animal control officer can choose to dispose of the animal in a humane manner, rather than impounding the animal.


(22) comments


Cavan, I'm truly sorry you don't have your wonderful loving Poobs in your life anymore. What a loss of a wonderful animal. Poobs was put into your life to bring company and love to you. Cavan ignore those who try to discourage you. Cats that live in the town or in the country should be able to enjoy life rather it be indoors or outdoors. Accidents are called accidents because you never know when they will happen, so if a cat gets ran over, that was an accident. When a cat gets attacked by another animal, that is nature itself. When a person has a gun, they have control. When putting any animal in an enclosed area, trap, carrier, that animal will be scared and it will act different. Putting a person in that same situation will be the same. Poob's behavior was clearly a reaction from being trapped and did not attack Tate. A lot of animals leave the house with a collar on and a lot of times it will come back with it missing. Things happen - the animal was hung up on something that made it come off, not the animals fault. Education needs to be put in place for all employees involved with the animal control position. With experience and knowledge makes a difference. Ordinance and guidelines need to be looked at again. Determining if an animal is a danger should be considered from every angle. Tate putting a bullet into a living animal is an eye opener and people should really see things as they really are. We are all at fault if we just give up and give in to let this continue. Learn and let live!!!


I wonder if the reaction would be different if someones dog who had his shots and was licensed, but didn't have his collar on, escaped out of his yard, and the ACO shot him in the head for growling at him because he felt he was a stray.


Does anyone know who this "supervising officer" was. Why not? If you really want to get to the point, you can't just take Spearfish codified law and re-write it as you please. The cat according to our laws in Spearfish was to be taken to the animal sanctuary or held under supervision of a vet. Whether you feel the owner is at fault or not is a pointless argument.


To the point. The owner was abusing her animal by leaving it on the loose at night. It is also abuse not to have it licensed and collared. It is also a public pain in the ^^%%
to have animals in your yard when they are unwelcome. Shame on you miss cat owner for trying to blame anyone except yourself for the loss of your animal. The one that you and only you should have taken care of......it depended on you!!!


To the people who are continuously bashing Officer Hayford check your facts. He was told by his Superior to "dispose" of this cat. It's not just an officer taking things into his own hands he was doing what he was told to do.


I just LOVE (insert extreme sarcasm here) that the lot of you feel the need to throw Tate under the bus. I grew up with him and he is one of the nicest guys I've ever met. To place the blame soley on him is rediculous and I stand behind him all the way on this!

The cat owner should be held equally responsible for the death of this cat. He let her outside after all. Would he have gone after the driver of a car and smeared their good name had she been run over?Or if a coyote had gotten to her? I think not. I don't doubt that he loves his cat. I love mine very much, but he clearly admits in the article that he couldn't keep a collar on her. Isn't there a FINE for that? I have two cats (boys) and i too would be heartbroken if anything ever happened to them. But I consider myself responsible pet owner. They are neutered, current on shots, well behaved, and best of all INDOOR CATS ONLY!

And some of you can stay blissfully ignorant by assuming the shelter has the capacity to take in EVERY stray cat brought in. When i volunteered there a few years ago, they always had a sign up on the door saying they couldn't take anymore cats because they had way to many. That's the only downside of a no-kill shelter. If you're that angry about a suppposed feral cat being put down, starting putting some money into your your shelter so that maybe this can be avoided in the future. Otherwise and i hate to say it because I am an animal lover, Spearfish should maybe rethink the whole no-kill thing.


No trapped cat should EVER be immediately assumed to be feral. Nearly every cat that goes into a trap is scared to death and will literally harm itself banging against the walls of the trap. Standard procedure is to cover the trap with a sheet, which usually calms them down, and WAIT! I've worked in a shelter, and even many pet cats brought in would become unable to be handled after sitting in a carrier for several hours listening to dogs bark, and had to be left alone until the next day. And notice here I said CARRIER, not trap - the trap is much more frightening.


While it is true that overpopulation of humans is the #1 problem that we and all other species face today; this doesn't excuse all the responsible, wise, and intelligent people from cleaning-up and stopping all the ecological disasters caused by those phenomenally stupid and criminally negligent people that should have never been born in the first place.

Cats are a man-made (through selective breeding) invasive species. And as such, cats being a product of man's intervention, are no less of a man-made environmental disaster than any oil-spill, radiation-fallout, chemical-spill, or other environmental disaster _caused_by_man_. Cats are _not_exempt_ from having to be removed from every natural environment, wherever and whenever they are found away from supervised confinement. Just as you would do all you can to remove Zebra Mussels from any waterway where they don't belong. Or Burmese Pythons and African Cichlids from every habitat where they exist in N. America today. Burmese Pythons and African Cichlids started out as pets too. Many of our destructive invasive species pests started out as PETS discarded by criminally-irresponsible humans. (Or from pets' habitats, e.g. Eurasian Watermilfoil that is annihilating native aquatic life in many regions of the USA came from people irresponsibly dumping their pet-fish aquarium water into lakes and streams.) And guess what happens to all those other non-native pets that became destructive invasive species? They are destroyed on-site by any means possible -- no questions asked -- none required.

Cats are even worse than an oil-spill of multi-continent-sized proportions. They not only kill off rare and endangered marine-mammals along all coastlines (just as all oil-spills do) from run-off from the land carrying cats' Toxoplasma gondii parasites, they also destroy the complete food-chain in every ecosystem where cats are found today. From smallest of prey that is gutted and skinned alive for cats' tortured play-toys (not even used for food, just for senseless play), up to the top predators that are starved to death from cats destroying their ONLY food sources. (Precisely what cats caused on my own land not long ago.) They don't destroy just birds. They destroy everything that moves -- directly or indirectly. They will even destroy valuable native vegetation by destroying those animals that are required pollinators for those plants or those that act as seed dispersers for those plants (as many smaller rodent and bird species do) or those that act as pest-control for those plants. Cats can and will wipe out whole ecosystems eventually -- animal and plant.

Cats need to be made to disappear from all non-native habitats -- PERMANENTLY. And the sooner the better. They are breeding out of control at an exponential rate. The reason for "the sooner the better" is that you can only hope you can halt the problem before it is beyond the reach of any method you eventually choose. Luckily, I caught the problem in time where I live. It seems nobody else is faring as well -- their time is being wasted by cat-lovers trying to stop them from doing the right thing. Asking or listening to any deranged invasive species advocate for advice on how to clean up the ecological disaster that they created and perpetuate is about as useful as asking your local career thieves for advice on where to hide your valuables from their daily activities. Ignore anything they might say and you too will solve the problem where you live.


KJ, here's my standard issue prepared reply for bible-home-schooled people like you:

H0M0 sapiens (o's transposed to zeros to bypass the childishly immature moderator's filter) is NOT an invasive species ANYWHERE. Since humans have the genetic code to give them the capability to travel/migrate to ANY part of the globe, this means they are native to any area that they have traveled to on their own. Just like birds that have this capability and can travel to different continents and islands. Those that have the flight-range required to do so are NATIVE to those areas that they are capable of traveling to ON THEIR OWN.

(And for the love of all that's good in the world, PLEASE don't display your further ignorance and stupidity by trying to claim that Europeans, Native Americans, and Asians are different "species". That's usually your next huge omelet-on-the-face move that you astoundingly ignorant fools make.)

Whereas, an animal genetically engineered through selective breeding, such as CATS, are NOT AN INDIGENOUS SPECIES ANYWHERE. They are no more natural to any native environment anywhere on earth than some genetically engineered insect that was invented in some lab, that once released out into nature will destroy all native wildlife, JUST AS CATS DO. Someone once kept a "pet" bee one time. He too selectively bred this pet. After he selectively bred it it was called an Africanized Bee. It accidentally escaped his supervised confinement, and look what happened. Luckily for us they're' not destroying the complete food-chain in every ecosystem where they are found today, are limited in their range, and they're not spreading many deadly diseases to all humans and wildlife -- you know, all those fun things that these domesticated-species cats do.

If you phenomenally stupid cretins are going to use ecology, biology, speciation, and genetics in your arguments, the very LEAST that you could do is have a base comprehension of what you are talking about. Don't you think?

No. And that's the problem with terminally ignorant morons like you, you CAN'T think.

If ONLY there was a legal cure for "stupid".


Nature Advocate(Ironic screen name), I'm just not ambitious enough to reply with such a lengthy comment. I guess in a very round about way, your point is about "invasive" species. You can go ahead and put human beings right at the very top of that list, something you might want to think about before you start pointing guns around and adding more collars to your collection.


The stray and feral cat problem has become a pestilent pandemic in nearly every country, on nearly every continent of the planet today. (Don't believe me? Check out Australia's new laws making it mandatory to now shoot them on-sight whenever spotted away from supervised confinement. For just one example.) Being a product of man's intervention through selective breeding, they can breed 2-4X's faster than any naturally occurring cat species on earth. Trapping them has never been able to catch up to their breeding rates. This is why trap & kill methods have failed. And TNR (trap, neuter, release) is an even bigger failure because it doesn't stop them continuing to do the very things that are the reason they shouldn't even be there in the first place -- destroying valuable native wildlife, spreading diseases to which there are NO VACCINES against them like Tularemia and The Plague (yes, people have already died from cat-transmitted plague in the USA), etc. Hunted to Extinction (or in this case, extirpation of all outdoor cats) is the ONLY method that is faster than they can out-breed and out-adapt to. A HARD COLD FACT that you're all going to have to wake up to one day. If not now, then when you are drowning in a sea of disease infested cats and the very habitat upon which you depend has been annihilated by them. If you don't destroy every stray cat you see, stray cats being the very source of all feral cats today, then you have done absolutely NOTHING to curb this invasive species ecological disaster that was created, perpetuated, and condoned by these criminally irresponsible and phenomenally ignorant cat lovers.

I also found that licensing and laws do nothing to curb the problem. If cats are required to be licensed then cat-lovers just stop putting collars on their cats, as they did by me. And they won't even bother getting them micro-chipped, especially not that They want absolutely nothing that can hold them legally responsible, liable, and accountable for the actions of their cats. It's why many of them even keep cats in the first place. We're not talking about the topmost responsible citizens of the world, you know. They don't want that responsibility of what their cat has done coming back on them. If they had even one iota of a sense of responsibility and respect for all other lives on this planet we wouldn't even be having these discussions.

On the other hand, I found something that DOES work, and works well, and works fast (well, relative to the years it takes trying to reason with deceitful and lying cat-lovers that accomplishes ABSOLUTELY NOTHING). Where I live cat-lovers have learned that _ALL_ cats, stray and feral, collared or not, ear-tipped or not (because TNR con-artist liars now just clip cats' ears only without sterilizing or vaccinating them, to protect their hoarded cats from being trapped and euthanized), _ALL_ their cats are humanely shot on sight and buried whenever found away from supervised confinement.

The ONLY thing that works is destroying any of their cats found outdoors on your property. They either learn to stop getting more cats that die under the wheels of cars or from animal attacks, or they finally learn how to be a responsible pet owner, respectful neighbor, and learn to keep their invasive species animal under confined supervision, as it should be. Win win win all around. You can either destroy their cat for them humanely, or let their lack of concern for their cat cause it to die inhumanely. Your choice. By destroying their cat for them humanely you are showing them that you care more about their cat than even they do. A bullet is by far the most humane death that any free-roaming cat will ever meet. Anything else is all inhumanely downhill from there. Their only other options are being hit by cars, environmental poisons, cat & animal attacks, disease and parasites, freezing to death, baking to death, etc.

You can't train a cat to stay home but I found that, in time, you CAN train a cat-owner into being a responsible pet-owner and a respectable neighbor. Most of them are so phenomenally stupid, disrespectful, and criminally irresponsible though that you have to make at least 12-15 of their cats permanently disappear before they even start to figure out what they've been doing wrong all during their sorry, useless, and pathetic lives.

If you live in an area where its not legal to use firearms to destroy any animal that is threatening the health and safety of you, your family, your animals, or property (as it *IS* legal in most every area of the nation -- shoot to maim is animal cruelty but shoot to kill is a perfectly legal way to destroy any nuisance animal on your own property); then check into laws regarding air-rifles. Ones with ballistics speeds of 700-1200 fps and using pointed vermin-pellets are often advised for use on vermin in no-firearms zones. Many of the newer ones even come with their own sound-suppressor designs built-in, being specifically designed for shooting vermin cats in urban areas, the demand is that great. Failing that, then there's always the SSS and TDSS Cat Management Programs that are exploding in popularity worldwide. Shoot, Shovel, & Shut-Up; or Trap, Drown, Shovel, & Shut-Up. Both methods are legal on every square foot of this earth. No local laws were violated if it never happened! (In cases where cats have already learned to evade all trapping methods, then inexpensive generic 1-adult-strength acetaminophen (overseas a.k.a. paracetamol) pain-relievers are a more species specific vermin poison. But you really need to retrieve and dispose of that carcass safely so that native wildlife won't die from the many deadly diseases cats spread even after their death.)

Good luck!


The law in the USA is that it is perfectly legal to destroy any animal, someone's pet or not, that is threatening the health, well-being, and safety of yourself, your family, your animals, or even your property. Also true even in most densely populated cities, firearms laws permitting, if not then 700-1200fps air-rifles are commonly used. The only animals exempt from you taking immediate action, legally, are those listed on endangered or threatened species lists, and any bird species under protection of MBTA (the Migratory Bird Treaty Act). Even then variances can be given should there be sufficient problem but this requires further study by authorities. Since cats are listed in the TOP 40 WORST invasive species of the world in the "Global Invasive Species Database" ( www.issg.org/database/species/ecology.asp?si=24&fr=1&sts=sss ), this means they have no protection whatsoever from being shot on sight, they are not on any protected species list anywhere in the world. Quite the opposite as a matter of fact. And if your area enforces and obeys invasive species laws -- as they should -- then it is against the law to NOT destroy any cat on sight, someone's pet or not. It is your civic and moral responsibility to destroy any invasive species that is found away from supervised confinement and roaming freely in a non-native habitat.

Shoot to maim is punishable under the laws that define animal-cruelty (these are the ONLY cases that cat-lovers cite to try to manipulate and scare everyone from shooting their only favorite animal). But shoot to kill is a perfectly legal way to humanely destroy an animal. The same laws and principles that apply to methods of humanely hunting animals also applies to cats. Unlike cat-lovers' psychotic beliefs, the reality is that a cat is just another animal. It's NOT their baby, their child, their offspring. Even if they do view their cats that way, letting them roam free is no less criminally irresponsible than them telling their child to go play in the freeway and then blaming the cars for their child's death. If they let their cat roam free, NO MATTER HOW IT DIES, that is THEIR fault and they can be charged with all laws that clearly define animal-neglect, animal-abandonment, and animal-endangerment. Not to mention being in direct violation of all international invasive species laws in existence.

In fact, here's a publication from a study done by the University of Nebraska on the best ways to HUMANELY deal with a feral-cat problem wherever you live. This documentation INCLUDES the best firearms, ammo, and air-rifles required to HUMANELY destroy cats. deenawinter.files.wordpress.com/2010/12/ec1781.pdf

Besides, what difference does it make if the cat gets shot or ran over by a car, attacked by another cat or animal, drowned, or poisoned by plants animals or chemicals (inexpensive 1-adult-strength generic acetaminophen pain-relievers gaining in popularity, for being so species specific). The result is the same. The cause is the same -- the fault of the criminally irresponsible pet-owner that let their invasive species pet roam free. They've already proved that their animal is 100% expendable. You can either destroy their cat for them humanely, or let their lack of care cause it to inevitably die inhumanely. They don't care one bit how their cat might cruelly suffer to death if they let it roam free. Humanely destroy their cat for them before that can happen. A well aimed bullet is the MOST humane death that ANY stray or feral cat can ever look forward to. Any other death that they WILL eventually face is all inhumanely downhill from there.

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If you advocate for cats as rodent-control on farms and ranches you've already doomed them to being destroyed by drowning or shooting when it becomes a financial liability more than any asset. Ranchers and farmers worldwide are fully aware that cats' Toxoplasma gondii parasite can cause the very same birth defects (hydrocephaly and microcephaly), still-births, and miscarriages in their livestock and important wildlife as it can in pregnant women. Consequently, this is also how this cats' brain-parasite gets into your meats and onto your dinner-tables, from herbivores ingesting this cat-parasites' oocysts in the soils, transferred to the plants and grains that they eat. Not even washing your hands in bleach will destroy this parasites' oocysts if you have contracted it from your garden or yard that a cat has defecated in.

This is why any cats are ROUTINELY destroyed around gestating livestock and wildlife management areas in the most efficient, humane, and least expensive method available. Common rural practice everywhere. The risk of financial loss from dead livestock and important native wildlife from an invasive species cat is far too great to do otherwise. This cats' parasite is now even killing off rare marine mammals along all coastal regions from run-off containing this cat-parasites' oocysts.

The next time you bite into that whole-grain veggie-muffin or McBurger, you need to just envision biting down on a shot-dead or drowned kitten or cat. For that's precisely how that food supply got to your mouth -- whether you want to face up to it or not. It's not going to change reality no matter how much you twist your mind away from the truth of your world.

If you want to blame someone for the drowning and shooting of cats, you need to prosecute yourself -- every time you eat.


Do two wrongs make a right? I hope that everyone posting in favor of the city knows that your pets, according to city ordinance need to be registered with the city. How many of you are abiding by that law? Should your pet be "disposed of" because of this? Just because laws were broken doesn't grant the ACO room to "dispose of" an animal. Cavan wasn't even given a chance to rectify the situation before the judgment of this particular AC officer became the "law" according to his discretion. Also the city doesn't spend time knocking on doors trying to locate an owner of a pet. That is the responsibility of the owner. Given the opportunity this cat would have been found and the situation dealt with. The reality is an AC officer shot the cat with a .22 pistol. It was a weekday when the cat was trapped. If indeed the cat was a "danger" to the city, why wasn't it seen by and HUMANELY euthanized by a veterinarian? If this is about convenience for the city, why would you even bother to take an animal outside of town and then end it's life with a bullet? Clearly there were easier ways to deal with this cat. It seems to me like this AC officer went out of the way to end this life.


To Mr. Jurgens, if you really love your cat that much, maybe you should have followed city ordinance and tagged your cat and not allowed it to roam around your neighbors yard. If residents would take responsibility for their own actions, our city government would not have to spend time and money knocking on peoples doors to try to find an owner of a stray cat. So man up and quit trying to blame others for you not following the law.


How does anyone know that a previous ACO hasn't killed an animal??? We Don't.

The Great One

Can't we all get along


Working with a cat rescue, I tried to get two cats adopted. However, they so hated being put into a cage, they began to act "violent". The only time they ever acted out was in a cage. Otherwise, wonderful, gentle cats. I ended up keeping them. However, I know that if they ever got out of the house that they are required to stay in all the time, caught by animal control and caged, their behavior would change dramatically. I fear that if it ever happens, they'll be treated as ferals. They have been microchipped but if caged by a man set on killing at night, they have no chance.

If you truly never want this to happen again, first, fire Hayford, who after a "few months" has shown his true colors. If it's true you have never had a complaint about him before, it doesn't mean that reasons to complain don’t exist. Second, hire people who care about animals. All animals. Hire people who have been trained on how to handle animals. That clearly isn’t Hayford. Third, change the rules. Make it clear that all animals must be treated kindly, thoughtfully. Fourth, fire people who make excuses for people like Hayford. How can Rotert hire good people when his own character is now questionable.

No person who will shoot a cat for any reason, a cat in a cage yet, doesn’t belong near animals. Get it now before he does more damage. How many cats does he have to kill before Spearfish sees the light. He needs a job that keeps him away from animals and small children.


Nature_Advocate, please read this article I saw a while back and ad its content to your arsenal. http://news.yahoo.com/cats-world-suddenly-died-145802016.html But just in case you don't read it, the summary is this, "Experts say that if all the world's cats suddenly died, things would quickly go to **** in a handbasket." Although you have the right to deal with them on your own land as you see fit, they are a valuable asset to our ecosystem.

Mikken, I believe the her is a he and is our new ACO. The "her" the use to be our ACO would not have done this.


Although Nature_Advocate seemed a little over the top with his comments, I totally agree with his premise. Why is the animal control officer being blamed for doing his job and protecting the community. Cats and dogs need to have collars that not only identify the owner, but also show that they are current on their rabies shots. When they are outside of the owners property they must also be leashed. Had the cat owner followed the law, the cat would not have been running loose. Not only did the cat not have a collar, but it was turned loose on purpose. The animal owner was negligent, not the ACO. The cat owner not only allowed his cat to disturb his neighbors, possibly spread fleas and disease (cat feces in sandboxes, etc. can be very harmful to the public, especially pregnant women) but also created a situation where the cat was put down. Shame on Mr. Jurgens.


No attempt to see if this was an owned cat? No scan for microchip or knocking on doors of nearby houses? Clearly this ACO made zero effort to deal with this cat competently or compassionately.

The cat was in a trap, so no danger to anyone in the area. Take the cat to the Humane Society so they can have someone who knows how to handle animals properly deal with it. Drawing a weapon and firing it in a non-emergency, non-threatening situation is reckless and unwarranted.

This behavior is inexcusable. Next she'll be shooting leased dogs because they were acting erratically and barking at her.


Don't get sucked into this incredibly manipulative self-victimization song & dance that all criminally irresponsible and criminally negligent cat-lovers try to pull on everyone.

If their cat got ran over by a car, would they blame the traffic? If their cat died in the jaws of a coyote, would they blame god and nature? If their cat died from lapping up antifreeze in a gutter or from neighbor's garage, would they blame the neighbor and the automobile industry? If their cat died by eating rat poison under someone's steps, would they blame the nearest grocery-store owner that sold that vermin poison?


Their cat didn't die from a gunshot, it died from the owner's criminal neglect and criminal irresponsibility

By ALL RIGHTS that cat owner should now be fined and convicted of all animal-neglect, animal-abandonment, and animal-endangerment laws in every book. Not to mention being in DIRECT VIOLATION of all international invasive species laws for letting their vermin invasive species roam free in a non-native habitat.

There is absolutely NO DIFFERENCE between a stray and a feral cat. BOTH are INVASIVE SPECIES that are destroying all the native wildlife (native prey becomes tortured cats' play-toys, native predators starve to death from INVASIVE SPECIES cats destroying their ONLY food source, precisely what how cats annihilated all the wildlife on my own lands not long ago). BOTH are spreading many deadly diseases to all other animals and humans (including even the plague today, Google for that fun one, people have already died from cat transmitted plague). BOTH are illegally trespassing on others' property. BOTH need to be destroyed on-sight, just like any other highly destructive invasive-species. Cats have NO RIGHT to be exempt from invasive-species laws, especially when they are listed in the TOP 40 WORST invasive species of the world. Global Invasive Species Database: http://www.issg.org/database/species/ecology.asp?si=24&fr=1&sts=sss

Stray cats are the VERY SOURCE of all feral-cats. If you don't destroy the source you'll never be rid of feral-cats too.

Perhaps cat-owners should learn the distinction between being a responsible pet-owner and a criminally irresponsible one. If not, too bad. The rest of the world is not their pet's baby-sitter. A highly destructive INVASIVE-SPECIES pet at that. That's THEIR job to keep them from harm lest they be held criminally responsible for animal-abandonment, animal-abuse, animal-endangerment, and invasive-species laws. Let them explain to their child why their criminally irresponsible behavior and values got their cat killed by road-kill, environmental poisons, died a slow death from an animal attack, or was trapped and drowned, or shot by someone who is more respectful and responsible about their natural environment than the criminally irresponsible cat-owner. Maybe in that lesson of explaining the death of their cat to their child that the parent too will grow up into a socially responsible, respectable, and respectful human as well one day. Though I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for that to ever happen.

Would you care to watch out for the safety and well-being of about 150,000,000 Pet Piranha released into all your waterways, lakes, swimming areas, and backyard pools? Or just as many Pet Black Mambas roaming all your backyards, parks, and lands? It's the EXACT same thing that cat-owners would be requesting by having everyone treat their stray cats differently from feral cats.

I have a box full of collars with no tags on them from the HUNDREDS of cats that I had to shoot dead and bury over two years ago to stop them from destroying all the native wildlife on my land. It's not MY responsibility to track down the disrespectful and criminally irresponsible pet-owner. It shouldn't even be my job to have to destroy THEIR LOUSY CATS. That's THEIR JOB if they don't want them home where they legally belong. And not ONE of those cats that I had to destroy were spayed nor neutered. I checked after shooting each one because the dip-sh** cat owners in the area all claimed that they ALL had their cats fixed. LIARS ALL. *ALL* those cats needed to be DESTROYED. And guess what? It's still legal to shoot cats on your own land whether they belong to someone else or not, tags or not.

Any invasive species that is released out into a habitat for which it is not intended, is not an indigenous animal, and has no place in the native food chain; not only deserves to be but *needs* to be destroyed. These criminally irresponsible cat-owners have zero regard for their neighbors and zero regard for the environment, and zero regard even for the lives of their very own cats. All people should now have zero regard for them and anything that they want and value in life. It is the *only* way that you're going to solve this ecological disaster that we now all face -- caused by cat-lovers. I finally solved the problem where I lived when I stopped paying any attention at all to the manipulative whining of cat-lovers and just did what needed to be done -- shot and buried every last stray cat I saw. May you learn this lesson before I did -- after the loss of all your native wildlife.


It’s clear that Tate Hayford has no business carrying a loaded weapon, and no business working as an animal control officer. A mistake like this is inexcusable, and betrays a profound ignorance of basic animal behavior—cats in traps often behave erratically because they are frightened. It’s that simple.

And Police Chief Rotert’s “hope… that something like this doesn't happen again” is an insult to community that pays his salary. The only way to prevent a similar incident is to change the relevant ordinances. Believe it or not, many communities around the country find it reprehensible to shoot cats, feral or otherwise.

Peter J. Wolf

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