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Cat deaths spark dog hunt by angry owners

By Emily Norman

[email protected]

Marauding dogs killing and maiming cats in Featherston have sent pet owners into a “frenzy” to protect their fur family.

Residents of the Daniell St area say there have been “several” pet cats killed by wandering dogs over the Christmas period.

And with only an after-hours animal control service to turn to, matters are being taken into their own hands.

Leah Stepien, who lives on Daniell St, was woken up early on the day before Christmas by her brother who yelled, “your cat’s being attacked by a dog and I think he’s dying”.

He had seen a white dog with the 13-year-old family cat in its mouth in the garden, “growling and shaking” him.

“I leapt out of bed because I was in shock, and my brother was holding my beloved cat Pluto, who was gasping for breath.

“There was blood all over my brother’s clothes and I was just screaming and crying.”

Pluto was immediately taken to the vet and was x-rayed.

He had a severed spine, collapsed lung, collapsed bladder, collapsed kidney, and his leg was “shattered into pieces”.

He was euthanised at 4.35am.

That same morning, a tortoiseshell cat was also found dead in Daniell St.

According to a vet, it was killed by a dog.

Miss Stepien said things had got so bad in the area that cat owners were locking up their pets at night and patrolling the streets to track down wandering dogs.

The situation has escalated on a Featherston Facebook group over the past few days with residents posting pictures of their dogs with captions, “Don’t shoot my dog… Deffs not a cat killer”.

South Wairarapa district councillor Lee Carter, of Featherston, said she was aware of a “growing concern around wandering dogs” at night.

“In saying that, I haven’t seen anything personally in my street, I’m just seeing it on Facebook and hearing about it,” she said.

Mrs Carter had been working closely with the council’s afterhours service for animal control to “make sure we get these things right in relation to providing a good service over the holiday period”.

“At the end of the day, the only way we’ll get it sorted is by people logging the calls to the afterhours system or dog ranger through the council and take the appropriate steps this way.”

Miss Stepien’s niece Renee Stepien said Mrs Carter had done a “wonderful job in helping us get a resolution for this problem with the dog attacks on cats”.

“We are hoping that the owners of the dog are made responsible for what happened to our beloved pet who had to be euthanized from the result of a dog attack.”


  1. I have dogs and cats so feel for both sides. If a dog owner can’t keep his/her dog inside the property then they are not properly caring for that pet. It is not ok to kill cats who can’t be walked or contained on a leash. I sympathise with the cat owner as some won’t stay inside at night while others do. Dogs love to be cuddled up in a warm place preferably with the family close by.so the owners are responsible in my estimation.

  2. I must say I had hope for this article but have been left dissapointed.

    The focus should have been one of concern for the multitude of dead cats in the area, and spreading the word to affected residents so their animals could be kept safe while dog control investigated.

    Instead what we’ve been given is a disjointed article which makes it sound like residents are clammering with pitchforks. No. Residents are organising to do patrols in the evening to track the offending dogs down. Residents are justifiably worried by the loss of much loved pets and residents are upset that the council has not made any official statement on this issue.

    I’m dissapointed in the Times-Age. I hoped for a better article than this.

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