Fur is flying between two Wakatipu neighbours in high-end rural Speargrass Flat after a $1000 pet cat was shot dead.
Former local property developer Ross Allan says his four kids are distraught because their beloved Abyssinian moggy Fred was killed by famed New Zealand landscape artist Peter Beadle.
Beadle, who lives near the Allans at Speargrass Flat Road, says he only intended to frighten the animal with his .22 rifle because he believed it was stalking his prized Peking ducks.
The distinctive-looking pedigree cat – less than a year old – died on September 2, the day after it had been bulleted by Beadle.
Allan says he’s fuming Queenstown police won’t take any action. Beadle – in his late 70s – says he mistakenly thought it was a feral cat worrying his ducks. Allan has now approached Otago SPCA.
“I’m mighty disappointed with the reaction from the police because essentially that says it’s fair game to shoot your neighbour’s animal if it’s disturbing you – that it’s open season on pets,” Allan says.
Allan says: “I believe this is more than just an animal welfare issue” – and that in his opinion “there’s certainly a firearms issue here”.
“We live on a rural residential property but [in my view] you don’t discharge a firearm in the way that this one was discharged.
“We live less than 200 metres from Beadle’s place and there are a couple of other houses nearby too,” Allan says.
Beadle admits shooting the pet cat but calls it a “dreadful misunderstanding”.
“We’ve had a lot of trouble from feral cats as they take or damage the ducks,” he tells Mountain Scene.
“I thought the cat was a rabbit at first but it was slowly advancing on the edge of our pond and I thought ‘hell, that’s a feral and it’s stalking the Peking duck’.
“I told my wife Jill to keep an eye on it while I got my gun. I thought ‘I’ll put a shot over its head and give it a fright’,” Beadle says.
“I didn’t know at the time that I’d hit the cat because after I fired it ran off through the willows.”
Beadle says he may now scrap an offer he’s made to pick up the tab for emerg-ency treatment the cat received at Remarkable Vets, near Arrowtown. The cat was taken to the vet after it had staggered home from being shot in the stomach.
“We’ve heard that Ross is kicking up merry hell with the police, demanding something be done,” Beadle says.
“We’ve told the vet we’ll pay the account but if this thing goes on I’m going to ring the vet and say ‘look, sorry, I’m going to withdraw that offer’.
“It’s been really concerning and the fact the Mountain Scene has picked up on it is a nightmare.”
Sergeant Linda Stevens confirms Queenstown police investigated but are satisfied no offence has been committed.
“The cat was on [Beadle’s] property at the time and stalking ducklings – a feral cat issue – it wasn’t known to be a domestic cat,” Stevens says.
“It’s on rural property as well,” she says.
Otago SPCA’s chief inspector Virginia Pine says Allan has informed her about the incident.
“I’ll be discussing this with Queenstown police and following that I’ll be making a decision on whether we are intending to take it further,” she says.