Daily Liberal; LISA MINNER; 10 May, 2012
FAMILIAR furry faces at Dundullimal Homestead will not be seen there again after the property’s two cats were taken to the RSPCA.
Ginger cat, Maughan, has since been euthanised and another, Sophie, has been reunited with the previous manager/caretaker of the National Trust property on Obley Road.
According to the former Dundullimal caretaker/manager, Catherine Basford, the cats were strays born on the property and raised by herself and her daughter.
The felines became popular additions to the homestead and Mrs Basford said their friendly natures appealed to visitors and won them a lot of attention.
After the caretakers’ positions were handed over to new management, Ms Basford moved to Victoria and the cats remained at the homestead.
Ms Basford said she didn’t take the cats with her because she thought they might be considered property of the homestead, as there were other animals that are part of the caretakers’ responsibilities and considered Dundullimal property.
She said she left at least a month’s worth of provisions for the cats before she had to hand the keys over.
Ms Basford was later called by a concerned friend and told the cats had been taken to the RSPCA with the assurance that they stood a good chance of being rehomed.
She said she believed that the new caretakers had been concerned that the cats were eating native wildlife.
Ms Basford then began making enquiries from her home in Victoria to adopt the cats.
“When I enquired [of the RSPCA] as to why nobody contacted me, I was told that I wasn’t entitled to be informed,”she said.
“I asked the RSPCA in Dubbo if I could pay the expenses to get the cats back, but they told me Maughan had been rehoused and was happy with another family which was not true at all.”
Pursuing the issue, she said she phoned the Dubbo City Council, the RSPCA along with a number of other people to seek help with adopting the cats.
After contacting a regional manager at the RSPCA she was told Maughan had been destroyed on April 21.
She found out the cats had been taken to the shelter on April 13 and, because Maughan was not microchipped, he had been destroyed seven days later.
After paying $370, Mrs Basford was able to adopt Sophie, who was still in the shelter.
The cat was then flown to Victoria to live with Mrs Basford and her daughter.
“I am aware that I should have had the cats microchipped, that’s certainly my fault, but I can’t understand why no-one gave me the option to take the cats before sending them off,” she said. “If I had known sooner Maughan would not have been destroyed.”
The new Dundullimal management declined to comment about the two cats.
National Trust’s Gerry Hayes also declined to comment on the issue.