Rat poison left for Altona family's cats 0
Sam, Carley and Jordan Milner are happy to still have their pets after someone tried to poison them.
By Lori Penner
There was no "Welcome Home" sign waiting for Steve and Jen Milner when they returned from their family vacation Aug. 7.
Instead, their front walkway and steps were covered with rat poison.
Horrified, the Altona couple and their three children quickly checked to see if their two cats were okay.
"We were in total shock," says Jen. "But our first concern was the cats."
Because of an injured paw, Leo, the older of the two tabbies, had been kept indoors while the family went to Grand Forks for the weekend.
"He was alright, but Digits (named for the extra toe on each of his paws) ingested some of the poison," says Jen.
Rat poison causes hemorrhaging. Digits is still vomiting up blood, and will be on medication for the next three weeks until the poison leaves his system.
The person watching over the home and cats had not seen or heard anything.
The Milners called the police, who noted that one of the two boxes of poison had been deliberately placed under the front steps.
"They also said that the injury on Leo's paw looked like he'd escaped from some kind of trap," Jen says. "His toenail is ripped right off."
Altona police chief Perry Batchelor says they've been canvassing neighbours, and are hoping someone will come forward with information.
Batchelor says they're looking at a charge of trespassing, mischief and cruelty to animals.
"This is reckless and dangerous behaviour," he says. "It's bad enough that animals could have been seriously harmed, but if a person had somehow ingested this stuff, we'd be looking at a whole different charge."
"These are small pink pellets that could easily be mistaken for candy," Jen says. "I shudder to think what could have happened if a small child had come along."
She says their cats are well cared for and have all their shots.
"These are not a couple of mangy runaways. They're healthy and friendly and loved. My kids sleep with them."
The Milners say they get along with all the people in their bay and no one has ever complained about the cats.
A town bylaw prohibits pets from running at large, but Jen says they keep an eye on the cats.
"Yes, they're allowed to go outside - they're cats! But they pretty much stick to our yard. They're not out there ripping through flower beds or garbage or anything."
Jen says she feels victimized.
"If someone has a problem with our cats, I wish they would just come talk to us. But instead, you trespass onto my yard and leave dangerous material. I would never do this to anything you love and care about. I always thought part of community was communication. This is just mean and cruel."
For now, Leo and Digits spend much of their time staring longingly out the window.
"Someone out there wants to kill my cats," Jen says. "They're not allowed outside anymore."
The Milner children have mixed emotions.
Ten-year-old Sam says he's really freaked out.
"It makes me sad. The cats are like my brothers."
Jordan, 12, says she's sickened and confused.
"Why the heck would they do this?"
As for six-year-old Carley, there's plenty of anger.
"What would I say to who did this? I'm really, really mad! Back off of my cats!"