© Submitted photo
Lorene McLeod sits in her home recently with Muffinhead (in the middle) and Loverboy. Muffinhead, also known as Muffin, was killed and Loverboy was injured on Saturday morning when the two cats were attacked on their own porch by two dogs that may have been out for a run with somebody in a vehicle.
An area family is in mourning after a pair of dogs attacked a woman’s two pet cats on her front porch on Saturday, killing one and injuring the other.
The pain of losing her cat Muffinhead, also known as Muffin, remained just as palpable two days later for retired resident Lorene McLeod.
“It’s still upsetting,” she said on Monday, her voice quavering. “I could cry every time I think about it because it’s so senseless.”
McLeod, who is almost completely blind and lives by herself, had drawn a great deal of companionship from Muffinhead and her other cat, Loverboy, who himself suffered non-fatal injuries in Saturday’s attack.
“They slept with me at night … (Muffinhead) stayed right beside me while I did my exercises in the morning … and if I’d sit down, they were all in my lap,” McLeod said. “So we were very close.”
The attack that left Muffinhead with a snapped neck took place between 9:30 a.m. and 10 a.m. at McLeod’s rural residence, which is located west of Prince Albert.
At the time when McLeod’s sister Leona Podolecki called them in, the cats were sitting just outside the front door.
“I was looking out through the screen door and I saw the one cat coming towards the door, so I opened the door but she didn’t want to go in … she was distracted by something, but I couldn’t see what it was,” Podolecki recalled.
“I just turned away from the door for a minute or more, not much longer, and all of a sudden there was this banging against the door and I looked out … The two dogs were right up on the top of the steps and they had the cat cornered against the wall and they then grabbed it.
“I banged on the door as hard I could to try and scare them away -- which didn’t happen -- and finally with banging and hollering and I eased the door open a while, they did run off down into the middle of the yard carrying the cat.”
By that time, McLeod had come onto the scene, and the resulting commotion may have prompted one of the dogs to drop Muffinhead.
Shortly thereafter, the sight of a small maroon SUV driving by gave the women pause.
“As we’re standing in the yard … a vehicle drove through the yard, which wasn’t unusual because my sister’s son has a home in the same farmyard and we thought the vehicle was going to his place,” Podolecki said.
“But a minute or so later I looked up and I saw the car leaving his yard out through his driveway and a minute or so behind them the two dogs followed.”
Whether there was any association between the driver of the SUV and the dogs, it was only later that Podolecki drew a possible connection between the two.
In the meantime, McLeod contacted her daughter Karen, who works in in-home pet care and home security.
It’s still upsetting. I could cry every time I think about it because it’s so senseless. Lorena McLeod
“Mom called me to come quick to the farm, not telling me what was up,” Karen recalled. “So I went out there and she was crying … just said ‘Muffinhead’ and just pointed out into the yard.”
Karen combed the area searching for dogs matching the description of the attackers, whom Podolecki characterized as one big black dog and a medium-sized white dog with a cream-coloured complexion.
With no luck in the search, Karen reported the incident to the RCMP.
Representatives of the RCMP could not be reached for comment on Monday by the Daily Herald.
“The gentleman from the RCMP called me and had empathy for the situation and advised me to call the rural dogcatcher,” Karen said.
Efforts to contact the rural dogcatcher, however, led straight to voicemail.
For the moment, Karen intends to contact authorities in the RM in order to address the issue of dogs running around in the area.
Meanwhile, McLeod and her family buried Muffinhead on Sunday.
“Her son built a little casket for it and it was buried in an area they have where they have buried some of their other animals over the years,” Podolecki said. “They’ve lived on the property for years, so they had a spot specially for (deceased pets), because we all lose our animals to old age if nothing else.”
Loverboy, for his part, is still recovering from his injuries.
“He’s very docile today and that’s not like him, and he has a little knick in his side,” McLeod said. “Karen took him and cleaned it and put some ointment on it last night. But he’s been sleeping most of the day and that’s really not like him, because he likes to be outside.”
In publicly discussing the attack, both Podolecki and Karen McLeod identified a desire to highlight the problem of negligent dogowners and the risks they can pose to vulnerable individuals, particularly small children.
They also urged pet owners to neuter and license their pets.
“The biggest thing I think that needs to be brought to the people’s attention is that could have been a child, because it was only a week or so before that for Mother’s Day all her grandchildren and great-grandchildren (came to visit), and one is just a toddler,” Podolecki said.
Karen added, “This is what we worry about … The negligence of the owners not leashing and walking their dogs … They are unaware what their dogs are capable of doing, and this is what they’re capable of doing.”