Rest in Peace my precious little one….
Francis, beloved Kitty
NBC aired a story on protecting pets
from Nuisance Wildlife trappers and featured our story on April 13, 2004 .
Read the the story.
(Please note that they misspelled Franc's name.)
Read PETA's Action Alert
Read FOX's News Coverage of the story
Franc was discovered in the woods of Wisconsin on a cold day on October 4th, 1999. It was a special day because it was the Feast day of Saint Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals. He was an abandoned kitten, not even four weeks old and not yet weaned, barely able to walk when he was found. My (now ex) husband and I adopted him and named him “Francis” after his obvious patron, St. Francis. We bottle-fed him until he could eat solid food and he always related to me as his mother from that day onward. His big “sister,” our Labrador, took good care of him and always protected him; they developed an inseparable friendship almost immediately.
From Franc’s earliest days, he loved to go outside and walk with us whenever we walked the dog. In fact, when we lived in the city, Franc would walk alongside us on a leash and people would stop and stare at this tiger-cat who acted like a dog on his daily walk. We still think Franc believed he was a miniature dog!
Franc was incredibly intelligent and found a multitude of ways to communicate to us to get what he wanted. Whenever he was hungry, he would slide his food dish around to let us know. When he wanted out he would paw at our feet. When he wanted to cuddle, he would attempt to jump into our arms, no matter what we were doing, until we conceded! He loved cat treats and would perform tricks to get them right along with our dog. He loved to lay with us on the couch or snuggle under the covers in our bed.
In so many ways, Franc was like our child and we always referred to him and our dog as, “our kids.”
It was horrifying when Franc didn’t show up for his daily walk one evening on November 3, 2003. Our routine was always the same: Franc went outside in the early evening and met up with us for our daily walk and we all came home together to sleep for the night. I knew immediately something was wrong when he didn’t show up. The next day he did not come home either and so I began calling every animal shelter in the area, began plastering “Missing Cat” signs all over the neighborhood and talking to people in the community. My search was fruitless and I became desperate and panicked. I began going to every business in our neighborhood to ask if anyone knew anything about our cat. Finally, at the elementary school just yards from our home, a member of the maintenance crew explained that Critter Control of Toledo (Ohio) had been baiting and trapping at the school in our residential neighborhood and had caught two cats. When I asked him what they did with the cats he said he assumed they were given to the Humane Society. I literally sprinted home and called Critter Control. Critter Control informed me that they had trapped a cat matching Franc’s description and had killed him in their gas chamber the same day they picked him up from the trap.
I began to beg them for more information but the Critter Control employee simply hung up on me. I called back an hour or so later and spoke to the manager. I asked him if I could please pick up the body to bury him and he said that they sent all the dead animals to the city landfill. The thought of my precious baby being trapped and gassed within hours and then thrown into a landfill was devastating beyond words. It's so utterly senseless.
I went back to the elementary school to ask them about this incident and spoke to the Dean of the school who had hired Critter Control. She informed me that she had absolutely no knowledge that Critter Control had trapped cats because she had hired them to trap raccoons. She then discovered she had been charged $60 per “non-target animal.” Therefore, Critter Control had charged the school $120 to trap and kill neighborhood cats! The Dean of the school was outraged and the school later dissolved their contract with Critter Control in response.
I began demanding a policy change but the Toledo manager of Critter Control was non-compliant over the phone. Through a fruitless series of emails with the CEO and local manager, I begged Critter Control to stop killing cats, but they have refused and continue to kill cats for profit. Since then, more pet owners have come forward to say that their cats have been killed by Critter Control. We are justifiably outraged.
It is my sincere hope that Franc’s life and death not be in vain. If his story can help, in any way, to save the lives of other pets, then I believe he will have lived up to the reputation and will of his patron, Saint Francis. Please pet owners and animal lovers, do not let Pest Control companies like Critter Control get away with this in your neighborhood. Hold them accountable for their actions.
On November 13th 2003 at sunset, we had a goodbye service for Franc in the same Wisconsin woods where we found him. We buried a picture of him, some fur we found that Franc left behind, a toy of his, and his food dish. We read from Scripture, said some prayers including a litany for animals, and said goodbye a last time to Franc amidst our tears.
I love you Franc. I hope and pray you are nestled in the arms of God now.
I will never be the same without you, or because of this experience.
If you would like to help in the effort to change such inhumane practices, Some of Franc’s Nicknames: Frankie Falank Fraunch Franchie-chie Nickie Nicholas Pickolas Nickle Nickleback LJ Littleman Mannie Monchie-chie Ickle Pickle Nickel-Franc _______________________________________________
please see this page for more information.
Some of Franc’s Nicknames: