Barrington Animal Control black cat adoption event raises fur

Barrington Animal Control black cat adoption event raises fur

Barrington ACO Patricia Watson, with one of the cats available for adoption last weekend.


Barrington ACO Patricia Watson, with one of the cats available for adoption last weekend.
Is it dangerous for black cats to be adopted near Halloween?

Some people think so and a few of them recently criticized Barrington Animal Control for hosting a “mini-panther” adoption drive last Saturday.

The “mini-panther” moniker was used in an advertisement for the event given the cats’ black coloring. A pair of individuals reportedly stopped by the adoption drive to speak out against the effort in the name of animal safety, arguing that black cats can be a target of cruelty this time of year.

Similar sentiments were expressed in reader comments posted beneath an online story about the drive.

“Is the ACO from Barrington out of her ever loving mind???? Adopting black cats in October is a BIG NO to begin with and then FOR FREE??? Are you kidding me?????” wrote Rita Falaguerra.

“MOST, if not all, reputable shelters WON’T EVEN ADOPT OUT BLACK CATS IN OCTOBER, LET ALONE GIVE THEM AWAY!!!! Anyone know why??? come folks, put on thinking caps and see if we can come up with[one] good answer!”

“This should not take place….this is crazy! Reputable shelters do not adopt out black cats in October……Barrington DONT do it, your reputation is on the line, If you care for the animals in your care at all you will NOT go thru with this,” wrote Deb Coccio.

“And for free…REALLY????”

Barrington Animal Control Officer Patricia Watson, however, didn’t share these concerns.

She said last weekend’s adoptions followed procedure to ensure the animals went to good owners. The drive resulted in four cats getting new homes, including three in Barrington.

Officer Watson said the police department has familiarity with two of these three owners and she has followed up with all of them to make sure the cats are settling into their new homes.

As for the fourth owner, Officer Watson said she personally knows the individual.

Three other adoptions are also reportedly pending, two of which are with Barrington homes and another in Riverside.

Barrington Police Chief John LaCross said he wasn’t concerned about potential cat abuse given a lack of evidence that cats are being ritually tortured in Barrington or neighboring communities.

Chief LaCross said in his 11-year tenure he couldn’t recall such an incident in town and those wishing to do harm to an animal could adopt it at another time of the year.

East Providence ACO William Muggle said he has never come across a case of Halloween-related black cat cruelty in his decade of animal control experience. Officer Muggle said there is a “heightened awareness” with black cat adoption in October though if there is a match between a cat and a loving family the time of year won’t stop the process from moving forward.

RISPCA Director E.J. Finocchio said his agency doesn’t prohibit black cat adoptions around Halloween. He said these adoptions are handled the same as any other animal adoption at any other time of year. He said each adoption requires an application and the agency is hesitant with anyone who seems suspicious, regardless of the season or animal.

Dr. Finocchio said this type of suspicion may be why some agencies decide against black cat adoptions in October.

“It’s something that you have to keep in the back of your mind because of some of the psychopaths in our society today,” Dr. Finocchio said.

Chief LaCross also said Officer Watson has been with the police department for years and has the discretion to determine if a cat is a good fit for its potential home.

Officer Watson said there is an application that all potential adopters must fill out. She also said there is a “gut” feeling that goes into knowing if an animal is going to a good home.

Rita Falaguerra did not return phone calls for this story.


  1. We think that the concern about not making black cat adoptions around Halloween is justified when you take into account what has already happened in Rhode Island and throughout the United States and when you consider what has been said by experts regarding the issue of some Satanic cults and animal cruelty.

    We are not talking about animal cruelty against black cats that took place in the 1700s. We still have individuals involved in Satanic cults in Rhode Island. The cults are not all cruel to animals, but there are some that practice Satanic rituals that will sacrifice animals as we know from previous arrests made.

    There were four individuals living in Providence, East Greenwich, and Cranston, who were part of a cult that were charged with animal cruelty involving a black cat. What was found in that case was the charred head of a black cat, its mouth agape in terror that had been clipped to one of the mailbox hooks used to hold newspapers. Unfortunately, this was not an isolated case.

    Some years ago, the Warwick Police Department’s former Detective Sgt. Edmund Pierce built a reputation for specializing in crimes involving Satanic groups. Here is what he said: “We’re seeing the killing of animals.” He also stated, “We’ve had reports from Barrington Police Department of an occult group holding meetings by the water over there. I’ve had reports from South County about Druid activity in the area.”

    We think that these concerns are still valid today. The point is that no community is or was immune to animal cruelty. Former Warwick Police Chief Wesley M. Blanchard said, “We’re not saying there’s a big problem with Satanism and cults in the city of Warwick or even in the state of Rhode Island; however, this activity does exist, and I want my people to have some idea of what they’re running into when they see the signs or any indication of Satanism or cults.” “The problem, if we could call it that, is out there,” he said. “It’s out there in the community. You don’t turn your back on the fact that it exists and expect it to go away.”

    Unfortunately, it’s not just the cults that are of concern; you have troubled individuals that will take advantage of adoption opportunities from Craigslists and elsewhere, including the adoption of black cats during the Halloween period.

    There is a lot to making proper animal adoptions, and the process includes recognizing and consideration of risk factors. If you don’t do that, you may be placing the animal in danger. You can’t be too careful when you are adopting out any animal.

    Proper animal adoptions are not about numbers; it’s about making the right match and hopefully finding people that have a track record of caring for an animal. This goes way beyond filling out an application form. The days of first come first served regarding animal adoptions has no place in the world of humane treatment of animals.

  2. The Chief makes a good point whereas there is no evidence of satanic animal torture. But there is evidence seen every day of people who find it pleasing or are fueling their own self worth by picking a topic or cause and while taking the opposite view, bash good people in the process. There are more ” real issues” that we could use activists like yourselves to blast through and make an impact. This is a small community and we should back our officials and law enforcement when they do the right thing.

    • Agreed, Joseph. Three years ago I wanted to get a kitten for my children at Christmas. I tried every shelter in the state, and the ones that had kittens had a holiday moratorium. I approached a handful of rescue groups and individuals and finally gave up when I received the most profoundly venomous email I have ever received, ripping me for my irresponsibility, ostensibly because in the imagined chaos of eating breakfast and opening a handful of presents, the animal would be stepped on, recycled with the wrapping paper, mistaken for the roast and cooked alive….who knows what. At any rate, for the first time in my life I did not get a pet from a shelter or rescue, I went to one of those dreaded pet stores. The cat (also black) survived Christmas and is quite well.

  3. My family and I adopted one of the kittens on Saturday. Her name is “Lola”, and she is doing wonderfully. She enjoys being loved and cuddled like a baby and is starting to be frisky and play. I think what Mrs. Watson did was wonderful. She works for the Barrington police department, of course she is going to use caution in her decision on who will be able to adopt. Its not like she was just any person off the street giving away cats to anyone. I think all the drama over Mrs. Watsons good deed is un-called for. The process took a little while, but it was well worth it. Thank you to Barrington Police and the animal control officer for a job well done.