Barrington Animal Control black cat adoption event raises fur



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 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.


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Joseph Rainone

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.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012 | Report this

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.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012 | Report this

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.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012 | Report this

36,000 Americans died last year in car accidents…have you started a campaign to stop cats from being brought home in cars yet?

Wednesday, October 17, 2012 | Report this

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