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Norwich woman starts petition for 'dangerous cats act' after cat attack leaves her Nan in hospital

PUBLISHED: 16:22 15 July 2016 | UPDATED: 12:55 16 July 2016

Pearl Capes, 93, after a cat attacked her, wounding her arm. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Pearl Capes, 93, after a cat attacked her, wounding her arm. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Copyright: Archant 2016

A woman has started a petition to bring in legislation for dangerous cats after her Nan was left in hospital after being attacked by a cat in her own garden.

The wounded arm of Pearl Capes, 93, after a cat attacked her. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYThe wounded arm of Pearl Capes, 93, after a cat attacked her. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Pearl Capes, 93, was tending to her pet cat, called Puss Puss, in the garden of her flat in a sheltered housing complex in Old Catton when a neighbours cat grabbed hold of her arm with its teeth as she tried to shoo it away.

Her granddaughter, Melissa Crowe, 41, now wants new prime minister Theresa May to bring in a new law for cats which is similar to the Dangerous Dogs Act.

Paramedics were called to Mrs Capes’ home on Wednesday afternoon following the attack and decided to take her to Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. Due to her age the wound, which was the size of a 50 pence piece, was washed out and stitched under a local anaesthetic.

Ms Crowe said the attack has left her Nan very shaken and wary about other cats.

Pearl Capes, 93, with her daughter Pat Crowe, left, and her granddaughter, Melissa Crowe, after a cat attacked Pearl, and wounding her arm. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYPearl Capes, 93, with her daughter Pat Crowe, left, and her granddaughter, Melissa Crowe, after a cat attacked Pearl, and wounding her arm. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

“When the paramedics turned up they were shocked and horrified that it was a cat that did this, even in the hospital they said they had never seen anything like it,” she said. “She was so scared when it happened and had a panic attack. She actually thought she was going to die and she was really shaken up.

“Now she is very careful when she lets her cat in and out that this cat doesn’t come near her, she has even shut all the windows.”

Norfolk Police were informed of the incident but no action was taken.

A spokesperson for the force said: “No criminal offence was committed and the issue was not something for the police to resolve. We advised the caller to speak to the landlord and try and resolve the problem through some kind of mediation.”

Fifty people have already signed the petition since it was launched on Thursday with many of those commenting with messages of support to Pearl and giving her their best wishes.

Ms Crowe said: “I just want people to sign the petition so we can get something similar to the dangerous dog act. If I kicked a cat I can get prosecuted but even though that cat bit my nanny nothing can done to the cat or the owner.

“I don’t want it put down or anything. I just want it assessed by the RSPCA and re-homed somewhere away from elderly people.”

Cats and the law

Animal Act 1971 and the Common Law Duty of Care

It is a commonly-held view that cats have a ‘right to roam’ wherever they wish. This view is largely based upon the fact that certain duties imposed upon the owners of dogs and livestock to keep their animals under control (Road Traffic, Highways and Dangerous Dogs Acts) do not apply to cat owners.

The law in these respects recognises that, by their nature, cats are less likely than some other animals to cause injury to people or damage to property. However, cat owners do have a general duty at law to take reasonable care to ensure that their cats do not cause injury to people or damage to property. In practice, cases involving damage to property or injury to people by cats are few and far between.

•To sign the petition visit the change.org page.

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