An animal-loving couple have been left bewildered to find a neighbor reported them for abuse after seeing their cats sitting on the ‘hard floor’.
Fay Massey and Brian Helliwell, both 72, rescue animals around the world and raise them until they have homes.
The couple, from Wigston, Leicestershire, say they ‘love animals’ and let their cats roam free with access to food and water all day.
But they were horrified to find their methods had upset a nosy neighbour, who accused them of making their cats ‘depressed’ by leaving them outside on the ‘hard floor’.
Writing to them in an anonymous letter, the neighbor said: “In the last few months that I have been living in Wigston, I have noticed at least three or four lovely cats in your driveway.
“The more I saw them, the more I started to question the safety of these cats.
“Whether you’re home all day or not, it’s not fair to leave cats outside all day.
“I often drive by at different times of the day and see them all sitting there instead of in the comfort of a home like they should be.
“A bowl of food [and] water is not enough for these cats and how rotten this food could be out all day is animal abuse.
“You can love these cats but you can’t [of] life for them, especially one of them looking very young.
“I don’t see any personality in these cats, they look depressed because they’ve been on hard ground all day. Would you like that?”
The letter added that they had raised the case with “a number of animal charities who have advised me to contact you to do two things”.
He advised: “1- Have the cats inside – please note that I have watched and will watch the driveway and will continue to do so.
“2- Take them to a cattery or animal charity that will give them the life they should live in a warm and comfortable home.”
Fay and Brian, who are both retired, were shocked to receive the letter, insisting they have set feeding times for all their animals.
They also give their pets “constant” access to food and water throughout the day and despite the letter suggesting there was only one “rotten” food bowl for all cats insist on putting several bowls of fresh food and water down. for their everyday pets, inside and outside their home.
I don’t see any personality in these cats, they look depressed because they’ve been on hard ground all day. How would you like it?
Anonymous letter of complaint
Former catering worker Fay said: “You can’t keep a cat. We have the cat flap, it’s never closed so they can come and go whenever they want.
“If we don’t care about these cats, why would we take them for an exam and pay the vet bills?
“It just annoyed us how we are with animals that one person moved here for a few months and said, ‘I don’t think you take care of your animals’ because they sit outside. before.
“I will fight for my animals but they can come into the house and stay all night if they want to see how the cats live.”
“WE LOVE ANIMALS”
The avid rescuers currently have five rescue dogs as well as their six cats and frequently work with animal rescue charities, nurturing cats and dogs until they find their forever home.
Of their six cats, they say they bought one from a charity that rescues stray animals in Romania and brings them to the UK.
They also claim to have taken the other five cats over the years from previous local owners who no longer wanted them.
Brian said: “Everyone here knows Fay is Dr Doolittle – Fay looks after every animal on this earth, she would have them all if she could.
“Whoever sent this knows nothing about cats – you can’t lock up any animals, especially cats.
We are involved in many rescues around the world where they pick up stray dogs from Romania and Bulgaria and take them in until they find them a home. Everything is voluntary, we don’t get a penny for anything.
“It’s abuse, locking a cat in a house rather than letting it roam.
“If they don’t want to put up with it, why don’t they come and identify themselves? We will welcome all the rescuers who come to check on our house and our animals.”
After the unnamed neighbor warned that they were “watching” the couple and their rescued animals in their home, Fay and Brian decided to report the letter to the police.
Fay said: “The letter was posted in the postbox across the road about ten doors down.
“The person put it in the letterbox knowing we live ten doors down because they put our address on the letter.
“But they still put it in the letterbox across the road because they obviously don’t want us to see them on the camera at the door.
“We went to the police station and they say we can put a sign outside asking this anonymous person to come to our house and we’ll accept you and show you how we live with cats.”
She added: “We are involved in many rescues around the world where they get stray dogs from Romania and Bulgaria and we take them in until they find them a home.
“It’s all voluntary, we don’t get a dime for anything. I won’t refuse any animals because I love animals.
“I would like that person to come to the house and see for themselves how cats live.”
Leicestershire Police have been contacted for comment.