Cat owners living in Bedford, England, better watch out where they post their "lost cat" notices if their kitty goes missing. Unfortunately, Mike Harding, owner of 7 year old Wookie, who has been missing for 6 weeks, found out the hard way having been threatened with a fine of £1,000 ($1,559 U.S. dollars) for putting up lost posters of his beloved feline on trees and street lampposts. Wookie - love that name - went missing since late November and in an attempt and hope that someone has spotted the cat, Harding posted A4-sizes posters. Upon spotting the posters, the local borough council told Harding that he was committing the dastardly offence of flyposting (this does not mean posting house flies everywhere - Wikipedia defines it here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flyposting) and to remove the posters in 48 hours or face a fine.
Oh the abomination of posting a missing cat poster!
The issue in as far as the council see it, is that the posters were nailed to trees, causing them harm. Why - did the trees complain? Furthermore, (the council) environmental team spotted more than twenty of Harding's lost cat posters, some of which were nailed to eight trees.
Ohmygawd - eight whole trees!
Understandably, an alternative to attaching posters to trees is desirable but perhaps he should be forgiven since he is obviously missing Wookie in a big way. According to a borough council member, nailing a tree pierces the bark, which in turn could allow fungal spores to break down the trees defences, leading to secondary infections. Thing is - this is a cat lover who is desperate to find his cat!
The council communicated in writing to Harding on December 22, warning him to remove said posters by 0900 on December 24. Talk about not having Christmas spirit! The desperate cat owner took them down but it was when he nailed some on telegraph poles and a couple of trees that he received a written warning. In response, Harding ran around on Christmas eve removing posters, finishing the job at 3 a.m.
"I received a call from Bedford Borough Council, which initially I thought was a prank call, asking for my address because they wanted to send me some information. I was expecting information leaflets, but instead they sent a letter warning me that I would be prosecuted if the posters weren't removed."
The council said flyposting was illegal and added it was satisfied the matter had been resolved. Maybe for the council but not for Harding, who still hasn't seen a whisker of Wookie.
Click on this link to see a photo of Wookie in case anyone sees him and his sad owner: