Petition launched to change the law after Leeds woman's cat killed by driver who did not stop
A woman from Leeds has started a petition calling for laws to change after her cat was hit and killed by a driver who did not stop.
Ciara Rhodes, 28, was devastated when her 3-year-old cat Molly was hit and killed on the street outside her home in West Park.
Her grief was added to when she viewed a neighbour’s CCTV footage and saw that the driver never even stopped to check on the cat.
After the family’s devastating loss, Ciara began to research the laws around hitting animals and was shocked to find that there is no legal requirement to stop after hitting a cat as there is with dogs.
Ciara said: “My husband and I were both working from home when the neighbour knocked on the door and said that our cat had been hit by a car.
“Molly had managed to run to a neighbour's doorstep but died pretty much straight away afterwards.
“We got the footage from a neighbour's Ring doorbell and we can see the car just keeps on driving and doesn't stop at all.
“We were pretty devastated.”
The mum-of-one added: “I think them not stopping was the saddest thing for us.
“It's just heartbreaking that people wouldn't stop. Molly did die straight away but if she'd just been injured she could have survived if someone stopped and took her to the vet, but that didn't happen.
“A driver stopping and taking the cat to the vet means they could get treatment, or at least the microchip means they could be reunited with their owner.”
Ciara is now calling on the Government to grant cats the same status under the Road Traffic Act 1988 as dogs and other animals.
Under current laws, if a person hits a dog, horse, pig, goat, cow, sheep or donkey while driving on the road, they must stop and report hitting the animal to the police.
There is currently no requirement to report a collision with a cat, but Ciara wants the law to change so that it does become a legal requirement and grants the police powers to prosecute motorists who fail to report or stop at the scene of an accident.
She started a Change.org petition to that effect which has now been signed by almost 52,000 people.
Ciara, who works in marketing, said: “I just started looking into it a bit more, and saw some previous petitions that have been started along the same lines of granting cats the same rights as dogs under the Road Traffic Act.
“I started mine and shared it in lots of different groups on social media and with colleagues and friends and it just took off really quickly which is great.
“I've contacted my MP Alex Sobel and he got back to me to say he's submitted a parliamentary written question on my behalf, so he's going to ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans his department has to give cats the same protections as dogs under the act.
“It's within the use of Parliament to change the law and it doesn't have to get into the exact same conditions as dogs, but I would like it if cats were given similar protections in that if you knowingly hit a cat, the onus is on you to stop, pull over and see if the cat is ok.
"If it isn't take it to the nearest vet so that it can at least be scanned for its microchip, and its owners can be contacted, whether it's alive or not, I think that's just a decent thing to do.
“I think we can all recognise that pets are part of the family and I think anyone would want their pet that they love and care about to be helped if it was hit by a car.”