The Cat Gets the Last Meow
By Rev. Lynn Cairns
Mediation Services of Adams County has trained dozens of mediators over the past 25 years who then take those skills back to their workplaces, classrooms, homes and communities to reduce conflict and facilitate cooperation between people who may be experiencing some disagreement.
I wish that had been the case in the following story based on a real-life situation that actually occurred in another state. It seems that one man owned several horses and enjoyed their company. Whether his neighbors felt the same is uncertain as horses give off a distinct aroma if you live too close to the stables. However, the neighbor living next door to the horses owned a cat that enjoyed visiting the stable.
At first that seemed a good thing to the horse owner as the feline might just catch a mouse and rid the stable of pests. However, said feline found it amusing to urinate on the hay. When the horses went to eat the fodder they said, ”neigh”. This resulted in said horse owner throwing out the dirty hay and replacing it with fresh.
This cycle soon became annoying and expensive so it was brought to the attention of the cat’s owners. They said “that is what cats do; they wander and do as they please and we aren’t able, or going to, do anything about it”. The said horse owner was a hunter and owned both guns and bows and arrows. Naturally, a gun would be too loud, obvious and illegal to discharge in the neighborhood. Bows and arrows seemed to the horse owner a viable option.
At the designated time both husband and wife took aim at aforementioned Tabby and let fly with cupid’s arrows of hate. Hubby missed, but Momma managed to strike the hanging under-belly of the feline. This outcome had not been anticipated and the slightly injured Tabby crawled home with the arrow still attached. Tabby’s owners naturally called the police.
It was obvious where the shots had come from, so a confession was made, as was an arrest. You can guess the rest: bail, lawyers, guilty plea, conviction, vet bills paid and probation issued (no access to firearms or bow for a year) for Momma who had hit her target. Tabby was a survivor, still having eight lives left as a “repee(t)” offender that revisited the barn. Would mediation still be a possibility?
Sadly, once a situation gets to that level of dispute, it becomes very difficult to solve. If you or someone you know is in a similar situation regarding neighborhood animals, take advantage of or recommend MSAC and call us at 717-334-7312. A trained mediator can bring together conflicted parties and have them agree to listen to one another and explore solutions in a neutral setting before things gallop out of control.