‘Yesterday grown-ups killed my kitty, my best friend, when they weren’t supposed to,’ Rayden Sazama wrote, with his grandfather’s help, in his letter published in The Herald Journal, of Logan, on Thursday.
By Friday, it had received the fourth-most comments on the newspaper’s website – behind three letters about Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney.
‘I just wanted to tell people about Toothless – that I loved him,’ he told The Associated Press through his father, Jason Sazama, on Friday. ‘And that people shouldn’t lie.’
Some berated the shelter for failing to keep the cat safe. Others criticized the family for letting the cat outside, failing to have it on a leash or not looking for the cat at the shelter sooner. Still others faulted the neighbours who had trapped the cat and denied having seen it when asked.
The cat roamed the cow pasture next door and often brought home ‘presents’ of field mice, but on Sept 28 he slipped out his kitty door and didn’t return home. By Sunday, Rayden and his five-year-old brother, Devin, were going door to door, asking neighbors if they had seen the cat.
Everyone said they hadn’t seen Toothless.
Jason Sazama checked the Cache Humane Society’s website but didn’t see any photos resembling Toothless. After two busy days on the road for work, he decided to swing by the organization’s shelter Tuesday to see if Toothless had turned up.
The shelter had already closed for the evening, but a worker allowed Mr Sazama inside, where Toothless sat in a cage. There was just one problem: Mr Sazama still needed to pay the impound fee at a government building that was also closed.
The worker assured Mr Sazama the cat would be fine, and he returned home, crowing: ‘I found Toothless! We’ll get him tomorrow.’
The worker assured Mr Sazama the cat would be fine, and he returned home, crowing: ‘I found Toothless! We’ll get him tomorrow.
But when Mr Sazama returned the next day, the receipt for his impound payment in hand, he discovered that Toothless had already been euthanized. The worker had forgotten to put a note on the cage.
The Cache Humane Society did not return a telephone message Friday from the AP. When reached by The Herald Journal, Director Brenda Smith confirmed Rayden’s story, saying the boy’s father had visited the shelter after business hours, when the worker was busy training another employee.
‘She let him in to look for the cat, but unfortunately, in training someone she forgot to leave a note on the cat’s cage,’ Smith told the newspaper. ‘I’ve just been sick about it, and so has she.’
Mr Sazama said he has no ill will toward the shelter.
‘I had to explain to my son that several adults made mistakes here,‘ he said. ‘The worker made a mistake, and I should have gone to the shelter sooner.’
Mr Sazama said he even understood why the neighbours trapped the cat; he hadn’t known that Toothless had been visiting the neighbours’ sandbox and leaving different kinds of presents there.
‘When Devin and I knocked on their door and asked if they had seen Toothless they told us no, and that was a lie,’ Rayden said in his letter. ‘My dad and mom tell me and Devin not to lie and that is right.’
‘Now I don’t know what to do,‘ the letter concludes. ‘My cat Toothless is dead; the people that killed him didn’t even give him to my dad so we could bury him. What do I do now?’