A woman who searched desperately for her missing pet cat was heartbroken to discover he had been killed and his body kept frozen for five weeks.
When Nicola Bradshaw’s pet cat Jimmy disappeared on March 29, she put up countless missing posters in the hope of tracking him down.
She contacted Blackpool Council three times, but was told that no cat matching Jimmy’s description had been handed in.
It was only when Joan Lamb, of animal rescue group Harvey’s Army, received an anonymous tip-off that Jimmy had been killed by a car the very day he had disappeared that they were able to track the little cat down at Layton depot last week.
Nicola, 38, who lives in North Shore, said: “Jimmy was like my baby. I didn’t think I was going to be able to have children, so he was like my baby.
“The five weeks searching for him were horrendous. I printed off 2,000 posters and put them on lampposts, and spoke to every dog walker. I laid out traps at 2am trying to catch him because people had seen a similar cat.
“I see stories of people searching for their pets years later, so I’m lucky that I have at least got closure, but o can only describe these five weeks as psychological torture.
“There must be other cats there like mine. I think it’s terrible for owners.”
Joan said Blackpool Council has now agreed to inform Harvey’s Army of any dead cats handed in so that a full microchip scan can be carried out.
The new plan will be called ‘Jimmy’s Legacy’, in memory of Nicola’s furry friend.
Joan said: “An animal becomes a part of the family, and now Nicola has Jimmy’s body back she is able to have him cremated.
“Another few weeks and his body would have been disposed of, and she would never have known.
“Blackpool Council say they are going to improve their system and they are working with us to try and improve, but people need to be aware that the scanning is not done universally.
“It’s done at the discretion of the council.”
Coun Fred Jackson, Blackpool Council Cabinet Member for Environment, said: “Blackpool Council voluntarily adopted Harvey’s Law in 2016 and has been successful in bringing closure or reuniting owners with their pets.
“In this case it appears that when Jimmy was found he was scanned and the information logged in the internal database.
“However, at that time the scanner was unable to identify a microchip.
“Unfortunately, also on this occasion the information that was available was not shared more widely to other council staff in case of an enquiry.
“This is the first instance that we are aware of where a matter has required a review of procedures which has now been undertaken to prevent a similar occurrence. We have also worked with Harvey’s Army to re-scan all other animals with us to ensure that none are chipped.
“We are very sorry about what happened and have been in contact with Jimmy’s owner to apologise directly.”