A missing cat was put down just three hours after he was found because it didn’t have a microchip, according to an animal charity.
Animals Lost and Found say they had already re-homed 22-year-old cat Bill at the end of last month, but he went missing again last Friday.
Natasha McPhee, director of Animals Lost and Found in Kent, said: “After three hours of being in the care of the vet he was put to sleep.
“We are very upset and angry about this situation as we know it can be tough to find owners of animals without a microchip, but we do our very best to find an owner whether the animal is deceased or alive.
“It’s terrible they didn’t give him enough time, they didn’t try and contact anyone about where Bill came from. If they had we could have reunited him with his owners.
“We were aware of him as we’d already reunited him with his owners once before and Cats Protection were aware of him too, all the vets had to do was check on Facebook.
“Some vets give 14 days to find the owners before they put them to sleep, but this was just three hours – they didn’t give him a chance.”
When Bill was first found in Rochester, Kent, on March 23 by the group a volunteer carried out a chip check on Bill, who was thin and in bad health, and found that he was not microchipped so placed him into foster care.
After just one day of appealing for the owners of Bill on their website the group were contacted and the two were reunited.
The group then received a phone call from Bill’s owner to say he had escaped again and Bill was placed back on their website stating he was missing on April 3.
But the group then discovered that after being taken to a veterinary practice by a member of the public, Bill, who was not microchipped, was put to sleep after just three hours of being in their care.
Natasha added: “It’s worrying if vets are going to start giving pets without a microchip such as short amount of time.
“We try our best to re-home animals and have even found animals a home after they’ve been missing for five years, so there’s no excuse.
“It’s very upsetting, anyone with empathy, who loves animals, would feel bad about what happened to Bill.
“He was old as he was 22, he had some teeth missing so he looked in a bad way, but he had a brand new collar so that is clear evidence someone was looking after him and he had a home.
“If Bill was microchipped this would not have happened as the vet would have had to contact the owner through checking for a chip before making any decisions on his life.
“We just wish that he was given more time than three hours to get home safely.”
Animals Lost and Found in Kent are a group of volunteers who try to reunite owners with their pet whether the animal is deceased or alive.
By sharing the tragic story, volunteers are hoping that they can raise awareness of the importance of microchipping pets.
Microchipping dogs became compulsory in the UK on April 6 with owners facing a £500 fine if they do not comply.
However it is not yet a requirement for cats to have a microchip.