The horrific discovery of a drowned cat inside a knapsack weighted down by rocks in Red Deer has turned out to be a beloved pet from Sundre.
Strollers spotted the bag along the Red Deer River shoreline near Bower Ponds on June 4.
They decided to partially open the bag and were startled to see some kind of dead animal inside.
Alberta Animal Services was contacted.
Enforcement services director Duane Thomas brought the knapsack back to his office. Opening the bag further, he realized the animal was a cat.
The knapsack also contained two large rocks.
“The cat had a tattoo, which we traced back to a couple that lived in Sundre,” said Thomas, his voice quavering from emotion. “The cat went missing approximately three years ago.”
Thomas said the couple, who live on an acreage, searched and searched for their pet and thought maybe the cat had been killed by a wild animal. The couple was shocked to learn their cat had turned up in Red Deer and were distraught by what had happened, Thomas said.
He said he can only assume that someone befriended the cat and that it was chucked in the river to drown, likely sometime within the last six months. The backpack then floated onto shore.
It’s more than likely the death occurred somewhere around Red Deer, not Sundre, he added.
“To make it that far from Sundre and to go through the dam between Red Deer and Sundre, there’s too many obstacles,” Thomas said.
Thomas said the body and the knapsack have been turned over to Alberta Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) so it can investigate further.
The SPCA has sent the cat for an autopsy to determine cause of death.
“This is an isolated incident,” Thomas said. “But we do think the public needs to be aware of their animals and ensure they are keeping them on their properties as the (city) bylaw requires.”
Anyone with information on this case is asked to contact Alberta Animal Services at 403-347-2388 or Alberta SPCA at 1-800-455-9003.
Charges can be laid under the province’s Animal Protection Act. A person who contravenes this Act or the regulations can be fined up to $20,000 and restrained from owning an animal for a period of time.