Head teacher speaks out on ‘cat trap’ fears

Domino: missing. (s)
Domino: missing. (s)
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A head teacher at a Ribble Valley village school cut her holiday short in order to reassure distraught animal lovers that no local cats – feral or domestic – had been trapped at the school.

Mrs Charlotte Peregrine, head teacher at Brennand’s Endowed Primary School, Slaidburn, gave the reassurance following concern over the contents of a letter that she had sent out to parents in mid July.

Arwen Ball, of Townend, Slaidburn, with a photo of her missing cat Domino. (S)

Arwen Ball, of Townend, Slaidburn, with a photo of her missing cat Domino. (S)

In the letter, which was leaked to local residents, Mrs Peregrine indicates that action could be taken to trap and kill a 20 plus population of local feral cats and that “some domesticated cats may be caught in doing this”.

However, in a statement released to the Clitheroe Advertiser and Times, Mrs Peregrine, who regularly has to take it upon herself to clear the school’s grounds of cats’ faeces, reassured residents that no action has been taken against any cat.

“I’d like to reassure local people that no cats, feral or domestic, have been trapped at the school,” she said.

“We have a serious and ongoing issue with feral cats defecating on the school grounds which poses potentially serious risks to our children’s health.

I’d like to reassure local people that no cats, feral or domestic, have been trapped at the school

Mrs Charlotte Peregrine, head teacher

“Given this, I am duty bound to look at ways to resolve the issue, but no decisions have been taken so far.”

She added: “As an interim measure I have been personally clearing the grounds of the cats’ faeces which enabled us to hold a successful sports day earlier this month.

“Work will continue over the summer on finding an acceptable and effective long-term solution to this issue.”

Some villagers were concerned by the content of a letter sent out by Mrs Peregrine on Wednesday July 15th to parents of children who attend the school.

The letter was leaked to animal lover Arwen Ball, whose beloved cat Domino subsequently went missing four days after it was circulated.

“I’ve now no idea what has happened to Domino,” explained the mother-of-two who lives at Townend, Slaidburn.

Mrs Ball, who is also a grandmother-of-two and works at Johnson Matthey in Clitheroe, added: “I’m heart broken and go out every night looking for him.

“We are also happy to offer a £50 reward for the safe return of Domino or information that finds out what has happened to him.”

Another resident, 80-year-old Hilda Peel, who has lived in Slaidburn for 60 years, is also missing all of her four cats, one of which had seven kittens which need feeding.

She said the first of her cats went missing after the primary school closed for the summer holidays on Friday, July 17th, and other three have not returned home after this.

“They’ve never been missing before, and I don’t think they are going to turn up,” she said. “There are humane ways to deal with feral cats.”

The Clitheroe Advertiser and Times would like to stress that there is no evidence that any harm has come to Mrs Ball’s or Mrs Peel’s cats because of the letter circulated by Mrs Peregrine and that the head teacher is in no way being implicated. The letter was intended to give parents an “update on the feral cat situation” and in it she explains that she has to do a daily routine “pick up” on the school grounds.

“If any of the children spot some faeces they let me know and cover it with a cone,” she explains.