UPDATE: Dursley man's cat campaign stirs national debate

Dr Clive Moforth has received arson threats in reaction to his plans to curb cat numbers in his now bird-free garden

Clive Mowforth being interviewed by Sky News

First published in News
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A FRUSTRATED gardener from Dursley has stirred a national debate after his letter to neighbours asking them to control their cats was responded to with everything from support to arson threats.

Dr Clive Mowforth, 57, distributed over 100 letters to neighbours asking that they control their cats after a number of birds were killed in his garden, saying “drastic action” would be taken if he continued to be “plagued” by the "killer cats".

However a number of people have interpreted the letter to mean their cats were in danger and reported Dr Mowforth to the police.

He has since received threatening emails and visits to his house because of the letter.

The nuclear scientist, said a wide range of birds were being killed in his garden, which has caught on video, and the cats were also digging holes and leaving excrement.

He is preparing to put up netting around his garden as well order in other deterrents in the future, which he expects will cost him hundreds of pounds.

"I am not going to tolerate it, I am not going to live in a place where I can’t keep birds in our garden, it’s horrendous,” he said.

“I don’t see why I should have to pay to protect the birds in my garden from cat-owners who simply let their pets roam free. If a dog went into a neighbour's garden, dug holes, left excrement and killed wildlife, all hell would be let loose,” he said.

"(The letter)has led to numerous complaints to the police and RSPCA, and the extreme elements within the pro-cat brigade have threatened arson.”

One recipient of the letter was writer Louis Barfe, who told the Gazette he had reported it to the police.

“It was really, really stupid,” he said.

“I can’t understand what he was thinking. He might have known it would be read that way. I didn’t like the tone of it.

“I do not like junk mail at the best of times.”

The Gazette’s initial online story provoked a storm of debate with a record 58 comments revealing a polarised view of the issue.

The story was picked up by numerous national papers and Dr Mowforth even appeared on Sky News to talk about the debate.

Dr Mowforth said the police had called him several times, asking him not to send anymore letters and warning him of potential threats from Facebook, but does not regret sending the letter.

“I am concerned about the threats, it is affecting my sleep,” he said.

“I think it is something to be aired, but I think I could have changed the wording.”

A Gloucestershire Police spokesman said they had received calls from the RSPCA about the letter.

“I believe an officer spoke to Mr Mowforth and the RSPCA but no further action was deemed necessary.”

The RSPCA refused to comment on the incident but said if anybody had witnessed any mistreatment of animals, they should call 03001234999.

Comments (4)

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1:04pm Wed 13 Aug 14

Zoon_Politikon says...

As someone who lives in the neighbourhood there was only one letter I objected to and that was the childish scribbles from Louis Barfe who chose to personally attack Clive Mowforth. Among those who do not have cats I get the impression Clive has overwhelming support as residents are sick of the animals defecating and killing wildlife in their gardens.
As someone who lives in the neighbourhood there was only one letter I objected to and that was the childish scribbles from Louis Barfe who chose to personally attack Clive Mowforth. Among those who do not have cats I get the impression Clive has overwhelming support as residents are sick of the animals defecating and killing wildlife in their gardens. Zoon_Politikon
  • Score: 5

12:46am Thu 14 Aug 14

TWASTARD says...

there seems to be no law at all over the ownership and control of cats.
the owners of cats are without doubt the most selfish of people.
there seems to be no law at all over the ownership and control of cats. the owners of cats are without doubt the most selfish of people. TWASTARD
  • Score: 5

4:59pm Thu 14 Aug 14

Cheeseford says...

My childish, non-threatening scribbles, you mean? As for Mowforth having 'overwhelming support' among those in the neighbourhood who do not keep cats, I would suggest that your survey is somewhat flawed. Everyone I've spoken to around here, whether they have a cat or not, has expressed an unfavourable view of your chum in a very robust manner.
My childish, non-threatening scribbles, you mean? As for Mowforth having 'overwhelming support' among those in the neighbourhood who do not keep cats, I would suggest that your survey is somewhat flawed. Everyone I've spoken to around here, whether they have a cat or not, has expressed an unfavourable view of your chum in a very robust manner. Cheeseford
  • Score: 4

5:25pm Thu 14 Aug 14

Cheeseford says...

By the way, did Mowforth ever get round to reporting those arson threats to the police? According to the Telegraph, he hadn't. If anybody threatened to fire-bomb me, I'd be straight on the blower to the constabulary.
By the way, did Mowforth ever get round to reporting those arson threats to the police? According to the Telegraph, he hadn't. If anybody threatened to fire-bomb me, I'd be straight on the blower to the constabulary. Cheeseford
  • Score: 5

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