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.