Eight-year-old Rayden Sazama — with the help of “my PaPa” — writes in a letter to the Logan (UT) Herald Journal about the humane society killing Toothless the kitty “when they weren’t supposed to.” Rayden’s father went to the animal shelter in search of the cat after he went missing; the family’s pet was there.
When my dad made his funny meow sound that he does to make him come home, Toothless jumped up and came to the screen and rubbed up against it and was so happy to see my dad, and he wasn’t scared anymore. My dad wanted to take him home, but they said he had to go to another office building and pay a fee.
The dad was told to return the next day to pick up Toothless. He did, and…
The same lady that told my dad to come back the next day said she was sorry. She had forgotten to leave a note to tell the people my dad would be there for Toothless and they had just killed my cat that morning. She had just forgotten to write a note to save a member of my family. They killed him and I don’t know why.
Rayden’s letter continues: “Now I don’t know what to do. My cat Toothless is dead; the people that killed him didn’t even give him to my dad so we could bury him. What do I do now?”
The child’s letter has nearly 300 comments and, unfortunately, many of them shouldn’t be read by an 8-year-old.
UPDATE: Herald Journal city editor Emilie Wheeler tells Romenesko readers that her newsroom has received calls from readers wanting to help Rayden get another cat. “His family says they’re grateful people care, but a replacement cat doesn’t fix the problem that Toothless is gone,” she writes.
Rayden’s letter has received 27,649 page views as of this afternoon, says the editor. “Our other letters typically get fewer than 1,000 page views.” On Saturday, after AP picked up the story, the letter had 17,000 of the Herald Journal site’s 40,000 page views that day.
Wheeler adds in her email:
The interesting thing about this story — and most important to our community — is that it comes on the heels of another tragic animal story [involving Whitey the dog] that put our local Humane Society in the spotlight last month.
The Cache Humane Society is relatively young and runs on a limited budget. Animal lovers within our community seem to be conflicted now. Without the shelter, cities would collect strays and euthanize them without putting much effort into finding owners. But, obviously, some people feel there should be more checks within the shelter.
After Whitey the dog was euthanized, we received dozens of letters to the editor. They have started up again since this Toothless incident.