Comedian in feud over dead feline

ca p8 mark sampson done INLSA Comedian Mark Sampson

Daneel Knoetze

Staff reporter

Cape Town comedian Mark Sampson is still in hot water after he killed one of his neighbour’s cats by chopping off its head with a spade last year.

The cat had strayed on to Sampson’s Noordhoek property in November and, according to him, was critically injured after his dogs attacked it.

Jeannot Nelson, his neighbour and the owner of the cat, said she was deciding on a course of action after conducting her own investigation.

“What we want is for him to admit that he’s done something wrong, even when the right course of action was available to him,” she said. “What he should have done is get the cat to a vet.”

Sampson, however, said an operator at the SPCA had unofficially advised him that he should put the cat down, a claim denied by Allan Perrins, chief executive of the SPCA in Cape Town.

Sampson said, in reply: “Let them provide the recording of the conversation. That evidence will back my version up.”

He said the incident was “horrific, horrible and upsetting”, and the trauma of it had sent him into a depression that required counselling. But he maintained he had done the right thing.

Sampson has copies of an e-mail from soon after the incident wherein Nelson “paid respect” to the decision” he made. He said he could not understand why Nelson wanted to take the matter further.

“I am an animal lover and empathetic person. The cat was suffering greatly and it upset me very much. I took what I thought to be the most appropriate course of action. I am not ashamed because I still feel that I saved the cat from a prolonged and painful death,” he said, referring to the drive from Noordhoek to the Cape Animal Medical Centre in Kenilworth.

Nelson remained firm in her criticism of the manner in which Sampson had taken matters into his own hands.

She emphasised that he was not qualified to make the decision.

Sampson responded that he had studied biology and had worked as an intern at a vet’s office as a student in the UK.

Perrins said Sampson’s action amounted to cruelty and he would advise an SPCA inspector to formulate charges against Sampson for contravening the Animals Protection Act.

“We feel that Sampson had other more reasonable options available to him,” said Perrins. “It is our job to prevent animal cruelty. If one person can learn from this incident that hauling out a spade in a case such as this is not the right thing to do, it would already be a small victory.”

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