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Hope fading for kidnapped cat in Trinidad

By Susan Mohammed

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Leela Maharaj with a cat similar to the one stolen. Photo: TREVOR WATSON

(TRINIDAD EXPRESS) — Animal lover Leela Maharaj spent the weekend looking forward to having her prized cat returned to her, but was disappointed.

The man who said he would return the cat on Sunday in exchange for $3,000 demanded by the kidnappers never turned up.

And although she did not get proof that her pet is alive, Maharaj still has faith that he will be returned to her.

“I don’t know how people can be so evil to kidnap a cat? Everything is money for people in Trinidad. I believe from day one they are lying to me. I am just at my wit’s end with this. I just want to get my pet back”, she said.

“I think that the cat is still alive. I would like a picture to make sure but nothing up to now”.

Maharaj’s pedigree cat was lost a month ago, and she had been told by a man whom she knows that it would have been returned to her in exchange the cash.

The 71 year old grandmother of two, of Clarke Road, Penal, has reported the incident to the police numerous times, and has even called Commissioner of Police Gary Griffith about it.

The prized pet named Princess is seven months old and is one of a couple – the other is named Pepsi- owned by Maharaj.

They were gifted to Maharaj from her relatives from England who knows of her love for animals.

Although she is ailing from a collapsed spine, kidney stones, rheumatoid arthritis and other illnesses, Maharaj also owns six dogs, and has rescued animals from the streets.

She said Princess was stolen from outside her premises on December 11 after she let it outside.

When Princess did not return, she went searching house to house for him, and then in the Penal community with speakers attached to a car asking for people to call her if they saw the pet.

Maharaj said the loss of Princess left its partner, Pepsi, heartbroken, as it refused to eat for two weeks and was on the brink of dying.

With medical care at the veterinary clinic, Pepsi, recuperated physically, but still shows signs of grieving.

Maharaj said she believed that the kidnappers have been using the pedigree cat for breeding.

Maharaj said she spoke with the man’s wife and she did not know where he is.

When Maharaj’s plight was published online on Friday, hundreds of readers empathised with her and called on the police to take arrest the criminals involved in the extortion.

On Monday morning Maharaj continued to call the police and plead for their intervention in the arrest of the perpetrators.

“The police don’t know what I am going through because they fell it is just a cat. I just want to have him home. So many people called me since the story published and they are so very sorry this has happened to me. I do so much community work and when people realised this situation was happening to me they were so shocked by it”, she said.

“If whoever has taken the cat has killed him, they will have to pay, especially with the number of sins that is going to fall of them. According to Hindu philosophy, for the kidnappers to cleanse their karma, they would have to mould one out of gold and deliver it to the bottom of the sea. That is how to wash their sins”, said Maharaj.

Senior superintendent of the South Western Division Deonarine Basdeo said he is trying to assist Maharaj on the case.

Anyone with information can contact Penal police at 647 8888/4, or 647 1231-4.

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