Animal shelters provide essential services for dogs and cats that are lost or abandoned. The staff does what they can to help animals in need. They provide life-sustaining care and get them off the streets. The work is usually routine and often involves working with the public when community members come to the shelter to see if their missing pet has been found and is being housed at the facility. We recently learned about a dramatic incident over a pet owner who took his concerns over the top and stormed the doors of the shelter in search of his missing cat.
Man Storms Shelter and Keeps Woman Hostage Over His Lost Cat
ABC News Australia reported about a former member of the Australian military who was distressed over his pet cat’s disappearance and took strong steps toward its recovery. According to the report Tony Wittman, of Australia called his local animal shelter late in the day. It was just minutes before the shelter was scheduled to close. He learned that his cat was at the shelter, but he was informed that he would need to make an appointment for the following day to pick his animal up for the shelter. He was not happy about being told that he would have to wait.
Wittman took matters into his own hands
The former soldier appeared at the Lost Dogs Home, dressed in full military gear, and he was carrying a fake weapon. He arrived during the night after 10 pm and forced his way into the shelter. He encountered a young female ranger in the parking lot and told her that he was there to collect his cat. He told the woman that he would not shoot her if she listened and did what he told her to do. He warned that if she tried anything he would shoot her. She pleaded with her life as the mother of a young child. He questioned her about the location of the cats, then forced her to get on her knees with her hands behind her back. he tied her up and before closing the door warned her that he would shoot her once again. He fled the scene before authorities arrived.
Wittman returned for his appointment
The young ranger had reported the incident to her supervisor after Wittman left that night. It was almost unbelievable when Wittman showed up at the shelter to collect his cat at his scheduled appointment. The previous night’s incident was captured on the shelter’s cameras. It was s though he didn’t realize how much trouble he was in. when confronted by the police, he admitted that he didn’t think before he acted and that he didn’t consider the consequences of his actions. The 45-year-old Melbourne man previously served in the Australian military and suffered from PTSD. The cat was a support animal and Wittman reported that he relied on the animal for emotional support. His medical condition is believed to be the reason why he acted bizarrely. He pleaded guilty to the charges and was being held at the Ravenhall Correctional Centre. Mr. Wittman is a father of three from the Langwarrin community. He is being charged with multiple infractions. Because of his PTSD, his attorneys were successful n getting 16 of the original charges for the crimes he committed withdrawn. He is still awaiting his day in court at the County Court of Victoria to face the remaining 8 charges including criminal damage, aggravated burglary, carrying an imitation firearm, perjury, and false imprisonment.
Wittman had real guns at his home
As a part of their investigation, Melbourne law enforcement officers searched the home of Tony Wittman. They discovered that he owned three authentic firearms, yet he chose to use a fake gun to storm the animal shelter doors. According to an update on the story, the officers seized the firearms.
The value of emotional support animals for PTSD sufferers
ESA Doctors confirms that PTSD, aka Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, is a psychological condition that affects people throughout the world. It is generally brought on by an extremely traumatic experience that leaves psychological damage to the victim. There are varying degrees of severity and the condition can cause flashbacks to the event, nightmares, and invasive thoughts that are frightening and trigger fight or flight responses. It’s a condition that can render some people incapable of carrying on with their everyday life activities. Some never leave their homes because of their fears. Emotional support animals provide love and support for persons suffering from PTSD. Both dogs and cats provide relief for the stress they feel and stimulate the productions of endorphins in the body, which helps to counter the effects of fight or flight hormones routinely found in people with PTSD. It’s understandable why Wittman had such strong feelings about his cat, but his response to the situation was bizarre. When he returned for his regular appointment the same day, it became apparent that he didn’t realize the severity of his actions and he appeared to have no understanding that his threatening demeanor was a punishable offense. He had no fear when he went to the appointment to collect his cat. It is as though this was the only thing that mattered to him at the time.
We’re still awaiting the outcome of the case and the pending charges against Tony Wittman. We’re hopeful that he will receive treatment for his mental condition. The chain of events and the choices that he made in his attempt to reunite with his cat. Mental illness can lead some to commit offenses that put the lives and safety of others in peril, and it is a social symptom that we’re hearing about more and more. It will be interesting to see how the courts handle this complicated situation.