SALT LAKE CITY An 8-year-old Utah boy wrote a letter to his local newspaper after an animal shelter worker failed to write a note to save his cat from being euthanized. Yesterday grown-ups killed my kitty, my best friend, when they werent supposed to, he said.
The letter appeared in The Herald Journal of Logan, Utah, on Thursday. By Friday, it had received the fourth-most comments on the newspapers website behind three letters about Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney.
Some berated the shelter for failing to keep the cat safe. Others criticized the family for letting the cat outside, failing to have it on a leash or not looking for the cat at the shelter sooner. Still others faulted the neighbors who had trapped the cat and denied having seen it when asked.
But the boy, Rayden Sazama, just wanted to share his love of his cat, Toothless.
I just wanted to tell people about Toothless that I loved him, he said through his father, Jason Sazama, on Friday. And that people shouldnt lie.
Sazama said hes surprised how many people didnt get the point of Raydens letter, which the boy dictated to his grandfather: It was about a boy sharing his love for his cat and saying, Cmon grown-ups.
Toothless, a fluffy, black cat who often brought home presents of field mice, slipped out his kitty door Sept. 28 and didnt return home. By Sept. 30, Rayden and his younger brother, Devin, were going door to door, asking neighbors if they had seen the cat.
Everyone said they hadnt seen Toothless.
Jason Sazama checked the Cache Humane Societys website but didnt see any photos resembling Toothless. After two busy days on the road for work, he decided to swing by the organizations shelter Tuesday to see if Toothless had turned up.
The shelter already had closed for the evening, but a worker allowed Sazama inside, where Toothless sat in a cage. There was just one problem: Sazama still needed to pay the impound fee at a government building that was also closed.
The worker assured Sazama the cat would be fine, and he returned home, crowing: I found Toothless! Well get him tomorrow.
But when Sazama returned the next day, the receipt for his impound payment in hand, he discovered that Toothless already had been euthanized. The worker had forgotten to put a note on the cage.
The Cache Humane Society did not return a telephone message Friday from the AP. When reached by The Herald Journal, Director Brenda Smith confirmed Raydens story, saying the boys father had visited the shelter after business hours, when the worker was busy training another employee.
She let him in to look for the cat, but unfortunately, in training someone, she forgot to leave a note on the cats cage, Smith told the newspaper. Ive just been sick about it, and so has she.
Sazama said he has no ill will toward the shelter.
I had to explain to my son that several adults made mistakes here, he said. The worker made a mistake, and I should have gone to the shelter sooner.
Sazama said he even understood why the neighbors trapped the cat; he hadnt known that Toothless had been visiting the neighbors sandbox and leaving different kinds of presents there.
But Rayden said in his letter that the neighbors lied when he asked them if they had seen the cat. My dad and mom tell me and Devin not to lie and that is right, he said.
Now I dont know what to do, the letter concludes. My cat Toothless is dead; the people that killed him didnt even give him to my dad so we could bury him. What do I do now?