Every year, thousands of cats go missing.
Facebook pages up and down the UK are littered with posts about dead cats seen on the side of the road.
After cats are hit by cars, they are often removed in the same way foxes or badgers would be – and taken to landfill.
Their microchips aren’t always scanned, leaving owners without closure on what happened to their lost pet.
That was the situation for Helena Abrahams, from Bury in Greater Manchester.
Her rescue cat, Gizmo, was ‘her best friend’ and ‘more than just a pet’.
The tabby had had a rough start in life but went on to find comfort with his new owner Helena.
But Gizmo was struck by a car in 2016, removed from the roadside and taken to landfill.
Heléna was distracted and suffered a breakdown following the loss of her much-loved pet.
She told Metro.co.uk: ‘Gizmo was disposed of after being hit by a car, with no attempt made to reunite her with me.
‘This broke my heart but it also made me more determined to save other owners from my pain.
‘Currently, drivers are not obliged to report running over a cat, and council road sweepers do not have to check for a microchip containing the owner’s details before disposing of the body.’
Today, Gizmo’s Legacy has thousands of volunteers up and down the UK.
Day or night, there is always someone monitoring the group’s social media accounts, ready to respond if a sighting is reported.
Once that happens, a volunteer leaps into action to reach the cat and scan its microchip.
Once that happens, its family can be informed of what happened.
Heléna has been campaigning to get ‘Gizmo’s Law’ through Parliament since 2016, and claims the Government sees cats as ‘vermin’ compared to other animals.
She wants all dead cats to be scanned for microchips by UK councils.
Currently, some local authorities are carrying out the measure – but it is not a legal requirement.
Heléna added: ‘There are over 11 million cat owners and that would bring this government so much party support if they just showed the cats some respect.
‘Why DEFRA insists on saying the councils are following “Best Practice” is so frustrating, when Gizmo’s Legacy has proved hardly any councils scan, let alone bother to check the database, if they actually have a cat that is chipped in their possession.
‘No more cats should go to landfill. Owners must get the closure they need. Much loved pets deserve respect.’
James Daly MP has worked alongside Heléna to make Gizmo’s Law a reality and put pressure on fellow party members.
A second reading of the Pets (Microchips) Bill, inspired by the Gizmo’s Legacy group, is due this month.
When contacted, a spokesperson from Defra told Metro.co.uk: ‘We recognize how painful it is for an owner to lose a pet and not know what has happened.
‘We are introducing compulsory cat microchipping in England which will make it easier for loved pets to be reunited with their owners.
‘Highways England and the majority of local authorities already have procedures in place to scan cats and dogs that have died by the roadside.’
To find out more visit the Gizmo’s Legacy Facebook page.
Pet Food company, Encore, is backing Gizmo’s Legacy and has promised to donate scanners, to scan dead animals for microchips, to all councils if required.
You can read about the Pets (Microchips) Bill by following this link
Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at [email protected].
For more stories like this, check our news page.