JUSTICE FOR FINLAY
JUSTICE FOR FINLAY
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Latest: Nov. 27, 2023
FINLAY- OVERVIEW OF PROGRESS
We wanted to give you an update and progress overview on everybody’s favourite feline- Finlay.
His rehoming back to the Highlands simply could not have gone any better. We had a clear plan in pl…Read more
Finlay was found as an orphaned kitten in the Highlands of Scotland at just three weeks of age. He was soaking wet, starving and close to death. The people who found him gave him warmth and got him veterinary care and the appropriate milk rearing formula. They also immediately saw that Finlay displayed markings suggesting that he may be a Scottish wildcat (it is impossible to identify a wildcat until at least 6 months of age). Because of this, they contacted Wildcat Haven and we took over his care and rehabilitation. Finlay thrived and it was well known that he was due for release (after consultation with the relevant licensing bodies) in spring this year.
However on February 14th of this year, just weeks before his release, everything changed and both ours and Finlay's world was turned upside down. Without warning 4 police officers arrived and seized him.
Despite our pleas they would not tell us where he was being taken or where he would be kept. They claimed he was getting specialist care and that he was well. Four and a half months later and well after his due release date, Finlay was returned to us. During those 4.5 months the police kept him at a specialist animal conservation centre and fed him on a diet that included raw horse meet and deer ribs. When the police returned him, they stated that he is a domestic tabby cat.
Upon his return, it was immediately clear that he was in a bad way and an independent vet was called out to see him. The vet confirmed the following:
'At my general clinical examination, the cat appears underweight, with palpable ribs and bones, with reduced muscle masses if compared to a normal 20 months old male cat. The cat appears continuously and interruptedly self-grooming, hair is disomogeneous and hairs can be easily be broken/pulled off'.
This assessment is unambiguous and highlights the severe stress and trauma Finlay has endured. The vet said that his body condition was similar to that of an elderly 18 year old cat. Finlay is less than 2 years old. You can now clearly see and feel his ribcage and shoulder bones. Where once there was muscle, that muscle coverage has gone. The abnormal behaviour of over grooming is very obvious and almost continuous. It’s clearly a coping mechanism that Finlay has developed in response to stress caused by restrictive captivity.
Further, notes obtained from the Police about Finlay's time in their custody, clearly show that he had issues with his digestion, was straining to pass faeces, was on medication and was being seen regularly by vets. This contradicts their reassurances that he was well and being appropriately cared for.
Since Finlay's return and in response to the public outrage expressed at this abuse/clear deterioration whilst in police care, the North Wales Police Crime Commissioner, Andy Dunbobbin, has publicly defended Finlay's care and has accepted no wrongdoing.
In summary, Finlay left us a happy, healthy cat and has returned underweight, with clear veterinary issues and displaying abnormal behaviours such as overgrooming which are signs of stress. He is so vulnerable and weak that the vets cannot even worm as this may upset his digestion too much. The police have also refused to provide us with his veterinary records which hinders his ongoing care.
Given that senior police representatives do not accept this suffering and indeed claim 'that all standards of care were adhered to', we have no choice but to explore legal redress to ensure that not only does Finlay get the justice he deserves, but that lessons are learned and this never happens again to any other innocent animal like Finlay.
All funds raised will be used to both explore legal redress for all aspects surrounding Finlay's seizure, detention and care whilst under police custody, and also to help with the costs of obtaining expert advice and reports from vets, animal behaviourists and ecologists. Such specialist, expert input, will support our legal work.
We have been told that such is his deterioration, that Finlay's recovery will take many months. At this stage it is impossible to predict what the long-term plan will be for Finlay. If any funds are left over, they will be utilised by Wildcat Haven for its ongoing conservation work which includes campaigning for the protection of forest habitats and environmental education work.
Thank you so much
Emily, Director, Wildcat Haven CIC
Nov. 27, 2023
FINLAY- OVERVIEW OF PROGRESS
We wanted to give you an update and progress overview on everybody’s favourite feline- Finlay.
His rehoming back to the Highlands simply could not have gone any better. We had a clear plan in place before we moved Finlay and the whole process has gone exactly the way we had hoped. Finlay has proved to be extremely capable; he is excellent at navigating the area and is a very proficient hunter. The site he that he was rehomed on provides an abundance of prey. Despite the storms, it has been a vey mild autumn and a bumper year for hedgerow and woodland fruits, seeds and berries. This in turn of course, all means an abundance of food for potential prey for Finlay. However, it is very important to note that food, water and shelter is always available for him at all times should he need it.
Initially, when Finlay’s door was opened, he would be seen throughout the day, but after a few weeks it didn’t take him long to revert to an almost exclusively nocturnal lifestyle. From the very first day we took care of Finlay, as that tiny 3 week old kitten, still dependent on milk, our priority has always been that he would have a chance of freedom at the earliest opportunity. After all he has been through, that is the least he deserves. We are delighted that we achieved that goal and even more delighted that Finlay has fully embraced his freedom. At first, he would stay close to his den area but it wasn’t long before he was surveying and exploring his new kingdom. He ranges far and wide and sometimes he isn’t seen for extended periods. However at first, even if he disappeared for a morning we would be anxious, but now our concerns have diminished as Finlay has proven that he is a born survivor. Our anxiety is replaced by joy, that he is embracing the freedom we always wanted for him. We imagine the adventures he is having, the other animals that he meets, the sheer joy of having freedom of choice. The Highlands are his playground.
As winter approaches, some of you may be concerned that Finlay may have difficulties. However, Finlay has already spent a winter outside and so he is ‘weathered’. He is also a fantastic hunter so will be able to hunt all year round if he chooses to. But also remember this crucial point, Finlay will have full access to food and his original den box, which is located in an old stone barn with walls that are over 2 feet thick and a water tight roof. A very desirable residence and should he ever want shelter it is always there for him. You can imagine him all curled up in his nice and warm den box protected from the elements.
It is very hard to get images of Finlay at this time of year due to his nocturnal nature, plus the fact that winter days in Scotland are very short. However, rest assured, that the support system that was set up at the start, is still in place and always will be for as long as he needs it and beyond. So don’t worry about Finlay, rejoice as we do in his uncompromised freedom. Above is a pictures of him in the stone barn. Apologies that the pictures aren’t crystal clear, the barn is sheltered, cosy and dark, just as Finlay likes it. You can see more of them here:
And finally, we have had lots of you contacting us about the need to get Justice for Finlay. We can assure you that that is still very much a priority and our highly experienced legal team is still fully engaged. We will update you when we can. But rest assured, Finlay’s unnecessary incarceration at the hands of the police has not been forgotten. You won't believe what they kept him in. We will give a full legal update shortly. We will do everything we can to get him the justice he truly deserves. Please keep supporting and sharing our ‘Justice for Finlay' campaign, your support means so much to us.
Thanks as always and keep watching.
Emily and the Wildcat haven Team
Oct. 27, 2023
THE MIGHTY FINLAY
We hope you are well.
One look at this photograph and it is clear to see how strong and powerful Finlay is. He has thrived since being back in the highlands where he belongs - with constant support on hand should he ever need it. .
With winter approaching Finlay has the best of everything; complete freedom to roam wherever he pleases, yet constant access to food, water, his original den and outbuildings for shelter, should he choose to use them. That is the crucial part, Freedom of choice. He can enjoy the woods and the meadows and he is a very efficient hunter, but he will always have a ‘home base’ to return to.
We love this picture of Finlay because it shows how majestic he is and also gives you a sense of scale of his size. That is a full height hay bale. It also reminds us just how much of a fighter he is and the resilience he has shown to overcome the appalling adversity he faced in his earlier life. Thank you all for following his journey with us and for showing your unending support of both Finlay and our project . We could not do what we do without you!
We hope you enjoy seeing this picture as much as we do and that it puts a smile on your face this Friday.
Updates on Finlay's case coming very soon.
Thanks as always
Emily (Director) and whole Wildcat Haven Team
Sept. 12, 2023
FINLAY THE FEARLESS
We wanted to update you both on Finlay and the police complaint. First and foremost, Finlay has had the most wonderful summer. He is in absolutely prime condition, enjoying the warm weather and complete freedom. He has been observed hunting regularly and is well and truly ‘homed’ on his den barn, tucked away in a very remote corner of the Highlands. He is in his version of paradise and is relishing every moment of it. We are so utterly delighted at his progress and we are so thankful to the wonderful people who offered him this unique opportunity. As they put it, ‘Finlay is the thief of our hearts’. I think we can all collectively share that sentiment. The picture shows him in glorious sunshine walking along the top of the stone barn, where his den box is situated. His relocation and rehoming could not have gone any better.
We wanted to share this little snippet about just how resourceful and clever he is. After his period of acclimatisation, Finlay’s door was opened and he had the chance to walk free. Because he seemed so comfortable, we didn’t expect him to bolt away, we felt he was already relaxed and ‘homed’. He had a sniff around and then climbed on top of his stone barn and started to look around. However, what he did next was both amazing and terrifying. Next to his den barn is a much larger barn with a steep pitched roof. It would take a 4 foot leap onto smooth tiles to reach the higher roof, which is about 10 meters in height. Finlay was eyeing up the jump. Our hearts were in our mouths in case he couldn’t grip the roof and would suffer a serious fall. Finlay however just went for it, easily made the leap and without breaking stride, ran to the top of the roof. His agility, strength and grip were incredible to see. He then nonchalantly walked along the ridge of the roof to the end where he had the best view possible where proceeded to survey his new kingdom, orientating himself. He knew where the highest vantage point was and how to get there. He is one smart animal and constantly amazes us. He looked magnificent and it is a sight we will never forget. We will continue to update you on his adventures, but we wanted you all to know that he is safe and very well.
As you all know, the police officers and the Police Crime Commissioner, Andy Dunbobbin are now under investigation because of the extensive complaint submitted by our legal team at Bindmans LLP. We previously shared with you the farcical findings of the supposed enquiries made by the Police and Crime Panel into the conduct of Andy Dunbobbin, Who had previously stated that, ‘"all standards of care were adhered to, with regular monitoring taking place throughout Finlay's stay at the facility". We told you that our legal team immediately reacted and responded to the findings of the Police and Crime panel, alleging that their findings may be unlawful and irrational and requested an urgent reconsideration of the complaint and an issuance of a fresh decision. Failure to do so would lead to a judicial review.
Well, we are pleased to inform you that the Police and Crime panel will now reconvene to revisit the complaint made against Andy Dunbobbin. They would not have done so without pressure from our legal team or the knowledge that there are now well over a million of you watching closely on. The meeting will be held today and so let’s hope they reach a fresh and correct decision. If they don’t then our legal team stand ready to react accordingly.
If we are to continue with our mission to get Justice for Finlay then we will need the funds to continue to do this. We know you are all as committed as we are and so if you want to ensure those responsible for Finlay’s treatment are held fully to account then please continue supporting our crowdfunder. This work will also help to ensure that no other animal is subjected to what Finlay faced and crucially safeguard the future of any other kittens we may help in the future. Your support is needed more than ever.
Clashindarroch update later this week so keep watching
Thanks as always
The Wildcat Haven Team and Finlay
July 28, 2023
POLICE COMPLAINT UPDATE- A MUST READ
WOW what a response we have had to the news that Finlay has been rehomed back in the Highlands. We have had literally thousands of facebook likes, emails, messages. The outpouring of love for Finlay has been incredible to see. We know that a lot of out you have shed tears and this time they are tears of joy, that now Finlay can finally enjoy the rest of his life in peace in the most wonderful place. He has utterly devoted people making sure he has whatever support he needs. We thought you would like to see this picture of him striding through the beautiful woodland on the way back to the barn he calls home. Look at the amazing condition he is in with his shoulder muscle definition and the purpose in this stride. He is just awesome and thriving.
What is clear from you all your communications is an overwhelming hunger for justice and to hold to account the police officers, Police and Crime Commissioner and all those involved in the unnecessary seizure and alleged abuse that Finlay endured for four and a half a months. Rest assured, we too share that hunger and will do everything we can to get Justice for Finlay. In doing so we also hope to prevent this ever happening to another innocent animal at the hands of North Wales Police.
As you know we have lodged a comprehensive complaint against a number of officers and the Police and Crime Commissioner for North Wales Police, Andy Dunbobbin. We are in regular dialogue with our legal team. We know that a detective in the Police Standards department for North Wales Police is currently going through evidence such as body cam footage, internal emails and is questioning the officers involved.
We have also had a response from the Police and Crime Panel for North Wales Police, which is the public body which is responsible for scrutinising the Police and Crime Commissioner. We complained that Andy Dunbobbin made a misleading statement about Finlay’s welfare.. As you will remember, the vet records our legal team obtained from the police show a 3 months gap in vet care, during which time Finlay became ill. Dunbobbin emailed many of you stating that, ‘"all standards of care were adhered to, with regular monitoring taking place throughout Finlay's stay at the facility". He also linked to a police statement claiming the same. Many of you expressed outrage at the response you received.
Well, the Police and Crime Panel’s response is astonishing. It contains the following statement :
‘The Police and Crime Panel Complaints Sub-Committee have spoken to the Police and Crime Commissioner's Monitoring Officer regarding this case. The Committee are satisfied with the explanation provided by the Police and Crime Commissioner about the welfare and care provided to Finlay during his time with the Police. The Committee understand that the records shared by the Police show a 3-month gap but the Committee received an assurance that there was not in fact a 3-month gap in the care and welfare provided. The PCP Complaints SubCommittee determined that the Commissioner did not make a misleading public statement when he said that all standards of care were adhered to and that regular monitoring took place’.
So basically, it looks like they have simply put our complaint to Andy Dunbobbin and have accepted his assurances that all standards of care were adhered to, despite the evidence we have raised to the contrary. They have provided not one single scrap of evidence to support this position; no supporting documents, no expert statements, nothing at all.
Where is the transparency, where is the accountability? It seems like Andy Dunbobbin thinks that Finlay’s treatment was acceptable. This is from the head of North Wales Police, so what message is that giving out to the rest of the force’s officers? This simply isn’t acceptable and our legal team have responded robustly. We consider that the decision made by the Police and Crime panel may be unlawful on the grounds that it does not provide sufficient reasons for dismissing the complaint and is therefore irrational. Our legal team have highlighted these concerns with the Police and Crime Panel and have requested that they urgently re-consider the complaint against the PCC and issue a fresh decision. This leaves open the option of a Judicial Review of the Panel’s decision if they refuse this request. This is a type of legal challenge that can be brought against decisions made by public bodies where they are unlawfully made. If we were forced to issue judicial review proceedings, this would ultimately lead to a hearing before a Judge at the Administrative Court. In the first instance, we would need to send the Police and Crime Panel a formal Letter Before Action, which would set out the proposed judicial review and requesting full disclosure.
As you know by now, we see things through until the end. Thinking back to the appalling condition Finlay was in; emaciated, shedding fur and so weak that he couldn’t even be wormed, spurs us on and keeps us motivated.
Your generosity has enabled us to employ the best legal resources available to us to get Finlay back and raise the police complaints. At least 3 solicitors and one barrister have been involved in this case and solicitors are working on this as we speak. If we are to continue with our mission to get Justice for Finlay then we will need the funds to continue to do this. We know you are all as committed as we are and so if you want to ensure those responsible for Finlay’s treatment are held fully to account then please continue to support our crowdfunder. Your help is needed more than ever. Please also share this link far and wide:
Thanks as always
The Wildcat Haven Team and Finlay
PS the statements we release to you are also checked by our legal team to give the police no excuse for retaliation. Such is the world we live in.
July 20, 2023
FINLAY IS BACK IN THE HIGHLANDS
We are delighted to tell you that Finlay is now back in the Highlands. In fact, he has been there for the past 2 months. He arrived home in May. We have been bursting to tell you as we know how much he means to you all, but he have had to keep quiet for Finlay’s sake. We are sure you can understand our need to protect him from further cruelty.
He has been rehomed in an extremely remote area on a farm that is surrounded by beautiful woodlands and meadows. The whole process was meticulously planned. He was vet checked and given the confirmation that he was fit to travel. He travelled up with his den box and two of his favourite scratching posts. His den was placed inside a large, old, stone barn, with access to outside space. He settled immediately and was feeding well. It was clear within a few days that he felt safe and completely at home in his new surroundings.
After a period of time, an access point was opened and for the first time in his adult life Finlay could walk free. We looked far and wide and scoured Scotland for the perfect place for Finlay and it seems that he clearly approves of our choice, as two months in and he is still there and loving life.
He has hit the jackpot. He has complete freedom to come and go as he pleases, but crucially, he is very closely monitored and cared for by his new carers who are already fiercely protective of him. These amazing people said ‘that Finlay has already stolen their hearts’. He is offered food twice a day, has permanent access to clean water, has vet care if required and has permanent access to the barn he was settled in and his den box that he is so familiar with. He sleeps in his den most days. He has the best of both worlds, and he is making the most of it. He is absolutely thriving, enjoying life to the full and is in peak condition.
You all know the trauma he has endured in his short life and the cruelty inflicted upon him, but he has never given up and has twice fought for his life. He is now at peace, happy, content and with the benefit of both freedom and dedicated care. We are delighted for him, and we hope you share our joy. It brings of tears of happiness to our eyes as we write this. It has been a long and painful road, but we promised to give Finlay the best life possible and at the earliest opportunity. That is exactly what we have done.
We hope Finlay’s rehoming in the Highlands brings you much joy and puts a smile on your face for the rest of the day.
We want to say an enormous thanks to each and every one of you who have supported and fought for Finlay throughout this whole process. Your support, letters, donations, kind words have been absolutely vital to giving Finlay the life he deserves. It simply would not have happened without you.
We will update you on his progress as and when we can. We will be very careful with the pictures we post in order to protect his location. This is a picture of Finlay exploring the beautiful woodland he has full access to. Short after his wanderings, he returned to the barn and his cosy den box for a well earned sleep.
We have much more news to come, but today is a day to celebrate Finlay.
Sincere thanks again and keep watching.
The Wildcat Haven Team and Finlay
March 31, 2023
FINLAY UPDATE - POLICE COMPLAINT LODGED- A MUST READ
Feb. 1, 2023
FINLAY ENJOYING HIMSELF- SEE VIDEO LINK BELOW
As Promised here is an update on Finlay and some video footage taken yesterday evening (see link below for video). He is thoroughly enjoying scratch marking a new log in his enclosure. He is really getting stuck in. We regularly introduce new elements into his enclosure to encourage natural behaviour and to keep him mentally and physically stimulated. You can see how stocky and powerful he is now. Look how thick and strong his neck and shoulders are and that is because of all the exercise and enrichment he gets. He is absolutely thriving and both our team and the vet are thrilled at how much he has recovered. You will all remember how gaunt and underweight he was when he was first returned to us. His shoulder and pelvic bones were clearly visible and he had pronounced abdominal tuck where his body cavity was hollow. Well not anymore, he is absolutely solid. As you can see, his fur is in perfect condition and he has took the winter in his stride with no problems at all. His appetite is fantastic and he is eating well over double the amount he would take when we first got him back. His diet has been carefully managed and changed with consultation with the vet, throughout his recovery. You can the results for yourself.
Our thoughts are of course now focussing on Finlay’s future and we have contacted the Scottish Government to discuss ideas. His welfare and wellbeing is an absolute priority and we will ensure he has the best future possible. After all he has been through in his short life, that is the very least he deserves.
Here is the link to the news page with the video. We hope you enjoy watching it as much as we did.
Thanks so much for your continuing support. We will keep you posted every step of the way.
Thanks as always.
Emily (Director) and Finlay
Dec. 23, 2022
FINLAY UPDATE- IT'S GREAT NEWS
As promised here is an update on Finlay after the visit from the vet yesterday. We are delighted to say that Finlay is absolutely thriving and getting better and better. The vet commented that Finlay has continued to gain muscle mass on his shoulders and rump and that crucially, he now has good muscle and fat coverage over his ribs. The coat condition is noted as being excellent. It is thick, dense and there is now no shedding. His eyes are bright and clear with no discharge, and he is completely alert to any movements in his surroundings. He is still not fully recovered but if his improvement continues as it has been, then we hope he will reach his full potential soon.
Perhaps the most notable observation by the vet, was that Finlay now has at least 50% more body mass than when the vet first saw him in June. That is a crucial observation, as it shows firstly how much Finlay had deteriorated, but secondly it confirms how well he has responded to the diligent care we have provided. A 50% swing is huge. We cater to all Finlay’s needs to the very best of our abilities and we ensure his environment is stimulating and exciting. This of course promotes exploration and muscle development and equally importantly, psychological wellbeing. A happy animal is more likely to be a healthy animal. Finlay is certainly full of life and vigour and is a joy to watch.
We managed to grab this picture of him taking in the morning sun. I am sure you agree that he looks magnificent as he surveys his domain. Eyes focussed, ears pricked forward and ready for action. He certainly has his swagger and confidence back. What a fighter he is, his resilience and ability to survive both being orphaned and then seized, is an inspiration to us all.
As you know, our absolutely priority has been to ensure Finlay survived his ordeal. In the New Year our attentions will turn to planning Finlay’s long-term future. That will involve dialogue with vets, animal behaviourists and others. As we have done since the beginning, we will keep you informed every step of the way. We know how important Finlay is to so many of you.
We were looking back at some of the pictures from Finlay’s life and they certainly tell an interesting story.
If you click on this link, you will see a pictorial review of his life. One thing is for certain, he is an incredibly beautiful animal:
From the bottom of our hearts, a massive thank you to every one of who have supported our work, it means so much to us all. Please keep sharing and supporting this campaign.
Have a wonderful Christmas with your loved ones.
Emily (Director) and Finlay
Nov. 29, 2022
As promised here is an update after Finlay’s most recent visit from the vet. The vet is delighted with the progress that Finlay continues to make. He is getting stronger and gaining bulk and body mass and he is almost back to the body condition he had before he was seized. We all agree he is about 90% recovered. In the most recent vet report the following comment is made: ‘He gained mass mainly above spinal processes and rib cage, as well as on fore and back limbs’.
As you can see from the picture he has certainly bulked up, look at the muscle definition on his shoulders and how thick his neck is. His body Is no longer ‘hollow’ and his fur has significantly improved. The report states: ‘The quality of the fur has significantly improved in colour, strength and waterproof coverage. Finlay is not overgrooming anymore’.
Basically we are all absolutely delighted with how well he has recovered and he has been thoroughly enjoying the autumnal sunshine. We got this picture as he was striding around his expansive and naturalistic enclosure. He is enjoying life and he is full of energy and vigour. The swagger and confidence that he had lost due to his treatment in police custody, has returned. He is alert to everything and his eyes are bright. We have shed many tears along the way and there were times when we feared he wouldn’t make it, but as always, Finlay never gives up and he has fought to recover.
When we think back to the appalling state he was handed back to us in, it fills us with determination to hold to account everyone who has had a hand in his suffering. As we collate evidence and prepare statements, we are going through and cross referencing the documents obtained from the Police by our legal team. We are piecing together what happened to him. The Police told us that Finlay was kept in a naturalistic enclosure at a specialist animal centre. Indeed, the Crime Commissioner has written to many of you regarding this. However, it transpires that Finlay was actually kept in a quarantine enclosure. A report produced by the police refers to this. The report was from 6 weeks into Finlay’s 4.5 month ordeal. From the vet notes we have obtained from the police, there is no mention of a move or any vet visits to check on him in new surroundings. It therefore seems highly likely that Finlay was held in a quarantine facility for the whole time. Quarantine enclosures are typically small, sterile and intended for short term use. They certainly aren’t appropriate to keep an animal in for 4.5 months. This explains the stereotypical behaviour Finlay developed whilst in the captivity. The overgrooming was a response to stress and boredom. He was clearly suffering both mentally and physically.
Finlay cannot speak, so we will speak for him and if you want to help us get Finlay the justice he deserves then please keep supporting and sharing our campaign:
We will of course keep you updated on Finlay’s progress but we can all be happy that he is once again full of life and thriving.
Many thanks as always
Emily (Director) and Finlay.
Nov. 8, 2022
NEW FINLAY VIDEO- HE'S THRIVING
We are delighted to report that Finlay is doing extremely well. In the picture above and video at the link below, you can how much he has improved. His muscle coverage has developed greatly and his coat condition is now superb and no longer falls out in clumps. He still probably has 10 to 15 percent more body mass to gain but he is certainly heading in the right direction. His appetite is fantastic and in the video you can see him really tucking into his food. About 10 seconds in he looks up and you can see his beautiful face and long white whiskers. He doesn’t pause for long though before going straight back to his food.
When he was first returned to us he was listless and had a poor appetite. He is now eating more than twice the amount of food than when we first got him back. The amount has been gradually increased over time so as to not overwhelm his digestive system. We are just so pleased that he has recovered from his ordeal. He is a real fighter and never gives up. He is an inspiration to us all and such a beautiful boy.
You can see the video on our news page here:
We hope you enjoy seeing Finlay and keep watching for more updates.
Thanks as always
Emily (Director) and Finlay
Oct. 13, 2022
FINLAY UPDATE- MONTHS WITHOUT VET CARE IN POLICE CUSTODY
As promised here is the latest update on Finlay. We are really pleased to say that he is making fantastic progress. The vet and his carers are delighted and relieved at how well he is doing. He is gaining weight, his coat is sleek, his muscle tone has improved immensely and behaviourally, he is alert, active and really enjoying life. As you can see from the picture, he is thriving and looks like a different animal to the gaunt, underweight and patchily coated animal that was handed back to us after 4.5 months in police custody.
As you know we are committed to getting justice for Finlay and as we go through the process we are finding out more and more about what he went through. Whilst Finlay was in police custody, our legal team repeatedly asked for updates on his welfare. They were always told that he was doing well and that there were no issues. We of course now know that that was simply untrue. As evidenced by our independent vet assessment immediately after his return, Finlay had suffered considerable physical and psychological deterioration whilst under the control of the police.
We have been trying for many months to get Finlay's vet records from the police. Despite false promises that they would provide them imminently, the police retained them giving excuse after excuse as to why they were not released. Indeed even our MP, the RT Hon David Jones, called and wrote to the police on our behalf, multiple times. Our solicitors had also requested the records countless times.
After repeated pressure the police finally released some veterinary notes to us. We now know why they did not want us to have them. We were all previously reassured by the Police Crime Commissioner, Andy Dunbobbin, that Finlay was well cared for. Indeed he personally wrote to many of you stating 'that all standards of care were adhered to, with regular monitoring taking place throughout Finlay’s stay at the facility'.
Well it now transpires that Finlay was left without any veterinary monitoring or care for nearly 3 months. Between the 16th March and the 9th June, no vet visited him. This is simply appalling. What is also clear is that during this period Finlay developed gastro intestinal issues, as on the 9th June, the vet attended because there was concerns he was 'passing fur in (his) faeces'. Despite identifying a health issue, Finlay was then not seen by a vet for a further 17 days until the day before he was returned to us......
This is hardly regular monitoring, it is blatant neglect and at the hands of the police. Does Andy Dunbobbin really think that this represents an acceptable standard of care for an animal that was removed from its surroundings and restrained in a brand new environment and with a new diet. We all remember the rancid horse meat that PC Richard Smith provided when he returned Finlay.
It seems abundantly clear that Finlay did not receive even the most basic care that he deserved and that he was left without veterinary monitoring and care for an unacceptable length of time. Such neglect has been robustly defended by the Crime Commissioner himself, which suggests that animal welfare simply isn't taken seriously by the North Wales Police.
That is why we will fight on to ensure that Finlay gets the justice he deserves and that crucially, important lessons are learned, so that no other animal suffers unnecessarily at the hands of the Police.
Please keep supporting our campaign to get Justice for Finlay, and share this link widely:
Thanks as always and we will keep you posted as and when we get more information.
Emily (Director of Wildcat Haven) and Finlay
Sept. 13, 2022
FINLAY FIGHTING BACK
As promised here is an update on Finlay’s progress. We are delighted to be able to tell you that he is doing extremely well. He is by no means in the prime condition he was in before he was seized by the police. However, he is infinitely better than when they returned him after 4.5 months in their custody. Behaviourally, he has regained a lot of his confidence and he is now bright eyed and interested in life. Crucially, the over grooming has stopped. This stereotypical behaviour is a coping mechanism that animals develop when placed in overbearing captivity. We still do not know where Finlay was kept by the police but is abundantly clear that the conditions caused a mental and physical deterioration in him.
Physically, Finlay has gained weight. We have sought veterinary advice at regular intervals and increased his food intake gradually. Such was the level of deterioration, there were concerns about putting too much pressure on his kidneys and digestive system. When he was given back to us, he was listless and had a poor appetite. He is now eating almost twice the amount of food he did when he was returned. He is also gaining muscle coverage and strength by the day and his energy levels are much higher.
Another significant milestone is that Finlay has now been deemed well enough by vets to be wormed and vaccinated. This has now been done. Imagine how weak Finlay had to be for a vet to previously consider such routine procedures too risky.
It has taken a long and emotionally draining ten weeks of thoughtful care by our team, to bring Finlay back from the brink. We must admit, that in the first couple of weeks, every day was nerve-wracking. We shed many tears as we feared for his survival. Those fears have now reduced, although we always remain vigilant for any signs of relapse. It will still take months for him to regain his full condition, but we are here for him every step of the way. You can see in this photo taken last week, that he looks much stronger and brighter and it's clear that he is very interested in exploring his surroundings. He is such a beautiful boy and has come back to life.
As you all know, Finlay had a very traumatic start, being orphaned and found soaking wet and close to death in the Highlands. He fought hard to survive and under our care, he transformed from that weak and vulnerable orphan, into a strong, confident and beautiful adult. Suddenly, without warning on the the 14th February 2022, he was seized by the police and detained for 4.5 months. We can only imagine the stress, anxiety and suffering he endured during this time. You have all seen the photos of his deterioration in previous posts. However, for the second time in his short life, he has been forced to fight for his survival and that is exactly what he has done. He did not deserve this unnecessary suffering in police custody, it is completely unacceptable.
This cannot be allowed to happen to any other animal again and so it is vital that all those involved in Finlay’s wrongful detention and all those responsible for his mental and physical trauma, are fully held to account. As we have said, we have instructed a fantastic legal team and the first stage of seeking redress is underway as we put together the strongest case possible. We do not know how long the process will take but like Finlay, we can give you a cast iron guarantee that we will fight as hard as possible and never give up. We will endeavour to see that Justice is done and that Finlay gets the future he deserves. Finlay cannot speak, so collectively, we must speak for him. We know that Finlay has touched all your hearts, so please keep supporting us and share this link as widely as you can:
We will keep you updated every step of the way and will put out some video of Finlay very soon.
Thanks so much.
Emily (Director) and Finlay
Aug. 23, 2022
LEGAL TEAM INSTRUCTED AND FINLAY IS COMING BACK TO LIFE
Just a quick message to say a massive thankyou to all of you who have supported our ‘Justice for Finlay’ campaign so far. We are off to a flying start which has enabled us to immediately instruct a fantastic legal team who are specialists in complaints/actions against the Police. We are already getting together all the documents that they will require to present the strongest case possible. Nothing but the best for Finlay and we won’t be holding back.
Finlay is definitely getting better; he has been back with us for 2 months now. He will be seen again by the vet today to monitor his ongoing progress. He still has a long way to go to regain his bulk but we will get there. Crucially though, he is enjoying life, he is getting more active by the day and perhaps most importantly of all, he is getting back that glint in his eye, that he used to have. That steely glare and those piercing eyes are now more apparent. As a lot of you will know with your own animals, it's all in the eyes. A number of you have asked to see a picture of Finlay’s face and we managed to get this picture of him this morning. He is coming back to life.
We will keep you posted on developments on all fronts.
Once again, you are an amazing community of supporters and from the bottom our hearts thank you so very much. Finlay can’t speak so collectively we all speak for him.
Please share this link to our campaign as widely as you can:
Very best wishes
Emily (Director of Wildcat Haven) and Finlay
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