Officer reprimanded for taking kitten from alleged drug user’s home

Officer Richardson's lawyer said she did what she thought was right

(CNN) – Durham Police Constable Beth Richardson received a commendation after helping save a man’s life. It was her effort to save a kitten’s life that will have her in front of a disciplinary tribunal Monday.

Officer Richardson, an animal lover, responded to a 911 call in Oshawa, a woman in distress. Her lawyer, Attorney Joseph Markson, said, “Apparently, she was hurling things around, making threatening utterances just high as a kite, and very sadly.”

Markson said as Durham Police took care of the woman, who had been on a three-day crystal meth binge, Richardson spotted a kitten also in distress; “Looking just ragged, it was really thin, very small, filthy smelled like smoke , running eyes and scared out of it wits, and no one around the kitten to take care of it.”

So she took the kitten to get it checked by a vet, but when the owner’s boyfriend returned to the rooming house, he called police to say the officer had stolen the kitten. Durham’s Police Chief laid a discreditable conduct charge against Officer Richardson.

It reads in part:

Constable Richardson did not advise her supervisor or any other officers that she had taken the cat from the owners nor did she document her actions.

Her lawyer said she did what she thought was right; “The decision she made in rescuing the kitten is at the heart of good policing.”

Richardson’s supervisors ordered the kitten be returned that same night.