Tenn. police probe 'feline jihad' case
Tue Sep 12, 5:34 PM ET
RED BANK, Tenn. - Police are investigating after a man wrote about launching a "feline jihad" to rid his Chattanooga suburb of stray cats.
Max Gerskin wrote a two-part series in the Chattanooga Pulse weekly publication, the first of which was published Aug. 9 and titled, "Madder Max: The Cat Lady and My New Dog." The second installment was published Wednesday and titled, "Feline Jihad: The Cat Lady, Part II."
In his commentary, Gerskin said the strays fed by a "neighborhood cat lady" have brought filth and disease to his home, and local Humane Society officials haven't been able to stop it.
As a result, he wrote, "I've officially become a trapper and it's time to take a walk to the river."
A neighbor, Jean Watts, said she feeds about 10 local strays and is the "cat lady" in the articles. She said Gerskin has set traps in his yard and posted signs in the neighborhood alluding to dead cats.
Watts also said some of the strays she normally sees have gone missing in recent weeks.
She believes the problem has more to do with a conflict with Watts about him setting off fireworks than about the cats.
"This is just as much about me as it is about them," she said. "He's mad at me, and he's taking it out on the cats."
Gerskin did not respond to requests for comment, but he posted an online response Sunday at http://www.chattanoogapulse.com
. He wrote that he has not been trying to kill the cats and was using Humane Society traps to help get them to safe homes.
But Humane Education Society of Chattanooga director Guy Bilyeu said Monday there was no record that Gerskin was in possession of any of the organization's traps.
Bilyeu said he planned to meet with Gerskin to discuss the issue further.
"We can't pass judgment on a written article," he said. "This could just be somebody bragging. We don't know."
Red Bank police said Monday that they were investigating.