Missing cat's owners tell of joy at support by the public
The west Belfast "family" of missing cat Spencer have been inundated with support following their £1,000 search for their beloved pet.
Michael McGrath (47) and his fiancee Marta Larkin (36) launched the desperate appeal after Spencer vanished nearly a month ago.
"We have been overwhelmed by the support we have received, the amount of people who have gone out of their way to tell us they are rooting for us has restored our faith in humanity," Michael said last night.
He added: "Unfortunately we have had no news on Spencer, but it's early days." The couple are remaining optimistic after drafting in a pet detective who is convinced that Spencer is alive and well.
Robert Kenny, lead investigator of the Happy Tails pet detective agency, who obtained his credentials in the United States between 2007 and 2008, is one of about 200 pet detectives worldwide.
The Missing Animal Response (MAR) expert suspects that Spencer may have been accidentally transported some distance from his home near the Springfield Road.
"There has been no sighting of the animal, which in my experience would suggest it has been taken out of the area or it has managed to get into someone's property and they don't know it yet," he said. "There's certainly no conclusive evidence to suggest that Spencer has been hurt or killed, so we presume he is still alive."
Ireland's very own Ace Ventura, who strayed from his accountancy studies to pursue his unusual career, has rescued almost 4,500 missing pets throughout Europe, Asia, South Africa and the USA.
In his highest profile case he came to the aide of Hollywood actress Sandra Bullock after her beloved pooch disappeared from its plush Los Angeles kennel.
The animal kingdom's Columbo quickly established that the Oscar winner's Staffordshire pit bull had been kidnapped in a dispute between the A-list star and another member of the film industry.
"I worked with other detectives in LA and I was able to return her pet within nine days," he said.
Mr Kenny praised Michael and Marta for going above and beyond in their efforts to get Spencer home and said he plans to nominate them for the Pet Owner of the Year 2017 award.
"Michael and Marta have both been through the mill in their struggle to find answers," he said.
"Every year we nominate someone who has been to the ends of the earth to find their pet and they have certainly done that."
Distraught pet lover Michael made an emotional appeal to anyone who may have decided to adopted the timid tom cat.
"Spencer is extremely friendly, he's a complete caricature of a cat so we both understand that someone else could fall completely in love with him, but there's no reason to keep a member of our family," he said.
"If anyone has him, please bring him back."