|Ace Following Surgery to Remove His Eyes|
"I will never know the color of his irises, yet I will never forget the horror I felt looking at his ruptured globes. Not a day goes by without leaving me emotionally exhausted but still totally amazed by the beauty of his soul. He is a survivor and an inspiration and every day I fall in love with him a little more."
-- veterinarian Tina Roggenbeck
Wealthy young man about town Lamont Cranston, old-time radio's The Shadow
, claimed to possess the power to fathom the "evil that lurks in the hearts of men" but most mere mortals, no matter how old, jaded, and cynical they may be, are almost helpless when it comes to anticipating the simply outrageous and diabolical abuse that some cat haters are capable of inflicting upon the species. That disturbing reality was driven home in shocking fashion once again back on January 9th when an eighteen-month-old homeless black cat was found frozen to the steps of a porch on Hidden Road in Bangor, Michigan.
Considering that the overnight temperature at the nearest reporting station in Bloomingdale, twenty-two kilometers to the north, was a bone-chilling -5.1° Fahrenheit, it was a miracle that he was still alive when his plight was discovered by Amanda Breasbois-Schulz and her husband. When she bent down in order to examine him, she instantly recognized him as being a neutered tom named Ace from a TNR colony that she had been caring for the past eight months.
She also discovered to her horror that he was suffering from something far more serious than a bad case of hypothermia and frostbite. "When we picked him up...we noticed his eye was completely blown out," she told The Bay City Times
on January 16th. (See "Cat Found Blinded and Frozen to Porch in Bay County Has Eyes Removed, Vet Says It's a Case of Abuse.")
Actually, she had significantly understated the case in that both of Ace's eyes had been deliberately gouged out with a foreign object by some unknown cat-hating monster. After several unsuccessful attempts to procure emergency veterinary treatment for him, Breasbois-Schulz finally was able to prevail upon Angels Among Us to treat him for gratis
at its Veterinary Health Center (VHC) in Saginaw, thirty-two kilometers to the south.
Ace arrived at VHC at 2 p.m. and veterinarian Katherine "Tina" Roggenbeck wasted no time in surgically removing what was left of both of his eyes during a forty-five minute operation. Neither she nor anyone else has been willing to publicly speculate if that expedient was really necessary.
For instance, it might have been possible to have cleansed and medicated both eyes as a prelude to later surgically repairing them. At least that way it might have been feasible to have restored at least some of his vision.
Based upon the massive damage done to his eyes, however, there can be no doubt that Ace's assailant fully intended to blind him permanently. "Bilateral ruptured globes, ocular and nasal hemorrhage, right cornea perforated, left cornea lacerated medial to lateral, swelling and bruising to the entire periocular-ocular and nasal area, one three to four millimeter laceration over the left maxilla, left nictitans (third eyelid) torn," is how Roggenbeck summed up the catalog of injuries that she found after examining him in e-mail letters sent on January 12th to Bay County Animal Control (BCAC), the Humane Society of Bay County (HSBC), and the Bay County Board of Commissioners.
After conferring with both an ophthalmologist and a radiographer, she concluded that the horrific damage done to Ace's eyes could not have been inflicted by a motorist. "In my professional opinion, this cat's injuries were deliberate, brutal and an act of heinous cruelty," she continued.
She went on to explain that "being hit by a car will not rupture both eyes simultaneously since eye position in the orbit of cats do not face forward (they are both lateralized) and the nose acts as a protective barrier. (Being) hit by a car trauma would have to be so fulminant to rupture both eyes that fracture of the nasal bones, maxillary contribution to the orbital rim, and zygomatic arch (cheek bone) would have to occur."
|The Horrific Damage Done to Ace's Eyes|
In arriving at that conclusion she erred only when she postulated that cars maim and kill cats. Actually, it is motorists, not their high-powered jalopies, that are responsible for such despicable crimes which invariably are committed for pleasure and with impunity.
She furthermore categorically ruled out the possibility of Ace having been attacked by either a dog, raccoon, or some other animal. "...the skin laceration over the left maxilla is lower than the orbital rim," she continued in her epistle to the high-muck-a-mucks. "In animal on animal attacks, visible signs would include opposing canine punctures, bite wounds, hemorrhage, bruising, et cetera."
As far as it has been revealed, the only damage inflicted on Ace was to his eyes. In particular, no puncture wounds, teeth marks, scrapes, or excoriations of any kind were found on his body. Plus, all of his teeth and claws were intact.
"In my entire career, I have never witnessed a more vicious attack on an animal," Roggenbeck declared. "...this cat's injuries were the result of the unthinkable...the deliberate act of a human."
Overshadowed by all the attention that has been focused on what was done to Ace's eyes has been the issue of his exposure to the elements and on that vitally important matter Roggenbeck has been inexplicably silent. Specifically, no mention has been made of him sustaining frostbite to his paws as was the case with another black cat named Flick who was found a few days later on January 14th with his front paws frozen to a porch in Redford, one-hundred-eighty-seven kilometers to the west of Bangor. (See Cat Defender post of February 23, 2015 entitled "Abandoned to Tough It Out by His Lonesome in the Deadly Michigan Cold and Snow, Flick Sustains Horrific Injuries to His Front Paws When They Become Frozen to a Porch.")
Hopefully, Roggenbeck's reticence to discuss that issue is meant to be taken as an indication that Ace did not sustain any permanent injuries as the result of his exposure to the cold. Although it is by no means clear, the assumption is that he was mutilated sometime on January 8th and then dumped on Breasbois-Schulz's porch either later that night or early the following morning. In hindsight, it seems beyond dispute that his assailant was relying upon the Arctic cold in order to exacerbate, if not indeed finish, the job that began with Ace's intentional blinding.
Ace remained in Roggenbeck's care at VHC until February 3rd when fluid unexpectedly began to seep from his now vacant right eye socket. That in turn necessitated in him having to be rushed to the Animal Ophthalmology Center (AOC) in Williamston, one-hundred-five kilometers south of Saginaw, where specialist David T. Ramsey found and removed two cysts. An unspecified amount of abnormal pigmented tissue also was found but it is not known if it too was excised.
In spite of that scary setback, Roggenbeck insisted at the time that Ace was doing fine. "We got back here Tuesday night (February 3rd) and he is doing absolutely fabulous," she told The Bay City Times
on February 6th. (See "Ace the Blinded Bay County Cat Has Home Lined Up as Investigation Continues.")
"He is absolutely the most incredible, fantastic cat I have ever met in my life."
Without eyes, returning him to the TNR colony managed by Breasbois-Schulz was now totally out of the question. Although Roggenbeck temporarily entertained the notion of adding him to the twenty-three felines, four Alsatians, and pair of horses that reside with her and her husband in Bridgeport, eleven kilometers to the south of Saginaw, she ultimately decided to put him up for adoption.
|David T. Ramsey Removes Cysts from Ace's Right Eye Socket|
On February 13th, he finally left her surgery in order to go and live with a woman identified only as Tina. He did not go alone, however, in that Tina graciously agreed to also adopt a brown, gray, and white cat named Jack from Breasbois-Schulz's colony. The pair of newcomers have now joined Little Bear, Pumpkin, and Bailey at her residence somewhere in either Saginaw or the surrounding community.
"I have never heard a cat purr as loudly as this guy. He loves meeting people. He's a wonderful little guy," Roggenbeck exclaimed to The Bay City Times
in the February 6th article cited supra
. "Wherever he goes, he's going to flourish. To see that he has been able to forgive, it's amazing to me."
According to periodical updates posted on his Facebook page, Ace's Odyssey, he initially appeared to be doing exactly that. His weight increased considerably from the 7.8 pounds that he weighed at the time of his rescue and he seemed to be getting on famously not only with Tina but his four playmates as well.
Sadly, it was reported March 11th on Ace's Odyssey that cysts had been found in his left eye socket so it looks like he will be making a return trip to AOC in order to have them removed. Without being a feline ophthalmologist it is impossible to speculate as to either what has caused the cysts to develop or if they are destined to be a recurring problem for him. The good news is that apparently no new ones have formed in his right eye socket.
Other than that his prognosis, while still guarded, appears to be encouraging. After a protective Elizabethan collar was removed, his nails were trimmed on February 5th in order to deter him from unintentionally damaging his surgically repaired eye sockets.
That preventative measure did absolutely nothing, however, in order to protect him from the potential damage that his playmates might inadvertently inflict upon him. Since he is unable to anticipate and thus dodge their blows, it perhaps would have been better if he had been adopted into a home where he was the only cat.
Roggenbeck sans doute
considered that option but ultimately rejected it. Aside from his need for companionship, his fellow felines hopefully will assist him in learning his way around Tina's house. Sadly, that is destined to constitute the extent of his entire world in that it would be foolish to allow him outdoors unless he is either on a leash or kept inside an enclosed area.
His other senses also should become more acute over time and that will help him to compensate somewhat for the loss of his eyesight. Once his whiskers, which were inexplicably removed by either his assailant, Roggenbeck, or Ramsey, grow back he accordingly will be able to significantly better gauge the distance between objects and passageways.
According to Alana Miller who for the past decade has cared for around ninety cats at the Blind Cat Rescue and Sanctuary in St. Pauls, North Carolina, a sightless cat can do almost anything that a sighted one can and that includes climbing trees and cabinets. The one accommodation that she does recommend making, however, is that rooms within a house be outfitted with different types of flooring (carpeting, tile, et cetera
) so as to assist a cat in orienting itself should it be either bandied about or temporarily lose its bearings.
|Ace Is Comforted by Maddie and Lynn|
Up until she came along the care of blind cats was pretty much limited to isolated acts of compassion on the part of veterinarians, rescue groups, and private individuals. (See Cat Defender posts of September 27, 2007, February 23, 2007, and August 25, 2005 entitled, respectively, "Abandoned to Die in a World of Darkness and Without Even Teeth, Maxwell Is Saved by the Compassion of a Rescue Group and a Veterinarian," "Born Without Eyes and Later Abandoned, Humble Kitten Appropriately Named Angel Has Hope for a Brighter Tomorrow," and "Winky Sam, a Cat with Only One Eye and Steadily Going Blind, Finally Finds a Home in Port St. Lucie.")
Although late is certainly better than never, it is still a shame that it took so terribly long for someone to finally realize that blind cats are worth saving and that their lives have value. "Back when we started our shelter, there was just no place for them. If you were unadoptable, you were just dead," Miller told Care2.com on November 30, 2012. (See "Blind Cat Sanctuary Offers Cage-Free Oasis.")
"Somebody has to say 'enough.' Once a cat arrives here, they're done. No more being bounced around."
Fortunately for Ace, he now has a home but his assailant is still at large and thus free to prey upon other cats. Although cats, unlike humans, do not carry grudges, he most definitely never will forget the face of the devil who blinded him.
"It's amazing to us that he has any trust left at all," Roggenbeck marveled to The Bay City Times
in the January 16th article cited supra
. "His last vision would have been (of) whoever did this to him."
Although she has offered at $500 reward for information leading to the arrest of his assailant, she surely must have known well beforehand that such an act of beau geste
was destined to be a total waste of time in that cat abusers and killers are almost never even investigated, let alone arrested, prosecuted, and punished. Ill-equipped to conduct such an investigation herself, she in all likelihood fell back upon that expedient in utter desperation.
A far better option would have been to put that money to work by retaining the services of a private dick to look into the matter. Pet detectives who locate lost animals already exist and there is not any obvious reason why a new breed of Philip Marlowes and Sam Spades could not be employed to apprehend cat abusers.
Her decision to call upon the assistance of BCAC also demonstrated extremely poor judgment in that the agency devoted, at the most, only a few hours of its time investigating the matter. "We sent two Animal Control officers to canvass the neighborhood in hopes someone witnessed or knew by word of mouth who the perpetrator might be. However, that was unsuccessful," its director Mike Halstead told The Bay City Times
in the second of two articles dated January 16th. (See "Investigators Hopeful Reward Money May Generate Leads in Bay County Cat-Blinding Case.")
"(January 15th), I contacted Jill Fritz and we're going to be forwarding everything we have to her at this point, in the hopes that the Humane Society (of the United States) will see fit to offer a reward for the perpetrator of this action. We're hoping if a person's moral turpitude doesn't dictate that they tell us what they know in our canvass, perhaps the financial incentive will."
Even after so quickly washing his hands of the entire matter, Halstead had the unmitigated gall to declare his steadfastness. "We're staying on top of it and hopefully we'll turn something up," he gassed to The Bay City Times
, presumably with a straight face.
As Roggenbeck should have had the bon sens
to realize, the number one rule when it comes to protecting and defending cats is to always steer clear of known cat killers and abusers and that admonition applies in spades to a rotten bum like Halstead. For example on May 26, 2010, he ordered the murder of a six-week-old kitten that not only had a home waiting for it in Washington State but individuals from such far-flung climes as California, Iowa, and Sweden also had expressed an interest in adopting it.
At that time he attempted to chalk up the confusion surrounding the kitten's status to the general hustle and bustle that accompanies operating a shelter. The employee "probably just did it (announce that the kitten was up for adoption) because we're always busy," he declared. "It was the wrong thing to do. We operate an aboveboard operation here."
|Ace Is Visited by a Couple at Roggenbeck's Surgery|
By that he meant that under Michigan law BCAC is allowed to kill after five days all animals that arrive at its shelter without collars. He also relied upon the fact that the kitten was suffering from a preeminently treatable common cold as another reason for snuffing out its life. More than likely it was healthy when it arrived and only became sick as the result of being exposed to the unsanitary conditions, overcrowding, and stress that are endemic to such hellhole institutions.
He also dishonestly attempted to excuse his own heinous crime by fobbing off blame on both the fecundity of cats as well as the failure of their owners to pay the sky-high sterilization fees that veterinarians demand. "If you start with a pair of cats, by the time they're done they will have accounted for thousands because of their litter and their litter's litter and so on," he pontificated. "It's a travesty that people let that happen, and we just can't warehouse them. It's unfortunate but that's what happens when people behave irresponsibly and therein lies the problem."
, the problem lies with mass murderers like Halstead and BCAC who are permitted year after year to line their pockets by slaughtering en masse
cats and dogs. First of all, cats, dogs, and other animals do not belong in jail under any circumstances. They have not committed any crimes, unless breathing is now considered to be a capital offense, and none of them ever receive anything even remotely resembling a due process hearing.
Secondly, although Americans themselves are notoriously stingy, the country itself is not poor and there certainly is more than enough money available to not only sterilize all homeless cats but to place them in either loving homes, managed TNR colonies, or sanctuaries. What needs to be done is to get the money out of the pockets of the exterminators and into the hands of those individuals and groups who have an abiding respect for the sanctity of feline life.
The only operation that Halstead and BCAC are interested in running, however, is a death house. For instance, during the first quarter of 2010 the agency killed all but eleven of the three-hundred-sixty-four cats that it impounded and that equates to a kill rate of ninety-seven per cent
. The only known shelter with a higher kill rate is the one in Norfolk, Virginia, that is run by PETA.
BCAC also is guilty of discriminating against cats in that during the same period it secured homes for one-hundred-sixty-five of the three-hundred-twenty-one dogs that it took in and that works out to a kill rate of 48.6 per cent
. (See Cat Defender post of June 15, 2010 entitled "Bay City Shelter Murders a Six-Week-Old Kitten with a Common Cold Despite Several Individuals Having Offered to Give It a Permanent Home.")
Halstead's appalling lack of respect for the sanctity of feline life coupled with his total unwillingness to secure homes for impounded cats and to investigate cases of animal cruelty is not all that surprising in that he is a retired Bay City fireman without any prior experience in operating a shelter. It therefore is pretty much a sure bet that he is a multiple dipper at the public trough who only secured his current sinecure
through his links to the political establishment in Bay City.
Although there are a few professional and dedicated Animal Control officers, bums like Halstead constitute the norm. For example, when Barry Accorti retired from the North Ridgeville Police Department in 2012 after thirty-one years on the public's dime he was given the job of being the Ohio town's Animal Control officer so that he, like Halstead, could pocket another handout from the taxpayers in addition to his lavish pension.
Totally unqualified to even clean toilets, let alone to be entrusted with the care and welfare of animals, it did not take him long before he shot to death a quintuplet of eight- to ten-week-old kittens on June 10, 2013. (See The Plain Dealer of Cleveland, June 11, 2013, "North Ridgeville Clears Humane Officer of Wrongdoing for Killing Feral Kittens, but Animal Groups Want Action.")
|Ace and Jack with Their New Mom, Tina|
He then followed up that dastardly deed by shooting to death a baby raccoon on June 9, 2014. (See The Chronicle-Telegram of Elyria, June 10, 2014, "Parent Alleges Officer Killed Raccoon in Front of Kids.")
As utterly revolting as conditions are in both Bay City and North Ridgeville, they cannot hold a candle to what occurred in August of 2006 at the Old Webster Road shelter in Oxford, Massachusetts. That was when forty-one-year-old Animal Control officer Michelle A. Mulverhill deserted her post and went on a bender.
Even more astounding, oversight was so lax that her dereliction of duty was not even noticed until sixteen days later! (See Cat Defender post of August 31, 2006 entitled “Animal Control Officer Goes on a Drunken Binge and Leaves Four Cats and a Dog to Die of Thirst, Hunger, and Heat at a Massachusetts Shelter.”)
Although Roggenbeck did receive a prompt e-mail response from Halstead’s boss, Bay County Executive Thomas L. Hickner, that was all that she was able to get out of him, that is unless crocodile tears and outlandish lies count for anything. “Please be assured we share your outrage at the violence which resulted in the cruelty toward this animal,” he stated according to the second of two Bay City Times’
articles dated January 16th. “Since learning yesterday of the incident, staff of Bay County Animal Control have been conducting a thorough investigation into the matter to attempt to obtain the identity of the perpetrator and circumstances surrounding the act so we may refer the matter to the Bay County prosecutor."
, he has Halstead’s back and Halstead has his. Their intransigence on this and other animal welfare issues also means that no cat is safe anywhere in Bay County.
Even though back in 2010 it was precisely Jeannie Wolicki-Nichols of the BCHS who had lined up the home in Washington State for the kitten that Halstead subsequently killed, this time around she lavished all of her concern, not on Ace, but rather his attacker. “Animal abuse is a dress rehearsal for the future and we need to take this very seriously,” she cautioned in the second Bay City Times’
article dated January 16th. “I certainly hope whoever knows about this situation comes forward so the person who could do such a horrendous act can get the help he needs.”
Evidently the moral decay and general all-around rot that so characterizes the thinking and behavior of Halstead and Hickner now has spread to Wolicki-Nichols as well because help is the absolute last thing that Ace’s attacker needs; on the contrary, what he needs and deserves is to be apprehended, prosecuted and convicted, and then placed behind bars for the remainder of his miserable existence. Even more fittingly, his eyes should be gouged out and all of society should shun him so as to leave him with no alternative other than to aimlessly wander the earth much like Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex.
As utterly inexcusable as were the responses from BCAC, BCHS, and Hickner, it took the entry of the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) into the fray in order to reveal the true burlesque nature of the proceedings. “If there is an arrest and conviction, we would pay out the reward to the people who sent in the tips,” the organization’s top dog in the Wolverine State, Jill Fritz, told The Bay City Times
in the first article dated January 16th.
Even that offer of $5,000 came with enough caveats so as to make it all but meaningless. Specifically, Fritz added that even before the moola would be put up an investigating agency would need to determine that Ace’s wounds were indeed the result of cruelty and to request the assistance of the HSUS. “It’s up to law enforcement to determine it was allegedly done deliberately and we’re glad to help if they need help in apprehending a suspect,” she made clear.
| Forever Six Weeks Old, the Bay City Kitten|
As far as it is known, the Bangor Police Department (BPD) is not involved in the investigation in any shape, form, or fashion and considering the intransigence of the BCAC, BCHS, and Hickner, the HSUS has little or no need to fear that it ever will be forced to part with so much as a lousy penny from its bulging hoard of greenbacks. After all, it has been widely reported on the web that the organization spends less than one per cent
of its annual operating budget of $125 million on the care of animals in need; the remainder either goes into the pockets of its employees or is used in order to raise additional funds.
Beyond its utterly revolting niggardliness, the HSUS is about as far removed from a legitimate animal protection agency as one can get without first doing a half gainer into the sack with those miserable, rotten cat stealers and killers at PETA. First of all, it certainly is not a fan of cats and that was vividly demonstrated by its simply disgraceful sellout of those living on San Nicolas to the United States Fish and Wildlife Service. (See Cat Defender posts of June 27, 2008, July 10, 2008, April 28, 2009, November 20, 2009, and February 24, 2012 entitled, respectively, “United States Fish and Wildlife Service and the Navy Hatch a Diabolical Plan to Gun Down Two-Hundred Cats on San Nicolas Island,” “The Ventura Star Races to the Defense of the Cat Killers on San Nicolas Island,” “Quislings at the Humane Society Sell Out San Nicolas’s Cats to the Assassins at the Diabolical United States Fish and Wildlife Society,” “Memo to the Humane Society: Tell the World Exactly How many Cats You and Your Honeys at the USFWS Have Murdered on San Nicolas Island,” and “United States Fish and Wildlife Service and the Humane Society Hoist a Glass in Celebration of Their Extermination of the Cats on San Nicolas Island.”)
Secondly, it has joined forces with such sworn enemies of the species as the American Bird Conservancy and The New York Times. (See Cat Defender post of June 15, 2009 entitled “American Bird Conservancy, The New York Times, and the Humane Society Unite to Form an Achse des Bösen Against Cats.”)
Thirdly, in an article penned for the Huffington Post
on February 15, 2013, no-kill advocate Nathan J. Winograd disclosed that the HSUS gave its highest award to a shelter in Davidson County, North Carolina, that has a long and checkered history of illegally gassing cats and dogs. (See “Who Is Really Standing for Animals?”)
Even more outrageously, the organization labeled that mass extermination camp as “a shelter we love.”
Likewise in Texas, Winograd reported that the HSUS helped to defeat a bill that would have put an end to the gassing of shelter animals. Clearly, the HSUS has absolutely no business pretending to speak up for cats and other animals.
With BCAC, BCHS, Hickner, the HSUS, and the BPD sitting on their fat cracks and exercising only their forked tongues, it is anything but surprising that Ace’s assailant remains at large more than two months after the attack. Absolutely nothing meaningful appears to have been done in order to bring him to justice and by now the crime has been all but forgotten by those charged with enforcing the minimalist standards of the anti-cruelty statutes in Michigan.
At the very minimum, either Roggenbeck or someone from the BPD should have collected scrapings from underneath his claws and combed his fur, particularly the area around his eyes, for forensic evidence. Secondly, Breasbois-Schulz’s porch, yard, and driveway should have been examined for foot and tire prints and molds made of any that were found.
Thirdly, either the BPD or BCAC should have made, not one, but a long series of persistent, intermittent door-to-door canvasses of the neighborhood. That in itself might have rattled enough heads in order to have forced someone into coming forward.
The only way that cases of animal cruelty ever will be solved is when law enforcement personnel apply the same tactics, procedures, and amounts of resources to them that they now devote exclusively to acts of violence that are committed against persons and property. Outbursts of self-righteous moral indignation, a false reliance upon hope, insincere offers of reward money, and appeals to the public are not only disingenuous but largely a complete waste of time as well. (See Cat Defender post of January 6, 2010 entitled “Large Reward Fails to Lead to the Capture of the Archer Who Shot an Arrow Through Brownie’s Head.”)
|Big Bob Lost a Leg to an Attacker but Survived|
Surprisingly, there has been absolutely zero speculation in either the press or on Ace’s Odyssey as to who committed this heinous act. The general tenor of the public debate, however, tends to suggest that the authorities have chalked up the attack to just another randomized act of violence perpetrated upon a defenseless cat by, most likely, either a juvenile delinquent or an adult sociopath.
The circumstances surrounding Ace’s blinding, however, tend to point to the exact opposite conclusion. In that regard the most compelling motive is that he was savaged as a way of getting back at Breasbois-Schulz for her championing of the cause of homeless cats.
Although it has not been publicly disclosed how close her house is located to the TNR colony that she manages, it nonetheless would appear that Ace was intentionally blinded and then either carried or driven to her residence and dumped. That reasoning is based upon the twin facts that presumably he did not know where she lived and, even if he did, he would not have been able to have found his way there after he had been robbed of his vision.
It also would be illuminating to know if other members of her colony either have been attacked or mysteriously disappeared without so much as a trace. Damage done to the cats' shelters, overturned food and water dishes, and verbal abuse and threats directed at Breasbois-Schulz are clues that should not be ignored.
One of the major Achilles' heels of TNR colonies is the total lack of security that they afford their members and that in turn leaves them vulnerable to all sorts of attacks from cat haters. For example in early December of 2010, a four-year-old Russian Blue named Big Bob who belonged to a colony located on the northside of Indianapolis that was managed by IndyFeral not only was shot in the thigh by an assailant armed with a gun but he also was run down by a hit-and-run motorist and left for dead.
Although he ended up losing one of his rear legs, he did manage to survive thanks to the prompt veterinary care that he received from the Humane Society of Indianapolis. (See Cat Defender post of January 5, 2011 entitled "Gunned Down by an Assassin and Then Mowed Down by a Hit-and-Run Driver, Big Bob Loses a Leg but Survives and Now Is Looking for a Home.")
It is not merely the cats themselves but often their caretakers as well that sometimes come under violent attacks. That is the cruel and utterly lawless fate that has befallen kindhearted Irene Borecky who cares for a colony of fourteen cats at a co-op on Garnet Janes Road in the Etobicoke section of western Toronto.
In particular, cat-hating fiends at the complex routinely curse her, train their garden hoses on her, and come after her with baseball bats. "These people are hostile towards the cats and anyone who helps them," she disclosed to the Toronto Star
on October 20th of last year. (See "Helping Feral Cats Shouldn't Be a Risky Business.")
The hooligans even went so far as to curse and threaten to steal the camera of Jack Lakey of the Toronto Star
when he accompanied her on one of her trips to the housing complex in order to feed the cats. As a working member of the capitalist media who consistently has defended homeless cats, especially the Bluffers Park TNR colony in Toronto's Scarborough District, Lakey is the rarest of journalists and his willingness to put his life on the line for those in Etobicoke is another shining example of his steadfastness of their behalf. (See Cat Defender post of September 15, 2011 entitled "Ravenous Coyotes, Cat-Haters, and Old Man Winter All Want Her Dead, Buried, and Gone but Brave Little Half Mask Is Defying All the Odds.")
|A Trio of the Homeless Cats That Are Under Siege in Etobicoke|
The cats themselves have been treated even worse in that the residents not only train their garden hoses but their dogs on them as well. At last report, Borecky was racing against the clock in order to trap and relocate them before the residents make good on their threat to trap and deliver them over to the knackers at Animal Services to exterminate.
One-hundred-sixty-two kilometers to the west of Toronto on a quiet cul-de-sac
in London, Greg and Barb Horne have drawn the ire of their neighbors not only due to their feeding of homeless cats but also because doing so is allegedly attracting coyotes to the neighborhood. (See the Toronto Sun, January 20, 2015, "Neighbors Concerned after Coyote Shows Up to Couple's Regular Feral Cat Feeding.")
Wildlife biologists, especially those affiliated with the United States government, also are vehemently opposed to the existence of TNR colonies but they usually do not engage in mutilations; rather, they content themselves with either expelling or simply killing the cats. (See Cat Defender posts of August 7, 2014 and April 17, 2010 entitled, respectively, "The National Park Service Racks Up a Major Victory by Expelling the Plum Beach Cats but It Is Thwarted in Its Burning Desire to Dance a Merry Little Jig on Their Graves" and "Lake Lanier's Cats Face an Uncertain Future Following Their Ouster by the Liars and Defamers at the United States Army Corps of Engineers.")
Gardeners are another devious pack of criminals who will stop at almost nothing in order to get rid of cats and one of the worst offenders in that regard, Mark Oberschmidt, resides in Saginaw. (See Cat Defender post of August 19, 2010 entitled "Music Lessons and Buggsey Are Murdered by a Cat-Hating Gardener and an Extermination Factory Posing as an Animal Shelter in Saginaw.")
By leaps and bounds, however, it is ornithologists who hate cats with the greatest passion. For example, the Smithsonian Institution's Nicole Dauphiné was caught red-handed back in 2011 attempting to poison a TNR colony in Washington. (See Cat Defender posts of July 12, 2011, November 18, 2011, and January 6, 2012 entitled, respectively, "The Arrest of Nico Dauphiné for Attempting to Poison a Colony of Homeless Cats Unmasks the National Zoo as a Hideout for Ailurophobes and Criminals," "Nico Dauphiné, Ph.D., Is Convicted of Attempting to Poison a Colony of Homeless Cats but Questions Remain Concerning the Smithsonian's Role," and "Nico Dauphiné Is Let Off with an Insultingly Lenient $100 Fine in a Show Trial That Was Fixed from the Very Beginning.")
There was absolutely nothing sneaky about the modus operandi
employed by amateur ornithologist James Munn Stevenson of Galveston back in 2006 in that instead of using poison he merely trained his rifle on cats. (See Cat Defender posts of November 22, 2006, May 1, 2007, November 20, 2007, December 8, 2007, and August 7, 2008 entitled, respectively, "Evil Galveston Bird Lover Is Finally Arrested After Having Gunned Down Hundreds of Cats," "Houston Chronicle Launches a Propaganda Offensive on Behalf of Serial Cat Killer Jim Stevenson," "Bird Lovers All Over the World Rejoice as Serial Killer James M. Stevenson Is Rewarded by a Galveston Court for Gunning Down Hundreds of Cats," "All the Lies that Fit: Scheming New York Times Hires a Bird Lover to Render His 'Unbiased' Support of James M. Stevenson," and "Crime Pays! Having Made Fools Out of Galveston Prosecutors, Serial Cat Killer James Munn Stevenson Is Now a Hero and Laughing All the Way to the Bank.")
More recently in 2013, Ted Williams of the National Audubon Society even became so emboldened with his own self-importance, invincibility, runaway egotism, and patented criminality that he issued a clarion call for cats to be poisoned with Tylenol® and, even more outrageously, the Orlando Sentinel
seconded that proposal by publishing it. (See Cat Defender post of May 11, 2013 entitled "Ted Williams and the National Audubon Society Issue a Call for Cats to Be Poisoned with Tylenol® and Then Try to Lie Out of It.")
The point of this extremely long digression is to demonstrate that what was done to Ace does not appear to have been a routine case of animal cruelty. His assailant wanted to not only injure him to to make him suffer for as long as he lives and that type of malice is most commonly exhibited by ornithologists.
For instance in December of 2010, seventy-four-year-old amateur ornithologist Ernst Bernhard K. from the Moosach section of München illegally trapped his neighbor's cat, Rocco. Instead of either killing him on the spot or fobbing him off on a shelter to do his dirty work for him, he instead subjected the caged tom to eleven consecutive days of bombardment with water and pepper spray before finally killing him. (See Cat Defender posts of January 19, 2011, August 8, 2011, and August 17, 2011 entitled, respectively, "Bird Lover in München Illegally Traps Rocco and Then Methodically Tortures Him with Water and Pepper Spray over an Eleven-Day Period," "Ernst K.'s Trial for Kidnapping, Torturing, and Murdering Rocco Nears Its Climax in a München Courtroom," and "Ernst K. Walks Away Smelling Like a Rose as Both the Prosecutor and Judge Turn His Trial for Killing Rocco into a Lovefest for a Sadistic Cat Killer.")
There is one vitally important difference however between what was done to Rocco and the heinous crime that was committed against Ace and that revolves around the methodology employed. "I can't imagine, and I don't want to know, how that (the blinding) was done," Roggenbeck declared to The Bay City Times
in the first of two articles dated January 16th. "It's absolutely the most heinous thing I have seen in my career."
Unpleasant though it may be, that very well could be the key to solving this case. With Rocco, although he was caged he was still able to put up quite a spirited fight and that later was attested to by his worn-down claws.
In Ace's case, it appears that he was trapped and then placed in some type of restraining device that not only kept his head stationary but would not permit him to use either his front or rear claws. The only known such device that readily comes to mind is a stereotactic one that scum-of-the-earth vivisectors use in order to, inter alia
, blind cats, sever their spinal cords, and to drill electrodes into their brains.
The localized damage done to his eyes coupled with the absence of a projectile would tend to rule out the possibility that his attacker used some type of a firearm. It also appears that merely trapping him would not in itself have facilitated the gouging out of his eyes because he still would have been able to twist and turn his body as well as to move his head.
Of course, it is always conceivable that the cretin who did this to him sedated him after he got his hands on him. Toxicology tests, had they been performed, would have detected the presence of barbiturates in his system.
His assailant therefore could have been an ornithologist, either an amateur or a professional, with access to the types of restraining devices that are used in animal research laboratories. Whether or not there is any validity to that theory, all known ornithologists and vivisectors with even so much as a remote connection to the area surrounding the TNR colony should be regarded as prime suspects. The same scrutiny also should be given to all TNR opponents, gardeners, and known cat haters.
All of them accordingly should be interviewed by the BPD and placed under surveillance. Should circumstances so merit, search warrants for their residences and offices should be procured and promptly executed.
If forensic evidence had been taken from Ace at Roggenbeck's surgery it then could have been matched up against any found at their homes and businesses and the police then would have been able to have made an arrest. Perhaps then there would be fewer cases of this kind. At the very least, it is high time that some of these monsters were exposed, caught, and severely punished.
Although it would not appear to be applicable in this case, another common methodology employed in order to facilitate the blinding of cats is to imprison them in cages as a prelude to systematically starving them to the point where they are too weak in order to offer any resistance. That appears to have been the means that a still at large assailant from Lytham St. Annes in Lancashire used back in 2012 in order to blind five cats.
Two of them were found in a cardboard box on a road leading to the Easterleigh Animal Sanctuary (EAS) on August 24th by a member of the charity who was out walking a dog. Another pair was found later in the day wandering in nearby fields while the fifth cat was discovered the following day.
All of them had one eye that had been gouged out as well as numerous cuts in and around their eye sockets but that was far from being all that ailed them. Specifically, they were covered in fleas and emaciated to the point of being anemic.
Under those circumstances it is even doubtful that they would have been able to eat even if they had somehow been able to secure food because their teeth had rotted. If all of that were not bad enough, they were soaked to the bone from the rain.
They were taken to a local Vets4Pets surgery where Andrew Harrison confirmed the their rescuers' worst fears. "My gut feeling would be that torture had probably taken place," he told the Daily Mail
on August 30, 2012. (See "'I've Seen Some Bad Things, but this Is One of the Worst': Hunt for Sick Sadist Who Gouged Out This Cat's Eye in Horrific Attack.")
"Some had older damage while the damage to others was quite recent."
Inexcusably, he elected to immediately whack three of them. "We thought it fairer on them to put the others to sleep," he told the Daily Mail
Mandy Leigh of EAS wholeheartedly concurred in that morally repugnant decision. "I'll give any animal a chance but the others were past anybody's help," she bellowed in apparent ignorance of the glaring contradictions in both logic and language contained in such a declaration. "One of the surviving cats will be blind and it is difficult to know if they will survive."
Harrison likewise did not hold out much hope for the survivors, Marmalade and Pickle. "All we can do now is feed them gradually, bathe them and give them as much treatment as we can and hope the remaining two survive," is how he summed up the glum prognosis for them.
Like the authorities in Bay County, the RSPCA failed to demonstrate any real interest in apprehending the cats' torturer. "Anyone who dumps a animal is breaking the law (but) to abandon them when they are in such terrible health makes this case even more callous," the organization's Alison Wilford snorted to the Daily Mail
. "We are looking into this matter and want to hear from anyone who saw someone acting suspiciously in the area at the time when these cats were dumped or who recognizes Pickle and Marmalade and knows where they have come from."
Regrettably, it has not proven possible to determine whatever became of Marmalade and Pickle. Apparently, remaining at EAS was out of the question in that the charity quickly announced that they were going to be put up for adoption.
|Ace and Tina Are Soldiering On Despite All the Setbacks|
For her part, Leigh believes that the cats were dumped at the sanctuary, not by their attacker, but rather by someone who had rescued them and that same chain of events conceivably could have played out in Bangor. Since it usually is somewhat easier to solve crimes where there are more than one individual involved, that is an additional reason why the authorities in Bay County should have vigorously looked into the attack on Ace.
This case also refocuses attention on the pressing need for heightened security at all TNR colonies, but especially the one managed by Breasbois-Schulz. Such an undertaking must by necessity begin and end with the volunteers themselves because it is a foregone conclusion that neither the police nor humane groups can be counted upon to lift so much as a finger in order to safeguard the lives of homeless cats.
The volunteers need first of all to spend significantly more time with the cats that are under their protection. Secondly, the installation of surveillance cameras is an idea worth considering.
If at all feasible, it would be preferable if these colonies were relocated on private property that is under the control of the cats' caretakers. That way any trespassers, whether they be individuals intent upon doing the cats harm or simply nosey governmental officials, would be taxed with the onus of legally justifying their presence within the colonies.
Colonies located in cold climates also need to be furnished with heated shelters. If that is not feasible, an effort needs to be made to at least round up the cats and confine them inside some type of enclosure whenever the thermometer drops below 0° Fahrenheit.
All of that is unquestionably asking a lot of the volunteers but helping cats to persevere in an extremely hostile world never has been easy. Besides, the homeless cat protection movement has come too far to turn back now. The road ahead is going to be both difficult and terribly expensive but the volunteers need to remain steadfast and committed.
Roggenbeck certainly has done a herculean job of not only treating Ace but in standing by him throughout his several setbacks and for all of that she is richly deserving of all the credit in the world. Through her work at Angels Among Us and at the VHC, Saginaw now has something that it truly can be proud of aside from Lefty Frizzell's 1964 country chart-topper, "Saginaw, Michigan." (See The Bay City Times, August 11, 2014, "Saginaw Township's Dr. Tina Roggenbeck Among Twenty Finalists Vying for the Title of 'America's Favorite Veterinarian'.")
"Pictures can't begin to tell you what it (the blinding) did to our hearts and soul," she told The Bay City Times
in the first article dated January 16th. While that sans doute
is true, it is Ace who has suffered an even more egregious and lasting loss.
In the unlikely event that an eye transplant is in his future, he never will see another sunset, cat, or friendly human face and there simply is not any way of sugarcoating that terrible reality. He at least from all accounts seems to have been placed in a good home and that should make his life, while it never will be quite the same again, at least bearable. That in no way should be mistaken as just compensation for having been robbed of his eyesight but it is all that he has left and that certainly is far better than having been left with nothing at all.
In the final analysis, there simply is not any way of getting around either the sadness or the anger that this attack has unleashed. To her credit, however, Roggenbeck is making an impressive effort to do both.
"I will never know the color of his irises, yet I will never forget the horror I felt looking at his ruptured globes," she opined January 27th on Ace's Odyssey in a short article that succinctly encapsulated the melancholy, revulsion, exasperation, and thankfulness that she felt at that time. "Not a day goes by without leaving me emotionally exhausted but still totally amazed by the beauty of his soul. He is a survivor and an inspiration and every day I fall in love with him a little more."
There is far too much evil in this world for love to ever prevail a majority of the time but in Ace's case it may just have a fighting chance of at least holding its own.
Photos: Facebook (Ace), John Elke of The Bay City Times (kitten), Reed Parker of WIBC Radio of Indianapolis (Big Bob), Jack Lakey of the Toronto Star (Etobicoke cats) and the Manchester Evening News (Marmalade and Pickle).