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Cat Defender

Exposing the Lies and Crimes of Bird Advocates, Wildlife Biologists, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, PETA, the Humane Society of the United States, Exterminators, Vivisectors, the Scientific Community, Fur Traffickers, Cloners, Breeders, Designer Pet Purveyors, Hoarders, Motorists, the United States Military, and Other Ailurophobes

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Susi is Knowingly Left All Alone in an Empty Apartment to Slowly Die of Starvation and Untreated Hyperthyroidism after Her Owner Is Confined to an Old Folks' Home

Susi on an IV Drip Shortly Before Her Death

"Es ist schrecklich und absolut unbegreiflich, was passiert ist."
-- Nicole Rudin of Tierhilfe Regio Basel

Susi is destined to for ever be a mystery cat. Aside from the fact that she had a home and a guardian, almost nothing is known about her. Since she had made it to age eleven, which is old for most members of her species, it might not be all that unreasonable to conclude that she had lived a fairly decent life.

At the very least, she was a survivor. However, no living creature, whether it be a cat or a man, is ever fully equipped to successfully deal with all the coups du sort that life can throw at them and that, sadly, proved to have been the case with Susi.

The elegant black female's downward slide into oblivion began in either January or February, press reports differ, when her guardian, Lucy F., left her all alone in the apartment that they shared on Bärenfelserstraße in Basel to enter a local hospital for the treatment of an undisclosed ailment. What, if any, provisions that she had made for Susi's continued care in her absence have not been made public.

Although she was scheduled to have been away from home for only two days, that turned out to have been the very last time that Susi ever laid eyes on her in that shortly after her hospitalization she was immediately transferred to an old folks' home. Although that turn of events pretty much sealed Susi's fate, it is doubtful that she had any earthly inkling of the pain and sorrow that lay ahead of her.

Even though she was now incapacitated to some unknown extent, Lucy F. had not forgotten about her beloved companion and she accordingly endeavored to do what she could for her. She also apparently had a guardian of her own by this time but that individual's identity has not been divulged to the public. He or she could be a relative, a lawyer, or even perhaps an individual appointed by the Amt für Beistandschaften und Erwachsenenschutz (ABES) at Rheinsprung 18, less than three kilometers south of where she used to live.

"Es war der ausdrückliche Wunsch der Klientin, dass ihre Katze nicht ins Tierheim kommt," Sarah Thönen of ABES (Office of Aid and Adult Protection) related to Basel Television (Tele Basel) on June 8th. (See "Für Katze Susi kam jede Hilfe zu spät.") "Sie wünschte eine private Platzierung. Unsere Mitarbeitenden haben über längere Zeit versucht, einen neuen Platz für die Katze zu finden."

Although Lucy F. was completely justified in seeking such a dénouement for Susi, she, her guardian and everyone else involved in deciding her fate erred egregiously in settling upon a public welfare office as the vehicle in order to transform her desires into a lasting reality. In that regard it should hardly be necessary to point out that gratte-papiers most assuredly do not possess either the expertise or the persistence required in order to rehome a cat.

Au contraire, procuring a new home for an elderly cat is a herculean task for even seasoned professionals. Quite often the very best that even they are able to do is to either allow such cats to live out their remaining days at the shelters that they operate or to pay a sanctuary to accept them. (See Cat Defender posts of June 15, 2018 and May 27, 2016 entitled, respectively, "Jeany Finally Finds the Lasting Home and Compassionate Care Denied Her by Her Irresponsible and Grossly Negligent Owner at -- of All Places -- a Shelter in Hemmingen" and "Snubbed by an Ignorant, Tasteless, and Uncaring Public for the Past Twenty-One Years, Tilly Has Forged an Alternative Existence of Relative Contentment at a Sanctuary in the Black Country.")

Despite her expressed wishes, it did not take long for Lucy F.'s worst fears to materialize. "Es wurde auch erwogen, die Katze einzuschläfern," Thönen continued in her next breath. "Aber man wollte die Suche nicht aufgeben."

A private nursing service, Betreuungs und Pflegeservice (BPS Basel) of Güterstraße 96, approximately 3.4 kilometers south of Bärenfelserstraße, was eventually retained by either Lucy's F.'s guardian or ABES in order to care for Susi on an interim basis until a more permanent solution could be found for her housing dilemma. Practically nothing is known about this agency other than that it is headed by Frau Gülli Enhas and that highfalutin quotations culled from the prolific scribblings of Mahatma Gandhi, Columbian Nobel laureate Gabriel Garcia Márguez, and others concerning society's obligations to the aged litter its web site much like confetti shot out of a cannon. No mention whatsoever is made about society's responsibilities to elderly cats that have been abandoned by their owners.

As far as it has been reported by the local media, the only service that BPS Basel provided Susi was to have one of its employees drop by once a day and feed her. What kind, quality, and quantity of food that it fed her has not been divulged. Presumably, the agency did possess the bon sens to additionally supply her with fresh clean water to drink.

Conspicuously omitted from press reports has been any mention whatsoever concerning hygienic conditions in the apartment. For instance, did BPS Basel regularly empty the litter boxes and clean up spills and accidents?

Secondly, was the apartment heated? Thirdly, were the premises regularly scoured for loose electrical wires, gas leaks, falling objects, mold, mildew, harmful chemicals, toxins, and other mortal dangers?

Although Lucy F. was footing the bill for Susi's care, it is not known if she was either cognizant of what was going on or still possessed the ability to intervene. Also, someone had to be paying the rent, water, electricity, and telephone bills as well as collecting the mail, newspapers, and magazines that accumulated.

BPS Basel took over the feeding of Susi in either January or February but it did not take long for it to tire of that chore. "Bereits im Februar (am 28) haben wir dem zuständigen Amt (ABES) gemeldet, dass unsere Aufgabe die Pflege von Menschen, nicht die von Tieren sei," an unidentified official from the agency later told Tele Basel. "Mehrere Mitarbeiterinnen haben sich irgendwann geweigert, diese Aufgabe der Katzenfütterung weiterhin zu übernehmen, bis es irgendwann nicht mehr ging."

ABES turned a deaf ear to that warning as it did likewise to a similar appeal made by BPS Basel on March 22nd. The issue is anything but clear but the agency apparently continued to feed Susi at least through March if not indeed for a lengthier period. How much and how often that it did so are not known.

Not getting anywhere with ABES, BPS Basel reached out in either late April or early May to Tierschutz bieder Basel (TbB) at Birsfelderstraße 45, approximately 3.9 kilometers southeast of Bärenfelserstraße, about taking in Susi but once again it got stiffed. "Vorerst ist eine Abgabe in unserem Tierheim nicht möglich," Roger Bösch, a bookkeeper with the shelter, told the Basler Zeitung on June 17th. (See "Das langsame und einsame Sterben des Büsi Susi.")

The shelter was so callous in fact that it would not even dispatch a veterinarian to Lucy F.'s apartment in order to take so much as a cursory look at Susi even though it knew by then that she was in bad shape. "Aufgrund des Zustandes hätte die Katze zum Tierarzt oder in das Tierspital gehört," Bösch told the Basler Zeitung.

Besides suffering from an ingrained lack of respect for the sanctity of feline life, TbB also had three additional excuses for turning its back on Susi. First of all, it has claimed that neither BPS Basel nor ABES were willing (or able?) to supply it with Susi's immunization records.

Secondly, neither party would agree to pay for her care and housing. Thirdly, by that time Susi had become gravely ill and very few shelters are willing to take on the burden and financial cost of medicating a sick cat.

Although BPS Basel had known from as early as February that Susi had stopped communicating, by either April or May she also had become incontinent. Not a great deal is written on the subject but it nevertheless is truly astonishing the negative impact that a little errant piss can have on the behavior of those, primarily shelters and veterinarians, whose job it is to care for sickly and obdachlos Katzen.

Susi's Death Left Nicole Rudin of TRB Visibly Shaken

For instance, Béatrice Kirn of TbB cavalierly dismssed Susi's sickness as an old age malady. "Da Inkontinenz auch eine reine Alterserscheinung sein kann, hatten wir aufgrund dieser Information keine Kenntnis davon, dass das Tier schwer krank ist," she told bzBasel on June 20th. (See "Monatelong vernachlässigt, jetzt tot: Das Sterben und das Erbe der Basler Katze Susi.")

The refusal by TbB in mid-May to admit Susi proved to have been the final nail in her coffin. Nevertheless, she valiantly soldiered on in that wretched and unsanitary apartment until June 4th when BPS Basel belatedly took her to Tierhilfe Regio Basel (TRB) in Allschwil, 4.3 kilometers southwest of Basel.

Immediately recognizing that Susi was near death, the charity's Nicole Rudin rushed her to veterinarian Daniel Stauffer of Kleintierpraxis at Gstaltenrainweg 67 in Reihen, 7.5 kilometers northeast of Basel, where the full extent of the months of abject neglect that she had been subjected to came sharply into focus. "Die Katze war auf 2,5 Kilo (less than six pounds) abgemagert, stark ausgetrocknet und konnte sich nicht auf den Beinen halten, sondern lag stark hechelnd in Seitenlage," he informed the Basler Zeitung. "Die Körpertemperatur war massiv erhöht."

Besides being starved damned near to death, dehydrated, barely able to get her breath, unable to stand on her own feet, and running a high temperature, Susi was suffering from an even worse ailment. "Der Schilddrüsenwert war um das mindestens Vierfache des normalen Werts erhöht," he continued.

As if all of that were not enough miseries for any cat to endure, Susi also had contracted an undisclosed infection and her level of white blood corpuscles was greatly elevated. "Offenbar hatte sich infolge des schlechten Zustandes und der mangelnden Immunität ein schwerer Infekt gebildet," he concluded. "Die weissen Blutkörperchen waren neunzehn-tausend angestiegen."

The first observation to be made concerning her condition is that the mere fact that she was still alive is a testament to her indomitable will to live. Secondly, given that the normal body weight of most adult cats is ten or so pounds, it certainly would appear that Susi had been forced to go without food for at least a month.

That estimate is based upon the weight and condition of cats that have survived grueling sea voyages of up to eight weeks without food and water. (See Cat Defender posts of December 9, 2005, May 17, 2007, August 11, 2008, and September 8, 2010 entitled, respectively, "An Adventurous Wisconsin Cat Named Emily Makes an Unscheduled Trip to France in the Hold of a Cargo Ship," "A North Carolina Shelter Is Plotting to Kill a Cat That Survived Being Trapped for Thirty-Five Days in the Hold of a Ship from China," "Trapped Inside a Crate, Ginger Licks Up Condensation in Order to Survive a Nightmarish Sea Voyage from China to Nottinghamshire," and "Mandarin Survives a Long and Harrowing Sea Voyage from China to Canada Only to Wind Up in Hock to the Calgary Humane Society.")

Other cats have survived even lengthier periods without sustenance. For instance, Monika Huppert's black Persian, Bonny, was forced to spend seven weeks trapped underneath a bathtub in Stadthagen, Niedersachsen.  (See Cat Defender post of September 8, 2008 entitled "Bonny Is Rescued at the Last Minute after Spending Seven Weeks Entombed Underneath a Bathtub.")

Emmy toughed it out for nine weeks in an outdoor storage shed. (See Cat Defender post of January 23, 2008 entitled "Emmy Survives Being Locked in an Outdoor Storage Shed for Nine Weeks Without Either Food or Water.")

Perhaps most amazing of all, Mario survived on his own for seventy-nine days back in 2013 after he became trapped inside an abandoned building when an oil train exploded in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec. (See Cat Defender post of March 31, 2014 entitled "Mario Is Brought Back from Death's Door When His Silhouette Is Accidentally Spotted in a Window of Fire-Ravaged Lac-Mégantic.")

Numerous factors, however, influence a cat's chances of surviving such ordeals and not the least of which are its age, overall health, and genetics. The availability of condensation for continued hydration as well as a steady supply of insects, mice, and other morsels of food is of paramount importance.

Even those cats that are fortunate enough to make it through such hellish misadventures often are left with liver and kidney damage. Even so they are the lucky ones in that for every one that survives countless others do not. (See Cat Defender post of April 25, 2008 entitled "After Surviving a Lengthy and Hellish Confinement at Sea, Malli Dies Unexpectedly in Foster Care.")

Although Susi was not really all that old, some cats do have a tendency to lose weight as they age and she accordingly could have been already underweight even before Lucy F. deserted her. Additionally, a cat that suffers from Feline Hyperthyroidism (FH) has a difficult time of maintaining a normal body weight and staying hydrated.

"Vermutlich war das (FH) schon länger so und erklärt, da unbehandelt, die starke Abmagerung und Austrocknung," Stauffer theorized to the Basler Zeitung.

Whereas that certainly is entirely possible, it nonetheless is odd that Lucy F. apparently did not notice Susi's precipitate weight loss and frequent urination; if she had, she surely would have taken steps in order to have had her treated. Furthermore, it is difficult to believe that she would not have alerted both her guardian and ABES that Susi was seriously ill.

Since the Basler media has so conveniently tapped danced around the all-important issue of when Susi was last fed and watered, it is not possible to say whether her extreme malnutrition and dehydration were due exclusively to starvation, FH, or a combination of the two. Regardless of where the truth may ultimately lie, it seems beyond dispute that she was not receiving anywhere near an adequate amount of sustenance.

It additionally is beyond debate that her thyroid condition, whether it was present before Lucy F. abandoned her or the byproduct of BPS Basel's and ABES' abject neglect of her, required prompt medical treatment. In the Vereingten Staaten, for example, elderly cats suffering from FH are usually treated with a single application of radioactive iodine.

Such treatments cost in the neighborhood of US$500 to US$800 and usually require up to fourteen days of hospitalization at around US$30 per night. All of that is on top of sky-high emergency examination fees, various diagnostic tests, and other assorted bill-padding extras. Considering the exorbitant fees that they charge, veterinarians ought to be wearing stockings over their ugly mugs and holding loaded revolvers on cat owners.

It therefore is entirely possible that Kirn of TbB suspected what was amiss with Susi and did not want any part of either her or, more importantly, the cost of treating her. Sooner or later everything with cats comes down to money and care and there are not all that many shelter operators who are willing to spend money on a cat and to clean up a little piss unless they are fairly confident that they are going to be able to eventually sell it back to the public for a handsome profit.

Everything to the contrary that escapes from their maws is a blatant lie. Man is a lazy-ass bastard who spends his life in search of the biggest payoffs for the least amount of effort and that abominable character trait is most readily observable in veterinarians, physicians, lawyers and, above all, professors.

Susi's health problems also serve as yet still another poignant reminder of just how lethal exclusively indoor environments can be for cats. In particular, the introduction of polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) in the 1970's has been blamed for a sharp increase in the incidences of FH.

Sarah Thönen Blames Susi's Death on Lucy F.

Used as flame retardants in electronics, carpeting, furniture, mattresses, and other such items, these deadly chemicals are not only ubiquitous to indoor environments but a cat's fastidiousness serves only to compound the perils that they present. (See Cat Defender post of August 22, 2007 entitled "Indoor Cats Are Dying from Diabetes, Hyperthyroidism, and Various Toxins in the Home.")

More recently, researchers have uncovered a possible link between FH and polyfluoroalkyls (PFAS). These chemicals are found in, inter alia, nonstick cookware, stain-repellent sprays, carpeting, furniture, grease-resistant packaging such as pizza boxes and containers that hold French fries, and waxed dental floss. (See Miaomiao Wang, et alii, Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, volume 37, issue number 10, September 19, 2018, "Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances in Northern California Cats: Temporal Comparison and Possible Link to Cat Hyperthyroidism.")

Of even greater concern, cats that are confined to apartments, as opposed to those that reside in houses with door flaps, do not have any conceivable means of escaping should their owners either die or desert them in times of emergencies. (See Cat Defender post of July 3, 2017 entitled "Paucho Somehow Made It Out of Grenfell Tower Alive but the Fate of the Dozens of Other Cats That Resided in the High-Rise Firetrap Remains Shrouded in Secrecy.")

At Stauffer's clinic, Susi was placed on an intravenous drip and administered antibiotics and other undisclosed drugs but even so her prospects never looked particularly promising. "Die Chance auf Heilung ist sehr gering," he told Tele Basel.

In videos posted on both der Sender's and the Basler Zeitung's web sites, her eyes are clear and bright and her fur is shiny but she apparently never did regain sufficient strength in order to get to her feet. TRB has not disclosed if she ever regained the capacity to eat and drink on her own and to use a litter box.

Appearances are deceiving, however, and it is anything but uncommon for deathly ill cats to mount last-ditch rallies before relapsing and breaking their owners' hearts to bits by suddenly dying. On the other hand, cats that look like death warmed over sometimes astound their owners by actually besting the Grim Reaper at his own macabre game. An owner never really knows what The Fates have in store unless he is willing to pull out all the stops, empty his wallet, and go to the mat for an ailing cat.

What transpired next is far from clear but it would appear that Susi was returned to TRB where she died all alone at some point during the night of June 7th. The exact cause of her death has not been announced and it is even doubtful that a necropsy was performed.

Considering her grave condition, she never should have been bandied about quite as much and left unmonitored. Rather, she should have been left at the surgery with an attendant by her side around the clock. If she had gone into distress, oxygen and other emergency medications could have been applied at once. At least she would not have been all alone.

It is a miserable state of affairs but about the only emergency assistance that veterinarians are willing to provide dying cats is supportive care that consists of intravenous fluids, antibiotics, painkillers, oxygen, and heating pads. They then wash their hands of them and whether they live or die is left up exclusively to them.

Perhaps Susi was largely beyond the help of veterinary medicine by that time but there cannot be any disputing that she richly deserved to have been given every chance in the world to have gone on living. Based upon the meager amount of information that has been made public, however, it is not possible to conclude that she ever received that from either Stauffer or TRB. There is nothing more precious in this world than the life of a cat and anyone unwilling to move both heaven and earth in order to save its life is a colossal phony and that goes double in the case of those that have been subjected to horrific and prolonged neglect.

The scum-of-the-earth Australians and New Zealanders are currently improvising every diabolical and inhumane means known to mankind in order to systematically exterminate millions of them and yet few individuals and groups around the world even care. (See Cat Defender post of November 18, 2016 entitled "A Clever Devil at the University of Adelaide Boasts That He Has Discovered the Achilles' Heel of Cats with His Invention of Robotic Grooming Traps as the Thoroughly Evil Australians' All-Out War Against the Species Enters Its Final Stages.")

With hatred of the species and its defenders being so widespread and vitriolic, it is difficult to imagine how that the death of any one cat could cause much more of a stir than does Mother's Day at an orphanage but that has not proven to have been the case in the wake of Susi's passing. Rather, shortly after her death Rudin called upon the local prosecutor to file charges of severe neglect against unnamed parties under article twenty-six of the Tierschutzgesetz.

In doing so she first called attention to the unconscionable neglect that Susi had experienced. "Seit Februar war die Katze allein in der Wohnung an der Bärenfelserstrasse," she told the Basler Zeitung. "Niemand wolle die Verantwortung übernehmen."

She went on to recount the incalculable psychological damage that had been inflicted upon her. "Sicher hat Susi die alte Dame vermisst," she told the Basler Zeitung. "Vermutlich war sie nie viel allein vorher, und plötzlich wurde ihr nur einmal pro Tag Futter hingestellt."

While she had the wind up, she took a well-deserved backhanded swipe at French philosopher Réne Descartes who, in his 1637 magnus opus, Discours de la méthode, argued that animals are no more than machines (bêtes machine). From that ludicrous starting point he went on to declare that since only humans possess minds, souls, language, and can be edified that they therefore are the only beings worthy of compassion.

Just as Pythagoras and Aristotle certainly knew better, so does Rudin. "Tiere haben wie wir Gefühle," she continued to the Basler Zeitung. "Eine solche Einsamkeit ist schrecklich."

She was seconded in her call for a public inquiry into Susi's death by Stauffer. "Das ganze stellt meines Erachtens einen schweren Verstoß gegen das Tierschutzgesetz dar," he declared to Tele Basel.

Even so it would be surprising if anyone within Basel's legal and political establishment can be prevailed upon to open so much as a cursory examination into Susi's death. Moreover, it also would be almost unprecedented if charges were laid against any of the individuals and groups that were supposed to have been caring for her.

For example, no one in Oberrohrdorf, sixty-nine kilometers southeast of Basel via the A3 in kanton Aargau, could be persuaded to look into the theft and beheading of Jordana Rebmann's beautiful cat, Runa.  (See Cat Defender posts of December 8, 2017 and February 28, 2018 entitled, respectively, "The Abduction, Brutal Slaying, and Diabolical Mutilation of Runa Leaves Her Owner Devastated and Strikes Fear into the Hearts of All Cat Lovers in a Small Town in Switzerland" and "The Hunt for Runa's Sadistic Killer Takes an Unexpected and Bizarre Turn but, Owing to the Polizei's Refusal to Take This Case Seriously, an Arrest Remains a Long Shot.")

The Swiss additionally kill cats for their flesh and pelts. Also, in 2009 a black cat named Bingo from the Maihofquartier in Luzern was placed under house arrest on trumped up charges. (See Cat Defender post of October 17, 2009 entitled "Bingo Is Placed Under House Arrest for Defending Himself Against a Neighbor Who Foolishly Intervened in a Cat Fight.")

Although in asking for an investigation into Susi's death Rudin did not publicly call out any particular individual or organization, TbB nonetheless felt an acute need to defend its refusal to intervene. "Leider war der publizierte Artikel (in the Basler Zeitung) unvollständig," the shelter declared in a June 18th press release that was posted on its web site. (See "Stellungnahme zum Fall der Katze Susi.") "Durch fehlende Informationen ist ein verzerrtes Bild des Falles der Katze Susi entstanden."

Béatrice Kirn Might Work "Herz und Seele" for Dogs but Not Cats

It began its defense by following the well-trodden path blazed by Thönen of ABES by blaming Lucy F. for not wanting to surrender Susi to a shelter. Secondly, it reiterated that it had not received the data that it had demanded concerning Susi's health and vaccination history.

Thirdly, it flatly refuted Bösch's declarations in regard to its intake policies concerning sickly and impecunious animals. "Wir nehmen fast täglich kranke Tiere auf, für deren medizinische Betreuung wir sorgen," it declared. "Diese hohen Kosten werden regelmässig durch uns getragen, wenn die Besitzer nicht ausfindig gemacht werden können oder sie sich in finanziellen Nöten befinden."

Shelter director Kirn later made that point even more explicit. "Wir nehmen jedes kranke Tier auf, keine Frage," she swore to the Basler Zeitung.

Fourthly, TbB maintains that it did not even know where Lucy F. lived. "Angaben zur Adresse der Besitzerin langen uns nicht vor," the press release declares.

Fifthly, it averred that even if it had been in possession of that vital piece of information it still would not have intervened out of a fear of the legal consequences. "Grundsätzlich dürfen wir keine Tiere aus Wohnungen holen, wenn uns keine Verzichtserklärung der Besitzerin oder deren Vertreter vorliegen, was nicht der Fall war, " the shelter maintained. "Wenn wir unerlaubt in eine Wohnung eingebrochen wären, hätten wir uns strafbar gemacht."

That is about as hypocritical and dishonest a position as any animal welfare organization could possibly take in that there can be little doubt that the authorities would not hesitate to break into locked apartments and houses in order to rescue men and women in extremis. Besides, Lucy F.'s guardian and BPS Basel certainly knew the location of her apartment and they, along with her landlord, most assuredly had keys to it and gladly would have unlocked it for TbB.

The reason that the shelter did not mount a rescue in Susi's case is that it did not want any part of her and could have cared less whether she lived or died. In that respect TbB is far from being the only shelter that operates in such a callous manner.

For example, in 2010 black holy roller Prophetess Royal Poinciana Sprewell ran out of money and was unable to pay either her rent or electricity bill. As a result, she did a runner and left behind her nine-year-old white Persian, Tavia, to tough it out in an unheated house in Kissimmee, Florida.

For whatever it is worth, she later claimed that she did stop by every three days in order to feed and water Tavia. That was hardly sufficient, however, and she was found dead on December 6th by Osceola County Animal Control (OCAC) of St. Cloud. A necropsy later determined that she had succumbed to a combination of hepatitus and kidney failure.

Even though OCAC had known of Tavia's plight for some time, it not only ordered Sprewell's neighbor, Santiago Sandoval, not to feed her but categorically refused to intervene itself until it was way too late. "Our hands are tied in that there has to be probable cause to ask a judge for a warrant to go into a private dwelling or business," the organization's Lee Radevaugh later pontificated.

Like TbB with Susi, he also was too cheap to have spent so much as a lousy sou on saving Tavia's life. "We are in a very economic distressed time and our resources are limited," he declared. "We really limit our responses to truly emergency situations (such as) injured animals, bite cases, and car accidents."

Quite obviously, he does not consider an elderly cat dying of malnutrition, dehydration, kidney failure, and hepatitus to be an emergency situation. Instead, he concurred with Sprewell's conclusion that Tavia had died of loneliness and accordingly refused to charge her with animal cruelty. He did not say so in so many words but he surely also fully realizes that it also is far cheaper not to look into such matters.

The Kissimmee Police Department and the Osceola County Sheriff's Office also backed up OCAC all the way by threatening to arrest anyone who broke into Sprewell's house in order to rescue Tavia. (See Cat Defender post of December 23, 2010 entitled "Tavia's Desperate Pleas for Help Fall Upon the Deaf Ears of the Evangelical Who Abandoned Her and the Heartless Officials and Citizens of Kissimmee.")

In spite of how badly that it failed Susi and the myriad of outrageous lies that it has served up to the public in its defense, TbB nonetheless would like everyone to believe that it works "mit Herz und Seele" for the animals. "Wieder Tiere noch Menschen lassen wir als Tierschutz-Organisation im Stich und stehen dreihundert-sechzig-fünf Tage im Jahr im Einsatz für das Wohl der Tiere," it concludes in its June 18th press release. "Wir bedauern es, dass Susi dieses Ende nehmen musste."

In the final analysis, however, it was far preferable that all TbB did for Susi was to tell lies and count its shekels in that it is hard to imagine it doing anything other than killing her off on the spot if it had gotten its hands on her. Things ultimately did not work out for her at TRB but at least that organization made an effort to save her.

In its defense ABES also blames Lucy F. for Susi's death and pledges to act with alacrity in future such cases. "Selbstkritisch müssen wir aus heutiger Sicht sagen, dass wir zu lange den Wunsch der Besitzerin befolgt haben, ihre Katze nicht ins Tierheim zu geben," Thönen told Tele Basel. "Bei einem künftigen ähnlichen Fall werden wir schneller das Wohl des Tieres ins Zentrum stellen."

Both Thönen and Kirn are moral degenerates who never have learned anything from their past mistakes; rather, they fervently believe that their salvation lies, not in doing the right thing, but rather in telling more lies and committing additional atrocities against cats. In furtherance of that objective, they accordingly have committed themselves to seizing and killing more cats like Susi so as to prevent their suffering and abuse, not from occurring, but rather from becoming public knowledge.

As best it could be determined, BPS Basel has not so far publicly commented on Susi's death but it nevertheless has an awful lot of explaining to do. First of all, when did it stop feeding and watering her?

Secondly, since it knew that she had become both despondent and incontinent, why did it not take her to a veterinarian? Thirdly, did it ever clean the apartment or did it lazily allow her to continue to languish there under unhygienic conditions?

Fourthly and most importantly of all, why did it wait until she was knocking on heaven's door before taking her to TRB? If it had acted responsibly just a few days sooner, there is a good chance that Susi would still be alive today.

Tierarzt Daniel Stauffer Tried to Save Susi

It is not only the behavior of the big players in this tragedy that must be scrutinized but also that of the lesser lights as well. For instance, Lucy F.'s guardian needs to be publicly identified and called upon to explain either his or her gross dereliction of duty.

In particular, when that individual was retained in order to look after her affairs it surely was with the understanding that the job included providing for Susi. Most obviously overlooked by that individual is the petit fait that there are thousands of cat and animal sitters in and around Basel. For example, Pet Sitting-24 of Winkel, ninety-eight kilometers east of Basel, advertises the availability of no less than achthundert-achtzig-zwei Tierbetreuer.

Cat sanctuaries would have been another option for Susi. Specifically, Katzenhaus in Pratteln is conveniently located less than twelve kilometers southeast of Basel.

There also is not any valid reason why the old folks' home where Lucy F. is currently residing could not have accepted Susi as well. For example, when sixty-six-year-old Gladys Wray was on her deathbed at Queen's Hospital in Romford in the London borough of Havering the institution waived its rules and allowed her to see her beloved Patch one last time. (See Cat Defender post of May 10, 2016 entitled "A London Hospital Waives Its Draconian Anti-Cat Rules and Grants the Final Wish of a Cancer Victim by Allowing Her to See Her Beloved Patch One Last Time.")

Perhaps the day will dawn sometime in the future when the operators of nursing homes will come to the realization that the benefits of allowing the elderly to keep their cats far outweigh the disadvantages. Steere House Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Providence already has arrived at that conclusion and as a consequence it has its own resident feline. (See Cat Defender posts of July 30, 2007 and May 27, 2010 entitled, respectively, "A Visit from Oscar Means That the Grim Reaper Cannot Be Far Behind for the Terminally Ill at a Rhode Island Nursing Home" and "When Lovers, Friends, Health, and All Hope Have Vanished, Oscar Is There for Those Who Have No One and Nothing Left.")

Everyone even remotely connected to Lucy F.'s dwelling on Bärenfelserstraße is also complicit, to one degree or another, in Susi's death. At the top of that list are the owner of the building, the superintendent, doormen, and maintenance personnel. Other residents, visitors, and delivery personnel also surely must have had some idea that something was sorely amiss in her apartment.

Unless Susi had been declawed, passersby in the hallway likely overheard her scratching against the door in a last-ditch effort to have extricated herself from her would-be tomb. Someone likewise surely must have overheard her plaintive cries for help but, as was the case with Tavia, chose to cold-heartedly ignore them.

It furthermore is odd that no one complained about the odor left behind due to her weak bladder. Besides, tenants most assuredly must have encountered personnel from BPS Basel going in and coming out of Lucy F.'s apartment from time to time and accordingly queried them concerning what was afoot.

Without first knowing the particulars of her physical, mental, and financial health, it would be grossly unfair to blame Lucy F. for Susi's death. Perhaps she did the best that she could for her but was simply overwhelmed by events that were beyond her control.

Forgotten by their relatives, friends, society, and even time itself, many elderly individuals come to rely upon their cats as their lifelines to the living world. Although completely understandable, such situations do not bode well, as Susi discovered to her horror, for the long-term health and well-being of their devoted and faithful companions.

"Es ist schrecklich und absolut unbegreiflich, was passiert ist," Rudin of TRB declared to Tele Basel. Since she is so intimately involved in animal protection, she could not possibly be either that naïve or uninformed.

Im Gegenteil, cats are abandoned to die lonely and prolonged deaths inside locked apartments and houses every day of the week all around the world and with similar dénouements to that which happened to Susi. The only real difference between them and the Susis and Tavias of this world is that their plights never make the news; instead, they either starve to death or shelters kill them immediately after removing them from behind locked doors.

For example on June 22nd, firemen rescued five hungry and dehydrated kittens from an apartment in Köln. Along with them they also discovered the lifeless body of their owner who had been dead for a month. (See the Express of Köln, June 25, 2019, "Sie lebten neben einer Leiche Katzen nach Horror-Monat au Kölner Wohnung gerettet" and Bild of Berlin, June 25, 2019, "Katzen haarten wochenlang neben totem Herrchen aus.")

Three of them required hospitalization before they were able to rejoin their littermates at Tierheim Köln-Dellbrück in Köln. "Jetzt sind alle wieder bei uns und es geht ihnen 'den Umständen entsprechend' gut," the shelter announced June 26th on its Facebook page.

A handsome, ten-year-old tuxedo subsequently renamed Ian was put through an equally hellish experience in May of 2013 when his elderly guardian died unexpectedly. Alerted by neighbors who had not seen the pensioner out and about for some time, Police Community Support Officer Ian Concannon was summoned to her house on Knightwick Crescent in the Kingstanding section of north Birmingham where he discovered his future namesake curled up beside his owner's lifeless body.

Press reports at the time neglected to disclose either how long Ian's owner had been dead or how long that he had been forced to go without food, water, and companionship. It does not take much imagination, however, to realize that he was subjected to a simply dreadful ordeal.

"The circumstances were very sad and it must have been awful for the cat," Sheila Pennell of Cats Protection later said. "He was trapped indoors wondering why his owner wouldn't wake up, feed him or let him out."

Things did not improve all that much for him even after his deliverance in that none of his guardian's relatives wanted any part of him. They did not even know his name and that in turn necessitated in him being forced to borrow one from Concannon.

Pennell took him in for a while but it was not until after two failed adoptions that he finally found another home during the middle of June and that, sadly, was the last ever heard of him. (See Cat Defender post of July 27, 2013 entitled "Instead of Killing Her Off with a Jab of Sodium Pentobarbital and Then Burning Her Corpse, Ian Remains Steadfast at His Guardian's Side Long after Her Death.")

Even those cats that are rescued fairly soon after the deaths of their owners still have an uphill struggle ahead of them. For instance, when the unidentified owner of a twelve-year-old brown, gray, and white tom named Harvey died in December of 2016 he wound up at Yorkshire Cat Rescue (YCR) in Keighley, West Yorkshire.

In addition to the trauma of losing both his guardian and home, he was forced to accustom himself to living in a cage surrounded by countless other homeless cats and all sorts of strange smells. "Older cats who lose their owners sometimes find it harder than youngsters to come out of their shells at the center," Sara Atkinson of YCR said in an August 14, 2017 press release. (See "Twice Returned Cat Seeks Loving Home.") "They just don't feel at home in a pen, and really should be making themselves comfortable on a sofa, with someone who appreciates the benefits of adopting an older cat."

The End of the Line for Susi, the Cat No One Was Willing to Save

In Harvey's case, he was subjected to no fewer than three failed adoptions and one fostering situation that did not work out during the first fifteen months following the death of his guardian. "We never give up on any cat who needs us," YCR proclaims on its web site and, at least in Harvey's case, it has been true to its creed.

So, at last report, he had been in foster care since February 26, 2018 with YCR picking up the tab for his food and veterinary care. (See Cat Defender posts of August 31, 2017 and March 12, 2018 entitled, respectively, "With His Previous Owner Long Dead and Nobody Seemingly Willing to Give Him a Second Chance at Life, Old and Ailing Harvey Has Been Sentenced to Rot at a Shelter in Yorkshire" and "Much Like a Nightmare That Stubbornly Refuses to End, Harvey Continues to Be Shuttled from One Home to Another at the Expense of His Health and Well-Being.")

The easiest solution to the dilemma of what to do with the cats of the elderly would be for their children to adopt them. That is what Beverley Hume of Newcastle-upon-Tyne did with her parents beloved fifteen-year-old cat, Ginger.

She lovingly cared for him for ten years until disaster struck on October 13, 2011 and put an abrupt end to all of her good work. That was when an unidentified local resident stole him from her garden and delivered him to the Newcastle Dog and Cat Shelter on Benton Road.

The shelter in turn handed him off to Blythman and Partners in the Gosforth section of town who promptly snuffed out his life on the pretext that he was ill and in pain. Needless to say, the veterinarians' criminality left Hume both brokenhearted and livid.

"Ginger was put down without our consent, without giving us a chance to find him," she later said. "We should have been given at least twenty-four hours to find him. We believe our rights have been taken away by the vets." (See Cat Defender post of January 11, 2012 entitled "A Deadly Intrigue Concocted by a Thief, a Shelter, and a Veterinary Chain Costs Ginger the Continued Enjoyment of His Golden Years.")

Other than giving a cat to a close relative in order to care for, the next best option in most circumstances is to place it in a sanctuary. Such arrangements can be expensive, however, and difficult to get out of should an owner have a change of heart.

For example, after she was diagnosed with terminal cancer Sheila Beg voluntarily surrendered her three cats to Tabby's Place in East Amwell, twenty-one kilometers northwest of Princeton, on October 1, 2007. She also paid the sanctuary US$30,000 for their continued care.

Fortunately for her, the doctors were wrong and her health improved. She accordingly asked that her cats be returned to her.

Sadly, one of them had died during the interim while another one had been adopted by and employee of the facility. That left only eleven-year-old Onyx but Tabby's place refused to return him even though Berg not only graciously consented to pay an adoption fee but also agreed not to ask that her money be returned.

"I feel like I really goofed with them. It's not fair," she told The Times of Trenton on June 13, 2008. (See "Suing Shelter, All Woman Wants Is Her Cat Back.") "I don't understand. There's nothing I can do but fight for him."

Despite its less than stellar record in caring for her other two cats, the sanctuary nevertheless maintained that it was a fitter guardian for Onyx than Berg. "They say they don't think she can take care of the cat because of her fight against cancer," Berg's lawyer, Corey E. Aheart, explained to The Times. "We've provided them with a doctor's note saying she can take care of the cat and they said that's not good enough."

The custody battle was scheduled to have been argued before Judge Maria Sypek of Chancery Court in Mercer County but the outcome is not known. Besides, by this time Onyx would be twenty-two years old if he is still alive.

Neither of those two alternatives in any way profit those cats that belong to owners who do not have either living relatives, the money to utilize sanctuaries, or die unexpectedly. Technology, however, could be of enormous help.

For instance, feeding bowls could be equipped with alarms that would sound if they are not refilled, say, every twenty-four hours. The technology could be as simple as that contained in smoke alarms that emit loud, piercing sirens until someone shuts them off. On the other hand, food dishes could be programmed to send distress signals to either their manufactures, emergency personnel, or feline rescue groups.

An even cheaper alternative would be for cat rescue groups to check in at least once a week via the telephone with elderly owners who reside alone. Such a service would cost almost nothing to operate and it would save countless feline lives. In fact, the savings in veterinary care alone would more than pay for it given that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

That would pretty much take care of one half of the equation but there is little value in using technology in order to save feline lives if their rescuers are going to turn around and kill them. Rather, the way in which all societies treat cats, especially elderly ones, needs to be radically changed.

In that respect, only the enactment of laws that outlaw the killing of all cats under all circumstances will suffice. In particular, shelters, veterinarians, and others must no longer be permitted to use a cat's age, sickness, injuries, and alleged lack of sociability as convenient excuses in order to justify their extermination schemes.

In conclusion, press reports have steered clear of informing the public as to what was done with Susi's remains but there can be little doubt that they were either tossed out in the trash or incinerated. Without a memorial service, a grave, and a tombstone, it is almost as if she never had so much as graced the face of the earth.

It likewise has not been revealed what has become of Lucy F. or if she even has been informed regarding what happened to Susi. For all that the outside world knows, those around her could have informed her that she has been adopted by a loving family and is doing well.

All alone, forgotten, sickly, and possibly mentally impaired, Lucy F.'s burdens have only increased with the losses of both Susi and her home. She now has been sentenced to rot in an old folks' home and even on their best of days the vast majority of them are little more than hellholes for he damned. (See John Grisham's short-story "Quiet Haven" which is contained in his 2009 collection, the Ford County Stories and chapter sixteen of John D. MacDonald's 1977 novel, Condominium, for a vivid description of the deplorable conditions that prevailed at his fictional Crestwood Nursing Home.)

There is not very much in the way of justice to be found anywhere in this life but even so there is a saying on the street that "what goes around comes around" and it therefore is remotely conceivable that some of those individuals and groups who so miserably failed Susi will one day find themselves in analogous situations. That is indeed a dénouement not only to be hoped for but no less than what all of them so richly deserve. They are only humans after all and not very good representatives of their species at that.

Photos: the Basler Zeitung (Susi shortly before her death), Tele Basel (Susi with Rudin and dead), Amt für Beistandschaften und Erwachsenenschutz (Thönen), Tierschutz bieder Basel (Kirn), and Tierhilfe Regio Basel (Stauffer).

Friday, June 14, 2019

A South Dakota Police Officer Is Unmasked, Fired, and Arrested for Shooting Cats but It Is Highly Unlikely That Either He Will Be Punished or That This Will Be the Last of These Illegal Executions

The Cat-Killing Fields of North Sioux City

"A pile of two or three cats and it was hard to tell because of the turkey vultures. My cat was on top with a whole hole from a gunshot wound I imagined."
-- John Clarey

It all began innocuously enough on May 5th when a black and white indoor cat belonging to John Clarey and his girlfriend Morgan Bernard mysteriously vanished from their residence on Alcoma Drive in North Sioux City, twelve kilometers northwest of Sioux City. At first they thought that the cat would eventually turn up but when Clarey spied a trap and a cage in the backyard of his neighbor, forty-year-old Matt R. Vanderpool of 2 Alcoma Drive, his optimism quickly morphed into suspicions of foul play.

He accordingly filed a complaint with the North Sioux City Police Department (NSCPD) but that initiative did not get him anywhere. He also contacted the Siouxland Humane Society (SHS) in Sioux City where the police are supposed to take cats that they pick up but that organization informed him that it had not recently received any new arrivals from North Sioux City.

Additional time ticked off the clock without there being any sign of Clarey and Bernard's missing cat. Finally on May 8th, thirty-five-year-old Derek McIntosh of the NSCPD turned up at Vanderpool's residence in order to investigate the theft of a trap. What transpired next is not exactly clear but apparently Vanderpool implicated Clarey in the theft of the trap and that in turn led to McIntosh paying a visit to the latter's residence.

The particulars of that encounter have not been delved into by the local media but suffice it to say that Clarey was not charged with stealing the trap. During the course of their conversation, however, he queried McIntosh concerning his missing cat whereupon he was informed that those without collars and tags are sometimes taken to McCook Cemetery on Cemetery Road and released.

Pursuant to that revelation, Clarey traveled to the burial ground where he soon spotted a flock of turkey vultures hovering overhead. He then followed a dirt path out of the cemetery into the woods where he, at long last, graphically found out what had become of his and Bernard's beloved resident feline.

"A pile of two or three cats and it was hard to tell because of the turkey vultures," he related to KMEG-TV of Sioux City on May 14th. (See "Investigation Underway Following Reports of Dead Cats in North Sioux City.") "My cat was on top with a whole hole from a gunshot wound I imagined."

He also found a pair of purple latex gloves like those worn by officers of the NSCPD and some cat food. The presence of the latter, most likely cheap kibble, would tend to imply that the cats' killer had either removed them from their cages and then shot them while they were eating or that it was leftover bait.

Regardless of how that the cats actually met their Waterloos, it is difficult to imagine a more gruesome and disturbing discovery for any owner to have made and at such a desolate location to boot. "My sister immediately got the chief (of police) and the investigation ensued," Clarey told KMEG-TV.

The very next day, Captain Dustin Sharkey was headed to Vanderpool's residence in order to once again pick up yet still another cat that had been trapped when Officer Stephanie Ryan reportedly told him that he had "just saved that cat's life." When he asked her to explain that rather cryptic remark she reportedly informed him that she had heard from Officer Andrew Ryan (relationship unclear) that McIntosh was taking cats to McCook and shooting them.

Sharkey then questioned Andrew Ryan who in turn informed him that McIntosh had told him that he had indeed taken Clarey and Bernard's cat to McCook where he had released it. "At least you didn't shoot it," Ryan reportedly responded.

Derek McIntosh Shot and Killed an Undisclosed Number of Cats

It was at that point that McIntosh came clean and admitted that he not only had shot that particular cat but also an unspecified number of others as well in the past. He also informed Ryan that he was planning on returning to the cemetery in order to dispose of the evidence.

Sharkey then relayed that information to Chief of Police Richard Headid and later in the day the two of them traveled to McCook where they found the corpses of the two cats as well as the discarded gloves. All of those items then were bagged and returned to headquarters as evidence.

At 3 p.m. on that same day McIntosh was summoned to a meeting that was presided over by city administrator Ted Cherry. Also at that gathering were Headid and Mayor Randy Fredericksen.

Under interrogation, McIntosh at first denied shooting Clarey and Bernard's cat but fessed up to having shot an unspecified number of others. At which point Cherry placed him on administrative leave.

Belatedly realizing that the game was all but up, McIntosh finally came clean. "Okay, I did shoot the cat," he reportedly told Cherry according to a KMEG-TV report on May 15th.  (See "Former North Sioux City Cop Charged in Death of Neighborhood Cat.")

Cherry then either fired him on the spot or shortly thereafter. Equally importantly, he did not let the matter drop there.

"Our police department has finished the investigation into the situation with the cats and we've turned all of it over to the Union County State's Attorney," he informed the Sioux Falls Argus Leader on May 16th. (See "South Dakota Police Officer Accused of Shooting Cats in Cemetery.")

Actually, a warrant for McIntosh's arrest had been issued a day earlier on May 15th by Aaron J. Bates, deputy State's Attorney for Union County. "Affiant believes that the crime(s) of Animal of Another -- Kill or Injure, Disobedience of Judicial Process has-have been committed and that the defendant, Derek McIntosh, is the one who probably committed that crime and there is sufficient basis for the issuance of the warrant for arrest in this case," the accompanying affidavit, which was filed in the First Judicial Circuit Court of South Dakota in Elk Point, twenty-five kilometers northwest of North Sioux City, states. (A copy of it can be found with the May 15th KMEG-TV article cited supra.)

The principal reason that McIntosh was not indicted on multiple charges of animal cruelty is that it is not illegal to kill homeless cats in North Sioux City. Secondly, although "several" residents had complained to KMEG-TV on May 14th about missing cats, Clarey and Bernard are, apparently, the only ones to have officially lodged complaints against McIntosh and the NSCPD.

Owing to the malfeasance of the suck-ups within the local media, not much is known about him other than that he resides in apartment 203 at 204 Coyote Place and is a registered Republican who once at least toyed with the idea of running for sheriff of Union County against longtime incumbent Dan Limoges. He graduated from South Sioux City High School, fourteen kilometers southeast of North Sioux City in the neighboring state of Nebraska, in 2004 and joined the NSCPD at some unknown date thereafter.

Dustin Sharkey Investigated McIntosh

During his tenure with the department, he at one time served as a school resource officer at Dakota Valley Elementary School; c'est-à-dire, all the while that he was turning on the smiles and charms for the little kids he was busily gunning down their cats behind their backs. He also served on the Dakota Valley Board of Education alongside his boss, Headid.

Although McIntosh richly deserves the same bullets and buzzards brand of retribution that he meted out to his totally innocent victims, Clarey and Bernard should not expect too much in the way of justice for their murdered cat when, and if, his case finally comes to trial.  That is because under Title 40, Chapter 1, Section 1 of South Dakota's Codified Laws of 2012 the killing of an animal belonging to another person is regarded as a Class 1 misdemeanor and a conviction carries with it a maximum penalty of only one year in jail and a fine of US$2,000. McIntosh need not worry about any of that, however, in that he surely will not spend so much as a single day behind bars and the most that his dastardly crimes are going to cost him out of pocket are court and attorneys' fees.

For example, after Jonathan N. Snoddy savagely bludgeoned to death an already injured cat on Settlers Lane in Harrisonburg back on November 11, 2011 the entire legal and political establishment in Virginia closed ranks behind him and improvised every low-down, dirty, unprincipled, and dishonest trick in the book in order to save both his liberty and job. (See Cat Defender posts of March 22, 2012, April 26, 2012, and August 23, 2012 entitled, respectively, "In Another Outrageous Miscarriage of Justice, Rogue Cop Jonathan N. Snoddy Is Let Off with a $50 Fine for Savagely Bludgeoning to Death an Injured Cat," "Virginia's Disreputable Legal and Political Establishment Is All Set to Acquit Jonathan N. Snoddy at His Retrial for Brutally Beating to Death an Injured Cat," and "Cat-Killing Cop Jonathan N. Snoddy Struts Out of Court as Free as a Bird Thanks to a Carefully Choreographed Charade Concocted by Virginia's Despicable and Dishonest Legal System.")

Even when he was arrested McIntosh likely was issued a desk appearance ticket and spared even having to post a security bond. Even more importantly, when he is finally forced to face the music Bates in all likelihood will not go after him with anything more potent than a wet noodle.

After all is said and done, he likely will land another job with a nearby police department where he will resume shooting cats. In the unlikely event that should not prove feasible, the private sector abounds with business owners who love nothing better than to hire ex-cops, no matter how dirty and tainted. To make a long story short, cop-lovers should not squander their tears and sad songs on a low-life, scumbag like McIntosh but rather save them for those officers who are truly deserving of them.

Even his unmasking as a brutal and sadistic serial cat killer has not damaged McIntosh's standing with some residents of North Sioux City. "Derek has stated that he did euthanize the cat and he did so at the time, according to Derek, believing it was (in) the best interest of the North Sioux City Police Department and the community," Robert Pierson, who lives next-door to McIntosh in apartment 204 at 204 Coyote Place, averred to KMEG-TV on May 14th. "I think the world of Derek. He walks around with his own dog. He has a bulldog. He takes care of my dog when I'm away. His faithful companion is always by his side."

That pretty well says it all in that dog-lovers seldom have any regard for either cats or their owners. Also, with his Janus-faced personality and love of guns and vicious dogs, McIntosh fits to a tee the profile of an extremely dangerous redneck.

The only element missing from his repertoire is a pickup truck and he may even drive one or more of them. Even more alarming, this country is brimming over with individuals like him and many of them are allowed to wear badges and to carry guns.

The only thing that is truly odd about this entire affair has been the astonishing willingness of Headid, Sharkey, the Ryans, Cherry, and Fredericksen to throw McIntosh underneath the bus. As the case against Snoddy and countless other cat-killing cops has more than amply demonstrated time and time again, the normal protocol is for all departments and the political elites that they serve to rally behind officers who break the law and to stonewall all public inquiries.

That in turn leads to the suspicion that the NSCPD and the city itself are sacrificing McIntosh in order to cover up their own malfeasance. That is to say, the real culprits behind North Sioux City's wholesale abuse and slaughter of cats are the politicians who have enacted draconian anti-roaming and licensing ordinances that in turn have created a fertile environment for the emergence and flourishing of cat-killing monsters like McIntosh and, possibly, other members of the NSCPD.

Andrew Ryan Knew of the Killings

For example, "an animal found at large shall be seized and impounded with the Siouxland Humane Society in Sioux City, Iowa, or at the discretion of the Animal Control officer or his or her designee the owner may be served a citation and-or complaint to appear before a magistrate court to answer charges made by the officer," city ordinance 6.12.020-A stipulates. "If the owner of the impounded animal can be identified, that person shall be notified within two days and the animal returned upon payment of the impounding fees plus (the) cost of food and care of the animal," ordinance 6.12.020-B adds.

Cats without collars and tags, however, do not have so much as a prayer in Hell of being allowed to go on living in that ordinance 6.12.030-A stipulates that at the discretion of either the Animal Control officer or SHS they can be either killed or adopted by someone else. The most obvious problem with such an inhumane ordinance is that officers of the NSCPD do not have scanners in order to check for the presence of implanted microchips.

Given that chips have largely supplanted collars and tags as the preferred method of identifying cats, officers who liquidate them in the field, such as McIntosh and Snoddy, do not have any way of knowing for certain that they are not killing someone's beloved companion. Moreover, the only sure-fire way of avoiding such mistakes is for municipalities to outlaw the killing of all cats under all circumstances regardless of their socio-economic status.

Instead of acknowledging the logical and moral imperative, the NSCPD stubbornly has adopted a policy that calls for all sickly, injured, and unfriendly cats to be killed on the spot. For instance, "any animal which appears to be suffering from rabies or infected with disease, or which is mortally injured, or which in the opinion of the administrative authority is vicious, shall not be adopted or released, but shall be immediately destroyed in a humane manner," ordinance 6.12.030-B mandates.

First of all, nobody can make a diagnosis of rabies in the field and all individuals and municipalities, such as North Sioux City, that claim differently are inveterate liars. Au contraire, the only way that such a determination can be made is for cats suspected of carrying the disease to be humanely trapped and placed under observation for ten days.

Secondly, that particular ordinance amounts to nothing less than bestowing upon every police officer in North Sioux City a carte blanche authority to kill any and all cats on sight. Moreover, case after case has demonstrated beyond a shadow of doubt that cats can be every bit as healthy as a horse and trigger-happy cops are nonetheless going to shoot them and afterwards swear upon a stack of Bibles that they were either rabid, near dearth, or too vicious to be humanely trapped.

For example, that is precisely what an unidentified officer in Cecil, Pennsylvania, did to Roger Oldaker's ten-year-old Persian, Elmo in 2008. (See Cat Defender post of March 31, 2008 entitled "A Cecil, Pennsylvania, Police Officer Summarily Executes a Family's Beloved Ten-Year-Old Persian, Elmo.")

A year later the police in Raymore, Missouri, made up an even greater litany of outrageous lies in order to justify their killing of Kelly Wesner's cat, Tobey. (See Cat Defender post of September 16, 2009 entitled "Acting Solely Upon the Lies of a Cat-Hater, the Raymore Police Pump Two Shotgun Blasts into the Head of Nineteen-Year-Old Declawed and Deaf Tobey.")

On August 20, 2011, a cop in Lebanon, Ohio, murdered Dori Stone's beloved Haze and afterwards dishonestly claimed that he was, inter alia, rabid. (See Cat Defender post of September 22, 2011 entitled "The Neanderthaloid Politicians in Lebanon, Ohio, Wholeheartedly Sanction the Illegal and Cold-Blooded Murder of Haze by a Trigger-Happy Cop.")

On August 20, 2014, the cops in Gorham, Maine, blasted a cat named Clark that Deb Webb had been caring for with a shotgun and later amateurishly attempted to justify their criminal behavior by claiming that he, too, was rabid. (See Cat Defender post of September 27, 2014 entitled "Falsely Branded as Being Rabid by a Cat-Hater, an Animal Control Officer, and the Gorham Police Department, Clark Is Hounded Down and Blasted with a Shotgun.")

Richard Headid Broke the Law

In North Catasauqua, police officer Leighton Pursell intentionally executed Tom Newhart's perfectly healthy cat, Sugar, on December 6, 2015 and afterwards ludicrously claimed that she was seriously injured. Not only did he get away scot-free with his crime but he already had another job waiting for him with the force in nearby Coplay long before the criminal proceedings against him even had been concluded. (See Cat Defender post of September 1, 2016 entitled "The Legal and Political Establishment in a Small Pennsylvania Backwater Closes Ranks and Pulls Out All the Stops in Order to Save the Job and Liberty of the Bloodthirsty Cop Who Murdered Sugar" and The Orange County Register of Anaheim, August 23, 2017, "Police Are Shooting a Shocking Number of People's Pets.")

Even injured cats that cannot be either darted or captured by means that would not be hazardous to officers are to be killed on the spot according to North Sioux City ordinance 6.12.050-C. Like preceding ordinances 6.12.030-A and 6.12.030-B, this one amounts to little more than a declaration of war on all cats.

First of all, it is almost unheard of for a cop to tranquilize a cat. With that being the case, it is not all that surprising that few if any of them are willing to devote the time, effort, and patience that humanely trapping one entails.

The same holds true for cats that are deemed to be so seriously injured that their recovery is either "improbable or unlikely" under ordinance 6.12.050-D. Part E of the same ordinance even goes so far as to bestow upon cops the right to shoot felines at the urging of veterinarians.

Oddly enough, there is not so much as a scintilla of evidence in the public record to even remotely suggest that any member of the NSCPD has ever transported any sick or injured cat to a veterinarian for emergency treatment. What would be the point anyway?

Veterinarians that are willing to treat ailing cats without first being paid a bushel basket's worth of shekels up-front are about as rare as hens' teeth. (See Cat Defender posts of July 16, 2010 and March 19, 2014 entitled, respectively, "Tossed Out the Window of a Car Like an Empty Beer Can, an Injured Chattanooga Kitten Is Left to Die after at Least Two Veterinarians Refused to Treat It" and "The Cheap and Greedy Moral Degenerates at PennVet Extend Their Warmest Christmas Greetings to an Impecunious, but Preeminently Treatable, Cat Via a Jab of Sodium Pentobarbital.")

As far as the NSCPD's footing the bill for the emergency care of any cat is concerned, that is totally out of the question. Given that North Sioux City is saddled with a small tax base of only twenty-five-hundred residents, the overzealous enforcement of its anti-roaming and licensing ordinances contributes a significant percentage of its operating budget and with that being the case it is not about to spend so much as a solitary sou on medicating sick and injured cats, establishing a shelter of its own, putting in place an adoption program, and implementing a TNR program. C'est-à-dire, its raison d'être is to financially exploit and liquidate cats, not to help them.

Although perhaps not germane as far as the conduct of the NSCPD is concerned, cops elsewhere around the world do not hesitate to shoot cats even while they are off-duty, to run them down with their cruisers, and to sic their canine partners on them. (See Cat Defender posts of July 8, 2010, July 18, 2015, and July 2, 2015 entitled, respectively, "A North Carolina State Trooper Who Illegally Trapped and Shot His Next-Door Neighbor's Cat, Rowdy, Is Now Crying for His Job Back," "Harry Is Run Down and Killed by a Pair of Derbyshire Police Officers Who Then Steal and Dispose of His Body in an Amateurish Attempt to Cover Up Their Heinous Crime," and "After Allowing One of Their Dogs to Maul McGuire to Within an Inch of His Life, the Toronto Police Do Not Have Even the Common Decency to Summon Veterinary Help for Him.")

Large cats, already falsely imprisoned and unspeakably abused by zoos, circuses, the entertainment industry, and others, furnish cops with a golden opportunity to go on impromptu urban safari hunts. (See Cat Defender posts of January 28, 2008, May 5, 2008, and November 3, 2011 entitled, respectively, "Hopped Up on Vodka and Pot, Trio Taunted Tatiana Prior to the Attacks That Led to Her Being Killed by the Police," "Chicago's Rambo-Style Cops Corner and Execute a Cougar to the Delight of the Hoi Polloi and the Capitalist Media," and "Sheriff Matt Lutz Settles an Old Score by Staging a Great Safari Hunt That Claims the Lives of Eighteen Tigers and Seventeen Lions in Zanesville.")

Animal Control Officers, most often cops themselves, kill scores of cats and other animals in the field and with impunity. Furthermore, their victims are not even included in the kill-rates periodically released by the operators of shelters.

For instance in Ridgeville, Ohio, Barry Accorti executed five kittens in 2013 that later became known as the "Woodpile Five." (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.")

Ted Cherry Fired McIntosh

It was not until he had trained his revolver on a raccoon and a group of rabbits, however, that he finally was fired. (See The Chronicle-Telegram of Elyria, articles dated June 10, 2014 and May 25, 2017 and entitled, respectively, "Parent Alleges Humane Officer Killed Raccoon in Front of Kids" and "Humane Officer in North Ridgeville Fired for Killing Rabbits.")

Even when they are not actually shooting cats Animal Control officers often kill them through abject neglect. For example, forty-one-year-old Michelle A. Mulverhill crawled in the bottle and left the cats and dogs that she cared for in Oxford, Massachusetts, to die of heat exhaustion, hunger, and thirst during the torrid summer of 2006. (See Cat Defender post of August 31, 2006 entitled "An 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 on its web site the NSCPD claims to investigate cruelty to animals that is highly unlikely in that it is far too busy jailing and killing cats to ever be concerned with tracking down others who mistreat them. Some would label such a policy as the professional courtesy that one band of criminals extends to another like-minded group of thugs.

The attitude that just about all cops harbor in their malignant bosoms toward cats is perhaps best exemplified by that shown by Aram Thomasian Jr., chief of police in North Brookfield, Massachusetts, in regard to the attempted drowning of a kitten known as Lucky Girl. On June 1, 2006, the town's sewer commissioner, Laurence E. Thayer, was drowning her in a bucket of water on his lawn when forty-two-year-old Christine Hill intervened and saved her life.

Even though drowning cats is illegal in the Bay State, Animal Control officer Douglas J. Blood refused to prosecute Thayer. Thomasian's attitude was even more inexcusable.

"He dealt with the problem the best he could," he idiotically bellowed. "Back in their day, that's what they did."

In that light, it would be interesting to know if he would be willing to also grandfather homicide and rape into the laws of the commonwealth? As for Thayer, he was anything but chastened by his unmasking as a serial kitten killer.

"I didn't know it was against the law," he pleaded. "I've been doing it for a hundred years." (See Cat Defender post of July 3, 2006 entitled "Crooked Massachusetts Cops Allow an Elderly Politician to Get Away with Attempting to Drown a Kitten Named Lucky Girl.")

In addition to the law enforcement community's unforgivable crimes against cats and their owners, three-hundred-thirty cops in Philadelphia were recently exposed by the Plain View Project as having made racist and intolerant comments on Facebook. (See The Philadelphia Inquirer, articles dated June 1, 2019 and June 5, 2019 and entitled, respectively, "Group Catalogs Racist, Intolerant Facebook Posts by Hundreds of Philly Police Officers" and "Facebook Posts by Racist Cops: How Other Locations in Database with Philly Are Reacting.")

Although North Sioux City and its rogue police force are clearly guilty of criminally exploiting and killing countless cats, they are far from being the only rotters in the community's woodpile. For instance, it appears that Vanderpool is using the NSCPD as his private extermination service in order to rid his neighborhood of all cats.

With that being the case, there is not any way of knowing how many cats that he has sentenced to die of bullet wounds to the head. Even more revolting, his behavior is apparently beyond the scope of the laws as they are not constituted and that makes for a terrible miscarriage of justice.

Fredericksen Works for McCook

Even so, the inveigling of cops and Animal Control officers to do their dirty work for them is an age-old tactic of inveterate ailurophobes. It was, after all, mendacious neighbors who first sicced the cops on Elmo, Tobey, Haze, Clark, and Sugar and there certainly are plenty more of their kind lying in wait all across the world in order to grease the skids for countless additional cats.

On those rare occasions when they are unable to induce the cops into playing ball, they are more than willing to trap their neighbors' cats themselves and then to hand them over on silver platters to obliging shelters to kill. (See Cat Defender posts of October 30, 2006, March 9, 2007, August 19, 2010, and August 26, 2010 entitled, respectively, "A Collar Saves Turbo from Extermination after He Is Illegally Trapped by Bird-Loving Psychopaths," "A Long Island Serial Cat Killer Is Guilty of Only Disorderly Conduct, a Corrupt Court Rules," "Music Lessons and Buggsey Are Murdered by a Cat-Hating Gardener and an Extermination Factory Posing as an Animal Shelter in Saginaw," and "In Stark Contrast to Ailurophobic America, Ziegelchen's Illegal Trapping by a Gardener in Altstädten-Burbach Is Roundly Condemned in Deutschland.")

Then there is the mysterious and unexplained relationship that North Sioux City has with the SHS in Sioux City to consider. First of all, how many cats does the latter annually accept from North Sioux City and how much does it charge for providing that service?

Since McIntosh was liquidating cats at McCook and even Headid is on record as supporting, at the very least, their release there, it sure does not look like that the SHS has been taking in very many of them from North Sioux City. Besides, it is very doubtful that those few that it does accept ever get out alive.

The "Siouxland Humane Society takes great pride in finding forever homes for one-hundred per cent of adoptable pets," the organization proudly declares on its web site. That is a grotesquely dishonest declaration, however, in that cats labeled as unsocialized, sickly, and injured are deemed by most shelters to be unadoptable.

"We do not euthanize pets because we are full or to make space," the SHS next declares. Whereas that statement could be technically accurate, what the shelter does instead is to stop admitting any new inmates and thereby leaving them to the mercy of the NSCPD and others to liquidate for it. (See the Sioux City Journal, March 6, 2008, "No More Room for Unwanted Pets.")

"Pets that are hard for us to place find homes because of increased funding of our spay-neuter program, veterinary services program, and our placement efforts with other shelters or rescue groups," the SHS boasts on its web site. "We also bring pets from other shelters and rescue groups when we have space so they are not euthanized."

Although that sounds rather impressive, none of it would appear to have spilled over to North Sioux City which does not provide so much as an iota of sterilization, veterinary care, and adoption services for its homeless cats. Instead, its police officers take them to McCook and shoot them.

It additionally is patently dishonest for the SHS not to disclose both its intake data and, especially, its kill-rate. Rather, it is playing a sucker's game with members of the public, most of whom do not possess advanced degrees in hermeneutics, whereby it is constantly tap dancing all around the truth but never really saying anything that is even halfway truthful.

It additionally does not take cruelty to cats seriously. Most egregiously, it apparently did not lift so much as a lousy finger in order to bring to justice the son of a bitch who blinded Grace in her left eye by firing a nail into her brain in 2010.

All that it ever did was to wallow in a boxcar load of self-righteous more indignation that even it does not believe. "Those who committed this terrible torturous act against a helpless animal must be caught and held accountable," the organization's Jerry Dominicak bellowed at the time. "We hope a reward of this size (a minuscule US$3,500) will help law enforcement find and punish him or her to the fullest extent of the law."

McIntosh's Smiles Are for Real; He Will Not Be Punished

As it has been noted so many times before, offers of rewards and expressions of hope do not solve animal cruelty cases; rather, that herculean task requires the expenditure of large sums of money, manpower, and the rigorous application of the established principles of sound detective work. (See Cat Defender posts of June 1, 2010 and July 6, 2010 entitled, respectively, "Grace Survives Being Shot Point-Blank Between the Eyes by a Monster with a Nail Gun but the Authorities in Sioux City Refuse to Even Investigate the Attack" and "Grace Is Out of the Hospital and Has a New Home but Her Nail Gun Assailant Remains as Free as a Bird Thanks to the Authorities' Dereliction of Duty.")

The road ahead for North Sioux City is clear but it remains to be seen if there exists a sufficient number of responsible citizens who are going to be willing to forsake living in the Dark Ages and therefore to demand that both the NSCPD and City Hall be radically reformed. First of all, since he authorized the dumping of cats at McCook in violation of city ordinances, Headid must be fired.

That is in addition to his failure to properly supervise the conduct of the officers under his command. In New York City, for example, every time that an officer so much as draws his weapon it must be reported to headquarters. Yet in North Sioux City McIntosh shot and killed countless cats and Headid did not even bother to hold him accountable for all the ammunition that he expended in doing so.

Although Sharkey is to be commended for initiating the investigation into McIntosh, that does not automatically let him off the hook. Whether or not he keeps his job should depend upon what he did with the cats that he trapped for Vanderpool and others.

It is unclear how long that Stephanie and Andrew Ryan knew of McIntosh's cat-killing ways, but since they failed to report him to Headid they also must be fired. Fredericksen, who serves on the Board of Trustees at McCook, likely also knew of McIntosh's criminal and inhumane conduct and he therefore should be immediately recalled from office by the voters.

Cherry should be given the choice of either working to repeal North Sioux City's anti-roaming and licensing laws or he, too, should be thrown out of office. Instead of shooting cats, the new blood that takes the helm at both the NSCPD and City Hall should invest in sterilization, TNR, and adoption services. The city additionally direly needs a cat sanctuary of its own.

Looking at the situation from a much broader perspective, time and experience have demonstrated that cops, Animal Control officers, and the operators of conventional shelters should not, under penalty of law, be allowed to come within three-hundreds meters of any cat. All that any of them are good for is defaming and killing them. (See The Philadelphia Inquirer, March 11, 2011, "Shelter Shock. Cats Can Get Sick from Stress. One Possible Remedy? Keep Them Out.")

The management of all matters relating to cats therefore should be left to the volunteers who feed, house, and sterilize them and bona fide, cat-only rescue groups with impeccable credentials. Besides being pathological liars, conventional shelters and rescue groups always favor dogs over cats because, first of all, they do not particularly care for the latter. Secondly, they are able to make much more money selling impounded dogs back to the public than they can by doing likewise with cats.

An reprehensible as the policies and conduct of both the NSCPD and the politicians in North Sioux City are, they are far from being anomalies; on the contrary, anecdotal evidence strongly suggests that just about every single municipality in the United States allows its police and Animal Control officers to shoot cats in the field. Even more damning, humane groups and the local representatives of the capitalistic media are most assuredly aware of these atrocities and yet they remain silent.

Finally if they have not done so already, Clarey and Bernard have a moral duty to file a civil lawsuit against North Sioux City for stealing and killing their cat. While they are at it they additionally should demand that its remains be returned to them so that they can provide it with a memorial service, a proper burial, and a tombstone.

McIntosh's dumping of its corpse in the woods for the buzzards to dispose of was indignity enough, but allowing the NSCPD to indefinitely refrigerate its remains before once more dumping them would be an even greater affront. Besides, the force has gotten away with the commission of too many heinous crimes against the species already and it accordingly is high time that it was stopped dead in its tracks and held accountable in any way, big or small, that is even remotely feasible.

Photos: Find a Grave (McCook) and North Sioux City (McIntosh, Sharkey, Ryan, Headid, Cherry, and Fredericksen).

Thursday, May 30, 2019

A Senior Citizen in Key Largo Is Beaten, Bruised, and Bloodied in Another Violent Assault Upon a Volunteer Feeding Homeless Cats

Robert Smith Was Sucker-Punched in the Face

"My crime is feeding cats."
-- Robert Smith

Seventy-four-year-old Robert Smith has been caring for the homeless cats of Key Largo for seven years. He puts out food and water and exchanges pleasantries with them before moving on down the line to the next stop on his daily route.

"There's a one-eyed cat I look out for by the (Key Largo) Fisheries (and Backyard Cafe at 1313 Ocean Bay Drive). There's also two black and whites that I feed," he explained to the Florida Keys Free Press on May 22nd. (See "Elderly Man: Feeding Cats Led to Assault.") "There's a woman who lets me feed them outside her house."

Little did he realize as he dutifully went about his labors of love on May 15th that he was about to become the latest volunteer to fall victim to a spiraling crime wave that is being directed at compassionate and dedicated individuals like himself who have the temerity to care about those cats that society was cruelly abandoned and unforgivably forgotten. By 2 a.m. his nocturnal rambles had brought him to a wooded area located between the Upper Keys Humane Society (UKHS) at 101617 the Overseas Highway (also known as U.S. 1) and the Tradewinds Shopping Center at 101437 the Overseas Highway and that was when his years of doing good finally caught up with him in a rather violent fashion.

Specifically, a young ruffian suddenly materialized out of the darkness and began screaming in his face that it was illegal to feed homeless cats in Key Largo. The man additionally claimed that he not only was employed by the UKHS but that he also liquidated cats for it.

As far as his first accusation is concerned, it most definitely is not illegal to feed homeless cats in Key Largo. His second assertion is a good deal thornier to sort out because all shelters that claim to be no-kill, such as the UKHS, nonetheless do in fact kill cats and other animals.

The only real difference between conventional shelters and no-kill facilities is that the latter at least claim to liquidate far fewer of their inmates than do the former. (See Cat Defender posts of July 29, 2010 and October 23, 2012 entitled, respectively, "The Benicia Vallejo Humane Society Is Outsourcing the Mass Killing of Kittens and Cats All the While Masquerading as a No-Kill Shelter" and "A Supposedly No-Kill Operation in Marblehead Betrays Sally and Snuffs Out Her Life Instead of Providing Her with a Home and Veterinary Care.")

The dilemma is compounded by the fact that all those who operate shelters are outrageous liars. The UKHS, for example, has space for only eleven cats and eighteen dogs so it surely must be either turning away or killing cats and dogs in droves.

By contrast, the Humane Animal Care Coalition (HACC) at 105951 the Overseas Highway also operates a shelter and while it admits to having impounded four-hundred-fifty cats and one-hundred-sixty dogs during 2017 it is careful to omit any mention whatsoever on its web site of what happened to those animals. If past experience is any guide, it is a sure bet that it slaughtered just about every one of the cats.

Regardless of the man's questionable credibility, Smith had no choice but to respond to his verbal assault in some fashion but what he said by way of rebuttal has not been reported in the press. It turned out to have been a very brief conversation anyway because as he turned to leave the cowardly hooligan sucker-punched him in the face.

The force of the blow knocked Smith to the pavement and he may even have temporarily lost consciousness. Once he was able to have regained his footing, his attacker had fled into a RV park across the highway.

Although dazed, bleeding profusely, and bruised, Smith heroically finished feeding the cats before his unidentified girlfriend, who had been waiting patiently nearby in her pickup truck, intervened and drove him to the Circle K gas station at 102525 the Overseas Highway where paramedics were summoned by telephone. Upon arrival, they treated him for multiple cuts and bruises to his face and head but he categorically refused to be hospitalized.

The force of the blow also left him with several broken molars that are going to cost him an arm and a leg in order to repair as well as a road rash on his arm. It is not known what, if any, internal injuries that he may have sustained.

The only thing that has been reported in that regard is that he was still not feeling quite up to snuff the following day. "My mind is still a little fuzzy," he confided to the Florida Keys Free Press.

Deputies Daniel Valdez and Paul Bean of the Monroe County Sheriff's Office (MCSO) also showed up at the Circle K where they took a statement from Smith. Most importantly, he described his assailant as a fair complexioned white man in his thirties. He also is believed to have been around six-foot, three-inches tall with facial hair.

Armed with Smith's description of his attacker and the fact that he, apparently, either lives or was visiting the RV park across the street, the MCSO should not have had any difficulty whatsoever in making an immediate arrest. Since at last report that has not occurred, the most logical explanation is that the MCSO has not bothered to even open an investigation into the attack.

Inexplicably, the MCSO still has Smith's unwavering support.  "...the police (sic) are doing what they can to find this guy," he mindlessly caroled to the Florida Keys Free Press.

With his cuts, bruises, broken teeth, and lost blood, Smith now has joined a growing list of high-profile volunteers who have been either beaten, verbally intimidated, arrested, threatened with eviction, and fired from their jobs for showing compassion for homeless cats. Most prominently, fifty-five-year-old Lisa Maureen Saunders of Orlando is currently facing up to five years behind bars for defending her lawful right to feed starving cats. (See Cat Defender post of May 16, 2019 entitled "An Orlando Woman Is Unfairly Arrested and Jailed for Defending Her Right to Feed Homeless Cats and as a Consequence Those Under Her Care Have Been Left to the Mercy of the Cold-Blooded Killers at Orange County Animal Services.")

In 2013, forty-seven-year-old Jennifer Stafford of Los Angeles was beaten nearly to death for feeding the homeless cats that reside in her West Adams neighborhood. (See Cat Defender post of May 19, 2019 entitled "The Savage Beating Meted Out to a Volunteer in Los Angeles by a Racist Hooligan Vividly Demonstrates Just How Dangerous It Has Become to Feed Homeless Cats.")

In 2010, Jeanne Ambler was nearly evicted from her dwelling in Temple Terrace, Florida, for doing likewise. (See Cat Defender post of August 2, 2010 entitled "Old, Poor, and Sickly Jeanne Ambler Is Facing Eviction for Feeding a Trio of Hungry Cats.")

A few years before that Janice L. Rolfe of Grandview Heights was actually arrested and forced to stand trial for feeding a homeless cat. "People don't get prosecuted for acts of human kindness," her attorney, Mark A. Serrott, successfully pleaded on her behalf. (See Cat Defender post of February 27, 2007 entitled "Charged with Feeding a Feral Cat Named Fluffy, a Retired Ohio English Teacher Beats the Rap.")

If only that were the case because individuals most definitely have run afoul of the law for feeding cats in jurisdictions that have outlawed such acts of kindness. Furthermore, individuals such as John Beck have been axed from their jobs for feeding cats. (See Cat Defender post of June 14, 2006 entitled "A Kindhearted Dairyman, Sacked for Feeding Feral Cats, Files a $20 Million Lawsuit Against Cornell University," the Courtland Standard, February 22, 2007, "Groton Man Appeals Dismissal of His Lawsuit Against Cornell University," and the Ithaca Times, January 11, 2012, "Groton Wins Court Case Against Beck.")

In spite of the severe beating that was doled out to him, Smith has remained both defiant and steadfast. "My crime is feeding cats," he told the Florida Keys Free Press. "I'm not going to be bullied by this. I have to live my life."

True to his word, he was back on the job the day following the attack. Besides, he has considerably more on his mind these days than just his personal safety.

For instance, of paramount importance to him is the safety and well-being of the one-hundred or so homeless cats that currently call the Tradewinds Shopping Center home. Recently, the charity Casting for Cats of Islamorada, twenty-seven kilometers south of Key Largo, inaugurated a TNR program at the shopping plaza and during April forty-one cats were trapped, sterilized, vaccinated, and treated for parasites before being returned to the area.

Although it is heartening that none of them tested positive for either FeLV or FIV, they are far from being out of harm's way in that, as far as it has been reported, none of them have been placed in new homes. "They took thirty-nine cats from the Winn-Dixie (a supermarket in Islamorada) and slaughtered them three years ago," Smith related to the Florida Keys Free Press. "I just hope Tradewinds continues to work with Casting for Cats."

Tradewinds is owned by Kimco Realty of New Hyde Park in Nassau County on Long Island and, as a real estate investment trust (REIT), it owns four-hundred-thirty-six additional shopping centers across the United States. So far, it has been compassionate enough to grant Casting for Cats permission to trap its cats and to set up feeding stations at the shopping plaza.

Smith also Had Several Teeth Knocked Out

"This is the best way to keep our customers safe and humanely take care of the cats, which have grown in numbers," the real estate giant's Jennifer Maisch told the Florida Keys Free Press earlier on May 1st. (See "Group Pursues Non-Lethal Feral Cat Control.") "We're also hoping that the feeding stations will dissuade people from just throwing food down to feed the cats."

The trapping effort at Tradewinds has been aided by pet store Keys Kritters at 100636 the Overseas Highway which is offering some of the cats to the public for adoption. The UKHS has taken in an undetermined number of kittens that have been, for one reason or another, taken away from their mothers and, presumably, have to be bottle-fed.

HACC has reportedly performed some sterilizations for Casting for Cats while the Fleming Foundation of parts unknown has donated an unspecified amount of money to the effort. Huge concerns remain unaddressed, however.

The most pressing of which is the presence of such as large number of abandoned cats in a locale with a population of just slightly more than ten-thousand souls. Clearly an initiative that includes, inter alia, a public outreach program, on demand sterilizations, and a much greater emphasis upon adoptions is direly needed.

"It's not the cats' fault they're here," Sharon Mahoney-Ellenwood of Casting for Cats correctly deduced for the Florida Keys Free Press on May 1st. "Part of this is humans not taking care of their animals."

Getting to the bottom of the homeless cat conundrum in Key Largo as well as elsewhere in the Florida Keys remains, however, a sticky wicket. For example, although Mahoney-Ellenwood insists that TNR has succeeded in Marathon, eighty-one kilometers north of Key West, and Islamorada, it and Casting for Cats most assuredly failed those cats that used to live at Winn-Dixie.

That in turn segues into the disturbing question of exactly how many cats and kittens are being quietly liquidated every day in Key Largo, Islamorada, and at other locales throughout the Keys. Furthermore, even though divine retribution is largely a figment of the imagination, it nevertheless is pleasing to know that Winn-Dixie and its god-rotten Chek® cola are now themselves floundering on the rocks. (See Business Insider, March 27, 2018, "Winn-Dixie Is Closing Almost One-Hundred Stores as Its Parent Company Files for Bankruptcy -- See If Your Store Is on the List.")

Overall, supermarket chains are notorious for nakedly exploiting, neglecting, and killing cats. (See Cat Defender post of April 24, 2019 entitled "The Life, Times, and Tragic Demise of a Supermarket Cat: Brutus of Morrisons, 2009-2017.")

Acts of lawlessness directed at the volunteers are far from being the only menaces bedeviling the lives of homeless cats. Most prominently, whenever despisers of the species tire of targeting their caretakers they redirect their machinations toward the cats themselves. (See Cat Defender posts of January 5, 2011, August 24, 2017, July 12, 2011, November 18, 2011, and January 6, 2012 entitled, respectively, "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," "The Brutal Murders of a Trio of Atlantic City's Boardwalk Cats Provide an Occasion for the Local Rag and PETA to Whoop It Up and to Break Open the Champagne," "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.")

As the MCSO's steadfast refusal to make an arrest in the violent beating of Smith has once again demonstrated, the law enforcement community, humane groups, and the courts can hardly be expected to either enforce the anti-cruelty statutes or to protect the volunteers. Au contraire, it could even be argued that most of them are in league with the sworn enemies of the species.

Wild animals pose an additional threat to both homeless cats that are on their own as well as those that belong to managed colonies. For instance, wildlife biologists have driven out coyotes from their rural habitats just so that they can prey upon homeless and domesticated cats in both the cities and the suburbs. (See Cat Defender posts of October 2, 2006, December 4, 2007, September 15, 2011, and September 17, 2011 entitled, respectively, "Coyotes, Cheered on by Wildlife Officials, Join Raccoons in Killing Cats and Dogs in Washington State," "A Grieving Widow Risks Her Life in Order to Save Cosmo from the Jaws of a Hungry Coyote in Thousand Oaks," "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," and "Coyotes, Swimming from Connecticut, Are Blamed for Killing Twenty Cats on Remote and Exclusive Fishers Island.")

They also are using both raccoons and birds of prey in a similar fashion. (See Cat Defender posts of August 28, 2006, August 1, 2011, and February 16, 2012 entitled, respectively, "A Marauding Pack of Vicious Raccoons Rips Ten House Cats to Shreds and Terrorizes Residents in Olympia but Wildlife Officials Refuse to Intervene," "Eddie Is Saved by an Outdoor Umbrella after He Is Abducted from the Balcony of His Manhattan Apartment and Then Dropped by a Redtailed Hawk," and "Hawk Suffers Puncture Wounds to His Stomach and One Paw When He Is Abducted by a Raptor Hired to Patrol a City Dump on Vancouver Island.")

They even have reintroduced fishers to the densely-populated northeast in order to pick off cats. (See Cat Defender posts of July 19, 2007 and August 28, 2007 entitled, respectively, "Up to Their Old Tricks, Wildlife Officials Reintroduce Fishers to the Northeast to Prey Upon Cats and to Provide Income for Fur Traffickers" and "TNR Programs, Domestic Cats, Dogs, and Humans Are Imperiled by Wildlife Proponents' Use and Abuse of Coyotes and Fishers.")

The escalating pace of climate change is additionally making it more difficult for cats to survive in exclusively outdoor environments. For example, hurricanes Irene and Sandy exacted a heavy toll on Atlantic City's Boardwalk Cats.

Ornithologists and wildlife biologists have pressured the national government in Washington into declaring cats to be personae non gratae on federal lands, such as Plum Beach in Brooklyn, and last August the American Bird Conservancy of The Plains, Virginia, successfully convinced both a federal court judge and New York State to get rid of the Jones Beach cats on Long Island. (See Cat Defender posts of August 7, 2014 and January 19, 2019 entitled, respectively, "The National Parks 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 "The American Bird Conservancy, a Stench of the Federal Bench, and New York State Parks Pool Their Resources in Order to Put the Screws to the Jones Beach Cats.")

Supplied with unlimited amounts of taxpayers funding, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and the USDA's Wildlife Services have been waging an all-out war against cats in the Keys for decades. (See Cat Defender posts of May 24, 2007 and June 23, 2011 entitled, respectively, "The United States Fish and Wildlife Service and the USDA's Wildlife Services Commence Trapping and Killing Cats on Florida's Big Pine Key" and "Wallowing in Welfare Dollars, Lies, and Prejudice, the Bloodthirsty United States Fish and Wildlife Service Is Again Killing Cats in the Florida Keys.")

The USFWS even has been attempting to strong-arm state and local officials into enacting anti-roaming statutes, to require that all cats be either microchipped or tattooed, and to remove all feeding stations that are located in the vicinity of federal and state wildlife refuges. When the high-muck-a-mucks went after famed scuba diver Spencer Slate and his cat Rocky, however, they got considerably more than they had anticipated.

They began their devilry by illegally trapping Rocky on private property a scant fifty feet removed from Slate's residence. They followed that up by confining a bloody and bleeding Rocky to a shelter.

They next showed up on Slate's doorstep in order to issue him a citation for allegedly allowing Rocky to roam on federal land. The agents were so emboldened that they even went so far as to threaten to jail him on the spot.

Not being the type of man who tolerates such outrages lying down, Slate went toe-to-toe with the USFWS in federal court where he ultimately prevailed. (See The Daily Signal of Washington, November 30, 2016, "Federal Agents Threaten Pet Owners with a War on Cats.")

The fifty or so polydactyls that reside at the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum in Key West were not nearly so lucky when the USDA's Animal Plant Health Inspection Service declared war on them shortly after the turn of the century. After nearly ten years of legal wrangling the museum ultimately was forced into not only confining them but also into erecting a fence around its perimeter. (See Cat Defender posts of August 3, 2006, January 9, 2007, July 23, 2007, and January 24, 2013 entitled, respectively, "The USDA Fines the Hemingway Memorial in Key West $200 a Day for Exhibiting Papa's Polydactyls Without a License," "Papa Hemingway's Polydactyl Cats Face New Threats from Both the USDA and Their Caretakers," "A Cat Behaviorist Is Summoned to Key West in Order to Help Determine the Fate of Hemingway's Polydactyls," and "The Feds Now Have Cats and Their Owners Exactly Where They Want Them Thanks to an Outrageous Court Ruling Targeting the Hemingway Home and Museum in Key West.")

With so many individuals, groups, and powerful interests aligned against them, the future has never looked bleaker for homeless cats and their dedicated caretakers. All is not lost, however, and the latter still have a few arrows left in their quivers.

One palliative would be to install surveillance cameras at the shelters and feeding stations of the cats that are under their care. Another option would be to have groups of two and three adults feed the cats in tandem. One person could therefore stand guard while the others fed them.

In Smith's case, he feeds his cats at night because there are fewer motorists on the road at that time in order to frighten them away but, considering the beating that he received, he may be forced into foregoing nocturnal feedings. Should he persist, however, he needs to arm himself with, at the very least, a canister of pepper spray.

In the long run, he and other caretakers may be left with little choice other than to relocate their TNR colonies onto private lands. Hopefully matters will not reach that point but that nevertheless is an eventuality that all of them should carefully contemplate.

The absolute last thing on earth that any fan of the species ever wants to see happen is for any cat to wind up at the mercy of its sworn enemies. Even being sentenced to serve out the remainder of their lives in a dog pound, as happened to those that once resided at Jones Beach, is a fate almost as bad.

Photos: Teresa Java of the Florida Keys Free Press.