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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

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

A Cruel Teenage Drunkard and Dope Addict Who Bound a Cat and a Dog with Tape Before Killing Them Is Let Off Easy by a Calgary Court

Nicolino Camardi
"It's pathetic that our justice system does not see that these animal abuse cases need to have much higher penalties. It's just not right. It's time that something happened and people started speaking out on behalf of the animals."

-- Heather Anderson of the Daily Foundation

Reduced to its simplest terms, morality can be defined as an abiding respect for the right of animals, Mother Earth, and humans to not only live but also to be free from abuse and exploitation. Since they historically have categorically excluded both the animals and the environment from all moral considerations, it is impossible to regard the Jews and Christians as being anything other than charlatans.

"There is no religion without love, and people may talk as much as they like about their religion, but if it does not teach them to be good and kind to man and beast, it is all a sham...and it won't stand when things come to be turned inside out and put down for what they are," coachman John Manly observed in Anna Sewell's 1877 timeless classic, Black Beauty.

A total lack of both respect and empathy for other living creatures and things is dangerous enough in its own right but whenever it is combined with the excesses of youth, anger, drugs, and alcohol it is truly something monstrous to behold and nineteen-year-old Nicolino Camardi of Calgary is living proof of that. Although there is not any way of knowing precisely how many evil deeds that he has committed, at least one cat and a dog have died from his hands.

The details are sketchy but in January of 2014 a nameless cat of unspecified sex was found dead with some type of tape covering most of its face. A necropsy later revealed that it not only had been strangled but also beaten about its head, tail, and rear legs.

At the same time, a chronically malnourished dog also was found with its mouth taped shut. Press reports have not specified if the victims' corpses were discovered together and at the same time or separately and at different locations.

Whereas very few animal protection groups ever even bother to investigate cases of animal cruelty, the Calgary Humane Society (CHS) opened an immediate inquiry into the animals' murders and that resulted in Camardi's arrest and immediate jailing in May of last year. Since arrests in such cases are about as rare as hens' teeth, it would be illuminating to know exactly what led the CHS to him but even that has not been divulged by the press.

In December of 2014, he pleaded guilty to "willfully causing pain, suffering or injury to an animal" and on March 27th of this year he was sentenced to twenty-two months in jail by Justice George J. Gaschler of the Provincial Court of Alberta, sitting in Calgary. Since he was given credit for the sixteen months that he had spent in jail while awaiting trial, he likely was released sometime in September, if not earlier.

He additionally was given a lifetime ban on the owning of pets, placed on probation for three years, and ordered to undergo anger, alcohol, and drug counseling. "I accept that there is (a) rehabilitative requirement in a fit sentence of a very troubled and severely addicted young man," Gaschler opined according to the March 27th account contained in the Globe and Mail of Toronto. (See "Calgary Man Who Abused and Killed Dog and Cat Sentenced to Twenty-Two Months.") "There is also a need for close community supervision of Mr. Camardi who is at risk of relapse and consequent further criminal and violent behavior."

In spite of not only the leniency of the sentence but Gaschler's totally irresponsible decision to turn loose a violent offender upon society, the CHS nonetheless was as pleased as punch with that outcome. "This is an horrific and violent crime that got the attention of the city and beyond in a way that animal cruelty has not before," the organization's Brad Nichols, who led the investigation, told the Globe and Mail. "This was the case that citizens put their foot (sic) down and said we are not going to tolerate animal abuse. This was the most complex animal cruelty case that we have ever investigated."

Crown Prosecutor Gord Haight, who originally had asked for only a thirty-six-month sentence, likewise was pleased with the light tap on the wrists meted out to Camardi. "Perspective is important here. This, to my knowledge, is the highest sentence in Alberta ever received for an animal cruelty case," he crowed to the Globe and Mail. "My submission, quite simply, was the facts demanded it. This was certainly the most serious case of animal cruelty that I had ever prosecuted before."

Sick and tired of humane groups, prosecutors, and judges coddling animal abusers and killers, Heather Anderson of Delegates Against Inhumane Suffering (the Daisy Foundation) of Calgary was not buying one word of either Gaschler's, Nichols,' or Haight's extended exercise in sugar-coating the ugly truth. "It's pathetic that our justice system does not see that these animal abuse cases need to have much higher penalties. It's just not right," she tearfully told the Globe and Mail. "It's time that something happened and people started speaking out on behalf of these animals."

Truer words never have been spoken but any substantial change in how that animals are treated under the law remains far out of reach. Cats, for example, are horribly abused by their owners and killed with impunity by shelters, PETA, and veterinarians.

Motorists run them down for fun, vivisectors torture and kill them at will, and high-strutting, egomaniacal professors at the world's leading universities shanghai them into serving as guinea pigs so that they in turn can use the data collected from them in order to fabricate a rationale for their en masse feline extermination projects, such as the one currently underway in Australia. Even in such supposedly civilized countries as Deutschland and Österreich they are hunted as sport. The overwhelming amount of abuse that is meted out to them is, accordingly, sanctioned by law.

Even when a case of feline cruelty falls within the narrow confines of existing law, just about all humane groups and police departments categorically refuse to even open an investigation into the matter. On those still even rarer occasions when an arrest has been made, most prosecutors go after the accused with all the ferocity of a paper tiger.

Adding insult to injury, judges and juries seldom vote to convict no matter how overwhelming the evidence may be against the accused and even when they do the former always can be counted upon to hand down absurdly lenient sentences. Jail time therefore is either inconsequential or totally out of the question altogether.

It thus is painfully clear that judicial systems all around the world place little or no value on either the abuse or the killing of animals. Judges, in particular, care only about the abusers and that can be clearly seen in Gaschler's sentencing remarks. If press reports are to be believed, he never expressed so much as a syllable of remorse over the deaths of the cat and dog.

"I just want to say I understand what I did. It was horrible," Camardi told the court earlier in his trial according to the Globe and Mail. "I know that I can do it (change) and (I) am really sorry for the things I've done. The public and everyone has a right to feel the way they do."

If he, against all odds, is sincere, that is a positive step forward even though it is highly debatable if anyone as cruel and morally bankrupt as him can be successfully rehabilitated and reintegrated into society. That is especially the case given that character usually is formed during adolescence. Even more worrisome, some psychologists and sociologists believe that cruelty toward animals is a harbinger of future violent crimes directed against humans.

Whether or not such aberrant behavior continues into adulthood, there can be no denying that young individuals, especially males, are some of the worst and most prolific abusers of cats. (See Cat Defender posts of September 22, 2005, September 23, 2005, October 5, 2006, October 31, 2009, March 24, 2010, and July 18, 2015 entitled, respectively, "College Students in South Africa Cook a Cat to Death in a Microwave Oven," "Two New Zealand Teens Douse Three Caged Cats with Glue and Burn Them to Death," "New Jersey Teens' Idea of Fun: Beat Up a Defenseless Kitten and Then Burn In to Death," "Stefan W., Who Publicly Boasted of Scalding Kitty to Death in a Washing Machine, Is Let Off by a Berlin Court with a Measly Fine," "Seven-Month-Old Bailey Is Fed to a Lurcher by a Group of Sadistic Teens in Search of Cheap Thrills in Northern Ireland," and "Blackpudlian Thrill Seeker Who Sicced Her Pit Bull on Regi and Then Laughed Off Her Fat Ass as He Tore Him Apart Receives a Customary Clean Bill of Health from the Courts.")

Drug Addicts likewise are bad news for cats. (See Cat Defender posts of January 28, 2010, December 15, 2008, May 10, 2010, and September 27, 2010 entitled, respectively, "Hopped Up on Vodka and Pot, Trio Taunted Tatiana Prior to Attacks That Led to Her Being Killed by the Police," "Vicious Attack on Sid Leads to the Creation of a Fund to Aid Four-Legged Victims of Domestic Violence," "Lunatic Rulings in Cats with No Name Cruelty Cases Prove Once Again That Pennsylvania Is a Safe Haven for Cat Killers and Junkies," and "Caged, Shot Thirty Times with an Air Gun, and Then Tossed into a Bay to Drown, Lovey Is Rescued in the Middle of the Night by a Good Samaritan.")

An even more compelling case can be made against those who abuse and kill cats while under the influence of alcohol. (See Cat Defender posts of September 18, 2008, November 10, 2008, August 17, 2009, December 18, 2009, October 30, 2010, and January 22, 2011 entitled, respectively, "Drunken Brute Beats, Stabs, and Then Hurls Fifi to Her Death Against the Side of a House in Limerick," "London Teenager, Convicted of Killing the HMS Belfast's Kilo, Also Is Unmasked as a Remorseless Liar and Drunkard," "America's Insane Love Affair with Criminals Continues as Drunkard Who Sliced Open Scatt with a Box Cutter Gets Off with Time on the Water Wagon," "Teenage Wino Who Gunned Down Her Neighbor's Cat, Trouble, with a Crossbow from Her Bedroom Window Cheats Justice," "Drunken Bum Is Foiled in a Macabre Plot to Make a Meal Out of Kittens, Nirvana and Karma, That He Allegedly Ran Down Earlier with His Truck," and "Colin Sherlock, an Admitted Boozer and Dope Addict, Pulls Out All the Stops in His Unsuccessful Attempt to Torture Roxy to Death.")

Long before drunken motorists became acceptable, albeit deadly, fixtures of modern-day life, it was boozed-up coachmen who were the scourge of the civilized world. "I only wish all the drunkards could be put in a lunatic asylum instead of being allowed to run foul (sic) of sober people. If they would break their own bones, and smash their own carts, and lame their own horses, that would be their own affair, and we might let them alone, but it seems to me that the innocent always suffer...," is how Jeremy Barker complained after a drunk irreparably injured his horse, Champion, on the streets of London in Black Beauty. "It there's one devil that I should like to see in the bottomless pit more than another, it's the drink devil."

Despite all the vituperation directed against young people, drugs, and alcohol, it is far from clear if those elements, taken either singularly or combined, are the blame for acts of cruelty perpetrated against cats and other animals. They could be, for instance, merely the masks that thoroughly wicked individuals don in order to excuse their evil deeds.

In the final analysis such questions should not even be taken into consideration by the courts. In Camardi case, for example, his age and whether or not drugs and alcohol were involved are irrelevant because the cat and dog that he tortured and killed would still be just as dead if he had been elderly and sober and their suffering was not lessened one whit by his alleged impairment.

Au contraire, the courts should focus solely upon the conduct of defendants and leave the psychoanalysis to the experts. Above all, their sympathies need to be redirected away from the abusers and toward their victims.

Far from being singular occurrences, Camardi's crimes form part of a pattern of feline abuse that has been unfolding all across Canada for the past few years. Specifically, cats are known to have been bound with tape in the provinces of Saskatchewan and British Columbia as well as Alberta.

Nellie and Jennifer Paloposki

For example, in March of this year a handsome three-year-old black and white polydactyl named Bruce Almighty was discovered with all four of his limbs trussed up with electrical tape in Regina. Without the last-minute dramatic intervention of an unidentified couple in the northwest section of town he, too, surely would have joined Camardi's victims in the great void. (See Cat Defender post of November 18, 2005 entitled "Bruce Almighty Weathers an Abominable Act of Cruelty and the Intrigues of the Regina Humane Society in Order to Hopefully Be Able to Pick Up the Pieces of His Shattered Life.")

Over the course of a six-week period in September and October of 2012 no less than three cats were found bound with tape in four separate incidents in the city of Nanaimo on Vancouver Island. The abuse began on September 6th when a sixteen-year-old tom named Sam from Poplar Street was found with his paws tightly wrapped in blue duct tape and his tail fastened to his neck.

His assailant had done such a thorough job that his owner, Dianne Gordon, had to rush him to Island Veterinary Hospital where the tape had to be removed with scissors. Sam, fortunately, was not seriously injured and soon recovered from the frightening ordeal.

When advised by the BC SPCA to lock him up indoors, Gordon took umbrage at its insinuation that he had been to blame for the incident. "The cat is sixteen years old. I can't keep it in," she groused to the Nanaimo Daily News on October 24, 2012. (See "Nanaimo Royal Canadian Mounted Police Investigating after Cat Duct-Taped a Second Time.") "That would just be cruel. The cat has been an outdoor cat all his life."

On the same day that Sam was trussed up, a cat named Zuma belonging to Liberty Harakas likewise was found bound with blue duct tape. Unlike Gordon, however, she and her friends were able to remove the adhesive from Zuma's paws and tail without veterinary intervention.

Considering that Zuma lives only two doors down from Sam and that blue duct tape was used in both instances , it is pretty much a sure bet that both of them were assaulted by the same group of individuals. Nevertheless, no arrest ever was made in either case and both incidents soon were forgotten.

That constituted a terrible dereliction of duty on the part of the authorities because on October 1st the taping spree resumed on the five-hundred block of Chestnut Street when a brown and black female named Nellie was found with green painter's tape covering her body. Her owner, Jennifer Paloposki, was able to successfully remove the tape and Nellie was otherwise unharmed.

Unfortunately for Nellie that was merely the beginning of her travails because on October 22nd she was found with her feet tightly bound with brown duct tape and her tail taped to her body. Paloposki's initial reaction was not all that different from the one which, undoubtedly, greeted Bruce's rescuers.

"I went out first thing in the morning and that's when I heard her screaming," she later told the Nanaimo Daily News in the article cited supra. "When I first saw her I thought her feet were cut off."

Thankfully, that was not the case but Paloposki was unable to get the tape off this time around and as a result was forced to take Nellie to the Island Veterinary Hospital where she had to be sedated before it could be removed. "When we take it off, we're having to pull just like taking off a Band-Aid®, where you're pulling off hair," attending veterinarian Ken Langelier later disclosed to The News Bulletin of Nanaimo on October 25, 2012. (See "Police Investigating Cruelty to Cat.")

Nellie had attempted to gnaw off the tape but that endeavor had proven to be unsuccessful. In fact, the tape was bound so tightly that Langelier was barely able to even get if off with scissors.

"If you know cats at all, they certainly don't like having things on their feet, they don't like having restrictions to their ability to move and their tail is like a rudder," he added to The News Bulletin. "In this case the cat's tail was taped to its body, the feet were taped fairly tightly, and with no breathing through the tape they'd gotten quite moist."

Nellie recovered in time but the incident left her guardian badly shaken. "It freaked me out," Paloposki said of the second incident in an interview with the Nanaimo Daily News. "It was like someone just knew she was out there."

The injustice of the attacks also rankles her. "What they did was wrong," she complained to The News Bulletin. "My cats don't attack anybody, they're not aggressive."

As for the motive behind the tapings, the experts are divided. "It's the sign of a sick mind, and sick minds often ramp up what they do as they feel more comfortable with what they're doing," Langelier theorized to the Nanaimo Daily News. "Any time there's animal cruelty I always suspect there's underlying psychological issues."

Because of the way in which the victims' tails were taped, that prompted Brian Ferris, a clinical psychologist practicing in North Vancouver, to speculate to the Nanaimo Daily News on October 25th that the perpetrator might be a young male between the age of eleven and fourteen with a strange sexual fetish. (See "Police Have 'Several Persons of Interest' to Talk with after Series of Cats Duct-Taped.")

It was however Lyne Piche, who practices psychology in both Vancouver and Abbotsford, who likely came the closest to the truth when she suggested that the culprits were either cat-haters or juveniles. "It could be a neighbor who is really upset with the cats," she speculated to the Nanaimo Daily News on October 25th. "Instead of putting out poison, they decided to do it this way. I'm not sure."

In that respect, Paloposki, Gordon, and Harakas are extremely lucky that the individuals who assaulted their cats chose not to employ any of the lethal methods associated with such inveterate ailurophobes as ornithologists, wildlife biologists, and gardeners. For instance, one of their more common tactics is to illegally trap their neighbors' cats and subsequently hand them over to shelters to kill. (See Cat Defender posts of October 30, 2006, March 9, 2007, and August 19, 2010 entitled, respectively, "A Collar Saves a Cat Named Turbo from Extermination After He Is Illegally Trapped by Bird-Loving Psychopaths," "Long Island Serial Cat Killer Guilty of Only Disorderly Conduct, Corrupt Court Rules," and "Music Lessons and Buggsey Are Murdered by a Cat-Hating Gardener and an Extermination Factory Posing as an Animal Shelter in Saginaw.")

Another favorite tactic of those individuals and groups who hate cats is to trap them and then dump them at undisclosed locations. (See Cat Defender posts of November 16, 2007 and December 24, 2007 entitled, respectively, "Fletcher, One of the Cats Abducted from Bramley Crescent, Is Killed by a Motorist in Corhampton" and "Prominent New Zealand Physician Who Ludicrously Claims to Be an Ailurophile Gets Away with Stealing and Dumping His Neighbor's Cat.")

Regardless of whether the perpetrators are motivated by either pure hatred of the species or simply youthful mischief, the means that they have at their disposal for carrying out their wicked designs are almost endless. In addition to that, they can rest assured that in most instances the authorities will not be coming after them.

In Nanaimo, for instance, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and the BC SPCA knew from the outset that there were more than one individual involved in the attacks and that they were neighbors of the victims. "It's virtually impossible to control a cat and do something like that," Constable Gary O'Brien told The News Bulletin. "I'm sure the persons would receive considerable scratches, would have to be heavily clothed and have gloves on. We're sure it's someone living in the area that's taken an exception to this (Nellie) particular cat."

On top of all of that, the RCMP received a tip from an employee of a hardware store concerning a customer who had purchased brown duct tape of the type that was used in order to truss up Nellie. It also handed out flyers on Chestnut Street, established a citizens' watch group, and compiled a list of suspects but, as far as it is known, no arrests ever were made.

It accordingly is difficult to say if there is a discernible link between the failure of the authorities in Nanaimo to make an arrest in these four cases and the more recent copycat crimes that have been committed against cats in Calgary and Regina. The only thing that is known for certain is that all crimes committed against cats, regardless of the modus operandi improvised, need to be taken seriously by the authorities and that no stone be left unturned until those individuals responsible have been apprehended and jailed.

Deplorably, that has not happened in either Nanaimo or Regina and Gaschler bent over backwards in order to shortchange Camardi's victims in Calgary. It therefore is an open question as to whether it is worthless sods like Camardi who are the greatest threat to the safety and well-being of cats and dogs or those derelicts within the political and legal establishment who champion their perverted agendas by steadfastly refusing to strenuously enforce the anti-cruelty statutes.

Photos: Facebook (Camardi) and Niomi Pearson of The News Bulletin (Nellie and Paloposki).

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Bruce Almighty Weathers an Abominable Act of Cruelty Coupled with the Intrigues of the Regina Humane Society in Order to Hopefully Be Able to Pick Up the Pieces of His Shattered Life

Bruce Almighty

"The cat, who had no identification, collapsed into the arms of officers late Wednesday evening and purred as they began the delicate process of removing the bands which had destroyed his limbs."
-- the Regina Humane Society

The most readily available means that owners have at their disposal for getting rid of unwanted cats is to fob them off on either shelters or veterinarians. That is because both of them operate on mandates issued by the state that allow them to commit en masse murders with impunity.

Whenever those two expedients are not, for whatever reason, desirable owners can always fall back upon such time-honored disposal techniques as either nonchalantly tossing them out in the trash, dumping them in the middle of busy highways, or poisoning them. In the end it really does not matter all that much which modus operandi is selected because all of them are pretty much foolproof.

There are some owners, however, who hate their cats so much that merely snuffing out their lives is insufficient; au contraire, they feel compelled to either torture them to death or to consign them to circumstances whereby their demises are prolonged and excruciatingly painful. The latter was the means selected back in March in order to put a permanent end to a handsome, longhaired, black and white polydactyl subsequently dubbed Bruce Almighty from Regina in Saskatchewan.

In particular, his diabolical owner tightly wrapped each of his four legs in electrical tape before casting him out in the street in order to fend for himself where temperatures that time of the year normally average between 14.2° and 32.7° Fahrenheit. What offense, if any, he possibly could have committed in order to have provoked such animus remains a mystery to this very day.

It is difficult to determine from press reports if his legs were bound together or separately but even if they were taped individually that made it nearly impossible for him to walk because the adhesive was wrapped so tightly that it had cut off the circulation causing the tissue below it to die and become infected. Under such dire circumstances procuring food, water, and shelter from the bitter cold became herculean tasks.

Moreover, he no longer had any way of eluding human and animal predators due to his inability to either take to his heels or to scale heights. Most frightening of all, he would have been a dead duck if a motorist ever had gotten a bead on him.

If neither predators, the elements, nor starvation had finished him off, the total lack of blood flowing through his constricted limbs soon would have done the trick. It accordingly is not any exaggeration to say that the clock of doom was fast winding down and Bruce's cruel fate was all but sealed.

Despite the excruciating pain and the hopelessness of his predicament he, like so many cats, somehow was able to summon the will power in order to persevere. In doing so he took full advantage of a rather mild day on March 18th when, according to Friendly Forecast, the temperature soared to 42.08° Fahrenheit to somehow either hobble or crawl into the yard of a house located in the northwest section of town. Once there, his desperate plight attracted the attention of the compassionate homeowners who immediately telephoned the Regina Humane Society (RHS) which came and collected him.

"The cat, who had no identification, collapsed into the arms of officers late Wednesday evening and purred as they began the delicate process of removing the bands which had destroyed his limbs," the RHS later told the CBC on March 22nd. (See "More Than C$11K Raised for Hurt Regina Cat 'Bruce Almighty'.")

In addition to the extensive damage that was done to all four of the approximately three-year-old tom's limbs plus his front paws, it has not been revealed if he also was suffering from malnutrition, dehydration, and frostbite. It likewise has not been disclosed if evidence of other forms of abuse were detected by the veterinarians who examined him.

They were able to conclude however that the adhesive had been on for a "significant amount of time." What exactly that means is unclear but based solely upon the extensive damage done to Bruce's legs it more than likely had been in situ for several weeks, if not indeed longer.

It furthermore is not known how many callous residents of Regina turned blind eyes to his interminable suffering. A similar sorry spectacle took place in the Ichenheim section of Neuried in Ortenaukreis, Baden Württemberg, during the early days of January in 2011 when equally uncaring residents allowed a forever nameless brown and white female with green eyes to wander the streets for days after she had been deliberately doused with petrol and set on fire.

A citizen finally telephoned Tierschutzvereins Offenburg-Zell on January 10th but by then it was way too late and the cat died three days later. No one came forward to claim her remains and that lent credibility to the strong suspicion that her assailant, as was the case with Bruce, had been her owner. (See Cat Defender post of June 27, 2011 entitled "Citizens of Ichenheim Callously Allow a Torched Cat to Walk the Streets for Days Before Summoning Veterinary Help That Arrived Too Late.")

Bruce on the Operating Table

As it seemingly always turns out to be the case whenever a cat's life is hanging in the balance, Bruce's deliverance from the street initially succeeded in only placing his fragile life in even greater jeopardy. That is because the first idea that popped into the diseased gourd of the RHS's head honcho, Lisa Koch, was not to treat him but rather to finish the job that had been begun earlier by his owner.

"There's a lot of dead tissue. We've seen some improvement, but we're thinking that amputation may be necessary," she declared to the Leader-Post of Regina on March 20th. (See "Almighty Battle for Bruce the Cat after Legs Bound by Tape.") "If both of his front legs are requiring amputation, then it would be very difficult for him to survive."

Besides being both utterly disgraceful and totally morally repugnant, Koch's asinine reasoning simultaneously demonstrated her abysmal ignorance of the resilience of handicapped cats. For example, the reaction from Geoffrey Weech of the Monmouth Small Animal Hospital in Wyatt Earp's hometown of Monmouth, Illinois, was entirely different when in late September of 2010 an impecunious local resident brought in a fourteen-week-old black and white kitten named Trace whose rear legs had been badly mangled in a car's engine.

"Didn't have any blood flow in them; the bones were broken in the legs," he later revealed. Unlike Koch's reaction to Bruce, he was not about however to reach for the sodium pentobarbital. "We felt that if a cat can be that normal with three legs, I think that they can adapt to two legs," he correctly deduced.

His compassion did not end with saving her life, however, but rather it extended to securing a good home for her. "It's going (to) have to be somebody that is dedicated to a special needs kitten but I think they're going to be surprised," he predicted. "I think she's really going to come around."

His only error in judgment was to limit his reasoning to cats with two limbs. For instance, a tortoiseshell named Callie Mae from Theodore, Alabama, does not have any legs at all.

Back in 2008, she was chased up a tree by a pack of vicious dogs where she subsequently became entangled in electrical wires and was electrocuted. Her subsequent fall to the ground cost her all of her appendages.

Someone has to scratch, groom, and brush her and she uses Wee-Wee Pads as opposed to a litter box but other than that she is doing remarkably well all things considered. "She's a good kitty," Sandy Tomlin of the Theodore Veterinary Clinic, where she lived until finally being adopted, said back in 2010. "She even caught a mouse one time." (See Cat Defender post of November 17, 2010 entitled "Penniless and Suffering from Two Broken Legs, It Looked Like It Was Curtains for Trace Until Geoffrey Weech Rode to Her Rescue on His White Horse.")

Cats who have lost limbs also can be fitted with wheelchairs, prosthetics, and bionic implants. (See Cat Defender post of November 20, 2010 entitled "Celebrated as the World's First Bionic Cat, Oscar Now Has Been Turned into a Guinea Pig with a Very Uncertain Future.")

Almost immediately after threatening to whack Bruce, Koch did an about-face. "We're committed to Bruce. He's Bruce Almighty and he has incredible determination and perseverance," she added to the Leader-Post for reasons that were soon to become abundantly clear. "He deserves an opportunity to feel safe and love after the tremendous amount of pain and suffering that he's endured because of this purposeful act of animal cruelty."

The petit fait that a fundraising appeal launched on his behalf in order to raise C$5,000 for his treatment took in more than C$20,000 from Canadian, American, Polish, Spanish, and Greenlandic donors between March 22nd and March 25th sans doute played a significant role in her abrupt change of heart. Even though she may not have given so much as a whit as to whether he lived or died, she most assuredly had enough bon sens in order to recognize that in him she had a proverbial gold mine on her hands.

"We had no idea the response we were going to get, or really, Bruce was going to get, around the world," she gushed to Global News of Toronto on March 25th. (See "Overwhelming International Response to Cat in Need.") "He has a wonderful personality. He fought hard and we figured it was our turn to fight hard for him."

The donations, which eventually added up to almost C$25,000, spared Bruce from having to face the hangman but they contributed very little toward shortening his convalescence. "He has a long road of recovery ahead of him," Koch added to Global News. "A lot of rehabilitation will come and when he's ready for adoption, there'll be some special circumstances around what his needs are going to be."

Bruce in an Elizabethan Collar Following Surgery on His Toes

The long haul to once again becoming a functioning cat began on March 23rd when veterinarians amputated eight of his front toes and thus leaving him with only two on each paw. That was followed by hydrotherapy and unspecified treatment of his badly damaged legs.

He tentatively was scheduled to have undergone paw pad grafts at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine in Saskatoon, two-hundred-fifty-nine kilometers north of Regina, in May but it is far from clear if those procedures ever took place. (See the CBC, March 27, 2015, "Hurt Regina Cat Bruce Almighty Makes Encouraging Recovery" plus untitled articles dated March 31, 2015 and May 1, 2015 on the RHS's Facebook page.)

Perhaps those additional surgeries were not needed in that less than a month after knocking on death's door Bruce had made an astounding recovery. "The healing of his wounds on his front paws is going incredibly well and his newly unwrapped back leg is looking near normal," the RHS confided to The Chatham News of Chatham in Ontario on April 18th. (See "Bruce Almighty the Saskatchewan Cat Recovering after Electrical Tape Ordeal.") "Bruce Almighty is feeling much stronger and is happiest when he is near people. He is able to walk short distances with his front bandages and now spends his weekdays in staff offices and the weekends at home with his foster family."

Besides enjoying a new crinkle bed and feather toys dropped off for him at RHS by well-wishers, it was the attention lavished on him by staffers that pleased him the most. "He absolutely adores sitting on a warm lap and will stand up on his back legs and ask to be picked up knowing cuddles await him on the lap of his choice," the RHS added to The Chatham Daily News.

In May, the RHS initiated a long-drawn-out process of finding him a new home. In furtherance of that objective, they decreed that his new owner must not only be familiar with his history but also able to spend considerable time with him. It additionally mandated that the individual adopting him must have the financial means in order to pay for his continued veterinary care and to reside in a dwelling with a minimal amount of hardwood flooring and stairs.

The charity received hundreds of inquiries from individuals, including many from Deutschland, expressing a desire to adopt Bruce but on July 3rd it selected Melissa Fiacco who works in public relations for the trade and industry group, the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters (CME). "You wanted to champion his recovery. You wanted him to defy his attacker and triumph," she told the Leader-Post on July 3rd. (See "Bruce Almighty Finds a New Home.") "To be honest, it's kind of like Rocky Balboa. It's so silly, but you really wanted him to triumph."

Whereas Fiacco sans doute is loaded, it is highly unlikely that she has very much time to spend with Bruce because she has a rather demanding job at CME. She also, based upon her rather substantial presence on the web, leads a very hectic social life.

It is even far from clear just who it is that is taking care of Bruce. In particular, although she moved into a new condominium just before she adopted him, it appears that it is actually her father who is in charge of his welfare. "It's really adorable, I think he thinks my parents are his parents," she disclosed to the Leader-Post. "Because Bruce has been by (my dad's) side every moment he's been home."

The dad that she is referring to is none other than Pat Fiacco who served as mayor of Regina from 2000 until 2012. That revelation, purposefully hidden from the outside world by the Leader-Post, also lays bare another of the RHS's blatant lies.

Quite obviously Bruce was not given to the younger Fiacco because she was able to devote time to his recuperation and future care, but rather because of her rather substantial economic and political ties to the Regina establishment. By entering into such an arrangement the RHS is attempting to further ingratiate itself to the powers that be and thus to rake in additional funding.

None of that is meant in any way to imply that Fiacco will not be a passably competent guardian of Bruce but it does once again vividly demonstrate that what matters to the RHS is money and not the welfare of cats.

The charity accordingly plans on exploiting him as an advocate for its own interests. "In a way, he belongs to a lot of people," the organization's Karen Mercier proclaimed to the Leader-Post in the July 3rd article cited supra.

Besides the RHS's mendaciousness and perverted agenda, it has miserably failed Bruce by fobbing him off on an individual whom, it would appear, never will be much more than an absentee caretaker. In that light, it would be interesting to know how that this highly sociable cat is adjusting from being the center of attention at the RHS to being left alone for long periods of time in her, apparently empty, condominium.

Bruce Is Attempting to Adjust to His Limited Mobility

Also, since the RHS has stipulated that he, for medical reasons, be confined indoors for the remainder of his days, he thus is being denied the stimulation, freedom, and feline companionship that is customarily afforded by the great outdoors. That may be unavoidable considering his injured legs but it nevertheless underscores the pressing need for him to be provided with tons of human interaction as well as for his indoor environment to be made as interesting as possible to him.

Abandoning him to his own devices for lengthy periods of time also is dangerous considering his acute medical problems. In particular, if either a blood clot or some other medical emergency should unfold while Fiacco is out chasing shekels he easily could die before she returned home.

It therefore is difficult not to conclude that Bruce would have been much happier and safer if the RHS had placed him in a home where he would have enjoyed around-the-clock companionship and supervision. That was not about to happen, however, owing to the RHS's ambitiousness and, above all, insatiable greed.

For instance, it is believed that the care that he received from the RHS cost less than C$5,000 of the nearly C$25,000 that was donated. Accordingly, the RHS certainly had it within its means to have placed him with a far more devoted, even if less financially well-heeled, owner and then applied the remaining balance to his future care.

In its defense, the RHS claims to have made other plans for that money. "Bruce Almighty -- and all the people that helped him -- will be able to help a lot of other animals as well," Koch pledged to the CBC on April 17th. (See "Bruce Almighty, a Cat, Is Healing Well and Walking a Bit after Taped Paws Trauma.")

That is well and good as far as it goes but it deliberately fails to take into account that the donations were explicitly earmarked by the public for Bruce's care and his needs certainly did not come to a screeching halt the moment that he walked out the door of the RHS. Consequently, for the RHS to wash its hands of him and then to divert those funds to other causes is nothing short of outright thievery.

Besides, there is not any reason to believe that they will be spent on other deserving cats and dogs. For example, Koch and her cronies either could appropriate them for their own personal use or apply them toward the purchase of lethal drugs in order to kill injured cats, as they initially planned on doing with Bruce, as opposed to treating them.

Few, if any, shelters and humane organizations operate on the level and as a consequence donors seldom know for certain how their donations are being spent. Furthermore, since just about all of these outfits rely heavily upon the public for their livelihoods, the very least that they should be willing to do is to give donors a detailed, written accounting, right down to the last penny, of exactly what was done with their contributions.

Just as there should exist a sacred and inviolable trust between cats and those individuals and groups that are responsible for their safety and well-being, so too should there exist a similar bond between shelters and humane groups and their benefactors. Under no circumstances should these institutions be allowed to continue to squander funds on policies that are inimical to the wishes of those who donated them.

As things now stand, donors are unwittingly guilty of subsidizing the cold-blooded murders of countless cats, dogs, and other animals. Likewise, shelters that categorically refuse to devote a portion of their donations toward the apprehension and punishment of animal abusers are making it possible for such crimes to continue to be committed in perpetuity.

In Bruce's case, it is almost superfluous to point out that no arrest has been made and none is expected. Based primarily upon the fact that his former owner never came forward in order to reclaim him even after his story and photograph appeared not only in the Leader-Post but also on the world wide web, that makes that individual suspect number one.

Although it is remotely conceivable that his former caretaker could have abandoned him, moved out of town, and then took up residence underneath a rock, that does not seem to be a likely scenario. Even under such an arrangement, it likely would have been necessary for the culprit to have trapped Bruce and then restrained him in some fashion before taping and subsequently abandoning him.

The motive behind the attack seems to have been pure malice directed at either him in particular or all cats in general. Another possible explanation is that he somehow fell into the clutches of juveniles who get their perverted jollies by committing all sorts of atrocities against defenseless cats.

Bruce in His New Home

As best it could be determined, neither the RHS nor the local police ever lifted so much as a finger in order to bring Bruce's abuser to justice. As the very least they should have conducted door-to-door interviews in the area where he was found in an effort to determine if anyone knew anything about him.

Secondly, veterinarians, shelters, pet shops, and groomers, in the city and surrounding areas should have been contacted and shown photographs of him. Thirdly, the entire neighborhood should have been fly-posted. Fourthly, retailers should have been queried concerning any and all recent sales of electrical tape.

Fifthly, although such acts are largely beau geste, the RHS could have offered a monetary reward for information leading to the arrest of Bruce's abuser. Regrettably, it apparently was too cheap to even have done that much for the sake of justice.

As is the case with just about all shelters, the RHS not only expects the public to provide the financial support that enables it to operate but to additionally do its job for it. "We rely on the public to be our eyes and ears for cases involving neglect and abuse," Koch told the Leader-Post in the March 20th article cited supra. "They (the Good Samaritans) did the right thing."

Besides being shameful, such dilatoriness constitutes a blatant dereliction of duty. Specifically, if it really cared about such matters the RHS would not have left any stone unturned until the fiend who abused Bruce was safely locked up behind bars.

The picture that emerges of the RHS throughout its handling of this heartbreaking matter is anything but flattering. Most damning of all, it is guilty of flirting with the idea of killing, as opposed to treating, Bruce.

Secondly, it bungled his adoption. Thirdly, it has misappropriated funds intended for his continued care. Fourthly, it has failed in its mission to safeguard the lives of cats by steadfastly refusing to go after Bruce's abuser. Such perverse thinking and morally inexcusable polices also go a long way toward explaining why shelters, even on their best days, are little more than dressed-up death houses that are operated for a profit.

The coziness that all of them seem to have with the political, economic, and media elites also is disgusting. That is because those individuals, institutions, and groups who not only traffic in but profit from the exploitation of animals are committed only to maintaining the status quo and that never has and never will be a good thing for the animals.

It additionally is important to always bear in mind that Bruce owes his life, not to the RHS and Fiacco, but rather to the unidentified Good Samaritans who found him and the generosity of the worldwide cat-loving community. They are the real heroes in this story.

It is difficult to speculate as to what the future holds in store for Bruce. Assuming that he does not fall prey to any additional mischief, both the quality and quantity of his existence will depend largely upon the success of his recovery and what kind of a home Fiacco provides for him.

"He's still very independent and very vocal when he chooses to be," she told the Leader-Post on July 3rd. "But you want to love him, he makes it so easy."

That is not a bad place to start but much more remains to be done. That is especially the case considering not only all the hell that he has been put through but the difficulties that await him in the days and years ahead.

Photos: Regina Humane Society (Bruce by himself, on the operating table, in an Elizabethan collar, and lying on a rug) and Melissa Fiacco (Bruce in his new home).

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Tama Is Finally Able to Escape the Merciless Clutches of Her Simon Legree Overlords at the Wakayama Electric Railway but Doing So Has Cost Her Everything That She Ever Had, Including Her Life

Beautiful Tama Weighted Down with Her Worthless Cap and Medallion

"Tama war sehr milde und wurde selten böse, obwohl sie mit ihrer Untergebenen Nitama streng war."
-- Mitsunobu Kojima of the Wakayama Electric Railway

The most distressing aspect of being a cat writer is that sooner or later one is forced into authoring the obituaries of all those wonderful felines whose lives and exploits one had chronicled only a few years earlier. Moreover, the timeline that separates these two labors of love is often so brief as to hardly make either exercise seem worthwhile.

That is because there simply is not any way of getting around the stubborn reality that just as roses are always accompanied by thorns, the easy living of summer gives way to the hard grind of winter, and the vigor of youth is destined to be supplanted by the frailty of old age, death too is an inescapable part of life. It thus was with those dark thoughts in mind that the news of the death on June 22nd of Japan's famous railroad cat, Tama, was received, mourned, and finally grudgingly accepted as an irreversible fait accompli. (See Cat Defender post of June 2, 2008 entitled "Ridership Soars as Tama Takes Over as Stationmaster on Money-Losing Commuter Train.")

The official word is that she died from a myocardial infarction at an undisclosed animal hospital located somewhere in Wakayama Prefecture in the Kansai region of south-central Honshu Island. She apparently had entered the facility suffering from a sinus infection but neither the duration of her stay nor the treatment that she received have been divulged.

A far more likely scenario is that she was deliberately killed off with a deadly jab of sodium pentobarbital and her death later dishonestly attributed to a heart attack. That is because common colds generally are not known to stop hearts from beating but the same most definitely cannot be said for the ingestion of powerful and deadly drugs.

Secondly, there are not too many people in this world who are willing to go to the extra trouble and expense of medicating an elderly and sick cat. As a consequence, killing off those suffering from something as inconsequential as a common cold has become the de rigueur for both cheap and lazy owners as well as unscrupulous veterinarians in hot pursuit of an easy and quick buck. (See Cat Defender posts of October 18, 2014 and May 28, 2015 entitled, respectively, "Hamish McHamish's Derelict Owner Reenters His Life after Fourteen Years of Abject Neglect only to Have Him Killed Off after He Contracts a Preeminently Treatable Common Cold" and "Abandoned, Homeless on the Street, Expelled by the Ingrates at Manchester International Airport, and Finally Whacked by Her Last Guardian, So Ran the Course of Ollie's Sad and Turbulent Life.")

In Tama's case, it has not been disclosed who made the decision to end her life. It could have been either officials at her employer, the Wakayama Electric Railway (WER), or her nominal owner, Toshiko Koyama.

Tama at Her Sixteenth Birthday Celebration Back in April

For whatever it is worth, The Guardian of London reported on June 29th that she was being cared for by Koyama at the time of her death. (See "Tama the Cat: Three-Thousand Attend Elaborate Funeral for Japan's Feline Stationmaster.")

If she indeed was killed off, that constituted an ignoble and utterly outrageous end for the sixteen-year-old Horatio Alger of the feline world who rose from homelessness and abject poverty to achieve worldwide stardom as the top cat at WER's Kishi Station in the rural city of Kinokawa. Her death also once again poignantly demonstrates the utter worthlessness of both fame and legions of fans when it comes to safeguarding the life of a cat.

None of that is by any means meant to imply that there had not been subtle, telltale indications in the past that Tama was on her way out. Most notably was the appointment of another tortoiseshell named Nitama (Tama the Second in Japanese) as her apprentice and acting stationmaster on January 5, 2012.

Along about that time Tama's workload was significantly reduced. For instance, upon becoming stationmaster she was given the back-breaking schedule of working 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. six days a week. In particular, her duties consisted of being cooped up all day long in a tiny ticket booth where she was expected to not only greet commuters and tourists alike but also to pose for photographs with them as well.

"She never complains, even though passengers touch her all over the place. She is an amazing cat," Yoshiko Yamaki, a spokesman for WER, told the China Daily on May 26, 2008. (See "Cat as Station Chief Brings Passengers Back.") "She has patience and charisma. She is the perfect stationmaster."

With the elevation of Nitama, Tama's days were reduced to three per week and her hours cut to between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. (See CNN, May 24, 2013, "The Cat That Saved a Japanese Train Station.")

It is difficult to know exactly what to make of those changes. On the one hand, Tama's health could have been already in decline or, on the other hand, perhaps WER simply was hedging its bets in preparation for such an eventuality.

Mourners Drop Off Flowers and Pray at Tama's Funeral on June 28th

Either way, there cannot be any denying that as the years wore on the public came to see less and less of her even though she was well enough in order to join officials from WER and about three-hundred of her faithful friends in order to celebrate her sixteenth birthday on April 29th. If there was anything ailing her on that occasion, railroad officials certainly kept it under their caps.

"Thanks to Tama-chan, the Kishigawa Line became known not only in Japan but also in the world," company president Mitsunobu Kojima told those in attendance according to the May 1st edition of The Asahi Shimbun of Tokyo. (See "Cat Stationmaster Turns Sweet Sixteen.") "I believe she will live to (be) twenty in cats years and one-hundred in human years."

His sentiments were echoed by ten-year-old Azumi Konishi of Naka-Kishi Elementary School in Kinokawa. "She is so cute when she lies down and rolls on her back," she told The Asahi Shimbun. "I want her to stay healthy for a long time."

That was not to be, however. All that is known for sure is that sometime between her birthday and the arrival of the month of June she became ill. It has not been even revealed when she last worked at Kishi.

If officials of WER are to be believed, she was still up and about as late as June 21st. "When we visited her with the company president the day before she died, she stood up and meowed as if she was begging him to hold her," Yamaki told The Guardian.

Kojima then reportedly told her to get well soon so that WER could celebrate her tenth anniversary (in January of 2017) as stationmaster. (See The Telegraph of London, June 28, 2015, "Cat Stationmaster Tama Mourned in Japan and Elevated as Goddess.")

Since commemorating her upcoming decade of service to the railroad was now totally out of the question, WER chose instead to celebrate her life by staging a Shinto-type funeral for her at Kishi Station on June 28th. The ceremony was held outside the converted ticket booth where Tama slaved away for free for so many years and was attended by three-thousand of her faithful fans.

A Terrified Nitama and Mitsunobu Kojima at Tama's Shrine in August

In addition to her remains, the makeshift altar featured portraits of her and ceramic dolls. Sake, watermelon, apples, cabbages, and other fruits and vegetables were donated for her use in the next world. A memorial set up outside the station likewise was piled high with bouquets of flowers, canned tuna, and other assorted gifts.

Oddly enough, neither the Japanese nor the Western media have made any mention of what ultimately was done with her remains. Considering the deleterious consequences that the June heat can have upon the remains of a cat, Tama's corpse likely was refrigerated after her death if it, and not just an empty box, was indeed present at the ceremony.

Even if the genuine article was in attendance, it thereafter likely was either burned or tossed out in the trash. If so, she thus was denied even a proper burial and a final resting place.

"We believe that Tama was divinely born to this world as the savior of our local railway," is how Kojima chose to eulogize her according to the June 29th edition of The Asahi Shimbun. (See "Three-Thousand Mourners Pay Final Respects to Cat Stationmaster Tama.") "We are proud that we were able to work with her for nine (sic) years."

Regrettably, he did not have the bon sens to stop there but instead went on to beseech her to continue to protect local public transportation all around the world. Following his lead, twenty-three-year-old transplanted German Anna Masslau, who is attending classes at Mie University in Tsu, one-hundred-seventy-five kilometers northwest of Kinokawa, could not resist the overpowering temptation to heap on yet still more of his outrageous self-serving balderdash.

"I ended up not being able to see her, but I am sure that Tama is still working as the stationmaster in heaven," she mindlessly declared to The Asahi Shimbun. "I want to meet her there."

Fourteen-year-old high school school student Daisuke Hosokawa from Wakayama was not quite so easily deceived by all the pomp and ceremony. "I feel something is missing when I see the place where Tama used to be is empty," he observed to The Asahi Shimbun.

Miiko, Tama's Mother, Died in 2009

Yoshinobu Nisaka, the governor of Wakayama Prefecture, likewise had the decency to keep his condolences simple. "Tama won a great popularity at home and abroad as a superstar of tourism," he told The Telegraph earlier on June 26th. (See "Japan Mourns Death of Tama, the Train Stationmaster Cat.") "At the news of her loss, I express my deep sorrow and great gratitude."

Following the customary fifty days of mourning, Tama was appointed "Honorable Eternal Stationmaster" and declared a goddess on August 11th. A shrine featuring two miniature bronze statues of her and located on the train platform also was unveiled on that solemn occasion.

As it always is the case with the Nipponese, financial considerations were of the utmost importance even at this the most sacred of all Shinto rites. Most noticeably, both statues depict Tama with beckoning paws, one for inveigling riders and the other for relieving them of their yen.

The enshrinement of Tama also served as the occasion for the official elevation of five-year-old Nitama as her successor. That occurred when she, dressed in a stationmaster's cap and held aloft by Kojima, offered make-believe prayers to the shrine and "reported" her promotion to Tama's soul (Tama Daimyojin).

More than anything else she looked petrified at being so rudely bandied about and shamelessly exploited but none of that in any way deterred Kojima from continuing to chase yen. "I hope (Nitama) will continue boosting local sightseeing and other businesses," he is reported as stating according to the August 11th edition of The Japan Times of Tokyo. (See "Railway Names Tama the Cat's Replacement as Stationmaster.")

As that utterly sickening example of what he and his subordinates have in store for her demonstrated, all that interests Kojima is the amount of money that Nitama can bring in to WER's coffers. Moreover, he appears from all outward indications to be totally incapable of ever seeing her as a live, sentient being endowed with a life, needs, and rights of her own.

Adding to that utterly deplorable situation, almost nothing has been publicly divulged about her. It accordingly is not even known where she came from, who owns her, and where she spends her nights and days off.

Chibi. Where Is She Now?

Furthermore, it is feared that now with Tama gone her workload will be increased from weekends to possibly six or seven days a week. Imprisoned in a tiny ticket booth in order to be pawed by the vulgar hoi polloi is not much of a life for a cat but that is, apparently, all that she ever has known since age one.

Nitama "looked more dignified than when I saw her a few years ago, and she seems to have got (sic) more used to her job," forty-two-year-old gratte-papier Yukado Nakahashi of Saitama Prefecture observed to The Japan Times. Whereas that possibly could be the case, it also is true that there is a fine line between connaître les ficelles and being resigned to a cruel and inescapable fate.

It thus seems clear that despite their numerous theological disagreements that Orientals and Occidentals alike are united in fervently believing that no hard-working cat is to be allowed so much as a moment's respite in either this or their make-believe worlds of tomorrow. Whether acting alone or in concert, both capitalists and the adherents of organized religion are not only insufferable but hellbent upon annihilating all of creation.

Despite the halcyon picture painted by WER and the capitalist media, Tama's life was hardly a bowl of cherries either before or after her meteoric rise to international fanfare. In fact, given the shameless manner in which everyone who either walked in or out of her life exploited her to the hilt, her life never really did ever belong to her.

As far as it is known, she entered this world on April 29, 1999 when she and three other kittens were born to a scarcely seven-month-old homeless cat named Miiko in an employees' locker room at Kishi Station. The first years of her life surely must have exceedingly difficult in that she was forced to forge a meager existence while living outdoors with her mother, siblings and other cats from the neighborhood.

She occasionally was fed by commuters but other than that she, from all accounts, was pretty much on her own without the benefits of shelters, veterinary care, and protection against her species' myriad of avowed enemies. Whereas Kinokawa is far from being the coldest place on earth, average nighttime lows from December through March are in the mid to upper thirties Fahrenheit and that certainly made being out of doors very uncomfortable for her. The city's rainy summers doubtlessly were not any picnic either.

In 2004, she, her mother, and a younger sister named Chibi were taken in by Koyama who at that time owned and operated a grocery story located near Kishi Station. Her deprivations did not end there, however, because he cruelly confined her and her family to an unheated shed on his property.

Tama's Prison for Eight and One-Half Years

In a harbinger of events to come, his decision was not motivated by compassion but rather avarice. In particular, he exploited Tama, Miiko, and Chibi in order to entice customers into his store.

Cats, and tortoiseshell like Tama in particular, are believed by the Japanese to bring good luck and that accounts for their popularity with temple monks, the captains of ships and, above all, the mercantile class. This phenomenon is best exemplified by the ceramic maneki-nekos that are found outside of shops, restaurants, gambling dens, and now at Tama's own shrine. (See The Economist, July 4, 2015, "The Cat's Miaow.")

It also was the Japanese who inaugurated the Katzen-Café craze that now has spread all over the world. One opened in London last year and another one débuted recently in Aachen. (See Cat Defender post of June 5, 2008 entitled "Teahouse Cats Are Given Shelter and Work but Precious Little Job Security and No Legal Protections" plus the Aachener-Zeitung, September 9, 2015, "Katzen-Café: Sechzehn kleine Pfoten garantieren für entspannten Tag.")

Their moist recent foray into the naked exploitation of cats for the sake of turning a lousy buck has been the establishment of a google-style street view of cats in the port city of Onomichi in Hiroshima Prefecture. (See The Japan Times, September 4, 2015, " Hiroshima Eyes Tourist Boost with Cat's-Eye View of City Streets.")

All the while that Tama and her relatives were struggling to eke out some sort of existence on the streets, the Kishigawa Line, which extends a little more than fourteen kilometers from Kinokawa to Wakayama, was drowning in a sea of red ink. For instance by 2005, daily ridership had plummeted to five-thousand which added up to an annual total of only 1.9 million loyal customers.

That in turn translated into an annual budget deficit of US$4.7 million. As a consequence, Nankai Electric Railway went bankrupt and WER assumed control of the money-losing commuter train.

In a last-ditch effort to stay financially afloat, WER fired all the conductors and stationmasters at the line's fourteen stations and that was when Koyama entered the picture. Assigned to look after the Kishi Station, he brought Tama inside and it was not long before he and railroad officials hit upon the brilliant idea of extending the concept of maneki-nekos to include real cats as well.

The Tama Train Is Still Operating, Sans Its Namesake

As the result of that brainstorm, Tama was appointed stationmaster at Kishi in January of 2007 and the publicity generated by her appointment sparked and immediate seventeen per cent increase in ridership that very month as compared with the same period of a year earlier. All totaled, she is credited with boosting ridership by fifty-five-thousand and pumping an additional US$8.7 million into the moribund local economy.

By June of 2008 ridership had increased by ten per cent and that stellar achievement earned Tama a promotion to Super Stationmaster. With that elevation came a medallion inscribed with her title to go along with the custom-made stationmaster's cap and badge that she had received earlier.

She also was given an office in the form of a renovated ticket booth and that not only allowed her to occasionally get away from people but it also provided her with some direly needed privacy. "She declines to relieve herself when passengers are looking," Yamaki disclosed to the China Daily in the article cited supra. "We set the toilet where passengers can't see."

As the years rolled by more and more honors accrued to Tama. For instance, in 2010 she was named Operating Officer of WER and in 2013 she was appointed to the position of Deputy President. "... she was really doing her job," Kojima candidly acknowledged to The Telegraph in the June 28th article cited supra.

The statistics certainly bear out that assessment of her value to the railroad. For example, by 2014 ridership had increased to 2.27 million and three-hundred-thousand tourists, primarily Taiwanese and Hongkongese, visited Kinokawa.

Fully cognizant that they had a sure-fire moneymaker on their hands, officials at WER were not about to content themselves with merely what they were able to rake in at the fare box. Rather, they promptly embarked upon a frenzied marketing blitz designed to put Tama's face on seemingly every piece of merchandise imaginable.

As a result, Tama-themed stuffed animals, T-shirts, dining room furniture, pens, notebooks, erasers, staplers, Kishi Station uniforms, key rings, tote bags, and assorted figurines are now not only an integral part of the Japanese retail landscape but they also can be purchased abroad as well as on the Internet. In the spring of 2009, WER introduced the Tama Densha, a special train with her image plastered on the seats as well as its exterior, and it is still operating today as, hopefully, a permanent memorial to her.

Appropriately enough, John Lennon's classic about a home for homeless boys in Liverpool operated by the Salvation Army, "Strawberry Fields Forever," is played over the intercom as it and other trains arrive and depart from Kishi. (See Cat Defender post of December 5, 2005 entitled "Remembering John Lennon: A Great Songwriter and Brave Political Activist Who Also Loved Cats.")

The Tama-Themed Exterior of Kishi Station

A year later in August of 2010, Kishi Station was remodeled in order to resemble her face with dormer windows representing her eyes and her paw prints adorning the floor. Besides featuring a souvenir shop, the station also boasts a café where customers can purchase cupcakes with her face etched in the icing.

A volume of photographs entitled Dairy of Tama, the Stationmaster was published early on in her reign and later she was featured in travel books. Besides making numerous television appearances and having her own entry on Wikipedia, she was featured in Myriam Tonelotto's 2009 documentary about famous cats entitled "La Voie du Chat" ("Katzenlektionen" in Deutsch) as well as an episode of the Animal Planet Series, "Must Love Cats."

So, thanks to the insatiable greed of WER, Tama is destined to live on for a long time to come not only as a highly successful marketing gimmick but as the public face of the company. What already has been conveniently swept underneath the rug and is destined to remain hidden from public consumption is how outrageously she was abused and exploited by both Koyama and the railroad barons.

Besides Koyami's abject neglect of her during her early years, it never has been publicly disclosed how much he was paid for selling her into slavery to WER and thus robbing her of any opportunity to ever have had a life of her own. Secondly, although he supposedly had custody of her up until her death, absolutely nothing has been revealed about what type of existence she had outside of Kishi Station.

For instance, was she allowed to live indoors at his house or did he still cruelly confine her to his unheated shed? Also, was she ever allowed outside in order to get some fresh air, to soak up a few rays, to frolic in the green grass and, most important of all, to have some time to herself? It is not even known if he either spent any time with her or allowed her to have feline playmates of her own.

It is assumed that she was sterilized once she came to work at Kishi but before that she most likely gave birth to several litters of kittens. If so, whatever became of them and, even more importantly, are any of them still alive today?

Kittens not only look like their parents but often bear an eerie resemblance to them in their manners, temperament, and inclinations. With that being the case, there is not any legitimate need for either cloning or elaborate memorials because the deceased live on in the genes of their offspring. (See Cat Defender posts of October 16, 2006 and January 5, 2007 entitled, respectively, "Unable to Turn a Profit, California Cat-Cloning Company Goes Out of Business" and "World's First Cloned Cat, CC, Finally Gives Birth to Three Healthy Kittens at Age Five.")

Nitama's Life Is in Mortal Danger as She Attempts to Fill Tama's Shoes

Her mother, Miiko, died of an undisclosed cause on July 20, 2009 and it is not known what became of either her sister Chibi, who was born on May 12, 2000, or her other two siblings. Unless either one or more of her siblings or some of her kittens are still alive, Tama unfortunately did not leave behind any living relatives.

Additionally, since she was forced to work so intimately with the public on a daily basis it is pretty much a sure bet that she was cruelly declawed. She possibly may even have been defanged as well. It is, after all, a foregone conclusion that any entity as miserly as WER was not about to pay out damages to anyone who got fresh with Tama and as a result was justifiably rewarded with being either scratched or bitten.

Most perplexing of all is the matter of how that she, a former footloose stray, was transformed into a cat that was so docile that she not only would willingly consent to being cooped up all day in a tiny ticket booth but to simultaneously allow countless strangers to endlessly paw and harass her. The most likely explanation to that conundrum is that she was fed a daily cocktail of mood-altering drugs.

For example, both benzodiazepines (BZs), such as diazepam (Valium®) and alprazolam (Xanax®), as well as Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs), such as fluoxetine (Prozac®) and paroxetine (Paxil®), are commonly prescribed by quack veterinarians in order to treat fear, aggression, and other so-called behavioral problems in cats that, in reality, exist only in their owners' heads. It also is conceivable that either Koyama or officials at WER were lacing the milk that they gave her with alcohol since it affects the same parts of a cat's brain as do BZs.

That was the dirty trick that Wilbur Willard played on a homeless black female named Lillian in Damon Runyon's short story of the same name which was first published in Collier's Weekly on February 1, 1930. A radio adaptation of it aired October 16, 1949 on the Damon Runyon Theatre and can still be heard today at Internet Archive and elsewhere online.

She additionally may have been starved into compliance given that such patented cruelty is an indispensable tactic for entertainers ranging from street performers to world-renowned traveling circuses who employ cats in their acts. That is about the only way that frightened felines can be inveigled into, inter alia, jumping from great heights into hoops of fire and riding tricycles.

The strong, but unsubstantiated, suspicion that either drugs or alcohol were used in order to control Tama is buttressed by the fact that in many photographs she appears to be almost catatonic, which is an highly unusual emotional state for any cat. Even Kojima himself has lauded her sedateness and good manners.

"Tama war sehr milde und wurde selten böse, obwohl sie mit ihrer Untergebenen Nitama streng war," he confided to Der Spiegel on August 27th. (See "Nachfolgerin für Katzen-Gottheit: Die Neue ist am Zug.")

If there is any validity to those suspicions, the drugs conceivably could have contributed to her death. The only thing known for certain is that neither Kojima nor Koyama ever will admit to plying Tama with drugs even if that were the case. A necropsy might be able to settle the issue one way or another but it is highly unlikely that her remains still exist in any form.

Tama Is Finally at Rest but She Could Have Had So Much More Out of Life

It also is utterly ludicrous for Kojima to imply that it was Tama, as opposed to himself and his subalterns, who made life difficult for Nitama. Furthermore, it certainly is not too late for some legitimate animal rights group, if one exists in the land of the rising sun, to subject her to a surprise, unannounced drug test. Such an undertaking just might possibly save her life.

Far from being a cause for celebration, Tama's life and death should be mourned by all those who truly cared about her. Whereas she so richly deserved a life that not only belonged to her but that was free of abuse, exploitation, and the normal run-of-the-mill deprivations that plague the lives of members of her species, all that she received instead were their polar opposites.

Deplorably, the same litany of abuses that she was forced to endure are now being heaped upon Nitama as well as the dozens of other cats, dogs, and rabbits that railroads all across Japan have shanghaied into serving as their unpaid mascots. Such cruelty and abuse once again demonstrates that when it comes to making money at the expense of the animals there simply are very few limits to either man's greed or his cruelty.

Besides, the packet that Tama made for WER did not in any way profit her because cats, to their eternal credit, do not have any use whatsoever for money. The same likewise is true for the multitude of honors, medals, and titles, that WER bestowed upon her.

If she had been given a choice in the matter, there can be little doubt that she would have much preferred to have been blessed with a permanent and secure home with a loving owner who doted on her as well as feline companions of her own choosing. One day filled with love, dignity, and freedom would have meant far more to her than a thousand years of bondage to the merciless bloodsuckers at WER.

Finally, in a forlorn cemetery located in the northern port city of Herakleion on the island of Crete lay the remains of Nikos Kazantzakis, the author of the 1946 novel, Zorba the Greek. That in and of itself is of little consequence as far as Tama is concerned but there is a rather poignant connection between the epitaph that is etched on his tombstone and her cruel fate. A German translation of the original Greek reads:

"Ich glaube nicht, ich hoffe nicht, ich fürchte nicht. Ich bin frei."

Lamentably, that oftentimes is the very best that cats such as her and men alike can ever expect to get out of a world where predatory capitalists and religious frauds, such as Kojima and Koyama, lord it over all of creation. Even so that is, as Tama knew only so painfully well, a terribly high price to pay for one's freedom.

Photos: China Daily (Tama in her regalia), Bunna Takizawa of The Asahi Shimbun (Tama's sixteenth birthday), Chika Oshima of the Associated Press and The Guardian (flowers for Tama), The Asahi Shimbun (Nitama at Tama's shrine), Tabobou of Wikipedia (Miiko and Chibi), Twilight2640 of Wikipedia (ticket booth), Wakayama City (train), hirorin0505 of Wikipedia (Kishi Station), Kyodo of The Japan Times (Nitama in front of a photograph of Tama), and Paul Richardson of the BBC (Tama relaxing).

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Because a Compassionate Firefighter from Oregon Chose to Care When His California Guardians Could Not Be Bothered with Doing So, Monty Burns Is Able to Escape the Valley Fire with His Life

Monty Burns and His Horribly Burned Face and Ears

"That is a true hero."
-- Wasson Memorial Veterinary Clinic's Description of Ralph Rhodes

It sure looked like it was curtains for Monty Burns. All of his fur had been singed, the tips of his ears had melted, and his face had been badly burned and disfigured.

Plus, his paws had been scorched so badly that even walking was, at the very least, excruciatingly painful if not altogether impossible. Worst of all, his lips and mouth were so severely swollen that he was unable to either slake the intense burning in his mouth, lungs, and stomach or to eat.

Under such wretchedly appalling circumstances, his life-expectancy could could have been measured, not in days, but rather in a matter of hours. If his untreated burns and the damage done to his lungs by smoke inhalation had not finished him off, either starvation or predation surely would have done the trick.

Monty was one of no doubt hundreds of cats and dogs as well as countless wild animals who fell victim to the Valley Fire which broke out on September 12th near the city of Cobb in Lake County. The fast-moving blaze, whose cause has yet to be determined, grew from only fifty acres to more than ten-thousand in just a few hours.

Due to his friendly demeanor and the fact that he had been previously sterilized, Monty obviously had guardians but they absconded with their own miserable hides and precious possessions as soon as the conflagration erupted. In doing so, they left Monty behind to be burned alive all by his lonesome.

If events had gone as his lower-than-dirt guardians had planned, that would have been the last of him and the world never would have known even that he ever had lived. They later would have resumed their uncaring and worthless lives just as if nothing had happened and if Monty's corpse had not been burned to a crisp, it surely would have decomposed into nothingness within a few days after its extended exposure to the torrid California sun.

Monty Alongside Some of the Cards, Toys, and Food That He Has Received 

The Fates are a capricious bunch of rotters even under the best of circumstances and as such they can only rarely be counted upon to smile down upon cats, but that is not the entire story. For whatever reason, whether it was pity, the luck of the draw, or some other unexplained and unfathomable reason, they unilaterally decreed that it was Monty's karma's to live, not die, and promptly dispatched a savior in order to free the black tom from the Grim Reaper's strangulating grasp.

As it so often turns out to be the case, Monty's rescuer not only was a perfect stranger but he was not even from the Golden State. Rather, he was a firefighter on loan from Eugene, Oregon, seven-hundred-sixty-three kilometers away, named Ralph Rhodes.

Although press reports have not specified exactly when the dramatic rescue took place, it undoubtedly was sometime between September 12th and September 14th and even then the circumstances surrounding it can only be described as extraordinary. Specifically, Rhodes and his unidentified partner were driving down California Highway 175 near Middletown in Lake County, one-hundred-forty-eight kilometers north of San Francisco, when they spied Monty resting motionless in a driveway at number 19594.

Whereas most individuals would have kept on going without giving him so much as a second glance, Rhodes instinctively knew that something was wrong when he did not attempt to flee. He therefore promptly turned his big rig around, retraced his steps, and collected Monty.

His heroics did not end there, however. Fully realizing that the badly burned tom desperately needed far more help than he was able to provide him with, he next drove him forty-six kilometers to Lakeport in the north where he handed him over into the care of the Wasson Memorial Veterinary Clinic.

That did not mean, however, that he was out of the woods; au contraire, it was more of a case of him having gone from the fire into the frying pan because after veterinarian Chris Holmes had taken one quick look at him his first thought was to finish off the job that had been begun earlier by the Valley Fire. "He can't eat because his lips and mouth are so swollen," he later told KGO-TV of San Francisco on September 15th. (See "Firefighters Rescue Burned Black Kitten from Valley Fire.") "At first, he couldn't open his mouth."

Monty Waits In His Cage for a New, and Hopefully Better, Owner 

What transpired next never has been publicly explained, but Holmes had an abrupt change of heart and elected instead to provide Money with the emergency veterinary care that he so richly deserved and desperately needed. Perhaps Rhodes interceded once again on his behalf and generously agreed to foot the bill for his care but that is mere conjecture.

Although typical of the type of perverted thinking that the public has come to expect from just about all practitioners, Holmes' initial reaction was nothing short of criminal. Instead of murdering cats and other animals, he and his fellow partners in crime should once and for all time destroy their caches of sodium pentobarbital and other lethal drugs and concentrate their talents solely upon saving the lives of injured, sickly, and elderly cats. The snuffing out of innocent lives never should be an option for any veterinarian.

Since Monty was unable to either eat or drink, it was necessary for Holmes to insert a feeding tube in his stomach and after that his condition almost immediately began to show signs of marked improvement. It is going to take considerable time and medication, however, for his severe burns to properly heal.

Hopefully, his hearing has not been compromised but the massive damage done to his ears possibly could make him more susceptible to contracting cancer if he is allowed out of doors for protracted periods of time without either protective headgear or sunscreen. The same concerns are applicable to his badly burned face should his skin and fur fail to completely heal. (See Cat Defender posts of November 14, 2012, February 9, 2013, and August 12, 2013 entitled, respectively, "In Utter Desperation, Victoria Claws Off Her Rotting Ears after She Is Stricken with Cancer and Abandoned to Aimlessly Wander the Forbidding Streets of Newent," "New Start Cat Rescue Center Abruptly Kills Off Victoria after the Cancer Returns to Her Already Ravaged Ears," and "Luna Weathers a Costly Assault from Old Sol and Is Looking to Make a New Start in Life but a Dark Cloud Is Looming over Her Future.")

Any potential damage done to his tiny lungs by smoke inhalation is yet still another potential problem but the most pressing concern at the moment is his eyesight. "There's an antibiotic in there, so it's kind of hard to tell, but there are eyes in there," Holmes told KGO-TV.

All is not lost, however. "We are very optimistic his eyes will be okay," an unidentified representative from Wasson predicted to London's Metro later on September 19th. (See "This Badly Burned but Brave Cat Survived a California Wildfire.")

Monty Is Cradled by His Savior, Ralph Rhodes

At last report, Monty was said to be purring and rubbing his head against staffers at Wasson. Since his disgraceful owners have not come forward to either reclaim him or to repay Wasson for saving his life, he was scheduled to have been placed in foster care sometime this past weekend as a prelude to securing a new and permanent home for him.

Even if by chance they belatedly should turn up, returning Monty to them would not be a good idea. Rather, they are deserving of lengthy prison terms for abandoning him and also should be banned from owning other cats in the future. Although it has not been divulged if Monty was fitted with an implanted microchip, if so that would be one means of tracking them down and thus holding them accountable under the anti-cruelty statutes.

Besides, since they reside in an area that is prone to wildfires, they should have been prepared in advance for such an exigency with a cage and, above all, by keeping a closer eye on him. Given the remoteness of the area, they also undoubtedly had access to an automobile and therefoe do not have a valid excuse for not taking him along with them when they flew the coop.

Even if they were blindsided and overwhelmed by the swiftness with which events unfolded, that in no way excuses their dodgy behavior after his story went viral on the world wide web a month ago. It thus would appear that they do not want any part of him which very well could turn out to be a case of Glück im Unglück as far as he and his future well-being are concerned.

As far as the big picture is concerned, there simply is not any way of knowing how many cats were cruelly abandoned by their callous owners to perish in the conflagration. All that has been disclosed so far is that Animal Control in Lakeport word was attempting to locate the owners of at least sixty-five dogs that also were forsaken by their equally callous owners. Furthermore, considering that dogs normally are considerably easier to corral in emergencies than cats, that petit fait alone suggests that the number of the latter left behind surely must have been significantly higher.

All totaled, by the time that the voracious Valley Fire finally was brought under control on October 6th it had consumed more than seventy-six-thousand acres in Lake, Napa, and Sonoma counties, nearly two-thousand buildings, and claimed the lives of four individuals. That earned it the dubious distinction of being the third most destructive wildfire in the state's history. (See the San Francisco Chronicle, October 7, 2015, "Once Ferocious Valley Fire Is One-Hundred Per Cent Contained.")

Little Chips Is All Grown Up Now but Where Is She and Is She Still Alive?

As far as Rhodes is concerned, a thousand pages of accolades would still fail to do justice to his derring-do. In a society where the vast majority of its citizens are only capable of caring about their respective tribes, shekels, mindless self-indulgence, and of doing evil to others, the animals, and Mother Earth, the compassion that he extended to Monty and the trouble that he went to in order to save his life stand out like sore thumbs.

Without belaboring the obvious, perhaps Wasson said it best when it stated simply on its Facebook page, "That is a true hero." The mere fact that individuals of Rhodes' caliber still exist coupled with Monty's indomitable will to live signify that there is some, but not much, reason for optimism about the fate of not only cats like him but of this world as a whole.

Although the number of cats that die anonymously in wildfires each summer in California surely must be astronomical, only a tiny handful of them are ever either mourned or even remembered. Rightly or wrongly, that honor in 2015 will always belong to Monty whereas in 2012 it went to an orphaned three to four-week-old bobcat named Chips.

On August 25th of that year, the two-pound kitten was found dazed, dehydrated, and walking in circles alongside a road outside of Chester in Plumas County by Charles "Tad" Hair of the Mad River Ranger District. As it later was revealed, she had sustained second-degree burns to all four paws as well as to her back, her whiskers had been singed, and her eyes were filled with so much soot and pus that she could barely see well enough in order to even walk.

With her mother nowhere in sight, she surely would have died if Hair had not gathered her up and taken her back to his base in Lake Almanor West, eleven kilometers south of Chester. She almost immediately thereafter was transferred to Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care in South Lake Tahoe where her burns were attended to and she was placed on a steady diet of Kitten Replacement Milk and mice that had to be pulverized for her consumption since she did not yet even have teeth.

On November 1st, she was moved to Sierra Wildlife Rescue in Placerville where staffers attempted to toughen her up for an eventual return to the wild. For either better or worse, that fateful day dawned on April 19, 2013 when she was released into the wild of Humboldt County.

Phoenix: What Ultimately Became of  Her?

Sadly, that was the last ever to be heard from her although she always will be associated with the eponymous Chips Fire which consumed seventy-five-thousand acres in the Plumas National Forest during August of 2012. (See Cat Defender posts of February 21, 2013 and December 13, 2013 entitled, respectively, "Orphaned by a Wildfire and Then Rescued by a Forest Ranger, Chips Is Bracing for a Frightening Return to the Wild" and "Chips Is Abandoned in the Perilous California Wild Where Her Fur Alone Is Worth $700 To Trappers.")

It may have come much too late in order to have saved Chips but on August 5th of this year the California Fish and Game Commission voted to ban bobcat trapping throughout the state. "This vote today is historic and shows California's national leadership in wildlife protection," Camilla Fox of Project Coyote told KCET-TV of Los Angeles on that same date. (See "California Bans Bobcat Trapping in Three to Two Vote.") "This victory will help protect California's native bobcats from the insatiable international fur market where individual bobcat pelts can sell for as much as $1,000 per pelt."

Back in 2008, it was a female named Phoenix from Paradise who made headlines when she was able to successfully rescue one of her kittens, Blaze, from the deadly Humboldt Fire; the remaining members of her litter, regrettably, perished. She also suffered severe burns to her paws as the result of her heroism.

Afterwards, she demonstrated her magnanimity by graciously agreeing to serve as the surrogate mother for six other kittens who had been orphaned by the conflagration. (See Cat Defender post of July 3, 2008 entitled "Phoenix Is Severely Burned but Still Manages to Save One of Her Kittens from the Humboldt Fire.")

Although it would seem that it would be far easier for urban apartment dwellers to corral their cats and thus carry them to safety in times of emergency, that is not always the case. For example on December 31, 2009, forty-six-year-old Edgar K. and forty-four-year-old Susi S. of Altshausen in Baden-Württemberg left their nine-month-old cat, Lumpi, to die in a 4 a.m. blaze that engulfed their second-floor apartment.

His lifeless body later was found wedged between the mattress of the couple's bed. His sister, Sissi, miraculously survived by hiding underneath the bed.

Lumpi, R.I.P.

The couple's conduct was made all the more reprehensible because they undoubtedly would have perished in the blaze themselves if their cats had not awakened them from their slumber. "Plötzlich kratzte und miaute es an unserer Schlafzimmertür als ich öffnete, stürmten unser Kater Lumpi und unsere Katze Sissi ins Zimmer," Edgar K. later disclosed. "Ich sah Qualm auf dem Flur, aus dem Wohnzimmer schlug mir eine beissende Rauchwolke entgegen."

For whatever it is worth, the couple later claimed to have attempted to save their rescuers' lives. "Die Katzen haben geschrien," Suzi S. declared. "Wir wollten nach ihnen schauen, aber wir sahen kaum noch etwas und konnten nicht mehr atmen."

Despite ringing every bit as hollow as the report that echoes from an empty beer barrel, Suzi S. nevertheless did have the decency to at least acknowledge the sacrifice that Lumpi had made for her and her mate. "Jetzt verdanken wir ihm unser Leben," she said. (See Cat Defender post of April 3, 2010 entitled "Lumpi Is Unforgivably Left to Die in a Burning Apartment by the Ingrates Whose Lives He Saved.")

Looking ahead, there is no end in sight to the wildfires which each summer decimate large swaths of both California and British Columbia and as a consequence countless cats, such as Monty, are destined to continue dying and suffering piteously as the direct result of man's greed, selfishness, and evildoing. Since it is painfully obvious that he is totally unwilling to undertake the steps that are necessary in order to save himself, such as curbing his reliance upon fossil fuels, he certainly is not about to do so in order to save the animals and the planet.

Consequently, responsibility for the safety of all cats, both domestics and those that are homeless, falls by default squarely upon the shoulders of their owners and caretakers. The response that is so desperately needed from those who care about the species is for a great deal more steadfastness and vigilance on their behalves, not less, as the likes of Daniel Simon Mills, Alice Potter, Sarah Ellis, and Celia Haddon would have the world to believe. (See Cat Defender post of October 9, 2015 entitled "A Lynch Mob Comprised of Dishonest Eggheads from the University of Lincoln Issues Another Scurrilous Broadside Against Cats by Declaring That They Do Not Need Guardians in Order to Safeguard Their Fragile Lives.")

Photos: Wasson Memorial Veterinary Clinic (Monty), Lake Tahoe Wildlife Center (Chips), Susan Doyle of the Mercury-Register of Oroville (Phoenix), and Bild (Lumpi).