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Cat Defender

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

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Fluffy Is Brought Back from the Dead after She Is Found Comatose in a Sarcophagus of Frozen Snow and Ice in Frigid Montana

Fluffy Was In Sad Shape When She Arrived at the Veterinarian's Office

"Her temperature was so low our thermometer wouldn't read it, so we know it was less than ninety."
-- Jevon Clark of the Animal Clinic of Kalispell

The one thing that the Grim Reaper and Old Man Winter share in common is an icy grip and that in turn makes them not only formidable but nearly insuperable foes. In tiny, Kalispell, fifty-four kilometers south of Glacier National Park in northern Montana, a three-year-old, longhaired, brown and white female named Fluffy has nevertheless successfully foiled the both of them in a winner-take-all game of life and death. Doing so was, however, anything but easy.

The full story of how that she ended up locked in mortal struggle with those two notorious villains has not been fully divulged and therefore likely never will be known with any degree of certainty. All that is known for sure is that she was found unresponsive in a snowbank by her unidentified owners when they returned home sometime during afternoon of January 31st.

Even more harrowingly, her tiny body was encapsulated in a sarcophagus of ice and frozen snow that caused her at first glance to resemble more a mummy than a cat. Following an overnight low of only 8° Fahrenheit, the thermometer had been able to make it back up to only 31° F by that afternoon and as a consequence just about all the snow, sleet, and rain that had fallen throughout the day had frozen hard to her long fur.

This is mere speculation but it would appear that Fluffy's owners had been away all day, most likely at work since it was Donnerstag, and that she in turn had lain motionless and comatose in that wretched snowbank for quite a few hours. It likewise is anyone's guess as to whether the discovery of her and her desperate plight was serendipitous or the product of a concentrated search.

Regardless of the case, that marked her first baby step on what was destined to be a long and uncertain  road back to the world of the living. Even so she still from all outward appearances looked to have been deader than a doornail and it therefore is easy to imagine the confusion,   indecision, and conflicting emotions that surely must have coursed through the minds of her guardians. In the end, however, they wisely chose sentiment, compassion, and hope over apparent reality, callousness, and resignation and accordingly rushed her to the Animal Clinic of Kalispell at 1408 Airport Road which, fortuitously, was open until 5:30 p.m. on that fateful afternoon.

Upon arrival, Fluffy's prospects did not look particularly promising. "She was essentially frozen," the surgery's Andrea Dutter related to KYMA-TV of Yuma on February 7th. (See "Frozen Feline Thawed Out after She Was Found in a Snowbank.")

Head veterinarian Jevon Clark summed up her condition in even starker terms. "I've never seen this. I've been in practice for almost twenty-four years and she was actually caked in ice, like those ice balls were caked on her all the way around her three-hundred-sixty degrees," he told KULR-TV of Billings on February 7th. (See "Montana Veterinarians Bring Frozen, Unresponsive Cat Back to Life.") "Her temperature was so low our thermometer wouldn't read it, so we know it was less than ninety."

C'est-à- dire, for all practical purposes Fluffy was dead but what transpired next is a matter of conjecture. The most plausible explanation is that her owners paid Clark somewhere in the neighborhood of US$500 and insisted that he nonetheless attempt to revive her; otherwise, he surely would have allowed her to have expired on the examining table because most members of his bloodsucking profession care only about money.

With the moola now in hand, Clark and his staff went to work on Fluffy. She was first placed on a heating pad and, inter alia, hair dryers, hot towels, and warm water were used in a desperate effort to rapidly elevate her body temperature to somewhere approaching normal which, for a cat, is at around one-hundred-one degrees.

The chunks of ice and frozen snow that did not readily melt and fall off by themselves had to painstakingly removed by hand. She also was placed on intravenous fluids and, most likely, antibiotics and painkillers as well.

Other than those measures, there not much more that Clark could do other than to sit back and wait. Then after about an hour had raced off the clock, she twitched and growled and that was when he knew that she was going to make it.

An Attendant Used a Hair Dryer in Order to Help Thaw Out Fluffy

"These crabby cats are survivors," he declared to the Daily Inter Lake of Kalispell on February 7th. (See "Veterinarians Revive Cat That Nearly Froze in Montana.")

There is indeed much to be said for temperamental cats and those individuals who are drawn only to those that are docile are denying themselves some of the sweetest joys that this life has to offer. Specifically, there are few experiences more gratifying than finally being able to win the trust and affection of a hissing and spitting cat that has developed a nasty habit of looking down its dainty little nose at all humans with marked, if not indeed justified, disdain.

Such cats, of course, have a much more utilitarian reason for behaving in such a fashion. "A cat who wishes to live with human beings makes it his business to see that the so-called superior race behaves in the proper manner toward him," Carl Van Vechten pointed out in his 1920 book, The Tiger in the House, (chapter 7, footnote 4).

Shortly thereafter Fluffy was packed into a heated cage and shuffled off to either the Pet Emergency Veterinary Clinic or the Central Valley Animal Hospital, both of which are located at 3650 Highway 2 East, so that she could continue to receive heat therapy. The decision to move her was necessitated by, presumably, the early closing hours kept by Clark's surgery.

Press reports differ but Fluffy was kept at the emergency hospital for either only a few hours or until the following morning. After that she was cleared to return home.

On February 5th, she was returned to Clark's office for a check-up and at which time she was pronounced to have made a full recovery. "It's just amazing...I guess they (cats) do have nine lives," he marveled to WXIX-TV of Cincinnati on February 7th. (See " 'It's Just Amazing,' Says Veterinarian after 'Frozen Cat' Makes Full Recovery.")

While that last declaration of his is, quite obviously, not true, it does seem safe to label Fluffy's triumph as both rare and extraordinary. "I was really surprised. I've been practicing a long time and I've seen a lot of hypothermic animals, but normally it's like an accidental kind of thing where the kids leave the door open and the cat or the dog gets out and nobody knows about (it) for a couple of hours and they might get a little cold," he explained to KPAX-TV of Missoula on February 7th. (See "Flathead Veterinarian Shares His Story of Reviving Frozen Cat.") "Versus this which was kind of a different situation having it (ice) actually packed around."

As for how that she was able to have withstood such a hellish ordeal, he gives credit to her long fur and size. He also has praised her owners for acting expeditiously. "We didn't do anything special," he added to WXIX-TV. "If they had tried to (do) anything at home, it (Fluffy) would not have made it."

Unless he is omitting some vital details concerning Fluffy's condition, that is a debatable point. For example on Thanksgiving morning back in 2015, Brandon Bingham of Cedar Hills stumbled upon a tiny white kitten with strikingly beautiful turquoise eyes that had become frozen in the snow outside his and his family's holiday cabin in Bear Lake, two-hundred-forty-seven kilometers north of home and sixty-five kilometers north of Logan.

"I walked up to it, and it was just a frozen little snowball," he told KSTU of Salt Lake City on December 2, 2015. (See "Utah Family Resuscitates Kitten Found Freezing in the Snow; Rescue Caught on Camera.") "There was not a pulse, there was no heartbeat, there was no breathing, it was lifeless, it was cold and lifeless."

He nevertheless carried the kitten inside and handed him over to his younger brother, Justin, who luckily had taken some classes in veterinary medicine while he was studying at Brigham Young University in Provo. "I kind of assumed if I gently started pumping its chest, and got the heart moving and rubbing it -- things like that -- it would start the blood flow and eventually bring the cat back," he theorized to KSTU-TV.

Fluffy Was Back on Her Feet in About an Hour

Wrapping the kitten in a blanket and placing it in front of the fireplace also, sans doute, helped because about an hour later he miraculously revived. Later in the day he even felt well enough in order to wolf down an entire plate of salmon.

"Unbelievable what it looked like, what was going to be a sad start to a Thanksgiving ended up being what we would say is an early Christmas miracle watching this cat literally being brought back to life right in front of our eyes," Brandon concluded to KSTU-TV.

Not surprisingly, the Binghams christened him Lazarus whom, according to John 11: 1-44, was brought back to life by Jesus four days after he had died. He shortly thereafter was adopted by one of the Binghams' cousins in Logan and, at last word, was said to be doing just fine.

Earlier on January 2, 2010, an unidentified Good Samaritan found an attractive thirteen-year-old tuxedo named Annie lying unresponsive in a snowdrift at Main Street and Sweetland Farm in Norfolk, fifty-one kilometers southwest of Boston. Although at first glance she appeared to have frozen to death, the Good Samaritan wrapped her in a blanket and placed her inside a garage before telephoning Animal Control Officer Hilary Cohen.

"On first response, she appeared dead. She was cold, stiff, and unresponsive," Cohen said. "When I picked her up, I did hear an agonal cry, but that sometimes happens postmortem."

What hypothermic cats need first and foremost is to be taken inside and out of the deadly cold and the Good Samaritan is to be given credit for at least doing that much. The second imperative is that they be provided with heat and the Good Samaritan erred egregiously by leaving Annie in a, presumably, unheated garage.

Veterinarians likewise are sometimes guilty of callously placing stricken cats on heating pads that are not functioning properly. It therefore is imperative that owners make doubly certain that such devices are putting out a lot of heat and that their cats are wrapped in blankets and towels.

If neither the veterinarian nor an attendant is rubbing the cat's paws and chest, as Justin Bingham did with Lazarus, they must intervene and do so themselves. By simply consenting to see a cat and to provide it with some level of supportive care,  a surgeon already has collected between US$500 and US$800 and some of them therefore could care less whether it lives or dies.

Thankfully in Annie's case, Cohen knew what to do. "I kept her in the blanket and put her on my lap in the cruiser and headed to the hospital," she later explained. "Once in the car, I turned the heater on and saw a whisker twitch. That was the only sign of reflex from her."

Upon arrival at Acorn Animal Hospital in Franklin, eight kilometers southwest of Norfolk, Annie was immediately diagnosed with a body temperature of only 86° F. She also was so severely emaciated that she weighed only three and one-quarter pounds.

The staff went to work on her in order to elevate her body temperature by using electric blankets, hair dryers, hot water bottles, and heat discs. She was placed on both an IV drip and steroids. A blood test was taken and her heart rate and blood sugar levels were continuously monitored.

Tiny Lazarus Had a Close Shave

The conscientious care that she received from Cohen and the staff paid a huge divided when Annie finally returned to the world of the living seven hours later. Two days following that she was not only eating and drinking but back on her feet to boot.

"I've seen different kinds of animal issues over the years but I've never seen an animal this cold be revived," Cohen afterwards marveled. Her commitment to Annie did not end there, however, in that rather than dumping her at a shelter she compassionately took her home with her so that she could continue to administer heat therapy to her.

On January 5th, Annie's owners came forward and reclaimed her after having read about her rescue in a local newspaper. As it soon was revealed, they had been living in Norfolk for only about a week when Annie had disappeared in early December.

She was only about three-quarters of a mile removed from home when found by the Good Samaritan but she apparently had gotten lost amidst the intervening railroad tracks and other obstacles. Uprooting a cat from home, especially an elderly one, is always an extremely risky proposition and the negligence displayed by Annie's owners in that regard came within an inch of killing her.

If against all odds she should still be alive today, she would be twenty-two years old. (See Cat Defender post of January 21, 2010 entitled "Trapped Outdoors in a Snowstorm, Annie Is Brought Back from the Dead by the Compassion of a Good Samaritan and an Animal Control Officer.")

Most individuals nowadays either own or have access to heated houses and automobiles, hair dryers, blankets, towels, and hot water and with that being the case they certainly do not have a valid excuse for turning their backs on cats and kittens that are suffering from hypothermia. Likewise,  it would not kill them to administer CPR and body massages in order to get the blood in them once again flowing.

It is even possible to purchase intravenous fluids, catheters, heating pads, painkillers, and antibiotics either at selected retailers and wholesalers or online. Plus, those basic tools and medications can be pressed into service in emergencies in order to save the lives of all sorts of cats and not just those that are suffering from the ravages of the cold.

In fact, a good argument could be made that no cat owner should be without a makeshift surgery at home. That is because, first of all, twenty-four-hour veterinary hospitals are about as scarce as hens' teeth.

For instance, the nearest one serving southern New Jersey is located one-hundred-fourteen kilometers north in Tinton Falls. Philadelphia has only two such facilities and one of them is operated by the thoroughly detestable robber barons at the University of Pennsylvania. (See Cat Defender post of March 19, 2014 entitled "The Cheap and Greedy Moral Degenerates at PennVet Extend Their Warmest Christmas Greetings to an Impecunious, but Preeminently Treatable, Cat Via a Jab of Sodium Pentobarbital.")

Despite its massive wealth, Manhattan boasts only a pair of twenty-four-hour surgeries. Cat owners in Raleigh are in even worse shape in that they have only the veterinary school at North Carolina State University to rely upon in emergencies and it normally requires a referral from another veterinarian before it will treat a cat.

By contrast, Kalispell has two, full-time emergency hospitals despite having only twenty-three-thousand residents. As counterintuitive as it may sound, cats and their owners would be far better off residing in the wilds of northern Montana than on the crowded East Coast.

Annie: What Has Become of You?

As dreadful as all of that may be, it is merely the tip of the proverbial iceberg when it comes to the myriad of obstacles that confront owners who are seeking to procure competent veterinary care for their beloved cats. Secondly, just about all twenty-four-hour emergency clinics are staffed, not by registered veterinarians, but rather technicians, nurses, and other assorted part-time and temporary wage earners.

Fervently believing as they do that the world owes them a comfortable living for doing little or no work at all,  veterinarians who are willing to work nights in order to save the life of any animal are a rare breed. Moreover, many of them are too bone-lazy to even work the day shift; instead, they devote the lion's share of their time to, inter alia, drumming up business, attending conferences, traveling, and behaving like big shots.

That in turn forces them into hiring all sorts of flunkies in order to work in their steads and they then pass along the added costs to their clients. The only thing positive that can be said about such a cockeyed business model is that sometimes patients receive better care at the hands of a conscientious veterinary technician than they do from a veterinarian who cares only about taking it easy and counting his shekels.

Thirdly, there is the herculean dilemma of getting a stricken cat to these scarce and out-of-the-way facilities. In that regard, since there is not any ambulance service for cats, owners without access to either automobiles or reliable public transportation are up the creek without a paddle.

Fourthly, there is the near impossible task of locating a veterinarian who is competent. For example, an owner can shell out US$10,000 or more on supportive care and diagnostic testing without even receiving so much in return as a diagnosis of any kind. Worst still, despite an owner's best efforts and largess the cat dies.

Fifthly,  it is all but impossible to find an emergency veterinarian that is affordable unless one happens to be a descendant of John D. Rockefeller. Office visits alone cost a small fortune and from that point onward the charges increase exponentially.

Known in the trade as "invoicing," veterinarians and their subalterns have been known to wear holes in the carpeting racing from their examining rooms to their computers in order to religiously record every single cost of a cat's treatment. In that light, it would be interesting to know just how many cats that these despicable shekel counters have callously allowed to die while they have been busily making out their bills.

The net result of such unchecked greed, patented dishonesty, and gross malpractice is that many owners are left with only humongous bills and dead cats. Most, but not all, veterinarians can be relied upon to successfully vaccinate, sterilize, microchip, and tattoo a cat. Some of them can even now and again be counted upon to successfully mend broken bones but that is about all.

On the other hand, emergency care for most dying cats is the absolute pits. Furthermore, elaborate procedures, such as kidney transplants and stem cell therapy, are beyond the financial reach of all but the super-rich and the well-connected, such as those who work at veterinary hospitals.

Sixthly, the rudeness and total unwillingness of practitioners to inform owners as to what ails their cats and to candidly discuss treatment options with them are insufferable. That is so much the case that even turning up with a wheelbarrow brimming over with stacks of one-hundred-dollar bills is insufficient in order to guarantee honest and civilized behavior from these cretins!

Clearly, small animal practitioners are not a bargain at any price; large animal veterinarians are even worse monsters. It accordingly is small wonder that cats and other animals are treated so shabbily by the remainder of society and the political and legal establishment when callousness and incompetence are about all that they can expect from the veterinary medical profession.

 Cat Fencing Has Been Installed at the Hemingway Home and Museum

As far as Fluffy's future is concerned, her owners have pledged to try and convert her into an indoor cat but that is going to be such a difficult task that even Clark is skeptical. "We'll see if Fluffy likes that or Fluffy doesn't like that," he opined to the Daily Inter Lake.

The difficulty is due principally to the fact that, as far as it is known, she has lived most, if not all, of her life outdoors and owners who attempt to coop up such cats have their hands full. Nothing at all is known about her past other than that she came with the house when her current owners acquired it less than two years ago. It thus would appear that her original owners cruelly left her behind in order to fend for herself in the forbidding cold and rough and tumble wildness of northern Montana when they pulled up stakes and hightailed it elsewhere.

In respect to the first of those two menaces, Kalispell is an especially cold and snowy place for any cat.  The thermometer plunges to below freezing in October and does not climb completely above it until May.

The city additionally receives on the average a whopping 55.7 inches of snow each year with 12.7 inches of that hitting the ground in January alone. It was ever snowier this January when the city received nearly sixteen inches of the white stuff.

Although cats are capable of surviving temperatures as low as 0° F., it often gets even colder than that in Kalispell. Even for those of them that are fortunate enough in order to withstand such hellish cold they often are left with other associated maladies, such as respiratory infections and frostbitten paws, ears, and tongues.

Clearly, no cat belongs outdoors under such intemperate conditions. Rather, they need to be inside heated environments where they have access to hearty and nutritious meals on a daily basis.

In addition to being home to such prolific cat killers as dogs, raccoons, and skunks, Montana also has plenty of grizzlies, wolves, cougars, coyotes, and bald eagles which also prey upon cats. Given that reality on top of Kalispell's horrid winters, it is nothing short of amazing that Fluffy has made it this far in her young life.

Neither Clark nor the media have made much about the matter but when she was found on January 31st Fluffy had unspecified bruises on her body. The position in which she was lying was also suspicious.

"She's crouched down looking like she's hunting something or something's in the snowbank. I suspect that something traumatic happened," Clark speculated to the Daily Inter Lake. "Either something fell on her or she fell or something chased her and she got injured. She couldn't get back to her normal little hiding spot that she goes to."

While all of those explanations are certainly conceivable, none of them seen likely. First of all, owing to their keen sense of hearing and lightning-fast reflexes cats usually are adroit enough in order to elude falling trees and other objects. Secondly, if she had been run to ground by any one of the area's myriad of predators it is highly unlikely that her owners ever would have found so much as either hide or hair of her.

A much more plausible explanation is that she was targeted by a hit-and-run motorist. For instance, she could have been in full stride trying to get away from him when she received a glancing blow but she was somehow able to have kept on going and to have made it home before collapsing.

The position in which she was lying when found also comports with such an explanation. Most cats that are run down by these monsters of the motorways are in full stride when their pursuers step on the gas, turn the wheel over, and cross the white line in order to purposefully mow them down.

Fluffy and Her Owners Have Some Tough Decisions to Make

Depending upon how far out of their way that these devils are willing to go in order to attack a cat, some of their victims die on the roadside while others are able to continue sprinting for several more yards if not indeed even farther. Fluffy's proximity to the nearest street coupled with the nature of the injuries that she sustained would likely shine some light on this theory.

Another possibility is that she could have been chased by yobs and pelted with rocks. For example, a group of them in Seaham Harbor, County Durham, put out one of the noble Nelson's eyes some years ago. (See Cat Defender post of April 16, 2015 entitled "Nelson's Odyssey from Being the Long Abused Cat That Nobody Wanted to One of England's Most Beloved Comes to a Sad End at Age Twenty.")

The only other explanation that readily comes to mind is that she could have suffered some type of a seizure. If so, others likely can be expected to follow and she accordingly very well could be long dead by this time.

Although they possibly could have been the product of an old injury, the bruises found on Fluffy's body would tend to rule out such an explanation. Additionally, there is not any indication in press reports that she has suffered any kind of noticeable neurological damage, such as an unsteady gait, mental sluggishness, and abrupt changes in personality and behavior.

Most telling of all, Clark did not schedule her for either a CT or an MRI. Even if he had done so it is by no means certain that such expensive testing would have proven worthwhile given the veterinary medical profession's almost total incompetence in even so much as properly diagnosing let alone treating such maladies.

As far as it is known, the only practical advice that Clark has given Fluffy's owners and, by extension, those of all outdoor cats, is for them to provide them with plenty of water and a bed so as to keep them from sleeping on the frozen ground. That is not saying much given that in a latitude as cold as Kalispell all outdoor shelters would need to be not only heated and equipped with some means of preventing the drinking water from freezing but also secured against predators.

If Fluffy's owners are unable to accustom her to living indoors, their next best option would be to enclose her inside some type of fenced-in area. Considering the large number of predators in the area, it also would be a good idea for them to string an electrified wire along the outside perimeter of such a facility.

Various types of fencing ranging from free-standing and existing fence conversion to full enclosures are available from, among others, Purr...fect Fence of Orion Township, Michigan. For instance, after the Hemingway Home and Museum lost its ten-year battle royal with the USDA's Animal Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) over the rambles of its peripatetic polydactyls it was forced into erecting such fencing at its historic site in Key West. (See Cat Defender post of January 24, 2013 entitled "The Feds Now Have Cats and Their Owners Exactly Where They Want Them Thanks to an Outrageous Court Ruling Targeting the Hemingway Home and Museum in Key West.")

Adopting such a last-ditch expedient will not be either cheap or easy but nothing rarely is whenever it comes to safeguarding the life of a beloved cat. Fluffy's owners came awfully close to losing her for good but now they have been given a second chance to atone for their past mistakes and it accordingly would be a tragedy of epic proportions if they were to allow such a godsend to slip through their fingers.

The case can be put even more forcibly as far as Fluffy is concerned in that she is such a young female with her entire life in front of her. She therefore richly deserves that opportunity but, as things now stand, only her guardians have it within their power to turn that worthy objective into a reality.
Carpe diem!

Finally, the resuscitations of Fluffy, Lazarus, and Annie should serve as a wake-up call for all individuals who give so much as a whit about the sanctity of feline life. In particular, there is a growing body of research that tends to indicate that it takes some humans up to three hours, in not indeed longer, in order to die and that definitely holds true for cats as well.

The significance of these developments is that whereas the cold-blooded slaughter of thousands of cats every day by veterinarians, shelters, and others is reprehensible enough in its own right, the even darker and more disturbing truth is that a sizable portion of even them are being left either untreated to die prolonged, agonizing deaths on their own or burned and buried while they are still very much alive. (See Cat Defender posts of June 24, 2013, November 12, 2011, and February 7, 2012 entitled, respectively, "Buried Long Before Her Time, Muffin Is Freed from the Crypt by Her Devoted Six-Year-Old Snuggling Partner," "The Multiple Attempts Made Upon Andrea's Life Graphically Demonstrate the Urgent Need for an Immediate Ban on the Killing of All Shelter Animals," and "Long-Suffering Andrea Finally Secures a Permanent Home after Incredibly Surviving Quadruple Attempts Made on Her Life by an Unrepentant Utah Shelter.")

Photos: the Animal Clinic of Kalispell (Fluffy), Brandon Bingham (Lazarus), The Sun Chronicle of Attleboro (Annie), and Purr...fect Fence (Hemingway Home and Museum).

Friday, March 01, 2019

Lovely and Sedate Caroline Is Facing an Uphill Struggle after First Having Been Cruelly Abandoned and Then Diagnosed with a Serious Disease

Caroline Shortly after Her Arrival at Tierheim Heppenheim

"Vielleicht ergibt sich für die nette Seniorin noch eine Chance."
-- Tierheim Heppenheim

Caroline is a lovely gray, yellow, and white female with a pleasingly "freundliche und ruhige" personality. With all of that going for her, she should have the world by the tail but that, leider, is hardly the case.

In this life, the blessings that The Fates bestow upon both cats and men are almost always offset with equal measures of fatal flaws, assorted miseries, and just plain rotten luck. So, too, has it been the case with Caroline.

At the present, she has three things working against her and the first of which is Father Time. Specifically, at somewhere between ten and eleven years old she is no longer a young cat.

Secondly and of most immediate concern, she is currently incarcerated at a shelter in Heppenheim, eighty-four kilometers south of Darmstadt in Kreis Bergstraße, Hesse, and there is not any guarantee that she will ever leave that facility via the front door. Although it is difficult to understand how that anyone could so cruelly abandon such a beautiful and sweet cat, especially at her age, that appears auf den ersten Blick to have been the case.

According to a January 18th article posted on Facebook by Tierheim Heppenheim at Außerhalle 65, where she is currently being held, she was picked up in Lorsch, a small town of thirteen-thousand souls nine kilometers west of Heppenheim. Presumably she was trapped and brought to the Tierheim a few days before that and the timing of her travails lends itself to the suspicion that her previous owners cruelly abandoned her shortly after Christmas.

Regardless of whether they pass themselves off as either true believers or as simply heathens who make a habit out of observing the holidays, Christians continue to disgust and nauseate. That is due in large part to their inability to accumulate enough piety, morality, and compassion to ever do either anyone or any animal so much as a jot of good. As Abraham Lincoln once pointed out, "I care not much for a man's religion whose dog and cat are not the better for it."

Although it is remotely possible that Caroline could have become involuntarily separated from her owners, that does not appear to be likely given that she was tattooed and that both her photograph and story have appeared in the local media. Nonetheless, it still might be well worth Tierheim Heppenheim's while to contact local veterinarians in order to determine if any of them recall treating and tattooing her.

Robbed of Her Home and Freedom, Caroline Is Now on Death Row

If it is correct to assume that Caroline was abandoned shortly after Christmas, she consequently was only on the street for two to three weeks but that surely was not an easy time for her, especially considering her age and the likelihood that she previously had been primarily, if not exclusively, an indoor cat. For in addition to procuring food and water as well as persevering against the fury of Old Man Winter, she also had to fend off both human and animal predators as well.

Thirdly and most devastating of all, she has tested positive for the Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV), which also is known as Katzenaids. What, if any, role that may have played in her owners' heartless and totally unforgivable decision to desert her is not known.

Some of the symptoms commonly associated with the disease, which can go undiagnosed for years, include enlarged lymph nodes, fever, anemia, a poor appetite accompanied by weight loss, a disheveled coat, diarrhea, conjunctivitis and discharges from the eyes and nose, gingivitis, stomatitis, dental woes, skin redness, and inexplicable changes in behavior. Photographs can be misleading but in those supplied by the Tierheim Caroline certainly looks to be the very picture of health.

Up until fairly recently, a diagnosis of FIV constituted an immediate death sentence for infected cats but, mercifully, most thinking on this subject has advanced somewhat and that is no longer always the case. In fact, infected cats can live anywhere from two to twelve years with the disease provided that they are lucky enough not to contract any secondary infections.

They can even safely reside in homes alongside FIV-negative cats so long as there is not any fighting that results in deep bite wounds which, along with blood transfusions and mother-to-kitten transmissions, are the principal means by which the virus is spread. Contrary to folklore, it cannot be transmitted by the sharing of food and water bowls and cats using the same litter boxes. It likewise is not spread by social grooming, sneezing, and casual contact.

Although the malady is estimated to afflict somewhere between 2.5 and 4.4 per cent of cats worldwide it is, not surprisingly, outdoor, unneutered toms that are the most susceptible to contracting it. Although in some quarters the disease is alternatively referred to as the fighting cat disease, it every bit as accurately could be dubbed the Paarungszeit Krankheit.

Since females are not scrappers, Caroline likely inherited the virus from her mother. Another possibility is that she at one time became gravely ill and contracted the disease through a blood transfusion.

Caroline Is Weathering Her Enforced Captivity as Best She Can...

In that case, if the veterinarian who passed along tainted blood to her could ever be identified and located that sorry son of a bitch should not only be held civilly liable for the cost of her treatment but also have his license to practice veterinary medicine revoked. Such inexcusable negligence can only be attributed to a duke's mixture of cheapness, laziness, and a total disregard for Caroline's welfare.

Shelters, catteries, and rescue groups that fail to test the cats that they sell back to the public for FIV are equally negligent if not downright dishonest. For example in late July of 2014, Doris Wienen-Sobótka of the Schmidt section of Nideggen in Nordrhein Westfalen purchased a one-year-old tomcat named Rufus for €95 from Tierschutzverein für den Kreis Düren (Tierheim Düren), thirty-nine kilometers northeast of Aachen, that later turned out to be FIV-positive.

Although the shelter tattooed, sterilized, and microchipped him, it did not test his blood owing to budgetary constraints and Sobótka only learned that he had the disease when she later took him to a veterinarian in Schmidt to be tested. "Ich fühle mich emotional und finanziell heringelegt, mir fehlen die Worte," she raged to the Aachener Zeitung on August 13, 2014. (See "Katzenaids: Vermitteltes Tier war sterbenskrank.")

In defense of his shelter's adoption policies, Hermann Josef Heinrichs afterwards acknowledged that Tierheim Düren only tested those cats that it suspected of carrying the virus. "Mit fünfundneunzig Euro sind die Kosten für die Mindestprävention, die wir vornehmen, nicht abgedeckt," he told the Aachener Zeitung. "Grundsätzlich muss man sagen:  Es gibt keine Garantie für die Gesundheit eines Tieres."

Although Rufus could have safely resided indoors with Sabótka's three-year-old resident feline, she nonetheless insisted that Tierheim Düren take him back. That decision most likely was based in part upon the fact that she had adopted him in the first place with the intention of having him live outdoors.

Despite all of that, she laid off all the blame on Tierheim Düren. "Rufus hat sein Zuhause verloren," she hypocritically moaned to the Aachener Zeitung. "Es belastet mich sehr, dass er nun wahrscheinlich ein trauriges, einsames Dasein in einer Quarantänebox fristet, wenn er überhaupt noch lebt."

As things soon turned out, Rufus was killed off by Tierheim Düren when Sabótka easily could have saved his life. It was much easier, however, for that phony-baloney Katzenfreundin to have blamed the shelter.

... but She Undoubtedly Fears the Worst and Is Under Considerable Strain

In addition to infecting perfectly healthy animals with tainted blood, veterinarians and shelters additionally nakedly exploit cats as long-term blood donors. (See Cat Defender post of December 13, 2010 entitled "Christopher, Who Has Persevered Through Tragedy and Given Back So Much, Is Now Being Held Captive for His Valuable Blood.")

On its web site, Tierheim Heppenheim states that Caroline has been sterilized but it does not specify whether that occurred before or after her arrival. That in turn opens up the remote possibility that she could have been infected by a tomcat during mating, which sometimes can get rather rough and always involves considerable biting.

In that respect, taking care of unaltered cats is seldom easy. For instance, the constant breeding, birthing, and rearing of kittens exacts a heavy toll from females.

Toms, on the other hand, not only injure each other and spread deadly diseases but their aggressiveness and bullying, sooner or later, forces out their rivals. When that happens the outcasts usually end up as either roadkill, succumb to hunger and the elements, or are trapped and killed by Animal Control officers and shelters.

Sterilizing them helps but that is not a complete solution to a complex and vexing dilemma. As a result, even their most ardent supporters often find themselves at their wits' end when it comes to keeping them both contented as well as safe and healthy. Even more distressing, there does not seem to be any end to the myriad of ways in which an owner can fail a cat.

Veterinary science is changing all the time but as far as it is known there is neither a vaccine nor a cure for FIV. Aside from closely monitoring and aggressively treating any secondary health issues that arise, it is recommended that FIV-positive cats be sterilized in order to prevent them from passing along the virus to their offspring and that they be maintained in stress-free, indoor environments.

A healthy diet that is devoid of raw meat and uncooked eggs, electrolyte replacement therapy, anti-inflammatory drugs, immune system enhancing drugs, and parasite control also are recommended. Twice-yearly veterinary checkups that include blood and urine tests also are considered standard by most practitioners.

 Caroline Is Hoping for an Eleventh-Hour Miracle

Left untreated, FIV-positive cats can come down with cancer, renal failure, and various blood disorders. On the other hand, all of those deadly diseases plus anemia, liver damage, bone marrow depressions, and gastrointestinal difficulties are common side effects associated with the administration of Zidovudine, an HIV antiviral that is manufactured by Glaxo-Smith-Kline but also prescribed by some veterinarians as a so-called "extra-label" treatment for both FIV and the Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV). (See Nicholas Dodman of Pet Place, August 7, 2015, "Zidovudine (AZT, Retrovir®) for Cats.")

Ideally, Tierheim Heppenheim would like to place Caroline with an apartment dweller who also has an enclosed balcony so that she could occasionally get some sun and fresh air. A homeowner with a fenced-in garden would be even better provided that her new guardian would be willing to either watch over her while she is outside or to string a net across the top of her outdoor playground.

To its credit, the shelter has been up front about Caroline's condition but that in no way makes its job of securing a new home for her any easier. Just the very mention of FIV still scares the bejesus out of most would-be adopters.

"Vielleicht ergibt sich für die nette Seniorin noch eine Chance," Tierheim Heppenheim pleaded with the readers of the Echo of Darmstadt on February 16th. (See "Tier die Woche: Katze Caroline braucht viel Zuwendung.")

Since it is not believed that Tierheim Heppenheim is a no-kill operation, the sand may be rapidly running out of the hourglass as far as Caroline is concerned. Even so, that does not necessarily mean that she has to end up like Rufus.

Anyone who therefore would be willing to spare this wonderful, but terribly unlucky, cat's life is encouraged to contact the shelter either by telephone at 49-06252-72637, by email at info@tierheim-heppenheim.de, on the web at www.tierheim-heppeheim.de, or on Facebook.

Caroline still has considerable life left in her and tons of love and companionship to offer some extremely fortunate individual who would be willing to adopt her. All that she really needs is another chance at life.

Photos: Tierheim Heppenheim.

Friday, February 15, 2019

A Wabash College Student Risks His Life in Order to Save a Cat That Had Fallen Through the Ice on a Frozen Lake but That Was Far from Being the Last of Its Miseries

Darden Schurg Carries the Cold and Soaking-Wet Cat Ashore

"I was really concerned because of the thin ice, and then after the cat fell through I knew it was go time. I knew there was short time so I had to act fast."
-- Darden Schurg

Christmas Eve was a sunny but rather cold day in tiny Hobart, fifty kilometers southeast of Chicago in northern Indiana. It was so cold in fact that an overnight low of 26° Fahrenheit had left a patina of shallow ice on Lake George, a five-kilometer-long mill pond in Deep River.

Darden Schurg, a twenty-one-year-old senior and top ranked wrestler at Wabash College in Crawfordsville, one-hundred-eighty-eight kilometers south of Hobart, just happened to be at home with his family for the holidays when disaster struck for a forever nameless orange cat. He and his brothers had just finished eating breakfast and were sitting around the table playing cards when their father looked out the window just in time to see the unfortunate cat fall through the ice.

Owing to the brittle nature of it, the cat was unable to gain sufficient purchase in order to extricate itself from the water and therefore was in imminent danger of either drowning or succumbing to hypothermia. The family briefly toyed with the idea of cobbling together an impromptu rescue plan but there simply was not the time for even that.

Schurg's unidentified elder brother was the first one to venture into the lake but he quickly abandoned that effort owing to the bitter cold and frigid water. That in turn left the cat's fate solely in Darden's hands.

"I was really concerned because of the thin ice, and then after the cat fell through I knew it was go time," he later told the Indianapolis Star on December 28th. (See "Wabash Wrestler Saves Drowning Cat from Frozen Lake.") "I knew there was short time so I had to act fast."

Despite a daytime temperature that peaked at only 34° Fahrenheit, he stripped down to a pair of black drawers and then dived headfirst into the frozen lake. Using only his powerful arms and legs in order to break apart the "sharp as glass" ice, he quickly traversed the thirty to forty yards that separated him from the object of his compassion.

"Once I started kicking, I was able to get through that ice," Schurg told the New York Daily News on December 29th. (See "College Wrestler Risks His Life Diving into Icy Lake to Save Feral Cat.")

As for the traumatized cat, it so far had been holding its own. "He was fighting pretty good, and when he could see that I had jumped into the water I think he kind of knew I was coming to help him, so he just kind of stopped struggling," he theorized to CBS-TV of Chicago on December 28th. (See "College Student Rescues Cat That Fell in Frozen Lake.")

He accordingly was able to swim right up to it, gather it in his arms, and safely carry it ashore. "I could tell he was an outside feral cat 'cause he was kind of growling and hissing at me, but he was too cold to be able to do anything," he related to the Inquisitr of Brooklyn on December 29th. (See "Wabash College Wrestler Darden Schurg Nicknamed 'Aquaman' after Saving Drowning Cat in Viral Video.") "So, I kind of took the hisses and the growling as a thank you."

From all appearances, Schurg's heroics came in just the nick of time because it is highly doubtful that the cat could have persevered for much longer. "He was pretty bad. I think he was kind of a little bit frozen. He kind of came out of it (in) a little bit of a shock," he told CBS-TV of Chicago. "He went under the dock and hid for a little bit. He came out and kind of shook off and sat in the sun. The temperature was starting to come back up."

The entire rescue was filmed by Schurg's sister-in-law, Hilda, who later posted it on Facebook and by December 28th it already had been viewed more than twenty-five-thousand times and shared an additional four-hundred-fifty times. That in turn not only transformed him into a hometown hero but also an international star.

He later was dubbed "Aquaman" in reference to the 2018 science fiction flick of the same name about the mythical ancient Greek island of Atlantis. It was, however, the high praise that he received from his father that pleased him the most. "He was super proud of me," he confided to the New York Daily News.

In spite of all the hoopla, he has remained modest and perhaps even a bit humbled by the unexpected turn of events. "I love all the outpouring (of) support, and I'm just so thankful that I was given this opportunity because it's that quick moment in time and you have such a short time to respond," he told CBS-TV of Chicago. "I was just happy that I was in the right place at the right time and able to do the right thing."

None of those considerations in any way altered his belated realization that his derring-do had come at a steep price. "My adrenaline did most of the work, but the toughest challenge was the fifteen minutes after I got back inside," he told the Indianapolis Star. "I was light-headed and cold."

That is putting the case rather mildly in that his fingers and toes remained numb for hours. Knifing through the ice also had left him with superficial cuts to his face, forehead, hands, chest, and legs.

"I didn't realize how sharp the ice was until I had gotten out," he admitted to CBS-TV of Chicago. "I was a little taken aback myself. I looked down, and I was completely covered head to toe in blood."

Despite all the pain and punishment that the cold and ice had inflicted upon him, he was far from having any regrets. "I feel like it was just something I had to do," he told the New York Daily News. "I kind of have a small place (in my heart) for animals, and I love wildlife, so seeing the cat kind of bothered me. I just couldn't stand by."

Through his compassion and heroism he thus has joined the ranks of a select few remarkable and totally unforgettable individuals who have rendered extraordinary service on behalf of the species. Most prominently, there is twenty-two-year-old Kristina Clark of Copper Center who was willing to be jailed by the fascist police so long as at the end of the day she was able to secure emergency veterinary care for her ailing cat. (See Cat Defender post of February 15, 2014 entitled "An Indefatigable Young Alaskan Woman Overcomes a Lack of Money, a Jailing by the Police, and a Series of Avalanches in Order to Save Ninja's Life.")

Chris Muth of Brooklyn was confined to a nuthouse for so much as daring to attempt to rescue a lost cat. (See Cat Defender post of August 4, 2008 entitled "A Brooklyn Man Gets Locked Up in a Nuthouse and Then Loses Digs, Job, and Honey All for Attempting to Save His Friend's Cat, Rumi.")

Fifty-five-year-old Hannelore Schmedes from the Mahlum section of Bockenem in Niedersachsen was forced to spend thirty-five days in the slammer for stealing food in order to feed her starving cats. (See Cat Defender post of February 12, 2011 entitled "A Disabled Former Casino Worker Is Sent to Jail for Shoplifting Food in Order to Feed Her Twelve Cats.")

John Beck was fired by Cornell University in Ithaca for showing compassion for hungry cats. (See Cat Defender post of June 14, 2006 entitled "A Kindhearted Dairyman, Sacked for Feeding Feral Cats, Files a $20 Million Lawsuit Against Cornell University.")

Jennifer Foster risked being attacked and injured herself by intervening in order to save a neighbor's cat from a coyote. (See Cat Defender post of December 4, 2007 entitled "A Grieving Widow Risks Her Own Life in Order to Save Cosmo from the Jaws of a Hungry Coyote in Thousand Oaks.")

"I'm sure anyone in my situation would feel the same way," is nonetheless how that Schurg shrugged off his herculean rescue to the Indianapolis Star.

On that point he is dead wrong, however, in that there are not too many owners who would have done what he did in order to have saved their own cats, let alone either a homeless one or one that was owned by someone else. In fact, only two other individuals in recent memory come to mind as having sustained serious bodily injuries while rescuing cats.

The first of which was fifty-eight-year-old Ruth Butterworth of Brisbane who went toe-to-toe with a python in order to save the life of her cat. (See Cat Defender post of March 14, 2008 entitled "A Brisbane Woman Is Bitten Twice by a Voracious Python but Still Somehow Manages to Save the Life of Her Cat Tuffy.")

Darden Schurg and Some of the Superficial Injuries That He Sustained

The other one was twenty-eight-year-old Rachel Honeycutt who wound up in a coma in a hospital after she was mowed down by a hit-and-run driver while attempting to save a pair of kittens that had been dumped on the East-West Connector in Cobb County. (See Cat Defender post of August 10, 2009 entitled "A Georgia Woman Is Struck and Nearly Killed by a Motorist while Attempting to Rescue a Pair of Kittens That Had Been Dumped in the Middle of a Busy Highway.")

After all, man's expertise always has been in demonizing and exterminating cats en masse rather than valuing and saving their precious lives. Even Schurg has been called upon the carpet by certain unidentified public officials and forced into justifying his actions.

"I took the risk after considering all of my options and ensuring my safety above all else," he told the Huffington Post on December 29th. (See "College Wrestler Leaps into Icy Lake to Rescue Cat.") "I would not recommend trying this unless you are sure of your capabilities. The body only takes minutes to shutdown when introduced to freezing waters."

The backlash that he has received is typical of the malarkey that the public has come to expect from America's privileged class of policemen and firemen who categorically refuse to come to the aid of cats in extremis. Even worse, the former shoot them on sight while the overwhelming majority of the latter not only leave them stranded in trees and on electrical wires to plunge to their deaths but delight in making asinine jokes about their plight. (See Cat Defender posts of September 27, 2014 and November 9, 2017 entitled, respectively, "Falsely Branded as Being Rabid by a Cat-Hater, an Animal Control Officer, and the Gorham Police Department, Clark Is Hounded Down and Blasted with a Shotgun" and "Forest Is Rescued from High Atop a Dead Cherry Tree in an Exceedingly Rare Display of Ailurophilia on the Part of an American Firefighter.")

Such thinking and behavior demonstrates conclusively that neither group nor the politicians who so handsomely reward and so strenuously defend them against their detractors believe that the life of any cat is worth saving. Even more telling, they do not even care about the welfare of noble souls, such as Schurg, who attempt valiant rescues of cats and other animals that are in distress.

Au contraire, they only care about themselves and their beloved shekels. Being essentially little more than bone-lazy parasites who devote their worthless lives to lounging around on the public's dime, they discourage individuals, such as Schurg, from intervening in such matters out of an absurd fear that they might get into distress. That in turn would necessitate that they might actually have to temporarily forsake their cozy offices, brave the bitter cold, and even get their feet wet while attempting to save the lives of these kindhearted individuals.

Despite his simply spectacular rescue of the cat, it did not take Schurg long to undo the tremendous good that he had done. Most outrageous of all, after placing the cat down on the dock in order to dry off he callously allowed it to run off without even taking it to a veterinarian. At the very least, he should have taken it home in order to have given it a chance to thoroughly dry out and for its body temperature to have returned to normal.

Hilda later told the Huffington Post that the reason that they did not take either of those measures was that the cat was feral. For whatever it is worth, she additionally claims that the cat seemed to be okay.

First of all, absolutely no one can tell on sight with any degree of certainty whether or not a cat is feral. For example, many fully domesticated ones have, for good reason, an ingrained fear of all strangers.

Shelters, Animal Control officers, and other rescue personnel knowingly exploit this fear as a convenient excuse for exterminating millions of them each year. The reality of the situation is just the opposite in that even those of them that have lived on their own for years can be domesticated to varying degrees. (See Cat Defender post of July 24, 2017 entitled "A Rescue Group in British Columbia Compassionately Elects to Spare Grandpa Mason's Life and in Return for Doing So It Receives an Unexpected Reward Worth More Than Gold Itself.")

Instead of cruelly abandoning the cat that he had risked his life in saving, Schurg should have seized the moment by taking it home and, if needed, socializing it. Speaking more broadly, it is long past overdue that all individuals, professionals and amateurs alike, stopped spreading the malicious lie that there is any such thing as a feral cat.

"A cat is a cat and that is that," an early American proverb maintains but instead of progressing the public's intellect on this subject has regressed. Moreover, for shelters to kill homeless cats is no less morally abhorrent than it is for cops and juvenile thugs to beat to death homeless men.

Soon after his heroics Schurg returned to school in Crawfordsville and the only public concession that he and his family have made concerning the welfare of the cat has been a weak promise on the part of the patriarch to keep an eye out for it. Such a declaration can only be described as an utterly laughable example of beau geste.

Most disturbing of all, it now appears in hindsight that Schurg's rescue served only to prolong the inevitable. Both the capitalist as well as social media have, typically, forgotten all about the cat but it truly would be a miracle if it survived the wave of unstinting extremely cold weather that has swept across Hobart and the remainder of the eastern half of the United States since Christmas.

According to data supplied by AccuWeather, the thermometer plunged to 9° Fahrenheit in Hobart on January 21st. The reading on January 24th was 6° F and that was followed by overnight lows of 0° F, -3° F, and 0° F on, respectively, January 25th, January 26th, and January 27th.

The reading on January 28th was 11° F but that was followed by -5° F, -20° F, -17° F, and 3° F on, respectively, January 29th, January 30th, January 31st, and February 1st. Unless the cat was able to somehow have gotten inside where it was reasonably warm, it likely froze to death on one of those hellishly cold nights.

Even if it had been lucky enough to earlier have secured shelter underneath a building of some sort it is doubtful that it survived the polar vortex that arrived during the last week of January. That in turn means that the Schurgs ultimately are responsible for its death because they alone had it well within their capacity to have alleviated its plight and yet they knowingly and willingly turned it loose to brave the cruel, hard, and unforgiving cold that lay ahead.

At the end of the day, half-hearted efforts and acts of beau geste do not count for very much when it comes to saving cats. Likewise, protecting them is not a parlor game in the same fashion that Dame Agatha treated murder.

It therefore is imperative they be kept either indoors or provided with heated shelters during the wintertime. They also require a steady supply of good quality meat, water that is not frozen, and access to, if any can be found, top-notch veterinary care.

The dangers that Old Man Winter presents for cats are almost too numerous to even catalog. First and foremost there are, as the orange cat found out, the perils posed by ice and frozen bodies of water. (See Cat Defender posts of January 13, 2006, March 5, 2007, March 25, 2011, and February 23, 2015 entitled, respectively, "Montana Firefighters Rescue a 'Lucky' Cat Who Was Caged and Purposefully Thrown into an Icy River," "Run Down by a Motorist and Frozen to the Ice by His Own Blood, Roo Is Saved by a Caring Woman," "Compassionate Construction Workers Interrupt Their Busy Day in Order to Rescue Chabot-Matrix from a Stream in Maine," and "Abandoned to Tough It Out by His Lonesome in the Deadly Michigan Cold and Snow, Flick Sustains Horrific Injuries to His Front Paws When They Become Frozen to a Porch.")

The bitter cold and deep snowfalls are two additional obstacles that are nearly impossible for cats to overcome. (See Cat Defender posts of May 8, 2009, January 21, 2010, February 2, 2015, and May 13, 2015 entitled, respectively, "Domino, Feral and All Alone, Faces an Uncertain Future in Wisconsin Following an Unplanned Trip to Arizona," "Trapped Outdoors in a Snowstorm, Annie Is Brought Back from the Dead by the Compassion of a Good Samaritan and an Animal Control Officer," "Cruelly Denatured and Locked Up Indoors for All of His Life, Nicky Is Suddenly Thrust into the Bitter Cold and Snow for Twenty-One Consecutive Days with Predictably Tragic Results," and "Bubba Is Condemned to Spend Forty Days Trapped Underneath a Snow-Covered Porch after Her Uncaring Owners Prematurely Wrote Her Off as Being Dead.")

Like humans, cats also come down with the flu and common colds but those that live outdoors seldom, if ever, receive the treatment that they richly deserve and require. (See Cat Defender posts of March 8, 2006, March 17, 2006, and June 26, 2009 entitled, respectively, "Vogelgrippe Claims the Life of a Kater on Deutschland's Rügen Islet. Could Humans Be Next?" "Two More Cats and a Steinmarder Die of Vogelgrippe on Insel Rügen Prompting Panicky Owners to Abandon Their Felines at Shelters," and "Emaciated and Suffering from the Flu, Katzen-Mama Fights Off a Vicious Fox in Order to Save Her Four Kittens.")

The widespread and indiscriminate use of antifreeze, the poisonous chemicals that are spread on streets and sidewalks in order to melt snow and ice, and the siren call of warm engines are three additional, but not often mentioned, hazards that bedevil the lives of cats. (See Cat Defender posts of July 2, 2007 and January 5, 2006 entitled, respectively, "Cats Are Being Poisoned with Antifreeze in San Francisco but Animal Control Refuses to Take the Killings Seriously" and "A 'Miracle' Cat Survives a Seventy-Mile Trip Down the New Jersey Turnpike by Clinging to the Drive Shaft of an SUV.")

When it rains it pours and in that respect it is quite often the dead of winter that despisers of the species select as the time in order to commit some of their most dastardly acts of cruelty. (See Cat Defender posts of December 9, 2008 and March 14, 2015 entitled, respectively, "Shaven from Head to Tail and Left to Freeze to Death in the Ontario Cold, Chopper Is Saved at the Last Minute" and "Ace Is Found Frozen to a Porch with His Eyes Goughed Out but the Authorities Are Too Lazy, Cheap, and Ailurophobic to Go After His Assailant.")

Climate change also is dramatically endangering the lives of cats, especially those that are forced to live outdoors. It therefore is mandatory that practitioners of TNR above the Mason-Dixon line install heaters inside the shelters of the cats that live under their care and control.

On the West Coast, wildfires and mudslides are the principal concerns while along the Atlantic and Gulf Coast states hurricanes are becoming not only more powerful but frequent as well. It therefore should be axiomatic that weather that is unfit for humans to be out in is likewise unhealthy for cats but that self-evident reality continues to escape the grasp of most individuals, just as it did the Schurg family in Hobart.

Photos: Facebook.

Saturday, January 19, 2019

The American Bird Conservancy, a Stench of the Federal Bench, and New York State Parks Pool Their Resources in Order to Put the Screws to the Jones Beach Cats

 Spatt the Scat Cares Nothing for Either Evidence or the Law

"This lawsuit appears to be part of a larger pattern by the American Bird Conservancy to advocate for its vision of an American landscape in which all cats have been eradicated, and it is inappropriately trying to use the Endangered Species Act as a tool to further this dark agenda."
-- Becky Robinson of Alley Cat Allies

Homeless cats and their supporters were dealt a crushing defeat on August 4th when a federal judge ordered all current and future members of the species to be evicted from Jones Beach State Park in the hamlet of Wantagh in Hempstead, fifty-eight kilometers west of Manhattan on Long Island. That high-handed and simply outrageous miscarriage of justice was handed down by ninety-three-year-old Brooklynite Arthur D. Spatt of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York in nearby Central Islip, forty-two kilometers northeast of Jones Beach, and in doing so he bestowed upon inveterate cat-haters and defamers David A. Krauss and Susan Scioli of the American Bird Conservancy (ABC) in The Plains, Virginia, one of their sweetest victories to date.

At issue in this case was, supposedly, the safety and well-being of piping plovers (Charadrius melodus), small, sand-colored shorebirds, that arrive at Jones Beach in mid-April in order to breed before returning in late August and early September to their winter homes in the Caribbean, the Gulf of Mexico, and elsewhere along the southern Atlantic coast. From start to finish, no one involved in this cause célèbre, least of all Spatt the Scat and the defendant, Rose Harvey, commissioner of New York State's Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation ((NYS Parks), which administers Jones Beach, had so much as a kind word to say for either the cats or their dedicated caretakers.

It is not known with any exactitude just how long the cats had been residing at the beach, but most likely they had been there ever since the area was settled and both year-round and as well as seasonal residents cruelly began using it as a convenient dumping ground in order to get rid of those that they no longer wanted. "We get one or two a month," Marion McKenna, one of their longtime caretakers, told The New York Times on April 17, 2015. (See "At a Long Island Beach, Human Tempers Flare over Claws and Feathers.")

What is known is that her colleague, nearby resident Stephanie Capuano, had been caring for them for at least eighteen years and that they had been permanent, year-round residents as opposed to the seasonal plovers. She and her colleagues sheltered, fed, watered, vaccinated, and medicated the cats out of their own funds and were not paid so much as a red cent for their labors. The town of Hempstead, however, did help them to sterilize an indeterminate number of them.

Until the ABC went on the offensive, the arrangement had worked out quite well for all concerned and the number of homeless cats had dwindled significantly over the years. "We understand that there were over one-hundred cats at Jones Beach ten years ago," Peter Osborne of Alley Cat Allies (ACA) of Bethesda, Maryland, told the Examiner of Washington on June 8, 2016. (See "New York Aims to Toss Lawsuit Targeting Jones Beach Feral Cats.") "Today, we understand the number generally used is about thirty cats."

In court filings, the feline population was pegged at twenty-three but regardless of the actual number all of them are now gone and any future arrivals also will be given the boot. "It's disgraceful the bird people have sued the parks," Capuano lamented to the Daily Mail on April 4, 2016. (See "Cats Versus Birds: Natural Enemies the Focus of New York Legal Battle.")

McKenna echoed those sentiments. "Nobody has bothered us. The park's staff all know who we are," she added to The New York Times. "We've never had any trouble. It's just the bird people."

Although NYS Parks reportedly had been attempting to get rid of the cats and their caretakers for as far back as 2006, the beginning of the end of their tenure began in March of 2016 when the ABC filed a lawsuit demanding that they be permanently removed from the park. In doing so, it once again trotted out all of its well-rehearsed libels and slanders against the species.

"People think that a well-fed cat isn't going to bother chasing down these birds," the organization's Glenn Phillips told The New York Times. "But it doesn't work that way. They are driven by instinct."

That is hardly earth-shattering news in that of course cats chase birds just as they do mice, strings, and about anything else that moves, but what he fails to mention is that it actually is quite difficult for them to catch and kill birds. He also jumps to the erroneous conclusion that all cats are alike in both personality and disposition and that is patently untrue in that many cats do not hunt at all.

"In fact, a well-fed cat is a better predator," Phillips continued to The New York Times. "A healthier cat is better able to run and pounce."

That is utter nonsense in that cats do not kill birds by running and pouncing because their intended victims would see and hear them coming for afar and immediately take to the air. That is even more so the case on beaches.

On the contrary, the relatively few skillful avian killers that actually exist hide in tall grass and use their exceptional hearing and lightning fast reflexes in order to take down birds by surprise with their claws. Even under that scenario many birds are still able to get to their feet and fly off owing to their attackers' rather poor eyesight.

It possibly could be an entirely different story if they were able to get at newly-born birds while they were still in their nests and unable to fly but, according to some press reports, the nests of the plovers at Jones Beach are protected by circular cages and other devices. The failure of the ABC to acknowledge these realities is just one more example among many of its total unwillingness to ever tell the truth about a solitary thing.

Besides, so what if cats do occasionally kill birds? Not only do they reciprocate in kind by killing cats and kittens but ornithologists, both amateurs and professionals, often take the law into their own hands and do likewise.

If it were possible to conduct an accurate accounting, it surely would show that birds and their advocates kill far more cats than vice-versa. (See Cat Defender posts of July 31, 2006, August 14, 2008, August 1, 2011, and February 16, 2012 entitled, respectively, "A Fifteen-Year-Old Cat Named Bamboo Miraculously Survives Being Abducted and Mauled by a Hoot Owl in British Columbia," "Birds Killing Cats: Blackie Is Abducted by a Sea Gull and Then Dropped but Her Fall Is Broken by a Barbed-Wire Fence," "Eddie Is Saved by an Outdoor Umbrella after He Is Abducted and Then Dropped by a Redtailed Hawk," and "Hawk Suffers Puncture Wounds to His Stomach and One Paw When He Is Abducted by a Raptor Hired to Patrol a City Dump on Vancouver Island," plus The Mirror of London, June 4, 2009, "Crows Attack Cat Stuck Seventy Feet Up Tree.")

It also is important to bear in mind that plovers, like all birds, are not the innocent little angels that the ABC claims. For instance, they eat worms, beetles, insect larvae, crustaceans, and mollusks as well as other small marine animals and their eggs. (See Cat Defender post of May 6, 2008 entitled "The National Audubon Society Wins the Right for an Invasive Species of Shorebirds to Prey Upon Unborn Horseshoe Crabs.")

Based solely upon the ABC's rhetoric, entomologists would be entirely justified in calling for the removal of birds from the environment in order to protect declining insect populations. (See Common Dreams, October 16, 2018, " 'One of the Most Disturbing Articles I Have Ever Read' Scientist Says of Study Detailing Climate-Driven 'Bugpocalypse'.")

Furthermore, Phillips' assertion that well-fed cats do more hunting than those that are on the verge of starvation is simply asinine. For example, those cats that clearly can be seen waiting patiently each morning and evening at their feeding stations for their TNR caretakers to arrive and feed them are, quite obviously, not stalking birds or any other animals at those times of the day.

A Survivor with No Place to Go

In 2013, Michael Cove of North Carolina State University in Raleigh conducted a study of the diets of free-roaming cats in Key Largo's Crocodile Lake National Wildlife Refuge and in Big Pine Key's National Key Deer Refuge and from that exercise he concluded that more than eighty per cent of their diets were derived from anthropogenic sources. (See the Florida Keys Free Press of Tavernier, September 6, 2017, "Study: Refuge Cats Fed Mostly by Humans.")

In addition to the ABC's sottise about the hunting prowess and dietary preferences of cats, it also claims that they are a threat to humans because they allegedly spread hookworm, rabies, and toxoplasmosis. First of all, such an argument was not germane because what was at stake in this instance was the well-being of plovers, not humans.

Secondly, the ABC's claims are ludicrous in that if they contained so much as a scintilla of validity those diseases would be at epidemic proportions and local, state, and federal health officials would have intervened long ago. On the contrary, it is precisely the ABC's beloved birds that pose a threat to human health.

For instance, they not only spread deadly strains of influenza but they also destroy crops as well. It is axiomatic but nonetheless worthwhile to point out that scarecrows are not erected in gardens and on farms in order to scare away cats.

Plus, bird flu not only kills humans but cats as well. (See Cat Defender posts of March 8, 2006 and March 17, 2006 entitled, respectively, "Vogelgrippe Claims the Life of a Kater on Deutschland's Rügen Islet. Could Humans Be Next?" and "Two More Cats and a Steinmarder Die of Vogelgrippe on Insel Rügen Prompting Panicky Owners to Abandon Their Felines at Shelters.")

It is a little known fact but birds also start wildfires. (See Cosmos Magazine of Adelaide, January 12, 2018, "Australian Raptors Start Fires to Flush Out Prey.")

Phillips' comrade-in-arms at the ABC, Grant "Seismic" Sizemore, even has had the temerity to accuse cats, who are world renowned for their cleanliness and toilet habits, of being just the opposite. "The continued presence of this large number of cats has the effect of turning the beachfront into a giant litter box," he bellowed to his buddies at The New York Times.

Conspicuously absent from Seismic Sizemore's mindless rant is any mention whatsoever of where his beloved plovers and the other avian species that frequent Jones Beach go to the toilet. It is a good bet, however, that they do their dirty business in the sand, ocean, and on the tops of visitors' noggins. Once again, no one has ever accused a cat urinating and defecating on a promenader's head.

Furthermore, it most assuredly is not cats that foul grain silos, waterways, and city streets with their excrement but rather birds. For instance, it was not cats but rather pigeons that "Red" Ken Livingstone, the former mayor of London, ordered to be cruelly eradicated from Trafalgar Square. So, to sum up, the ABC's case against cats boils down to nothing more than a hate-filled tirade of lies and hypocrisy.

On June 2, 2016, NYS Parks  responded by filing a motion to have the ABC's lawsuit dismissed. Most importantly of all, it correctly argued that the organization had not demonstrated any causal connection whatsoever between the presence of the cats at Jones Beach and any detrimental impact on the piping plovers. In fact, it even went so far as to label the ABC's allegations as "highly suspect and unreliable."

Although the birds are listed by New York State as endangered and by the feds as threatened under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) of 1973, they have made an amazing recovery over the course of the past twenty years or so. For instance, Anne Hecht of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) told the Daily Mail in the article cited supra that the number of mating pairs along the Atlantic Coast had more than doubled from seven-hundred-ninety in 1989 to one-thousand-eight-hundred-fifty in 2015. Furthermore, the Long Island Colonial Waterbird and Piping Plover Survey counted a total of thirty-three nesting pairs and forty-five fledglings at Jones Beach alone during 2015.

It also must never be forgotten that it was not cats that were responsible for the plovers' initial decline. Rather, that blame can be laid at the feet of hunters who during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries slaughtered them in droves so that they could be fashioned into women's hats.

Later on unchecked development and beach replenishment efforts led to a second decline in the birds' prospects. Storytellers, such as those in residence at the ABC, never have been known to allow the truth to spoil their narratives and, in this instance, cats have been made the scapegoats for a litany of crimes that were committed in the past as well as imaginary present-day offenses.

NYS Parks additionally argued that "no potential interest of (the ABC) is being harmed" by the presence of the cats and that it was "pure speculation" that evicting them would address the alleged harm that was being done to the plovers. Those arguments delighted ACA.

"In pushing back against (the) baseless assertions ABC made about New York State Parks and its management of Jones Beach State Park, New York State is sending a strong message to ABC, to park officials, to city governments, and to cat advocates across the country," Becky Robinson intoned in a July 3, 2016 press release. (See "New York Moves to Dismiss Speculative Allegations Made Against Cats at Jones Beach.") "We hope that the court will follow New York's request and dismiss this lawsuit."

As things eventually turned out, she later would have more than ample reason not only to rue those statements but, more importantly, for ever aligning her advocacy group with the duplicitous and totally untrustworthy NYS Parks. For the time being, however, it was full speed ahead for the unsuspecting Robinson and ACA.

In early July, it requested permission from Spatt the Scat to file an amicus curiae brief on behalf of the cats. "We've asked to be heard on this case because -- if it goes forward -- it will be important for the court to have accurate information on cat behavior so it can assess the claims made in the lawsuit," Robinson stated July 5th in a press release. (See "Jones Beach Cats Update: Alley Cat Allies Files Proposed 'Friend of the Court' Brief.") "We also want the court to understand the significant level of public opposition to this lawsuit and to the position advanced by the American Bird Conservancy in it, and to have the information needed to assess the many negative ramifications of taking the action the American Bird Conservancy has requested."

Ultimately that request was granted and the amicus was prepared by Michael D. Goodstein and Anne E. Lynch of the Washington law firm of Hunsucker Goodstein. Once Spatt the Scat finally got around to ruling on Harvey's request for a dismissal on February 6, 2017, the first thing that he did was to reverse course and to refuse to even consider ACA's brief.

His ruling was based upon his interpretation of Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 12 (b) (1) and 12 (b) (6) which relate to the question of standing. Given that Goodstein is a seasoned trial attorney who spent a dozen years with the Justice Department in Washington during which time he, inter alia, won a US$30 million judgment against the notorious Koch Brothers for spilling oil and a US$12 million verdict against the en masse pig killers at Smithfield Farms for violating the Clean Water Act he, better than anyone else, should be intimately familiar with the rules for pleading in a federal courtroom.

If, on the other hand, Spatt the Scat did not manhandle that important issue, then Goodstein and Lynch sold Robinson and ACA a bill of goods and took the charity's money under false pretenses. Regardless of where the truth may lie, it is seldom a good idea to bring in counsel from outside an area in order to try a case on their own.

Another Cat That Has Lost Its Home and Freedom

Just about all judges are tyrannical autocrats who run their courtrooms like feudal fiefdoms; like cops, they are the law and woe be it to anyone who so much as either questions their authority or looks cross-eyed at their insane opinions and prejudices. For that reason alone, it is usually far preferable to hire a local attorney who is intimately acquainted with the judicial temperament and jurisprudence of the judge trying the case. C'est-à- dire, venue and judge shopping, as opposed to what is right and wrong, more often than not determine how a particular case is going to be decided.

After he had done that, it was a foregone conclusion that Spatt the Scat was going to deny Harvey's request that the case be dismissed but little did ACA anticipate that in doing so he was going to voice his full support for all of the ABC's ridiculous allegations. Most of his twenty-eight-page opinion is devoted to the question of standing and in regard to that matter he ruled that the ABC had more than satisfied the trio of elements required for it to seek relief from the federal courts.

He did so by first of all ruling that the lead plaintiffs in this case, Krauss and Scioli, were being harmed by the presence of the cats at Jones Beach. "Members of the American Bird Conservancy regularly visit Jones Beach State Park for the purpose of observing piping plovers," he wrote. "In this regard, they derive academic, recreational, aesthetic, spiritual, and other benefits from watching the courting, feeding, nesting and chick-rearing habits of the birds," he declared. (A link to his opinion can be found at Courthouse News Service of Pasadena, February 8, 2017, "Piping Plover Defenders Gear Up for Trial.")

First of all, that hardly seems to be sufficient evidence in order to support an "injury in fact" given that neither of them either own the plovers or the beach. Secondly, Krauss's claim that he regularly journeys to the beach fifteen to twenty times a year in order to visit the birds is, to say the least, dubious.

Since they are in residence for such a very brief period of time each year, his declaration implies that he is at the beach at least once a week, every week, between April and September and that would involve considerable time and expense. For instance, since he resides on the Upper East Side of Manhattan it is doubtful that he could make it to Jones Beach in less than an hour even by motor car.

If, on the other hand, he utilizes public transportation, he most likely would need to take the IRT to Grand Central Terminal where he then would need to change to the number seven train. At Hunterspoint in Long Island City he would need to transfer again to the Long Island Rail Road in order to just get to Freeport.

From there he would need to take Nassau Inter-County Express bus number eighty-eight to the beach. It accordingly is doubtful that such an arduous expedition could be completed in much less than two hours.

Secondly, visiting the plovers is an expensive proposition. If he is traveling by automobile, he would be responsible for the petrol, tolls, and the $US10 parking fee that the beach charges. Likewise, if he is using public transportation, train and bus fares in both the city and on Long Island are not exactly on the cheap side.

The beach additionally charges state residents an entrance fee of US$12; non-residents pay US$15. Of course, it is entirely possible that since he is such a big shot with the ABC that park officials fall all over themselves in his presence and not only grant him free entrée but also allow him to park his old jalopy gratis.

That likely is the only way that he could be making so many trips to the beach given that he works as a science professor at Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC), which is located in the shadows of where the World Trade Center used to stand. That is because college professors are not only bone-lazy but notoriously cheap to boot.

Their specialty, on the other hand, is fleecing students, their parents, and the feds out of tons of money, not spending it. For instance, BMCC sticks it to in-state students to the tune of US$5,170 in tuition and fees each year while out-of-state students are required to pony up a whopping US$8,050. Even at those exorbitant rates only a paltry 24.6 per cent of the school's students ever graduate.

Aside from serving on the ABC's Advisory Council, Scioli is the former proprietor of the Community Bookstore in the Park Slope section of Brooklyn where she still resides above the shop. No mention has been made in court documents of how much time, if any, that she spends with the plovers. (See the Brooklyn Daily, September 21, 2011, "Community Bookstore Celebrates Forty Years at the Heart of the Slope.")

Press reports have inexcusably neglected to disclose if the grief-stricken duo turned up in court dressed in black and toting bath towels and steel buckets in order to catch their teardrops. Or perhaps they merely showed Spatt the Scat a pair of empty wallets and that was sufficient in itself in order to prompt him to get out his silk handkerchief and to join them in a long and raucous bawl.

As far as the second component of standing, causation, is concerned, Spatt the Scat ruled that Harvey and NYS Parks were clearly culpable. "Initially, drawing all inferences in the plaintiff's (sic) favor, the court assumes that the act (ESA) imposes on governmental agencies, including the commissioner (Harvey), a broad affirmative duty to take such measures as are reasonably necessary to protect threatened species within their jurisdictions," he decreed.

Even in grudgingly granting the old geezer that much, he surely went off the deep end when he came to the third element of standing, redressability. "...in this case, it is plausible to believe that the commissioner's broad duty to conserve piping plovers at Jones Beach may include actions to lessen the risk of predation by removing non-native feral cats and preventing members of the public from re-establishing feral cat colonies in the future," he ruled. "As discussed above, in the court's view, it is also plausible that such measures would likely redress the plaintiffs' aesthetic and recreational interest in the birds."

In arriving at that conclusion, Spatt the Scat turned Harvey's own scribblings against her. "Feral cats, whether in colonies or solitary, represent a significant concern when in proximity to the threatened and endangered species such as nesting areas of species at risk," a NYS Parks' publication entitled "Guidelines for Feral Cat Control in State Parks" proclaims.

That publication, however,  fails to define "proximity." For example, there were colonies at both West Bathhouse and Field Number 10 which were, it is believed, anywhere between one-quarter and two-thirds of a mile removed from the plovers' well-protected nests.

Spatt the Scat also pounced like a hawk on a cat by citing a March 17, 2015 letter that Harvey sent to the ABC. "...its (NYS Parks) goal should be the removal of feral cats within New York State Parks," she wrote. "...there is 'a possibility of (feral cats) harming endangered and threatened wildlife, particularly piping plover'..."

Not only that but Old Harvey Bird is both a graduate of Yale's School of Forestry and Environmental Studies as well as a member of the cat-hating Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation in Morristown, New Jersey. So, that segues into the thought-provoking question of why did she even bother to buck the ABC in the first place?

An Orange Cat Enjoying a Last Meal at Home

Well, as it turns out she had at least fifty million reasons for doing so. At least that is the dollar amount that Jones Beach pours into the Long Island economy each year according to Michael Hollander of the Long Island Conventions and Visitors Bureau. (See The New York Times, June 27, 1999, "Keeping Up with Jones Beach; a City on the Sand for Eight Million, Silicone Singles to Kite Flyers.")

For the uninitiated, Jones Beach is a lot more than just cats and birds. In fact, it is the busiest beach on the East Coast with more than six million visitors per annum.

The beach is so heavily developed that it features, inter alia, the Jones Beach Theatre, the Boardwalk Bandshell, a 3.2 kilometer boardwalk, a water tower, a shopping mall, restaurants, concessions stands, a boat basin, a Coast Guard station, several parking lots, and the Theodore Roosevelt Nature Center. It even sports its very own police station!

It additionally allows fishing and has a bait and tackle shop. It has golf, basketball, tennis, shuffleboard, softball, and volleyball facilities as well as swimming pools, bicycle trails, picnicking areas, sailing, kayaking, and two bathhouses.

It is better known, however, for its rock concerts, Fourth of July fireworks, and the Bethpage Air Show. The latter of which is held each Memorial Day and attracts more than four-hundred-thousand spectators in order to view flyovers by the United States Navy's Blue Angels and the United States Air Force's Thunderbirds.

All of those extremely noisy, polluting, and disruptive activities are more than welcome at Jones Beach as far as Spatt the Scat, NYS Parks, and the ABC are concerned. It was only the twenty-three resident felines that had to go.

In addition to Jones Beach, NYS Parks operates an additional two-hundred-fourteen parks across New York State plus twenty-eight golf courses, thirty-five swimming holes, sixty-seven beaches, and eighteen museums and nature centers. At least fifty-one of its parks even allow recreational hunting.

Presumably, Harvey and her cronies have outlawed the recreational killing of protected avian species at all parks under their jurisdiction but it is highly unlikely that they are able to enforce that edict. In that same light, Bird Life International of Cambridge has reported that an astounding twenty-five million migratory birds are shot, trapped, and glued each year while crossing the Mediterranean region. (See Deutsche Welle of Köln, October 24, 2017, "Europe Remains a Major Bird Killer.")

Therefore, it is safe to assume that Old Harvey Bird and New York State were not about to allow the ABC to impinge upon any of their shekel accumulation activities and instead they chose to sell the cats and their dedicated caretakers down the river. Although since the ABC's partner in crime, the National Audubon Society (NAS), allows oil to be drilled at the Paul J. Rainey Wildlife Sanctuary in Vermilion Parish, Louisiana, the Bernard W. Baker Sanctuary in Bellevue, Michigan, the Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary in Bonita Springs, Florida and, presumably, elsewhere at all of its bird sanctuaries, it would have been quite a hoot to have seen it accuse NYS Parks of chasing shekels at the expense of its precious plovers.

Much more importantly, Spatt the Scat's cockeyed dicta that the ESA bestows a right of exclusivity upon plovers and their champions is an opinion that is not shared by all jurists. For example, when the Goldenrod Foundation attempted to have motorists banned from Plymouth Long Beach, four-hundred-seven kilometers north of Jones Beach in the state of Massachusetts, on the grounds that they were a threat to piping plovers and terns the courts turned deaf ears.

In the first of two decisions on the subject, Administrative Judge David Hoover ruled that allowing off-road vehicles (ORV) on the beach did not constitute a "take" within the meaning of the ESA. In doing so, he also questioned the motives of Goldenrod's founder, Catherine S. Muther.

"Portions of Ms. Muther's testimony may be motivated more by her longstanding opposition to any ORV access to the beachfront, due perhaps to her family summering experience at her beachfront cottage," he wrote according to the December 26, 2010 edition of the Wicked Local of Plymouth. (See "Judge Upholds Plymouth Beach Management Plan.")

Although the town of Plymouth owns ninety per cent of the beach, Muther owns a summer home there and has complained in the past not only about the noise churned up by motorists but dogs as well. Golodenrod's appeal of that decision was denied in March of 2015 by Suffolk Superior Court judge Jeffrey A. Locke. (See the Wicked Local, March 21, 2015, "Court Says Cars and Birds Can Coexist on Plymouth Long Beach.")

By contrast, Spatt the Scat's understanding of the "taking" provision of the ESA is rather different. "...the act prohibits any person from 'taking' such species within the United States or its territorial seas," he wrote. "To 'take' a species means to 'harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture, or collect it, or to attempt to engage in such conduct."

If he had had the bon sens to have stopped there that would have been bad enough but he instead went on to incorporate psychological stress into his interpretation of "taking." "In this regard, aside from actually hunting the birds, the mere presence of feral cats can cause substantial behavioral changes in nearby bird populations, such as a reduction in the feeding of nesting chicks and an increased likelihood of nest failure," he opined in a ruling that reads as if it were crafted by none other than the ABC itself.

There is an almost endless array of problems associated with Spatt the Scat's lunatic interpretation of the ESA. First of all, cats and TNR are not mentioned in the law.

Secondly, it never was intended by its draftsmen as a primer for ornithologists and wildlife biologists to engage in speciesism. Thirdly, the "taking" clause refers explicitly to "persons" not cats and other animals.

What has happened in recent decades is that the USFWS, the National Marine Fisheries Service, and the Commerce Department, which are entrusted with administering the law, have transformed it at the urging of birders and wildlife biologists into a bludgeon in order to go after cats. Even worse, other federal services, such as the USDA's Wildlife Services, the National Park Service, and the United States Army Corps of Engineers, just to name a few, have followed suit.

None of that changes the salient fact that the ESA on its face does not sanction either speciesism or any of the abominable crimes that follow from such an interpretation. Rather, it is federal and state bureaucrats and robed cat-haters such as Spatt the Scat who have unconstitutionally corrupted its original intention.

If Spatt the Scat, the ABC, NAS, and USFWS are so hellbent on getting rid of cats they should inveigle one of the many politicians that they have in their hip pockets into putting the matter on the ballot. It is almost superfluous to point out that there are an awful lot of people across this nation who are fed up with nameless and unelected bureaucrats and judges making the laws.

New York State Parks Stole the Cats' Shelters and Feeding Stations

The remainder of Spatt the Scat's spiel is just pure drivel. "Feral cats are an invasive or non-native species to Jones Beach and one which naturally preys on birds," he bellowed.

It is always amusing to hear pale-faced, honky-donkeys like Spatt the Scat, the ABC, ornithologists, and wildlife biologists open up their traps and trot out their hypocritical nonsense about invasive species. If they truly believed what they profess, they would simply shut up and go back to Europe!

Most of their palaver is nothing but outright lies anyway. For example, cat-hating fiend Michael Hutchins of The Wildlife Society went before a congressional committee in 2011 in order to brand the wild horses who live in the Currituck National Wildlife Refuge on North Carolina's Outer Banks as an invasive species.

"It's all about values," the big phony lectured the legislators according to his group's April 7, 2011 press release. (See "The Wildlife Society Testifies Before Congress on Feral Horse Management. Recommends Keeping Numbers Low to Minimize Impacts on Native Wildlife.") "Do we want to protect our native wildlife, or turn our national wildlife refuges into theme parks for exotic animals?"

Actually, horses are native to North America. For some unknown reason, they disappeared around ten-thousand years ago before being reintroduced by the Spanish conquistadors. (See Living on Earth, October 20, 2017, "Rough Riding in Wild Horse Country.")

Determining what men, animals, and plants are native to a particular land mass therefore depends upon how far back in the archaeological record one is willing to go and the honesty of the researcher. Also, taxonomical classifications change all the time. (See Cat Defender post of April 17, 2007 entitled "Clouded Leopards of Sumatra and Borneo Are Discovered to Be a Distinct Species from Their Cousins in Mainland Southeast Asia.")

Most importantly of all, speciesism is not only unjust but morally indefensible as well. Being au fond nothing more than the taking of the odious principles of bigotry, exploitation, and genocide and applying them to the animal kingdom, it has been used to sanction the diabolical eradication of untold species around the world and its exponents and practitioners are far worse monsters than the Adolf Hitlers and Pol Pots of this world. (See Cat Defender post of November 18, 2016 entitled "A Clever Devil at the University of Adelaide Boasts That He Has Discovered the Achilles' Heel of Cats with His Invention of Robotic Grooming Traps as the Thoroughly Evil Australians' All-Out War Against the Species Enters Its Final Stages.")

Just as Spatt the Scat was not the least bit interested in hearing anything out of ACA, he likewise turned a deaf ear to NYS Parks' assertion that skunks, foxes, opossums, raccoons, and gulls could be preying upon the plovers. "...there is no evidence in the record relating to the alleged threat posed by these or any other non-feral cat species, and the assertions contained in the commissioner's legal memorandum are insufficient to refute the plaintiff's (sic) allegations at this juncture," he decreed.

In the end, Spatt the Scat refused NYS Parks' dismissal petition and thus paved the way for the lawsuit to go forward. "In this case, taken together, the court finds that the allegations in the complaint support a plausible inference of harm to the survival of the Jones Beach piping plovers, and, by extension, the plaintiff's (sic) protected interest in them," he concluded. "For example, the feral cat colonies are located well within the roaming radius of the cats, and predatory feral cats have consistently been documented near the birds' nesting areas."

In making such an asinine determination Spatt the Scat was guilty of accepting the ABC's propaganda without so much as an iota of evidence that the cats had preyed upon the plovers. If she had been allowed the common courtesy of testifying, McKenna would have presented an entirely different picture of the situation.

"Every day the cats get fresh water and fresh food," she told The New York Times on April 17, 2015. "They are not hungry. They stay where they are."

Spatt the Scat gave NYS Parks twenty days in which to respond to his ruling and although he did not specifically rule on the actual substance of the case, his dicta left little doubt that he fully concurred with the ABC's charges. That rather obvious conclusion, however, somehow eluded Robinson and ACA.

"We are confident that New York State will prevail, and look forward to the issue having its day in court," she declared in a February 6, 2017 press release. (See "Alley Cat Allies' Reaction: Cats Get Their Day in Court in Endangered Species Act Case in New York.")

Actually, the cats never had anything even remotely resembling a fair hearing. Although they were relentlessly derided throughout the years of legal wrangling by the ABC and later by Spatt the Scat, no one was allowed to speak up for them.

So, it was not surprising that in the end they lost their home, freedom, caretakers and, worst of all, some of them may even have lost their lives. On the other hand, the piping plovers were represented by Jeffrey A. Simes, Glenn S. Kerner, Jordan D. Weiss, and Shaun P. deLacy of the Manhattan law firm of Goodwin Proctor as well as William F. Sheehan of the ABC's Washington office.

On August 4th of last year, the ABC, NYS Parks, and Spatt the Scat hashed out and initialed what is known as a Stipulation of Settlement and Order of Dismissal. In layman's terms, it stipulated that the cats had to be imprisoned in a so-called "Field 10 Contained Area" by December 31st and removed from the park entirely by March 31, 2019.

Once it had lost its dismissal motion on February 6, 2017 it was a foregone conclusion that NYS Parks was going to capitulate to the ABC's demands. It is only conjecture but it seems likely that the eighteen-month delay in reaching a final settlement was necessitated by NYS Parks' burning desire to save its own hide which, in the end, it succeeded in doing by selling the cats down the river.

It accomplished that Machiavellian objective by first of all persuading the ABC to agree that there would not be any "payments, attorneys' fees, costs, disbursements, (or) expenses." Secondly, the stipulation states that it "explicitly denies any wrongful conduct or liability, or violation of the ESA or any other law, in connection with the events alleged in the action." Thirdly, the stipulation denies that NYS Parks is acknowledging any liability whatsoever in regard to the plovers.

To make a long story short, the ABC got rid of the cats while NYS Parks saved its precious shekels and is going to be allowed to continue to operate its profitable park without any further interference. As for the cats, they got screwed.

Overlooked in all the hoopla is the petit fait that there is absolutely nothing in the ESA that prohibits cats from living at Jones Beach or, for that matter, any other beach. Their ouster therefore was just another classic example of a judge abusing his powers by codifying his own prejudices.

Motorists and Plovers Coexist on Plymouth Long Beach

The only reasonable solution would have been for Spatt the Scat to have ruled that protecting the plovers was the ABC's responsibility and that it had to do so in a manner that did not harm cats, other animals, and the interests of the park. In other words, it could not take the law into its own hands as fanatical cat-haters James Munn Stevenson of Galveston and Nico Dauphiné of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, and Richard DeSantis of West Islip have previously done and, unbelievably, gotten away with to boot. (See Cat Defender posts of August 7, 2008, January 6, 2012, and March 9, 2007 entitled, respectively, "Crime Pays! Having Made Fools Out of Galveston Prosecutors, Serial Cat Killer James Munn Stevenson Is Now a Hero and Laughing All the Way to the Bank," "Nico Dauphiné Is Let Off with an Insultingly Lenient $100 Fine in a Show Trail That Was Fixed from the Very Beginning," and "A Long Island Serial Cat Killer Is Guilty of Only Disorderly Conduct, a Corrupt Court Rules.")

That, for example, is universally the reaction from wildlife biologists whenever coyotes, fishers, raccoons, and other wild animals that they have deliberately driven out of their rural homes invade urban settings and commence slaughtering cats. (See Cat Defender posts of October 2, 2006, July 19, 2007, August 28, 2007, and August 28, 2006 entitled, respectively, "Coyotes, Cheered On by Wildlife Officials, Join Raccoons in Killing Cats and Dogs in Washington State," "Up to Their Old Tricks, Wildlife Officials Reintroduce Fishers to the Northeast to Prey Upon Cats and to Provide Income for Fur Traffickers," "TNR Programs, Domestic Cats, Dogs, and Humans Are Imperiled by Wildlife Proponents' Use and Abuse of Coyotes and Fishers," and "A Marauding Pack of Vicious Raccoons Rips Ten Cats to Shreds and Terrorizes Residents in Olympia but Wildlife Officials Refuse to Intervene.")

Any halfway decent and honest jurist accordingly attempts to follow the law and to balance the interests of the contending parties. Spatt the Scat, on the other hand, takes sides and issues rulings that do not have any basis whatsoever in law. As a result, he is renowned far and wide for being the stench of the bench.

"My experience with Judge Spatt is that he makes 'gut' rulings, i.e., decides early on what/who he thinks is 'right' and then makes the factual and legal findings to support that conclusion," one former litigant wrote December 2, 2009 on the web site, The Robing Room. "Of course, good judges do it the other way around."

Even some of his self-professed admirers share the same opinion of him. "I will add, however, that sometimes Judge Spatt does what he thinks is right rather than what the law requires in cases," a former litigant wrote June 28, 2008 on The Robing Room.

He also is well-known for being biased and dishonest. "Spatt is a close friend of one of my legal enemies. But Spatt never disclosed this fact," another litigant wrote September 10, 2018 on The Robing Room. "Instead, Spatt would continue to preside over my case and proceeded to make outrageous rulings against me."

"One of the worst judges to hear federal civil rights cases, where the defendants are law enforcement officers," another litigant wrote May 17, 2015 on The Robing Room. "...(he is) an insult to the furtherance of civil rights."

Other litigants who have had the misfortune to come before him have questioned his judicial temperament. "He was the rudest, most arrogant man I've ever met. He stated on the record that all Muslims were terrorists...," another litigant wrote February 10, 2010 on The Robing Room. "He would doze off during my trial. He was eighty-three then."

Other litigants feel that it is way past time that he turned in his gavel. "He slept through several hearings and ruled as if he (had) followed it all," a disgruntled litigant complained February 2, 2007 on The Robing Room.

It was yet still another of his critics who said it best when he reared back on February 2, 2007 and gave Spatt the Scat the dressing down that he has long and eminently deserved. "Judge Spatt is hard of hearing, he is extremely biased and unfair, changes his mind very often and suffers from amnesia...," that litigant wrote on The Robing Room. "Spatt should be forced to retire. He is an evil old man."

Old Spatt the Scat certainly has been busy over the course of the several decades that he has spent on the federal bench and he, unquestionably, has compiled an impressive curriculum vitae. Why, just his conflicts of interest, bigotry, disregard for the rule of law, intellectual dishonesty, and total lack of any sense of justice whatsoever ought to be sufficient in themselves in order to entitle him to a seat on the United States Supreme Court! He most assuredly would fit in well with the rotters already ruling the roost in Washington.

Once his slumlord personality, total lack of manners, arrogance, and the work ethic of a latter-day Rip Van Winkle are added to the equation, the prestigious title of Lord of All Creation might not be totally beyond his grasp. In the meantime, it is curious as to why he even bothers to go through the pretense of being an honest and impartial trier of facts.

For all the good that he does he might just as well turn up every day in court toting a blanket, pillow, a glass of warm milk, and some cookies. He then could remove his brogans and put his feet up.

One of his devoted law clerks could tuck him in and he therefore could have a good, long snore on the public's dime. He could even go so far as to occasionally rip off a loud, raunchy fart or two if he so desired. Since absolutely nobody in this country cares just how vile and unjust federal judges are, he would still be able to collect his annual US$186,000 salary without any difficulties.

Given all of that, it could not have been anything other than a case of  love at first sight when he finally met up with Krauss the Louse. As was the case with those who are most familiar with the judge, only a trio of the latter's students at BMCC had anything positive to say about him as either a teacher or as a person.

"Professor Krauss is a genuinely jaded professor. He doesn't teach, he reads and his style of teaching is do disconnected," one former student wrote August 11, 2018 on the web site, Rate My Professors. "He's wildly uninspired and doesn't provide the proper framework to help you comprehend the course material, classes ended early and sure enough (he) was very hellbent on making exams the main means of judgment. Avoid at all costs."

"He's absolutely terrible. I have taken Anatomy and Physiology (Biology 425) before and I can tell you that this man does not know how to teach," another student wrote May 29, 2018 on Rate My Professors. "He expects you to memorize everything. Worst professor ever."

"Choosing this class was the worst thing I have ever done. His teaching style is just scary. He is not helpful," another student wrote May 25, 2018 on Rate My Professors. "He gives a (test) on every lecture class which means he expects you to learn everything on your own in a week. He doesn't give extras, guys. He doesn't care if you pass or fail. I recommend to not (take) this class. Just don't."

"He was the worst teacher I ever had," another respondent wrote May 23, 2018 on Rate My Professors.

Justice Is Blind, Deaf, and Fast Asleep in Spatt the Scat's Court

"He is the absolute worst professor I've ever had," a March 29, 2018 respondent agreed.

"This is one of the worst professors I ever had the displeasure of knowing. He has a terrible attitude...," a student wrote March 20, 2018 on Rate My Professors. "About a month into the course there was about five people left in the class after it was packed with twenty-five students in the beginning."

"Do yourself a favor and not take him. Throughout my whole life I've never gotten a professor-teacher like this," a student wrote May 24, 2017 on Rate My Professors. "He's the worst, he doesn't care about you, he doesn't support you nor motivate you. He just does it for the money plus his tests are hard for no reason. Half of the class drop (dropped out during) the third week of class. He grades unfairly."

It therefore is difficult to imagine how that anyone who is so contemptuous of his students could possibly care very much about any living creature, especially plovers. Moreover, based upon the testimonials of those who know him and his buddy Spatt the Scat most intimately, the portrait of them that emerges is one of two turds floating in a commode.

Unfortunately, the halls of academia always have been chock-full of rotten and egomaniacal professors such as Krauss the Louse. The only thing that they are good at besides abusing their students is either teaching them nothing at all or indoctrinating them with their own ingrained prejudices, such as an inveterate hatred of cats. (See Cat Defender post of July 18, 2011 entitled "Evil Professors Have Transformed College Campuses into Hotbeds of Hatred Where Cats Routinely Are Vilified, Horribly Abused, and Systematically Killed.")

Moreover, they fervently believe that verbally abusing and lording it over the young, naïve, and impressionable enhances their stature but they are badly mistaken; doing so only exposes them as bad teachers and even worse individuals. Quite obviously, only a severely warped individual would take pride in churning out class after class of failing students.

Even worse, to mistreat those who are footing the bill for his comfortable lifestyle is simply outrageous. With such a rotter as Krauss the Louse on its faculty it is small wonder that BMCC has such a miserable graduation rate.

The ABC was, quite naturally, ecstatic with Spatt the Scat's August 4th ruling. "We are delighted with this agreement," the organization's Mike Paar said in an August 8th press release. (See "Jones Beach Legal Settlement Provides Safety for Endangered Birds.") "By removing the cat colonies, New York State Parks has ensured a much safer environment for the plovers to help them nest successfully in the future."

He also announced on that occasion that NYS Parks had agreed to fence off the plovers' nesting area and to install enclosures around their nests. It also consented to erect signs stating that cats are now personae non gratae and to promptly get rid of any new arrivals. Harvey's crew also agreed to put in place new, unspecified restrictions on motorists using the park and to initiate a campaign of public outreach and education.

Leaving absolutely no doubt that she was now a chastened woman, Old Harvey Bird practically got down on both knees and licked the ABC's boots. "Jones Beach State Park is simply not an appropriate place for stray or abandoned cats," she declared with all the fervor of a newly converted acolyte in the ABC's press release. "We are pleased this agreement with the American Bird Conservancy strikes a sensible balance between protecting the piping plover and relocating the feral cats that have been dropped off in the park in as humane a manner as possible."

Harvey's double-cross and sellout may have gotten the ABC off of her back but, as it was soon to be demonstrated, there was absolutely nothing humane about what she did to the cats. Of course, the public hardly could expect someone like her to ever level with it.

Lamentably, the same accusation applies in spades to Robinson of ACA whose response to Spatt the Scat's final ruling makes it appear that she had gotten an early start on last autumn's hard cider. "This settlement brings to an end this frivolous lawsuit in which the ABC ultimately failed to achieve its goal," she proclaimed in the face of all facts in an August 9th press release. (See "Alley Cat Allies Applauds Dismissal of Endangered Species Act Complaint by American Bird Conservancy.") "From the start of litigation and at every step of the way since, New York has asserted that the ESA was not violated by sterilized cats living in Jones Beach State Park. It reiterates this in the settlement agreement."

By that time the cats' fate had already been sealed and in that regard the ABC had most definitely prevailed. While it is true that the ABC allowed NYS Parks off the hook without admitting any wrongdoing, there cannot be any denying that it had knuckled under to the organization's demands and that is an even stronger admission of guilt than a verbal confession.

Practically speaking, Spatt the Scat's ruling means that cats soon will be removed from all state-operated parks in the Empire State regardless of whether the ABC instigates any additional legal action. Local authorities may also take preemptive measures in order to get rid of any cats now residing in their parks and on other public lands under their control.

Even before the ABC's lawsuit, TNR colonies that had been established on private properties were under attack. For example in April of 2016, a TNR colony that had resided at the Shores Restaurant and Marina on Tonowanda Island, located in the middle of the Niagara River, for twenty years was victimized by a surprise attack led by the property's owner, Michael Charnock.

In particular, he ordered the cats' winterized shelters and feeding stations to be destroyed and dumped. Not only did that act of violence cost the one-hundred resident felines their homes but replacing the shelters and feeding station cost Danielle Coogan and Operation Island Cat more than US$1,700. (See the Buffalo News, April 20, 2016, "Feral Cats Program on Tonowanda Island Suffers a Setback" and the Niagara Gazette, April 24, 2016, "Cat Shelters Being Replaced on Tonowanda Island.")

None of that seems to have fazed Robinson the least little bit. "We are keeping in communication with New York and will be happy to work with the state to put in place an effective cat population management program," she declared once again in the face of both past and present-day history.

Not only are Harvey and her cronies outrageous liars an double-crossers but New York, both the state and the city, is one of the most virulently anti-cat locales in the country and Robinson most assuredly was aware of that from the outset. For example on October 26, 2015, governor Andrew Cuomo voiced his wholehearted support for the ABC's agenda when he vetoed a legislative initiative that would have provided some public funding for TNR. (See the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, November 14, 2015, "Pet Tales: Birders, Cat Lovers Split by New York Veto" and the Audubon Magazine, October 29, 2015, "Audubon New York Rallies Support Against TNR Legislation.")

Back in 2006, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, an arm of New York State, trapped, removed, and slaughtered an undisclosed number of cats from JFK International Airport in Queens. (See Cat Defender post of November 5, 2007 entitled "The Port Authority Gives JFK's Long-Term Resident Felines the Boot and Rescue Groups Are Too Impotent to Save Them.")

The Surviving Jones Beach Cats' New Purgatory

In 2014, the National Park Service evicted a TNR colony from Plum Beach in Brooklyn. (See Cat Defender post of August 7, 2014 entitled "The National Park Service Racks Up a Major Victory by Expelling the Plum Beach Cats but It Is Thwarted in Its Burning Desire to Dance a Merry Little Jig on Their Graves.")

In spite of its tremendous wealth, New York City arguably exterminates more cats each year than any other city in the country but soon after he assumed office in January of 2002 former mayor Mike "Dirty Bloomers" Bloomberg pledged to transform it into a no-kill operation. Instead, he and his minions were caught rolling in the hay with a notorious cat killer and attacking the Algonquin Hotel's beloved resident feline, Matilda III. (See Cat Defender posts of December 22, 2011 and December 5, 2011 entitled, respectively, "A Rogue TNR Practitioner and Three Unscrupulous Veterinarians Kill at Least Sixty-Two Cats with the Complicity of the Mayor's Alliance for NYC Animals" and "The Algonquin Cruelly Responds to Threats Made by New York City by Trussing Up Matilda III and Bombarding Her with Shock Therapy.")

As far as Dirty Bloomers' successor, Bill de Blasio, is concerned, he does not even know that cats exist.

As if all of that were not bad enough, the area serves as the home base for the unprincipled The New York Times which rarely passes up an opportunity to poison the debate with its one-sided, dishonest diatribes against the species. (See Cat Defender posts of December 8, 2007, June 15, 2009, and July 9, 2018 entitled, respectively, "All the Lies That Fit: The Scheming New York Times Hires a Bird Lover to Render His 'Unbiased' Support for James M. Stevenson," "The American Bird Conservancy, The New York Times, and the Humane Society Unite to Form an Achse des Bösen Against Cats," and "The Slimy, Underhanded, and Utterly Despicable New York Times Fabricates Another One-Sided, Scurrilous Screed Against Cats and This Time Around the Target of Its Libels Is a TNR Colony at the Googleplex in Mountain View.")

Although it would appear in hindsight that Robinson was bamboozled by Harvey and her cronies, she could not possibly have been more correct in her understanding of the ABC's agenda. "This lawsuit appears to be part of a larger pattern by the American Bird Conservancy to advocate for its vision of an American landscape in which all cats have been eradicated, and it is inappropriately trying to use the Endangered Species Act as a tool to further this dark agenda," she wrote in the organization's February 7, 2017 press release cited supra.

That is a point that the ABC never has denied. In fact, its all-out assault on cats began long ago with its ludicrous "cats indoors" campaign.

Now, it has progressed to advocating for an even more sinister agenda. "The key point is that they (cats) must be separated from the environment," Seismic Sizemore told his longtime ally Karen Brulliard of The Washington Post in the April 9, 2016 article cited supra. (See also Cat Defender post of September 30, 2005 entitled "The Morally Bankrupt Washington Post Pens a Love Letter to Shelter Workers Who Extermination Cats and Dogs.")

He recently made that point even more emphatically. "What is overwhelmingly evident based on the science is that maintaining cats on the landscape is harmful for cats, wildlife, and people," he bellowed December 20, 2018 to another of his allies within the capitalist media, John Hayes, of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. (See "Feral and Pet Cats Killing Billions of Birds Each Year, Study Says.") "It's time to treat cats like dogs and to safely remove stray and feral animals from our parks and neighborhoods."

With a big push from various federal agencies, the ABC's "dark agenda" has already moved into high gear. For example, agents of the USFWS regularly venture into residential neighborhoods in Key Largo and, presumably, elsewhere in the Florida Keys where they trap and steal domestic cats from private residences.

In 2016, however, they went too far when they stole, bloodied, and falsely imprisoned a cat named Rocky that belonged to world famous scuba diver Spencer Slate of Key Largo. Rocky was eventually returned to him and he also was able to beat in a federal court the fine imposed upon him by the USFWS. (See the Foundation for Economic Education of Atlanta, December 1, 2016, "Now They've Gone Too Far: Greens and Feds Declare War on Cats," and the Miami Herald, December 30, 2014, "In the Florida Keys, Cat Lovers Smell a Rat.")

Even worse, at the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum in Key West, agents of the USDA's Animal Plant Health Inspection Service now dictate the minute details of the resident polydactyls' daily lives. (See Cat Defender post of January 24, 2013 entitled "The Feds Now Have Cats and Their Owners Exactly Where They Want Them Thanks to an Outrageous Court Ruling Targeting the Hemingway Home and Museum in Key West.")

Whenever they are unable to prevail in the press and in the courts birders, such as Stevenson, Dauphiné, and their accomplices, are not the least bit hesitant to take the law into their own hands. Back in 2013, Ted Williams of the NAS and the Orlando Sentinel even went so far as to call for cats to be poisoned out of existence. (See Cat Defender post of May 18, 2013 entitled "Ted Williams and the National Audubon Society Issue a Call for Cats to Be Poisoned with Tylenol® and Then Try to Lie Out of It.")

Once NYS Parks' sellout of the Jones Beach cats had been initialed by Spatt the Scat on August 4th, their caretakers turned their attention to the herculean task of finding them new homes. "The shelters are full. They don't have spots for a lot of adults. People only want kittens," is how that McKenna summed up their dire plight to The New York Times on April 17, 2015. "But these cats didn't ask to become feral. The state will trap them and put them down, and then more cats will be dumped."

"Relocating outdoor cats is not the easy fix some may expect," Robinson forewarned in ACA's press release of August 9, 2018. "These cats are bonded to their outdoor home and moving them will be highly traumatic for them."

It was Capuano, however, who summed up the situation most succinctly. "We just can't bring these cats somewhere else," she pleaded to the Daily Mail in the article cited supra.

Only within the past few days has a trickle of information regarding the cats' horrible fate began to leak out through the capitalist media. As far as it has been revealed, the trapping and removal of them began shortly after Spatt the Scat's ruling in early August. They first were taken to an unidentified veterinarian and next to the Hempstead Animal Shelter but who paid for their removal and examinations has not been disclosed.

According to the January 8th edition of Newsday of Garden City, four of them that were deemed to be adoptable are now "with a caretaker." What "with a caretaker" means has not been defined. (See "Feral Cats Relocated to Keep Piping Plovers Safe.")

The remaining ones were relocated to a dog pound known as Northwind Kennels in the northern Westchester County town of Bedford, sixty-nine kilometers north of Manhattan and one-hundred-eleven kilometers northwest of Jones Beach. There they are confined to steel cages although they may be allowed some time outdoors in an enclosed area.

A rather old video posted on the kennel's web site states that it is home to two-hundred dogs and thirty cats. Its specialty, however, is boarding and grooming dogs.

The Totally Innocent Cats' New Jail Cells at Northwind Kennels

Other than those disturbing bits of information, all that is known about Northwind is that it, like the Jones Beach cats, has had its share of legal woes in the past. For instance, it was sued in 2013 after a ten-year-old Akita named Patton died while in its care.

In 2011, it was sued again by an owner who claimed that it did not properly treat his dog's skin disease. That case was later dropped.

Before that, it was sued by Zions Bank of Salt Lake City for being delinquent with its mortgage payments. Given its rather precarious financial situation, it would be interesting know who paid the kennel to accept the cats because it is a good bet that it is not sheltering and feeding them out of the goodness of its heart. (See the Patch of Bedford and Katonah, August 2, 2013, "Lawsuit Accuses Kennel of Negligence in Dog's Death.")

Although none of that is reassuring, it does not necessarily imply that anything is egregiously amiss at Northwind. Any kennel that cares for that many dogs is bound to incur both financial and veterinary difficulties occasionally.

Still, that does not in any way alter the heartbreaking conclusion that a dog kennel is hardly a suitable home for the Jones Beach cats. Uprooted from home, robbed of all their independence and freedom, imprisoned in cages by strangers, poked and probed by veterinarians and shelter officials, and then dumped at a dog pound in the middle of nowhere and left to rot could not possibly have left them anything other than despondent and fearing for their lives.

Cats do not belong in exclusively indoor environments and they most certainly do not belong in cages. (See The Philadelphia Inquirer, March 11, 2011, "Shelter Shock: Cats Can Get Sick from Stress. One Proposed Remedy? Keep Them Out.")

Most importantly of all, it is totally inexcusable that this has been allowed to happen in the first place. Quite obviously NYS Parks just wanted rid of them as quickly as possible and did not care in the least bit what became of them, but for their caretakers and ACA to have deserted them is nothing short of monstrous.

Given that the both of them had known for years that there was a very good chance that they would be forced into removing the cats from Jones Beach, they should have made contingency plans for them long ago. It simply staggers the mind that a dog pound was the very best that they could do for them.

"In choosing to settle this lawsuit instead of a trial where it would have won, New York has set itself up for failure," was all that Robinson had to say to Newsday.

Even on that point she is dead wrong because there was not any way that NYS Parks could have prevailed in a court presided over by someone as anti-cat as Spatt the Scat. An appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in Manhattan would have been a possibility but if the cats had lost there then Spatt the Scat's jaundiced opinion would have been the law throughout not only New York State but also Connecticut and Vermont as well which comprise that judicial fiefdom.

Following that, the cats' only option would have been an appeal to the United States Supreme Court in Washington where a loss would have made Spatt the Scat's sottise the law of the land. Besides, this matter from start to finish was totally out of ACA's hands in that Spatt the Scat would not allow the organization to intervene on the cats' behalves.

Most reprehensible of all, it is nothing short of infuriating to listen to Robinson take on about TNR while the Jones Beach cats are languishing in a bloody dog pound! "The organization will continue to monitor the situation to ensure the humane treatment of the cats," ACA pledged in its August 9, 2018 press release and it is high time that it made good on that promise.

First of all, it must immediately get the cats out of Northwind Kennels. With all of its money, resources, and contacts, that is surely a manageable task.

Secondly, it must make a full public accounting regarding the health, location, and disposition of all twenty-three cats that were removed from Jones Beach. That is absolutely necessary in order to allay fears that some of them may already have been liquidated. Even at this late date in the game, press reports cannot even agree on the exact number of cats involved.

If the organization is unwilling to do at least that much for them, it should take down its shingle and go out of business. Either the Jones Beach cats count or no cat counts with ACA.

Every bit as predictable as clockwork, Seismic Sizemore was as full of himself as ever and still spouting his outrageous lies like a runaway volcano. "This is a very positive outcome that safeguards piping plovers and ensures a comfortable life for the cats," he pontificated in a January 8th press release. (See "Feral Cats Relocated from Jones Beach State Park.") "The protected plovers that nest at Jones Beach State Park -- and many other species -- will have one less threat to contend with, and the cats have a safer place to live out their lives."

Even while draped in his victory laurels he could not quite conceal his thirst for yet still more feline blood. "If you observe someone releasing a cat or other domestic animal in the park, contact the New York State Park Police," he urged. "Anyone spotting a cat within the park should notify the Jones Beach Operations Office."

Additional cats will sans doute be dumped at the beach and without anyone to look out for them they will, sooner or later, wind up at the Hempstead Animal Shelter where they surely will be slaughtered in droves. Furthermore, Seismic Sizemore's oblique reference to "other domestic animal" would tend to imply that dogs very well could be the next victims to feel the vengeance of the ABC.

After all, the Connecticut chapter of the NAS already has set out a rather ambitious agenda for itself and its avian allies. (See Cat Defender post of March 15, 2007 entitled "The Connecticut Audubon Society Shows Its True Colors by Calling for the Slaughter of Feral Cats, Mute Swans, Mallards, Canada Geese, and Deer.")

Already having been abandoned at least once during their brief lives, the Jones Beach cats now have been deserted once again by those that they had come to trust. The only real difference is that this time around their fate appears to have been sealed once and for all time and, barring a miracle, they will not be receiving any eleventh-hour reprieves.

Photos: United States Government (Spatt the Scat), the Daily Mail (the Jones Beach cats), the New York Post (the cats' shelters), Wicked Local (Plymouth Long Beach), CHvhLR10 of Wikipedia (Lady Justice Statue in Hong Kong), and Northwind Kennels (entrance and cages).