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Cat Defender

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

Wednesday, August 08, 2018

Under Fire for Abandoning Three Cats to Languish in an Unheated Vehicle for Twenty-Three Days Without Food and Water, Staffers at the Edmonton Humane Society Are Now Attempting to Save Their Own Miserable Hides with a Trumped-Up Outside Inquiry

The Shelter Is a House of Horrors Plagued by Gross Incompetence

"This is by far the worst nightmare for any of our team members -- from the people that were driving to the people that receive them -- all of the staff members involved were deeply affected. They have been receiving ongoing care to ensure that their mental health is addressed."
-- Jaime Caza, director of the Edmonton Humane Society
The bandying about of cats, dogs, and other animals from one shelter to another is a fairly recent and little understood development within the field of animal welfare. With the stated objective of such herculean efforts being to save lives by removing animals from high-kill and overcrowded shelters in favor of those that not only have the available space to accommodate them but, much more importantly, an abiding commitment to achieving something approaching no-kill, participants improvise a variety of both ground and air transportation modes. (See The Washington Post, May 13, 2017, "From Death Row to Adoption: Saving Animals by Car, Van, Bus and Even Plane.")

Such schemes have their fair share of drawbacks, however. For instance, subjecting already terrified animals who have lost their freedom and homes to such grueling expeditions only adds to their stress levels and that in turn can sometimes undermine their physical health as well.

Inclement weather and the ever-present dangers that always accompany venturing out onto this world's severely congested roads and into its likewise overcrowded skies are two additional concerns. None of those worries are in any way comparable however to what The Shadow once famously termed as "the evil that lurks in the hearts of men" and in that light it is truly ironic that a strategy designed to save lives sometimes actually ends up nearly extinguishing them instead.

Sad but true that was the disquieting reality that befell Lucky, Magic, and Chance earlier in the spring when they had the simply god-awful misfortune to have fallen into the clutches of the Edmonton Humane Society (EHS). The charity and its legions of protectors within the Canadian political establishment have been extremely tight-lipped about the matter and as a consequence the particulars are sketchy but nevertheless on March 27th two or more unidentified employees of it collected an unspecified number of animals from the Grande Prairie Regional Animal Care Facility (GPRACF) in the city of the same name, four-hundred-fifty-nine kilometers northwest of Edmonton.

Upon their return to Edmonton, they inexplicably neglected to unload the three cats. As a result, they were cruelly condemned to spend the next twenty-three days locked inside their cages in their transport vehicle, believed to have been a refurbished recreational vehicle, without anything to either eat or drink with the exception of the little bit of water and food that they had been supplied with at the outset of their four and one-half hour journey.

Compounding their already nearly impossible struggle to stay alive, there was not any heat in the vehicle and spring arrives rather late north of the border. For example, over the course of the twenty-two nights that they spent trapped the average overnight temperature was only -9.17° Celsius (15.49° Fahrenheit) with the thermometer plunging to between -12.3° Celsius and -20° Celsius on no fewer than ten of those occasions.

Conditions did not improve all that much even with the return of Old Sol given that the average daytime reading during their twenty-three days of incarceration was only -0.05° Celsius (31.91° Fahrenheit) with the thermometer surpassing the freezing mark on only ten occasions. (Those statistics were extrapolated from data supplied by climate.weather.gc.ca)

Assuming that the doors of the vehicle had been secured and the windows rolled up, the temperature inside of it would have been tolerable, but unpleasant, for the cats. Their lack of anything to eat and drink not only would have weakened them but made it more difficult for them to have properly regulated their body temperatures.

Not a good deal is known about how that the minds of cats function but there can be little doubt that the trio was placed under intense psychological stress. The utter hopelessness of their predicament alone would have defeated most men.

As things eventually turned out, their plight was not discovered until April 18th and that only came about when staffers were preparing to use that particular vehicle for another animal transfer. Most amazing of all, they were still alive, that is, if the EHS is to be believed.

They were extremely dehydrated and famished however as well as suffering from urine burns to their paws. Staffers accordingly administered intravenous fluids, gave them some food, and bathed them. They also more than likely were placed on heating pads in order to rapidly elevate their body temperatures and administered antibiotics and painkillers, all of which are standard components of supportive veterinary care in such emergencies.

Veterinary reports obtained from the EHS by Global News of Vancouver have failed to shine much in the way of additional illumination on the cats' condition. For example, the April 18th report on Lucky, a four-year-old Domestic Shorthair, states only that he was dehydrated, famished, and had suffered mild urine scalding on his paws.

Magic, a one-year-old Domestic Shorthair, was said to have "urine and feces caked on fur around (her) hind end." Two-year-old Chance, however, was said to be vomiting and suffering from diarrhea.

Most alarming of all, the cat also was diagnosed with high alanine transaminase (ALT) which, tragically, is an indicator of severe liver damage. In fact, any cat that is forced to go without an adequate supply of food and water for a prolonged period of time is prone to both liver and kidney damage.

Oddly enough, there is absolutely nothing in Global News' cursory review of the veterinary reports concerning any of them as having either broken or worn-down claws which are rather common injuries sustained by cats whenever they attempt to extricate themselves from cages and other enclosures. One possible explanation is that the cats already were too bedraggled as the result of being shuttled around so much as to have put up much of a fight. Another possibility is that the network wanted to conceal from the public just how much hell that they had been put through and the extent of the injuries that they had sustained during their captivity.

In spite of all of those concerns, the April 26th report by the EHS' veterinarian paints a rather rosy picture of their health. "All three cats are doing well. Bright, alert, and responsive and eating well," Global News reported on June 4th. (See "Edmonton Humane Society Reviews Policies after Cats Forgotten in Vehicle for Three Weeks.")

Four days later on April 30th, the EHS sent the cats packing and back out on the road once again and this time around they were bound for the Calgary Humane Society (CHS), two-hundred-ninety-nine kilometers to the south. The charity was careful, however, not to inform its sister agency of either what the cats had been put through or their compromised health.

To its credit, the CHS apparently did not have the least bit of difficulty in securing homes for them. Tragically for their new guardians, they very well may have fallen in love with cats that may not have all that long to live.

"We were not made aware of the circumstances behind the transfer," the CHS admitted to Global News. "Upon learning of potential concerns over this previous transport, we have since contacted the adopters to ensure they're doing well and to contact us with any health concerns. We're maintaining open communications to ensure that their health is the primary focus."

It Is Believed that the Cats Were Abandoned in an RV Like This One

EHS director Jaime Caza was so glad to finally have gotten rid of them that she was unable to disguise her glee. "The cats are doing very well" she gushed to Global News. "We're really pleased to report that they have since been adopted and are now in their forever homes. We're really grateful for that."

In her defense, she claims that she did provide the CHS with the cats' veterinary records. She just conveniently neglected to inform it of how terribly close to death that they had come and of any possible organ damage that they could have sustained because of her shelter's totally unforgivable negligence.

"The cats were healthy. We didn't transport them until they were healthy," she fired back to Global News. "In any case, when you're transporting animals you don't deliver all of the facts like that. We saw that as an internal issue."

C'est-à-dire, Caza and the EHS are committed to not only inflicting hideous amounts of untold abuse and punishment upon innocent cats through their wholesale neglect of them but also to fobbing off their malfeasance onto other charities and unsuspecting adopters. If she and the EHS were operating on the level, the very least that they would have done was to have informed the CHS of what the cats had been put through as well as to have volunteered to foot their veterinary bills for the remainder of their lives.

The EHS' dishonesty also indirectly throws open a proverbial Pandora's box concerning the legitimacy and honesty of all rescue groups and, in particular, the health of the cats that they sell back to the public. For some individuals that is a moot point owing to their willingness to adopt, love, and care for even sickly and dying cats. Even so, the emotional toll that such cats take on them can be overwhelming.

Other individuals are neither willing nor financially able to assume such a burden. Regardless of how the cats' new owners may feel, the EHS is still guilty of patent dishonesty and deceptive business practices.

It additionally is guilty of attempting to cover-up this incident from the public and, even more disturbingly, it came awfully close to having gotten away with doing so. In particular, news of what had occurred did not leak out until late May when an unidentified source ratted it out to Global News.

Even then that shocking disclosure did not come until a full two months after the cats had been abandoned. That in turn casts considerable doubt on speculation that the tipster could have been one of the EHS' two-thousand volunteers; rather, it seems in hindsight more likely that either one of them or a staffer blabbed to a third party outside the organization who then notified Global News.

The mere fact that it took so long for this incident to see the light of day is itself a staggering indictment of the perfidy of the shelter's one-hundred-twenty-five paid employees. Furthermore, anyone who cared even the tiniest little bit about the welfare of the cats never would have turned a blind eye to their suffering and hideous neglect.

Even though it had been foiled in its attempt to sweep this incident underneath the rug, the EHS quickly demonstrated its adroitness under fire by morphing rather seamlessly into damage control mode. "A series of unintentional events occurred that resulted in an internal review and a subsequent update to our transfer policies and procedures...," the charity told Global News. "Additional checks and balances have been put into place to make sure a situation such as this does not occur again and to minimize the risk of human error. Heightened requirements have already been implemented."

As far as the EHS was concerned, the matter was now not only closed but destined to remain a private one as well. It accordingly defiantly declared to The Canadian Press of Toronto on June 5th that it was not going "to release any additional details due to "the sensitive nature of this incident and to respect the privacy of the employees involved and impacted." (See "Cats Survive in Vehicle for Twenty-Two (sic) Days after Edmonton Humane Society Forgets Them.")

Just how determined the head honchos were to save their own miserable hides at the expense of both their innocent victims as well as the truth was soon made only too clear by Caza. "This is by far the worst nightmare for any of our team members -- from the people that were driving to the people that receive them -- all of the staff members involved were deeply affected," she unashamedly vowed to Global News in the June 4th article cited supra. "They have been receiving ongoing care to ensure that their mental health is addressed."

As simply outrageous as that is, crying a proverbial river for animal abusers and killers while simultaneously being unwilling to shed so much as a solitary teardrop for their innocent victims is every bit as quintessentially Canadian as brutally bludgeoning to death up to half a million baby seals each spring off the coasts of Newfoundland and Labrador. For example, at the close of the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Robert Fawcett of Howling Dog Tours of Whistler was left with one-hundred Siberian Huskies that he no longer needed.

Being way too cheap to feed and shelter them, he shot some of them and slit the throats of the remainder before burying their corpses in a mass grave. He would have gotten away scot-free with his atrocities and the world never would have been any the wiser if he had not gotten even still greedier and applied for a disability pension on the grounds that killing the dogs had left him with a posttraumatic stress disorder.

Numbskull  bureaucrat Allan Wotherspoon of Work Safe BC bought into his outrageous baloney and granted him a pension on January 25, 2011. The media shortly thereafter got wind of what he had been up to and a few minor charges eventually were laid against him. Even when he finally was forced to face the music on November 22, 2012, Judge Steven Merrick of the North Vancouver Provincial Court let him off with a minuscule fine of C$1,725. (See Macleans Magazine, October 27, 2011, "Whistler's Sled Dog Massacre" and The Globe and Mail of Toronto, November 22, 2012, "Fawcett Spared Jail Time in Sentencing Related to Sled Dog Killings.")

Then there is the Canadian populace's near unanimous embracement of big-game hunter and all-around louse Steve Ecklund to contemplate. He hosts a show called "The Edge" for Wild TV of Edmonton and among his outrageous antics he claims that killing a Dall's Sheep in Alaska helped him to defeat cancer.

Last December, he shot, killed, and then devoured a beautiful cougar that he had run to the ground with bloodhounds somewhere in the vicinity of the towns of Rocky Mountain House and Drayton Valley in southern Alberta. Afterwards he went on social media in order to brag, gloat, and preen about his reprehensible crime and that, too, was applauded by the Canadian government, media, and the country's degree mills. (See Cat Defender post of January 21, 2018 entitled "Steve Ecklund's Savage Killing of a Cougar and Vainglorious Gloating, Strutting, and Preening Are Resoundingly Applauded by Canada's Ever Obliging Media and Complicitous Universities.")

Caza's promises and blustering were more than sufficient, however, in order to ward off any intervention on the part of the Edmonton Police. Although to be honest about the matter, she could have spared her gums the beating that she gave them because the force is far too derelict and lazy to have done anything anyway.

Even Terra Johnston of the Alberta SPCA quickly came down with a sudden case of lockjaw. "I can confirm we are aware of the animal welfare concerns identified at the Edmonton Humane Society; we are mindful of EHS' response to those allegations," was all that she was willing to admit to Global News on June 5th. (See "Legal Expert Questions Edmonton Humane Society Investigating Itself in Case of Forgotten Cats.") "Unfortunately, we cannot comment on active or ongoing investigations. At this time there will be no further comment."

The Purported Veterinary Reports on Lucky, Magic, and Chance

True to her word, she has not uttered so much as a solitary syllable on the matter since then but other individuals and groups have not been so easily silenced. "In 2018, we still largely leave the enforcement of animal cruelty laws to private charities and, in our view, this isn't good enough anymore," Camille Labchuk of Animal Justice in Toronto averred to The Canadian Press. "There should be state agents involved in investigating and prosecuting these offenses and there should be a pretty high degree of transparency and accountability."

Barbara Cartwright of Humane Canada in Ottawa, an umbrella group that represents the country's one-hundred-twenty-five humane societies and SPCA's, concurred with Labchuk on the absurdity of allowing the EHS to investigate itself. "This incident highlights a need for an independent review mechanism for organizations that both care for animals and also enforce the law, as more than forty per cent of humane societies and SPCA's in Canada are responsible for enforcing both the federal and provincial animal protection laws," she wrote in a June 7th press release. (See "Humane Canada Statement on Recent Incident at Edmonton Humane Society.")

She vociferously disagreed with Labchuk, however, as to who should conduct such outside inquiries. "If animal cruelty enforcement were to be taken away by the policing sector or any other public institutions, we would lose that singular focus on animals and their welfare," she continued. "Animals deserve more than that."

She glaringly neglects to mention who should select the private concerns that she envisions as looking over the shoulders of her humane societies and SPCA's. Given that she is on sabbatical until January, perhaps doing so would have taken up too much of her leisure.

Also, since when did sitting around twiddling one's thumbs all day become such an arduous job that it merits such a lengthy vacation? Instead of constantly kvetching to the media about her members being underfunded, she would be better off taking into consideration all the feline and canine lives that she alone could save if only she were willing to stop so shamefully ripping off Humane Canada by pocketing such huge paychecks for not even working. (See the Huffington Post, November 10, 2016, "The Hard Facts About Canada's Humane Societies and SPCA's.")

No cause célèbre that ever occurs in Canada is seemingly complete without the country's capitalist media turning to some luminary from its numerous degree mills in order to help point out the way down the old sawdust trail for both the uneducated as well as the imbecilic and on this occasion they buttonholed Peter Sankoff of the University of Alberta in Edmonton. "You have a body investigating itself and then deciding whether it's appropriate to do anything about it," he superfluously observed to Global News in the June 5th article cited supra. "That concerns me a great deal."

After repeatedly making that point ad nauseam but without offering any viable alternative, he went off the deep end by pledging his unwavering support for the EHS. "It seems to me fairly clear, based on the evidence as presented by the Edmonton Humane Society, that the animals were in a state of distress," he continued to Global News. "I'm willing to accept that it was accidental, no one acted maliciously, but the statute doesn't require that. It doesn't require any malicious or willful cruelty. The Alberta Animal Protection Act requires animals be kept out of distress."

First of all, given that he was not present when the cats were so thoughtlessly abandoned, he is hardly in any position to make a determination that what was done to them was accidental. Secondly, as a law professor he should be well aware that all halfway legitimate legal systems base their holdings on the available evidence, not beliefs.

The only thing that Sankoff accomplished with his long-winded spiel was to cement his position within Alberta's legal and political establishment as a team player whose support and loyalty can be relied upon through thick and thin. Other than that he added absolutely nothing worthwhile to either the intellectual debate or, more importantly still, the uphill struggle to upgrade the treatment of cats throughout the province.

Although some advocates for the cats had hoped that a groundswell of support for them would materialize that, regrettably, never happened. Even without it, however, the EHS was prompted to reverse course on June 7th and to publicly state that it was at least willing to consider the possibility of an outside inquiry. It was several weeks later, however, before the particulars of what it had in mind were made public.

"We have voluntarily asked a third party to investigate the cat transfer incident that took place earlier this spring, to independently probe what happened and make recommendations to improve animal safety and staff practices and policies," the EHS announced June 29th on its Facebook page.

That also marked the first time, as best it could be determined, that its chief executive officer, Miranda Jordan "Smitty" Smith, was able to muster enough moxie to even publicly address the matter. "Our non-profit organization is extremely remorseful about this incident," she declared June 29th in an EHS press release. (See "Third Party Investigation Launched after Cat Transport Incident.") "We've been providing compassionate and high-quality animal welfare services in our community for more than one-hundred years and while incidents like this are rare, we need to learn from mistakes."

The first thing that those who do the hiring at the EHS need to get through their thick craniums is not to employ neophytes like Smitty. For instance, she claims to have a B.A. degree from the University of Alberta and an MBA from the University of Liverpool to go along with a diploma of unspecified nature in public relations from MacEwan University in Edmonton and a post-graduate certificate in non-profit management from Harvard.

She additionally serves on the board of directors for Humane Canada as well as vice chairwoman of Women for a Humane Canada. She also claims to foster animals for the EHS and to have a pair of daughters who do volunteer work there but other than that it has not proven possible to find any mention online of her as either ever having operated a shelter before or as previously having had any first-hand experience in the animal welfare field. Even more startling, this appears to be the first time that she actually has held a job of any kind.

It accordingly would not be the least bit surprising if she spends her days locked away in her palatial office counting her money, gossiping on the blower with her cronies, doing her nails, photocopying her crack, and engaging in any number of a thousand other base pursuits that sods like her resort to in order to fritter away their already worthless lives. In addition to being pretty far gone to begin with, it is a foregone conclusion that anyone as degreed and certificated as she is not about to turn so much as a hand at any kind of worthwhile toil; on the contrary, it is the world that owes her an easy and comfortable living and not vice-versa.

Moreover, the EHS' staffing difficulties are endemic to all shelters and Animal Control agencies in that the administrative positions invariably go to greedy and violent cops on the prowl for another paycheck, retired political hacks, and other hangers-on and assorted riffraff. At the other end of the totem pole, the donkey work is usually performed by an assortment of miscreants who are unable to land jobs anywhere else, save perhaps at old folks' homes, the Salvation Army, dollar stores, and Mickey D's.

The third party that the EHS dredged up in order to investigate itself turned out to be none other than Kim Krushell who served for nine years on the Edmonton City Council before stepping down in 2013 in order to found E.P Rees, which develops software packages for banks and law firms. C'est-à-dire, Smitty and her fellow old hacks at the EHS have chosen another old hack from Edmonton's political and business establishment to investigate themselves.

Any glimmer of hope that Krushell had any intention whatsoever of acting as an honest broker was quickly dashed when she entered the fray by telling whoppers. "This is an extra step that they did not have to take that demonstrates that they want to get to the bottom of everything that happened," she blew it out both ends to the CBC on June 29th. (See "Investigation Launched after Edmonton Humane Society Forgets Cats in Vehicle for Twenty-Two (sic) Days.")

Au contraire, the public had lost confidence in the charity and it had to do something not only in order to silence its critics but to restore its credibility as well. Money also sans doute factored heavily into that equation considering that the EHS receives a full forty per cent of its annual C$7 million operating budget from private donations and its mistreatment of the cats had placed that largess in jeopardy.

Kim Krushell
It additionally is utter nonsense for Krushell to assert that the EHS wanted to get at the truth. On the contrary, the shelter knows only too well what happened. The only remaining tasks are to name names, assign blame, and to mete out punishment.

It also was made crystal clear that the proceedings were not being handled on the up-and-up when Krushell was forced into taking the extraordinary step of attempting to justify her own appointment. "They needed somebody...who had the skill set to be able to do an independent investigation and ensure that it's a fair and public process," she continued to the CBC. "And I have done that in the past. I mean, I've dealt with some pretty controversial issues when I was on council."

According to her profile on Know It, Live It, she previously has cleaned houses, tended bar, and worked in a pulp mill in addition to being a politician and a software developer. Nothing contained online, however, even so much as remotely hints at her, like her buddy Smitty, as having any prior experience in the field of animal welfare.

The EHS nevertheless might be able to utilize her experience as a charwoman in order to put her to work mucking out the cages. It might even be able to get a little light housekeeping out of her provided that it kept after her with a horsewhip but that is about all.

To top off the entire charade, Krushell will not even be conducting the investigation; rather, that task has been assigned to an unnamed private firm hired by, believe it or not, none other than the EHS! "The investigators will not be reporting to the humane society, they'll be reporting to me," she added to the CBC. "That ensures that the process is fair and open."

What a hoot! With the EHS having selected both Krushell and the investigators there is little chance that the probe is going to be either fair or open. On the contrary, it is going to be conducted behind closed doors and in secrecy and at the end of which the investigators, Krushell, and the EHS are going to sit down and concoct an elaborate whitewash designed to ensure that Caza, Smitty, and their underlings hold on to both their jobs and paychecks.

Like bank auditors, the investigators certainly are aware of where their moola is coming from and, more importantly, exactly what type of conclusions that they are expected to arrive at, especially if they want to both receive their pay and any future work. It is not known if Krushell is being compensated monetarily for providing her nonexistent expertise.

Even if none of those involved were being paid, that would not necessarily alter the conclusions that they arrive at and that is attributable to the fact that all elites stick together like mud to the heel. It therefore is not hard to understand that for such an inquiry to have any legitimacy it must be conducted by someone or group outside the Edmonton political establishment and who is both experienced in and dedicated to animal welfare.

Despite the utterly absurd ruse that the EHS is attempting to pull off, loudmouths Labchuk and Sankoff have remained every bit as quiet as church mice as the latest chapter in this pantomime has unfolded. Given that Cartwright has not seen fit to once again interrupt her long vacation in order to dash off another tersely worded press release, that is perhaps an indication that this is the type of private inquiry into her humane societies that she fully supports.

She and her comrades-in-arms, Smitty and Krushell, are much like the curios found in antiques shops. They are not worth much of anything, nobody really knows exactly what they are, and no one in his right mind would want to buy them. Yet there they remain year after year, in the way, taking up space, and collecting dust.

Other than the horrific suffering and inhumane deprivations inflicted upon Lucky, Magic, and Chance, the EHS' second greatest crime has been its assault upon the truth. To state the matter succinctly, its version of events simply does not make sense.

First of all, the cats likely were being transported in three separate cages and that is too large of a cargo for anyone to easily overlook. Secondly, since Caza refers to "the people" who were driving the vehicle that strongly implies that there were at least two of them and that in turn makes it still even less likely that the cats could have been accidentally forgotten.

Thirdly, Caza once again refers to "the people" responsible for checking them in upon their arrival at the EHS and it does not seem possible that they could have failed to have noticed that three cats were missing. Even if that indeed had been the case, so much as a cursory review of the paperwork that accompanied that particular consignment of animals would have alerted them to that disturbing fact.

Fourthly, it is difficult to believe that the vehicle in which the cats arrived sat idly in EHS' parking lot for twenty-three days without anyone so much as going anywhere near it. That is especially the case given that it usually is a good idea to occasionally turn over the motors of parked vehicles during prolonged periods of bitterly cold weather.

Besides, if anyone from EHS had gone anywhere near it they more than likely would have overheard the cats crying for help and thrashing around in their would-be tombs. Fifthly, given that pet carriers are always in such short supply at shelters, it is a bit baffling that no one at EHS even noticed that three of them were inexplicably missing.

Sixthly, the deafening silence on the part of the GPRACF needs to be explained. If it were doing its job, it would be up in arms about the EHS' malfeasance and yet the world so far has not heard so much as a peep out of it.

The most logical conclusion to be drawn from its reticence is that it is so glad to be rid of the cats that it does not give so much as a rat's ass about the miseries that since have befallen them. After all, such thoroughly reprehensible conduct is fairly common.

For example, PETA operates a fleet of vans that burn up the back roads of southern Virginia and northern North Carolina collecting cats and dogs from various shelters. Their drivers inform the operators of those facilities that they intend to find homes for their unwanted charges and sometimes even mail back photographs of them frolicking in the gardens of their supposedly new homes.

In reality, however, the snaps are staged and the animals, invariably, are long dead. Instead PETA kills them inside its death vans and later dumps their corpses in Dumpsters. (See Cat Defender posts of January 29, 2007 and February 9, 2007 entitled, respectively, "PETA's Long History of Killing Cats and Dogs Is Finally Exposed in a North Carolina Courtroom" and "Verdict in PETA Trial: Littering Is a Crime but Not the Mass Slaughter of Innocent Cats and Dogs.")

Miranda Jordan Smith

Yet even after PETA's despicable crimes received a public airing in court, none of the shelters that cooperated with it were willing to either publicly denounce it or, as far as it is known, to stop doing business with it. That in turn makes it highly likely that both they and PETA are still working their diabolical machinations without anyone being any the wiser or, for that matter, even caring one way or the other.

Michelle Elfstedt wants to change all of that by enshrining in law protections for animals that are bandied about in transit. "The British Columbia Animal Protection Act actually has a section in there (on) how...the humane societies and rescues have to deal with the transport of animals," she told the CBC on June 16th. (See "Group Calls for Change after Rescue Cats Left in Vehicle for Twenty-Two (sic) Days.") "There's nothing like that in the Alberta Protection Act and we feel there should be to hold some sort of standard to the EHS, because the EHS is actually not accountable to anyone."

In furtherance of that worthy objective, she has started a petition at change.org where she alleges that the crimes of the EHS date back years. In particular, she claims that the shelter has been so flagrantly neglecting cats, dogs, and fish for the past five years that it has caused the deaths of an unspecified number of them.

Her most telling revelation, however, is that the EHS left a cat in an unattended trap for so long last year that by the time its presence finally was either remembered or accidentally stumbled upon it had been reduced to a skeleton. Even more shockingly, the trap had been set and abandoned on the grounds of the shelter.

As of August 3rd her petition, which also calls for punitive action against shelter management and staffers alike, had collected four-thousand-seventy signatures. (See "Edmonton Humane Society -- Suspend the Chief Executive Officer and 'Cat Transport Incident' Staff Without Pay.")

The only known case on record even grislier than that one came to light on November 27, 2009 when the Ontario SPCA raided the facilities of the Toronto Humane Society (THS) and found the mummified remains of a cat in a crawl space between floors. Staffers had lured it into a baited trap and then knowingly left it to die a slow and agonizing death. (See the Toronto Star, November 28, 2009, "Humane Society: 'It Seems Like a House of Horrors'.")

As utterly reprehensible as the behavior of both the EHS and the THS has been, they by no means hold a monopoly on starving cats to death. For instance, the Valley Oak SPCA of Visalia, California, killed an unidentified gray cat in July of 2010 by callously abandoning it in one of its traps under sweltering conditions. (See Cat Defender post of August 23, 2010 entitled "The Valley Oak SPCA Kills a Cat by Allowing It to Languish in the Heat in an Unattended Trap for Five Days at the Tulare County Courthouse.")

It is somewhat difficult to believe that the EHS could be so cruel and ruthless but based upon the available evidence it is impossible to arrive at any other conclusion than that its abandonment of Lucky, Magic, and Chance was intentional. While it is certainly conceivable that if the drivers had arrived back at the shelter late and in the cold and darkness that they, being in a hellfire hurry in order to get home, could have temporarily forgotten about them while they were unloading their vehicle, but certainly not for twenty-three days.

Sooner or later they would have either remembered them or needed the vehicle and their cages. Likewise, those that were tasked with checking them in no doubt had their paperwork in hand and therefore could not possibly have overlooked their absence.

It additionally is a little bit more than curious that incidents of this sort never seen to involve dogs; au contraire, the victimized parties are invariably always cats. The conclusion therefore to be drawn from this and the 2017 incident is that starving cats to death in traps is an integral part of the EHS' management plan.

From its viewpoint, the advantages of such a diabolical strategy are far too numerous to pass up. First of all, since such fatalities are not included in its kill-rate, nobody is any the wiser as to what it is doing.

Secondly, such a policy frees up valuable cage space for more adoptable cats that the EHS is able to sell back to the public for between C$65 and C$270 per animal; dogs are an even more lucrative investment for it in that they sell for between C$110 and C$485. Thirdly, the shelter is able to save a small fortune on food, veterinary care, and adoption services by simply starving cats to death.

Even if the public is so naïve as to believe the EHS' cockeyed story that does not change a blessed thing. Management of the charity has proven itself to still be guilty of gross and inexcusable incompetence.

If Smitty and Caza had an ounce of either decency or professional responsibility in their malignant bones they would have fired the drivers and the intake personnel as soon as they learned of what had happened. Secondly, they would have been forthright with the CHS.

Thirdly, they would have made a clean chin of themselves with the public instead of attempting to cover up this tragedy. Fourthly, they would have tendered their resignations and apologized profusely for their disgraceful behavior.

Since none of that has happened, the onus falls squarely upon the shoulders of cat-lovers in Edmonton to hold them accountable. It is not about to happen in a million years, especially in a city as hopelessly corrupt as Edmonton, but everyone involved in this incident not only should lose their jobs but be arrested and charged with animal abandonment and cruelty.

Under absolutely no circumstances should anyone be shedding any tears for any of this crowd. First of all, they have been lining their pockets for years at the expense of the animals under their care and sans doute have accumulated some impressive sums.

Should their available plunder be insufficient for their needs, they can always follow Fawcett's example and claim that mistreating these helpless cats in such a hideous fashion has wreaked havoc with their delicate psychological health and that they accordingly are richly deserving of disability pensions. They might even be able to put their considerable experience to work for either the THS or the Valley Oak SPCA; such outfits are always looking for good (or is it bad?) help.

"Old soldiers never die; they just fade away," United States Army General Douglas MacArthur once observed but employees of shelters and Animal Control never do either. Rather they just move on from one of these wretched institutions to another all the while laughing all the way to the bank. As it is sometimes said on the street, "it is hard to kill a bad thing."

Most important of all, it is paramount that Lucky, Magic, and Chance be located and presented to the public. The services of an independent veterinarian then must be procured in order to properly evaluate their health.

Michelle Elfstedt Protesting Outside the Shelter on June 16th

All intake, transfer, and veterinary paperwork and photographs amassed by the EHS, CHS, and the GPRACF must be subpoenaed and carefully evaluated by outside veterinarians and other qualified individuals in an attempt to establish once and for all time that the cats did indeed survive their grueling ordeal and that the EHS is not lying. If the GPRACF had implanted microchips in them, that might very well settle the matter and preclude the possibility that the EHS is attempting to fob off ringers on the public. It is almost superfluous to point out but the cooperation of the cats' new owners is going to be crucial to the successful resolution of this mystery.

Given that they luckily had shelter and therefore were largely protected from the elements, procuring some kind of sustenance would have been their most pressing challenge. In that light it is doubtful that there were very many bugs out in the cold and it would have been difficult, but not impossible, for mice to have gained entrée into their would-be death chamber.

Provided that they were in reasonably good health to begin with, had been eating reasonably well, and therefore had built up reserves of fat, they just might have pulled through by the skin of their teeth. A lack of water could very well have doomed them, however.

It is conceivable that they were able to have survived on the condensation and ice that formed on the walls and bars of their cages. Otherwise they may have been reduced to drinking their own urine. Any way that their dire predicament is analyzed, it still would have been a miracle if they had survived.

Working in their favor is the fact that members of their species have a long and glorious history of making it through tight spots. For instance, during the summer of 2010 a six-month-old tortoiseshell named Mandarin somehow survived a thirty to forty-five day voyage from China to Calgary trapped inside a shipping crate.

"There may have been mice or things running around the enclosure," Desiree Arsenault of the CHS speculated at that time. "I can only guess." (See Cat Defender post of September 8, 2010 entitled "Mandarin Survives a Long and Harrowing Sea Voyage from China to Canada Only to Wind Up in Hock to the Calgary Humane Society.")

Cats are all alone in this world. They also are unable to speak up for themselves and they do not have families and friends in order to look after them.

As if all of that were not daunting enough, their enemies are multitudinous. Most dangerous of all are shelter personnel and Animal Control officers who are skillful, albeit unscrupulous, trappers.

On top of all of that, they are diminutive and their corpses are easily disposed of and disintegrate rapidly in warm weather. Their lot in life is accordingly even more precarious than that of the homeless whose plight John D. MacDonald summed up as follows in his 1982 novel, Cinnamon Skin:

"Transients flow back and forth across the country, and up and down the coasts. They are of little moment. They become the unidentified bones in abandoned orchards."

Looking ahead, there is little reason for optimism. More detailed and elaborate recordkeeping might be helpful but since it is dishonest and lying humans who are responsible for making the entries in the charts and logs that is problematic. For example, records maintained by the THS claimed that the mummified cat found on its premises had been adopted out, returned to the shelter, and then killed by staffers a year earlier in 2008.

Besides falsifying records, staffers also knew of the cat's plight and yet did absolutely nothing to relieve  it; instead, they allowed it to die a simply horrific death. The only positive thing that they did was to tip off investigators upon their arrival and even that long overdue act raises serious ethical questions of its own.

"But if someone knew a cat had been inadvertently trapped for months above the ceiling at the shelter, why did he wait until the Ontario SPCA raid to mention it?" Thomas Walkom, a columnist for the Toronto Star, pointed out to www.Animals24-7.com on April 25, 2010. (See "Toronto Humane Society Raided, Executives Arrested, by Ontario SPCA.")

Veterinary offices nowadays not only microchip cats but some of them also photograph and even video record them and that might be something worthwhile requiring of shelters and Animal Control officers. It also might be worth compelling those who work at such facilities to wear body cameras. As is the case with paperwork, however, photos and videos can be doctored and destroyed.

In the final analysis, it does not appear that it is going to be possible to reform shelters and Animal Control facilities in any significant fashion that is going to make much of a difference to cats. Attempting to convince politicians to, for once in their miserable lives, do the right thing by cats is likewise a total waste of time.

It is, after all, they who have created, maintain, and profit from the shelter system and its various components and they can hardly be expected to reform it. "Those who have been once intoxicated with power, and have derived any kind of emolument from it, even though but for one year, never can willingly abandon it," eighteenth century Anglo-Irish politician Edmund Burke pointed out in a 1791 epistle. "They may be distressed in the midst of all their power, but they will never look to anything but power for their relief."

In so far as there is any ray of hope for cats, it is to be found in keeping them out of public shelters as well as the clutches of Animal Control officers and cops. (See The Philadelphia Inquirer, March 11, 2011, "Shelter Shock. Cats Can Get Sick from Stress. One Proposed Remedy? Keep Them Out.")

Instead, all resources should be redirected toward TNR, private sanctuaries, foster families, and adoption services. It also is imperative that owners for once start acting responsibly instead of abandoning, dumping, and electing to have their cats killed off by shelters and veterinarians. Most importantly of all, their right to exist needs to be enshrined in law and along with that an across the board ban on trapping, shooting, and other forms of abuse.

Krushell's whitewash is expected to be completed and made public later in the summer but that is of little consequence. The well-being of Lucky, Magic, and Chance along with all the other cats that fall into the hands of the EHS is, however, something well worth raising hell about and fighting for until the former are located and presented to the public for inspection and every one of the latter walks, as opposed to being carried in a black trash bag, out the front door and in perfect health.

Photos: the Edmonton Journal (the shelter), Global News (one of the EHS' vehicles and veterinary reports), Edmonton Humane Society (Smith), Know It, Live It (Krushell), and the CBC (Elfstedt).

Sunday, July 22, 2018

As Their Colleagues Across the United States Continue to Defame and Wage War Against the Species, a Handful of Foreign Correspondents for The New York Times Are Hypocritically Turning to Cats for Their Salvation and Deliverance

Malicki Has Found at Least Some Use for The Times

"For me, it was an emotional crutch. There's just something about coming across an affectionate animal, wherever you are. And I think that's heightened when you're in an unfamiliar environment."
-- Jack Healy

Whether genuine altruism actually exists or merely puts in cameo appearances from time to time as self-interest cleverly disguised is a topic that long has divided philosophers. That which is not in dispute, however, is that man's attitude toward and treatment of others varies greatly depending upon time, place, and circumstances.

That phenomenon manifests itself everywhere and throughout all walks of life regardless of whether it is commented upon or if even notice is taken of it. Yet, it is still somewhat surprising that an organization as well-known and influential as The New York Times has been able to get away for so long with its blatant lies about cats. (See Cat Defender posts of December 8, 2007, June 15, 2009, and July 9, 2018 entitled, respectively, "All the Lies That Fit: 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 as Achse bes 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.")

Of course having billions in the banks and an army of ruthless shysters at its beck and call helps. So, too, does having enough firepower in order to drown out any and all opposing views.

Safely ensconced behind locked doors at their palatial digs in West Manhattan, the members of the Sulzberger Gang are thus free to munch on their bagels with schmears and nibble at their knishes to their fat bellies' delight, wear out the carpeting with their nonstop strutting and preening, and to wallow head over heels in their overinflated opinions of themselves while at the same time staring down their long, dirty, and disjointed schnozes at the remainder of creation. Subtract the erudition, culture, and snobbish apathy exhibited by Henry Leeds, and the portrait of them that emerges is not all that dissimilar from the one that Gene O'Neil painted of the professor in Act I, Scene I of his 1928 play, Strange Interlude.

After describing the glassed-in bookcases that line the walls of his private library and their numerous volumes of Greek, Latin, German, French, and Italian classics, he went on to observe:

"The atmosphere of the room is that of a cosy, cultured retreat, sedulously built as a sanctuary where, secure with the culture of the past at his back, a fugitive from reality can view the present safely from a distance, as a superior with condescending disdain, pity, and even amusement."

All of that is old news, however. What is not nearly as well-known is the petit fait that while Times' staffers in Manhattan are busily libeling and denigrating the species some of their colleagues stationed around the world in its numerous bureaus are turning to its members for solace and companionship in their hours of greatest need and distress.

One of them is Jack Healy who befriended a brown and white female named Malicki while he was serving as the newspaper's Baghdad correspondent from 2010 to 2012. "For me, it was an emotional crutch," he later admitted to The New York Times on June 5, 2017. (See "A Times Tradition: Meet the Bureau Cats.") "There's just something about coming across an affectionate animal, wherever you are. And I think that's heightened when you're in an unfamiliar environment."

Longtime technology editor Walter Baranger likewise befriended a white cat with ginger markings named Purdah while he was stationed in Kabul in 2001. He later was transferred to Baghdad where he came to know and sought out the comforts provided by that war-torn city's numerous homeless cats.

Purdah with Jane Scott-Long

"The cats were a catharsis. You were able to take care of them," he explained to The New York Times. "You knew you were making a difference. And it took your mind off the war for a while."

Dionne Searcey, The Times' current West Africa bureau chief in Dakar, has likewise adopted a pair of homeless cats. One of them is named Muus who spends a good portion of his time gingerly pussyfooting around the shards of broken glass that are embedded in the top of the security wall that surrounds her office. The other one is a brown and gray cat named Spotty Slash Dotty who is said to enjoy nothing better than reclining in laps and on the tops of desks.

"Mostly they're here to help our three kids feel comfortable," she told The Times. "At least I can make one little difference for a street cat."

Her predecessor, Adam Nossiter, adopted a cat named Louis whereas the newspaper's international editor, Michael Slackman, took on the care of two strays, Yodarella and Spunky, during his five-year stint in Cairo. "Spunky is my soul mate," he proclaimed to The Times.

Although commendable, the assistance that members of the species have received from the likes of Healy, Beranger, Searcey, Slackman, and Nossiter pales in comparison to that supplied them by John F. Burns and his wife Jane Scott-Long. As far as it is known, they began befriending cats way back in the 1990's while they were stationed in New Delhi.

They even thought so much of a stray named Scuzzie whom they met in 1994 that they repatriated him to their home in Cambridge. When the couple moved on to Islamabad in 2001 Scott-Long began regularly feeding the homeless cats that lived in the nearby woods.

After The Times opened a bureau in Baghdad in 2003, the couple came along with it and soon they were sheltering and feeding up to as many as sixty cats at a time over the course of the net several years. They even brought a white cat with flecks of ginger named Scooter and her three kittens, Apache, Bradley, and Stryker, home to Cambridge with them and while they were serving out their six-months of mandatory quarantine under English law, she gave birth to three additional kittens.

"As The Times' bureau chief, part of my routine was to ask, each night, how many cats we had seated for dinner," Burns wrote in The New York Times on October 14, 2007. (See "What Cats Know About War.") "In a place where we could do little else to relieve the war's miseries, the tally became a measure of one small thing we could do to favor life over death."

In doing so, he and Scott-Long openly defied an edict issued by the Bush-Cheney Gang not to either feed or adopt cats; rather, the bloodthirsty imperialists wanted all the cats for themselves so that they could kill them en masse. (See Cat Defender post of June 16, 2008 entitled "Targeted for Elimination by the American War Machine and Cheney's Henchmen, Baghdad's Cats Are Befriended by an English Mercenary.")

Spotty Slash Dotty Loves to Lounge on Cluttered Desks

Burns and Scott-Long also courageously thumbed their noses at the Americans' sottise that feeding the cats would rob them of their survival instincts. "At The Times' compound, too, we have never been certain how long we will remain in Iraq," Burns candidly admitted in the October 14, 2007 article. "But in my mind, at least, the benefits to the cats and our own morale outweighed the longer-term concerns, the more so because conditions beyond our walls seemed to offer scant prospects that most of them, denied our shelter, would survive for very long anyway."

In spite of their superlative efforts on behalf of Baghdad's homeless feline contingent, Burns and Scott-Long were sorely remiss in not better protecting them from being preyed upon by both dogs and respiratory infections. Although given that just about all of the city's practicing veterinarians were either dead or had fled for their lives by the time that they had arrived, there is perhaps little that they could have done about the latter calamity.

There can be little disputing, however, that Burns is guilty, like his fellow colleagues at The Times Judith Miller and Michael R. Gordon, of fully supporting the American invasion and that is totally unpardonable because the war doubtlessly claimed the lives of untold tens of thousands of cats. By contrast, Saddam Hussein reportedly kept hundreds of them at his presidential palace and that, if nothing else, is a strong point in his favor. (See The Independent of London, October 16, 2007, "John F. Burns: How a Brit Came to Star at The New York Times.")

Burns and Scott-Long are not the only Times' staffers to have put their hearts, money, and labors where their mouths are when it came to helping out the homeless cats that crossed their paths while they were living in foreign lands. Healy in particular had a an especially difficult go of it while getting Malicki out of Baghdad.

For starters, it took him hours in order to get an Iraqi exit visa for her. Following that, he was inadvertently clawed and bitten by the terrified cat when officials at a security checkpoint forced him to remove her from her cage.

"My hands were completely destroyed: puncture wounds, bites," he related to The New York Times in the June 5, 2017 article cited supra. He nevertheless refused to let go of her and they eventually made it home to Denver where he was able to secure treatment at a hospital emergency room.

At last report, Malicki was still alive and living with him. Even so, her turbulent years in Baghdad have left an indelible mark on her that can still be seen in her eating habits. "She's still the same gluttonous beast she was back in Iraq," Healy testified to The Times.

Nossiter likewise brought along Louis with him when he departed Dakar in favor of Paris where he now serves as a correspondent for the paper. "I'm extremely fond of him, and he's an indispensable part of the household," he told The Times on June 5, 2017. "And the kids would have revolted anyway."

His uprooting has come at a terribly high price, however. "He's used to spending his days outside: chasing lizards, climbing the mango tree. Now he lives in an apartment in the First Arrondissement, in the heart of the fashion district," Nossiter continued. "He can go out on the balcony and observe the Chanel® workshop across the street but it's not quite the same thing."

A Trio of Homeless Cats Trying to Stay Alive in Baghdad in 2007

He is alive, however, and that is the important thing. If Nossiter had cruelly left him behind, his prospects of surviving on his own would have been slim indeed.

It is not known whatever became of Baranger's cat, Purdah. If it is still alive, it would be at least seventeen years old by now.

The fate of Slackman's second cat, Yodarella, is likewise unknown. The more pressing concern of the moment is the fate of Muus and Spotty Slash Dotty once Searcey moves on from Dakar.

The efforts of seven employees of The Times on behalf of cats hardly constitutes an epidemic of ailurophilia. That is especially the case considering that the newspaper operates approximately six bureaus in the New York area, fourteen elsewhere across the United States, and twenty-four in foreign lands.

Perhaps most illuminating of all is the disturbing reality that even within that select group of two-hundred or so Times' employees who work abroad, the fate and well-being of even those cats that the newspaper has immortalized in print count for almost nothing. For example, in staffers Alissa Rubin and Alan Cowell's  28, 2017 remembrance in The New York Times of Scott-Long, who died last September of breast cancer, they make no mention whatsoever of the dozens, and possibly even hundreds, of cats that she came to the aid of in New Delhi, Islamabad, Kabul, Baghdad, and doubtlessly elsewhere as well.

They even recall a visit that they made to her home in Cambridge last summer and explicitly mention the presence there of her Tibetan Terrier, Alfie. Strangely enough, however, they do not utter so much as a solitary syllable about the cats that she and Burns brought home with them from Baghdad. (See "In an Era of 'Forever Wars,' the Middle East Bureau Manager Who Made Our Coverage Possible.")

It is far from clear what to make of that glaring omission but the first thought that comes to mind is that Scuzzie, Scooter, Apache, Bradley, Stryker, and the trio of kittens that were born in quarantine are either now dead or they have been fobbed off on others. Another possibility is that Rubin and Cowell are dog-lovers and simply did not feel that the presence of the cats merited so much as mentioning.

Owing to the dearth of data available, it is difficult to draw any firm conclusions regarding The Times' foreign correspondents and their overall treatment of cats. Nonetheless, once human frailties, the difficulties involved in repatriating cats, and the nomadic lifestyle of journalists are taken into consideration, it seems reasonable to conclude that Burns, Scott-Long, Healy, and Nossiter constitute a distinct minority. The remainder of their colleagues, should they endeavor to care about cats at all, most likely behave toward them pretty much as captive audiences do everywhere.

C'est-à-dire, they exploit them for the love, companionship, and succor that they so freely provide under trying circumstances without returning very much in kind. Consequently, filial and unbreakable moral bonds are seldom established between them and their feline benefactors.

A Baghdad Mother with Her Kittens in 2007

For example, transitory relationships of this sort are commonly formed in prisons. (See Cat Defender posts of October 27, 2005, September 29, 2006, November 2, 2006, and February 1, 2007 entitled, respectively, "Inmates at Women's Prisons in California Save Lives by Fostering Feral Kittens," "Avenal State Prison Reverts to Its Old Ailurophobic Ways by Scrapping a TNR Program and Cutting Off the Cats' Food Supply," "A Three-Legged, Bobtailed Cat Named Opie Melts the Hearts of the Hardened Criminals at a Tennessee Prison," "and "A Prison in Vermont Is Giving Its Felines the Boot Despite Opposition from Its Female Inmates.")

The same casual and exploitative relationships additionally exist between students of all age brackets and cats. (See Cat Defender posts of April 14, 2008, May 19, 2014, October 15, 2012, November 21, 2012, July 12, 2017, September 15, 2017, and October 3, 2017 entitled, respectively, "Room 8 Lives On in the Hearts of the Pupils and Teachers That He So Profoundly Touched at Elysian Heights Elementary School," "Even after Fourteen Years of Faithful Companionship and Exemplary Service, Teachers, Students, and Administrators at Westbrook High Remain Clueless as to Simba's Intrinsic Value," "Texas A&M Ushers In a New Academic Year but Things Are Just Not Quite the Same Without Its Beloved Bisbee," "Officials at Plymouth College of Art Should Be Charged with Gross Negligence and Animal Cruelty in the Tragic Death of the School's Longtime Resident Feline, PCAT," "A Death Watch Has Begun for King Loui I Who Has Been Abandoned to Wander the Dangerous Streets of Aachen by His Derelict Owner and the Ingrates at RWTH," "King Loui I's Days of Roaming the Perilous Streets of Aachen Come to Sad End Shortly after He Is Diagnosed with Inoperable Throat Cancer," and "Jordan, the University of Edinburgh's Library Cat, Disappears into Thin Air but No One Either Cares, Knows, or Is Willing to Say What Has Happened to Him.")

Even confirmed cat-haters are sometimes able to overcome their ingrained antipathy toward the species in order to exploit them if it suits their evil designs. For instance, wildlife refuges such as Carolina Wildlife Care near Columbia, South Carolina, and Big Cat Rescue in Tampa routinely shanghai them into nursing wild animals who have lost their mothers.

Zoos, such as the Zoologischer Garten Berlin, the Linton Zoo in Cambridge, and the Artis Royal Zoo in Amsterdam also exploit them in a similar fashion and as playmates for their inmates. (See Cat Defender posts of June 3, 2008, October 6, 2008, April 12, 2013, and July 24, 2008 entitled, respectively, "The Berlin Zoo Reunites Old Friends Muschi and Mauschen after a Brief Enforced Separation," "In Memoriam: Thomas Dorflein, 1963-2008," "Arnie of the Linton Zoo Is Remembered as a Wonderfully Loving and Charismatic Cat Who Gave Back Far More Than He Received During His All-Too-Brief Sojourn Upon This Earth," and "A Red Panda That Was Rejected by Her Mother but Later Adopted by a Cat Dies Unexpectedly at an Amsterdam Zoo.")

Still others, such as the Smithsonian Institution's National Zoo in Washington force them into lugging around on their tiny necks bulky cameras so that their cat-hating researchers can gather data on their predatory behavior. In addition to the numerous cats that she shanghaied into becoming guinea pigs and then later killed, Nico Dauphiné even went so far as to attempt to poison a nearby TNR colony. (See Cat Defender posts of July 12, 2011, November 18, 2011, and January 6, 2012 entitled, respectively, "The Arrest of Nico Dauphiné for Attempting to Poison a Colony of Homeless Cats Unmasks the National Zoo as a Hideout for Ailurophobes and Criminals," "Nico Dauphiné, Ph.D., Is Convicted of Attempting to Poison a Colony of Homeless Cats but Questions Remain Concerning the Smithsonian's Role," and "Nico Duaphiné Is Let Off with an Insultingly Lenient $100 Fine in a Show Trial That Was Fixed from the Very Beginning.")

The most perplexing conundrum of all concerns the behavior of those foreign correspondents of The Times who not only care deeply about cats but whose lives have been enhanced by the assistance that they have received from them. Specifically, how can they in good conscience continue to work for a company that has embarked upon a ruthless and underhanded campaign of outright lies and libels designed to hang the entire species?

Moreover, if they harbored in their bosoms so much as the slightest bit of devotion to sound journalistic practices that alone should be sufficient in order to prompt them to publicly denounce their colleagues' patented dishonesty, the one-sidedness of their reportage, the gargantuan lengths that they go to in order to manipulate and fabricate both facts and photographs, and the fervor of their ingrained hatred of cats. That is not the case, however.

Au contraire, they willingly have allowed themselves to be compromised solely for the sake of remaining members in good standing of the notorious Sulzberger Gang. As a consequence, the world is left to ponder just how many other Faustian bargains that they have entered into and, correspondingly, the veracity of everything that they continue to say and do.

Most reprehensible of all, those correspondents whose lives have been enhanced by the cats that they have encountered in their travels owe a huge debt of gratitude to them and all members of the species and by refusing to face up to their solemn obligations they can only be labeled as ungrateful. To willingly do the bidding of such a sleazy and slimy piece of shit as The New York Times and the vile interests that it fronts for is bad enough in its own right but to be known as a pack of ingrates is far worse.

Photos: Jack Healy (Malicki), Walter Baranger (Purdah with Scott-Long), Dionne Searcey (Spotty Slash Dotty), Joao Silva of The New York Times (three cats in Baghdad), and Edward Wong of The New York Times (a Baghdad mother with her kittens).

Monday, July 09, 2018

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

David Streitfeld 

"The strength of facts. The power of truth. Reporting stories you can trust."
-- The New York Times' preposterous assertion on its web site

In his much celebrated 1906 publication, The Devil's Dictionary, Ambrose Bierce defines a liar as "a lawyer with a roving commission," which is a fair enough assessment in its own right. If he were alive today, however, he would be a good deal closer to the truth if he were to substitute The New York Times with its worldwide circulation for the word lawyer.

For example, never having cared so much as a rat's ass for either the truth or fair play, the members of the Sulzberger Gang were up to their old underhanded tricks once again on May 26th when they served up yet still another propaganda offensive against cats. This time around the object of The Times' libels and outright lies were the sixty-eight cats that belong to a managed colony located on the grounds of the sprawling Googleplex in Mountain View, sixty-two kilometers south of San Francisco, and whom the newspaper falsely blames for a precipitate decline in the burrowing owl (Athene cunicularia) population in adjacent Shoreline Park.

In order to grease the skids for the cats' eventual demise, The Times called upon a menteur à triple étage by the name of David Streitfeld who not only lacks a background in ecological issues but, if online reports are credible, never has even so much as attended college. Yet in spite of lacking that usual prerequisite, he has been able to easily secure more than twenty years' worth of plum assignments scribbling about technology for not only The Times but the likes of The Washington Post and The Los Angeles Times as well.

Of course, it goes almost without saying that those who gnaw on the same moldy bagel and slobber over the same bowl of rancid matzo ball soup as those doing the hiring always have a leg up on the competition. Being every bit as bereft of ability, honesty, and integrity as management is another huge advantage that the Streitfelds of this world enjoy; after all, birds of the same rotten feather flock together.

Furthermore, this is not the first time that Streitfeld's accuracy and fairness have been called into question; au contraire, he apparently is not even a competent business reporter. (See hughhowey.com, September 15, 2014, "David Streitfeld Is Dangerous and Disingenuous" and Business Insider, February 14, 2011, "David Streitfeld Knows Better Than This.")

Yet in spite of all of that, Streitfeld has the chutzpah to brag about having won a Pulitzer Prize in 2013. That in itself tells the world all that it ever needs to know about those who hand out those awards in that singling out a no-account, rotten bum like Streitfeld for excellence in journalism would be the equivalent of the National Organization for Women designating Harvey Weinstein as its "Man of the Year."

True to form like all inveterate liars, he wasted no time by declaring from the outset that "only in Shoreline Park are the newcomers eating the natives." Leaving aside for the time being that it never has been proven that cats in general and those belonging to the Googleplex in particular are responsible for the decline in burrowing owls, Streitfeld is wrong in assuming that the owls are native to Shoreline Park and that the cats are interlopers.

Mountain View purchased that particular tract of land, now totaling seven-hundred-fifty acres, in 1968 with the intention of turning it into a recreation area but the cost of trucking in huge amount of dirt in order to raise it to twenty feet above sea level so as to prevent future flooding proved to be too costly and that idea was abandoned. The record is not clear but apparently before that time the area was either flooded a good deal of the time or totally under water and that in turn makes it highly unlikely that there were either any burrowing owls or cats to be found on the premises.

Mountain View instead chose to fill in the area the cheap way by importing garbage from San Francisco. By 1983, however, the city reckoned that it had collected enough refuse so as to belatedly transform the area into Shoreline Park.

Whether it was the owls or the cats that arrived first on the scene is unclear but regardless of that it surely must have been tough sledding for any and all creatures owing to the methane fires that periodically broke out, the toxic ground underneath, and the occasional flooding that stubbornly persisted. Much more to the point, the area never was intended to be exclusively a wildlife refuge and that clearly can be seen by the wholesale development that rapidly ensued.

Most notably, there is Shoreline Golf Links which boasts an eighteen-hole course, a pro shop, driving range, and a fifty-acre artificial lake. Also located in the park are the Shoreline Aquatic Center, which features sailing, surfing, and rowing, the Shoreline Cafe, Michael's at Shoreline, a restaurant, the Shoreline Amphitheatre, and the transplanted Rengstorff House.

Press reports claim that by sometime in the 1980's hundreds of burrowing owls had settled in Shoreline Park but those same dispatches fail to make any mention whatsoever of cats. Nevertheless, that does not preclude the distinct possibility that they were living there then and possibly even before the owls arrived.

None of that has prevented Stephanie Ellis of the Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society (SCVAS) from putting in a claim of exclusivity on behalf of the owls. "Studies have shown cats kill millions of birds a year," she bellowed to the Mountain View Voice of Palo Alto on April 2, 2014. (See "Council Balks at Controversial Cat Rules.") "Cats are not (a) native species and they are not in decline however they are putting birds at risk that are in decline."

From there she went on to showcase not only her prejudices but abysmal ignorance as well. "If you remove cats the argument is more will move in, but feeding areas and cat colonies are actually attractive to other cats because of pheromones," she declared.

As any simpleton should know, cats that belong to managed colonies, such as those that are cared for by GCat Rescue at the Googleplex, are sterilized before being released and as such their mating days are a thing of the past. Even when they have not been altered it is not unusual for an alpha male to drive out the other toms so that he can have a lion's share of the available females for himself.

While she was busily divesting cats of any and all rights to live in Shoreline Park, Ellis conveniently failed to mention that her organization has been removing owls from the park in order to relocate them to a raptor breeding facility in Idaho. The birds' eggs are then returned to nests in the park, Moffett Federal Airfield near Sunnyvale, and the Alviso section of San Jose to, hopefully, be raised by other owls.

That may or may not be a good idea from a conservation standpoint but there cannot be any disputing that is absurd for the SCVAS to claim that such fledglings are native to Shoreline Park. Mercifully, Old "Smell Us" Ellis has since then left the SCVAS and the Bay Area in favor of Eastham, Massachusetts, where she now spews her prejudices, lies, and filth for the benefit of Wild Care Incorporated; California's loss has become the Bay State's gain.

It also is imperative to point out that GCat Rescue was not formed until 2010 and that the burrowing owls in Shoreline Park were in decline long before then. In fact, the birds have been listed as a species of special concern by the California Fish and Game Commission ever since the late 1970's.

They additionally are listed as a species of special concern in another ten states as well as being endangered in Canada and threatened in Mexico. In North and South American as a whole, however, they are listed as a species of "least concern" by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in Gland, Switzerland.

In North America, the IUCN blames the USDA's Wildlife Services for its annual mass slaughter of prairie dogs, in whose burrows the owls often nest, for their decline. The appropriation of their habitats by farmers, miners, oil companies, developers, and others is putting additional pressure on the birds.

Much more importantly, it is not cats that the IUCN blames for the birds' decline but rather motorists, badgers, coyotes, snakes, and dogs. Whereas conditions and threats vary by location and circumstances, it is difficult to see how that GCat Rescue's TNR program is harming the owls.

For instance, over the course of the past eight years the charity has trapped two-hundred-thirty-eight cats and found homes for one-hundred-forty-nine of them. Besides, the sixty-eight of them that it has returned to the Googleplex it and, presumably, its partners at the Humane Society of Silicon Valley in Milpitas, have killed twenty-one others.

Some estimates put the number of homeless cats in Santa Clara County at one-hundred-twenty-five-thousand and some of them may have been dumped in Shoreline Park and thus missed by GCat Rescue which does not trap there. The Silicon Valley Animal Control Authority (SVACA) of Santa Clara does admittedly trap about a dozen cats annually in the vicinity of Shoreline Park but it is believed that most of them are returned to GCat Rescue under its Feral Freedom Program. It does, however, kill other cats that it traps in Mountain View and during 2013 its kill-rate was a whopping sixteen per cent.

It thus seems clear that ornithologists and wildlife biologists should be commending, not excoriating, GCat Rescue for removing and finding homes for the cats that have been so cruelly abandoned at the Googleplex. The cats that it has killed are another matter altogether and the charity accordingly should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law for its crimes.

None of those nuances are to be found in Streitfeld's drivel. First of all, he purposefully neglects to inform readers of The Times of the owls' IUCN classification.

A Trio of Burrowing Owls

Instead, he further confounds the issue by, on the one hand, claiming that only a "handful" of them remain in Shoreline Park while, on the other hand, stating there there are only fifty of the birds left in Silicon Valley. That, supposedly, is his backhanded way of accusing the cats of killing burrowing owls throughout Silicon Valley even though it is difficult to see how that he arrived at that conclusion since he, as far as it has been revealed, only toured the Googleplex.

Nevertheless, this slicker from Manhattan goes on to categorically declare that all the cats in Shoreline Park are the product of the Googleplex. Yet, he simultaneously pleads total ignorance as to the number of cats that GCat Rescue has sterilized and released.

Given Streitfeld's extreme prejudice and agenda, it is not the least bit surprising what he did next. First of all, he claims to have sent an unspecified number of e-mail letters to GCat Rescue that went unanswered.

Following that, he claims to have contacted an unidentified spokeswoman from Google who refused to discuss the matter with him. Readers of The Times only have his word as to what actually transpired but it certainly would appear in hindsight that he never wanted GCat Rescue's side of the story in the first place; rather, his agenda from the get-go was to smear cats and their advocates and that is precisely what he proceeded to do.

First of all, if he had so much as an honest bone in his malignant carcass he would have either interviewed someone from GCat Rescue or refrained from writing his one-sided pack of lies. If he did in fact contact the charity and was refused an interview it was only because it is well aware of The New York Times' biases and therefore did not trust him to fairly present its side of the story.

Besides, if he had had the slightest bit of interest in telling the cats' side of the story he easily could have contacted Fat Cat Rescue of Mountain View, the Palo Alto Humane Society, the Humane Society of Silicon Valley, the SVACA, or any number of feline rescue groups in the Bay Area. Failing that, he always could have contacted either Louise Holton of Alley Cat Rescue in Mt. Rainier, Maryland, or Becky Robinson of Alley Cat Allies in Bethesda, Maryland.

If he had been too lazy to have done any of that, he simply could have researched the issue online. Presumably, the billionaires who own The New York Times provide their scribes with computers.

For example, Fat Cat Rescue's dire warning regarding the consequences of outlawing TNR is easily found on the web. "The best we can do is manage the population," a spokesman for the group told the Mountain View Voice in the April 2, 2014 article cited supra. "The volunteers will not be doing the trapping and you will have an explosion of the population and it will backfire."

After having purposefully and systematically excluded all cat advocacy groups from the debate, Streitfeld proceeded to call to the witness box no fewer than six die-hard cat-haters to bash the species with impunity One of them was an unidentified wildlife biologist who works for the city of Mountain View and he wasted no time in telling The Times that he was worried about the cats' "significant impacts" on "especially burrowing owls."

He next called upon bicyclist and photographer Johanna van de Woestijne who not only groused about seeing cats in the park but supplied him with, presumably gratis, a series of snaps that she has taken of the cats. One of them purports to show a cat making its way through the tall grass with something in its mouth but it is impossible to tell even if it is another animal, let alone what species.

Another of her snaps shows a cat streaking across a barren expanse of ground that she alleges is inside the park. That very well could be the case but the public only has hers and Streitfeld's word for it.

Nevertheless, contrary to what she and Streitfeld would have the world to believe, those two photographs serve only to discredit their smear campaign. That is because if inveterate cat-haters such as them had in their possession photographic evidence of any cat killing an owl there can be little doubt that they would have splashed it all over both The Times and the Internet. Given that they have not done so, they surely must not have such evidence in their possession and as a consequence they have instead resorted to innuendoes and circumstantial evidence.

Streitfeld even goes further by insinuating that cats killed three owls in 2015 alone. "The remains of an owl -- a leg, a wing, a few scattered feathers -- were found here in 2015, shortly after a feral cat was seen stalking it," he declares. "Another owl was discovered dead in its burrow, and a third disappeared that year and was presumed killed."

Since both he and Woestijne have plenty of money and nothing better to do with their time and talents than to attack cats, they easily could have had necropsies performed on the remains of the two dead owls but they were not about to do that because they are not only too cheap and lazy to have done so but scared to death that the examinations might have shown that the owls had died from something other than being attacked by a cat.

Toward the end of his spiel, Streitfeld claims that a cat belonging to GCat Rescue was trapped twice last year by the SVACA only to later be found dead in the park during the month of August. He does not, however, shed any tears over the cat's demise or, much more pertinently, even speculate as to its cause of death.

That is because The New York Times, ornithologists, and wildlife biologists fervently believe that they are endowed with a carte blanche right to kill cats with impunity. If either the SVACA or GCat Rescue were doing their jobs, they would have demanded that a police inquiry had been opened into the cat's death. Perhaps either Woetijne or one of her cat-hating confederates killed it.

Shani Kleinhaus of the SCVAS not only lambasted GCat Rescue, but conscientious private citizens as well, for feeding cats. "It's a problem," she cried her eyes out to The New York Times. "Many of the avian species around the Bay breed on or close to the ground, and the cats prey on them at their most vulnerable moments -- sitting on their eggs caring for their young."

Streitfeld, who could not be bothered with contacting so much as one supporter of the cats, did have more than enough time to go on a leisurely tour of GCat Rescue's feeding stations and winterized shelters that was conducted by none other than Eileen McLaughlin of the Citizens Committee to Complete the Refuge (the Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge) of Palo Alto. Not surprisingly, she, the SCVAS, and Woestijne have been lobbying Google to scrap its TNR initiative ever since 2012.

"They told us it was something their employees were doing and they couldn't interfere," she groused to The New York Times. "We lose the owls, we lose something else next, and then something else. We need biodiversity."

Finally, in order to round out his hatchet job, Streitfeld went to considerable effort in order to dredge up Travis R. "Hardcore Cat-Hater" Longcore of Los Angeles. He even was studious enough in order to include in his article a link to one of his anti-cat rants.

"Cats that are fed still hunt. Even neutered cats and spayed cats hunt," he pontificated to The Times. "If you have an outdoor cat sanctuary, you can expect there to be consequences to the native wildlife."

"Hardcore" Longcore, as it might be recalled by some, teaches geography at both UCLA and the University of Southern California but he is perhaps better known for his work with the Urban Wildlands Group which in 2009 was able to successfully persuade Thomas I. McKnew, Jr. of the Superior Court of Los Angeles County to ban the city of Los Angeles from implementing its own TNR program. (See the Los Angeles Daily News of Woodland Hills, December 18, 2009, "Court Ruling Barring Los Angeles from Sterilizing Feral Cats Stirs Controversy" and The Daily Breeze of Torrance, October 3, 2013, "Proposed Los Angeles City Policy Would Ban Feeding Feral Cats Near Sensitive Habitats.")

Sticking it to cats has become such great fun at UCLA that "Hardcore" Longcore's fellow cartographer, Gregory S. Okin, is on record as begrudging them, and dogs, of the enjoyment of their daily bread. (See PLOS ONE, May 2, 2017, "Environmental Impacts of Food Consumption by Dogs and Cats," The Washington Post, August 4, 2017, "The Hidden Costs of Dog and Cat Food," and Deutsche Welle, August 8, 2017, "Your Cat Is Killing the Earth -- but You Can Prevent It.")

There can be little doubt, however, that "Hardcore" Longcore has a big mouth and that he knows how to use it but that which is often overlooked is the petit fait that he also is an unabashed liar. For instance, for this prancing and strutting map jockey to declare that cats hunt and chase is not only superfluous but disingenuous and designed to take advantage of the feeble-minded.

That is demonstrated by the well-known fact that most cats will chase almost anything. For instance, does their penchant for chasing strings automatically transform them into murderers of yarn? According to "Hardcore" Longcore that is surely the case.

Many shelters are guilty of indulging in the same patented dishonesty. They do so by ramming pens and pencils through the bars of cages holding imprisoned cats and when the occupants respond by grabbing at the objects they pronounce them on the spot to be wild as a pretext for snuffing out their lives en masse.

One of GCat Rescue's Feeding Stations That Birders Want Removed

Since cats will chase almost anything, they do sometimes chase birds but what despisers of the species, such as "Hardcore" Longcore, Woestijne, Kleinhuas, and McLaughlin, purposefully conceal from the uninitiated is that they seldom catch them. If anyone ever bothered to honestly look into the matter they soon would discover that innumerable homeowners have backyards that are chock-full of both cats and songbirds. Some of those birds are so fearless and adept at avoiding the cats that they repeatedly help themselves to their vittles and water.

Most outrageous of all, ornithologists' holier-than-thou attitude serves as convenient smokescreen in order to cover up the fact that birds, including owls, feast on cats. Furthermore, these attacks and killings not only occur in rural areas but also in strictly urban settings.

Many of these city-dwelling birds of prey are likewise fed and protected by ornithologists and others who are beside themselves with joy every time that they either kill or maim for life a cat. (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 from the Balcony of His Manhattan Apartment and Then Dropped by a Retailed 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.")

When the total number of cats and kittens that are killed each year by birds is added to the total that ornithologists and wildlife biologists extirpate en masse it surely dwarfs by a wide margin the number of birds that cats kill. The unwillingness of "Hardcore" Longcore and other despisers of the species to own up to that is their biggest lie of all.

With one day of the week devoted to making the rounds signing up for the various checks that he receives, another day spent collecting and cashing them, and the remaining ones given over to strutting, preening, admiring his reflection in mirrors and windows as he passes by, "Hardcore" Longcore never has been able to find much time to engage in any halfway serious intellectual toil and why should he? He already is making a pretty penny spreading lies about cats.

When Mark Tapley was asked to draw a verbal picture of the United States in Charles Dickens' 1844 novel, Martin Chuzzlewit, he rendered the following depiction that just happens to fit "Hardcore" Longcore to a tee:

"I should want to draw it like a bat, for its short-sightedness; like a bantam for its bragging; like a magpie for its honesty; like a peacock for its vanity; like an ostrich, for its putting its head in the mud, and thinking nobody sees it..."

Whereas ground-nesting avian species, such as burrowing owls, are more vulnerable to predation than those that reside in trees, Streitfeld's insinuations and outright lies hardly support his ludicrous conclusions. "Gradually, public records requests and old-fashioned snooping uncovered a trail," he thundered triumphantly. "It led southeast from the sun-burnished slopes of the park up Permanente Creek and into the ever-expanding empire of Google."

In making such an assertion he completely ignores that it has only been fairly recently that cats in general and those that belong to GCat Rescue in particular have been implicated in the long-term decline of burrowing owls in Shoreline Park. In the past, for example, an accusatory finger has been pointed at Shoreline Golf Links but that certainly has not deterred it from still proclaiming on its web site that its course "allows you (duffers) to play alongside our famed bird sanctuary."

No one is seemingly willing to speculate as to how many owls and other animals have met their Waterloos on its links, but it is common knowledge that the pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers, and other assorted chemicals that are ladled on such courses in order to maintain them in tiptop shape are lethal to animals. Wildlife Services also willingly removes all animals, except those explicitly protected by law, that the operators of these expensive playgrounds for idlers and the well-heeled say must go.

Plus, at Shoreline Golf Links an unspecified number of owls have been struck and killed by golf balls. Even more deplorable, in March of 2014 a duffer killed a pair of the birds by stopping up their burrow with a plastic seed and sand bottle that is used to repair divots. (See the Mountain View Voice, June 10, 2014, "Burrowing Owls Found Dead at Shoreline Golf Course.")

Foxes, skunks, raccoons, dogs, hawks, and other raptors also have been accused of preying upon the owls. Even park maintenance workers are suspected of running over them with their trucks.

Development in and around the park would appear to be, however, the owls' biggest menace in that it is not only robbing them of their habitat but also the mice that they hunt for sustenance. For example, Mountain View has constructed Fußball and baseball fields south of the golf course where the owls used to hunt.

In 2008, the city paid US$150,000 in order to relocate a pair of the birds in order to accommodate Google's plans to build a new hotel, conference center, and office building at Shoreline Boulevard and Charleston Road. The owls in turn were removed to a tract of land in Shoreland Park. (See the Mountain View Voice, January 10, 2008, "Burrowing Owls Versus Google.")

More recently, Google enlarged its Charleston East campus and that plan, despite bringing in thousands of new residents to the area, has received the wholehearted endorsement of none other than Kleinhaus of the SCVAS. Specifically, she has argued that such development would not adversely affect the owls because their habitat is separated from it by the four-lane Amphitheatre Parkway.

"Google is looking to mitigate and build habitat for the owls to create places where the population can increase," she averred to the Mountain View Voice on November 14, 2016. (See "Worries over Dwindling Burrowing Owl Population.") "If the conditions are right, we think the owls will come back."

Considerably less trusting souls can immediately detect the old familiar smell of the Audubons' legendary greed, double-dealing, and hypocrisy topped off by their customary scapegoating of cats. If additional proof of Kleinhaus's perfidy should be needed, it can be found in the fact that she is on Google's payroll as a consultant on matters relating to the owls.

The extent of her sellout, and possibly McLaughlin's and Woestijen's as well, is not known but it has been disclosed that in 2016 Google gave SCVAS an unspecified amount of money so that it could produce a self-guided birding map as well as to organize tours of the Googleplex. The company also financed the writing and printing of one of the so-called charity's brochures that was entitled "Make Your Home Safe for Birds."

Other financial entanglements doubtlessly exist between the birders and Google but Streitfeld and The New York Times have intentionally concealed those underhanded dealings from the public. As a matter of ethics and honesty, charities, public advocacy groups and, especially, sleazy rags such as The Times should publicly disclose their sources of income, political and other affiliations, and their ingrained prejudices.

For instance, all stories appearing in The Times about cats should include at the top of the page a disclaimer that the paper hates them with a passion and will do everything in its power to screw them to the wall. It should not be allowed under any circumstances to continue to get away with masquerading as an impartial beacon of truth and candor.

Kleinhaus's shameful hypocrisy is merely the tip of the proverbial iceberg as far as double-dealing ornithologists and wildlife biologists are concerned. First of all, they have been blamed for a decline in the burrowing owl population by scaring them away from their nests while traipsing through their dwindling habitat in order to photograph and videotape their activities.

Secondly, by coming too close to their nests they are frightening the birds into leaving their burrows and scurrying around defensively in front of them and that in turn is alerting hawks and other predators to their presence. (See the Mountain View Voice, September 2, 2011, "Will New Plan Save the Burrowing Owls?")

In addition to Kleinhaus's dealing from both ends of the deck, it would be awfully interesting to know just how many of the owls and she and her confederates, Woestijne and McLaughlin, have killed indirectly through both their harassment of them and by repeatedly sauntering through their habitat. Unfortunately, that is one question that is destined to remain unanswered because all of them are far too dishonest to ever come clean in a million years.

Anyone even remotely familiar with how that ornithologists operate knows only too well that they not only hate cats but, more much importantly, they only care about certain species of birds. Specifically, they only stir themselves to action whenever it comes to those birds that they have a monetary interest in protecting and, accordingly, can exploit as a means of demonizing and eradicating cats.

For example, the National Audubon Society allowed oil to be drilled in its Paul J. Rainey Wildlife Sanctuary in Vermilion Parish, Louisiana, for more than fifty years. Through that effort it took in more than US$25 million in royalties. It never has said, however, how many birds, deer, muskrats, alligators, otters, and other animals that it killed or the toll that its activities inflicted upon that once pristine environment.

It likewise has allowed oil drilling in its Bernard W. Baker Sanctuary in Bellevue, Michigan. From that effort it has raked in at least US$500,000 at the expense of the Sandhill Cranes and other animals that live there.

 Hate-Filled Old Hag Eileen McLaughlin Thinks She Owns the World

It also allows oil drilling in the Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary, east of Bonita Springs, and at doubtlessly other locations under its dominion. It staggers the mind how that any organization could claim to be so madly in love with birds on the one hand while simultaneously turning over their habitats to companies to drill for oil. One can only imagine the conniption fits that loudmouths Kleinhaus, Woestijne, and McLaughlin would have if ExxonMobil showed up on their front lawns one morning and commenced drilling for oil.

Their outrageous hypocrisy also serves to undermine conservation efforts elsewhere, especially on public lands. (See the Institute for Energy Research, February 13, 2015, "Environmentalists Allow Oil Drilling on Their Land, but Oppose It in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.")

Whenever these twenty-four carat fraudsters are not having a high old time of it rolling in the hay with Google, the oil companies, and other fire-breathing capitalists, they while away the hours by ingratiating themselves with the various feline expulsion and eradication departments that exist within the federal bureaucracy, such as Wildlife Services, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, the United States Corps of Army Engineers, the United States Postal Service, and the National Park Service. It is a productive strategy and birders have recorded many impressive victories over the years. (See Cat Defender posts of May 24, 2007, June 23, 2011, February 24, 2012, April 17, 2010, February 11, 2009, and August 7, 2014 entitled, respectively, "The United States Fish and Wildlife Service and the USDA's Wildlife Services Commence Trapping and Killing Cats on Florida's Big Pine Key," "Wallowing in Welfare Dollars, Lies, and Prejudice, the Bloodthirsty United States Fish and Wildlife Service Is Again Killing Cats in the Florida Keys," "The United States Fish and Wildlife Service and the Humane Society Hoist a Glass in Celebration of Their Extermination of the Cats on San Nicolas Island," "Lake Lanier's Cats Face an Uncertain Future Following Their Ouster by the Liars and Defamers at the United States Army Corps of Engineers," "The United States Postal Service Knuckles Under to the Threats and Lies of a Cat-Hater and Gives Sammy the Boot," and "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.")

Ever once in a while all the sucking up and ingratiating themselves to the authorities backfires on ornithologists as it did in nearby Walnut Creek, thirty-four kilometers west of San Francisco, back in 2009. (See Cat Defender post of March 10, 2009 entitled "The Audubons' Dirty Dealings with the Mercenary United States Fish and Wildlife Service Rebound to the Detriment of Acorn Woodpeckers.")

Last but certainly not least to put in her two cents' worth was Janet Alexander of the SVACA and she gave it to GCat Rescue with both barrels. "Google understands the cats are not supposed to cross the line into the park," she barked to The New York Times.

Whether or not that is a true statement is a debatable point but there does not appear to be in situ any per se law that bars them from the park. Nevertheless, Streitfeld put that quote to good use as the caption of a photograph taken by, not Woestijne, but rather The Times' own Jason Henry that purports to show a cat making its way toward the owls' nesting area.

"One recent evening, as dusk yielded to darkness, a cat came up the path from Google (Googleplex)," Streitfeld declared in the May 26th article itself. "It was heading straight for the owls' domain."

Although the photograph was taken in the twilight and at a considerable distance, it hardly shows what Streitfield maintains. On the contrary, the cat is heading down the path toward the Googleplex and that can be determined by the points of its ears and the movement of one of its rear legs.

To top it all off, once he had finished with his labors on behalf of the cat-haters, Strietfeld was overcome with an irresistible urge to wax philosophical on the deplorable state of human nature. "Like so many stories these days about Big Tech, this is a tale about how attempts to do good often produce unexpected consequences, and how even smart people (especially, perhaps, smart people) can be reluctant to rethink their convictions," the colossal liar and big phony summed up.

First of all, ornithologists, wildlife biologists and, especially, The New York Times have never so much as once ever paused to rethink their views on cats. Year in and year out they are always singing the same old song that cats are evil and all of them should be killed.

Secondly, Streitfeld and The New York Times never have recognized any distinction between the good and the truth on the one hand and the bad and outright lies on the other hand. To put the matter succinctly, Streitfeld's  anti-cat screed is a complete fabrication in both words and pictures from start to finish.

How it all came to fruition is, however, a matter of conjecture because The Times never publicly discloses who decides which stories it is going to publish and who and what animals it is going to libel to the hilt. Although looks, admittedly, can be deceiving, Streitfeld does not strike one as possessing the prerequisite brain power needed in order to have concocted on his own such a smear job.

That in turn lends itself to speculation that either Kleinhaus, McLaughlin, or Woestijne have at their disposal a likeminded confederate within the editorial apparatchik of The Times and that individual in turn assigned Streitfeld to be the architect of their hatchet job on cats. Even then he would still have to be either a whore for hire or an inveterate cat-hater himself to have penned such a hideously lopsided smear.

His shenanigans are strikingly familiar to anyone who has followed The New York Times' coverage of cat and bird issues over the years. For example, in 2006 amateur ornithologist James Munn Stevenson of Galveston was caught redhanded gunning down cats.

He even bragged on social media that he had shot and killed upwards of two-hundred-fifty of them. (See Cat Defender posts of November 22, 2006, November 20, 2007, and August 7, 2008 entitled, respectively, "Evil Galveston Bird Lover Is Finally Arrested After Having Gunned Down Hundreds of Cats," "Bird Lovers All Over the World Rejoice as Serial Killer James M. Stevenson Is Rewarded by a Galveston Court for Gunning Down Hundreds of Cats," and "Crime Pays! Having Made Fools Out of Galveston Prosecutors, Serial Cat Killer James Munn Stevenson Is Now a Hero and Laughing All the Way to the Bank.")

Not about to stand idly by and allow one of the world's most prolific cat killers to be publicly pilloried, The New York Times followed the lead of the Houston Chronicle and hired bird-lover Bruce Barcott to do a long-winded piece on the matter. (See Cat Defender post of May 1, 2007 entitled "The Houston Chronicle Launches a Propaganda Offensive on Behalf of Serial Cat Killer Jim Stevenson.")

What ensued was a virulent anti-cat screed that was almost as lopsidedly biased as Streitfeld's unctuous gruntings. Most notably, Barcott not only allotted considerable time and space to three pro-bird advocacy groups to bash cats with impunity, but eight inveterate cat-haters, and three journals. By contrast, he allowed only English biologist Roger Tabor, Carma Crimins, a TNR practitioner from Portland, Oregon, and John Newland, the San Luis Pass Bridge toll collector who had apprehended Stevenson, to speak up for the felines.

Secondly, just as Streitfeld turned over the pages of The Times to Woestijne so that she could showcase her anti-cat photographs, Barcott and The Times employed Brooklyn artist Jilian Tamaki to render a pair of sketches that depicted cats stalking birds. By contrast, The Times categorically turned down Newland's offer to provide it with photographs of some of the cats that Stevenson had murdered in cold blood.

The third unmistakable similarity between the two articles lies in how that The Times chose to showcase them. For instance, Barcott's anti-cat spiel appeared in the newspaper's Sunday magazine whereas Streitfield's piece, although it first appeared online on Saturday, May 26th, turned up on page one of The Times' Sunday, May 27th edition. The latter article also was given a multiple column headline that read: "Google Doesn't Hate Owls. It Just Loves Cats" and it was accompanied by one of Woestijne's photographs of the owls.

Given that The Times' circulation on Sundays is double what it is during the remainder of the week, it is easy to see why that it chose to showcase both Barcott's and Streitfeld's pieces in such a fashion. C'est-à-dire, once the paper had decided to libel cats it was committed to attracting the largest audience possible for its lies. (See Cat Defender post of December 8, 2007 entitled "All the Lies That Fit: Scheming New York Times Hires a Bird Lover to Render His 'Unbiased' Support for James M. Stevenson.")

Shortly thereafter in 2009, The Times called upon the services of its own Andrew C. Revkin to once again stick it to cats. His most egregious act of patented dishonesty involved his misuse of a sixteen-minute video produced by Bryan Kortis of Neighborhood Cats in Manhattan.

The first seven minutes of it are critical of cats and TNR and, not surprisingly, Revkin did not hesitate to post that portion of it online with his story. The second half of the video, while no great shakes in its own right, did render a qualified endorsement of TNR.

Revkin was not about to allow the readers of The Times to view that part of it and it accordingly did not accompany his article. (See Cat Defender post of June 15, 2009 entitled "The American Bird Conservancy, The New York Times, and the Humane Society Unite to Form an Achse des Bösen Against Cats.")

Revkin since then has moved on and nowadays is spreading his anti-cat venom for his new employers at National Geographic. (See Cat Defender post of April 15, 2005 entitled "National Geographic Is Trying to Exterminate Cats.")

Whereas The New York Times is busily agitating for the mass annihilation of cats, some of its comrades-in-arms within the corporate media establishment, such as Ted Greenberg of NBC-Philadelphia, are contenting themselves with killing kittens. For example, when he received an urgent telephone call in early June of 2012 from his fellow tribal member, Evelyn Koegler, of the Aloe Village Senior Complex he immediately jumped in his old jalopy and burned up the seventy-five kilometers that separate the City of Brotherly Love from Egg Harbor City in southern New Jersey in order to come to her assistance.

Once on the scene he did not waste any time in filing two on air defamatory reports about the cats but he did not stop there; rather, he took the bold step of calling in a local exterminator who promptly removed six kittens. "I really appreciate the fact that Channel 10 helped me and really helped the neighbors," Koegler cooed in the aftermath. "We couldn't do anything about it but you did and we thank you."

Streitfeld Claims This Cat Is Coming "Up the Path" to Hunt Owls

Every bit as dishonest as the day is long, Greenberg falsely informed his viewers that the kittens would be evaluated for adoption upon their arrival at the Atlantic County Animal Shelter in Pleasantville but that turned out to have been hardly what transpired. On the contrary, they were killed upon arrival. (See Cat Defender post of July 7, 2012 entitled "NBC Philadelphia Conspires with a Virulent Cat-Hater and an Exterminator in Order to Have Six Newborn and Totally Innocent Kittens Killed in Southern New Jersey.")

For a group of people who are all the time running off at the mouth about their rights and prerogatives, Greenberg, Streitfeld, and their fellow tribesmen never have evinced much in the way of regard for animals, Mother Earth, and goyim. Rather, they are more than willing to put the screws to almost anyone and any animal so long as it advances them in this world.

Then there is the Orlando Sentinel which in 2013 did not even think twice about publishing a clarion call issued by Ted Williams and the National Audubon Society that cats should be poisoned out of existence with acetaminophen. (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.")

Other news organization that have published related stories on the burrowing owls have demonstrated themselves to be lazy and brainless twits who are incapable of much more than parroting and rehashing Streitfeld's lies. They also believe, like him, that there is only one side to this story.

For example, the only bit of initiative displayed by Kristin Lam of The Mercury News of San Jose was to afford Woestijne another opportunity to spout more of her anti-cat rhetoric which she promptly took full advantage of by calling for the removal of the cats' feeding stations and for them to be confined behind a fence. "Google can certainly afford to enclose their campus cats in catios," she blowed to The Mercury News on May 30th. (See "Google Group's Feral Cats Threaten Burrowing Owls at Shoreline Park.") "There are plenty of good designs available."

Since she is the one who is doing the complaining, it is she who should be fencing in the owls and standing guard over them night and day. Moreover, she should get her hands out of Google's pockets and pay for the care and protection of the owls herself.

Other than allowing Kleinhaus to endorse "Hardcore" Longcore's nonsense about cats and hunting, the best that lazy and prejudiced Old Lammer Scammer could come up with was to reiterate Streitfeld's unsubstantiated claim that there was a proven correlation between a decline in the population of burrowing owls in Shoreline Park and Google's cats. She even confounds the number of owls living in the park with those nesting in Santa Clara County as a whole.

Her abysmal laziness is most vividly demonstrated, however, in her acceptance of Streitfeld's claim that GCat Rescue has not disclosed how many cats that it has sterilized and returned to the Googleplex. If she had had enough initiative to have checked out the rescue group's web site she never would have committed such a glaring faux pas.

Demonstrating that journalists in Old Blighty are every bit as lazy and biased against cats as their American counterparts was Rob Crilly, the New York bureau chief of The Telegraph. Other than reiterating Streitfeld's lies, the only thing that he added to this debate was to expose the depth of the owls' defenders hatred of cats.

"If we want our wildlife we have to recognize these cats are people-dependent, and the people who maintain these colonies are actually facilitating their ability to survive outside," the old hag McLaughlin bellowed to The Telegraph on May 28th. (See "Cat Lovers at Google Are to Blame for Dwindling Owl Population, Say Wildlife Advocates.") "They can't do it without human help."

That is the usual sottise that bird lovers spout all the time and "Silly" Crilly fell for it hook, line, and sinker. Quite obviously, they want to argue on both sides of every issue and to always have everything their way.

For instance, in one breath they argue that cats are such maniacal killers that they are decimating wildlife while on the other hand they maintain that they are so lacking in survival instincts that they can only survive with handouts from their supporters. Both of those assertions cannot possibly be true but they do fit in nicely with the kill all cats agenda advocated by ornithologists and wildlife biologists.

Crilly additionally fails to point out that it is precisely the owls who are the resident welfare bums in the area. For instance, the city of Mountain View has, inter alia, constructed burrows for them to nest in, trimmed the grass around them so that they can better see approaching predators, installed surveillance cameras in Shoreline Park for their protection, and trapped and relocated squirrels from Shoreline Golf Links so that they can be tricked into building burrows for the owls.

The latter initiative is not only outrageous but cruel to boot. Moreover, trapping and relocating squirrels breaks up their communities, traumatizes them, and places their lives in jeopardy of predation. Besides, the lives of owls are certainly not any more valuable than those of squirrels.

Being au fond nothing more than fascists with haloes, ornithologists fervently believe that they have an unqualified right to nakedly exploit, defame, and even kill any animal in furtherance of their quest for worldwide domination. (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.")

Furthermore, Crilly purposefully ignores, like Streitfeld and Lam, the one-hundred-forty-nine felines that GCat Rescue has removed from the Googleplex by placing them in homes. Instead, he elects to parrot Woestijne blatant lie that without GCat Rescue's efforts there would be fewer cats near Shoreline Park.

He also fully endorses McLaughlin's nonsense that Shoreline park is critical habitat for the survival of the owls. Even in agreeing with with her on that point he fails to realize that unless Mountain View gets serious about severely restricting development and limiting population growth and the mindless consumption that always accompanies it there is not going to be sufficient habitat and resources to support very many animals of any species.

Once the dust finally settles, Google in all likelihood will cave in to the birders' demands and give its managed TNR colony the boot. Apparently, several other high-tech giants in the area, including Facebook, already have felt the heat from ornithologists and capitulated.

In that case, GCat Rescue likely will fold its tent and surrender its cats to the Palo Alto Humane Society or some other extermination camp and that will be the end of them. The very best dénouement that can be hoped for is that the company's chairman, Eric Schmidt, will be able to somehow summon a little bit of the moxie that he demonstrated when he was upbraided for paying a corporate tax rate of only 2.3 per cent by sheltering the lion's share of his company's revenues in Ireland, Holland, and Bermuda.

"It's called capitalism," he proudly told The Independent of London on December 17, 2012. (See "Google Boss: I'm Very Proud of Our Tax Avoidance Scheme.") "We're proudly capitalistic."

Google therefore has it well within its prerogatives to proudly become a pro-cat company and in doing so to tell ingrates like Kleinhaus, Woestijne, and McLaughlin to go to blazes. While it is at it, the company also should cut off their supply of free shekels. Before they go to their graves, ornithologists and wildlife biologists should be forced into doing at least some honest toil.

Ornithologists also have long enjoyed a reputation as being some of the world's biggest liars but that is not anything new and it is not about to change. The real culprit here, however, is The New York Times which continues to abuse the privileged perch that it enjoys in society by spreading malicious, unsubstantiated lies about cats.

Besides its total lack of ethics and any sense of fair play, The Times' runaway hubris is indeed something to behold. "The strength of facts. The power of truth," it heralds on its web site. "Reporting stories you can trust."

If those sentiments had been uttered in jest, the whole world would be entirely justified in laughing right along with the high-muck-a-mucks who came up with them. Somehow that does not seem to have been the case; rather, it certainly sounds and looks like The Times has started to believe its own lies and bullshit and that puts it on a par with ornithologists and wildlife biologists.

"Advertisements... contain the only truths to be relied on in a newspaper," Thomas Jefferson opined in a January 12, 1819 epistle to Nathaniel Macon. Since he felt that way all those years ago, one can only imagine what he would think today of such a disgraceful rag as The New York Times.

Perhaps he would be forced into concluding that other than taking advantage of the naïve and uninformed as a means of feathering its own nest, The New York Times does not serve any useful purpose. It is so god-awful in fact that it is not even fit to wipe one's ass with and anyone foolish enough to even try soon would be seized with a case of the piles so unrelenting that even a boxcar load of Preparation H® would be insufficient to assuage the pain and burning.

Photos: the Los Angeles Times (Streitfeld), the Mountain View Voice (owls), Maritza Cruz of The Mercury News (a feeding station), and Jason Henry of The New York Times (McLaughlin and a cat in the twilight).