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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

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Diabolically Mutilated in a Botched Back Alley Sterilization, Billy Is Promised Help by Blackpool Cats in Care Who, Predictably, Turn Right Around and Pull the Rug Out from Underneath Him

 Billy Shortly after His Rescue on September 20th

"We tried absolutely everything and more in our power to save this little fella. We even had a bank appointment this morning for a loan to get him the best (care) we could."
-- Janet Moores of Blackpool Cats in Care

When and where it all began for Billy in all likelihood never will be known for sure. If estimates of his age are credible, however, he entered this world sometime along about the middle of June.

Given his friendly demeanor, it would appear that he was a domesticated kitten as opposed to one that had been born in the wild. That is not always conclusive in that some kittens of his tender age have yet to develop a healthy distrust, no matter how beneficial it may be, of humans.

For present purposes, the black, brown, and white kitten's story began at 8 a.m. on September 20th when a dog walker found him stuffed into a small box in an unidentified park in Preston, Lancashire. He was in shock and covered in blood, urine, and feces.

The Good Samaritan wasted no time in handing him over to an unidentified volunteer from Blackpool Cats in Care (BCC) who in turn delivered him to the charity's main office at 23 The Crescent in St. Annes on Sea, twenty-nine kilometers west of Preston via the M55. He soon thereafter was transferred to the Robert Jones Veterinary Centre at 64 St. Annes Road in Blackpool where an examination quickly confirmed the charity's worst suspicions.

"You can clearly see that the hair on his head has been cut with scissors, and the vet said his testicles had also been cut with scissors," BCC's Janet Moores told the London Metro on September 20th. (See "Tiny Kitten Left to Die after Having 'Testicles Cut Off with Scissors'.") "They have chopped off all of his fur as if they were playing hairdressers and when we looked underneath it's very clear they have cut his testicles off as well."

Press reports have not speculated upon when this botched sterilization took place, but likely it occurred either the night before or very early on the morning of September 20th. Toxicology tests, had they been performed, would have determined if he had been given any analgesics beforehand but that is hardly ever the case with back alley castrations of this sort.

Given that Billy also was dehydrated and emaciated he likely had been taken away from his mother much too soon and thereafter severely neglected by his owner, if he did indeed have one. The only other explanation that readily comes to mind is that he was mutilated sometime earlier and therefore had been languishing in that wretched park for days.

Upon his arrival at Jones, he was provided with the standard battery of supportive care that all cats in extremis receive. He first of all was likely placed on a heating pad and perhaps wrapped in blankets in an effort to rapidly elevate his body temperature.

A catheter then was inserted into one of his legs so as to facilitate the administration of intravenous fluids. A regimen of antibiotics and painkillers as well as a perfunctory blood test followed soon thereafter. No details have been disclosed as to what was done in order to attend to the back of Billy's head, which in photographs looks more like it had been attacked by a razor than a pair of scissors, but more than likely the injured area was inspected for cuts to the scalp and, if any were found, they were disinfected and treated with topical antibiotics. In regard to his horribly mutilated scrotum, the vets first had to stanch the flow of blood, clean and disinfect the area, and then to apply antibiotics and a bandage of some sort.

There can be little doubt that it was gruesome and heart-rending work. "In an ideal world he'd probably have an operation to remove the infected parts, but he is just too weak to pull through," Moores added resignedly to the London Metro.

While all of that was certainly distressing enough in its own right, it nevertheless was encouraging that the charity initially gave him a fifty-fifty chance of surviving. There was even talk of finding him a home.

"He's going to need an operation to fix his back end because his testicles are cut through," Moores amplified to the London Metro. "Fingers crossed he is going to pull through and we can get the poor little mite home because we'd love to find him a lovely family where he's never going to suffer like this again."

In an undated article that appears on BCC's web site, the charity actually sounded downright optimistic about Billy's prospects. "He was urinating, eating, drinking, and purring a couple of days later," it proudly announced. (See "Billy the Cat That We All Took to Our Hearts.")

By October 2nd, however, the dark clouds had gathered and the charity was singing an entirely different tune. "Billy is still poorly in the vets, although he did start to pass urine by himself he has relapsed and is now back to being unable to pass urine without being expressed (manual manipulation of the bladder from the outside)," Moores announced on BCC's Facebook page. "We still at this point do not know what his future holds."

Billy Was Able to Stand but It Is Unclear if He Could Walk

That was small potatoes compared to the next bombshell that she dropped. "He does need a big operation on his pelvis as he cannot use one of his legs but at the moment we need to concentrate on his bladder functioning," Moores added.

First of all, it is hard to believe that it took both the charity and the vets at Robert Jones twelve days in order to realize that there was something amiss with Billy's pelvis. That is even more so the case in that radiographs, if not indeed MRIs and CT scans, most assuredly were taken of his rear end and scrotum upon arrival.

Although BCC's rather tardy announcement that Billy was experiencing difficulties with his pelvis, bladder, and one of his legs was discouraging, little clue did the outside world have of just how bad things had gotten for him. Three days later on October 5th Moores removed the scales from the eyes of those that it had been treating to a cruel game of ring-a-round the rosies.

"Yesterday Billy was taken to an orthopedic vet in Liverpool. This specialist had a look at his x-rays (sic) and unfortunately his pelvis is so badly damaged for them (sic) to be able to do anything for him," is how that she delivered the coup d'grâce to Billy's supporters on Facebook. "His pelvis is completely shattered which has damaged the nerves which controls (sic) his bladder and leg."

For the sake of completeness, on its web site the charity spoke of only a "broken pelvis." So to sum up, over the course of a fifteen-day period BCC went from making no mention whatsoever of Billy's pelvis to later admitting that he needed a "big operation" on it on the one hand to declaring that it was "broken" and "completely shattered" on the other hand.

From that moment onward, Billy's allotted time upon this earth had dwindled down to hours. "He is not in any pain," Moores acknowledged in her October 5th posting on Facebook. "(Nevertheless) the specialist had advised us to put him to sleep."

She did, however, hold out one glimmer of hope. "As a last resort we have now contacted Noel Fitzpatrick, the super-vet off the TV in London," she disclosed. "All his (Billy's) history has been faxed over and we are now awaiting a call."

As founder of Fitzpatrick Referrals in the Eashing section of Godalming in Surrey, the neuro-orthopedic veterinarian first skyrocketed to international acclaim in 2009 when he created an artificial knee for an eight-year-old brown and gray cat named Missy from Petworth in West Sussex. Later in 2010, he created a new hip, metal implants, and a pair of prosthetic feet for a thirty-month-old black tom named Oscar from the parish of Grouville on the Bailiwick of Jersey.

In Oscar's case, he had lost both of his rear paws when he was run down in the autumn of 2009 by a kamikaze combine operator harvesting maize. (See Cat Defender post of November 20, 2010 entitled "Celebrated as the World's First Bionic Cat, Oscar Has Been Turned into a Guinea Pig with a Very Uncertain Future" and Kate Allen, Oscar's owner, The Bionic Cat, published by Summersdale Publishers of Chichester in West Sussex back in 2013. An excerpt from the latter can be found in the Daily Mail, February 16, 2013, "The £50,000 Bionic Cat: The Pet Who Lost Two Paws in a Freak Accident and the Efforts to Get Him Back on His Own Two Feet.")

"If Noel cannot do anything for Billy then we will have absolutely no other option but to let him go," Moores concluded in her October 5th posting on Facebook.

Whether or not Fitzpatrick was willing to have helped Billy is a question that Moores never has answered. In fact, her October 5th mention of him was her first and last word on that subject.

Even if he had been willing to have done whatever he could for Billy, BCC never in a million years would have met his asking price, which surely would have been in the tens of thousands of pounds even if his surgery had been willing to graciously absorb the bulk of the cost as it had done with Oscar. More than likely she and BCC by that time had made up their warped minds to whack Billy and the appeal to Fitzpatrick was strictly a publicity stunt.

It is unclear exactly when BCC perpetrated its evil and despicable deed but, for whatever it is worth, it claims to have murdered him early on October 8th. "We are absolutely heartbroken to be saying this, but little Billy lost his fight this morning," Moores announced on Facebook that same day.

The problem with that is that her announcement was posted at 4:44 Greenwich Mean Time and that implies that she and Billy's executioner stayed up all night just to kill him and afterwards she immediately went online to inform the world. Such a scenario seems highly improbable to say the least.

More than likely Billy was killed on either Friday, Saturday, or Sunday and it took Moores until the small hours of Monday before she was able to summon the moxie in order to confess her despicable crime to the world. For the sake of the truth, Billy most assuredly did not loose his fight to live as she claims; au contraire, his life was violently taken from him by Moores and BCC.

The Fur Was Removed from the Back of Billy's Head

In an utterly absurd and totally dishonest attempt to justify her crime, Moores claims that Billy's condition had deteriorated over the weekend. "This weekend little Billy started with bowel complications and was showing signs that he wasn't happy, uncomfortable -- maybe in pain and stressed...," she wrote October 8th on Facebook.

First of all, excretory difficulties are to be expected from almost any kitten in Billy's condition. A more likely explanation is that Moores and her fellow staffers quickly tired of cleaning up his poop and changing his bedding.

Nobody should ever underestimate the adverse consequences that a little bit of feline excrement can have upon the thinking and behavior of even the species' stanchest supports. For example in November of 2014, Bob Watterson of Portland, Maine, got rid of a six-month-old kitten named Spice almost as soon as he had adopted her all because she had the temerity to piss in his bed. (See Cat Defender post of December 11, 2014 entitled "Uprooted from Home and Left Stranded Thousands of Miles Away, Spice Discovers to Her Horror That Not All the Ghouls and Goblins in This World Are Necessarily to Be Found on Halloween.")

Secondly, to snuff out the life of a kitten because it supposedly "wasn't happy, uncomfortable -- maybe in pain and stressed" is simply ludicrous. Killing a kitten should require both stronger proof and a far better rationale than Moores has provided.

"We did say, and I know you all said the same...we didn't want any pain, suffering or distress as he had already been through so much," Moores persisted in her October 8th posting on Facebook.

If that indeed was the reasoning behind her and BCC's crime, they should have killed off Billy upon his arrival on September 20th because that was when he most definitely, not allegedly, was experiencing his greatest discomfort. Furthermore, Moores and BCC knew from the very beginning that his treatment and convalescence were destined to be long, tedious and, at times, unpleasant for him.

"I'm sorry we couldn't do more," Moores signed off. "Sleep tight, Billy, you were too precious for this world."

All of that would have been outrageous enough in its own right but Moores did not have the bon sens to have stopped there but instead she went on to indulge in a mother lode of mumbo-jumbo about gods and angels. She even had the audacity to post on Facebook a photograph of him crossing the fictional Rainbow Bridge.

It was however her posting of an anonymous bit of poesy entitled "Made It Home" that proved to be totally insufferable. Take, for instance, the following lines:

"Here there is no sadness, and no sorrow, and no pain. Here there is no crying, and I'll never hurt again.

Here it is so peaceful, when all the angels sing. I really have to go for now...I've just got to try my wings."

Besides being enough to have choked even the stoutest hippopotamus, that is precisely the same type of sottise that has been pressed into service by Moores and her misbegotten ilk ever since time immemorial in order to attempt to justify the heinous crimes that they perpetrate on a daily basis against cats and other animals. Furthermore, she and her confederates are truly fortunate that the gods, angels, and heaven do not in fact exist and that there is not so much as an iota of justice in this world because if there were they would surely be in a heap of trouble.

That likewise is an equally fortuitous situation for the latter, especially considering all the evil that has been done in their names. "Je ne sais pas si Dieu existe, mais ce serait mieux pour sa réputation s'il n'existeit pas," nineteenth century writer Jules Renard once astutely observed.

Although Billy may very well now be free of all sadness, sorrow, pain, crying, and hurting as she alleges, he also is free of their opposites as well. That in turn can mean only that he has ceased to exist and is not coming back. A day of living that is completely free of pain and suffering is an impossibility for both cats and men.

Considering that a cat's tenure upon this earth is already so terribly short, to have taken so much as a second off of the approximately fifteen weeks that Billy was allotted is a crime of monumental proportions. That is even more so the case considering that the anti-suffering argument is one of the biggest lies ever concocted.

What proponents of such sophistry are really saying is that they are too cheap to foot the bill for a cat's care and far too lazy to nurse it back to health. No one is forthright enough to point it out but there most definitely exists an unmistakable correlation between an alleged precipitate decline in the health of a ca and a corresponding increase in the cost and effort required in order to treat it. C'est-à-dire, just about all cats are killed off for economic, as opposed to health, reasons and that ironclad rule of so-called humane care definitely held true in Billy's case.

If anyone ever could be persuaded to closely examine the lives of colossal phonies like Moores they invariably would quickly discover that they are some of the world's meanest exploiters of cats. They shoot the world a convincing line about their tremendous love for members of the species but once the chips are down they get rid of them just as if they were nothing more than worn-out pairs of shoes.

Billy's Mutilated Scrotum

In fact, shelters and rescue groups have so little respect for the sanctity of feline life that they will gladly kill almost any cat if it is convenient for them to do so and that indictment most definitely includes so-called no-kill operations as well. (See Cat Defender posts of October 23, 2012, January 2, 2013, February 9, 2013, August 26, 2015, and February 17, 2016 entitled, respectively, "A Supposedly No-Kill Operation in Marblehead Betrays Sally and Snuff Out Her Life Instead of Providing Her with a Home and Veterinary Care," "Alley Cat Allies Demonstrates Its Utter Contempt for the Sanctity of Life by Unconscionably Killing Off Its Office Cat, Jared," "New Start Cat Rescue Center Abruptly Kills Off Victoria after the Cancer Returns to Her Already Ravaged Ears," "A Myriad of Cruel and Unforgivable Abandonments, a Chinese Puzzle, and Finally the Handing Down and Carrying Out of a Death Sentence Spell the End for Long-Suffering and Peripatetic Tigger," and "Cats Protection Races to Alfie's Side after His Owner Dies and He Winds Up on the Street, Swears It Is Going to Help Him, and Then Turns Around and Has Him Whacked.")

Newspapers, libraries, ports, airports, railroads, retail outlets, and scores of other institutions and businesses keep cats as mascots and mousers but they seldom, if ever, forge any lasting moral bonds with them. (See Cat Defender posts of February 9, 2006, September 28, 2011, December 7, 2006, March 8, 2016, May 31, 2007, May 28, 2015, October 31, 2015, and January 15, 2015 entitled, respectively, "A Newspaper Cat Named Tripod Is Killed Off by the Journalists That He Befriended in Vermont," "Marvin Is Betrayed, Abducted, and Murdered by a Journalist and a Shelter Who Preposterously Maintain That They Were Doing Him a Favor," "After Nineteen Years of Service and Companionship, the Ingrates at an Iowa Library Murder Dewey Readmore Books," "Penny of the Swansea Public Library: A Remembrance," "Port Taranaki Kills Off Its World Famous Seafaring Feline, Colin's, at Age Seventeen," "Abandoned, Homeless on the Street, Expelled by the Ingrates at Manchester International Airport, and Finally Whacked by Her Last Guardian, So Ran the Course of Ollie's Sad and Turbulent Life," "Tama Is Finally Able to Escape the Merciless Clutches of Her Simon Legree Overlords at the Wakayama Railway but Doing So Has Cost Her Everything That She Ever Had, Including Her Life," and "Lewis, Ann Arbor's Much Celebrated Garden Shop Cat, Departs This World Under Highly Suspicious Circumstances.")

Owners who hire unscrupulous veterinarians to kill off their cats for them are every bit as uncaring and morally bankrupt as shelters, rescue groups, and businesses. (See Cat Defender posts of October 27, 2008, March 12, 2009, July 17, 2013, August 27, 2014, and October 18, 2014 entitled, respectively, "Loved and Admired All Over the World, Feline Heroine Scarlett Is Killed Off by Her Owner after She Becomes Ill," "Too Cheap and Lazy to Care for Him During His Final Days, Betty Currie Has Socks Killed Off and His Corpse Burned," "Not Satisfied with Merely Whacking Meiko, Garrison Keillor Struts on Stage in Order to Shed a Bucketful of Crocodile Tears and to Denigrate the Entire Species," "After Traveling for So Many Miles on the Bridport to Charmouth Bus, Dodger's Last Ride Is, Ironically, to the Vet Who Unconscionably Snuffs Out His Precious Life at the Urging of His Derelict Owner," and "Hamish McHamish's Derelict Owner Reenters His Life after Fourteen Years of Abject Neglect only to Have Him Killed Off after He Contracts a Preeminently Treatable Common Cold.")

As was it the case with Billy, the common thread that runs throughout each and every one of the above crimes is characterized by declarations of undying love, pledges of care and steadfastness followed closely at heel by outrageous betrayals, the commission of the dastardly deed itself, and then the recitation of a simply outrageous pack of self-serving lies designed to justify it. Almost always overlooked in the self-congratulatory postering that follows afterwards is the petit fait that there is absolutely nothing that is either painless or humane about these unnecessary killings. (See Cat Defender post of April 8, 2018 entitled "A Rare Behind the Scenes Glimpse at the Ruthless Murders of Two Cats by an Indiana Veterinarian Exposes All Those Who Claim That Lethal Injections Are Humane to Be Barefaced Liars.")

Although Moores did not miss in beat when it came to trotting out all the usual arguments, dodges, and subterfuges, in the end she ultimately was undone by her own verbosity. "We tried absolutely everything and more in our power to save this little fella," she bellowed October 8th on Facebook. "We even had a bank appointment this morning for a loan to get him the best (care) we could."

She quite obviously did not keep that appointment unless the banks in St. Annes stay open all night and, even more unlikely, have loan officers on duty during the small hours. Besides, the idea of borrowing money to pay for a cat's care sounds much more like a suggestion that would have come from a veterinarian as opposed to a rescue group. Moreover, given that BCC relies upon a web site that was designed by WIX of Tel Aviv, and most likely gratis at that, it is a bit difficult to believe that it would ever borrow money in order to save the life of any cat.

"We contacted specialist surgeons from north to south over the weekend and they all came back with the same reply," she continued. "There was nothing that could be done, his pelvis was badly damaged."

First of all, considering that regular, run-of-the-mill veterinarians are not all that accessible even during regular business hours, it would be interesting to know exactly how many specialists that she was able to have gotten a hold of, either in person or on the blower, on a weekend. Secondly, why did killing Billy suddenly become such an urgent matter?

In an October 4th photograph that she posted of him on Facebook, Billy's eyes are bright and he clearly can be seen resting comfortably on either a blanket or a pad. Moreover, he certainly does not give any indication of being in pain and if the viewer did not know differently he would surely pronounce him to be the very epitome of a healthy kitten.

In addition to the brightness of the eyes, there are several other considerations that need to be evaluated before snuffing out the life of a cat. For instance, is it still conscious and does it still possess the will to live?

Secondly, is it still eating and drinking? Thirdly, is it's excretory system still functioning? Fourthly, has it sustained any irreparable damage to its vital organs?

What a veterinarian has to say concerning life and death matters is not gospel. In making such momentous decisions, owners should rely upon their own intuition and morals. Regrettably, Billy did not have anyone in his corner in order to speak up for his inalienable right to live or to foot the enormous bill for his care.

Although treating Billy would have been unquestionably expensive and labor intensive, BCC had not been left hung out to dry. "We have had thousands of messages from people all over the world. We must have had three-hundred to four-hundred offers for homes for him," Moores acknowledged to the Blackpool Gazette on October 11th. (See "Castrated Kitten Loses Fight for Life.") "I have never known the whole of England to stand up for a little kitten. Everybody has taken him into their hearts."

The charity has not publicly disclosed how much in donations that it received earmarked for Billy's care but it is suspected that the amount was not insubstantial. Plus, additional funding would have flowed in if only it has chosen to have spared Billy's life. It is even remotely conceivable that some surgeries might have given the charity a huge discount.

Billy Looked Well Enough on October 4th 

Then there is the fact that St. Annes is one of the most affluent cities in all of northern England and that strongly suggests that BCC either has substantial resources of its own or, at the very least, has access to them. Rescue groups, however, are seldom willing to invest very much money in a single animal.

They feel that doing so is unfair to the thousands of other cats that desperately need their assistance and that argument is not without its merit. What they do instead is exploit kittens like Billy to the hilt as fundraising tools only to turn around and whack them and that is patently dishonest as well as immoral.

Given the incompleteness and glaring contradictions contained in BCC's assessment of Billy's health, it is difficult to speculate with any degree of certainty as to what could have been done for him. His principal ailment was, quite obviously, his broken pelvis and, owing to his tender age, repairing it would have been difficult due to the smallness and brittle nature of the ischium, pubis, and ilium of which it is comprised.

It is not even known how that it was broken. His attacker could have used either a blunt object on it or broken it with a swift kick. Another possibility is that he broke it when he stepped on Billy in an effort to hold him down while he cut off his testicles.

Considering the large number of cats that are deliberately run down by motorists every day, it is not surprising that broken pelvises constitute the second most common type of skeletal injuries sustained by members of the species. In turn, it only stands to reason that they would be preeminently treatable in some fashion.

In the vast majority of such cases, treatment consists primarily of a liberal application of painkillers and up to as much as six months of rest. According to veterinarian David Diamond, fractures of the ischium and the pubis usually fall into that category.

By contrast, bone plates, metal screws, and pins are used to mend a broken ilium. (See Pet Place, July 4, 2014, "Fracture of the Pelvis in Cats.")

For example, an eight-month-old brown and white female named Bristol from Florida was brought into one of Best Friends Animal Society's clinics a few years back suffering from a broken pelvis and incontinence. Her original rescuers wanted to kill her but the charity, headquartered in Kanab, Utah, not only spared her life but also was able to mend her broken pelvis through rest and time. (See Best Friends, February 2, 2016, "Young Cat with Pelvic Fracture Recovers.")

At the opposite end of the spectrum, a nine-year-old calico named Sophie who had suffered multiple fractures of her pelvis and nerve damage when she was run down by a motorist required a considerably greater amount of veterinary intervention. In her case, Bray, Ireland, veterinarian Pete Wedderburn has forced to employ physical therapy, ultrasound, lasers, and electrical muscle stimulation administered via electrodes in order to get her back on her feet. (See Pete the Vet.com, November 13, 2013, "Sophie, a Nine-Year-Old Cat Who Suffered a Broken Pelvis after Being Hit by a Car.")

The prognosis for Billy, if he had been allowed to go on living, is a good deal more problematic. In all likelihood the small bones in his pelvis would have continued to grow but it is far from clear if they would have fused together in a workable fashion. It likewise is unsure if surgical intervention would have materially aided that delicate process.

In a photograph released to the public by BCC, he was at least able to stand on his own and that was a positive sign. Even if he never fully regained the services of his pelvis and rear legs, it might have been possible to have fitted him with some type of prosthetic device that would have allowed him to regain his mobility.

For instance, a four-year-old tuxedo named Blacky from Seadown on New Zealand's south island lost not only his left eye but the use of both of his rear legs when he was run down and left for dead by a hit-and-run motorist in June of 2010. Brushing aside calls to have him killed, owner Louise Broomhall elected to spend NZ$2,000 in order to have his irreparably damaged eye removed and another NZ$600 on a two-wheeled prosthetic device that now allows him to move around on his own.

"Certainly he means a lot to our family and this is why we love him to bits and will do anything for him and this just proves it," she told The Timaru Herald on August 19, 2010. (See "Blacky (the cat) Gets His Wheels.") "He appreciates everything you do for him."

Even more amazing, a tortoiseshell named Callie Mae, who resides at the Theodore Veterinary Hospital in the Alabamian town of the same name, does not have any appendages at all. In 2008, she was chased up a tree by dogs where she subsequently became entangled in electrical wires and plunged to the ground breaking all of her legs.

Billy and the Fanciful Rainbow Bridge

Someone has to scratch, brush, and groom her and she uses Wee-Wee Pads but other than that she, at last word, was doing fine. "She's a good kitty," Sandy Tomlin of the surgery told WRKG-TV of Mobile in a video on August 9, 2010. (See "Legless Cat Ready to Start Another Life.") "She even caught a mouse one time."

It thus might not be totally unreasonable to suggest that, given care and treatment, the problems with Billy's pelvis could have been gotten around one way or the other. As far as his excretory problems are concerned, his bladder could have been manually expressed three to four times a day and laxatives and stool softeners could have been prescribed in order to have eased his passing of fecal matter. Chiropractic medicine and acupuncture could have solved, or at least greatly alleviated, the nerve damage that he had sustained and, possibly, restored service to his injured leg.

Billy therefore did not have to die. If it had possessed so much as half a mind to have done so, BCC could have at the very least provided Billy with an unlimited amount of time and rest in order to have seen if his pelvis would have healed on its own. Doing so would not have broken the bank and expressing his bladder and cleaning up a little poop would have not killed either Moores or anyone else for that matter. Best of all, such a course of treatment just might have succeeded

His life was preeminently worth saving not only because of its own intrinsic worth but also owing to the fact that he richly deserved to live. Keeping him alive also would have served as a slap in the face of the individual who perpetrated this monstrous crime.

Inexcusably, Billy lost all the way around. No one was willing to save his life and to date nobody has been willing to lift so much as a lousy finger in order to bring his attacker to justice.

Press reports have not broached the subject and it is far from clear if Billy was merely the victim of a botched sterilization or rather a sadistic attempt to torture and maim him for life. Examining veterinarians would likely know the answer to that but they have not publicly voiced an opinion one way or the other.

If the former were the case, it is conceivable that the patch of missing fur on his head could have been removed, not by a pair of scissors, but rather duct tape. Taping a cat to either a board or a table in order to hold it still is a common technique employed by those individuals who perform these types of utterly barbaric procedures. (See Cat Defender posts of February 26, 2008 and February 14, 2006 entitled, respectively, "The Dark Side of Spay and Neuter: Veterinarian Botched Surgeries and Back Alley Castrations Claim the Lives of Numerous Cats" and "Special Agent Fred the Cat Goes Undercover in Order to Help Nab a Quack Vet in A Brooklyn Sting Operation.")

As per usual, whenever a cat is attacked all that ensues is a proverbial feast of highfalutin rhetoric, sporadic outbursts of self-righteous moral indignation, and a legion of utterly laughable excuses for doing absolutely nothing. "It's barbaric," Moores exclaimed to the London Metro on September 20th. "Whoever has done this are (sic) sick, sick people."

Nonsense! The individual who mutilated Billy is evil, not sick, and what he richly deserves is no less than a fatal dose of his own medicine.

"I really hope that karma is just around the corner to the person who did this to Billy," she added October 8th on Facebook. "You really are one sick individual."

Hope and karma do not solve animal cruelty cases. Money, hard work, dedication, and forensic science are needed but seemingly nobody or any agency on the planet has so much as a smidgen of those ingredients to spare.

"Whoever has done this has to be brought to justice because what are they going to do next?" Moores declared to the Blackpool Gazette in the October 11th article cited supra. "What they have done to a kitten is just barbaric."

Yet, there is absolutely nothing in the public record that would tend to suggest that she has done a solitary thing in order to bring about such a result. Also, as far as it is known, BCC has neither opened an investigation into this matter or so much as offered a monetary reward, no matter how minuscule, for information that possibly might lead to an arrest.

In that regard, it is far from being a lone wolf. "We are continuing to investigate this case as inquiries are ongoing," an unidentified spokesman for the RSPCA told the Blackpool Gazette in the same article. "We are unable to comment further at this stage."

It likewise is a sure bet that the thoroughly discredited RSPCA will not be have anything to say at any other "stage" or, for that matter, before Hell turns into an ice skating rink. The reason for its intransigence is really quite simple: it is far too busy killing cats to ever worry about others who do likewise. (See Cat Defender posts of June 5, 2007, October 23, 2010, and August 31, 2015 entitled, respectively, "The RSPCA's Unlawful Seizure and Senseless Killing of Mork Leaves His Sister, Mindy, Brokenhearted and His Caretakers Devastated," "The RSPCA Steals and Executes Nightshift Who Was His Elderly Caretaker's Last Surviving Link to Her Dead Husband," and "Beaten and Entombed Above Ground for Several Weeks, a Forever Nameless Cat from Colchester Is Finished Off by the RSPCA which Refuses to Even Investigate Her Death," and Daily Mail articles dated December 30, 2012, November 6, 2014, August 11, 2016, and August 14, 2016 and entitled, respectively, "Revealed: RSPCA Destroys Half of the Animals That It Rescues -- Yet Thousands Are Completely Healthy," "RSPCA Forced to Apologize for Wrongly Putting Down Cat Belonging to Family It Accused of Cruelty in Bungled Prosecution," "Distraught Saltney Family Blast RSPCA after Their Cat Was Put Down," and "RSPCA Is at It Again! Cat Saved Then Put to Sleep.")

An Example of BCC's Sophistry

The despicable crimes committed by the RSPCA are reason enough in themselves for enacting an across the board ban on the killing of all cats under any conceivable circumstances. Even in those case where a cat is allegedly suffering great pain and there is little or no hope for its recovery, no fewer than three separate court orders signed by three different judges should be required in order for any rescue group, governmental entity, veterinarian, or owner to extinguish its life.

As BCC's cold-blooded murder of Billy has demonstrated, the killing of cats based solely upon a lack of money and an unwillingness to treat them is a racket that must be stopped. Furthermore, those that require top-notch veterinary care in order to go on living should be provided it by the state if their owners, rescue groups, and others are unwilling to do what is only right by them.

Not surprisingly, the Lancashire Constabulary, located a scant five kilometers southwest of Preston, has done absolutely nothing in order to bring Billy's attacker to justice. In fact, the attack has not merited so much as even a mention in the long list of crimes that are cataloged in the news section of its web site.

That is in spite of an online petition at Lady Freethinker having collected in excess of twenty-three-thousand-five-hundred signatures imploring it to act. With three-thousand officers and five-hundred auxiliary personnel at its disposal, it still cannot spare even one of them to even half-heartedly look into this matter.

The intransigence of the authorities to take cruelty to cats seriously has in turn made Lancashire one of the most dangerous locales in the world for members of the species. For example in July of 2014, twenty-four-year-old Stephanie Curwen of 24 Walter Avenue in BCC's backyard of St. Annes sicced her Staffordshire Bull Terrier, Duke, on a six-month-old black kitten named Regi that was owned by Lesley-Anne Brocklehurst of Blackpool. She than sat back and laughed like a demon as Duke tore Regi apart.

When the case finally was heard in Blackpool Magistrates' Court on April 30, 2015, Curwen was let off with £280 in fines. Although the RSPCA did prosecute the case, it was not responsible for identifying and arresting Curwen.

"She's probably remorseful for the fact that she chose to walk down a road with cameras all over it. Had we not had the cameras she would have got away with it," Brocklehurst commented after sentencing. "I'm glad that we had the cameras and I'm hoping it will make people think twice about what they are doing." (See Cat Defender post of July 18, 2015 entitled "Blackpudlian Thrill Seeker Who Sicced Her Pit Bull on Regi and Then Laughed Off Her Fat Ass as He Tore Him Apart Receives a Customary Clean Bill of Health from the Courts.")

Lancastrians additionally get a big kick out of using dogs in order to hunt cats. (See the Lancashire Telegraph of Blackburn, articles dated September 8, 2010 and July 12, 2014 and entitled, respectively, "Cats Savaged in Burnley" and "East Lancashire Gang Who Filmed Dogs Attacking Badger and Cat Jailed.")

As if all of that were not bad enough, they steal domestic cats for the purpose of feeding them to fighting dogs. (See the Bury Times of Bolton in Greater Manchester, January 1, 2011, "Cats Destined to Be Used as 'Live Bait' for Greyhounds.")

The only known group of miscreants who are on a par with Lancastrians when it comes to abusing cats are their cousins across the Irish Sea and that admonition applies equally to the inhabitants from both ends of the Emerald Isle. (See Cat Defender posts of September 18, 2018, November 20, 2008, and March 24, 2010 entitled, respectively, "Drunken Brut Beats, Stabs, and Then Hurls Fifi to Her Death Against the Side of a House in Limerick," "Trusting Domestic Cat Has Her Left Ear Blown Off with a Firecracker by Cretins Outside an Irish Bar," and "Seven-Month-Old Bailey is Fed to Lurchers by a Group of Sadistic Teens in Search of Cheap Thrills in Northern Ireland.")

It thus seems perfectly clear that Lancastrians are not about to do anything in order to bring either Billy's mutilator to justice or to better protect the lives of all cats living in the county. That is in spite of having more than reason to at least think about doing the former.

That is because Billy has left behind a mother, father, and siblings and their lives are hanging in the balance while the authorities continue to twiddle their thumbs. Their failure in the past, present, and future to act in turn makes them complicit in Billy's death as well as in that of all other cats who have fallen, and are destined to fall, victims to violence.

"We are having a memorial plaque made for Billy which will be up in our stop permanently as a tribute to him," Moores announced October 10th on Facebook. "Billy must never be forgotten."

It is odd, however, that she is yet to make any mention whatsoever as to what was done with his remains and that in turn lends itself to speculation that she either had them incinerated or tossed out with the trash. If she had been even the tiniest bit sincere when she uttered those sentiments she would have provided him with a funeral service followed by a proper burial on the grounds of BCC. A tombstone, flowers, and a perpetually well-tended grave would have been essential along with seeing to it that his mutilator was brought to justice.

Reality can be a stubborn bugger in that it is not quite so easily gotten rid of even with a blizzard of lies and bullshit and therein lies, arguably, the most disturbing aspect of poor Billy's sad and short life: he already has become yesterday's news.

Photos: Blackpool Cats in Care.

Saturday, October 06, 2018

No Respect for the Dead! A Tierfriedhof Operator Who Desecrated Minki's Grave to the Point That Her Remains Now Lie Partially in an Adjoining Plot Is Given the Stamp of Approval by a German Court

Minki's Hotly Contested Grab

"Manche nennen das einen irren Prozess. Aber so irre ist gar nicht. Er (der Kläger) ist kein Spinner."
-- Torsten F. Barthel

Mike S. loved Minki something awful and when she passed away in May of last year he wanted to provide her with a final resting place that would do justice to just how much that she had meant to him. Totally unwilling to completely let go of the twelve-year-old shorthair, he also coveted a spot that he could regularly visit and spend some time with her as well as to get lost, at least for a little while, in his memories of her.

His quest ultimately led him to Tierfriedhof Mönchengladbach at am Schomm 13 in the city of the same name, thirty-four kilometers west of Düsseldorf in Nordrhein Westfalen, where proprietress Monika Ludwig obligingly leased him a fifty by forty centimeter plot for three years at a cost of €210. The digging of the grave cost Mike S. (last name not given in press reports) another €50.

He additionally provided Minki with a tombstone and a portrait of her rests up against it. Etched on the stone is the following epithet: "Du warst! Du bist! Du bleibst!" ("You were! You are! You remain!")

On top of that he decorated her Grab with flowers, lanterns, and candles. That hallowed ground also contains a wooden bench where he would come and sit with her almost every day but it is unclear if it was supplied by him or the Tierfriedhof.

All apparently went swimmingly until sometime earlier in the year when Ludwig took it upon herself to dramatically reduce the size of Minki's grave by moving in the boundary stones that surround it. As far as it is known, she undertook that utterly appalling act of grave desecration without even so much as bothering to notify Mike S. beforehand; rather, she simply presented him with a fait accompli.

The consequences that precipitate act had upon Minki's remains were nothing short of disastrous. "Dadurch liegt die Katze jetzt nur noch zur Hälfte in ihrem Grab und zur anderen Hälfte mit ihren Extremitäten außerhalb," Torsten F. Barthel, Mike S.'s attorney, told the Rheinische Post of Düsseldorf on September 14th. (See "Minki findet wohl noch keine letzte Ruhe.") "Das hält mein Mandant für unwürdig."

Specifically, it is now believed that the boundary stones lie directly above Minki's heart with her legs actually on the other side of them. None of that is known with any degree of certainty, however, and it is conceivable that her remains now could lie entirely on the other side of the stones.

While Ludwig was in the process of divesting Minki of her grave, she also is alleged to have ripped out of the ground a flowering plant, and possibly some other mementos that went with it, that Mike S. had added as Erinnerungsstücke. Although it is not easy to place a monetary value on such an item, he has provisionally assessed it to be worth around €20.

Mike S. and Ludwig attempted to settle their differences out of court but to no avail. She even offered to transfer Minki's remains to a larger plot, presumably for both a fee as well as an increase in rent, but he rejected that compromise.

Following several postponements, both parties finally found themselves before Richterin Miriam Pels in Amtsgericht Mönchengladbach-Rheydt at Brucknerallee 115 on September 14th. Having gotten wind of what was afoot, the litigants and Pels were confronted upon arrival by two television camera crews, six photographers, and just under a dozen journalists. C'est-á-dire, the German press had come well prepared for a field day and they did not go away disappointed.

By instigating this civil action, Mike S. was seeking to have Minki's grave enlarged by forty centimeters as well as to be monetarily compensated for the loss of his Erinnerungsstücke. Like the boundary stones that now purportedly lie above Minki, Ludwig was not about to be moved even though she professes to own three dogs as well as "eine Menge" of cats.

She therefore began her defense by informing the court that since she had acquired the cemetery in 2012 she had buried more than one-hundred cats, dogs, rabbits, and chinchillas without incurring any difficulties whatsoever up until now. "Ich möchte fast sagen, alle meine Kunden sind zufrieden," the Rheinische Post reported her as avowing. "Alles, wo das Herz dran hängt."

On her web site she states her case even more emphatically. "Mir ist es wichtig, dass hier eine gut Bestattungskultur gepflegt wird," she boasts. "Die Trauernden sollen in Ruhe von ihren Lieblingen Abschied nehmen können."

From there she went on to categorically deny that she had stolen Mike S.'s Erinnerungsstücke. Most importantly of all, she not only claimed that Mike S. had received all the space that he had paid for but that he actually had unlawfully encroached upon a neighboring plot by taking it upon himself to enlarge Minki's grave.

Although both parties earnestly believe themselves to be in the right, it is possible that this entire dispute has its genesis in a misunderstanding that was either unintentional or intentional on Ludwig's part. That is because in order to place Minki's body in her grave it was necessary for Ludwig to excavate a considerably larger area than that of the actual grave itself.

In particular, since she insisted upon burying the cat herself the grave had to be large enough in order for her to get in and out of it. "Wie soll ich sonst da reinsteigen," she pointed out to the Süddeutsche Zeitung of München on September 14th. (See "Mit dem Pfötchen unter dem Randstein.")

Whereas the depth of Minki's grave has not been specified in print, in the United States it is recommended that animal graves be three feet deep and considering that Ludwig had to have ingress and egress to Minki's grave it in all likelihood was dug at least that deep if not indeed even deeper. Attorney Brigitte Vosen backed up her client's assertions on that point.

"Möglicherweise ist der Kläger anhand des Aushubs von einem größeren Grab ausgegangen," she averred to the Rheinische Post in a second article also dated September 14th. (See "Fünfzig mal Vierzig Zentimter sollen für Minki reichen.") "Dies ist jedoch notwendig, um ein Tier ebenerdig in das Grab zu legen."

From that she deduced a superfluous and totally meaningless conclusion. "Ich bleibe dabei: Minki liegt (im Grab, in) diesem Feld," she summed up to the Rheinische Post.

That is beside the point. It is not important that her remains merely lie in the same field in which she was interred but rather that her grave not be disturbed by her client's placing of boundary stones on top of it and stealing mementos.

Richterin Miriam Pels Was the Media's Darling for a Day

Once it finally came time for Pels to hand down her verdict she followed the time-honored tradition of jurists and cat-haters everywhere by first professing her abiding devotion for the species before in the very next breath doing an abrupt about-face and lowering the boom on Minki and her remains. "Ich kenne auch eine Katze von zu Hause," she declared in open court according to the first of the two articles in the Rheinische Post.

Following that she launched into an all-out assault on all honesty, morality, decency and, above all, justice by declaring that a fifty by forty centimeter plot of earth was good enough for the likes of Minki. Press reports fail to disclose how it was that she arrived at that conclusion but more than likely it was based solely upon the ingrained favoritism that members of her disreputable profession constantly accord to the business community and the rich at the expense of cats, other animals, Mother Earth, and the impecunious.

In other words, her ruling amounts to little more than a classic example of an ingrained prejudice masquerading as justice. "Das behauptet der Kläger, aber es gibt dafur keinen Beweis," she howled from the bench like a banshee but such a determination is hardly either convincing or fair.

For example, Ludwig never was called upon to explain why exactly it was that she had allowed Mike S. to assume custody over a much larger plot of ground for the better part of a year without any objections from her. In hindsight it thus would appear that he had more than ample reason for believing that he had legal title to Minki's grave in its original size.

Furthermore, since Pels was so unwilling to even seriously examine Mike S.'s claims concerning the rightful size of Minki's grave, it did not come as any surprise that she also denied him compensation for the loss of his Errinnerungsstücke. Since he quite obviously did not steal it, the logical culprit would be Ludwig given that she already has admitted to desecrating Minki's grave.

That, however, would have been too much of a logical connection for someone of Pels' ilk to consider. Nevertheless, under such circumstances the burden of proof that she did not steal it should have rested squarely upon her shoulders.

This case also demonstrates how radically different the legal establishment treats the graves of cats as opposed to those that contain human remains. For instance, individuals who are caught desecrating the graves of the latter and stealing mementos, flowers, and other objects are most assuredly arrested and prosecuted. When it comes to the graves of cats, however, anything goes and Pels, a fully-fledged stooge for money and the establishment if ever one existed, calls that justice!

She did entertain, if ever so briefly, the notion of having Minki's remains exhumed in order to determine exactly where they now lie in relation to the boundary stones but she not only ultimately rejected that idea but in doing so turned Mike S.'s own words against him. "Er hat ja vermittlet, dass es ihm insbesondere darauf ankommt, dass die Katze pietätvoll begraben wird," the Rheinische Post reported her as opining in its first September 14th article. Sie wisse nicht "ob das so sinnvoll ist, die Totenruhe an der Stelle zu stören."

On that point even Barthel seemed to concur in that since Minki, for some unknown reason, had been interred without the benefit of either embalming fluid or even a coffin there would not be very much left of her remains for the court to examine

So at the end of it all Pels, the self-professed cat-lover, not only tossed out Mike S.'s lawsuit but ordered him to pay the bill for bringing this action. Press reports have not spelled out the particulars but that most assuredly includes court costs and likely Ludwig's legal bill to boot.

It has been stated before but it nevertheless bears repeating: the poor and those of moderate means should endeavor to stay as far away as it is humanly possible from cops, lawyers, prosecutors, judges, and politicians in that the legal and political establishment exists solely for the purpose of serving its own members, the rich, and certain powerful interest groups. Even worse, those predators and professional leeches understand only too well which individuals and animals that they can sock it to with impunity.

Mike S. did not personally attend the hearing and, thanks to quirk in deutschen Recht, he was given until September 28th in order to appeal Pels' judgment. "Das ist so, als wäre er nicht da gewesen," Barthel explained to the Rheinische Post in the first of the two September 14th articles cited supra. "Das heißt, die ganze Geschichte würde dann eben noch mal von vorne anfangen."

Since no additional article have appeared in the German press relating to this matter it is, leider, not known if Mike S. elected to avail himself of that loophole. Unless he and Barthel have additional evidence at their disposal which would help to substantiate that what Ludwig did to Minki's grave was illegal or that she stole the Erinnerungsstücke there would not appear to be much point in mounting an appeal, at least not in Pels' court.

Lawyers are highly creative professionals, however, and if Barthel tried a new tact in a different venue the outcome possibly could be altogether different. Even so, the deck is clearly stacked against him and his client.

Besides, Mike S. has far more pressing concerns that call for his immediate attention. First of all, he has to decide if he wants to leave Minki's remains at Tierfriedhof Mönchengladbach or to have them exhumed and reburied elsewhere.

Should he ultimately elect to leave them where they are, he must somehow come to terms with the possibility that Ludwig will engineer additional desecrations. In that light, it might be worthwhile for him to speak to Barthel about the feasibility of obtaining an injunction that would prevent her from making further encroachments on Minki's grave.

Then there is the matter of the €210 that he is obliged to fork over to her every three years and it is far from clear whether that sum is a lease fee, a grave maintenance fee, or both. At the end of the day the particulars do not really matter.

That is because unless Ludwig receives her thirty pieces of silver triennially that is going to be the end of both Minki's remains and her grave. Looking even farther down the road, Mike S. has to be concerned about what is going to happen to Minki's grave once he is no longer above ground himself and there is no one left to pony up for him.

Those same sort of arrangements exist in America but at least some pet cemeteries also offer more permanent solutions as well. For example, the world renowned Hartsdale Pet Cemetery, thirty-seven kilometers north of Manhattan, charges owners a yearly grave maintenance fee of US$76 but they also are given the option of purchasing an endowment for US$2,500 which will ensure the perpetual care of their cat's grave. By contrast, the same level of care is advertised for an investment of only US$100 at Keystone Pet Cemetery in Mertztown, one-hundred-six kilometers northwest of Philadelphia.

In both England and the United States, most caring owners elect to bury their cats in their gardens and in this instance it is far from clear why Mike S. shunned that alternative unless he perhaps lives in an apartment. Even if he had been inclined to have taken that route he eventually could have wound up in the same pickle that he is now in given that home burials are only a permanent solution to this troubling dilemma so long as ownership of the property remains in the family.

A pet cemetery is therefore perhaps a better option for owners who want to ensure that their cats' graves remain undisturbed and that memories of them endure. Hartsdale, for example, has been in business ever since 1826 and is still going strong today.

Mike S. Sits on This Bench Almost Every Day in Order to Be with Minki

Most such facilities are, unfortunately, rather expensive. For example, burial plots at Hartsdale cost between US$1,100 and US$3,200. Wooden coffins go for between US$350 and US$800 and there is an internment fee of US$525.

Their plots are large enough, however, to accommodate up to three cats. In most cases, US$2,000 is usually sufficient in order to cover the cost of a plot, a coffin, and the digging of the grave.

A tombstone can add between US$850 and US$1,695 to an owner's bill and color portraits retail for between US$450 and US$650. The cemetery also sells black and white ones for a more reasonable US$245 to US$350.

At Keystone, the entire shebang can he had for as little at US$699 and that includes the US$100 fee for the perpetual care of the grave. Burial plots sell for US$300 and there is an internment fee of US$100. Also included in the package are a headstone, epithet, and artwork.

Leider, pet cemeteries are prone to the same vicissitudes of time as private burials. For instance, their proprietors can either pull up stakes and go out of business for one reason or another or fail to live up to their agreements.

Owners therefore might want to retain the services of a lawyer in order to look after their cats' graves after they have died. That is all the more imperative given that the American landscape is littered with pet cemeteries that have been abandoned.

Weeds and discarded beer and wine bottles have reclaimed them and vandals have knocked over and broken most of the tombstones. As such, they are sad and depressing spectacles, especially when one pauses to contemplate all the lovely cats that repose there and the tremendous amounts of love that their owners had for them. Now, nothing at all remains of them, not even their names and faces; all has been lost to both abject neglect and the ravages of time.

Cremation is the preferred method of getting rid of dead cats nowadays. While there can be little disagreement that it is a considerably cheaper and less bothersome option than a conventional burial, the fact remains that cats are living creatures, not spirits, with a physical presence in the here and now and to reduce them to ashes is an abomination.

Even if their remains do eventually turn to dust, they still require some type of physical presence in this world even if it is only symbolic. Cremation on the other hand is the equivalent to condemning them to be out of sight and mind for all of eternity.

Cats accordingly should be embalmed and placed in expensive coffins with their toys, blankets, and other personal objects. They then need to be laid to rest in well-tended graves that will endure until the end of time. Tombstones that bear their names and photographs are accordingly essential.

Regardless of the cost and effort involved, cats are deserving of nothing but the very best! In reality, however, all but a few of them are treated like yesterday's newspapers.

Shelters, Animal Control officers, veterinarians, and most owners simply deposit their corpses in the trash. Garbagemen collect those that have been murdered by motorists and dispose of them in the same manner that they do with the leftover slop that they collect from restaurants.

"Wenn Tiere sterben, wird es in Deutschland schnell emotional," the Aachener Zeitung proclaimed on September 14th. (See "Bizarrer Prozess um das Grab von Katze Minki.") "Das Grab einer Kurzhaarkatze in Mönchengladbach erhitzt die Gemüter allerdings auf beispiellose Art."

While that declaration is certainly applicable in the case of Mike S., the same most definitely cannot be said of either Ludwig or Pels. It is not even true of the German people in general who each year stand idly by as hunters legally gun down thousands of cats in cold blood.

Like their counterparts within the thoroughly detestable American media, many publications and news outlets across Deutschland rarely pass up an opportunity to defame and to spread malicious lies about the species. (See Deutsche Welle of Köln, articles dated August 8, 2017 and October 5, 2018 and entitled, respectively, "Your Cat Is Killing the Earth -- but You Can Prevent It" and "Insect Pet Food to Offset Carbon Pawprint.")

The Germans' mistreatment of bears and wolves is equally deplorable. (See Cat Defender post of June 30, 2006 entitled "Cheap, Bloodthirsty Bavarians Mercilessly Gun Down the First Brown Beat to Visit das Vaterland in One-Hundred-Seventy-One Years," the Aachener Zeitung, September 23, 2016, "Wolf vermehrt sich weiter in Deutschland," and Deutsche Welle, April 18, 2018, "Bundestag Committee Debates Wolves' Protected Status in Germany.")

By her desecration of Minki's grave, Ludwig has demonstrated ohne jeden Zweifel that she does not have so much as an iota of respect for either dead cats or the feelings of their grieving owners. Now, thanks to Pels' shameful sucking up to money, the same can be said for Rheydter Magistrates' Court.

Not only has Mike S. been put through an exceedingly distressful period, but he would appear to be just about out of all options and that in turn has placed Minki's remains in a totally untenable position. Although he is described by his attorney as being a normal person with a job, a wife, and a child, that has not deterred the media and others from casting aspersions upon his character.

"Manche nennen das einen 'irren' Prozess. Aber so irre ist gar nicht," Barthel averred to the Rheinische Post in the first September 14th article. "Er ist kein Spinner (crackpot)."

None of that is in any way meant to imply that Germans hold a monopoly when it comes to slandering cat-lovers as crazies. For example, in July of 2008 kindhearted Brooklynite Chris Muth was not only arrested for attempting to save the life of a cat in extremis but he additionally was confined to a mental hospital for six days. (See Cat Defender post of August 8, 2008 entitled "A Brooklyn Man Gets Locked Up in a Nuthouse and Then Loses Digs, Job, and Honey All for Attempting to Save His Friend's Cat, Rumi.")

Although some may be inclined to laugh right along with the crowd, whenever an individual who only wanted to provide a suitable resting place for his beloved cat is divested of his property and subjected to a torrent of public ridicule that is a rather poignant reminder of just how little taste, morality, and decency that remain in this world. Although the doors to the courthouses may have creaked slightly ajar in recent times, that is only a facade in that obtaining even the tiniest measure of justice for either cats or their aggrieved owners remains a chimera.

Photos: Christophe Gateau of the Rheinische Post (Minki's grave and bench) and Ilgner Detlef of the Rheinische Post (Pels).

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Pirate Pleasantly Surprises the Thespians at the Bush Theatre by Turning Up after a Six-Month Absence but He Is Far from Being Out of the Woods Just Yet

The Indomitable Pirate Surveys His Dominions 

"Look who's back home! It's only bloody Bush (Theatre) cat Pirate back from the dead! Rejoice!"
-- Vinay Patel

For true lovers of the species there is not anything worse than having a cat to disappear. In some respects, such a tragic dénouement is even more devastating than losing one to either ill health or old age. At least under the latter scenario some small measure of closure is eventually possible over the course of time but that is hardly the case with one that goes AWOL. (See Cat Defender post of September 30, 2017 entitled "The Love Lives On for Salem at a Long Island Farm Sanctuary Even Though She Has Been Missing  for More Than Three Years.")

In that vein, it was particularly distressing to have learned during the early days of January that Pirate, one of the resident felines at the Bush Theatre at 7 Uxbridge Road in the Shepherd's Bush section of West London, eight kilometers west of Charing Cross, had disappeared without so much as a trace. "I'm lost. Please help find me," he announced via Twitter on January 15th. "Look out for the black and white cat with one eye in Shepherd's Bush. I am very small and wearing a Battersea Dogs and Cats Home collar."

Other than facilitating the sending out of that tweet, it is not known what, if any, additional measures staffers undertook in order to locate him. Normally, fly-posting the neighborhood with Lost Cat posters, door-to-door canvassing, and the alerting of local rescue groups and veterinarians are the usual emergency initiatives that are improvised under such trying circumstances.

Nothing really tops dropping everything and beating the bushes night and day until Hades freezes over but even that is rarely successful. "It's wonderful when you read about these reunions, but unfortunately for ninety per cent of lost cats, there is no returning home," is how that Lorie Chortyk of the British Columbia SPCA summed up the dismal prospects of ever locating a beloved companion to The Province of Vancouver on January 2, 2011. (See "Cats Rarely Come Back.")

More than six months were dutifully crossed off the calendar without there being either any sightings of Pirate or additional updates on his situation posted to his Twitter account. At that juncture, it certainly looked like the world had seen and heard the last of him.

Pirate Is Poked and Probed by the Vets

Then like a coup du ciel there came a startling announcement. "It's official. I'm back at the Bush after a shortish break from the world of theatre in Ealing," Pirate announced June 29th on Twitter. "Thanks for breaking the news."

It has not been disclosed either who found him or how that he ultimately was returned to the Bush Theatre. All that is known is that he apparently had been staying at some sort of a school in Ealing, seven kilometers west of the theatre via the A4020.

Unless he was stolen and transported there in a cage, it is nothing short of a miracle that he was not run down and killed by a motorist given that Shepherd's Bush is such a congested neighborhood. Also, since he was wearing one of Battersea's collars, it is utterly disgraceful that no one at the school saw fit to return him to his rightful owners.

The details have not been spelled out on social media but, presumably, it was from the data contained on his collar that his rescuers learned who he was and thus were able to effectuate his return to the theatre. On the other hand, even if his collar had been removed his notoriety in West London is such that it alone may have been sufficient in order to have facilitated his eventual return home.

Other than having lost some weight, Pirate was deemed by staffers at the theatre to be no worse for the wear and that assessment was soon vouched for by a visit to the Royal Veterinary College in Camden, ten kilometers northeast of the theatre. "Many thanks to Jose and Emma from (the) Royal Veterinary College and Battersea for looking after me at my heart scan today," he tweeted on August 22nd. "It seems my ticker never has been better."

Pirate Wrapped Up in the Arms of Playwright Vinay Patel

His psychological well-being, however, turned out to have been a horse of an altogether different color. "Once we took him back to the theatre it took him a few weeks to get accustomed again, but he's all settled in now and seems to be happy," a spokeswoman for the theatre confided in a September 14th e-mail letter.

No one was happier to have Pirate back home than playwright Vinay Patel whose latest effort, "An Adventure," opened last Saturday and runs through October 20th. "Look who's back home!" he exclaimed June 29th on Pirate's Twitter page. "It's only bloody Bush cat Pirate back from the dead! Rejoice!" (See also The Stage of London, September 11, 2018, "Playwright Vinay Patel: 'Putting on the Play Is Not Enough -- It's Who You Get in the Room'.")

With a population of forty-thousand souls and hopelessly clogged with vehicular traffic, Shepherd's Bush is far too perilous a neighborhood for cats not on a leash and that admonition goes doubly for one who has only one eye. Yet, staffers at the theatre do not appear to have profited any from Pirate's latest misadventure.

"He does have a tendency to escape from time to time, but hopefully he won't try it again anytime soon," was all that the theatre's spokeswoman had to say on that topic in her letter. Hope, however, is not going to save Pirate's fragile life; au contraire, only responsible and enlightened guardianship on the part of Patel, a cat fancier himself, and other staffers is ever going to suffice in that regard.

Shepherd's Bush Is Too Congested for Footloose Cats

That nonchalant response is all the more deplorable considering that this was by no means the first time that they had come precariously close to losing him for good. For example, he went missing earlier on May 3, 2014 and was gone for four days.

"Pirate has just returned home with his tail between his legs (accompanied by the absolute heroes who found him!)," Battersea Dogs and Cats Home announced May 7, 2014 on its Facebook page. "Thank you all for sharing. We are so touched by all your kind thoughts."

While there is not any obvious reason to question the charity's sincerity in that regard, it nonetheless has proven itself on prior occasions to be far more concerned with sucking up to the high-muck-a-mucks on Downing Street by supplying them with Larry, Palmerston, and Gladstone to exploit to the hilt as inexpensive political props than it ever has been with protecting and safeguarding the lives of cats. In particular, if it truly cared about them it instead would be concentrating its efforts on not only keeping them out of traffic but also in apprehending and punishing those who run them down. (See Cat Defender posts of August 1, 2016, August 8, 2016, and August 17, 2016 entitled, respectively, "Unmercifully Maligned and Treated Like Dirt for So Many Years, Larry Nevertheless Manages to Stick Around Long Enough in Order to See the Last of David Cameron and His Uncaring Family," "Palmerston Is Recruited for a Prestigious Post in Her Majesty's Diplomatic Service but Then Disgracefully Relegated to Makeshift Living Quarters Out in the Cold," and "Gladstone Joins Larry and Palmerston as Whitehall's Latest Resident Felines but the Chancellor of the Exchequer's Welsh Terrier, Rex, Is Waiting in the Wings to Put an End to All of Them.")

The Bush Theatre's difficulties in holding on to and safeguarding the lives of its resident felines are by no means limited to Pirate but rather they extend to a jet-black tom named Marley. "Please help my humans find me," he pleaded April 3, 2017 on his Twitter account. "I've gone walkies."

Marley Takes a Breather after a Long Day at the Office

Luckily for him, he soon was located. "We found Marley," the theatre announced a day later on his Twitter account. "He is very hungry but seems fine from his adventure."

For his part, Marley seems to have accepted what had happened with equanimity. "I really don't know what all the fuss was about," he tweeted. "Now, if you don't mind I have some snoozing to do."

Like so many businesses and institutions, the Bush Theatre likes to have cats on the premises. Regrettably, staffers seem to be only capable of nakedly exploiting them for the many benefits that they so freely bestow upon them without reciprocating by taking any concrete measures designed to ensure their well-being and safety.

At the crux of the matter is the theatre's abject failure to assign that awesome responsibility to a specific staffer. Besides providing him with a minder, it needs to confine him to either a room or a particular area whenever that individual is not on the premises and thus unable to look after him.

Pirate Makes Sure that the Computers Are Not Taken over by Mice and Bugs 

The theatre is sans doute a busy and hectic place with both staffers and patrons alike coming and going at all hours of the day and night. With that being the case, it is doubtful that any of the former devote so much as a moment's thought to Pirate's and Marley's safety.

Unless that deplorable situation is radically altered for the better, the final chapter in Pirate's life is  destined to be a tragic repeat of what earlier happened to the lovely PCAT of Plymouth College of Art in Devon. (See Cat Defender post of November 21, 2012 entitled "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.")

In addition to that all-absorbing concern, a theatre could hardly be considered to be a suitable environment for a cat. Most obviously, with so many loose women parading around in various stages of undress that alone could easily retard the moral development of a young and highly impressionable cat who is just starting out in this wicked old world; a grizzled and world-weary tom, however, would likely already be too far gone to suffer any additional harm.

Not to be forgotten, there are the corrupting influences of the infamous casting couch to be taken into consideration as well. In spite of those disadvantages, the keeping of cats is a time-honored theatrical tradition and black ones, such as Pirate and Marley, are especially in demand.

"A black cat is preferred; indeed, the mere presence of a black cat is sufficient to insure (sic) the success of any playhouse or any play. However, a cat of another color will do," Carl Van Vechten wrote in his 1922 seminal work, The Tiger in the House. "This superstition is so widespread that every theatre from the Comédie Française (still operating in Paris) to the People's Theatre on the New York Bowery (destroyed by a fire in 1929) entertains a cat, feeding her lavishly, and treating her with a respect and consideration which she seldom receives elsewhere save in the homes of cat-lovers."

Pirate Entertaining, Or Being Amused By, One of His Toys

That very well may have been true enough during his lifetime but that was long before cat-killing motorists and serial murderers, such as those now operating in Croydon and Olympia, Washington, took over the highways and byways of London and elsewhere and turned them into their personal hunting grounds. Nowadays, merely housing, feeding, and medicating a cat is no longer sufficient; rather, theatre operators have a solemn moral responsibility to also provide for their personal safety. To put the matter succinctly, it is high time that all thespians stopped living in the past and upgraded their thinking on the proper care of a cat to twenty-first century standards.

Despite the assertion of author Margaret Benson that a "cat is above all things, a dramatist," Pirate, like most theatrical cats these days, is not expected to sing and dance for his supper. Although various stratagems, such as releasing mice at opportune moments and laying down trails of chopped meat, have been employed in the past as inducements, most cats do not have the slightest bit of interest in entertaining a house full of strangers.

"Now at home he is a natural actor," Van Vechten continues. "But, away from home, or constrained, the cat has a natural timidity, a natural dignity, and a feeling which amounts to an absolute aversion for the performance of silly antics which other animals, such as seals and dogs, seem to enjoy, and which elephants can be taught to execute with facility if not with desire."

They accordingly are especially difficult to train but not for the usually prescribed reason. "They are difficult to train, not because they are stupid but because they are too intelligent to be interested in such nonsense. A cat is never vulgar and this sort of thing undoubtedly strikes a cat as vulgar," Van Vechten opined. "It is perhaps easier for a cat to train a man than for a man to train a cat. A cat who desires to live with human beings makes it his business to see that the so-called superior race behaves in the proper manner toward him."

Pirate Was Pressed into Service Last Christmas as Santa Claus

So, in addition to serving as the Bush Theatre's good luck charm, Pirate provides staffers with companionship and helps them to calm the jitters that often accompany performing before a live and demanding audience. At other times, he enjoys chasing the mice out of computers, playing with his toys, and taking an active part in the theatre's observance of such seasonal festivities as Christmas.

Other than that, not a good deal is known about him except that he was acquired from Battesea and has been residing with the thespians for about five years. Somewhere along the way he tragically lost his right eye.

He is perhaps best known to the outside world, however, for compassionately opening up both his heart and home last summer to the survivors of the inferno at Grenfell Tower, located a scant two kilometers removed from the theatre. "If your kids need a cuddle Marley, Caramel (the theatre's third resident feline) and I are here," he tweeted on June 14th, the day of the catastrophe. "Thoughts with those affected by the Grenfell Tower fire."

Not about to be outdone by his fellow lodger, Marley was every bit as forthcoming. "We are here if you want to chat with humans, a quiet place, a shower, WiFi or cat cuddles," he tweeted. "So awful this has happened." (See Cat Defender post of July 3, 2017 entitled "Paucho Somehow Made It Out of Grenfell Tower Alive but the Fate of the Dozens of Other Cats That Resided in the High-Rise Firetrap Remains Shrouded in Secrecy.")

Pirate All Alone and Unprotected Outside the Theatre

In spite of all that Pirate has come to mean to so many people around the world, staffers at the Bush Theatre have on at least two occasions carelessly and inexcusably placed his life in grave jeopardy. Things usually do not work out this way very often in this topsy-turvy world but, thanks to The Fates, they now have been given a third opportunity in order to atone for their past oversights.

A necessary first step in that process would be for them to wake up and realize that Pirate's life is not any less precious than any of theirs. Specifically, since he does not have any way of anticipating the myriad of dangers that await him outside the theatre's front door, it is paramount that they, who most assuredly do know, take proactive measures on his behalf in order to safeguard his life.

Most importantly of all, that is no less than what he so richly deserves. Since he has grown so accustomed to tragedy, danger, deprivation, and multiple abandonments, it is only fair that he be provided with an opportunity to fully get to know their polar opposites.

"You can't save every animal in the world but for the one you do save, it is the world," Greek Animal Rescue Canada in Toronto stated back in 2008. In that regard, there cannot be any question that saving Pirate is a task that is preeminently within the power of the thespians at the Bush Theatre.

Photos: Twitter (Pirate and Marley) and HTUK of Wikipedia (an aerial view of Shepherd's Bush).

Saturday, September 01, 2018

Having Fallen Under the Spell of the Charismatic Marley's Irresistible Charms, an Old Age Pensioner Subsequently Lands in Dutch with Both His Lawful Owners and the Peelers

Marley Is a Very Popular Cat in the Neighborhood

"Surely to goodness they should be concentrating on burglars and muggers rather than wasting time with an old lady and a cat."
-- Shirley Key

Falling head over heels in love with a cat is certainly an easy enough thing to do. It is so easy in fact that it could happen to almost anyone. That is especially the case if the beloved just happens to be a dashing, jet-black tom with bedroom eyes and the lover is an elderly woman who is all alone in this world.

There are always difficulties with any affaire de coeur, however, and that is perhaps why that in Greek mythology Ares, the god of war, serves as Aphrodites' lover. In addition to that age-old dilemma, "the course of true love never did run smooth" as Lysander reminded Hermia in Act I, Scene I of William Shakespeare's 1594 play, A Midsummer-Night's Dream.

The protagonists in this modern-day tale of love and woe are a seventy-nine-year-old pensioner named Shirley Key who resides on Sea Road in Westgate-on-Sea, one-hundred-twenty kilometers east of London on the North Sea in Kent, and a four-year-old tom named Marley who is owned by her neighbors, Kathryn and Brad Doulton. Although press reports contend that he is a Persian-Ragdoll mix, it is difficult to detect any resemblance to either breed in his outward appearance.

That has not, however, in any way diminished his appeal. In fact, it could even be argued that his flamboyant personality more than compensates for whatever elements of the exotic that he may be lacking.

Even so, that is certainly not a valid reason for anyone to call into question his morals. "Marley is a complete tart and a floozy, a right showoff and most of the neighbors know him," Mrs. Doulton declared to the Daily Mail of London on June 10th. (See "'Surely They Should Be Concentrating on Burglars, Not an Old Lady and a Cat': Tearful Pensioner, Seventy-Nine, Slams Police for 'Threatening to Prosecute Her for Feeding Her Neighbor's Pet'.") "He has a lovely coat and wonderful eyes. I can see why people like him."

Well, that certainly is a fine way for a woman to talk about her cat! Besides, doing so could be dangerous. For instance, if he ever were able to master the faculty of language, as did Hector H. Munro's Tobermory, and started spilling the beans about her sexual peccadilloes the shoe then would be on the other foot and it would be her, rather than Marley, with the red face.

As far as it has been revealed, the retired model and Marley first met in April of 2017 when she accidentally stumbled upon him sleeping in her greenhouse. Moreover, if her account of that fateful meeting is in any way accurate, it would appear in hindsight that she got to him just in the nick of time.

"When I found (him I) could play a tune of its (sic) ribs and backbone. It (sic) could hardly stand up," she disclosed to the weekly Kent and Sussex Courier of Royal Tunbridge Wells on June 2nd of this year. (See "Heartbroken Westgate Pensioner, Seventy-Nine, Warned by Police for Feeding Neighbor's Cat.") "It (sic) was staring at me petrified. Its (sic) eyes looked completely dead."

Far from being a slouch when it comes to doing the right thing, she promptly provided Marley with some food and continued to shelter him. It is far from clear, however, if she invited him into her house or cruelly forced him to remain in her, most likely, unheated greenhouse.

She eventually even took him to Pets at Home, England's largest pet store, to be treated by one of the outlet's veterinarians. That exercise set her back £200 but it did relieve her mind in that the examination revealed that he, apparently, was not suffering from anything other than gross neglect.

The record is a bit murky as to what she did next but she at the least did continue to feed and shelter him just as if he belonged to her until November of last year when she belatedly learned that he was owned by the Doultons. It is unknown how that came about in that he apparently was neither wearing a collar nor had he been tattooed. Presumably, he also had not been microchipped or otherwise the examining veterinarian likely would have found and deciphered the implant.

It would be even more interesting to know what the Doultons were doing between April and November of last year. For instance, did they even bother to canvass the neighborhood door-to-door or to fly-post it with Lost Cat posters?

The answer to both of those question would appear to be no and that in itself calls into question the sincerity of their belated declarations of abiding love for him. "Marley was catnapped. She was keeping him in overnight which was causing us distress," Mrs. Doulton averred to the Daily Mail. "Marley is loved by everyone in the family, especially my granddaughter Emily, and we all missed him."

She may or may not be telling the truth but from all appearances she certainly did not love and miss him sufficiently enough in order to even mount so much as a cursory search for him. Compounding her and her family's negligence, they knowingly allowed him to continue to reside with Key until May of this year.

Perhaps he occasionally stopped by his old stamping ground during the day but even that is unknown. The English like to profess their great love for cats but a fairly large percentage of them would qualify as the most uncaring, negligent, and irresponsible guardians on the planet.

For example, they not only allow them to roam the perilous streets while they are away at work during the day but also to stay out all night. They accordingly seldom know either where they are for weeks at a time or the myriad of dangers that are imperiling their fragile lives. (See Cat Defender posts of November 21, 2012, January 31, 2014, November 10, 2014, October 7, 2016, and February 8, 2017 entitled, respectively, "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 Northumbrian Shrink Lays Claim to he Title of Being the World's Most Irresponsible Cat Owner by Turning Loose Jasper to Roam the Perilous Tyne and Wear Metro for Weeks on End," "Freya, the Chancellor of the Exchequer's Resident Feline, Cheats Death Once Again When She Survives Being Run Down and Injured by a Motorist but Her Good Luck Cannot Last for Much Longer," and "The Long and Hopelessly Frustrating Search for the Kidnapped Mr. Cheeky Ends Tragically Underneath the Wheels of a Hit-and-Run Motorist.")

Some of them even knowingly allow their cats to sleep in busy streets. (See Cat Defender post of March 29, 2017 entitled "Archie Is Knowingly Allowed to Sleep Smack-Dab in the Middle of a Busy Thoroughfare by His Derelict Owners Who Are Content with Merely Tracking His Movements by Satellite.")

It is a good deal more difficult to know exactly what to think about Key's contention that Marley was emaciated and, more or less, knocking on heaven's door. That is because opinions vary greatly as to what constitutes the proper care of a cat.

For example, the same cat can appear to be both obese and a bag of bones to two separate sets of eyes. Some folks likewise consider a footloose feline to be suffering from neglect whereas others would deem it cruel to lock it up indoors.

In June of 2007, an unidentified woman stole a seventeen-year-old, good-looking, longhaired tuxedo named Slim off the streets of the New Edinburgh neighborhood in Ottawa. She did so even though he was wearing a collar with a tag.

Slim's longtime owners, Michel Giroux and Tanya Guay, only found out what had happened to him when the thief took the extraordinary step of sending them an anonymous letter on June 30th. In the epistle, she accused them of allowing him to become thin and emaciated, his fur to become matted and dirty, and for sores to accumulate all over his body. Worst of all, she defiantly refused to return him.

"Obviously, I have no intention of returning him to the city streets to be neglected again," she emphatically stated. "If you really do care about his well-being, you'll be happy that he now lives a safe, sweet, peaceful happy life."

The woman's behavior and tongue ultimately proved to be far more than Giroux was able to bear with good grace. "Who does this person think she is to decide this cat is neglected?" he indignantly stormed back. "This person has taken it upon themselves (sic) to think that they (sic) have saved a cat when in point of fact, this cat is not neglected and he's loved and we just want him home."

As far as it is known, Giroux and Guay never again saw either hide or hair of Slim and that was truly tragic in that they had cared for him ever since they had adopted him from a shelter when he was just three months old. (See Cat Defender post of July 9, 2007 entitled "A Hungry and Disheveled Cat Named Slim Is Picked Up Off the Streets of Ottawa by a Rescuer Who Refuses to Return Him to His Owners.")

There is not any really good solution to this age-old dilemma. Cats need and deserve their freedom but any owner who allows them off of his Grundstück is playing Russian roulette not only with their lives but also his own happiness as well. Plus, such behavior leaves him open to charges of being an unfit guardian.

Finally in May of this year, the Doultons decided that they had had enough of Key's interference in Marley's life and accordingly sicced the Kent Police on her. On one of no fewer than three trips that they paid to her house they slapped her with a Community Protection Notice (CPN) Warning.

Authorized under the Anti-Social Behavior, Crime and Policing Act of 2014, these criminal behavioral orders replaced the old civil Anti-Social Behavior Orders (ASBOs) that had been in effect since 1998. Besides CPNs, there are at least six other types of these writs which are handed out by the police, Police Community Support Officers (the auxiliary police), and local authorities.

A Heartbroken Shirley Key with the Warning Letter She Got from the Bobbies

They are aimed at curbing so-called quality of life crimes, such as the playing of loud music in public and the failure of property owners to properly dispose of trash and other refuse. They even have been issued in order to compel property owners to repair holes in their fences so as to stop their dogs from escaping.

The warning that Key received obliged her to prevent Marley from venturing onto her property, including her greenhouse, and from staying overnight with her. Failure to have complied would have resulted in her being issued a real CPN which would have cost her £80.

Repeated violations could have landed her in the dock and resulted in additional CPNs and fines being levied against her. Realizing that the game was up, she apparently never entertained so much as a moment's thought of attempting to hold on to Marley but that certainly did not mean that she was the least bit happy about the way that she had been treated.

First of all, having the peelers come after her was embarrassing to say the least. "I've only had the police around three times now. The neighbors are asking me, 'what is wrong?'," she explained to the Kent and Sussex Courier. "They are treating me like a criminal."

Secondly, their behavior unnerved her something awful. "From that day I have had trouble sleeping," she confided to the Daily Mail in the June 10th article cited supra. "I've lost weight because I was frightened of going to court."

Thirdly, the police's precipitate action foreclosed any possibility that she was ever going to be able to see Marley again, let alone hold on to him. "I lost my brother and I'm the last one in the family, so he really did heal the aching in my heart," she candidly admitted to the Kent and Sussex Courier. "It's very sad."

Far from being a typically selfish old woman who is incapable of thinking about anyone else's welfare other than her own, Key has constantly kept Marley's feelings and needs close to her heart throughout her travails. "It (sic) goes where it wants, he won't understand he can't come here," she lamented to the Kent and Sussex Courier.

Once she had gotten over the twin shocks of being treated like a common criminal and losing custody of Marley, her soul became inflamed with moral indignation directed at the high-handed tactics of the police. "Surely to goodness they should be concentrating on burglars and muggers rather than wasting time with an old lady and a cat," she fumed to the Daily Mail on June 6th. "It was such a shock seeing them there. I burst into tears when they served me with a Community Protection Notice..."

Far from being an isolated case, it is always the same old story all over the world in that cops are little more than predators who feather their own nests by crapping almost exclusively on those individuals and animals who are unable to defend themselves. That is the principal reason why these sorry, rotten bastards can seldom, if ever, be counted upon to do what they are supposed to be doing in that they are all the time engaged in activities that they should not be doing.

In this case, however, the Kent Police belatedly had a change of heart and on June 1st rescinded the warning letter that they had issued to Key. "A warning was given to a resident in error on May 31st in Westgate following a report of a dispute between two neighbors," Chief Inspector Rhiannan Pepper told the Kent and Sussex Courier. "The warning has been since withdrawn and the matter fully explained to the resident."

The officer who issued the warning also was reportedly called on the carpet. Even so, the police not only steadfastly refused to issue an apology to Key but they "strongly advised" her once again to restrain from feeding and housing Marley.

"I didn't encourage him, I never even used his name. I don't have any pets, I don't have a cat flap, but I do leave the door open for fresh air," Key revealed to the Daily Mail on June 6th. (See "Animal Lover, Seventy-Nine, Is Visited by Three Police Officers and Given Official Warning Letter for Cat Theft after Feeding Moggie She Thought Was a Stray Because It Kept Coming into Her Garden.") "So he would walk in quite happily. I can't keep him out unless I keep my doors closed, and I shouldn't have to do that."

If she thought that she had found a loophole in the law that she could exploit so as to occasionally continue to see Marley once in a while, she was promptly disabused of any such notion by the Doultons' decision to ground him. The only concession that she received from the couple was Mr. Doulton's belated acknowledgement that he "felt stupid" for calling the police on her.

"I understand she is a lonely old lady but she should get her own cat," Mrs. Doulton told the Daily Mail on June 10th.

Having apparently taken that advice to heart, Key has announced plans to adopt a rescue cat later in the year but such an undertaking is not without its problems. The most obvious of which is her advanced years and the fact that she lives alone.

It is by no means even clear that there are all that many rescue groups that would entrust a cat to her care. Even if she were able to overcome that impediment, it would be imperative that she immediately made some arrangement for its continued care in the event that she preceded it in death.

The absolute last thing that this world needs is for more cats to be put through what Ian was when his caretaker died. (See Cat Defender post of July 27, 2013 entitled "Instead of Killing Her Off with a Jab of Sodium Pentobarbital and Then Burning Her Corpse, Ian Remains Steadfast at His Guardian's Side Long after Her Death.")

Those considerations may also help to explain Key's ardent interest in Marley. C'est-à-dire, she would dearly love to have a cat of her own but is unwilling at her age to assume the awesome responsibilities that go with ownership.

As a compromise, she settled on Marley and that is an all-too-common occurrence. In fact, it in large part explains the meteoric rise in the popularity of cat cafes. (See Cat Defender post of June 5, 2008 entitled "Teahouse Cats Are Given Shelter and Work but Precious Little Job Security and No Legal Protections.")

There was nothing per se wrong with Key's befriending of Marley except for the fact that he turned out to have legal guardians who strenuously objected to her attentions. She might even be a far better guardian of him than the Doultons but that is a moot point considering that she does not have any legal claim to him.

Also, should she go ahead as planned and actually adopt a cat she is courting trouble if she stubbornly continues to insist upon keeping her doors, and possibly windows as well, open. In addition to the danger posed by real-life burglars, one of her neighbors might take a shine to her new cat and spirit it away to parts unknown.

A far more pressing concern are motorists who get their kicks by running down and killing footloose cats. She accordingly ought to at least consider either fencing in her garden or closely monitoring her new arrival's activities whenever it  ventures out of doors.

With shelters, Animal Control officers, veterinarians, and others killing tens of millions of them around the world each year there quite obviously is a huge surplus of unwanted cats. That in turn makes all celebrated custody disputes of this sort appear to be out of place and superfluous.

Of course, it is not any secret that individuals become attached to specific cats and that certainly is easy enough to comprehend. In addition to that, the theft of cats is purportedly on the rise all across England.

For example, pet insurer Direct Line, located in the Bromley section of London, maintains that the number of cats stolen during 2016 increased by a whopping forty per cent over 2014. Even more eye-popping, three-hundred-sixty-thousand respondents claimed that they had had at least one cat stolen during 2016.

While it is true that pedigreed cats can fetch a tidy sum on the black market and that research laboratories and fur retailers traffic in them, not too much can be read into those statistics. That is especially the case given that the English allow their cats to roam so freely. After all, if they do not have any earthly idea where their companions are a lion's share of the time, it is difficult to see how that they in good faith can claim that they have been stolen.

Nevertheless, with shelters and surgeries overflowing with cats and kittens no one has a valid reason for stealing another person's cat. Instead, the proper thing for such individuals to do would be to save a life by adopting.

The dilemma about what to do with footloose cats that appear to be homeless is a good deal more complicated. Even so, that is not a valid reason for anyone to go off the deep end as Kelly Freezer of Bright Side Vets in Swadlincote, three-hundred-eighteen kilometers east of Westgate in Derbyshire, did last year.

Slim's Drop-Dead Good Looks Made Him a Real Prize for His Abductor

"It might not be intentional but the person feeding the cat might think the cat is a stray and encourage it to stay, when the reality is the cat is just looking for food and comfy place to sleep," she railed to the Burton Mail on September 5, 2017. (See "Swadlincote Vet Makes Pleas to Cat Owners as Number of Thefts Continues to Soar.") "For this reason we would discourage people from feeding a cat that isn't theirs, not only could it encourage them (sic) to continue to stray from home but they (sic) could have special dietary requirements or medications that needs (sic) to be considered."

That is the usual drivel that the public is treated to by members of her ignoble profession who always have been, more or less, anti-cat. First of all, anyone who comes upon a cat that needs befriending, protecting, sheltering, feeding, and medicating should by all available means open up his heart and wallet for it because doing so just might save its life.

Should the cat turn out to have an owner who objects to someone else caring for it, such an individual has little choice but to cease his ministrations. If, on the other hand, that individual feels that the cat in question is being either abused or neglected, he then can attempt to either purchase it outright or, for whatever it is worth, report the negligent owner to the proper authorities.

Secondly, Freezer's palaver about diet and medications does not make sense. If a cat is out on the street it quite obviously could be eating almost anything or nothing at all. Furthermore, unless it occasionally returns home and on such occasions is lucky enough to find its derelict guardian available, it is not going to be receiving its medications anyway.

The response to Key's plight from Cats Protection in Haywards Heath, Sussex, was every bit as useless as it was predictable. "We do hear of people accidentally adopting owned cats," a spokesperson for the charity acknowledged to The Telegraph of London on June 6th. (See "Cat 'Thieves' Warned Against Feeding Neighbors' Pets after Pensioner Handed Official Warning by Police.") "We ask people to check with their neighbors first before taking in a stray cat."

That is hardly practicable given that cats are known to roam miles from home. Besides, few individuals are willing to go door-to-door in order to track down their own cats once they disappear, let alone those that belong to either perfect strangers or to no one in particular at all.

It additionally is unconscionable for the charity to advise concerned citizens to stand idly by and allow cats to be mowed down by motorists, eaten by foxes, and assaulted by yobs simply because they do not know if they have owners. Of course, such asinine and heartless advice is merely par for the course coming as it does from an organization that has a nasty habit of snuffing out the lives of the very cats that it claims to be protecting. (See Cat Defender posts of August 26, 2015 and February 17, 2016 entitled, respectively, "A Myriad of Cruel and Unforgivable Abandonments, a Chinese Puzzle, and Finally the Handing Down and Carrying Out of a Death Sentence Spell the End of Long-Suffering and Peripatetic Tigger" and "Cats Protection Races to Alfie's Side after His Owner Dies and He Winds Up on the Street, Swears It Is Going to Help Him, and Then Turns Around and Has Him Whacked.")

Even more outrageous, Cats Protection is opposed to individuals feeding cats that they do not own. Its spokesperson even went so far as to advise against the feeding of both well-fed and undernourished cats. Its reasoning being that if a cat with a healthy weight keeps turning up it likely has an owner of its own whereas one that is starving to death does not need to be fed but rather to be returned to its owners.

As the cases of both Marley and Slim have more than abundantly demonstrated, determining the health of any cat is a highly subjective business. Besides, anyone who elects to play Hamlet until a cat keels over from a lack of food and water is not only being cruel but a fool to boot.

Instead, the charity is putting all of its eggs into one basket by continuing to preach the gospel of implanted microchips. "We'd advise cat owners to microchip their pet (sic) and keep the details up-to-date should they change address (sic)," its spokesperson blowed to The Telegraph.

The reason that it and veterinarians are so madly in love with them is that they pocket approximately £30 in England and $45 in the United States for every one of them that they implant. The makers of the chips also charge cat owners a fee for maintaining their contact information in their databases.

Although microchips can occasionally lead to the successful reunification of long-lost cats with their rightful owners, they also have been used as an excuse to put the kibosh on such efforts. (See Cat Defender post of January 24, 2017 entitled "Tigger Is Finally Reunited with His Family Despite the Best Efforts of the Administrators of a Microchip Database to Keep Them Apart.")

They additionally have been linked to cancer. (See Cat Defender posts of September 21, 2007 and November 6, 2010 entitled, respectively, "The FDA Is Suppressing Research That Shows Implanted Microchips Cause Cancer in Mice, Rats, and Dogs" and "Bulkin Contracts Cancer from an Implanted Microchip and Now It Is Time for Digital Angel® and Merck to Answer for Their Crimes in a Court of Law.")

Some veterinarians and rescue groups are so incompetent that they cannot even properly implant the devices. (See Cat Defender post of April 28, 2016 entitled "Sassie Is Left Paralyzed as a Result of Yet Still Another Horribly Botched Attempt to Implant a Thoroughly Worthless and Pernicious Microchip Between Her Shoulders.")

The number one rap against microchips, however, is that they afford cats absolutely zero protection against those individuals and animals who are intent upon doing them harm. (See Cat Defender post of May 25, 2006 entitled "Plato's Misadventures Expose the Pitfalls of RFID Technology as Applied to Cats.")

Last but not least, Cats Protection recommends that strays be taken to veterinarians so that they can be scanned for implanted chips. In the United States most veterinarians, including those from Banfield who work out of some of PetSmart's outlets, offer this service gratis; it is not known if their English counterparts reciprocate.

Even so, there are at least two difficulties with that proposal. First of all, it definitely is not for individuals with weak hearts. Why, just the shock of ever receiving anything free of charge from one of those bloodsucking charlatans would be sufficient in itself to put some individuals in their graves!

Secondly, there are not a whole lot of people in this world who are willing to go to the trouble and expense of trapping a cat. On top of that, a cage and a means of transporting it to a surgery are required.

In the event that the cat should turn out to have an owner, additional time and expense are necessary in order to reunite it with its owner. Perhaps most disconcerting of all, the act of trapping and all the bandying about that goes with it is extremely traumatic for the cat itself.

Instead of putting its faith in laws, rules, and gratuitous advice that few individuals are going to adhere to anyway, Cats Protection would be better off championing the right of all cats to live. Along with that it should be urging that they be treated with compassion at all times and that most definitely includes allowing concerned individuals to provide them with protection, shelter, food, and veterinary care.

In the greater scheme of things, those are the issues that truly matter. Ownership issues will sometimes successfully sort themselves out as they eventually did in Marley's case. At other times, wonderful cats, such as Slim, will be regrettably lost forever.

Nevertheless, the goal always should be to better protect and to enhance the lives of all cats and in that light instructing private citizens to turn cold shoulders to those in need is most definitely not the right approach. Au contraire, the willingness of individuals to demonstrate compassion should be universally applauded.

With from all appearances Marley and Key's dalliance being at an end, only two outstanding issues remain. The first one concerns whether the Doultons have shown the common decency to reimburse Key for the £200 at she shelled out in order to have Marley treated at Pets at Home.

That is as rather unimportant matter, however, and that is attested to by Key's unwillingness to make a stink about the money in spite of how dreadful the Doulton have treated her. The quality of the care that they are going to be providing Marley is a much more important issue.

First of all, since they have not publicly commented upon Key's accusation that they nearly starved him to death, it is not exactly clear who is telling the truth. Looking ahead, the more important issue is whether or not they are going to be willing to take proper care of him by keeping him at home and furnishing him with regular meals.

Normally speaking, cats that have guardians who stay at home and take a keen interest in both their well-being and happiness do not do all that much roaming. By contrast, owners who are seldom around and correspondingly demonstrate very little or no interest in their cats' happiness leave them with little choice other than to seek out the companionship of other humans and cats who are willing to supply what they are missing at home.

Contrary to popular belief, cats are high maintenance animals who require almost constant supervision and care and for that reason alone absentee owners seldom make even halfway decent guardians of them. Moreover, any individual who is fortunate enough to have one, two, three, or more cats at home does not have much of a reason to be doing any roaming and spraying.

The pursuit of fame and fortune is a total waste of time and as far as some discriminating masculine souls are concerned there are at least twenty excellent reasons why cats make better companions than women. (See Cat Defender post of February 17, 2018 entitled "Forget about Women! Adopting a Cat Is a Far More Rewarding Alternative for Some Guys Who Are Searching for Their Forever Valentines.")

Photos: Daily Mail (Marley), the Kent and Sussex Courier (Key), and Tanya Guay (Slim).