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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

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Nelson's Odyssey from Being the Long Abused Cat That Nobody Wanted to One of England's Most Beloved Comes to Sad End at Age Twenty

Nelson

"I am heartbroken. I miss him very much, as do Dave and my mam and dad. The house and garden seem so empty without him. Even our other cat Minnie seems to be looking around for him."
-- Andrea Huntley-Crow

Philosophers and laymen alike have long mused about the meaning of life without coming to much of an agreement on anything. Most of them would agree, however, that it is above all fleeting and with its happy moments being in extremely short supply.

The life and times of a brown-colored tom with black stripes and yellow eyes named Nelson certainly bears out that somber assessment of things. Following a lifetime of deprivations and unspeakable abuse, he was crowned as Cats Protection's Cat of the Year last August at the ripe old age of twenty but the good times did not last very long because by January of this year he was in his grave.

Not much is known about where he came from other than that he was born either in or nearby Seaham Harbor, County Durham, in 1994. As it so often is the case, his owner wanted no part of either him or his littermates and as a consequence tied them up in a sack and then tossed them into the North Sea to drown.

His life surely would have ended right then and there if an unidentified fisherman had not intervened by plucking the sack out of the waves. Even then only Nelson and one of his brothers survived; the remainder of his siblings perished.

The fisherman had the survivors treated and sterilized by a veterinarian but that appears to have been the outer limit of his compassion. He was in fact so dead set against becoming emotionally involved with either of them that he did not even name them.

Sometime later Nelson's brother lost his tail to either violence or disease before mysteriously disappearing altogether without leaving behind so much as a trace. Although the fisherman continued to allow Nelson to stay in his tiny cabin and, presumably, occasionally fed him, his brother's demise left him pretty much all alone in an extremely hostile and forbidding environment.

Of all of his guardian's gross derelictions of duty none was more glaring than his abject failure to take any concrete measures in order to ensure his safety and that in turn left Nelson vulnerable to unprovoked attacks from both yobs and dogs. Although it is by no means clear, it is believed by some that rocks hurled at him by the former is what cost him the services of his right eye.

A far more plausible scenario is that he was victimized by a punk armed with an air gun. (See Cat Defender posts of May 7, 2007 and April 2, 2015 entitled, respectively, "British Punks Are Having a Field Day Maiming Cats with Air Guns but the Peelers Continue to Look the Other Way" and "Cornishman Shells Out £10,000 on Private Peepers in Order to Track Down Farah's Killer but Once Again Gets Stiffed by Both the Police and the RSPCA.")

The elements were an additional burden that he was forced to bear in that winters in northern England are both cold and wet. Under such trying conditions, there is not any way that he possibly could have been anything other than utterly miserable during those prolonged periods that he was forced to spend outdoors.

Against all odds, he persevered for fifteen long, lonely years on the docks until 2009 when a major construction project that was destined to transform the forlorn harbor into a bustling marina forced him to look elsewhere for a place to live out his twilight years. Like manna from heaven, that was when Andrea Huntley-Crow and her husband Dave from the tiny village of Seaton, eight kilometers south of Seaham, belatedly decided to put an end once and for all to his life of unrelenting misery by adopting him.

Nelson All Alone on the Dangerous Docks of Seaham Harbor

"We used to visit the harbor and the fisherman would tell us about his tough life," she recalled in an August 7th press release from Cats Protection. (See "Plucky Puss Nelson Named National Cat of the Year 2014!") "He had some shelter in the fisherman's cabin, but certainly none of the comforts of a home. To do that for fifteen years is quite something, and we're just pleased he now finally has the warm, loving home he deserves."

Because of his bravery in standing up to both the dogs and the yobs as well as his missing eye, she named him in honor of the much celebrated one-eyed Admiral Horatio Nelson who gave his life defeating the French and Spanish armada at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. From all outward indications, the marriage between him and the Huntley-Crows was one that enjoyed the blessings of The Fates.

"We work away a lot so my mum and dad come and look after him when we're away," she confided to Your Cat Magazine of Grantham in Lincolnshire on February 12th. (See "My Cat's a Survivor!") "He's lovely with us -- so affectionate and playful, but he's really nervous around strangers, probably because of how badly he was treated before."

Right up until near the end he was still able to run up and down the stairs as well as to catch an occasional mouse. "Luckily, he doesn't kill them most of the time so we can release them back outside to fight another day," she added to Your Cat.

Another telling sign of his contentment was to be found in his unwillingness to stray from the Huntley-Crows' garden. He also sans doute had seen and experienced firsthand more than enough of what the cruel and violent outside world has to offer defenseless, peace-loving cats like himself.

More than likely Nelson would have lived out his remaining days in obscurity with the Huntley-Crows if it had not been for a casual suggestion put forward by an unidentified member of his veterinary team. Acting upon that suggestion, Huntley-Crow decided to enter him in Cats Protection's annual awards and he, not surprisingly, prevailed in the Most Incredible Cat Story category.

His selection was made by celebrity judge Paul Copley who is perhaps best known on this side of the Atlantic for his portrayal of Mr. Mason on the popular English television show, Downton Abbey. "To survive all that he has and still be able to trust humans is quite something," he, a cat lover himself, told Cats Protection in the press release cited supra.

Although Huntley-Crow had felt all along that Nelson had a good chance of winning in his own category, she was somewhat surprised when he took home the top honor as Cat of the Year in ceremonies held August 7th at The Savoy in London. "We're over the moon!" she told Your Cat.

The final selection was made by a celebrity panel comprised of model Lucy Pinder, actress Lesley Joseph, and newsreader and television presenter Jan Leeming. For his trouble and bother, Nelson received two trophies and a three months' supply of Purina cat food.

Headquartered in St. Louis, Nestlé Purina Petcare, which sponsored the contest, had revenues of US$11.2 billion in 2013 and most assuredly could have easily afforded to foot Nelson's nutritional and veterinary bills for the remainder of his life without ever feeling so much as a twinge of financial distress. The niggardliness of miserable capitalists like Purina is nothing short of breathtaking and Cats Protection does not come off smelling any the sweeter by associating with such a rotter.

Nelson's Brief Moment in the Sun with Andrea and Dave Huntley-Crow

If Nelson's newfound celebrity status accomplished nothing else it gave the world an opportunity to not only get to know him but also to learn about how long he had suffered and persevered in obscurity. His experiences also serve as a poignant reminder that for every cat like him who ends up rising to international prominence there are millions of others whose unbearable suffering and premature deaths never see the light of day.

Tragically, even Nelson's own deliverance and fame came way too late in order to do him much good. That is because in January of last year he was diagnosed with an inoperable tumor on his brave and noble little heart. His appetite decreased and his chest had to be drained every few days.

At that point it certainly looked like it was curtains for him until his unidentified veterinarian hit upon the last-ditch expedient of placing him on Metacam® (Meloxicam) which is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) manufactured specifically for dogs suffering from arthritis by Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica of Ingelheim am Rhein in Rhineland-Palatinate. In the United States, for example, the Federal Drug Administration has refused to sanction its oral use in cats under any circumstances. Even in its injectable form it may be legally prescribed only once in order to help alleviate post-operative pain and inflammation.

That is because its repeated use, either orally or subcutaneously, has been known to cause renal failure and death. That is so much the case that a web site, www.metacamkills.com, has been established and its pages are chock-full of tearful testimonies from dozens of owners whose cats have been felled by the drug.

It is unclear if Huntley-Crow was either aware of the dangers of administering Metacam® to Nelson or, even if she had been, it would have mattered very much to her. Once all conventional remedies have been exhausted some individuals will try just about anything in order to prolong not only their cat's life but their own as well. In the latter case some individuals even have been known to resort to, inter alia, eating dirt and tossing off tumblers of piss once they were down to their last gasps.

In Nelson's case, however, Huntley-Crow was able to catch lightning in a bottle because the drug, which has the added benefit of being able to shrink tumors, worked like magic. "Within days you could tell it was working," she told Your Cat. "He started to eat again and put weight on, and the time between him needing to have his chest drained increased more and more."

So astonishing was his turnaround that not only did his breathing substantially improve, but his veterinarian was able to reduce the frequency of his office visits to once every three months. "He's doing really well," his guardian added.

As the cynics are overly fond of reminding everyone, nothing good ever lasts and that, sadly, ultimately held true in Nelson's life and death battle with cancer. "He kept bouncing back and fighting it, doing his little miracle thing and amazing everyone with his zest for life," Huntley-Crow told Your Cat Magazine on February 24th. (See "Tribute to Cat of the Year Nelson.") "He started to slow down around early January and we were feeding him in his bed and carrying him down to the door for him to enjoy the air and have a stroll around the garden."

She has been anything but candid about what transpired next. "He was comfortable and happy until the end," was all that she was willing to disclose to Your Cat.

That could mean almost anything but, given that individuals who reside in nominally Christian countries have a thoroughly morally repugnant tendency of killing off their cats shortly after the holidays, she in all probability paid Nelson's veterinarian to snuff out his life. (See Cat Defender posts of January 15, 2015 and October 18, 2014 entitled, respectively, "Lewis, Ann Arbor's Much Celebrated Garden Shop Cat, Departs This World Under Highly Suspicious Circumstances" 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.")

Nelson at Home with Andrea Huntley-Crow

Additionally, since she also has categorically refused to disclose precisely what it was that ultimately claimed his life, it is impossible to speculate upon what, if any, role that Metacam® may have played in his death. Even if it did ultimately doom him, without it he likely would have died a year earlier and as a result he never would have been named Cat of the Year.

"I am heartbroken. I miss him very much, as do Dave and my mam and dad," she confided to Your Cat in the February 24th article cited supra. "The house and garden seem so empty without him. Even our other cat Minnie seems to be looking around for him."

Looking back over the course of Nelson's life it is painfully obvious not only how trying his first fifteen years must have been but, equally important, just how miserably he was treated by everyone who either walked in or out of his world. First of all, there is his original owner who not only got away scot-free with killing the majority of his littermates but likely has gone on to liquidate, in one form or another, untold numbers of additional cats as well.

Secondly, the fisherman did a simply atrocious job of protecting him from the machinations of both dogs and yobs. Even the shelter, food, and veterinary care that he did provide him with was hardly adequate.

Animal protection groups, such as the RSPCA, did absolutely nothing in order to either provide for his well-being or to bring to justice those who so horribly abused him. In the end perhaps that was best because if they had intervened on his behalf they likely would have done so only in order to have initialed his death warrant on the spot. When abject neglect is the very best that cats can expect from those groups charged with safeguarding their lives it is high time that their supporters looked elsewhere for their deliverance.

Even Huntley-Crow and her family have a considerable amount on their consciences. By her own admission, for example, not only had she and her parents known about Nelson's desperate plight for years but yet they did little or nothing in order to relieve it until 2009.

She thus knowingly allowed him to go on suffering and to continue to be abused when she all along had it in her power to have rescued him. In that respect she is indeed fortunate that he was not killed long before she finally got around to making up her mind to help him.

Nelson now lies buried in her garden but his trophies are still on display alongside a photograph of him in her conservatory. He also lives on in videos and, most enduringly, in her heart and memories.

"He was our little hero, a real little character and so affectionate and loving," she confessed to Your Cat on February 24th. "We just have to remember how happy he was with us for over five years, what a lovely life he had and how much we loved him."

That leads to the thought provoking question of whether it is possible for love to transcend the grave. An Italian cat named Toldo most assuredly continued to care deeply for his beloved guardian even long after he was gone. (See Cat Defender post of March 28, 2013 entitled "Even the Finality of the Grave Fails to Diminish Toldo's Abiding Love and Devotion to His Long Dead Guardian.")

Nelson in His Beloved Garden Alongside His Trophies

With humans on the other hand that type of devotion is considerably rarer, especially when it comes to the amount of tears that they are willing to shed over a deceased cat. There are many reasons for that callousness but chiefly among them is that with the passage of time memories tend to fade and guardians, sooner or later, come to forget all about their once cherished companions.

Plus, modern-day life is extremely hectic and demanding and that in turn serves only to fuel the fires of man's inherent selfishness and forgetfulness. On top of all of that, aggrieved owners usually wind up acquiring new cats who have their own needs and demands that must be satisfied.

Perhaps Jonathan Hull came the closest to the truth when he suggested in his 2001 novel, Losing Julia, that men are little more than "overly sensitive fertilizer." Even if he should be correct in that summation, that only serves to enhance, rather than to diminish, the intrinsic value of this life and this world.

That is especially the case where cats are concerned in that they, first of all, live such terribly short lives. Secondly, the unconditional, no strings attached love, support, and loyalty that they so freely dispense at the drop of a hat are about the only constants that an individual can bank on in an ever-changing, topsy-turvy world.

If all of that were not sufficient, there are substantial psychological and physical health benefits to be derived from living with a cat. In regard to the former, an individual can be a good for nothing, penniless bum in the prying and censorious eyes of the world and yet be a knight in shining armor to a forgotten cat.

No experience is required and the out-of-pocket expenses are, in most cases, minimal. In what other undertaking that life has to offer can one receive so much in return for such a minuscule investment?

Once they are gone, however, it is for ever and there are not going to be any joyous reunions in the sweet-by-and-by. Intelligent and caring individuals therefore have the bon sens to treasure them while they are here. "We have only a little time to please the living but all eternity to love the dead," Sophocles pointed out in Antigone.

It was novelist Harriet Beecher Stowe, however, who supplied the most valuable rationale for not discounting the present. "The bitterest tears shed over graves are for words left unsaid and deeds left undone," she once astutely observed.

Contrary to what Huntley-Crow insinuates, there simply is not any conceivable way that the last five happy years that Nelson spent on this earth ever could make up for the fifteen miserable ones that preceded them. That is because life is simply too short to squander three-quarters of it as society's punching bag.

Secondly, the role that suffering and overcoming hardships plays in building character is not only grossly overrated in the human world but an utter absurdity as far as cats like Nelson are concerned. Besides, wallowing in the glorification of pain and abuse is for sadists and, of course, those thoroughly lawless and uncivilized savages known as Americans who delight no end in the amount of punishment that they can inflict upon others, the animals, and Mother Earth.

Since late is significantly better than never at all, it is wonderful that Nelson's long overdue ship finally came in, even if it did not dock until he was in his twilight years. He did not need to be put through fifteen years of unrelenting hell however in order to enjoy at a few shining moments in the sun; rather, he deserved far better than that starting from day one of his life and therein lies the tragedy.

It is now way too late to put the sand back into the hourglass. As Nelson was forced to learn firsthand at any early age, most individuals in this wicked old world play for keeps and mulligans are largely reserved for the golfing links.

Photos: Moggies (Nelson), Express and SWNS (Nelson on the docks and with Andrea Huntley-Crow), Mirror (Nelson with Andrea and Dave), and Your Cat (Nelson in the garden).

Thursday, April 02, 2015

Cornishman Shells Out £10,000 on Private Peepers in Order to Track Down Farah's Killer but Once Again Gets Stiffed by Both the Police and the RSPCA

Farah

"Telling me there is nothing they can do to investigate, or even address, the horrific way Farah died is just not good enough. Using an air rifle to shoot cats is illegal, and it should be treated as such."
-- Neil Tregarthen

As the wholesale maiming and killing of innocent cats continues unabated, there seemingly is not any power on earth that is capable of prevailing upon either the police or animal protection groups to so much as even investigate these atrocities. The long-standing intransigence of the authorities is, not surprisingly, finally prompting some aggrieved owners and caretakers into taking matters into their own hands as a way of attempting to redress some of these outrageous crimes.

One such dedicated individual with a highly developed sense of right and wrong is wealthy fifty-six-year-old retired businessman Neil Tregarthen of Truro in Cornwall who was forced into acting after the Devon and Cornwall Police (DCP) as well as the RSPCA categorically refused to take seriously the premeditated, cold-blooded murder of a fourteen-month-old black cat named Farah that belonged to his twenty-four-year-old daughter, Aylish. She was shot in the stomach by an unknown assailant armed with an air gun sometime during either the day or evening on September 27th while she was playing in a garden in Exeter, Devon, where Aylish is studying medicine at the University of Exeter.

She discovered Farah's plight the following morning when she came down to breakfast but by then it was way too late to save her life. She was taken to a veterinarian where it was determined that the lead pellet had ruptured her bowels.

She died three days later on the operating table from internal bleeding and septicemia and Aylish and her father were left with a £3,500 veterinary bill, their grief, and a consuming rage at the unfairness of having her taken from them in such a senseless and violent fashion. Not only was Farah's life cruelly and unjustly snuffed out barely after it even had begun, but her last four days on this earth could not possibly have been anything other than excruciatingly painful.

"Aylish was devastated. The vet said it would have been an incredibly distressing and painful death for Farah," Tregarthen confided to The Independent of London on March 5th. (See"Man Spends £10,000 on Private Investigators to Track Down Killers of His Daughter's Kitten (sic).") "Any father would be angry with somebody who upset his daughter, but I am a measured man, and anger doesn't get things changed."

His initial reaction was to naïvely call upon the assistance of the DCP but it did not take long for him to become disabused of any notion that he may have harbored in his breast that he could expect any help from that agency. "The police made it very clear they wouldn't be investigating further," he added to The Independent.

He thus was forced to fall back upon his own not insubstantial resources in order to retain the services of a contingent of private peepers from Focus Investigations in Exeter. The gumshoes devoted six weeks to the matter during which time they interviewed and identified possible suspects, handed out fliers in the neighborhood, and established a telephone number in order to receive tips from the public. The effort wound up costing Tregarthen a cool £10,000 (US$14,841.80).

At the end of it all, the shamuses were able to identify several members of a local gang who not only had criminal records for air gun offenses, but also were so emboldened as to post photographs of themselves injuring animals on Facebook. The investigators were even able to narrow down the list of possible culprits to one individual with what they termed an "obvious sociopathic nature."

In the best tradition of the Philip Marlowes and Sam Spades of yesteryear, the private dicks even went so far as to place the gang under surveillance. "We would camp out on the river pretending to be fishing," Tregarthen revealed to the Daily Mail on March 5th. (See "Who Killed Farah the Kitten (sic)?") "We surveyed certain areas pretending to be members of the public. Ideally we needed to witness an incident, but that never happened."

Neil Tregarthen

They did succeed, however, in locating a witness who claimed to have seen the prime suspect attack another cat with an air rifle. "We found a witness who claimed that he had witnessed our main suspect shooting another cat and who stated that he was willing to give a statement to this effect," Focus informed Tregarthen according to a report by the BBC on March 4th. (See "Man Spends £10K on Search for Kitten (sic) Killer.")

While the peepers were busy identifying possible suspects, Tregarthen put up a £1,000 reward in an effort to entice a member of the public into coming forward with information relating to the crime. "The sad excuse for a human being that did this will have bragged about it," one of his reward posters stated. "If they gobbed off to you, or a mate and you can tell me for sure who it is, you just got the easiest £1,000 in your life."

Although he received many responses to his offer, none of them were the one that he wanted. It was encouraging, however, that none of those who responded did so because of monetary considerations.

"Not one of at least fifty people who phoned asked about the money," Tregarthen revealed to The Independent. "They said: 'This is shocking. Here is what I know'."

Despite the limited amount of success of both his and the investigators' inquiries, he nevertheless was pleased with the effort. "This was no Boy Scout investigation. I was successful in business because I am very demanding of people," he proclaimed to The Independent. "I am ninety-nine point nine per cent sure the key suspect was responsible."

Operating under the mistaken illusion that since he had done their job for them the DCP now would be forced into taking action, Tregarthen summarized Focus's conclusions in a fourteen-age dossier which he then submitted to the force. The representatives of law and order however took one quick look at it and curtly dismissed it.

"I have examined Mr. Tregarthen's report and it is packed with rumor and speculation," DCP Neighborhood Beat Manager Steve Parsons sneered to The Independent. "However, on the back of this local officers did make further inquiries which also turned out to be fruitless."

After having pursued matters as far as he could under the law, Tregarthen had been expecting the police to at least be willing to interrogate the chief suspect but they were unwilling to even indulge him on that point. "But when a job has been eighty per cent done for them, all I want them to do is exercise their right to knock on a suspect's front door and interview him under caution," he explained to The Telegraph on March 5th. (See "Businessman Spends £10K on Private Detectives to Hunt Killer of Daughter's Cat.") "I cannot confront him because it would prejudice the police inquiry."

In spite of Parsons' outrageous balderdash, there can be little doubt that if the victim had been an individual as opposed to a cat that the police not only would have acted but in the process also violated every one of the suspect's civil liberties in order to have made an arrest. That most definitely would have included taking him into custody, subjecting him to endless hours of unrelenting third degree interrogation, illegal searches of both his person and home and, possibly, even torturing him into confessing.

The English would like the world to believe that they are a genteel people who are ruled by the dictates of both law and morality but that is largely a self-serving public relations' ruse. In reality, both their domestic and colonial police forces historically have been comprised of some of the world's most savage and lawless brutes. Their tactics in turn have been handed down like precious heirlooms to their even more ruthless and cutthroat counterparts in the United States, Australia, New Zealand, and elsewhere who not only have embraced them with all the zeal of maniacs but expanded upon their inherent nastiness and cruelties.

Nations, like individuals, do not become rich and powerful by playing by the Golden Rule and it is utter nonsense for anyone to think differently. "Le secret des grandes fortunes sans cause apparente est un crime oublié, parce qu' il a été proprement fait," Honoré de Balzac oberved in his 1835 novel, Le Père Goriot.

Just as police forces all over the world are very good at taking decisive action whenever it suits their purposes, they likewise are more than content to do absolutely nothing whenever they can get away with doing so. In the DCP's case, it is quite obvious that its motto, In Auxilium Omnium, does not apply to either cats or their aggrieved owners.

One of Tregarthen's Reward Posters

It additionally is dishonest for Parsons to dismiss the results of Tregarthen's effort as merely rumor and speculation in that just about all police work commences with precisely that. Few if any cases are handed over to them with the guilty parties, facts, and evidence all tied up with a red ribbon in a neat little package; au contraire, it is precisely the job of the police to go out and find all of those elements.

Regrettably, even that process all too often begins and ends with not only rumors and speculation but institutionalized prejudices and the targeting of innocent individuals and cats alike. Acting in their designated roles as the hired guns of the wealthy and the bourgeoisie, they invariably target the lower classes while turning blind eyes to the far greater crimes that are committed by those who pay the greater part of their salaries.

Even the laws themselves are biased in favor of those who have money. "La majestueuse égalité des lois interdit aux riches comme aux pauvres de coucher sous les ponts, de mendier dans la rue et de voler du pain," is how Anatole France once summed up the grand charade by which all societies live.

In the United States, for example, the police not only gun down cats and dogs in the street but do so with impunity. It therefore goes almost without saying that any group which behaves in such an abhorrently criminal fashion is not about to take cases of animal cruelty seriously. (See Cat Defender post of September 27, 2014 entitled "Falsely Branded as Being Rabid by a Cat-Hater, an Animal Control Officer, and the Gorham Police Department, Clark Is Hounded Down and Blasted with a Shotgun.")

Beyond the ingrained class prejudices and lawlessness that characterizes all police work, it also is a business that begins with the degree mills that offer programs in criminal justice which graduates then parlay into sinecures as cops. Once on the force, the new recruits nakedly exploit their newfound authority by arresting anyone that they can so as to move up the ranks to positions with still ever greater authority and money.

Finally, there is the prison-industrial complex which not only includes houses of detention, guards, and wardens but courts, judges, prosecutors, and lawyers as well. While there can be no denying that all stable societies require law and order, it nevertheless is at times difficult to determine exactly who it is that needs to be locked away and who deserves to be set free. If it were only possible, the best solution of all perhaps would be to lock up the entire human race and then throw away the key.

"After all reasonable areas of inquiry were completed, I spoke to Ms. Tregarthen to explain why no further action would be taken and she was happy with my explanation," Parsons declared to The Independent. Unless he is in the habit of making things up, which is a major problem with all cops, Aylish's joy could not have lasted for very long because she soon was singing an entirely different tune.

"I feel like there is no justification for not investigating something that is illegal," she told the Daily Mail. "But to still have the same response (after Focus's work) is very disappointing."

She also has additional concerns besides obtaining a small measure of justice for Farah. "There is no deterrent to stop people doing it again. No one is being held to account and they are being allowed to continue doing this," she complained to The Telegraph. "I have other cats, but I won't let them out of the house in case this happens again."

Rosie and Her X-Ray

In spite of all of his good work in taking it upon himself to track down Farah's killer at his own expense, Tregarthen nonetheless is off his trolley when he blames the inaction on the part of the police on monetary considerations. "It's also about getting government to understand what chief constables can deliver with the savage cuts they are enduring," he groused to The Independent.

Even the Home Office was quick to disagree with him on that point. "Police reform is working and crime has fallen," one of its representatives told the BBC. "There is no question the police will still have the resources to do their important work, while making their contribution to reducing the deficit."

Just as individuals with only hammers in their toolboxes are prone to viewing all problems that arise as nails, millionaires like Tregarthen tend to erroneously believe that all issues can be solved with money. Human affairs are far more complex than that and thus require considerably more finesse than ever can be provided by either hammers or shekels.

He also was unsuccessful in his attempt to interest the RSPCA in looking into Farah's murder. The charity, which has the authority to initiate prosecutions on its own through independent solicitors, has cited a lack of evidence as the motive behind its decision to remain glued to the sidelines.

Even on those rare occasions when it has prosecuted and won judgments against individuals for abusing cats the culprits invariably have been let off with slaps on the wrists by jurists. Although it is difficult to determine from the limited amount of information contained online if that is the fault of the RSPCA or the courts, it nevertheless is disturbing that the organization all too often seems to be contented with whatever convictions and sentences, no matter how insignificant and lenient, that it is able to obtain.

Also, the organization's long and checkered past of both stealing and killing cats with impunity hardly inspires confidence in its resolve to uphold the animal cruelty statutes. (See Cat Defender posts of June 5, 2007 and October 23, 2010 entitled, respectively, "RSPCA's Unlawful Seizure and Senseless Killing of Mork Leaves His Sister, Mindy, Brokenhearted and His Caretakers Devastated" and "RSPCA Steals and Executes Nightshift Who Was His Elderly Caretaker's Last Surviving Link to Her Dead Husband," plus Daily Mail articles of November 6, 2014 and December 30, 2012 entitled, respectively, "RSPCA Forced to Apologize for Wrongly Putting Down Cat Belonging to Family It Accused of Cruelty in Bungled Prosecution" and "Revealed: RSPCA Destroys Half of the Animals That It Rescues -- Yet Thousands Are Completely Healthy.")

It thus would appear that Tregarthen's efforts to bring Farah's murderer to justice have reached a dead end. The only recourse open to him would be to have the shamuses continue to closely monitor the activities of the suspect in the hope that they eventually will be able to catch him flagrante delicto attacking another cat.

They then could swear out an affidavit to that effect and the police would be forced into arresting him. While they are interrogating him, they also might be able to coax a confession out of him about shooting Farah.

Tregarthen not only has more than enough moola in order to continue the fight but he has, at least in the past, expressed a willingness to devote even more resources to the cause. "I would pay double that (£10,000) if I thought it would stop this sort of behavior," he vowed to the Daily Mail. "I know I am in a fortunate position to be able to do so, but I think it is money well spent. It's about society fighting back."

Roxy and Hayley Fallows

Moreover, he is not merely fighting for Farah and Aylish but rather for cats and their supporters everywhere. "It was for the people whose cats might be shot next -- the elderly widow who might find her lost companion crawling through the cat flap and dying," he told The Independent. "If people who can fight back don't do so, then we are all doomed."

That is all true enough but as things now stand there simply is not any way of getting around the intransigence of both the police and animal protection groups and that rankles him and cat advocates everywhere no end. "Telling me there is nothing they can do to investigate, or even address, the horrific way Farah died is just not good enough," he declared to the BBC. "Using an air rifle to shoot cats is illegal, and it should be treated as such."

If his efforts have accomplished nothing else they have exposed not only how deeply ingrained is the tendency of both the police and animal protection groups to simply wink at cruelty to cats but also how terribly difficult it is going to be in order to substantially change that attitude. It nevertheless is still firmly believed that private dicks have a crucial role to play in the apprehension of cat abusers. Their efforts in this instance went for naught but next time around the outcome might be entirely different.

Not only are assaults perpetrated against cats by thugs and other assorted low-life armed with air guns at epidemic proportions throughout all of the United Kingdom but they have been occurring for a very long time and for that the blame can be squarely laid at the feet of both the police and the RSPCA. For example on March 19, 2007, a ten-year-old brown and white cat named Jacky Boy from Stenhousemuir in Scotland was shot in the face with an air gun and the lead pellet lodged between his jawbone and brain and could not be removed.

Three days later on March 30th a two-year-old black cat named Ebony from Wrexham in Wales lost her right eye to an assailant armed with an air gun. Along about that same time a ten-year-old black cat named Flopsy from Silksworth outside of Sunderland lost his right leg in another air gun assault. (See Cat Defender post of May 7, 2007 entitled "British Punks Are Having a Field Day Maiming Cats with Air Guns but the Peelers Continue to Look the Other Way.")

Later on June 11, 2009, a two-year-old tuxedo named Rosie from the town of Guisborough in Cleveland, North Yorkshire, was shot fifty times with an air gun but amazingly survived. Unfortunately, Clare Turner of Wilton House Veterinary Clinic was able to safely remove only twenty of the pellets and that in turn left Rosie vulnerable to developing lead poisoning from those that were left in her body.

"I've never seen anything like it in my life," her thirty-nine-year-old owner, Tracey Homan, exclaimed to The Telegraph on June 16, 2009. (See "Cat Shot with Fifty Pellets Survives.") "She was covered in blood and dragging her back legs along the floor."

Whereas juvenile delinquents are suspected of committing a lion's share of the air gun attacks that are perpetrated against cats, that is not always the case. On the contrary, elderly gardeners have been caught red-handed doing the same thing.

For example on July 16, 2011, seventy-one-year-old Patrick Doyle of Fields Road in the village of Wootton in Bedford, Bedfordshire, trapped a nameless black cat and then methodically proceeded to shoot it point-blank from a distance of two feet with an air rifle. He doubtlessly would have killed it on the spot if his neighbor, Caroline Benbow-Hunt, had not seen what he was up to and intervened.

Smokey and the Horrific Damage Done to His Face and Left Eye

He subsequently was arrested and tried in Bedford Magistrates' Court on February 29, 2012 but was let off with paying court costs of £1,311.64. Nevertheless, Dave Braybroke, who prosecuted the case for the RSPCA, said afterwards that he was "satisfied" with the light tap on the wrists meted out to Doyle.

Benbow-Hunt released the cat and it never was seen again in the neighborhood and therefore is presumed to have died from its injuries. (See Cat Defender post of March 13, 2012 entitled "The Sick Wife Defense Works Like a Charm for Cunning Patrick Doyle after He Traps a Cat and then Shoots It with an Air Rifle while Still in Its Cage.")

Another cat-hating gardener is suspected in a pair of air rifle attacks on cats that occurred last summer on Bennett's Road in Lower Swainswick, five kilometers northeast of Bath in Somerset. In the first attack, Hayley Fallows ' one-year-old brown cat Roxy had one of her femurs shattered when she was shot at close range.

Mark Minkler of Beaufort Surgery only added to her misery when he incorrectly inserted a pin which later moved and went through her sciatic nerve. That in turn necessitated that she had to undergo a second operation in order to have a plate inserted. More than two months later Roxy was still limping around in discomfort.

Later in September, an eleven-year-old tom named Max owned by Fallows's neighbor, Sue Lewis, was shot with a lead pellet that went through both of his legs. Although he did not suffer any broken bones, he did sustain nerve damage and was left paralyzed in one paw.

"We are worried to think someone who is quite close to us could do something like this," Fallows told the Bath Chronicle on October 14th. (See "Fears Disgruntled Gardener Is to Blame for Air Rifle Attack (sic) on Cats.") "For it to have happened twice, it can't be an accident, it must be on purpose. It is malicious. It has been really upsetting for all of us, especially the children."

Lewis could not have agreed more. "One cat might be an accident but two is more sinister," she added to the Bath Chronicle. "You do worry about the kids being out."

Predictably, the only response that Fallows and Lewis were able to get out of the police were the usual unproductive house-to-house inquiries and letters sent to residents begging them to do their jobs for them. "We have no evidence who is responsible, and we're appealing to anyone with information, or who knows someone who owns a high-powered rifle or similar weapon, to contact us," PC Martin Holliwell lamely blowed to the Bath Chronicle.

Ornithologists, both amateurs and professionals, are yet still another utterly despicable lot of lawless ailurophobes who purchase air guns with the sole purpose in mind of killing and maiming cats. For instance, that is precisely what sixty-eight-year-old Eric Reeves of Bradenham Hall Cottages in Bradenham, Norfolk, did on August 8, 2011 when he shot and killed Nicholas Townley's five-month-old brown and white cat Hartley.

Even After a Shave the Pellet Holes Are Still Visible in Lovey's Body

When his case came to trial on October 26, 2011 in King's Lynn Magistrates' Court, Reeves escaped with one-hundred hours of community service and a measly £400 in court costs. As was the case with its wet noodle prosecution of Doyle, the feckless RSPCA once again was pleased as punch with the outcome.

"This sends out a clear message that it is unacceptable to go around shooting animals," Dave Padmore, who tried the case for the charity, crowed in the face of all logic and truth. "The RSPCA will continue to investigate incidents of this nature and where possible will always seek to bring a prosecution."

His empty rhetoric surely must ring awfully hollow to Tregarthen and all other individuals who have had cats killed and maimed by cretins armed with air guns. (See Cat Defender post of March 9, 2012 entitled "Amateur Ornithologist Guns Down Hartley with an Air Rifle, Feigns Remorse, and Then Cheats Justice by Begging and Lying.")

Far from being a problem that is confined to the English Isles, air guns are being trained on cats just about everywhere. For example, a nine-year-old part-Persian brown and white tom named Smokey from the small town of Maryborough in Victoria was abducted in September of 2009, restrained in some unknown fashion, and then shot thirteen times in the face and head by an attacker wielding an air gun.

A veterinarian was able to successfully remove all of the pellets except for two that had lodged in his face. His left eye was so badly damaged, however, that the veterinarian was forced into stitching a button to his eyebrow in a desperate attempt to save it.

"I was just shocked someone could take an animal and literally hold them (sic) down and just keep shooting them (sic)," owner Liz Dunn told the Australian Broadcasting Company (ABC) on September 22nd of that year. (See "Owners Horrified after Cat Shot Thirteen Times.") "The police said that they have to keep reloading the slug gun, it's not a process that automatically goes bang, bang, bang. Smokey had been either contained or held because all of them were in his head and nowhere else in his body was injured."

It fell by default to Dr. Hugh Wirth of the Australian RSPCA, however, to give voice to a few enlightening thoughts that should have been uttered a very long time ago. "Jail is the only way to teach people a lesson," he vowed to the ABC. "Almost certainly these will be young males around the age of eighteen to twenty who have done this; it's a pattern that we see throughout Australia and there's only one way to deal with it and that's jail."

He additionally had the courage to call out not only male cat-hating brutes but ornithologists and wildlife biologists as well. "One of the biggest problems we've got here is firstly the Australian male who believes that cats are of a feminine character," he added to the ABC. "The second problem is that conservationists have condemned the cat as the big killer of native wildlife."

In regard to his first keen observation, there cannot be any denying that the life-giving, nurturing, and civilizing attributes commonly associated with women always have been at odds with the bloodthirsty, degenerative, and destructive tendencies of their male counterparts. The Greek dramatist Aristophanes even wrote a play, Lysistrata, about that eternal struggle some twenty-four-hundred-years ago.

During the Middle Ages, the world's oldest, sleaziest, and most morally repugnant institution, the Roman Catholic Church, even waged an all-out war against anchoresses and their cats by branding the former as witches and the latter as their familiars. Even today kindhearted women who go out of their way in order to care for homeless cats are not only universally derided as "crazy cat women" but sometimes even physically threatened and arrested. (See Cat Defender posts of August 2, 2010 and February 26, 2007 entitled, respectively, "Old, Poor, and Sickly Jeanne Ambler Is Facing Eviction for Feeding a Trio of Hungry Cats" and "Charged with Feeding a Feral Cat Named Fluffy, Retired Ohio English Teacher Beats the Rap," plus the Toronto Star, October 20, 2014, "Helping Feral Cats Shouldn't Be Risky Business.")

To put the entire sorry business into a neat little nutshell, male-dominated societies all over the world look down their crooked schnozzles at compassionate women while simultaneously championing the cause of cowardly thugs who get their perverted jollies by taking potshots at innocent cats with air guns. If, on the other hand, someone were to ram the barrel of one of these infernal devices into one of their eye sockets and threaten to pull the trigger they, one to a man, would cry like little babies and beg to be allowed to retain their precious eyesight.

Lovey's Torture Cell and Would-Be Tomb

As far as Wirth's second insight is concerned, cats in Australia are far from being the only ones to find themselves in the crosshairs of dishonest conservationists with perverted agendas. In the United States, for instance, it is precisely the National Audubon Society, the American Bird Conservancy, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, The Wildlife Society, the universities, and PETA who through their unceasing defamations and repeated calls for en masse eradications that have not only supplied the motivation but a justification as well for their partisans and others to take the law into their own hands by abusing and killing cats. (See Cat Defender posts of May 18, 2013, July 18, 2011, and October 7, 2011 entitled, respectively, "Ted Williams and the National Audubon Society Issue a Call for Cats to Be Poisoned with Tylenol® and Then Try to Lie Out of It," "Evil Professors Have Transformed College Campuses into Hotbeds of Hatred Where Cats Routinely Are Vilified, Horribly Abused, and Systematically Killed," and "PETA Traps and Kills a Cat and Then Shamelessly Goes Online in Order to Brag about Its Criminal and Foul Deed.")

Like the English press, newspapers in Deutschland are replete with accounts of cats being attacked by assailants armed with air guns. For instance in August of last year, an unidentified cat owned by Norman Lutterbach from the borough of Schmidt in Nideggen, Nordrhein Westfalen, was attacked twice within the span of three days with the last assault claiming its life. (See the Aachener-Zeitung, August 11, 2014, "Mit Luftgewehr gezielt auf Katze geschossen.")

Later on August 29th, a nine-year-old white cat named Cindy was shot and killed by an attacker with an air rifle while she was reclining on a terrace in the Himbergen section of Uelzen, Niedersachsen. In spite of all of that, she still might have pulled through if the wound to her abdomen had not been initially misdiagnosed by an obviously totally incompetent veterinarian as a bite wound.

As things eventually turned out, she died on the operating table from lead poisoning on September 2nd. (See the Allgemeine Zeitung Uelzen, September 6, 2014, "Tödlicher Schuss auf Cindy.")

In the United States the capitalist media seldom even bother to report air guns attacks upon cats and that makes it somewhat difficult to gauge the extent of the problem; nevertheless,  it is likely that the number of such instances dwarfs those reported in Deutschland, Angleterre, and Australia combined. That also is another poignant example of just how poorly Americans are served by their disreputable newspapers, radio stations, and television channels.

In the one recently known case that garnered nationwide attention, a caged black and white cat named Lovey was pulled out of McKay Bay in the Ybor City section of Tampa on September 1, 2010 by a Good Samaritan. Rushed to Brandon Veterinary Specialists, it was determined that she had been shot at least thirty times in the abdomen and chest with an air rifle. There is not any known connection, but it is just possible that this case furnished both the inspiration and modus operandi for Doyle's devilry.

Lovey shortly thereafter was needlessly divested of most of her fur in a prelude to undergoing emergency surgery even though the veterinarians ultimately decided against removing the lead pellets. She, thankfully, pulled through and was adopted a few weeks later.

The pet carrier in which she was found provided the authorities not only with a pretty good idea of what she had been put through but also several clues as to the identity of her abusers. Specifically, stenciled to the outside of it were the following words: "Kitty Penitentiary," "Est. 2010," "Cell 666," "Jailer Missy," and "Warden" with the name obliterated.

A running tally of at least twenty assaults also was maintained on the outside of the cage. Clearly, Lovey had been tortured over an extended period of time by a pair of devil worshipers.

On September 16th, nineteen-year-old Giovanni Estrada of 10266 Parsons Street in Town 'n' Country, eight kilometers northeast of Tampa, was arrested and charged with two counts of felony animal cruelty. His twenty-six-year-old girlfriend, Mildred Marie "Missy" Krack, who actually owned the cat that she called Mittens, inexplicably was not indicted although she later was banned for life from owning another animal in Hillsborough County. (See The Tampa Tribune, October 13, 2010, "Ex-Owner of Tortured Cat Banned from Owning Animals.")

Pumkin

In return for his despicable crimes, Estrada was let off in February of 2011 with only one year behind bars. (See "WFTS-TV of Tampa, February 23, 2011, "Tampa Man Sentenced to One Year in 'Kitty Penitentiary' Case.")

On his MyPlace web site entitled "In the Shadow of Death," he claimed to be a wiccan who would like to meet Jesus Christ so that he could "kick his ass." (See Cat Defender post of September 28, 2010 entitled "Caged, Shot Thirty Times with an Air Gun, and Then Tossed into the Bay to Drown, Lovey Is Rescued in the Middle of the Night by a Good Samaritan.")

The pattern revealed by this review of the cases points to the inescapable conclusion that it is precisely young males, gardeners, ornithologists, and devil worshipers who are attacking cats with air guns. There possibly could be other groups as well but that does not materially alter the salient fact that these despicable weapons are owned and used by a rather small subset of the general population.

Decent individuals do not own air guns and, moreover, they certainly have better things to do with their lives than to go around shooting defenseless cats and other small animals. Also, just about all of these attacks are localized. Taken altogether, it is safe to conclude that identifying and arresting at least some of these scumbags is nowhere nearly the impossible task that both the police and animal protection groups claim.

Furthermore, these weapons cannot be used against individuals without engendering serious legal consequences and it is highly doubtful that they are acquired merely for target practice. They therefore are manufactured and sold with the explicit purpose of maiming and killing cats, birds, wildlife and, sometimes, farm animals. (See Cat Defender post of January 9, 2006 entitled "Dodemus, a Sparrow Mercilessly Gunned Down by Domino Stackers, to Be Exhibited at Rotterham Museum.")

It accordingly is nothing short of stupefying that any halfway decent society would even allow their manufacture, sale, and ownership, let alone their use against cats. Just the mere possession of one of these diabolical weapons should be sufficient in order to land both adults and juveniles in jail for at least ten years without the benefit of either early parole or time off for good behavior.

In its recently introduced "Manifesto for Cats," the charity Cats Protection of Haywards Heath in Sussex called for stricter regulation of air guns but that hardly goes far enough in that nothing short of an outright ban will suffice. (See The Independent, January 15, 2015, "A 'Manifesto for Cats': Cat Charity to Launch Its Ten-Point Proposal at the House of Commons.")

The sad truth of the matter is that it is open season on cats everywhere and it does not make much difference whether the weapon of choice is an air gun or some other device. Cops and rescue groups can be counted upon for little more than hot air and disgraceful attempts to flimflam the public out of money while doing absolutely nothing to either protect cats or to put their attackers in jail where they belong.

With that being the way that things are, the onus of protecting cats falls squarely upon the shoulders of their owners and the caretakers of TNR colonies. In Farah's case, it appears that Aylish let her down by failing to check on her before retiring for the evening on September 27th. If she had done so, Farah conceivably might still be alive today.

Farah Will Be Forever Fourteen Months Old

It is unclear if she was aware beforehand that yobs in her neighborhood in Exeter have a history of gunning down cats with air guns and that makes it difficult to say if she knowingly placed Farah's life in jeopardy. Although these types of assaults tend to be isolated and sporadic, they nonetheless are crimes of opportunity and for that reason owners need to be constantly on their guard.

As difficult and disconcerting as Tregarthen's efforts have proven to be, apprehending cat abusers is only the initial step in a long-drawn-out judicial process that most often culminates with neither the victim nor their aggrieved owners receiving so much as a smidgen of justice. For instance, not many prosecutors have any genuine interest in trying animal cruelty cases and even those that do, such as the RSPCA, are notorious for turning in lackluster performances whereby they merely go through the motions.

Secondly, judges seldom convict and even on those rare occasions when they do they allow the guilty parties to escape with minuscule fines and probation. Jury verdicts likewise are difficult to obtain in that all the defense has to do is to impanel either one ornithologist, wildlife biologist, or gardener in order to subvert justice. (See Cat Defender post of November 20, 2007 entitled "Bird Lovers All Over the World Rejoice as Serial Killer James M. Stevenson Is Rewarded by a Galveston Court for Gunning Down Hundreds of Cats.")

Civil suits directed at cat abusers are perhaps the best option for aggrieved owners and caretakers. Although Andreas O. did not not receive so much as a scintilla of satisfaction in criminal court, a civil court in München awarded him €500 in damages and issued a cease and desist order against his neighbor, Ernst Bernhard K., who had tortured one of his cats, Rocco, to death and likely would have sooner or later attacked his other resident felines as well. (See Cat Defender posts of January 19, 2011, August 8, 2011, and August 17, 2011 entitled, respectively, "Bird Lover in München Illegally Traps Rocco and Then Methodically Tortures Him to Death with Water and Pepper Spray over an Eleven-Day Period," "Ernst K.'s Trial for Kidnapping, Torturing, and Murdering Rocco Nears Its Climax in a München Courtroom," and "Ernst K. Walks Away Smelling Like a Rose as Both the Prosecutor and Judge Turn His Trial for Killing Rocco into a Lovefest for a Sadistic Cat Killer.")

A civil court in southern California likewise awarded Janien Bubien from the San Diego suburb of Vista $2,500 in damages plus an additional $5,000 in order to relocate elsewhere after her next-door neighbor, forty-seven-year-old Robert Eugene Brunner, killed her three-year-old orange-colored cat Bill with arrows to the neck and back on April 11, 2006. Even more extraordinary, when his case finally came to trial on September 17, 2007 a criminal court judge sentenced him to three years in jail.

Although Brunner was arrested shortly after he murdered Bill, the civil court verdict against him, like the one Andreas O. obtained against Ernst Bernhard K., predated his criminal court conviction and thus reaffirmed the precedent that having the latter is not a prerequisite for obtaining the former. (See Cat Defender posts of August 14, 2007 and September 28, 2007 entitled, respectively, "Grieving Owner Seeks Justice for Orange Tabby Named Bill That Was Hunted Down and Savagely Killed with a Bow and Arrow" and "California Man Who Slew His Neighbor's Cat with a Bow and Arrow Is Sentenced to Three Years in Jail.")

Whereas it is always better to have a criminal conviction on record before turning to the civil courts for redress, even that is not always necessary and, accordingly, it is something that Tregarthen might want to consider as he goes forward. For instance, Kevin Kimes of Brentwood in northern California sued his neighbors, Joseph and Charles Grosser, for seriously injuring his cat, Pumkin, in October of 2005 with an air gun.

Although it is not known how he ultimately fared in court, no one can question Kimes' resolve. "The people that perpetrate these crimes against domesticated animals are going to have to pay," he swore to the San Francisco Chronicle on June 1, 2011. (See "Brentwood Man Cleared to Sue over Cat's Shooting.") "Maybe over time, people will start to think twice."

It is a crying shame that there are not more owners who feel the same way that he and Tregarthen do because that is the only way that the legal status of cats is ever going to be upgraded. It additionally is always important to remember that in his Devil's Dictionary Ambrose Bierce famously defined a non-combatant as a "dead Quaker." C'est-à-dire, turning the other cheek never has worked and never will, at least not in a world so chock-full of killers and other assorted low-life and scumbags.

Photos: BBC (Farah), Daily Mail (Tregarthen and reward poster), The Telegraph and the North News of Newcastle-upon-Tyne (Rosie), the Bath Chronicle (Roxy and Fallows), the Australian Broadcasting Company (Smokey), Katy Kuehner of The Tampa Tribune (Lovey), Hillsborough County Animal Services (kitty penitentiary), and Kevin Kimes (Pumkin).

Monday, March 23, 2015

Old, Sickly, and on the Street, George Accidentally Wanders into a Pet Store and That, in All Likelihood, Saved His Life

Long-Suffering George

"It was quite a shock to see how skinny George was when he first arrived here. His teeth were also in a terrible state which would have meant eating was difficult and very painful for him."
-- Deana Perrin of Margaret Green Animal Rescue

There arguably is not anything sadder in this world than the deplorable plight of elderly cats. Often sickly and with their physical and mental powers on the decline, they routinely are abandoned by owners who most assuredly realize that they are ill-equipped at their advanced years to secure sustenance, shelter, and veterinary care for themselves.

In addition to those deprivations, the psychological loneliness and fears that accompany such a rude uprooting so late in life are surely even more difficult for them to manage. Likewise, their odds of receiving anything other than either abject neglect or jabs of sodium pentobarbital from a callous and uncaring public are almost nil.

That pretty much sums up the dire straits that an estimated eleven and one-half year old handsome orange-colored tom named George found himself in last September. His already desperate situation was further complicated by the fact that his teeth had all but rotted out of his mouth.

The unbearable pain occasioned by his dental woes had made eating such an ordeal that he had withered away to being little more than a bag of bones. In all probability he would not have lasted much longer on his own if he had not had the good fortune to unwittingly stumble into one of Pets at Home's retail outlets in Liskeard, Cornwall.

After offering him some food, employees of England's largest pet store chain contacted Margaret Green's Wingletang Rescue and Rehoming Centre for Dogs and Cats in Tavistock, Devon, which promptly came and collected him. "It was quite a shock to see how skinny George was when he first arrived here," the charity's Deana Perrin told The Plymouth Herald on September 30th. (See "Abandoned Cat Heads to Pets at Home to Find Help.") "His teeth were also in a terrible state which would have meant eating was difficult and very painful for him."

Almost nothing is known about either George's past or how long that he had been sleeping rough. Based upon his friendly demeanor and enjoyment in cuddling, he obviously at one time had had a loving home.

That observation also is buttressed by the telltale imprints left on his fur. "It was obvious that George had been in a home at some point as he had a mark around his neck where a collar had been," Perrin added to The Plymouth Herald. "At some point his collar must have been excruciatingly tight as the skin around his neck is completely bald."

In that regard George is extremely fortunate that he was able to have gotten free of it before it choked the life out of him. (See Cat Defender posts of May 28, 2008 and June 22, 2010 entitled, respectively, "Collars Turn into Death Traps for Trooper and Que but Both Are Rescued at the Eleventh Hour" and "Hobson Is Forced to Wander Around Yorkshire for Months Trapped in an Elastic Collar That Steadily Was Eating Away at His Shoulder and Leg.")

At Margaret Green's, George's teeth were extracted and he was placed on a diet of soft food. That expedient worked miracles in that he immediately began to put on weight and for the first time in a long while he found himself free of pain.

Anyone who ever has suffered from prolonged dental pain, especially that associated with either a wisdom tooth or an aggravated nerve, can readily identify with what life must have been like for him without having access to analgesics. Unfortunately, the fur on his neck has yet to grow back and it is unclear if that is going to create problems, such as infections and sun damage, for him.

Although photographs of him have appeared in the local press, his previous owner has not come forward to reclaim him. That in turn can only mean that the individual either is dead, living elsewhere, or does not want him back.

Although Margaret Green initially had high hopes of promptly placing him in a new home, those plans have yet to come to fruition. Since he is an elderly cat with special needs, the charity is looking to place him in a rural setting.

Since his arrival at the shelter he has become a big favorite of both staffers and volunteers alike and they accordingly are not in any hurry to push him out the door. Best of all, they insist that he is welcome to stay with them for how ever long it takes in order to find him a new home.

Anyone interested in adopting this wonderful and long-suffering cat can contact the charity by e-mail at wt@margaretgreenanimalrescue.org.uk. It also can be reached by telephone at 44-01822 810215.

Margaret Green most likely would prefer to place him with a family somewhere in either Devon or Dorset because doing so would spare him the ordeal of having to undergo a long and grueling trip by either plane or car. If a nearby home does not eventually become available, however, the charity could be forced into looking farther afield.

Regardless of where he finally ends up, George is destined to make a fabulous addition to someone's home. Old cats not only have value, they simply are the best and every moment spent in their company is to treasured!

George Is a Big Favorite of Staffers

"Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakened," Anatole France once observed and there is not any better way of beginning that process than by opening up one's heart and home to an elderly cat. Whether he lives eleven more days or another eleven years, whoever gets custody of George will soon realize that they are truly the lucky ones for being able to share his life.

Whereas being abandoned during the twilight of life is bad enough in its own right, many cats that wind up in that terrible predicament are ill-suited to make it on their own because of, ironically, the naked abuse and mutilations that they have suffered as the result of their domestication.

For example, those that have been cruelly declawed are no longer able to procure food, defend themselves, and even to climb. (See Cat Defender post of November 29, 2010 entitled "Harrison's Turbulent Years Spent on the Street Are Yet Another Reason Why Declawing Is Not Only Cruel and Inhumane but Dangerous as Well.")

Others have grown obese as the result of having been sterilized and subjected to a sedentary, indoor lifestyle. Others suffer from diabetes and urinary tract problems as the result of having been fed a steady diet of cheap kibble and other unhealthy foods.

Still others are afflicted with thyroid problems and cancer as the result of their constant exposure to PBDEs, secondhand cigarette smoke, and other toxins. (See Cat Defender posts of August 22, 2007 and October 19, 2007 entitled, respectively, "Indoor Cats Are Dying from Diabetes, Hyperthyroidism, and Various Toxins in the Home" and "Smokers Are Killing Their Cats, Dogs, Birds, and Infants by Continuing to Light Up in Their Presence.")

Even more lethal than conventional collars, implanted microchips are another cause for concern in that they have been known to cause cancer. (See Cat Defender posts of September 21, 2007 and November 6, 2010 entitled, respectively, "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.")

Perhaps worst of all, some of these elderly cats who abruptly wake up one day and find themselves homeless have absolutely no knowledge of the outside world in order to fall back upon because they have been cruelly confined indoors for all of their lives. (See Cat Defender post of February 2, 2015 entitled "Cruelly Denatured and Locked Up Indoors for All of His Life, Nicky Is Suddenly Trust into the Bitter Cold and Snow for Twenty-One Consecutive Days with Predictably Tragic Results.")

In spite of the myriad of difficulties that they face, they are the lucky ones in that they at least have a chance, no matter how slim, of staying alive. The same most definitely cannot be said for those that are deliberately killed off by the collusion of their owners and unscrupulous veterinarians.

Perhaps cruelest of all, these cats never even know what it was that hit them and as the result go to their early graves ignorant to their last breaths of the perfidy that lurked in the owners' malignant hearts. Used, abused, liquidated, and then casually tossed into the trash like yesterday's newspapers is their lot in life.

Of all the animals only man is capable of such deceit, treachery and, above all, ingratitude. He likewise is so craven and dishonest that he concocts outrageous lies, such as either not wanting to see a cat suffer or the old familiar better off dead argument, in order to excuse his heinous crimes.

The disturbing truth of the matter is that the lives of just about all elderly and sick cats could be indefinitely prolonged if only their owners were willing to pony up for their veterinary care and to attend to their health and age-related needs. (See Cat Defender post of October 18, 2014 entitled "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.")

The mere fact that so many veterinarians are willing to instantaneously transform their houses of healing into slaughterhouses for the sake of a few pieces of silver is a staggering indictment of both them and their profession. (See Cat Defender post of December 22, 2011 entitled "Rogue TNR Practitioner and Three Unscrupulous Veterinarians Kill at Least Sixty-Two Cats with the Complicity of the Mayor's Alliance for NYC's Animals.")

Since practitioners, unlike some shelters, are not compelled by law to disclose their kill rates, it is anybody's guess as to just how many cats meet their Waterloos in this fashion each year. It does not take much intuition to realize however that the death toll surely must be exorbitantly high.

Regardless of whether owners simply abandon their elderly cats to fend for themselves or pay to have them whacked, their treatment of them can only be described as unjust, cruel, and heartless. The proper care of a cat begins with respecting its inalienable right to live out its brief existence to the very last second and then and only then to die a natural death. Included in that is the right to be free from all abuse and exploitation as well as to be provided with shelter, food, and properly understood veterinary care.

Whereas the machinations of the species' sworn enemies, such as ornithologists and wildlife biologists, are legendary, duplicitous owners, moneygrubbing veterinarians, bloodthirsty shelters, and phony-baloney rescue groups actually inflict far greater suffering and carnage on cats. "I have no trouble with my enemies. I can take care of my enemies in a fight," former president Warren G. Harding once proclaimed. "But my damn friends, my goddamned friends, they're the ones who keep me walking the floor at night."

In a way it is just too bad that cats lack the prerequisite guile in order to anticipate the evil deeds that their owners and others have in store for them. Since that obviously is not the case, it is precisely their innocence that makes it all the more compelling that their rights be respected and protected.

Photos: The Plymouth Herald.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Ace Is Found Frozen to a Porch with His Eyes Gouged Out but the Authorities Are Too Lazy, Cheap, and Ailurophobic to Go After His Assailant

Ace Following Surgery to Remove His Eyes

"I will never know the color of his irises, yet I will never forget the horror I felt looking at his ruptured globes. Not a day goes by without leaving me emotionally exhausted but still totally amazed by the beauty of his soul. He is a survivor and an inspiration and every day I fall in love with him a little more."
-- veterinarian Tina Roggenbeck

Wealthy young man about town Lamont Cranston, old-time radio's The Shadow, claimed to possess the power to fathom the "evil that lurks in the hearts of men" but most mere mortals, no matter how old, jaded, and cynical they may be, are almost helpless when it comes to anticipating the simply outrageous and diabolical abuse that some cat haters are capable of inflicting upon the species. That disturbing reality was driven home in shocking fashion once again back on January 9th when an eighteen-month-old homeless black cat was found frozen to the steps of a porch on Hidden Road in Bangor, Michigan.

Considering that the overnight temperature at the nearest reporting station in Bloomingdale, twenty-two kilometers to the north, was a bone-chilling -5.1° Fahrenheit, it was a miracle that he was still alive when his plight was discovered by Amanda Breasbois-Schulz and her husband. When she bent down in order to examine him, she instantly recognized him as being a neutered tom named Ace from a TNR colony that she had been caring for the past eight months.

She also discovered to her horror that he was suffering from something far more serious than a bad case of hypothermia and frostbite. "When we picked him up...we noticed his eye was completely blown out," she told The Bay City Times on January 16th. (See "Cat Found Blinded and Frozen to Porch in Bay County Has Eyes Removed, Vet Says It's a Case of Abuse.")

Actually, she had significantly understated the case in that both of Ace's eyes had been deliberately gouged out with a foreign object by some unknown cat-hating monster. After several unsuccessful attempts to procure emergency veterinary treatment for him, Breasbois-Schulz finally was able to prevail upon Angels Among Us to treat him for gratis at its Veterinary Health Center (VHC) in Saginaw, thirty-two kilometers to the south.

Ace arrived at VHC at 2 p.m. and veterinarian Katherine "Tina" Roggenbeck wasted no time in surgically removing what was left of both of his eyes during a forty-five minute operation. Neither she nor anyone else has been willing to publicly speculate if that expedient was really necessary.

For instance, it might have been possible to have cleansed and medicated both eyes as a prelude to later surgically repairing them. At least that way it might have been feasible to have restored at least some of his vision.

Based upon the massive damage done to his eyes, however, there can be no doubt that Ace's assailant fully intended to blind him permanently. "Bilateral ruptured globes, ocular and nasal hemorrhage, right cornea perforated, left cornea lacerated medial to lateral, swelling and bruising to the entire periocular-ocular and nasal area, one three to four millimeter laceration over the left maxilla, left nictitans (third eyelid) torn," is how Roggenbeck summed up the catalog of injuries that she found after examining him in e-mail letters sent on January 12th to Bay County Animal Control (BCAC), the Humane Society of Bay County (HSBC), and the Bay County Board of Commissioners.

After conferring with both an ophthalmologist and a radiographer, she concluded that the horrific damage done to Ace's eyes could not have been inflicted by a motorist. "In my professional opinion, this cat's injuries were deliberate, brutal and an act of heinous cruelty," she continued.

She went on to explain that "being hit by a car will not rupture both eyes simultaneously since eye position in the orbit of cats do not face forward (they are both lateralized) and the nose acts as a protective barrier. (Being) hit by a car trauma would have to be so fulminant to rupture both eyes that fracture of the nasal bones, maxillary contribution to the orbital rim, and zygomatic arch (cheek bone) would have to occur."

The Horrific Damage Done to Ace's Eyes

In arriving at that conclusion she erred only when she postulated that cars maim and kill cats. Actually, it is motorists, not their high-powered jalopies, that are responsible for such despicable crimes which invariably are committed for pleasure and with impunity.

She furthermore categorically ruled out the possibility of Ace having been attacked by either a dog, raccoon, or some other animal. "...the skin laceration over the left maxilla is lower than the orbital rim," she continued in her epistle to the high-muck-a-mucks. "In animal on animal attacks, visible signs would include opposing canine punctures, bite wounds, hemorrhage, bruising, et cetera."

As far as it has been revealed, the only damage inflicted on Ace was to his eyes. In particular, no puncture wounds, teeth marks, scrapes, or excoriations of any kind were found on his body. Plus, all of his teeth and claws were intact.

"In my entire career, I have never witnessed a more vicious attack on an animal," Roggenbeck declared. "...this cat's injuries were the result of the unthinkable...the deliberate act of a human."

Overshadowed by all the attention that has been focused on what was done to Ace's eyes has been the issue of his exposure to the elements and on that vitally important matter Roggenbeck has been inexplicably silent. Specifically, no mention has been made of him sustaining frostbite to his paws as was the case with another black cat named Flick who was found a few days later on January 14th with his front paws frozen to a porch in Redford, one-hundred-eighty-seven kilometers to the west of Bangor. (See Cat Defender post of February 23, 2015 entitled "Abandoned to Tough It Out by His Lonesome in the Deadly Michigan Cold and Snow, Flick Sustains Horrific Injuries to His Front Paws When They Become Frozen to a Porch.")

Hopefully, Roggenbeck's reticence to discuss that issue is meant to be taken as an indication that Ace did not sustain any permanent injuries as the result of his exposure to the cold. Although it is by no means clear, the assumption is that he was mutilated sometime on January 8th and then dumped on Breasbois-Schulz's porch either later that night or early the following morning. In hindsight, it seems beyond dispute that his assailant was relying upon the Arctic cold in order to exacerbate, if not indeed finish, the job that began with Ace's intentional blinding.

Ace remained in Roggenbeck's care at VHC until February 3rd when fluid unexpectedly began to seep from his now vacant right eye socket. That in turn necessitated in him having to be rushed to the Animal Ophthalmology Center (AOC) in Williamston, one-hundred-five kilometers south of Saginaw, where specialist David T. Ramsey found and removed two cysts. An unspecified amount of abnormal pigmented tissue also was found but it is not known if it too was excised.

In spite of that scary setback, Roggenbeck insisted at the time that Ace was doing fine. "We got back here Tuesday night (February 3rd) and he is doing absolutely fabulous," she told The Bay City Times on February 6th. (See "Ace the Blinded Bay County Cat Has Home Lined Up as Investigation Continues.") "He is absolutely the most incredible, fantastic cat I have ever met in my life."

Without eyes, returning him to the TNR colony managed by Breasbois-Schulz was now totally out of the question. Although Roggenbeck temporarily entertained the notion of adding him to the twenty-three felines, four Alsatians, and pair of horses that reside with her and her husband in Bridgeport, eleven kilometers to the south of Saginaw, she ultimately decided to put him up for adoption.


David T. Ramsey Removes Cysts from Ace's Right Eye Socket

On February 13th, he finally left her surgery in order to go and live with a woman identified only as Tina. He did not go alone, however, in that Tina graciously agreed to also adopt a brown, gray, and white cat named Jack from Breasbois-Schulz's colony. The pair of newcomers have now joined Little Bear, Pumpkin, and Bailey at her residence somewhere in either Saginaw or the surrounding community.

"I have never heard a cat purr as loudly as this guy. He loves meeting people. He's a wonderful little guy," Roggenbeck exclaimed to The Bay City Times in the February 6th article cited supra. "Wherever he goes, he's going to flourish. To see that he has been able to forgive, it's amazing to me."

According to periodical updates posted on his Facebook page, Ace's Odyssey, he initially appeared to be doing exactly that. His weight increased considerably from the 7.8 pounds that he weighed at the time of his rescue and he seemed to be getting on famously not only with Tina but his four playmates as well.

Sadly, it was reported March 11th on Ace's Odyssey that cysts had been found in his left eye socket so it looks like he will be making a return trip to AOC in order to have them removed. Without being a feline ophthalmologist it is impossible to speculate as to either what has caused the cysts to develop or if they are destined to be a recurring problem for him. The good news is that apparently no new ones have formed in his right eye socket.

Other than that his prognosis, while still guarded, appears to be encouraging. After a protective Elizabethan collar was removed, his nails were trimmed on February 5th in order to deter him from unintentionally damaging his surgically repaired eye sockets.

That preventative measure did absolutely nothing, however, in order to protect him from the potential damage that his playmates might inadvertently inflict upon him. Since he is unable to anticipate and thus dodge their blows, it perhaps would have been better if he had been adopted into a home where he was the only cat.

Roggenbeck sans doute considered that option but ultimately rejected it. Aside from his need for companionship, his fellow felines hopefully will assist him in learning his way around Tina's house. Sadly, that is destined to constitute the extent of his entire world in that it would be foolish to allow him outdoors unless he is either on a leash or kept inside an enclosed area.

His other senses also should become more acute over time and that will help him to compensate somewhat for the loss of his eyesight. Once his whiskers, which were inexplicably removed by either his assailant, Roggenbeck, or Ramsey, grow back he accordingly will be able to significantly better gauge the distance between objects and passageways.

According to Alana Miller who for the past decade has cared for around ninety cats at the Blind Cat Rescue and Sanctuary in St. Pauls, North Carolina, a sightless cat can do almost anything that a sighted one can and that includes climbing trees and cabinets. The one accommodation that she does recommend making, however, is that rooms within a house be outfitted with different types of flooring (carpeting, tile, et cetera) so as to assist a cat in orienting itself should it be either bandied about or temporarily lose its bearings.

Ace Is Comforted by Maddie and Lynn

Up until she came along the care of blind cats was pretty much limited to isolated acts of compassion on the part of veterinarians, rescue groups, and private individuals. (See Cat Defender posts of September 27, 2007, February 23, 2007, and August 25, 2005 entitled, respectively, "Abandoned to Die in a World of Darkness and Without Even Teeth, Maxwell Is Saved by the Compassion of a Rescue Group and a Veterinarian," "Born Without Eyes and Later Abandoned, Humble Kitten Appropriately Named Angel Has Hope for a Brighter Tomorrow," and "Winky Sam, a Cat with Only One Eye and Steadily Going Blind, Finally Finds a Home in Port St. Lucie.")

Although late is certainly better than never, it is still a shame that it took so terribly long for someone to  finally realize that blind cats are worth saving and that their lives have value. "Back when we started our shelter, there was just no place for them. If you were unadoptable, you were just dead," Miller  told Care2.com on November 30, 2012. (See "Blind Cat Sanctuary Offers Cage-Free Oasis.") "Somebody has to say 'enough.' Once a cat arrives here, they're done. No more being bounced around."

Fortunately for Ace, he now has a home but his assailant is still at large and thus free to prey upon other cats. Although cats, unlike humans, do not carry grudges, he most definitely never will forget the face of the devil who blinded him.

"It's amazing to us that he has any trust left at all," Roggenbeck marveled to The Bay City Times in the January 16th article cited supra. "His last vision would have been (of) whoever did this to him."

Although she has offered at $500 reward for information leading to the arrest of his assailant, she surely must have known well beforehand that such an act of beau geste was destined to be a total waste of time in that cat abusers and killers are almost never even investigated, let alone arrested, prosecuted, and punished. Ill-equipped to conduct such an investigation herself, she in all likelihood fell back upon that expedient in utter desperation.

A far better option would have been to put that money to work by retaining the services of a private dick to look into the matter. Pet detectives who locate lost animals already exist and there is not any obvious reason why a new breed of Philip Marlowes and Sam Spades could not be employed to apprehend cat abusers.

Her decision to call upon the assistance of BCAC also demonstrated extremely poor judgment in that the agency devoted, at the most, only a few hours of its time investigating the matter. "We sent two Animal Control officers to canvass the neighborhood in hopes someone witnessed or knew by word of mouth who the perpetrator might be. However, that was unsuccessful," its director Mike Halstead told The Bay City Times in the second of two articles dated January 16th. (See "Investigators Hopeful Reward Money May Generate Leads in Bay County Cat-Blinding Case.") "(January 15th), I contacted Jill Fritz and we're going to be forwarding everything we have to her at this point, in the hopes that the Humane Society (of the United States) will see fit to offer a reward for the perpetrator of this action. We're hoping if a person's moral turpitude doesn't dictate that they tell us what they know in our canvass, perhaps the financial incentive will."

Even after so quickly washing his hands of the entire matter, Halstead had the unmitigated gall to declare his steadfastness. "We're staying on top of it and hopefully we'll turn something up," he gassed to The Bay City Times, presumably with a straight face.

As Roggenbeck should have had the bon sens to realize, the number one rule when it comes to protecting and defending cats is to always steer clear of known cat killers and abusers and that admonition applies in spades to a rotten bum like Halstead. For example on May 26, 2010, he ordered the murder of a six-week-old kitten that not only had a home waiting for it in Washington State but individuals from such far-flung climes as California, Iowa, and Sweden also had expressed an interest in adopting it.

At that time he attempted to chalk up the confusion surrounding the kitten's status to the general hustle and bustle that accompanies operating a shelter. The employee "probably just did it (announce that the kitten was up for adoption) because we're always busy," he declared. "It was the wrong thing to do. We operate an aboveboard operation here."

Ace Is Visited by a Couple at Roggenbeck's Surgery

By that he meant that under Michigan law BCAC is allowed to kill after five days all animals that arrive at its shelter without collars. He also relied upon the fact that the kitten was suffering from a preeminently treatable common cold as another reason for snuffing out its life. More than likely it was healthy when it arrived and only became sick as the result of being exposed to the unsanitary conditions, overcrowding, and stress that are endemic to such hellhole institutions.

He also dishonestly attempted to excuse his own heinous crime by fobbing off blame on both the fecundity of cats as well as the failure of their owners to pay the sky-high sterilization fees that veterinarians demand. "If you start with a pair of cats, by the time they're done they will have accounted for thousands because of their litter and their litter's litter and so on," he pontificated. "It's a travesty that people let that happen, and we just can't warehouse them. It's unfortunate but that's what happens when people behave irresponsibly and therein lies the problem."

Au contraire, the problem lies with mass murderers like Halstead and BCAC who are permitted year after year to line their pockets by slaughtering en masse cats and dogs. First of all, cats, dogs, and other animals do not belong in jail under any circumstances. They have not committed any crimes, unless breathing is now considered to be a capital offense, and none of them ever receive anything even remotely resembling a due process hearing.

Secondly, although Americans themselves are notoriously stingy, the country itself is not poor and there certainly is more than enough money available to not only sterilize all homeless cats but to place them in either loving homes, managed TNR colonies, or sanctuaries. What needs to be done is to get the money out of the pockets of the exterminators and into the hands of those individuals and groups who have an abiding respect for the sanctity of feline life.

The only operation that Halstead and BCAC are interested in running, however, is a death house. For instance, during the first quarter of 2010 the agency killed all but eleven of the three-hundred-sixty-four cats that it impounded and that equates to a kill rate of ninety-seven per cent. The only known shelter with a higher kill rate is the one in Norfolk, Virginia, that is run by PETA.

BCAC also is guilty of discriminating against cats in that during the same period it secured homes for one-hundred-sixty-five of the three-hundred-twenty-one dogs that it took in and that works out to a kill rate of 48.6 per cent. (See Cat Defender post of June 15, 2010 entitled "Bay City Shelter Murders a Six-Week-Old Kitten with a Common Cold Despite Several Individuals Having Offered to Give It a Permanent Home.")

Halstead's appalling lack of respect for the sanctity of feline life coupled with his total unwillingness to secure homes for impounded cats and to investigate cases of animal cruelty is not all that surprising in that he is a retired Bay City fireman without any prior experience in operating a shelter. It therefore is pretty much a sure bet that he is a multiple dipper at the public trough who only secured his current sinecure through his links to the political establishment in Bay City.

Although there are a few professional and dedicated Animal Control officers, bums like Halstead constitute the norm. For example, when Barry Accorti retired from the North Ridgeville Police Department in 2012 after thirty-one years on the public's dime he was given the job of being the Ohio town's Animal Control officer so that he, like Halstead, could pocket another handout from the taxpayers in addition to his lavish pension.

Totally unqualified to even clean toilets, let alone to be entrusted with the care and welfare of animals, it did not take him long before he shot to death a quintuplet of eight- to ten-week-old kittens on June 10, 2013. (See The Plain Dealer of Cleveland, June 11, 2013, "North Ridgeville Clears Humane Officer of Wrongdoing for Killing Feral Kittens, but Animal Groups Want Action.")

Ace and Jack with Their New Mom, Tina

He then followed up that dastardly deed by shooting to death a baby raccoon on June 9, 2014. (See The Chronicle-Telegram of Elyria, June 10, 2014, "Parent Alleges Officer Killed Raccoon in Front of Kids.")

As utterly revolting as conditions are in both Bay City and North Ridgeville, they cannot hold a candle to what occurred in August of 2006 at the Old Webster Road shelter in Oxford, Massachusetts. That was when forty-one-year-old Animal Control officer Michelle A. Mulverhill deserted her post and went on a bender.

Even more astounding, oversight was so lax that her dereliction of duty was not even noticed until sixteen days later! (See Cat Defender post of August 31, 2006 entitled “Animal Control Officer Goes on a Drunken Binge and Leaves Four Cats and a Dog to Die of Thirst, Hunger, and Heat at a Massachusetts Shelter.”)

Although Roggenbeck did receive a prompt e-mail response from Halstead’s boss, Bay County Executive Thomas L. Hickner, that was all that she was able to get out of him, that is unless crocodile tears and outlandish lies count for anything. “Please be assured we share your outrage at the violence which resulted in the cruelty toward this animal,” he stated according to the second of two Bay City Times’ articles dated January 16th. “Since learning yesterday of the incident, staff of Bay County Animal Control have been conducting a thorough investigation into the matter to attempt to obtain the identity of the perpetrator and circumstances surrounding the act so we may refer the matter to the Bay County prosecutor."

C’est-à-dire, he has Halstead’s back and Halstead has his. Their intransigence on this and other animal welfare issues also means that no cat is safe anywhere in Bay County.

Even though back in 2010 it was precisely Jeannie Wolicki-Nichols of the BCHS who had lined up the home in Washington State for the kitten that Halstead subsequently killed, this time around she lavished all of her concern, not on Ace, but rather his attacker. “Animal abuse is a dress rehearsal for the future and we need to take this very seriously,” she cautioned in the second Bay City Times’ article dated January 16th. “I certainly hope whoever knows about this situation comes forward so the person who could do such a horrendous act can get the help he needs.”

Evidently the moral decay and general all-around rot that so characterizes the thinking and behavior of Halstead and Hickner now has spread to Wolicki-Nichols as well because help is the absolute last thing that Ace’s attacker needs; on the contrary, what he needs and deserves is to be apprehended, prosecuted and convicted, and then placed behind bars for the remainder of his miserable existence. Even more fittingly, his eyes should be gouged out and all of society should shun him so as to leave him with no alternative other than to aimlessly wander the earth much like Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex.

As utterly inexcusable as were the responses from BCAC, BCHS, and Hickner, it took the entry of the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) into the fray in order to reveal the true burlesque nature of the proceedings. “If there is an arrest and conviction, we would pay out the reward to the people who sent in the tips,” the organization’s top dog in the Wolverine State, Jill Fritz, told The Bay City Times in the first article dated January 16th.

Even that offer of $5,000 came with enough caveats so as to make it all but meaningless. Specifically, Fritz added that even before the moola would be put up an investigating agency would need to determine that Ace’s wounds were indeed the result of cruelty and to request the assistance of the HSUS. “It’s up to law enforcement to determine it was allegedly done deliberately and we’re glad to help if they need help in apprehending a suspect,” she made clear.

  Forever Six Weeks Old, the Bay City Kitten

As far as it is known, the Bangor Police Department (BPD) is not involved in the investigation in any shape, form, or fashion and considering the intransigence of the BCAC, BCHS, and Hickner, the HSUS has little or no need to fear that it ever will be forced to part with so much as a lousy penny from its bulging hoard of greenbacks. After all, it has been widely reported on the web that the organization spends less than one per cent of its annual operating budget of $125 million on the care of animals in need; the remainder either goes into the pockets of its employees or is used in order to raise additional funds.

Beyond its utterly revolting niggardliness, the HSUS is about as far removed from a legitimate animal protection agency as one can get without first doing a half gainer into the sack with those miserable, rotten cat stealers and killers at PETA. First of all, it certainly is not a fan of cats and that was vividly demonstrated by its simply disgraceful sellout of those living on San Nicolas to the United States Fish and Wildlife Service. (See Cat Defender posts of June 27, 2008, July 10, 2008, April 28, 2009, November 20, 2009, and February 24, 2012 entitled, respectively, “United States Fish and Wildlife Service and the Navy Hatch a Diabolical Plan to Gun Down Two-Hundred Cats on San Nicolas Island,” “The Ventura Star Races to the Defense of the Cat Killers on San Nicolas Island,” “Quislings at the Humane Society Sell Out San Nicolas’s Cats to the Assassins at the Diabolical United States Fish and Wildlife Society,” “Memo to the Humane Society: Tell the World Exactly How many Cats You and Your Honeys at the USFWS Have Murdered on San Nicolas Island,” and “United States Fish and Wildlife Service and the Humane Society Hoist a Glass in Celebration of Their Extermination of the Cats on San Nicolas Island.”)

Secondly, it has joined forces with such sworn enemies of the species as the American Bird Conservancy and The New York Times. (See Cat Defender post of June 15, 2009 entitled “American Bird Conservancy, The New York Times, and the Humane Society Unite to Form an Achse des Bösen Against Cats.”)

Thirdly, in an article penned for the Huffington Post on February 15, 2013, no-kill advocate Nathan J. Winograd disclosed that the HSUS gave its highest award to a shelter in Davidson County, North Carolina, that has a long and checkered history of illegally gassing cats and dogs. (See “Who Is Really Standing for Animals?”) Even more outrageously, the organization labeled that mass extermination camp as “a shelter we love.”

Likewise in Texas, Winograd reported that the HSUS helped to defeat a bill that would have put an end to the gassing of shelter animals. Clearly, the HSUS has absolutely no business pretending to speak up for cats and other animals.

With BCAC, BCHS, Hickner, the HSUS, and the BPD sitting on their fat cracks and exercising only their forked tongues, it is anything but surprising that Ace’s assailant remains at large more than two months after the attack. Absolutely nothing meaningful appears to have been done in order to bring him to justice and by now the crime has been all but forgotten by those charged with enforcing the minimalist standards of the anti-cruelty statutes in Michigan.

At the very minimum, either Roggenbeck or someone from the BPD should have collected scrapings from underneath his claws and combed his fur, particularly the area around his eyes, for forensic evidence. Secondly, Breasbois-Schulz’s porch, yard, and driveway should have been examined for foot and tire prints and molds made of any that were found.

Thirdly, either the BPD or BCAC should have made, not one, but a long series of persistent, intermittent door-to-door canvasses of the neighborhood. That in itself might have rattled enough heads in order to have forced someone into coming forward.

The only way that cases of animal cruelty ever will be solved is when law enforcement personnel apply the same tactics, procedures, and amounts of resources to them that they now devote exclusively to acts of violence that are committed against persons and property. Outbursts of self-righteous moral indignation, a false reliance upon hope, insincere offers of reward money, and appeals to the public are not only disingenuous but largely a complete waste of time as well. (See Cat Defender post of January 6, 2010 entitled “Large Reward Fails to Lead to the Capture of the Archer Who Shot an Arrow Through Brownie’s Head.”)

Big Bob Lost a Leg to an Attacker but Survived

Surprisingly, there has been absolutely zero speculation in either the press or on Ace’s Odyssey as to who committed this heinous act. The general tenor of the public debate, however, tends to suggest that the authorities have chalked up the attack to just another randomized act of violence perpetrated upon a defenseless cat by, most likely, either a juvenile delinquent or an adult sociopath.

The circumstances surrounding Ace’s blinding, however, tend to point to the exact opposite conclusion. In that regard the most compelling motive is that he was savaged as a way of getting back at Breasbois-Schulz for her championing of the cause of homeless cats.

Although it has not been publicly disclosed how close her house is located to the TNR colony that she manages, it nonetheless would appear that Ace was intentionally blinded and then either carried or driven to her residence and dumped. That reasoning is based upon the twin facts that presumably he did not know where she lived and, even if he did, he would not have been able to have found his way there after he had been robbed of his vision.

It also would be illuminating to know if other members of her colony either have been attacked or mysteriously disappeared without so much as a trace. Damage done to the cats' shelters, overturned food and water dishes, and verbal abuse and threats directed at Breasbois-Schulz are clues that should not be ignored.

One of the major Achilles' heels of TNR colonies is the total lack of security that they afford their members and that in turn leaves them vulnerable to all sorts of attacks from cat haters. For example in early December of 2010, a four-year-old Russian Blue named Big Bob who belonged to a colony located on the northside of Indianapolis that was managed by IndyFeral not only was shot in the thigh by an assailant armed with a gun but he also was run down by a hit-and-run motorist and left for dead.

Although he ended up losing one of his rear legs, he did manage to survive thanks to the prompt veterinary care that he received from the Humane Society of Indianapolis. (See Cat Defender post of January 5, 2011 entitled "Gunned Down by an Assassin and Then Mowed Down by a Hit-and-Run Driver, Big Bob Loses a Leg but Survives and Now Is Looking for a Home.")

It is not merely the cats themselves but often their caretakers as well that sometimes come under violent attacks. That is the cruel and utterly lawless fate that has befallen kindhearted Irene Borecky who cares for a colony of fourteen cats at a co-op on Garnet Janes Road in the Etobicoke section of western Toronto.

In particular, cat-hating fiends at the complex routinely curse her, train their garden hoses on her, and come after her with baseball bats. "These people are hostile towards the cats and anyone who helps them," she disclosed to the Toronto Star on October 20th of last year. (See "Helping Feral Cats Shouldn't Be a Risky Business.")

The hooligans even went so far as to curse and threaten to steal the camera of Jack Lakey of the Toronto Star when he accompanied her on one of her trips to the housing complex in order to feed the cats. As a working member of the capitalist media who consistently has defended homeless cats, especially the Bluffers Park TNR colony in Toronto's Scarborough District, Lakey is the rarest of journalists and his willingness to put his life on the line for those in Etobicoke is another shining example of his steadfastness of their behalf. (See Cat Defender post of September 15, 2011 entitled "Ravenous Coyotes, Cat-Haters, and Old Man Winter All Want Her Dead, Buried, and Gone but Brave Little Half Mask Is Defying All the Odds.")

A Trio of the Homeless Cats That Are Under Siege in Etobicoke

The cats themselves have been treated even worse in that the residents not only train their garden hoses but their dogs on them as well. At last report, Borecky was racing against the clock in order to trap and relocate them before the residents make good on their threat to trap and deliver them over to the knackers at Animal Services to exterminate.

One-hundred-sixty-two kilometers to the west of Toronto on a quiet cul-de-sac in London, Greg and Barb Horne have drawn the ire of their neighbors not only due to their feeding of homeless cats but also because doing so is allegedly attracting coyotes to the neighborhood. (See the Toronto Sun, January 20, 2015, "Neighbors Concerned after Coyote Shows Up to Couple's Regular Feral Cat Feeding.")

Wildlife biologists, especially those affiliated with the United States government, also are vehemently opposed to the existence of TNR colonies but they usually do not engage in mutilations; rather, they content themselves with either expelling or simply killing the cats. (See Cat Defender posts of August 7, 2014 and April 17, 2010 entitled, respectively, "The National Park Service Racks Up a Major Victory by Expelling the Plum Beach Cats but It Is Thwarted in Its Burning Desire to Dance a Merry Little Jig on Their Graves" and "Lake Lanier's Cats Face an Uncertain Future Following Their Ouster by the Liars and Defamers at the United States Army Corps of Engineers.")

Gardeners are another devious pack of criminals who will stop at almost nothing in order to get rid of cats and one of the worst offenders in that regard, Mark Oberschmidt, resides in Saginaw. (See Cat Defender post of August 19, 2010 entitled "Music Lessons and Buggsey Are Murdered by a Cat-Hating Gardener and an Extermination Factory Posing as an Animal Shelter in Saginaw.")

By leaps and bounds, however, it is ornithologists who hate cats with the greatest passion. For example, the Smithsonian Institution's Nicole Dauphiné was caught red-handed back in 2011 attempting to poison a TNR colony in Washington. (See Cat Defender posts of July 12, 2011, November 18, 2011, and January 6, 2012 entitled, respectively, "The Arrest of Nico Dauphiné for Attempting to Poison a Colony of Homeless Cats Unmasks the National Zoo as a Hideout for Ailurophobes and Criminals," "Nico Dauphiné, Ph.D., Is Convicted of Attempting to Poison a Colony of Homeless Cats but Questions Remain Concerning the Smithsonian's Role," and "Nico Dauphiné Is Let Off with an Insultingly Lenient $100 Fine in a Show Trial That Was Fixed from the Very Beginning.")

There was absolutely nothing sneaky about the modus operandi employed by amateur ornithologist James Munn Stevenson of Galveston back in 2006 in that instead of using poison he merely trained his rifle on cats. (See Cat Defender posts of November 22, 2006, May 1, 2007, November 20, 2007, December 8, 2007, and August 7, 2008 entitled, respectively, "Evil Galveston Bird Lover Is Finally Arrested After Having Gunned Down Hundreds of Cats," "Houston Chronicle Launches a Propaganda Offensive on Behalf of Serial Cat Killer Jim Stevenson," "Bird Lovers All Over the World Rejoice as Serial Killer James M. Stevenson Is Rewarded by a Galveston Court for Gunning Down Hundreds of Cats," "All the Lies that Fit: Scheming New York Times Hires a Bird Lover to Render His 'Unbiased' Support of James M. Stevenson," and "Crime Pays! Having Made Fools Out of Galveston Prosecutors, Serial Cat Killer James Munn Stevenson Is Now a Hero and Laughing All the Way to the Bank.")

More recently in 2013, Ted Williams of the National Audubon Society even became so emboldened with his own self-importance, invincibility, runaway egotism, and patented criminality that he issued a clarion call for cats to be poisoned with Tylenol® and, even more outrageously, the Orlando Sentinel seconded that proposal by publishing it. (See Cat Defender post of May 11, 2013 entitled "Ted Williams and the National Audubon Society Issue a Call for Cats to Be Poisoned with Tylenol® and Then Try to Lie Out of It.")

The point of this extremely long digression is to demonstrate that what was done to Ace does not appear to have been a routine case of animal cruelty. His assailant wanted to not only injure him to to make him suffer for as long as he lives and that type of malice is most commonly exhibited by ornithologists.

For instance in December of 2010, seventy-four-year-old amateur ornithologist Ernst Bernhard K. from the Moosach section of München illegally trapped his neighbor's cat, Rocco. Instead of either killing him on the spot or fobbing him off on a shelter to do his dirty work for him, he instead subjected the caged tom to eleven consecutive days of bombardment with water and pepper spray before finally killing him. (See Cat Defender posts of January 19, 2011, August 8, 2011, and August 17, 2011 entitled, respectively, "Bird Lover in München Illegally Traps Rocco and Then Methodically Tortures Him with Water and Pepper Spray over an Eleven-Day Period," "Ernst K.'s Trial for Kidnapping, Torturing, and Murdering Rocco Nears Its Climax in a München Courtroom," and "Ernst K. Walks Away Smelling Like a Rose as Both the Prosecutor and Judge Turn His Trial for Killing Rocco into a Lovefest for a Sadistic Cat Killer.")

Marmalade

There is one vitally important difference however between what was done to Rocco and the heinous crime that was committed against Ace and that revolves around the methodology employed. "I can't imagine, and I don't want to know, how that (the blinding) was done," Roggenbeck declared to The Bay City Times in the first of two articles dated January 16th. "It's absolutely the most heinous thing I have seen in my career."

Unpleasant though it may be, that very well could be the key to solving this case. With Rocco, although he was caged he was still able to put up quite a spirited fight and that later was attested to by his worn-down claws.

In Ace's case, it appears that he was trapped and then placed in some type of restraining device that not only kept his head stationary but would not permit him to use either his front or rear claws. The only known such device that readily comes to mind is a stereotactic one that scum-of-the-earth vivisectors use in order to, inter alia, blind cats, sever their spinal cords, and to drill electrodes into their brains.

The localized damage done to his eyes coupled with the absence of a projectile would tend to rule out the possibility that his attacker used some type of a firearm. It also appears that merely trapping him would not in itself have facilitated the gouging out of his eyes because he still would have been able to twist and turn his body as well as to move his head.

Of course, it is always conceivable that the cretin who did this to him sedated him after he got his hands on him. Toxicology tests, had they been performed, would have detected the presence of barbiturates in his system.

His assailant therefore could have been an ornithologist, either an amateur or a professional, with access to the types of restraining devices that are used in animal research laboratories. Whether or not there is any validity to that theory, all known ornithologists and vivisectors with even so much as a remote connection to the area surrounding the TNR colony should be regarded as prime suspects. The same scrutiny also should be given to all TNR opponents, gardeners, and known cat haters.

All of them accordingly should be interviewed by the BPD and placed under surveillance. Should circumstances so merit, search warrants for their residences and offices should be procured and promptly executed.

If forensic evidence had been taken from Ace at Roggenbeck's surgery it then could have been matched up against any found at their homes and businesses and the police then would have been able to have made an arrest. Perhaps then there would be fewer cases of this kind. At the very least, it is high time that some of these monsters were exposed, caught, and severely punished.

Although it would not appear to be applicable in this case, another common methodology employed in order to facilitate the blinding of cats is to imprison them in cages as a prelude to systematically starving them to the point where they are too weak in order to offer any resistance. That appears to have been the means that a still at large assailant from Lytham St. Annes in Lancashire used back in 2012 in order to blind five cats.

Pickle

Two of them were found in a cardboard box on a road leading to the Easterleigh Animal Sanctuary (EAS) on August 24th by a member of the charity who was out walking a dog. Another pair was found later in the day wandering in nearby fields while the fifth cat was discovered the following day.

All of them had one eye that had been gouged out as well as numerous cuts in and around their eye sockets but that was far from being all that ailed them. Specifically, they were covered in fleas and emaciated to the point of being anemic.

Under those circumstances it is even doubtful that they would have been able to eat even if they had somehow been able to secure food because their teeth had rotted. If all of that were not bad enough, they were soaked to the bone from the rain.

They were taken to a local Vets4Pets surgery where Andrew Harrison confirmed the their rescuers' worst fears. "My gut feeling would be that torture had probably taken place," he told the Daily Mail on August 30, 2012. (See "'I've Seen Some Bad Things, but this Is One of the Worst': Hunt for Sick Sadist Who Gouged Out This Cat's Eye in Horrific Attack.") "Some had older damage while the damage to others was quite recent."

Inexcusably, he elected to immediately whack three of them. "We thought it fairer on them to put the others to sleep," he told the Daily Mail.

Mandy Leigh of EAS wholeheartedly concurred in that morally repugnant decision. "I'll give any animal a chance but the others were past anybody's help," she bellowed in apparent ignorance of the glaring contradictions in both logic and language contained in such a declaration. "One of the surviving cats will be blind and it is difficult to know if they will survive."

Harrison likewise did not hold out much hope for the survivors, Marmalade and Pickle. "All we can do now is feed them gradually, bathe them and give them as much treatment as we can and hope the remaining two survive," is how he summed up the glum prognosis for them.

Like the authorities in Bay County, the RSPCA failed to demonstrate any real interest in apprehending the cats' torturer. "Anyone who dumps a animal is breaking the law (but) to abandon them when they are in such terrible health makes this case even more callous," the organization's Alison Wilford snorted to the Daily Mail. "We are looking into this matter and want to hear from anyone who saw someone acting suspiciously in the area at the time when these cats were dumped or who recognizes Pickle and Marmalade and knows where they have come from."

Regrettably, it has not proven possible to determine whatever became of Marmalade and Pickle. Apparently, remaining at EAS was out of the question in that the charity quickly announced that they were going to be put up for adoption.

Ace and Tina Are Soldiering On Despite All the Setbacks

For her part, Leigh believes that the cats were dumped at the sanctuary, not by their attacker, but rather by someone who had rescued them and that same chain of events conceivably could have played out in Bangor. Since it usually is somewhat easier to solve crimes where there are more than one individual involved, that is an additional reason why the authorities in Bay County should have vigorously looked into the attack on Ace.

This case also refocuses attention on the pressing need for heightened security at all TNR colonies, but especially the one managed by Breasbois-Schulz. Such an undertaking must by necessity begin and end with the volunteers themselves because it is a foregone conclusion that neither the police nor humane groups can be counted upon to lift so much as a finger in order to safeguard the lives of homeless cats.

The volunteers need first of all to spend significantly more time with the cats that are under their protection. Secondly, the installation of surveillance cameras is an idea worth considering.

If at all feasible, it would be preferable if these colonies were relocated on private property that is under the control of the cats' caretakers. That way any trespassers, whether they be individuals intent upon doing the cats harm or simply nosey governmental officials, would be taxed with the onus of legally justifying their presence within the colonies.

Colonies located in cold climates also need to be furnished with heated shelters. If that is not feasible, an effort needs to be made to at least round up the cats and confine them inside some type of enclosure whenever the thermometer drops below 0° Fahrenheit.

All of that is unquestionably asking a lot of the volunteers but helping cats to persevere in an extremely hostile world never has been easy. Besides, the homeless cat protection movement has come too far to turn back now. The road ahead is going to be both difficult and terribly expensive but the volunteers need to remain steadfast and committed.

Roggenbeck certainly has done a herculean job of not only treating Ace but in standing by him throughout his several setbacks and for all of that she is richly deserving of all the credit in the world. Through her work at Angels Among Us and at the VHC, Saginaw now has something that it truly can be proud of aside from Lefty Frizzell's 1964 country chart-topper, "Saginaw, Michigan." (See The Bay City Times, August 11, 2014, "Saginaw Township's Dr. Tina Roggenbeck Among Twenty Finalists Vying for the Title of 'America's Favorite Veterinarian'.")

"Pictures can't begin to tell you what it (the blinding) did to our hearts and soul," she told The Bay City Times in the first article dated January 16th. While that sans doute is true, it is Ace who has suffered an even more egregious and lasting loss.

In the unlikely event that an eye transplant is in his future, he never will see another sunset, cat, or friendly human face and there simply is not any way of sugarcoating that terrible reality. He at least from all accounts seems to have been placed in a good home and that should make his life, while it never will be quite the same again, at least bearable. That in no way should be mistaken as just compensation for having been robbed of his eyesight but it is all that he has left and that certainly is far better than having been left with nothing at all.

In the final analysis, there simply is not any way of getting around either the sadness or the anger that this attack has unleashed. To her credit, however, Roggenbeck is making an impressive effort to do both.

"I will never know the color of his irises, yet I will never forget the horror I felt looking at his ruptured globes," she opined January 27th on Ace's Odyssey in a short article that succinctly encapsulated the melancholy, revulsion, exasperation, and thankfulness that she felt at that time. "Not a day goes by without leaving me emotionally exhausted but still totally amazed by the beauty of his soul. He is a survivor and an inspiration and every day I fall in love with him a little more."

There is far too much evil in this world for love to ever prevail a majority of the time but in Ace's case it may just have a fighting chance of at least holding its own.

Photos: Facebook (Ace), John Elke of The Bay City Times (kitten), Reed Parker of WIBC Radio of Indianapolis (Big Bob), Jack Lakey of the Toronto Star (Etobicoke cats) and the Manchester Evening News (Marmalade and Pickle).