.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Cat Defender

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

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Bubba Is Condemned to Spend Forty Days Trapped Underneath a Snow-Covered Porch after Her Uncaring Owners Prematurely Wrote Her Off as Being Dead

Bubba

"I thought I heard something and, sure enough, her paw stuck out and she meowed, and well, I near fainted."
-- Howard Hogan

At times it is difficult to know exactly what to think about some of the cat stories that make the news. That is largely because neither their owners and guardians, rescue groups, nor the capitalist media are renowned for telling the unvarnished truth.

A good case in point is the hellish nightmare that was visited upon a strikingly colorful eighteen-year-old tortoiseshell named Bubba from the small rural community of St. Felix on the western tip of Prince Edward Island (PEI). Specifically, she disappeared from the house that she shares with Howard Hogan and Lucina Costain on January 31st and was not found until forty days later on March 11th.

The details are a bit sketchy but apparently she had spent that entire period trapped in a snow-covered hole beneath their front porch. It is not even clear if her rescue from the ten-foot by four-foot subterranean dungeon with only about a foot's worth of vertical clearance came as the result of a conscious effort on the part of Hogan to belatedly find her or was merely an accidental byproduct of his snow removal activities.

"I thought I heard something and, sure enough, her paw stuck out and she meowed, and well, I near fainted," he afterwards related to the CBC on March 20th. (See "Bubba the Cat Found after Forty Days Under Snow-Covered Deck.") "Lucina was looking out the window, and I told her, I yelled 'The cat is alive!' and she come (sic) out running."

Although emaciated and unsteady on her feet, Bubba still had enough in the way of reserves in order to follow her guardians indoors. They started her off on warm milk and gave her only small portions of food at first but by the following day she had recuperated sufficiently enough in order to resume taking her customary daily rations.

Not surprisingly, she was rather weak as the muscles and bones in her legs had atrophied. She recovered quickly, however, and by March 14th was able once again to leap up into her regular sitting chair.

It is believed that she subsisted throughout her long and grueling ordeal by eating grass, rodents, and snow. Being a rather large cat, Bubba also had reserves of fat that came in especially handy.

The Snow-Colored Porch Where Underneath Bubba Lived for Forty Days


"That's what saved her; she was overweight," Hogan declared to The Journal Pioneer of Summerside on March 18th. (See "Family Cat Found Under Snowbank Forty Days after She Went Missing.")

The porch and the nearly three meters of snow that fell on St. Felix during her incarceration also served to provide her with a measure of insulation and thus to protect her from succumbing to hypothermia. Her misadventures have thus demonstrated once again the prominent role that porches and the areas underneath them play in the lives of cats that, for one reason or another, get caught outside during cold and snowy weather. (See Cat Defender posts of February 23, 2015 and March 14, 2015 entitled, respectively, "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" and "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.")

Although Bubba's death-defying ordeal makes for scintillating reading, there is a dark and disturbing undercurrent to her story. First and foremost is the petit fait that she easily could have been spared her nightmarish misadventure if only her guardians had cared enough about her in order to have mounted anything other than half-hearted rescue attempts.

For instance, on the night that she disappeared Costain spent only thirty minutes searching for her. Fully aware that the hole was one of Bubba's favorite haunts, she shoveled down to it the following day but, failing to locate her wayward feline, she then abandoned the search.

For his part Hogan claims to have shoveled the spot a couple of times during the weeks that followed before he, too, threw in the towel. That is in spite of the fact that he has admitted to later having heard her crying for help on several occasions.

Instead of mounting an all-out search for her, Hogan and Costain contented themselves with falsely believing that she had been eaten by either a dog or a coyote. At other times they excused their glaring lack of concern for her welfare by kidding themselves into believing that she had run away from home of her own volition.

Their account of events simply is not plausible owing to the fact that it should have been rather easy to have tracked her movements from the paw prints that she would have left behind in the snow if she had ventured from the house. Secondly, it would have been all but impossible for her to have gotten very far considering the huge amount of snow that was on the ground. Thirdly, they knew all along about the existence of the hole and her tendency to seek sanctuary there.

Bubba and Lucina Costain

In that light it would be interesting to know not only how long Hogan and Costain have cared for Bubba but, in general, how well that they have treated her. In addition to their lackadaisical rescue efforts, there are other subtle indications that they do not care very much about her.

For starters, Bubba is a derogatory moniker for a cat, especially for such an attractive, loyal, and mature female. Secondly, Hogan's simply disgraceful tendency to refer to her as "the cat" does not inspire confidence in his fidelity to her.

If a reputable and trustworthy animal protection group should exist on PEI, it might want to look into Costain's and Hogan's neglect and mistreatment of Bubba. That is especially the case in that, considering her advanced years, she needs and deserves guardians who not only love her but are attentive to her needs. Above all, she needs to be protected from want, predators, and the elements.

Speaking of the latter, PEI and the remainder of the Canadian maritimes dodged another bullet earlier this week when an anticipated springtime snowstorm fizzled out into just plain rain. Hogan reportedly filled in the hole beneath his porch immediately after Bubba's rescue but he did so with snow and it surely has melted by now.

Consequently, the hole is now exposed and Bubba easily could find herself trapped there again the next time that it snows heavily. Unless Hogan and Costain are willing to shovel it out every time that Bubba goes missing they should fill it in with dirt so as to prevent her from becoming entombed there once again.

Bubba's misfortunes bear a striking similarity to those that befell a ten-year-old black and white female named Emmy from Dame Agatha's hometown of Torquay in Devon back in 2007. In October of that year she is believed to have followed her unidentified male guardian into an outside storage shed where she became trapped.

She thus remained in the unheated shed without either food or water for the following nine weeks until the man belatedly discovered her presence and freed her in late December. Although he and his wife later claimed that they had invested weeks in searching for her, they inexplicably never once looked inside the shed. The most logical conclusion to be drawn from that glaring oversight is that they already knew exactly who that they would find there.

Emmy and an Unidentified Staffer at Torbay

When she finally was rescued Emmy was almost skeletal and near death. Based upon tongue marks left on the windowpanes of the shed, it is theorized that she survived by lapping upon condensation. She also may have snared an few bugs and an occasional mouse from time to time.

Taken to the Torbay Blue Cross Center in the Watcombe section of that town, also in Devon, she eventually recovered but had, at least temporarily, lost the ability to jump due to atrophy in her legs. Her trying ordeal also had left her with, quite understandably, such debilitating psychological scars as a fear of tight places and of being left alone.

"Emmy survived a nightmare ordeal and lived to tell the tale and now needs a good home," a spokesperson for Torbay said following her rescue. "If only she could speak and let us know how she got through it because she has an amazing story to tell."

The charity also incomprehensibly fell hook, line, and sinker for the couple's rather tall tale. "Her owner really had no idea where she was," Torbay's Laura Valentine swore to the media.

Such patently obvious balderdash as that really takes the cake in that the couple would have had to have been deaf not to have overheard her meowing and scratching at the woodwork and windowpanes for such an extended period of time. That is even more so the case in that cats tend to be most active at night when the sounds of the city give way to stillness and quiet.

Even if their locking of Emmy in the shed was unintentional, that fails to explain their haste in getting rid of her so soon after she was rescued. According to press reports at that time, the couple was too broken up about what had happened to her in order to retain custody of her. C'est-à-dire, since they already had abandoned her for nine weeks, they ultimately decided to go whole hog and thus run out on her once and for all time.

They also lamely claimed that she would not fit in at the new house that they were acquiring. Needless to say, neither explanation is believable, especially when viewed in light of previous events.

Emmy's Would-Be Tomb

Torbay perhaps unwittingly came the closest to the truth when it described Emmy as "a loving cat who needs constant attention and care." The organization further claimed that she was "not too good with young children but a home with teenagers would be fine."

Consequently, there can be little doubt that her owners had wanted to get rid of her, one way or another, for a considerable period of time. That by no means constitutes proof that they intentionally left her in the shed to die but it does point to that distinct possibility. (See Cat Defender post of January 23, 2008 entitled "Emmy Survives Being Locked in an Outdoor Storage Shed for Nine Weeks Without Either Food or Water.")

There are three common denominators to be found in the misadventures of Bubba and Emmy. First of all, in both instances the explanations provided by their respective guardians are difficult, if not impossible, to believe.

Secondly, even if against all odds they should be telling the truth that in no way excuses either their callousness or their abject failure to seriously search for their errant cats. Thirdly, neither of them contacted the authorities or posted any "Lost Cat" notices and that is doubly suspicious.

Most distressing of all, there is not very much that concerned cat lovers can do about such callous and neglectful behavior. That is because, first of all, it is impossible for any individual, no matter how dedicated, to care for every cat that needs protection.

Secondly, just about all animal rescue groups are complete frauds in that the only solution that they have to offer homeless and abused cats are jabs of sodium pentobarbital. As a consequence, calling upon their assistance is an extremely dicey proposition.

As bleak as the situation may be, it is imperative that the alarm bells continue to be sounded. Bubba and Emmy survived their close brushes with death but countless other cats are suffering and dying all alone and under similar circumstances at this moment and they never must be forgotten.

Photos: Eric McCarthy of The Journal Pioneer (Bubba alone and with Lucina Costain), Rhonda Constain (snow-covered porch), and the Daily Mail and SWNS (Emmy and the shed).

Thursday, May 07, 2015

Heartbroken Restaurateurs in the Highlands Are Offering a £1,000 Reward for the Safe Return of Their Beloved Lady Thor

Lady Thor

"She is a very special and beautiful cat. She is like a dog in the way she follows me around, so it is like a death in the family."
-- Hamish Mowatt

Losing a beloved cat is, arguably, the cruelest blow that life has to dish out from its seemingly endless bag of miseries, heartaches, and coups du sort. The almost unbearable pain that accompanies such a devastating loss is only compounded when an aggrieved owner is left in the dark as to what has happened to the cat and that in turn makes achieving any measure of closure totally impossible.

Those no doubt are just a few of the dark and foreboding thoughts that have been the constant companions of Hamish and Carole Mowatt of St. Margaret's Hope on South Ronaldsay ("Ronald's Island" in Old Norse) in the Orkneys ever since their beloved three-year-old cat, Lady Thor, mysteriously disappeared on February 21st from their home at Skerries Bistro near Pentland Firth. Although the elderly restaurateurs are offering a £1,000 reward, even that expedient has failed to lead to her safe return.

Found cowering underneath the Mowatt's automobile on a Thursday when she was barely two months old, the black, gray, and white female with a distinctive patch of brown underneath her chin was, appropriately enough, named in honor of the great god Thor. From that day forward she became an indispensable member of the Mowatt household.

"She is a very special and beautiful cat," Hamish told the Press and Journal of Aberdeen on March 30th. (See "£1,000 Offered for Return of Missing Orkney Cat.") "She is like a dog in the way she follows me around, so it is like a death in the family."

Other than successfully enlisting the aid of the Press and Journal, it is not known what additional efforts the Mowatts have undertaken in order to locate Lady Thor. Presumably, they have thoroughly searched the area around their restaurant and thus concluded that she is no longer residing in St. Margaret's Hope.

Her wariness of strangers coupled with the inherent love of place that all cats share in common also would tend to indicate that if she was removed from the area it was against her will. "She is not a friendly cat with anyone else and won't let anyone come within fifteen feet of her," Hamish affirmed to the Press and Journal.

Unless she has met with foul play, it thus seems likely that she has been either intentionally or accidentally spirited out of St. Margaret's Hope and possibly even off of South Ronaldsay. Given the island's location, two possible destinations immediately present themselves.

First of all, since South Ronaldsay is connected to Mainland Island in the north by the A961 which transverses the Churchill Barriers (a quartet of causeways covering 2.3 kilometers), Lady Thor could have been driven there or dropped off along the way at either Burray, Glimps Holm, or Lamb Holm. In fact, unconfirmed sightings of a cat matching her description have been reported in the Tankerness district of St. Andrews Parish, approximately forty kilometers from St. Margaret's Hope.

The second and even more depressing scenario is that she somehow found her way onto one of Pentland's automobile ferries which sail thrice daily from St. Margaret's Hope to Gills Bay in Caithness on the Scottish mainland to the south. "We believed at one point that she probably went on the midday ferry. We have cars driving down here regularly between 9 a.m. and 12 p.m. and that is when she went missing," Hamish theorized to the Press and Journal. "If she has gone to mainland Scotland we fear that we will never see her again."

Because of their diminutive stature and tendency to become easily frightened of both crowds and loud noises, cats sometimes seek sanctuary in movable objects and that quite often leads to disaster. While it is always conceivable that she could have been forcibly kidnapped, a far more likely scenario is that she somehow wandered into a parked car and as a result was unwittingly transported out of the area.

It happens every day and, sadly, only a handful of these unfortunate felines ever are reunited with their owners. (See Cat Defender posts of November 6, 2006, December 12, 2007, August 18, 2008, April 18, 2010, June 1, 2012, and December 11, 2014 entitled, respectively, "Trapped in a Moving Van for Five Days, Texas Cat Named Neo Is Finally Freed in Colorado," "Bored with Conditions at Home, Carlsberg Stows Away on a Beer Lorry for the Adventure of a Lifetime," "Ronaldo Escapes Death after Retailer Coughs Up the Exorbitant Bounty That Quarantine Officials Had Placed on His Head," "Ally's Last Ride Lands Her in a Death Trap Set by an Uncaring and Irresponsible Supermarket Chain and a Bargain Basement Shelter," "A Tattoo Unravels Burli's Secret Past but It Is a Radio Broadcast That Ultimately Leads to His Happy Reunion with His Forever Grateful Current Guardian," and "Uprooted from Home and Left Stranded Thousands of Miles Away, Spice Discovers to Her Horror That Not All the Ghouls and Goblins in This World Are Necessarily to Be Found on Halloween.")

Lady Thor

It often is not even necessary for a cat to gain entry into the interior of an automobile in order to be driven miles from home in that some of them, attracted to the heat given off by cooling motors, become trapped underneath the bonnet. Others meanwhile are forced to hang on for dear life to undercarriages and precarious perches on petrol tanks. (See Cat Defender posts of January 5, 2006 and March 16, 2003 entitled, respectively, "'Miracle' Cat Survives a Seventy-Mile Trip Down the New Jersey Turnpike by Clinging to the Drive Shaft of an SUV" and "Mausi Is Saved from a Potentially Violent Death on the Fast and Furious Autobahn Thanks to the Dramatic Intervention of a Münchner Couple.")

Some cats also make forays into trash cans and Dumpsters and as a result end up at either recycling plants or in worse straits. (See Cat Defender posts of August 23, 2007 and May 4, 2010 entitled, respectively, "An Alert Scrap Metal Worker Discovers a Pretty 'Penny' Hidden in a Mound of Rubble" and "Picked Up by a Garbage Truck Driver and Dumped with the Remainder of the Trash, Alfie Narrowly Escapes Being Recycled.")

Cats even have found themselves in landfills and at charities after unwittingly secreting themselves away in furniture that was slated to be discarded. (See Cat Defender post of March 23, 2009 entitled "Mistakenly Tossed Out with the Trash, Autumn Survives a Harrowing Trip to the City Dump in Order to Live Another Day" and the Edmonton Journal, August 26, 2010, "Edmonton Cat in the Mat Comes Back.")

Cats additionally have been accidentally mailed from one location to another. (See Cat Defender post of July 21, 2008 entitled "Janosch Survives Being Sent Through the Post from Bayern to the Rhineland.")

To make a long story short, either anyone or anything that moves in and out of a cat's world is a potential death trap. Moreover, disaster can strike within the twinkling of an eye in that a cat can be in plain view one moment and fifty miles away in parts unknown an hour later.

Other than the steps that they already have taken, the Mowatts might want to consider placing some online and print advertisements on both Mainland Island and in Caithness. If they have not already done so, the should blanket both locales with "Lost Cat" posters. Door-to-door canvassing also would be another idea worth trying.

Given that Skerries Bistro reopened for business on March 14th and will continue so on a daily basis throughout October, it is not known how much time and energy that they have to invest in searching for Lady Thor but if they love her half as much as they claim they will drop everything immediately and devote all of their time and resources into finding her. During the interim they could prevail upon someone else to fill in for them at the restaurant.

If that is totally out of the question, they always could retain the services of a private dick in order to beat the bushes for them. (See Cat Defender post of April 2, 2015 entitled "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.")

Presumably, the couple long ago contacted any and all animal protection groups that exist in St. Margaret's Hope as well as Cats Protection's office in Finston on Mainland Island. They additionally should have alerted the Scottish RSPCA in Caithness to be on the lookout for Lady Thor.

It has not been disclosed whether Lady Thor has been microchipped and from the photographs of her that have been made available it does not appear that she was outfitted with either a collar or a tattoo. If she is wandering around without identification that is certainly going to make it more difficult, albeit not impossible, for the Mowatts to get her back. Therefore, the key to relocating her would seem to lie in getting photographs of her as quickly as possible into the hands of rescue personnel as well as the general public.

If indeed Lady Thor's misadventures have left her marooned in some unknown strange and distant place she has a considerable amount in common with a three-year-old brown and gray tomcat with bright green eyes named Poussey who mysteriously disappeared without so much as a trace on April 22, 2013 from the home that he shared with Sandrine Foehr and her family in La Havre. Unbeknownst to them, he was found two days later wandering the automobile deck of the P&O Ferry as it wended its way across the English Channel from Calais to Dover in Kent.

Poussey and Sandrine Foehr

Since it is two-hundred-seventy-four kilometers from La Havre to Calais, Poussey quite obviously did not walk that great of a distance, especially in forty-eight hours. He therefore was transported there by car, but it never was determined whether he made the trip as an unwitting stowaway or as the victim of a botched kidnapping.

After being corralled by the ship's crew, he was immediately handed over to the Port of Dover Police upon docking and likely would have been killed on the spot if it had not been for the compassion shown him by PC David Palmer. "Javert (as he had christened Poussey) was effectively on death row," he later revealed. "If an animal arrives without a pet passport, it becomes a rabies danger and must be put down or go into quarantine."

Humanely opting for the second alternative, Palmer was able to prevail upon Jeremy Stattersfield of Burnham House Veterinary Surgery in Dover to issue Poussey a pet passport and to vaccinate him. The veterinarian then took it upon himself to arrange for the wayward tom to spend his first three weeks of quarantine at The Animal Inn on Dover Road in Ringwould, near Deal.

After that impromptu living arrangement had run its course, he cleared the way for him to stay at the Rhodes Minnis Cat Sanctuary outside Folkestone. He even was able to convince La Fondation Brigitte Bardot to pay for Poussey's quarantining.

"He is a very affectionate cat and it wasn't his fault he found himself in the wrong country," is how he later explained his rationale for intervening. "We just had to help him."

All the while that Stattersfield was busily working his many wonders, Palmer had embarked upon a campaign to locate Poussey's owner. Relying upon information deciphered from an implanted microchip, he prevailed upon Major Arnauld Caron of the Police aux frontières to have the local authorities in La Havre leave a note on the door of Poussey's address.

Both Palmer's and Caron's carefully laid plains nearly came to naught however because Foehr had neglected to update the contact information contained in Poussey's microchip. As a result, the note from Palmer was delivered to his old abode instead of his current address.

Although by this time he had been missing for almost two months, Foehr never had given up searching for him and as a consequence she traveled to his old address and, amazingly, discovered Palmer's letter. That in turn led to her happy reunion with Poussey at Stattersfield's surgery on Castle Street.

If it had not been for the extraordinary efforts of Palmer, Stattersfield, and the Police aux frontières Foehr never would have either seen Poussey again or even known what had happened to him. Even as things eventually turned out, he came within a hairbreadth of being unceremoniously liquidated. (See Cat Defender post of July 25, 2014 entitled "Poussey Overcomes a Surprise Boat Ride to Dover, a Stint on Death Row, and Being Bandied About Like a Flying Dutchman in Order to Finally Make It Home to La Havre.")

In early September of the same year, a two-year-old brown and gray female named Poppy somehow made it eight kilometers from her home in Bradwell to Great Yarmouth in Norfolk where she then unwittingly found herself on a boat bound for an oil rig in the North Sea. The crew belatedly discovered her presence on board but that was not until they were forty-eight kilometers from shore.

They kept her safe, warm, and well-fed until they returned to shore whereupon they then surrendered her to the RSPCA in East Norfolk. An implanted microchip later revealed that she belonged to fifty-six-year-old Janet Holland and the duo were successfully reunited on September 16th.

Poppy and  Janet Holland

"The RSPCA phoned me quite early in the morning and when they told me where she'd been, I thought I was dreaming," she later told London's Express on September 20th. (See "Cat Reunited with Owner after Sneaking onto Ship Bound for Oil Rig.") "I cannot thank them or the ship's crew enough. They probably don't realize just how much this means to me."

Poppy, who earlier had lost her tail to a hit-and-run motorist, has a tendency to roam but she never before had ventured very far from home. "She has a little friend over the back she goes and plays with and she's known for wandering around the school playing field," Holland disclosed to the Express. "But Poppy had never spent a night away from home so we thought the worst."

As was the case with Poussey, it is unlikely that Poppy walked all the way from Bradwell to Yarmouth. Consequently, it would seem likely that she either was kidnapped or made the journey as an unwitting stowaway in a motor vehicle.

This is mere supposition but the motorist who drove her to Yarmouth surely must have dumped her on the docks as well. It is even conceivable that she was kidnapped with the intention of having her as a companion on the oil rig. That is because although cats are known for incurring streaks of notoriously bad luck, it strains credulity that she wandered into an automobile and then onto a boat all by her lonesome and within such a short span of time.

As the dramatic rescues of both Poussey and Poppy have amply demonstrated, there is hope that the Mowatts may yet be successfully reunited with Lady Thor. Moreover, they have at least two advantages over Foehr and Holland.

First of all and unlike Poussey, it is believed that Lady Thor is still in Scotland. Consequently, the Mowatts do not have to contend with either international entanglements or quarantine fees and restrictions.

Secondly, there is not anything in the record to even remotely suggest that she has been transported to an offshore oil rig. She therefore likely is still on terra firma and that enables the Mowatts to search high and low for her without incurring either any legal or geographical constraints.

The important thing for them is neither to give up hope nor to stop searching for her. In furtherance of that objective, they need to devise a detailed plan of action and to see it through to completion. Lady Thor never would give up on them and they likewise never should give up on finding her.

Perhaps most important of all, the Mowatts have money and with it almost anything, either good or bad, is possible. It is an entirely different story for the impecunious who love their cats every bit as much as the privileged love theirs but, owing to circumstances beyond their control, are unable to do very much for them in their times of greatest need. Carpe diem!

Anyone who has seen Lady Thor or knows where she can be found is urged to promptly contact the Mowatts by either telephone at 44-01856-831329 or online at www.skerriesbistro.co.uk. Locating her is the only way that this once happy trio can ever be made whole again.

Photos: Press and Journal (Lady Thor), Facebook (Lady Thor), Daily Mail (Poussey and Sandrine Foehr), and the Express (Poppy and Janet Holland).

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).