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Cat Defender

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

Saturday, September 06, 2014

Butterscotch Is Finally Freed from a Bug Trap but His Deliverance Has Come at an Awfully High Price that He Will Be Repaying for the Remainder of His Days

Butterscotch, His Head Still Stuck in a Bug Trap,  Pauses on a Fence

"Eighteen days to capture a cat was...ridiculous. The challenges and threats we faced were beyond bizarre. The nightmare (yes, nightmare) is over."
-- Brandon Area Lost Animals

Some cats cannot seem to win no matter how hard they try. As a consequence, misfortune is the only traveling companion that they ever are destined to know and although they occasionally may be able to break free from its merciless shackles it is always waiting patiently for them just around the next corner like their shadows on a sunny day.

That pretty much sums up the rotten hand of cards that The Fates have doled out to a dashing orange and white tom about town named Butterscotch from Brandon in Manitoba. His first stroke of miserable luck occurred when he was cruelly abandoned to fend for himself in the street.

No one seems to know either where he came from or how long he had been homeless. Press reports likewise have not even ventured to so much as hazard a guess as to his age.

His second piece of rotten luck occurred when he accidentally got his head stuck inside a green and red plastic bug trap that was thirty centimeters in length and between ten and fifteen centimeters wide. It is not even known exactly when he became ensnared in the device.

All that has been revealed so far is that he first was spotted in the south end of town on July 23rd with the contraption on his head by a woman identified only as Colleen. Because of the color of his fur, she christened him Butterscotch and then notified Brandon Area Lost Animals (BALA).

What then followed was an eighteen-day race against the clock jointly undertaken by BALA and Brandon Animal Control in order to trap the cat and remove the device before he came to harm. Unlike so many unfortunate cats who become trapped in glue traps, jars, and discarded cans, Butterscotch apparently never was in any real danger of succumbing to either starvation or dehydration because he at least was able to both eat and drink even with the trap on his head.

It did however significantly impair his vision and, possibly, even his sense of smell and that in turn left him vulnerable to any human and animal predators intent upon doing him harm. The trap itself also was breaking apart and that presented other dangers as well.

"The problem was the plastic ring," veterinarian Jennifer Beckwith of the Grand Valley Animal Clinic (GVAC) in Brandon later explained to the Winnipeg Free Press in the second of two articles dated August 9th. (See "Butterscotch the Cat Rescued after Two and a Half Weeks, 'Recovering Well'.") "He'd stuck his head through the top of it and had managed to basically break it apart, but the ring was still hanging off his neck. Our big concern was he could have been hung up on something and strangled himself."

Without knowing how badly the trap itself had deteriorated, it is impossible to speculate on the likelihood of that happening. It is known, however, that cats who snag both conventional and elastic collars on foreign objects can suffer simply horrific injuries.

Even getting so much as a paw entangled in one of those old-fashioned identification devices can lead to disastrous consequences. (See Cat Defender posts of June 22, 2010 and May 28, 2008 entitled, respectively, "Hobson Is Forced to Wander Around Yorkshire for Months Trapped in an Elastic Collar That Steadily Was Eating Away at His Shoulder and Leg" and "Collars Turns into Death Traps for Trooper and Que but Both Are Rescued at the Eleventh Hour.")

Equipped with humane traps that were camouflaged with leaves, grass, and twigs, night vision cameras, and electronic monitors that were set up outside the traps, Toni Gramiak of BALA and about a dozen dedicated volunteers then organized a campaign to trap Butterscotch. The use of tranquilizers and nets was ruled out from the very outset as being far too dangerous.

The trappers relied upon both electronic surveillance data and sightings reported by the general public in order to determine where best to place their camouflaged traps. "We're interested in his path of travel, his behavior," Gramiak explained to the Winnipeg Free Press in the first of two articles dated August 9th. (See "To Catch a Cat: Inside the Bizarre Search for Brandon's Butterscotch.") "We need to find a spot where he's calm."

Normally, corralling Butterscotch would not have posed much of a challenge to an experienced trapper like Gramiak but it did not take long for an unidentified saboteur to throw a monkey wrench into her meticulously laid plans. Described only as a south Brandon male in either his late forties or early fifties, the subversive began his obstructionist activities by damaging and overturning her traps. He followed that up by spreading lawn clippings in front of the traps, presumably to negate the aromatic smell of the tuna juice, catnip, and pheromones that she had laid down as bait.

He additionally attempted to disrupt the trapping exercise by, inter alia, banging on his fence, churning up a ruckus with a pressurized water hose, turning on his outside lights and cameras, and focusing a floodlight on Gramiak's vehicle. "He started blatantly sabotaging right in front of me," she futilely complained to the Winnipeg Free Press in the first article dated August 9th.

Toni Gramiak and Volunteer Sandy Brown with a Camouflaged Trap

Although the police were called in on numerous occasions, they inexplicably never took any action against the culprit. If the venue had been England, he in all likelihood would have been issued an Anti-Social Behavior Order and then jailed if he had failed to comply with its stipulations.

The mere fact that he was able to get away scot-free with his obstructionist activities reveals just how little the authorities in Brandon value the lives of  cats. By contrast, if he had been engaged in actively sabotaging the efforts of emergency personnel to save the life of either an adult or a child there can be little doubt that the police would have arrested him on the spot.

Although it is by no means one-hundred per cent clear, it does not appear that the individual was acting out of anything even remotely approaching a genuine concern for Butterscotch's well-being. If, for example, he had had reason to believe that BALA and Animal Control were planning on harming him in any way his actions would have been completely justified because saving an innocent life trumps all political and legal concerns to the contrary.

That critical assessment of his motivations is based upon the conspicuous absence of anything in press reports that would tend to indicate that he ever attempted to come to Butterscotch's aid by either befriending him in any manner or leaving out food for him. Additionally, he has racked up quite a reputation over the years as being a prototypical neighbor from Hell.

For example, he has been accused of attacking residents' automobiles with air gun pellets, eggs, and canine excrement. He even has been accused of scattering nails in their driveways so as to puncture their tires.

Unlike the unidentified miscreant in Elsdorf, Nordrhein Westfalen, who back in 2009 was caught flagrante delicto putting out a Nagelbrett in order to intentionally injure Manuela Lisken's cat, this is apparently the first time that he has been caught venting his spleen on a cat. It therefore is difficult to say if he is an ailurophobe as well as a sociopath. (See Cat Defender post of June 10, 2010 entitled "Cat-Hating Gardener in Nordrhein Westfalen Is Told by the Authorities to Remove a Board of Nails from His Yard.")

"It goes on and on," is how one of his unidentified neighbors characterized his aberrant behavior to the Winnipeg Free Press in the first August 9th article cited supra.

"Nobody will look at him," another neighbor who also elected to hide behind the cloak of anonymity added in the same article. "Who wants all that (presumably, trouble)?"

The man quite obviously has his neighbors buffaloed and that in turn is likely to only embolden him to commit even more egregious affronts against them and their properties. Even Gramiak and her assistants were caught off guard by his obstructionist activities.

"Little did we know that our biggest challenge wasn't just going to be that he (Butterscotch)  had his face covered affecting his sense of smell and sight," she confessed to the Winnipeg Free Press in the second article dated August 9th.

She soon got over her initial consternation, however, and if his behavior accomplished anything it served only to strengthen her resolve. "When I have to catch an animal, it's a job I have to do," she declared to the Winnipeg Free Press in the first article dated August 9th. "It's something you can't walk away from. Not a cat that's in distress like this one. The cat has to be captured."

So, in spite of all the daunting challenges, Gramiak and her team of volunteers persevered. "It's frustrating. It's heartbreaking. It's a challenge," volunteer Laurie Unruh admitted to the Winnipeg Free Press in the first August 9th article. "All you want to do is to do the best for this cat."

Although BALA did receive widespread support from the community for its efforts on behalf of Butterscotch, that did not deter some residents from maligning both it and the volunteers. "Some people say we're nuts. It's just a cat," kindhearted volunteer and mental health worker Jo-ann (sic) Pasklivich-Holder told the Winnipeg Free Press in the first article dated August 9th. "To each his own. Everybody has a right to choose a cause. I'd Help anybody in distress, people or animals."

The doggedness of their sworn enemy did, however, force Gramiak and the volunteers to not only amend their strategies but, above all, to proceed with extreme caution at all times. "A lot of the info we had we weren't putting out there because we do believe he was monitoring the (news) sites," Gramiak later told the Winnipeg Free Press in the second August 9th article. "He was following, he was finding us, there were mysterious things going on."

Sandy Brown Monitoring the Traps Electronically

In particular, although Gramiak knew early on that Butterscotch was able to eat and drink, she did not divulge that information to the public out of a fear that either the saboteur or someone else would attempt to poison him. That information also could have been used in order to have lured him into a private snare for all sorts of other nefarious purposes.

The tug-of-war that developed between BALA and the saboteur was the third misfortune to befall Butterscotch. Although he had been doing the very best that he could in order to survive on his own and under extremely trying circumstances, he now found himself branded as an outlaw and hounded both night and day on two different fronts.

Caught in the crossfire, he was only a heartbeat away from disaster and it arrived with a vengeance on the evening of August 7th when he came within an eyelash of being crushed to death underneath the wheels of a trucker while crossing the street. Although it is difficult to say if Gramiak's aggressive trapping regimen was in any way to blame for the incident, that  is a distinct possibility.

Although to her credit she did attempt in vain to get the trucker to stop, the incident not only left her badly shaken but it also vividly drove home to her just how dangerous a game she was playing. "To watch and know I can do nothing for him...it's hard," she afterwards admitted to the Winnipeg Free Press in the first August 9th article. "If he got hit by a car right in front of me..."

Working as she does in the animal protection movement, Gramiak of all people should be acutely aware that motor vehicles do not kill cats and other animals. Au contraire, it is precisely motorists that are to blame and they commit their dastardly deeds intentionally and with impunity.

All the sleepless nights spent by Gramiak and the volunteers finally paid off at 7 a.m. on August 9th when Butterscotch unwittingly strolled into one of their camouflaged traps. The winning combination of various lures that had been tried throughout this exercise turned out to be tuna, two kinds of cat food, and catnip. A trail of tuna juice that led up the path to the trap also proved to be simply too enticing for him to ignore.

With the successful denouement of their trapping campaign, everyone associated with the effort finally was able to breathe a collective sigh of relief. "Eighteen days to capture a cat was...ridiculous," BALA stated August 10th in an untitled article posted on its Facebook page. "The challenges and threats we faced were beyond bizarre. The nightmare (yes, nightmare) is over."

While that doubtlessly was true as far as BALA and Animal Control were concerned, Butterscotch's latest nightmare was just beginning and that constituted his fourth stroke of misfortune. This latest installment of misery began when he was taken into custody by Animal Control and transported to GVAC where he was anesthetized by Beckwith and the trap removed. While she was at it, she vaccinated him for rabies, distemper, and leukemia and gave him a good dousing for fleas, worms, and mites.

Despite being severely handicapped by the presence of the bug trap, he was neither emaciated nor dehydrated. Best of all, he tested negative for both FIV and FeLv.

"He's recovering well from the ordeal," the practitioner told the Winnipeg Free Press in the second article dated August 9th. "He's of course a little bit lighter now that he doesn't have a bug trap on his head."

As soon as he had recovered from the anesthesia, Butterscotch was remanded to the city pound for three days. That was necessitated by the twin realities that no one ever came forward to reclaim him and he was neither wearing a collar, tattooed, nor carrying around inside of him an implanted microchip.

Following that terrifying ordeal, he next was sloughed off onto Funds for Furry Friends where he was placed in foster care so that he could be socialized for eventual adoption. Not surprisingly after have been cruelly robbed of his freedom and bandied about like a Flying Dutchman, Butterscotch initially found the confinement to be a harrowing experience.

"For the first week in foster care, this traumatized kitty was frozen in fear," BALA stated August 25th in an untitled article posted on its Facebook page. "He would lash out at anything that startled him, and had an intense fear of hands and growled if any human got dangerously close to him."

Butterscotch Tried to Run but He Could Not Get Rid of the Bug Trap

Through the judicious use of treats, patience, and chemicals such as Feliway Diffuser, Feliway Spray, and Pet Naturals Calming Formula for Cats, Butterscotch's foster mother finally was able to wear down his resistance. BALA described the process as follows in the August 25th article:
"With time, his safe distance was down to inches. His need for affection and his fear of hands created a dilemma. To get that needed first human contact, treats and kibble were placed under the human's leg. Butterscotch pushed his head in for the food and he melted. He collapsed and purred, rubbing his body against his foster mom's."
As wonderful as all of that may appear au premier coup d'oeil, it does not in any way alter the sobering reality that it, like everything else heretofore in Butterscotch's short life, is destined to be transitory. That is because it is unlikely that his foster mother is going to adopt him and that in turns means that he is going to be not only uprooted again but, far more importantly, deprived of the care of the one person that he has come to trust.

Even placing him in the right home is not going to be an easy task. "It's got to be the perfect family because a lot of people might want him just because he's Butterscotch," Gramiak told the Winnipeg Free Press in the second August 9th article.

"Obviously, he's become famous," she candidly acknowledged earlier in the first Winnipeg Free Press article dated August 9th. "A cat wearing a hat."

To hear BALA tell it, however, Butterscotch's socialization is a done deal and his future as a pet cat is assured. In the August 25th Facebook article the organization gushed:
"Two weeks after coming into care, Butterscotch revealed his true self. He is a playful big kitten who loves to play fetch for treats. He loves human affection, rolls around on his trusted human's lap and he gives a lot of purrful head bumps."
That possibly could be the case but a far more likely scenario is that he has succumbed to the Stockholm Syndrome. After all, he is in jail and has to not only sing for his supper but his survival as well.

Much more importantly, it quite obviously was not necessary to anesthetize him in order to either cut off the plastic bug trap or to vaccinate him. Both BALA and Beckwith had a far more sinister motive in mind when they chose that course of action.

In particular, they were unable to resist the overpowering temptation to sterilize him and that was the fifth stroke of bad luck to befall him. Although Gramiak simply could be a sterilization fanatic, it would appear that her marked disdain for his philandering played a role in her decision to have Beckwith put an abrupt end to his love life.

"It's quite the relationship. But I think he has other girlfriends she doesn't know about," she said of his courtship of one female in the first Winnipeg Free Press article dated August 9th. "He's such a Casanova."

If there is any validity to that assumption, that would put her thinking on a par with that of Debbie Schultz, a former vice president of the Key West SPCA, who nearly succeeded in sterilizing the world famous polydactyls at the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum out of existence. In her case, it was a tom named Ivan whose street corner romantic escapades drove her over the edge and launched her on her ruinous ball-whacking campaign.

"I saw Ivan many times loose. Ivan is a very unneutered, very macho male cat, and in each case, he had one of the street cats pinned down," she indignantly complained back in December of 2006. "We have an ordinance that says a nuisance cat can be removed." (See Cat Defender post of January 9, 2007 entitled "Papa Hemingway's Polydactyl Cats Face New Threats from Both the USDA and Their Caretakers.")

Simply put, some individuals cannot abide the sight of any cat deriving so much as a moment of pleasure out of this vale of tears called life. The same blatant hypocrisy abounds in Anglo-American politics in that it is perfectly acceptable for various religious, ethnic, and racial groups to behave like the royal families of Europe by intermarrying for both profit and power but any randy old bugger who gets caught doing any unauthorized dipping in what is deemed to be an inappropriate honeypot is immediately pilloried.

That is not meant to imply that Butterscotch may not go on to have a longer, healthier, and even happier life as a castrated and domesticated tom than he would have had living on the mean streets of Brandon but that is far from being guaranteed. Just because a homeless cat is able to adjust to one situation does not necessarily mean that it will accept being uprooted and transferred to an entirely different living arrangement.

Butterscotch's Fate Is Now Sealed

That was the hard lesson that Joan Wiley of St. Catharines in Ontario learned firsthand earlier this spring when she unsuccessfully attempted to fob off on a friend a black and white tom with yellow eyes named Merlin that she had somewhat domesticated. For various reasons but principally owing to the bullying of another cat, the experiment turned out to be an unmitigated disaster and Merlin had to be returned to Wiley.

"My good intentions to find Merlin a loving permanent home had robbed him of the joy of life," she wrote in a guest column for The Globe and Mail of Toronto on July 6th. (See "For Merlin the Feral Cat, a Spell Indoors Was Hell.") "My main concern had been for his physical safety, but I badly miscued on his emotional needs."

At last report, Merlin had resumed his happy-go-lucky existence as a combination indoor and outdoor cat but primarily the latter. As for Wiley, her misadventures with him were not a total loss in that she apparently has learned a valuable lesson from her mistakes.

"My experience with Merlin reminded me again of the folly of making assumptions about the needs and lives of humans and non-humans alike, especially those who can't speak for themselves," she stated in The Globe and Mail article. "In this diverse world, we should proceed with extreme caution when we try to cram the proverbial square peg into the highly overrated and one-size-fits-all round hole."

It is nothing short of appalling that individuals such as Gramiak, Schultz, and others like them who work with cats are so blinded by ambition and besotted by dogma that they are totally incapable of recognizing the existence of individual circumstances, unique histories, different personalities, and varying needs. Such pigheadedness is, in and of itself, arguably the most egregious form of ailurophobia imaginable in that it serves only to perpetuate the naked abuse and exploitation of the species.

Furthermore, along with domestication and sterilization also come a myriad of additional concerns and responsibilities that whomever ultimately gains custody of Butterscotch is going to have to sooner or later address. In particular, such cats are prone to obesity, diabetes mellitus, and bone cancer.

If they are cooped up exclusively indoors, they never receive the exercise and mental stimulation that they require in order to stay both physically and psychologically fit. Plus, indoor environments are hazardous to their health. (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.")

For Gramiak and others to ignore these concerns is nothing short of dishonest. Moreover, their attitude demonstrates an appalling disrespect for the nature, health, and happiness of cats.

In his 1922 seminal work, The Tiger in the House, Carl Van Vechten unriddled the sterilization conundrum as follows:
"But it has become the general custom, except for those who keep kings for breeding purposes, to alter these toms, so that they grow into large, affectionate, and lazy animals, who sleep a good deal, and are generally picturesque but not very active. These altered toms are generally the favorites as pets. Personally, I am more interested in cats who retain their natural fervor."
Even in saying that much he misses the boat by a mile when he implies that unaltered toms cannot be gentle, loving, and extremely well mannered toward their owners. Also, some of them exhibit little or no interest in either the opposite sex or in roaming and as a consequence it is senseless to castrate them.

For better or worse, Butterscotch's fate was sealed the moment that he wandered into Gramiak's cleverly disguised trap and there is not anything that anyone from the general public can do for him now. Hopefully, he will be able to find a measure of contentment and happiness somewhere down the road but even that depends in large part upon what type of guardian that Funds for Furry Friends foists upon him.

The sad reality of the situation is that his life no longer belongs to him and that is the sixth and by far worst coup du sort to have befallen him. Given what is known about those diabolical monsters who strut around on two legs with their long noses poked high in the air and running off at the mouth, being forced to live down at heel, under the thumb, and according to their whims is the scariest fate that ever could happen to anyone, cat or individual.

Photos: Moggies (Butterscotch on a fence), Randy Turner of the Winnipeg Free Press (Gramiak and Brown with trap, Brown watching the monitors, and Butterscotch on the run), and BALA (Butterscotch in a trap).

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

After Traveling for So Many Miles on the Bridport to Charmouth Bus, Dodger's Last Ride Is, Ironically, to the Vet Who Unconscionably Snuffs Out His Precious Life at the Urging of His Derelict Owner

 The Way They Were: Dodger and Fee Jeanes  

"It was the hardest decision I have ever had to make. I cancelled it twice."
-- Fee Jeanes

It recently has been learned that Dodger was killed off by his owner, forty-six-year-old Fee Jeanes of Bridport in Dorset, sometime in early February of 2012. Although his death is by now very old news, that in no way makes it either any less sad or revoltingly unjust.

Dodger, as it may be recalled by some, was a friendly and intrepid fifteen-year-old, ginger-colored tom who skyrocketed to international acclaim in December of 2011 when it was disclosed that he regularly rode the mass transit system in Dorset and Devonshire by his lonesome. Most notably, he was regular on First Bus's ten-mile run between Bridport and Charmouth.

At other times he could be found aboard the company's number fifty-three bus which operates along the Jurassic Coast between Poole in Dorset and Exeter in Devonshire. More often that not, however, he could be found hanging out at the bus station in Bridport. (See Cat Defender post of January 25, 2012 entitled "The Innocence of the Lambs: Unaware of the Dangers That Threaten His Very Existence, Dodger Charms Commuters on the Bridport to Charmouth Line.")

Jeanes allegedly had him killed off due to the presence of a stomach tumor that he is believed to have been diagnosed with sometime before Christmas of 2011. Since no additional details have been made public, it is difficult to know if the tumor could have been successfully treated with either surgery or some other means.

That which is not in dispute, however, is Jeanes's eternal gratitude to Bredy Veterinary Centre on Sea Road North for relieving her of both the expense and trouble of caring for an elderly and ailing cat. "Everyone at Bredy Vets has been brilliant all the way through this," she gushed to the Bridport News on February 22, 2012. (See "Dodger the Cat Is Put Down.")

By characterizing the bloodthirsty practitioners' dirty work in such glowing terms she is surely laying it on a bit thick because any idiot, shekel counter, and selfish, lazy bum can kill a cat. By contrast, recognizing that all cats have an inalienable right to live out their lives to the very end, cherishing every moment that they are alive, and being willing to do whatever is required in order to preserve and extend their all-too-brief existences is the first step on the road to true compassion and enlightenment.

The overwhelming majority of veterinarians, on the other hand, are little more than cold-hearted, bloodsucking mercenaries in that killing off unwanted cats, dogs, and other animals at the behest of their owners, shelters, and others constitutes a substantial portion of their practice. (See Cat Defender posts of March 19, 2014, January 11, 2012, December 22, 2011, and July 28, 2011 entitled, respectively, "Cheap and Greedy Moral Degenerates at PennVet Extend Their Warmest Christmas Greetings to an Impecunious, but Preeminently Treatable, Cat Via a Jab of Sodium Pentobarbital," "A Deadly Intrigue Concocted by a Thief, a Shelter, and a Veterinary Chain Costs Ginger the Continued Enjoyment of His Golden Years," "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," and "Tammy and Maddy Are Forced to Pay the Ultimate Price after Their Owner and an Incompetent Veterinarian Elect to Play Russian Roulette with Their Lives.")

For whatever it is worth, Jeanes insists that the decision to do in Dodger was anything but an easy one. "It was the hardest decision I have ever had to make," she swore to the Bridport News. "I cancelled it twice."

Even if she is being truthful, she likely only demurred because it was Christmas and she did not want to spoil that special time of the year for her three children, Jack, Emily, and William. It is, after all, well known that innumerable cat owners wait until after the holidays before killing off and abandoning their companions.

She additionally claims to be broken up about Dodger's demise. "The family are (sic) in tears," she confided to the Bridport News. "Poor old Dodger, it is very sad."

Even if her initial grief was real enough she certainly got over it awfully fast because soon thereafter she had graduated to rationalizing his death. "Dodger had a good life," she vouched to the Bridport News. "He was a brilliant cat and was spoilt rotten."

Named after the Artful Dodger in Charles Dickens' novel, Oliver Twist, he was renowned for befriending perfect strangers and gracing the laps of commuters. In particular, he is known to have substantially lifted the spirits of a sick woman on the number fifty-three bus by simply sitting on her lap.

"He made a lot of people happy," Jeanes told the Bridport News. "The response to him was amazing."

Dodger was buried in Jeanes's garden but it has not been disclosed if he was provided with either a memorial service or a tombstone. Jeanes did, however, put up a notice at the bus station in order to let both commuters and drivers know that they had seen the last of him.

Normally, that would have been the end of the matter, ashes to ashes and dust to dust as the Anglicans are fond of intoning, but since Dodger was such a special cat and because he had touched so many people his life and, especially, his death are deserving of additional examination. Although it is way too late to do him any good, such an inquiry might one day prove beneficial to other cats who are experiencing some of the same difficulties and challenges that plagued his life.

Most important of all is the question of how he became so fatally ill and, although the cause of leiomyosarcomas is unknown, it is strongly suspected that his diet could have been to blame. "He loves it there (the Birdport bus station) because there are lots of people around and they all drop their sandwiches and pork pies," Jeanes told the Dorset Echo of Weymouth on December 14, 2011. (See "Dodger the Cat Hops on Bridport Buses.")

Whereas an occasional sandwich and a pork pie would not have killed him, such a fare was woefully deficient in the nutrients and vitamins that he needed. A far better choice would have been a diet consisting of either commercial cat food or raw meat.

Always the Perfect Gentleman, Dodger Waits for His Turn to Board 

Moreover, it is doubtful that he received much of either of those because he was so seldom home. "He is down there (at the bus station) all day and I have to go out in the night to make sure he is okay," Jeanes revealed to the Dorset Echo.

Every bit as alarming, there simply is not any way of knowing what he was picking up and being fed at either the bus station or on board the buses themselves. It is even conceivable that he could have been either intentionally poisoned or fed rotten meat. It should be axiomatic that no halfway responsible owner would want her cat to be scrounging around in the street for his next meal.

It also is pretty much a sure bet that if Jeanes so flagrantly neglected Dodger's diet, the same likely is true of his personal hygiene, grooming, and the care of minor injuries. It is not even known if she afforded him periodic veterinary check-ups.

All of those omissions pale in comparison, however, with her decision to turn him loose to roam both congested West Street and the buses night and day. In addition to the very real possibility that he might have been poisoned, Dodger easily could have been lost, stolen, or preyed upon by ailurophobes.

The biggest threat that he faced came from motorists, however. "Sometimes he just sits in the middle of the road and waits for the bus to turn up before he gets on," Jeanes acknowledged to the Daily Mail on December 15, 2011. (See "Pay? No, I've Got a Puss Pass...")

If she is still alive, a now seventeen-year-old, one-eyed cat named Krümel is likewise allowed by her irresponsible owner to not only sit but to sleep as well in the street out front of her home at the Hotel Garni Herold in Hattingen, Nordrhein Westfalen. (See Cat Defender post of September 17, 2012 entitled "Contrary to the Neighborhood Scuttlebutt, Krümel Is Alive and Well, at Least for the Time Being, at the Hotel Garni Herold.")

The English dearly cherish their peripatetic cats and while there is absolutely nothing wrong with allowing them to roam if circumstances so warrant, they never should be permitted to venture out into busy streets. Furthermore, they should not knowingly be allowed to board buses and trains, except under rare circumstances, without there being someone to look after their safety and well-being. (See Cat Defender posts of December 5, 2006, April 19, 2007, January 31, 2014, and February 6, 2014 entitled, respectively, "Milo, Who Visits the Vet by Her Lonesome, Is Named Old Blighty's Most Adventurous Cat," "Bus Hopping Macavity Earns High Praise from His Fellow Commuters for Being the 'Perfect Passenger'," "Northumbrian Shrink Lays Claim to the Title of Being the World's Most Irresponsible Cat Owner by Turning Loose Jasper to Roam the Perilous Tyne and Wear Metro for Weeks on End," and "Lovable and Adventurous Percy Is Still Very Much Alive and Safely Riding the Miniature Trains in Scarborough.")

Instead of taking decisive and concrete action in order to have eliminated the myriad of dangers that imperiled Dodger's life, Jeanes instead relied upon her children, the operators of First Bus's fleet of chariots, commuters, and the general public to do her duty for her. Even more appalling, she remained unconcerned about both his safety and well-being right up until the bitter end.

"He's absolutely fine," she swore to the Dorset Echo in the article cited supra. "He comes home and sleeps at the end of my bed and spends the rest of the day at the bus station."

With such a laissez-faire attitude toward him, it is not really all that surprising that she had him killed off at the first opportunity that was presented to her. As an added incentive, she furthermore claims that he had of late begun to lose his marbles and that as a result she was getting five to six telephone calls a day from concerned citizens to go and collect him from various parts of Bridport.

Not only has she failed to produce so much as a shred of evidence in order to back up her claim, but dementia is not normally considered to be a side effect of leiomyosarcoma. A far more plausible explanation is that Dodger had lost neither his mind nor changed his habits but rather that the increased concern voiced by Jeanes's neighbors was attributable to his newfound fame.

It also is not totally out of the question that she, a lifelong hoofer since the age of three, was simply too busy managing the Fee Jeanes Toddlers Ballet on Victoria Grove Street and promoting her daughter Emily's career as a dancer in order to be bothered with the additional responsibilities that came with Dodger's notoriety which, ironically, she knowingly had foisted upon both him and herself. As a consequence, she then cooked up the sottise about him being senile as just one more rationale for having him whacked.

Besides, she candidly admits to caring only about hoofing. "It is something I love doing. I guess it started as a hobby and has just gone from strength to strength," she proclaims on her web site. "Seeing children having fun, while at the same time learning basic ballet with good discipline and enjoyment is what is important to me."

It nonetheless is nothing short of a profound pity that she cared so little about Dodger because he unquestionably was worth considerably more than either hers or Emily's hoofing careers. To put the matter in even blunter terms, he most assuredly deserved far better than a vainglorious shekel chaser for a guardian.

It is utterly outrageous but far too many cat owners are, like Jeanes, strictly fair weather guardians. C'est-à-dire, they dearly covet the unconditional love and companionship that cats offer so long as they neither cost nor trouble them too much. Once their loyal companions become either sickly or simply inconvenient to have around any longer they do not think twice about getting rid of them.

Although the cold-blooded liquidation of elderly, sickly, and unwanted cats is every bit as socially acceptable as the slaughtering of tens of trillions of terrestrial animals each year for the dinner table, that in no way makes it any less morally objectionable. Nevertheless, private individuals commit countless numbers of these dastardly deeds every day without so much as a twinge of remorse. (See Cat Defender posts of October 27, 2008 and March 12, 2009 entitled, respectively, "Loved and Admired All Over the World, Feline Heroine Scarlett Is Killed Off by Her Owner after She Becomes Ill" and "Too Cheap and Lazy to Care for Him During His Final Days, Betty Currie Has Socks Killed Off and His Corpse Burned.")

Some of these moral degenerates even have been known to stoop so low as to cash in on their unconscionable crimes. (See Cat Defender post of July 17, 2013 entitled "Not Satisfied with Merely Whacking Meiko, Garrison Keillor Struts on Stage in Order to Shed a Bucketful of Crocodile Tears and to Denigrate the Entire Species.")

Dodger Was Forced to Turn to Strangers for Both Love and Sustenance

Even those public institutions and businesses that have money to burn, such as public libraries and newspapers, are not about to care for elderly and sick cats. (See Cat Defender posts of December 7, 2006 and February 9, 2006 entitled, respectively, "After Nineteen Years of Service and Companionship, Ingrates at Iowa Library Murder Dewey Readmore Books" and "Newspaper Cat Named Tripod Is Killed Off by Journalists He Befriended in Vermont.")

So-called no-kill shelters and even Alley Cat Allies have absolutely no qualms about killing cats. (See Cat Defender posts of October 23, 2012 and January 2, 2013 entitled, respectively, "A Supposedly No-Kill Operation in Marblehead Betrays Sally and Snuffs Out Her Life Instead of Providing Her with a Home and Veterinary Care" and "Alley Cat Allies Demonstrates Its Utter Contempt for the Sanctity of Life by Unconscionably Killing Off Its Office Cat, Jared.")

When it comes to homeless cats, the killing season never ends. Most of these heinous crimes are perpetrated by Animal Control officers, shelters, and cops but occasionally even their trusted caretakers cannot resist the temptation to take up arms against them. (See Cat Defender post of September 28, 2011 entitled "Marvin Is Betrayed, Abducted, and Murdered by a Journalist and a Shelter Who Preposterously Maintain That They Were Doing Him a Favor.")

Although PETA likes to claim that all homeless cats are better off dead than alive, that is a thoroughly disingenuous argument because it feels exactly the same way about all cats. (See Cat Defender posts of October 7, 2011, January 29, 2007, and February 9, 2007 entitled, respectively, "PETA Traps and Kills a Cat and Then Shamelessly Goes Online in Order to Brag about Its Criminal and Foul Deed," "PETA's Long History of Killing Cats and Dogs Is Finally Exposed in North Carolina Courtroom," and "Verdict in PETA Trial: Littering Is a Crime but Not the Mass Slaughter of Innocent Cats and Dogs.")

Jeanes's treatment of Dodger is further called into question by the timing of events. For instance, the Bridport News reported on December 21, 2011 that it was actually she who first contacted it about doing a story on her cat. (See "National Newshounds on the Trail of Dodger the Bus Puss.")

Coinciding as it did with the announcement soon thereafter that Dodger was suffering from stomach cancer, it would appear in retrospect that Jeanes knew that he was dying and accordingly acted with alacrity in order to capitalize on his growing popularity around Bridport before he kicked the bucket. As best as it could be determined, however, there is not any evidence to support the conclusion that she, unlike Susan Finden of Plymouth, followed through on her initial plans and has in any way profited financially from Dodger's death. (See Cat Defender posts of August 27, 2009 and January 30, 2010 entitled, respectively, "Casper Treats Himself to an Unescorted Tour Around Plymouth Each Morning Courtesy of the Number Three Bus" and "Casper Is Run Down and Killed by a Hit-and-Run Taxi Driver While Crossing the Street in Order to Get to the Bus Stop.")

As is the case with just about all cats, both the famous as well as those who live out their lives in obscurity, not a great deal is known about Dodger's life. For example, it has not even been publicly disclosed either where he was born or how long that he had lived with Jeanes and her family.

Equally important, it would be interesting to know what his life was like before he was relocated to West Street. For instance, did he also roam and ride public transit at his old address?

The only thing about him that seems to be relatively certain is that his riding of the buses in Bridport was a fairly recent development. "We moved here nineteen months ago and our house backs on to the bus station," she disclosed to the Daily Mail in the article cited supra.

It therefore might not be too far-fetched to conclude that it was precisely the close proximity of his house to the bus station coupled with Jeanes's abject neglect of him that drove him into the arms of the commuters. After that, either one of them carried him on board or otherwise he found his way aboard by himself.

Even Jeanes herself admits that it was precisely the siren call of the free food, warm laps, and the attention showered on him by both commuters and drivers alike that attracted him to the buses. That tends to make sense in that it is unlikely that either boredom, Wanderlust, or eros still held much of an appeal for a tom of his advanced years.

Nevertheless, the mere fact that Dodger was forced to venture Weit und Breit in order to procure the nourishment and nurturing that he so cruelly was denied at home is in itself a staggering indictment of Jeanes's misconduct as a guardian. Even more damnable, it very well could have been her neglect of him that shortened his life.

No matter how Dodger's short, tragic life is analyzed it is impossible to come away with any other conclusion than that he richly deserved to have been blessed with a far more attentive and caring guardian than Jeanes. By failing to fulfill her solemn obligations to him, she shortchanged not only him but, ultimately, herself as well.

"I know a lot of people are going to be very disappointed and saddened that Dodger has gone," she predicted to the Bridport News in the February 22, 2012 article cited supra.

That is putting the matter rather mildly in that he leaves behind not only the hundreds of commuters whose lives he touched so profoundly simply through his presence on the buses and at the Bridport station, but thousands of others who learned of his existence via the Internet, the Today Show on Australian television, and the women's weekly magazine, Chat. Even the suits at Whiskas were so impressed by him and his exploits that they once sent him a parcel of treats.

Sadly, he is gone now and both Bridport and the world are all the poorer. Even more disquieting, it is too late to recall him from the grave and to belatedly shower him with the love and nourishment that he was forced into cadging in random, intermittent installments from perfect strangers.

Photos: Daily Mail.

Thursday, August 07, 2014

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

This Is How The National Park Service Issues an Eviction Notice 

"We all came down to the reality that no matter how much we fight, these cats are not going to be able to stay where they are."
-- Nancy Rogers of K9 Kastle 

It was a sad, tragic, and outrageously unjust end for thirty-three intrepid and noble cats who for the past eleven years had called Plum Beach in Brooklyn home. As integral parts of a fabulously successful TNR colony, they had weathered all the inclement nastiness that Mother Nature had to dish out, not the least of which were hurricanes Irene and Sandy and the recently bitterly cold winter, as well as having been forced to fend off countless predators, both animal and human.

Regrettably, neither they nor their incredibly dedicated caretakers proved to be much of a match for the ingrained hatred and underhanded machinations of the National Park Service (NPS) which has dominion over Plum Beach thanks to its being part of the twenty-six-thousand-six-hundred-acre Gateway National Recreation Area (GNRA). With its twenty-two-thousand glorified and gilded welfare bums who masquerade as public servants on top of an annual operating budget of around $3 billion, this cat-hating behemoth of the Interior Department easily had the volunteers hopelessly outgunned and outspent.

All of the cats had been sterilized, vaccinated, and sheltered as well as fed and watered twice a day by the volunteers. Moreover, there had not been any complaints as far as it is known about their presence from either residents of the surrounding neighborhood of Plum Beach or those living in nearby Sheepshead Bay and Gerritsen Beach.

"These cats have been there for years," Nancy Rogers of K9 Kastle of Brooklyn told the New York Daily News on June 14th. (See "A Colony of Feral Cats Is Set to Be Cleared from Gateway National Recreation Area in Plum Beach on Orders from the Federal Park Service.") "They bother no one."

Equally important, they provided an invaluable and cost-free service to the community. "Do you know there's a rat problem in New York City?" Rogers' colleague, Janelle Barabash of Midwood, pointed out the obvious to the Brooklyn Daily on June 13th. (See "Puss Gets the Boot.") "(Do) you know where there's not a rat problem? Plumb (sic) Beach."

Being able to see and spend time with the cats also provided a measure of pleasure for those area residents who, for one reason or another, are unable to keep those of their own in their apartments. Even the simple act of just helping these exquisite beings to survive in a hostile world provided immeasurable psychological benefits for some of the volunteers.

"It's like therapy for me -- I was in Vietnam," Joe Destefan of Bay Ridge confided to the Brooklyn Daily. "I still go to group (therapy), but this helps a lot."

It accordingly came as a profound shock to Rogers and her colleagues when the NPS out of the blue lowered the boom on them and the cats. In the typically sneaky, underhanded, and authoritarian fashion that has come to characterize the federal government's abhorrent treatment of cats all across the country, the NPS blindsided the volunteers on June 8th when it posted a sign at the entrance to Plum Beach ordering the cats out of the area.

In a carefully calculated maneuver clearly designed to make doubly certain that few, if any, of them would be able to make it out alive, the NPS gave the volunteers only a measly five days in order to remove them. After that, the NPS vowed to destroy their winterized shelters and feeding stations and then to trap and hand them over to shelters.

Nancy Rogers Worked Tirelessly in Order to Save the Cats

"At this point, our plans are to take those structures down and try to round up the cats and take them to a city shelter," Daphne Yun, a propagandist for the NPS, bellowed loud and clear to the Daily News. While she was at it, she could not resist the overwhelming temptation to claim that none of the felines would be harmed.

Rogers quickly responded by exposing Yun as a barefaced liar. "They (the cats) get five days before they put them down," she told the Brooklyn Daily.

Although during his twelve-year tenure as mayor of New York City, Mike "Dirty Bloomers" Bloomberg often blew long and hard about transforming the pet slaughterhouse capital of America into no-kill, he did almost nothing in order to make that ideal a reality. His successor, phony-baloney and loudmouthed Bill de Blasio, is an even bigger joke as a public servant in that he behaves as if he were totally ignorant of the fact that scores of cats, dogs, and other companion animals are being systematically exterminated every day of the week at city shelters by Animal Care and Control.

Much more to the point, since the parking lot and green way which provide access to Plum Beach are under the joint control of the city's departments of Parks and Recreation and Transportation, de Blasio could have leaned heavily on the NPS to have allowed the cats to stay. Failing that, he could have designated a portion of the parking lot as their sanctuary.

The NPS most assuredly could have been dealt with but that is way too much to expect from a inveterate blowhard and bum like de Blasio. Besides, he is far too busy vacationing in Italy and hobnobbing with the sleazy, lower-than-dirt Clintons to ever be troubled with life and death matters and animal cruelty issues.

As for the NPS, its rationale for ousting the cats is every bit as old and tiresome as it is disingenuous. First of all, it claims that they are a threat to shorebirds, small mammals, and reptiles.

Secondly, it maintains that they are an invasive species and therefore do not have any right to exist in any of the fifty-nine parks and three-hundred-forty-two national monuments, conservation areas, and historical sites that it has appropriated as its own private fiefdoms. Finally, it claims that their presence on federally-controlled property is illegal.

"For a national park to have any exotic species that could pose a threat to native wildlife is in direct conflict with national law," the agency's Doug Adamo pontificated to the Brooklyn Daily. "It is conservatively estimated that one billion birds (are) killed by domestic cats in the United States alone."

Local ornithologists were beside themselves with glee at the unexpected coup delivered to them on a silver platter by their comrades-in-arms at the NPS. "I would hope that the colony caretakers and the Park Service could work out a plan to relocate the cats that live currently at Plumb (sic) Beach to existent colonies that are not in such an environmentally sensitive area," Rob Bate of the Brooklyn Bird Club chirped to the Brooklyn Daily. "The littoral zone and salt water marshes along coasts are severely diminished habitats worldwide and deserve special consideration, protection and attention."

The Evacuated Cats Outside of Rogers' House

With her beloved cats reduced to living under a death sentence and time running out fast, Rogers was left with no alternative other than to crawl to Adamo on her hands and knees in order to beg for additional time. "It took a year and a half to trap and spay or neuter the population," she pointed out to the Brooklyn Daily. "I don't know how Doug thinks we'll do this in eight (sic) days."

In between savoring the sweet smell of victory occasioned by his finally having Rogers, her colleagues, and the cats at his mercy, Adamo somehow still managed to find a teeny-weeny bit of space in his cold, black heart in order to be generous. He accomplished that léger de main by first extending the eviction deadline to June 20th and then, reluctantly, to June 30th. What a guy!

That act of beau geste provided the cats' caretakers with a little breathing room but it in no way mitigated the enormity of the task that lay before them. All thirty-three cats had to be trapped and then temporarily housed in Rogers' garage before being permanently relocated elsewhere.

Although the particulars have not been publicly disclosed, Rogers was able to fairly quickly locate a farm south of the city (most likely in New Jersey) that was willing to take in the dispossessed felines apparently free-of-charge. "I cannot say where it is, but the cats are leaving New York," was all that she was willing to divulge to the Brooklyn Daily on June 23rd. (See "Caretakers Moving Plumb (sic) Beach Felines to Undisclosed, Out-of-State Location.")

Left unanswered, however, is the disquieting issue of whether she ultimately was successful in her attempt to trap and remove all of the cats. The only thing that is known for certain is that she trapped at least twenty of them.

"These are the hard ones -- the holdouts," she admitted to the New York Daily News on June 30th. (See "It's End of Feline (sic) for Brooklyn Cat Colony.") "I have two that have been staring at me all morning."

Unless the June 30th deadline was extended, any cats that Rogers and her colleagues left behind surely would have been rounded up by the NPS and either liquidated on the spot or turned over to Animal Care and Control to kill. Plus, just because Rogers and her assistants have been given the bum's rush in Plum Beach that does not mean that Brooklynites are about to mend their ways and discontinue using the area as a convenient spot to dump their unwanted companions.

"New ones are going to show up to take their place," Rogers sagely pointed out to the Daily News in the June 14th article cited supra. "That's just the way it works."

With Rogers and her helpers no longer around to protect them, the NPS will be able to do with the cats as it not only sees fit but to its sinister delight. Rogers may have saved some of the cats through her herculean efforts but the real killing has yet to begin.

"We all came down to the reality that no matter how much we fight, these cats are not going to be able to stay where they are," is how she summed up her decision to throw in the towel to the Daily News in the June 30th article cited supra.

Inseparable Patches and Rusty

In addition to all the back-breaking work involved in capturing the cats, they also had to be seen by a veterinarian in order to make certain that their vaccinations were up-to-date before the farm would accept them. They also had to be transported to their new home and Rogers and her colleagues likely are responsible for the cost of their continued care.

As best it could be determined, no animal rights group either within or outside of New York City was willing to lift so much as a lousy finger in order to help the volunteers save the cats. An online fundraiser at www.youcaring.com/medical-fundraiser/save-the-plum-beach-cats/192464 did succeed, however, in taking in $2,535 of the projected $3,000 needed in order to relocate them.

Even though the NPS was able to prevail without so much as breaking a sweat in this latest confrontation between the massive and utterly tyrannical federal bureaucracy and cats, it nevertheless is of paramount importance that its outrageous lies are not allowed to go unchallenged. In addition to Yun's whopper about shelters in New York City not killing cats, the NPS failed to offer up so much as a scintilla of evidence that they were having an adverse impact upon birds, small mammals, and snakes.

Instead, Adamo relies upon a thoroughly discredited study conducted by the Smithsonian Institution in Washington and the NPS's sister agency within the Interior Department, the diabolical United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), that ludicrously blamed cats living in the United States for annually killing between one and four billion birds and anywhere from six to twenty-three billion mammals. (See Nature Communications, January 29, 2013, "The Impact of Free-Ranging Domestic Cats on Wildlife in the United States.")

If the ingrained prejudices of those two cat-hating organizations were not sufficient in their own right to discredit the study's conclusions, the fact that Nicole Dauphiné worked on it before she was convicted of attempting to poison a TNR-managed colony in Washington's Meridian Hill Park is surely the clincher. (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.")

Although the study was totally bogus and its authors not only biased but completely lacking in integrity, that has not prevented perennial cat-haters within the capitalist media from immediately and uncritically passing it off as the gospel truth to a gullible public. (See The New York Times, January 29, 2013, "That Cuddly Kitty Is Deadlier Than You Think" and Cat Defender posts of June 15, 2009 and December 8, 2007 entitled, respectively, "American Bird Conservancy, The New York Times, and the Humane Society Unite to Form an Achse des Bösen Against Cats" and "All the Lies That Fit: Scheming New York Times Hires a Bird Lover to Render His 'Unbiased' Support for James M. Stevenson.")

Furthermore, since all of the Plum Beach cats had been sheltered and generously fed twice a day by the volunteers that largely eliminated their need to hunt. A far more plausible scenario is that it was precisely the cats themselves who were being preyed upon by birds, dogs, other animals, and the likes of Dauphiné. (See Cat Defender posts of July 31, 2006, August 14, 2008, August 1, 2011, and February 16, 2012 entitled, respectively, "Fifteen-Year-Old Bamboo Miraculously Survives Being Abducted and Mauled by a Hoot Owl in British Columbia," "Birds Killing Cats: Blackie Is Abducted by a Sea Gull and Then Dropped but Her Fall Is Broken by a Barbed-Wire Fence," "Eddie Is Saved by an Outdoor Umbrella after He Is Abducted from the Balcony of His Manhattan Apartment and Then Dropped by a Redtailed Hawk," and "Hawk Suffers Puncture Wounds to His Stomach and One Paw When He Is Abducted by a Raptor Hired to Patrol a City Dump on Vancouver Island.")

Old Birdie Bate is likewise lying through his rotten teeth when he blames cats for the destruction of coastal zones around the world. Au contraire, it is precisely developers, polluters, oil and natural gas extraction companies, the United States Navy, and man-made climate change that are the real culprits.

On Plum Beach, for example, water and wind erosion are major dilemmas. Moreover, such damage is destined to only grow worse unless drastic measures are immediately undertaken in order to lessen the likelihood of another major storm such as Hurricane Sandy.

Neither the feds, birders, nor wildlife biologists want to hear so much as a syllable about climate change and the likelihood that it is destined to obliterate life as it is known on this planet; instead, they much prefer to demonize and kill cats. After all, such a perverse and dishonest agenda not only presents them with an unlimited number of opportunities in order to slake their thirst for feline blood but it also puts enormous sums of money in their pockets as well.

Blondie

Thirdly, Adamo's branding of cats as an exotic species constitutes the very epitome of dishonesty and hypocrisy. Carried to its logical conclusion, his sottise would make not only him and his colleagues at the NPS members of an exotic species but also hundreds of avian and mammalian species as well.

All immigrants, foreign visitors, imports, and even ballast water from cargo ships also would fall under that rubric. So, too, would deadly communicable diseases, dozens of varieties of bedbugs, and insects contained in fruit, vegetables, wood products, and other items but absolutely no one, especially the feds, wants to curb their importation. Why, just a few days ago the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta went out of their way in order to introduce the Ebola virus to North America.

The feds additionally allow genetically engineered crops to not only be cultivated on public lands but to be treated with pesticides that have been linked to precipitate declines in honey bees, monarch butterflies, and other species. For whatever it is worth, the USFWS claims that it is going to phase out both practices on most, but not all, public lands by January of 2016. (See The Seattle Times, August 6, 2014, "Wildlife Refuges Phasing Out GMO Crops, Pesticides.")

To this very day, however, neither the NPS nor its sister agency, the Bureau of Land Management, has been able to muster enough moxie in order to evict a herd of cows owned by Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy from federal land even though the animals are an introduced species and he has not paid so much as a red cent of the paltry grazing fees that they have assessed him since 1993! Unlike the cats' law-abiding and peaceable caretakers in Plum Beach, Bundy and his militiamen are armed to the teeth and the NPS starts to tremble in its silk drawers at even the thought of coming within ten feet of them.

The agency's conduct is made all the more reprehensible in that it does not have anything even remotely approaching a valid excuse for being so shamefully craven. After all, it is well understood that any poor bullet that found itself on a collision course with any of the NPS's old ornery hides would immediately turn around in midair and go off in search of a softer target.  (See The Guardian of London, April 19, 2014, "A Rancher's Armed Battle Against the United States Government Is Standard Libertarian Fare.")

The picture is thus clear. In the feds' twisted minds, deadly diseases, imported and genetically modified species, farmers, ranchers, mineral extraction companies, illegal immigrants, criminals, and even potential terrorists are welcome on these shores; cats, however, must go.

In contradistinction to the vast majority of those species and individuals, the cats from Plum Beach and elsewhere were born here and it therefore is their birthright not only to exist but to flourish in this country. In addition to the many benefits that they bestow upon society, their impact upon the environment is minimal when compared to that of man and other species.

The appalling disingenuousness of the distinction that ornithologists and wildlife biologists make between native and so-called introduced species is exposed for what it is once it is realized that the feds routinely evict and slaughter in droves even those species that they have designated as native, such as jaguars, cougars, bobcats, wolves, foxes, bears, coyotes, prairie dogs, and geese. All totaled, the USDA's Wildlife Services kill up to four million wild animals each year at the request of primarily economic interests and cat-haters. (See Cat Defender posts of September 15, 2005 and May 21, 2009 entitled, respectively, "United States Government Exterminates Millions of Wild Animals at the Behest of Capitalists" and "Macho B., America's Last Jaguar, Is Illegally Trapped, Radio-Collared, and Killed Off by Wildlife Biologists in Arizona," the Washington Post, December 15, 2013 and April 24, 2014 entitled, respectively, "Petition Targets 'Rogue' Killings by Wildlife Services" and "USDA's Wildlife Services Killed Four Million Animals in 2013; Seen as an Overstep by Some," and The Star Ledger of Newark, March 23, 2014, "Port Authority Animal Killings in New Jersey Have Little Effect on Bird Strikes, Data Reveals (sic).)"

In spite of all of their hypocrisy and blatant dishonesty, ornithologists and wildlife biologists bandy about the terms exotic and invasive just as if they suddenly had arrived at some stupendous intellectual insight. Much like the doped-up followers of some religious fanatic, these wild-eyed egomaniacs tingle from head to toe at their own cleverness but at the same time are flummoxed to understand why the world does not fall at their feet in recognition of their overwhelming genius.

Adamo's assertion that cats are forbidden by law to venture onto federally-controlled lands is dubious at best. Although the feds often cite the Endangered Species Act of 1973 and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 as granting them the authority to evict and kill cats with impunity, both of them were enacted long before TNR became en vogue and it is extremely doubtful that their drafters ever envisioned that they would be put to such an evil purpose.

The feds' draconian attitude toward cats is therefore merely a bureaucratic policy and not a federal mandate. As such it could be overturned by either the president or Congress exercising its oversight authority.

Besides if it were the law of the land, every ornithologist and wildlife biologist in the country would have been in federal court long ago demanding that it be rigorously enforced. Since that is hardly the case, they have been reduced to lobbying Barack Obama's latest flunky at the Department of the Interior, Sally Jewell, to make it an ironclad bureaucratic mandate on all lands under her dominion.

For example, back in February Ted "Slick Willie" Williams of the National Audubon Society (NAS) drafted a letter to her to that effect and it was signed by practically every Audubon chapter and wildlife biologist in the country as well as PETA. (See Fly Rod and Reel, February 14, 2014, "The Honorable Sally Jewell, Secretary of the Department of the Interior.")

Boots

In a February 16th online postscript addressed to an avid supporter who passed himself off as none other than Sir Henry Bufton Tufton, Slick Willie also reiterated his and the NAS's often repeated call that all cats be illegally poisoned out of existence. (See Cat Defender post of May 18, 2013 entitled "Ted Williams and the National Audubon Society Issue a Call for Cats to Be Poisoned with Tylenol® and Then Try to Lie Out of It.")

Bufton Tufton, by the way, not only admits to shooting dogs but to poisoning them with Tylenol® as well and although Williams did not explicitly endorse such an abhorrent and illegal practice, he did not denounce it either. Dogs, accordingly, could be next on the NAS's ever-expanding hit list. (See Cat Defender post of March 15, 2007 entitled "Connecticut Audubon Society Shows It True Colors by Calling for the Slaughter of Feral Cats, Mute Swans, Mallards, Canada Geese, and Deer.")

Furthermore, the NPS's outlandish claim that it has a legal mandate to lethally or otherwise remove cats from all properties under its purview is merely the tip of the proverbial iceberg when it comes to the feds' lawlessness in dealing with them and their caretakers. In reality, they do not recognize either any limitations or boundaries in the exercise of their self-anointed right to kill cats.

In 2008, for instance, agents from Wildlife Services sneaked into residential neighborhoods throughout Key Largo and, presumably, elsewhere in the Florida Keys where they illegally trapped and killed dozens of cats. "They went into neighborhoods looking for cats. They didn't care where they went," Dave Gable, a welder on Garden Cove Drive who had six of his cats stolen and killed by the agency, told the Florida Keys Reporter of Key Largo on May 8th of this year. (See "Key Largo Man Says Feds Unfairly Targeting His Cats to Save Woodrat.") "They killed them all."

In its latest round of illegal seizures and killings intended to rid the Keys in general and Crocodile Lake National Wildlife Refuge in particular of cats, the USFWS has been trapping them in both Dangy Johnson Key Largo Hammock Botanical State Park and on private property as well. For example, on April 23rd the agency illegally trapped a cat named Rocky belonging to world famous scuba diver Captain Spencer C. Slate of Garden Cove Drive in Key Largo.

The trapping not only left Rocky with a bloodied face but it also cost Slate a $75 fine. "They (the traps) were all about fifty feet from my goddamned property (and not in Crocodile Lake)," he angrily told the Florida Keys Reporter. (See Cat Defender posts of May 24, 2007 and June 23, 2011 entitled, respectively, "USDA and Wildlife Service Commence Trapping and Killing Cats on Florida's Big Pine Key" and "Wallowing in Welfare Dollars, Lies, and Prejudice, the Bloodthirsty United States Fish and Wildlife Service Is Again Killing Cats in the Florida Keys.")

The USFWS additionally funds private bird and wildlife advocacy groups, such as Biodiversity Works in Edgartown, Massachusetts, which of late has been illegally trapping and removing cats from Martha's Vineyard. (See The Martha's Vineyard Times, May 28, 2014, "Fur Flies over Efforts to Protect Piping Plovers from Free Roaming Cats.")

When it is not actually killing cats outright, the USFWS occupies itself funding bogus, anti-feline research by the likes of the Smithsonian, Stanley Temple of the University of Wisconsin at Madison, and others. It also gallivants all across the country preaching its inveterate hatred of both cats and TNR to either anyone or group fool enough to lend it an ear.

Even on those extremely rare occasions when it can be prevailed upon to allow cat advocates to humanely remove condemned animals from properties under its malignant thumb it demands in return that the rescued cats be cruelly imprisoned indoors for the remainder of their natural lives even if their new homes are located on private property. (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 County 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 Service," "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.")

Perhaps most egregious of all, the USDA's Animal Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) now has a legal precedent to regulate the minute details of even those felines who reside in purely private businesses and, presumably by extension, private residences as well. (See Cat Defender post of January 24, 2013 entitled "The Feds Now Have Cats and Their Owners Exactly Where They Want Them Thanks to an Outrageous Court Ruling Targeting the Hemingway Home and Museum in Key West.")

Even if Congress were to belatedly enact a statute designed to legalize the outrageous power grabs made by its buddies within the NPS and other federal agencies, that would not necessarily be the end of the matter. For example, back in 2006 Fresno's big-shot mayor, Alan Autry, ordered his goons within the police department to destroy a homeless encampment occupied by Pamela Kincaid and others.

Itsy-Bitsy

The high-strutting Stürmtruppen not only demolished their tents but while they were at it they confiscated and subsequently destroyed an undisclosed number of kittens, clothing, tools, identification cards, governmental documents, family photographs, and even the cremated ashes of a deceased person. San Francisco attorney Paul Alexander of Heller Ehrman, The Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights, and the ACLU Foundation of Northern California in turn sued the city in United States District Court of Fresno where they were able to convince presiding Judge Oliver W. Wanger that the cops' theft of the personal property of the down-and-outers violated the just compensation clause of the Fifth Amendment.

Applied to the situation in Plum Beach, the cats were the de facto personal property of their caretakers as were their shelters, feeding stations, food, water, and other personal effects. The NPS is accordingly guilty of a gross violation of the just compensation clause. As a matter of purely bureaucratic policy, it may have had the authority to order the cats' removal but it had absolutely no legal right under the Constitution to steal either them or the personal belongings of their caretakers.

Any other interpretation of events would make a complete mockery of the just compensation clause. In particular, it would grant federal officials the authority to not only rob but to possibly even kill individuals who either wittingly or unwittingly set foot on federal properties, including highways, where their presence is not wanted.

The NPS's fifth outrageous lie is that is only learned of the cats' presence in May. Actually, it and other federal agencies had known about the colony from the very beginning.

In fact, when the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) was rebuilding Plum Beach in the wake of the extensive damage done to it by Hurricane Sandy it graciously provided the caretakers with a key to a fenced-off area. Although it must be said that the USACE's conduct in this case is totally at odds with how horribly it treated the cats living in West Bank Park at Lake Lanier a few years ago. (See Cat Defender post of April 17, 2010 entitled "Lake Lanier's Cats Face an Uncertain Future Following Their Ouster by the Liars and Defamers at the United States Army Corps of Engineers.")

The NPS's actions in Plum Beach therefore need to be viewed in light of the feds' all-out war against cats. Whereas the USFWS is the main protagonist in this battle, it receives plenty of assistance from Wildlife Services, APHIS, and the United States Forest Service.

In addition to the USACE's crimes against cats, the Defense Department exterminates them in droves at the hundreds of military installations that it maintains both at home and abroad. (See Cat Defender posts of November 14, 2006, June 16, 2008, and July 16, 2009 entitled, respectively, "Military Killing Cats and Dogs by the Tens of Thousands as Imperialistic America Attempts to Conquer the World," "Targeted for Elimination by the American War Machine and Cheney's Henchmen, Baghdad's Cats Are Befriended by an English Mercenary," and "Yellow Two Is Shot and Maimed for Life at Fort Hood in the United States Army's Latest Criminal Offense Against Cats.")

Vivisectors at governmental laboratories carve up and torture to death countless cats each year during the course of their utterly worthless experiments. The feds likewise generously fund universities to butcher even more of them.

In recent years even the languishing United States Postal Service has gotten in on the cat-hating craze that is spreading throughout the federal bureaucracy like a malignant tumor. (See Cat Defender post of February 11, 2009 entitled "U.S. Postal Service Knuckles Under to the Threats and Lies of a Cat-Hater and Gives Sammy the Boot.")

The common denominators in the feds' war on cats are easily recognizable regardless of whether the agency doing the maligning and killing is the NPS or some other entity. Most noticeably, all of them are first and foremost welfare bums who finance their atrocities with the tax dollars paid to them by the masses, including cat owners and advocates.

Generous and Dedicated Carolyn Euvino

Secondly, their anti-cat diatribes, which they ludicrously pass off as science, are concocted by inveterate liars who do not have so much as a scintilla of either objectivity or honesty. Thirdly, all of the aforementioned federal agencies do the bidding of ornithologists and wildlife biologists while cat advocacy groups are completely excluded from the decision-making process.

Their outrageous lies and crimes are in turn endorsed by and peddled to the public by such utterly reprehensible and phony-baloney animal rights groups as PETA and the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). The feds also benefit mightily from the uncritical support that they receive from not only The New York Times but the Washington Post, the Orlando Sentinel, USA Today, and other unscrupulous media outlets who care absolutely nothing about either objectivity or the truth.

Just as birds of a feather flock together, it is not the least bit surprising that the feds have aligned themselves with such patently lawless organizations as the NAS, the American Bird Conservancy, HSUS, and PETA. In the final analysis, the NPS's expulsion of the Plum Beach cats can only be viewed as a poignant example of the feds bending over backwards in order to reward cat defamers and killers, such as Dauphiné, Slick Willie, PETA, and others, for their myriad of despicable crimes. (See Cat Defender posts of January 29, 2007, February 9, 2007, and October 7, 2011 entitled, respectively, "PETA's Long History of Killing Cats and Dogs Is Finally Exposed in North Carolina Courtroom," " Verdict in PETA Trial: Littering Is a Crime but Not the Mass Slaughter of Innocent Cats and Dogs," and "PETA Traps and Kills a Cat and Then Shamelessly Goes Online in Order to Brag about Its Criminal and Foul Deed.")

As reprehensible as all of that is, this story is concerned with considerably more than the lies and ruthlessness of the NPS. It likewise is about much more than the injustice of their eviction.

It even entails a good deal more than the steadfastness and dedication of their heroic caretakers who through their actions have proven once again that it is precisely they and other like them who constitute the heart, soul, backbone, and financial lifeblood of the feline protection movement; all others are impostors. Whereas all of those groups and elements have come to dominate center stage in this debate, none of that alters the salient fact that this story is first and last about thirty-three long-suffering and noble cats, each of whom has a personality and a history.

Most prominent among them is a cat named Rusty who cruelly and unconscionably was dumped at Plum Beach more than a decade ago. Then there is Patches who, although born into the colony, is descended from parents who, like Rusty, were themselves abandoned.

Over the years Rusty and Patches struck up a friendship and now they are inseparable. Although it is not known if Rogers was able to trap and remove both of them, hopefully that proved to be the case and they are still together today at their new home.

There also is Blondie, a shy brown and white domesticated cat, who was dumped at the colony three years ago. Both Boots, a friendly tortoiseshell, and Itsy-Bitsy, a brown cat with black markings, would make wonderful companions.

All of the remaining cats have stories also that desperately need to be told but, malheureusement, the pertinent information regarding their lives has not been publicly divulged. Moreover, now that they are gone it is highly unlikely that the world ever will get the opportunity to either meet them or to even come to know that they once graced the face of the earth.

As far as homes go, Plum Beach was not any great shakes under any circumstances. The area is exposed, cold, windy, wet, and subject to erosion.

It also was somewhat dangerous for the cats in that it serves as a rendezvous for both homosexuals and those who make a sport out of preying upon them. (See The New York Times, October 14, 2007, "A Man's Death Shines a Light on a Shady Parking Lot.")

The Sun Has Finally Set on the Plum Beach Cats

It nevertheless was the only home that most of the cats ever had known and anyone who knows anything about the species fully realizes only too well that turf is everything to a cat. As an old Sprichwort maintains, dogs belong to people but cats belong to places.

The cats, however, have lost so much more than their beloved home in that they no longer have their devoted caretakers. One of them, Carolyn Euvino, not only had looked after them for the past eleven years but she spent $30,000 out of her own pocket in order to have them sterilized. Needless to say, individuals like her do not grow on trees.

"When the snow was waist-high this winter, we took a $120 cab to come feed the cats," she disclosed to the Brooklyn Daily in the June 13th article cited supra. "I'm a 'crazy cat lady'."

All of that is now a thing of the past. The cats have been uprooted, trapped, bandied about, poked and probed by veterinarians, and finally shanghaied to a new and strange location.

The psychological and emotional wringer that they have been put through could not possibly have been anything short of frightening and traumatic. In spite of all the simply diabolical brain experiments that vivisectors all across the world have performed on cats, not a great deal is known about how they deal with stress, death, and the loss of loved ones.

It is strongly suspected, however, that their minds work pretty much the same as those of their human counterparts. With that being the case, the best that can be hoped is that the Plum Beach cats somehow will be able to find the emotional resources that they are so desperately going to need in order to cope with what Charles Dickens euphemistically would have called their "reduced circumstances."

Euvino, Rogers, and their other faithful caretakers also are undoubtedly going to terribly miss seeing and caring for them. Anyone even remotely involved in rescuing cats fully realizes that there are not any lulls in the struggle. New arrivals are constantly turning up and their urgent needs must be promptly addressed.

In spite of all of that, it is sincerely hoped that the volunteers will not completely forget all about the cats but rather will find the time in order to occasionally visit them. It might still be feasible even at this late date for them to belatedly place some of them in loving homes.

Although the original online fundraising appeal ended on July 6th, it is still possible for donations to be made to Rogers at K9Kastle@gmail.com. Such donations will go a long way toward ensuring not only the continued care of those cats that have been evacuated but also to attend to those either inadvertently left behind or destined to be abandoned on Plum Beach in the future.

The evil designs of the NPS and its many allies can only be checkmated when fans of the species emulate the sterling example set by the volunteers and open up both their hearts and wallets and give generously. Neither the cats themselves nor their wonderfully dedicated and caring guardians are deserving of anything less.

Photos: Steve Solomonson of the Brooklyn Daily (Sign, Rogers, Rusty and Patches, Blondie, Boots, Itsy-Bitsy, and Euvino) and Nancy Rogers (caged cats and an unidentified cat).

Friday, July 25, 2014

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

Poussey and Sandrine Foehr

"That is my cat! But what is he doing in England?"
-- Sandrine Foehr

It is exceedingly rare to find a cop, especially a male one, who has any regard whatsoever for cats. Veterinarians that are willing to treat an indigent one are, likewise, about as commonplace as hens' teeth. Plus, although many fans of the species are fond of  professing their undying love for its members, not too many of them are actually willing to go the extra mile in order to track them down once they become lost.

The mathematical odds therefore of a policeman, a veterinarian, and a dedicated cat owner pooling their resources and pulling out all the stops in order to save the life of a lost cat surely must be at least a million to one. Yet despite all the improbabilities, that is exactly what happened last year in the case of a then three-year-old brown and gray male with bright green eyes named Poussey from La Havre.

His troubles began on April 22nd when he mysteriously disappeared without so much as a trace from the home that he had shared for the previous two years with Sandrine and Martial Foehr, both forty-six, and their trio of children, fourteen-year-old Charlotte, thirteen-year-old Caroline, and six-year-old Louis. They scoured the neighborhood for him but by then he, unbeknownst to them, was long gone.

Two days later, he found himself hopelessly lost, bewildered, and wandering the automobile deck of the P&O Ferry as it plied the choppy waters of the English Channel en route to Dover in Kent from Calais. It did not take long, however, for his presence on board to be detected by the ship's crew and, consequently, for him to be taken into custody. From that point onward his already perilous situation deteriorated with alacrity.

Upon docking in Dover he was handed over to PC David Palmer of the Port of Dover Police where he soon thereafter was scanned for an implanted microchip. Although one was found and deciphered, it led Palmer to a database that contained the contact information for Poussey's former owner who, as it soon was learned, had relocated elsewhere without leaving behind a forwarding address.

Owing to Angleterre's ridiculously harsh and utterly barbaric pet immigration laws, it surely looked like Poussey had met his Waterloo. "Our holding facility at the docks is designed for keeping a cat for not much longer than a day," Palmer later revealed to Kent Online on June 30, 2013. (See "Stolen Cat Poussey Reunited with Owners from France after Massive Rescue Effort.") "After that, if a home hasn't been found for it, the animal is usually put to sleep."

Only the severely warped mind of modern man could conjure up such a morally repugnant and unjust policy! Even if such an inhumane thought had crossed the minds of the Neanderthals they surely would not have been able to have acted upon it.

Being sans doute cognizant of all of that, Palmer took a shine to Poussey and even started calling him Javert in honor of the dogged and fanatical police inspector in Victor Hugo's novel, Les Misérables, who finally was able to track down Jean Valjean. Although Palmer's heart obviously was in the right place, that in and of itself did absolutely nothing in order to alleviate Poussey's plight.

"Javert was effectively on death row," Palmer added to Kent Online. "If an animal arrives without a pet passport, it becomes a rabies danger and must be put down or go into quarantine."

In a last-ditch effort to save Poussey's life, he took it upon himself to contact more than a dozen sanctuaries, catteries, and charities in Kent about taking in the stateless feline. Although some of those organizations apparently were amenable to that suggestion, the Stolperstein was the exorbitant cost of medicating and quarantining the cat for six months.

The Daily Mail in its June 28th edition, for instance, claims that it would have cost £500 alone just to quarantine Poussey but that estimate seems to be rather low. (See "Runaway French Cat Who Owes His Life to a British Policeman Who Found Him on the Ferry to Dover.")

Poussey Awaits the Arrival of His Family at Stattersfield's Surgery

For example, when Ginger arrived at Toray Textiles in Nottinghamshire on cargo ship from Xiamen in Fujian Province in 2008 her quarantine fee was £1,877.66. (See Cat Defender post of August 11, 2008 entitled "Trapped Inside a Crate, Ginger Licks Up Condensation in Order to Survive a Nightmarish Sea Voyage from China to Nottinghamshire.")

Along about that same time, a mere ten-day-old kitten named Ronaldo was assessed an equivalent amount when he arrived at clothing retailer Matalan's warehouse in Corby, Northamptonshire, on a lorry from Portugal. (See Cat Defender post of August 18, 2008 entitled "Ronaldo Escapes Death after Retailer Coughs Up the Exorbitant Bounty That Quarantine Officials Had Placed on His Head.")

Fortunately, both cats were able to elude the gallows in order to live another day when the firms that inadvertently had imported them magnanimously agreed to ransom their lives. Their amazingly good luck does absolutely nothing, however, to soften the harsh reality that they doubtlessly were exceptions to the rule.

When his efforts to secure a temporary abode for Poussey failed to bear fruit, indefatigable Palmer turned to Jeremy Stattersfield of Burnham House Veterinary Surgery in Dover for assistance. Although a bird-lover, the kindhearted practitioner did not hesitate to vaccinate Poussey and to issue him a passport free of charge. The latter is mandatory under the Pet Travel Scheme (PETS) for all companion animals that cross national borders within the European Union.

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

Moreover, he did not stop there but instead arranged for Poussey to spend his first three weeks away from home at The Animal Inn on Dover Road in Ringwould, near Deal. Once that expedient had run its course, he cleared the way for Poussey to be sheltered at the Rhodes Minnis Cat Sanctuary outside of Folkestone where he also operates another surgery. Perhaps most important of all, he also succeeded in getting La Fondation Brigitte Bardot in Paris to cover the cost of quarantining him.

While Stattersfield was busily weaving his magic, Palmer was able to prevail 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 old abode. That gambit was a real long shot to say the least but, just as a one-hundred to one perennial loser occasionally comes home first at the track, it succeeded fabulously.

Although by this time Poussey must have been gone for almost two months, Foehr had not stopped searching for him. As it so often has been observed, all great minds think alike and while hoping against hope that just perhaps her errant feline had returned to his original home, she went there in order to search for him but instead received the shock of her life when she discovered Palmer's missive.

She got an even bigger jolt when she opened it and had digested its incredible contents. "That's my cat!" the gratte-papier exclaimed to the bobby on the telephone according to the Daily Mail article cited supra. "But what is he doing in England?"

With the assistance of one of Palmer's subalterns and Alain Lhote of the Police aux frontières, who whisked them through customs, Sandrine traveled to Dover along with her three children in order to collect Poussey at Stattersfield's surgery on Castle Street. He was handed over to the joyous family by veterinary nurse Martina Hood who had assumed responsibility for his care after he was uprooted from Rhodes Minnis in a prelude to reuniting him with the Foehrs.

"We are so grateful to David Palmer and Jeremy Stattersfield," daughter Charlotte told Kent Online. "We have another cat and a dog back home but Poussey was extra special. After all, it was he who chose to come and live with us."

Jeremy Stattersfield

For his part, Stattersfield graciously conceded that saving Poussey's life had been a team effort. "The police showed compassion, as did the quarantine kennels, who reduced their fees," he told Kent Online. "The Brigitte Bardot Foundation...paid for his quarantine costs and the Rhodes Minnis Cat Sanctuary were (sic) there for him if an owner did not come forward."

If there is any truth in Stattersfield last statement, Poussey's life perhaps would have been spared even if Palmer ultimately had been unable to locate the Foehrs. It is far better that his ploy succeeded, however, in that Poussey will be much happier back home where he not only belongs but is dearly loved.

To this day it remains a mystery as to how he got from La Havre to Calais. The only thing for certain is that he surely did not walk that great of a distance and then nonchalantly pussyfoot up the gangplank and board the ferry without so much as a ticket.

"I was frantic when he went missing. I just knew he had been stolen," Foehr swore to Kent Online. "But I never dreamed that his kidnappers would have driven him out of the area. What sort of people would do such a thing?"

The particulars to Poussey's odyssey are indeed nothing short of daunting. "It is one-hundred-seventy miles (two-hundred-seventy-four kilometers) from Le Havre to Calais," Foehr pointed out. "Poussey must have escaped from the thieves' car during the twenty-five mile (actually twenty-one mile or thirty-three kilometer) Channel crossing."

Although Foehr's reconstruction of events is entirely plausible, she has not produced a shred of evidence in support of her claim that Poussey was kidnapped. A far more likely explanation is that he accidentally became trapped inside either a box or a vehicle and consequently wound up as a stowaway on the P&O ferry.

Since cats are so easily frightened by people, commotions, and loud noises, they often seek sanctuary inside small spaces and as a result end up in all sorts of jams and, quite often, far from home as well. (See Cat Defender posts of January 5, 2006, November 6, 2008, and March 16, 2013 entitled, respectively, "Miracle Cat Survives Seventy-Mile Trip Down the New Jersey Turnpike by Clinging to the Drive Shaft on an SUV," "Trapped in a Moving Van for Five Days, Texas Cat Named Neo Is Finally Freed in Colorado," and "Mausi Is Saved from a Potentially Violent Death on the Fast and Furious Autobahn Thanks to the Dramatic Intervention of a Münchner Couple.")

That is one reason why it is so vitally important that cat owners pay close attention to all objects, both those inside and outside of their houses, that move in and out of their neighborhoods. Any one of them potentially could spell doom for their beloved companions without them ever being any the wiser.

Poussey's trials and tribulations also once again highlight the extremely limited utility of implanted microchips. First and foremost, they contribute absolutely nothing to protecting cats from the myriad of dangers that they face in an ever increasingly hostile world. That petit fait alone reduces them to being little more than Silicon Valley snake oil. (See Cat Defender post of May 25, 2006 entitled "Plato's Misadventures Expose the Pitfalls of RFID Technology as Applied to Cats.")

Secondly, the contact information contained in their databases must be kept up-to-date in order for them to be of any value. Once ever so often a conscientious rescue group will voluntarily track down the owner of a cat with either an outdated microchip or a tattoo as the Oakbank Animal Hospital outside of Winnipeg did in the case of Ingrid Kerger's long-lost cat, Tiger Lily, but that is extremely rare. (See Cat Defender post of March 31, 2010 entitled "Winnipeg Family Is Astounded by Tiger Lily's Miraculous Return after Having Been Believed Dead for Fourteen Years.")

Thirdly, implanted microchips are sometimes difficult to both locate and to decipher. Most disconcerting of all, they are 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.")

Equally important, cat owners should not be lulled into a false sense of security based upon Palmer's exemplary conduct in this case. On the contrary, cops generally speaking cannot be relied upon to do cats any favors.

In the United States, for example, whenever they do not hand them over toute de suite to shelters to be killed upon arrival they usually execute them on the spot themselves. (See Cat Defender posts of March 31, 2008, September 16, 2009, July 8, 2010, September 22, 2011, March 22, 2012, and April 29, 2008 entitled, respectively, "Cecil, Pennsylvania, Police Officer Summarily Executes Family's Beloved Ten-Year-Old Persian, Elmo," "Acting Solely Upon the Lies of a Cat-Hater, Raymore Police Pump Two Shotgun Blasts into the Head of Nineteen-Year-Old Declawed and Deaf Tobey," "North Carolina State Trooper Who Illegally Trapped and Shot His Next-Door Neighbor's Cat, Rowdy, Is Now Crying for His Job Back," "Neanderthaloid Politicians in Lebanon, Ohio, Wholeheartedly Sanction the Illegal and Cold-Blooded Murder of Haze by a Trigger-Happy Cop," "In Another Outrageous Miscarriage of Justice, Rogue Cop Jonathan N. Snoddy Is Let Off with a $50 Fine for Savagely Bludgeoning to Death an Injured Cat," and "Orange County Sheriff's Department Is Accused of Killing a Cat with a Taser at the Theo Lacy Jail.")

More recently on May 21, 2013, Lance DeLeon of the Boerne Police Department gunned down next-door neighbor Natalie Brunner's two-year-old cat, Bobby, with a crossbow after he had strayed into his precious little garden. The attack not only left Bobby with a punctured lung and a broken leg but Brunner also fractured her ankle while retrieving him.

Although a grand jury convened in the small town located forty-eight kilometers northwest of San Antonio failed to even indict DeLeon on animal cruelty charges, his superiors ultimately did the right thing when they fired him three weeks after the incident. (See the Daily Mail, May 24, 2013, "Off-Duty Texas Police Officer Arrested after Shooting Neighbor's Cat with Arrow" and the Houston Press, June 6, 2013, "Lance DeLeon: Cop Fired After Shooting Neighbor's Cat with Arrow.")

Caroline, Sandrine, Louis, Charlotte, Poussey, Palmer, Hood, and Lhote

The only patently obvious use that most cops have for cats is to occasionally employ them as station house companions and mascots as the British Transportation Police and the forces in Philadelphia, Hamilton, Massachusetts, and Lumberton, Texas, have done so in the past. (See Cat Defender posts of November 23, 2007, May 29, 2007, and March 18, 2009 entitled, respectively, "Tizer Lands a Job Working for the Police after Ending Up at a Shelter Following the Death of His Previous Owner," "Corporal Cuffs, Beloved Station House Mascot, Is Abducted Right Under Cops' Noses" and "Eco, Who for Years Was a Mainstay at a Small Massachusetts Police Department, Is Run Down and Killed by a Motorist," plus The Beaumont Enterprise, April 24, 2013, "Lumberton Police Department's Feline Friend.")

The veterinary medical profession, likewise, is anything but friendly disposed toward cats. While there are dedicated and conscientious practitioners like Stattersfield who give generously of their time, services, and resources, that in no way materially alters the fact that such individuals are members of a select fraternity.

In recent memory only Kelly Hawkins of the Valdez Veterinary Clinic, Rachelle Beardsworth of Racecourse Road Veterinary Hospital in Ballina, New South Wales, Geoffrey Weech of the Monmouth Small Animal Hospital in Monmouth, Illinois, and Deb Carroll of Grenada Veterinary Clinic in Sherwood Park, outside of Edmonton, come to mind as having been willing to save the lives of impecunious cats solely out of the goodness of their hearts. (See Cat Defender posts of February 15, 2014, March 31, 2012, November 17, 2010, and March 30, 2009 entitled, respectively, "Indefatigable Young Alaskan Woman Overcomes a Lack of Money, Jailing by the Police, and a Series of Avalanches in Order to Save Ninja's Life," "Alvin Amazingly Survives on His Own for a Fortnight Until Help Arrives after a Low-Life Scumbag Blows Off Most of His Rear End with a Firecracker," "Penniless and Suffering from Two Broken Legs, It Looked Like It Was Curtains for Trace Until Geoffrey Weech Rode to Her Rescue on His White Horse," and "Duckie Is Saved by a Compassionate Veterinarian after Family Practitioner Demands Either C$1,600 or Her Life.")

The vast majority of all veterinarians, however, demand cash on the barrelhead or the cat is left to die. That is especially the case with the larger surgeries that have money to burn, such as PennVet in the City of Brotherly Love. (See Cat Defender post of March 19, 2014 entitled "Cheap and Greedy Moral Degenerates at PennVet Extend Their Warmest Christmas Greetings to an Impecunious, but Preeminently Treatable, Cat Via a Jab of Sodium Pentobarbital.")

The most staggering indictment that can be lodged against the profession is that its practitioners actively seek out the business of individuals, rescue groups, meat producers, and others who liquidate animals that are either perfectly healthy or treatable. (See Cat Defender posts of July 28, 2011, December 22, 2011, and January 11, 2012 entitled, respectively, "Tammy and Maddy Are Forced to Pay the Ultimate Price after Their Owner and an Incompetent Veterinarian Elect to Play Russian Roulette with Their Lives," "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," and "A Deadly Intrigue Concocted by a Thief, a Shelter, and a Veterinary Chain Costs Ginger the Continued Enjoyment of His Golden Years.")

Once all of those factors have been taken into consideration it becomes clear that the Foehrs were extremely fortunate to have gotten Poussey back safe and sound. Going forward, it is imperative that they make the most of the second opportunity that they have been granted in order to care for him.

First of all, if they have not done so already they need to immediately update the contact information contained in the database of his microchip. If there is one omission that they can be faulted for it is for failing to have done so sooner in that they had known ever since Poussey first showed up on their doorstep that it contained the contact data of his previous owner. That is, after all, how they found out where he had come from and that his previous guardian did not want him returned.

It also would be worthwhile to outfit him with a breakaway collar and an identification tag because most private individuals who adopt homeless cats do not take them to a veterinarian in order to be scanned for implanted microchips. Secondly, Poussey still can be allotted his customary freedom, if circumstances so warrant, but the Foehrs need to keep a far closer eye on him.

Thirdly, they need to reconnoiter their neighborhood for potential threats that lurk just around the corner. Malice aforethought is the number one reason behind the sudden and unexplained disappearance of cats but it is far from being the only one.

Finally, England's draconian pet immigration laws need to be immediately scrapped and consigned to the dustbin of history and replaced with a new standard that respects the inalienable right of all animals not only to live but to do so in freedom and with dignity. With the RSPCA systematically annihilating just about every cat that it impounds, the odds of that becoming a reality are, regrettably, anything but promising. (See the Daily Mail, December 29, 2012, "Revealed: RSPCA Destroys Half of the Animals That It Rescues -- Yet Thousands Are Completely Healthy" and 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.")

Life is at best a roll of the dice as far as most cats are concerned but Poussey found Glück im Unglück when his rambles took him from a home where he was not wanted to one where his presence is cherished. In the topsy-turvy, haphazard, and totally unforgiving world that cats are forced to inhabit that is perhaps the very best that can be expected.

Photos: Daily Mail (Poussey and Sandrine Foehr), Burnham House Veterinary Surgery (Poussey in a cage and Stattersfield), and Rosie Blundell of Kent Online (the rescuers).