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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

Monday, February 23, 2015

Abandoned to Tough It Out by His Lonesome in the Deadly Michigan Cold and Snow, Flick Sustains Horrific Injuries to His Front Paws When They Become Frozen to a Porch


"This cat has been outside with a collar for quite a while. Maybe the family packed up and moved."
-- Redford Animal Control Officer Dan Brown

As the bitterly cold winter of 2014-2015 rages on across the northern half of the United States and throughout most of Canada, the number of kittens and cats victimized by its ruthlessness continues to mount with each passing day. On January 14th, for example, a less than one-year-old black kitten subsequently dubbed Flick was found with his front paws frozen to a porch in Redford, Michigan, twenty-six kilometers west of Detroit.

"There was a pool of blood right next to his front paws," Animal Control Officer Dan Brown, who was contacted by an unidentified homeowner who resides at the intersection of Curtis Street and Five Points, related to WDIV-TV of Detroit on January 15th. (See "Cat Frozen to Porch of Redford Home Rescued.")  "It looked like it was coagulated, so he's been there for a while."

Given that an unidentified neighbor had overheard a cat meowing throughout the long, frigid night when the thermometer plummeted to -3° Fahrenheit at the nearest reporting station in Farmington, the homeowner surely also must have heard Flick's plaintive cries as well but for some unexplained reason elected to wait until the following morning before summoning help. That totally inexcusable delay, if indeed the owner was at home, not only ended up exacting an horrific toll on Flick but it nearly cost him his life as well.

Fortunately for him, lady luck was on his side in that Brown knew exactly what to do and he wasted no time in hustling on over to the neighbor's house where he borrowed a pail of room temperature water in order to free Flick's front paws. "Hot water would have only made it worse," he later pointed out to WTSP-TV of Tampa on January 15th. (See "Cat Rescued after Found Frozen to Home's Porch.")

Oddly enough, Flick's rear legs were not frozen to the porch and for that Brown believes that he has a weak bladder to thank. While that certainly is conceivable, it is not the only possible explanation.

For instance, whereas WDIV-TV insists that Flick ripped out his front claws while attempting to extricate himself from his would-be tomb, WTSP-TV claims on the other hand that they had been previously removed. That very well could be the case in that it seems only logical that it would be considerably easier for declawed paws to become frozen to an extremely cold surface than those that had been left intact.

The type and condition of the porch has not been disclosed but based upon the horrific injuries inflicted upon Flick, it not only was frigid but likely covered in ice and possibly snow as well. Regardless of its condition, the injuries sustained by Flick are yet still another cogent argument against the thoroughly barbaric practice of declawing cats.

After delicately extricating him, Brown took Flick to Tail Wagger's 1990 in Livonia, seven kilometers to the west of Redford, where the full extent of his massive injuries first became known. Specifically, his claws were not only missing but he additionally had ripped out the pads on his front paws.

Flick Is on the Mend but He May Be Crippled

Although press reports have not specified the type of treatment that he received at Tail Wagger's, his paws most assuredly were cleaned, medicated, and bandaged. He also likely was given painkillers, heat therapy, and possibly intravenous fluids.

Almost as bad, it initially was reported that he had broken every single digit in both of his front feet during his desperate struggle to extricate himself from the frozen death trap. All of that in turn had left him in simply horrific pain and with swollen paws.

Tail Wagger's did not, however, plan on treating the broken bones in his feet. "There probably will not be a lot of treatment for the break (sic), much like a human, you'd have to let it heal on its own," the charity's Laura Zain told WDIV-TV.

In an untitled article posted January 20th on its Facebook page, Tail Wagger's reversed itself and declared that Flick had not sustained any broken bones and that he was able to support himself on both paws. Later on February 10th the charity disclosed at a portion of one of his paws had been surgically removed but it would not be known for another week or so if he will be able to walk.

Described by the staff at Tail Wagger's as a "sweet boy with spirit," Flick is scheduled to be put up for adoption as soon as his paws heal. Hopefully, he will not end up as a cripple but even if he is forced to walk with a limp there cannot be any denying that he is truly fortunate to still be alive.

"If it wasn't for the phone call from the homeowner and the assistance from the neighbor, he would've surely froze (sic) to death," Brown told WTSP-TV.

Although this world favors those cats and humans with unfettered access to money, family, and friends, Old Man Winter does not play favorites. He is in that sense the great leveler in that he will unconscionably freeze the life out of any creature that, either unwittingly or through misfortune, tumbles into his merciless grasp.

That, by the way, is the reason why some individuals occasionally are able to screw up smidgens of compassion for homeless men during the wintertime while turning deaf ears to their desperate plight during the remainder of the year. In that regard it is just too bad that there are not other mechanisms in addition to the elements that would allow them to experience firsthand the deprivations that cats and the poor face every day.

Frozen Kitten

Flick's misfortune is all the more deplorable in that it seems highly probable that he was intentionally abandoned by his previous owner. For instance although he had not been neutered, he was wearing both identification and flea collars.

"This cat has been outside with a collar for quite a while," Brown affirmed to WDIV-TV in the article cited supra. "Maybe the family packed up and moved."

Compounding an already desperate state of affairs, Flick's collar was wound so tightly around his neck that it was nearly strangling the life out of him. Although his previous guardian apparently had taken great care to remove his name tag so that he could not be traced back to either him or her, that person irresponsibly left his collar in place so that it could eventually either throttle him or snag on a foreign object.

Even though the dangers associated with both conventional and elastic collars are well-documented, it is almost superfluous to point out that any cretin who would condemn a cat to tough it out in the unforgiving cold and snow is not likely to be overly concerned about him being strangled to death. (See Cat Defender posts of May 28, 2008 and June 22, 2010 entitled, respectively, "Collars Turn into Death Traps for Trooper and Que but both Are Rescued at the Eleventh Hour" and "Hobson Is forced to Wander Around Yorkshire for Months Trapped in an Elastic Collar That Steadily Was Eating Away at His Shoulder and Leg.")

According to Google's Street View, the Curtis Street and Five Points section of Redford appears to be the very epitome of a middle-class residential neighborhood with its white wood frame houses, tree-lined streets, and neatly-trimmed green lawns in the summertime. While it always is conceivable that Flick was driven into the area and dumped, the preponderance of the available evidence tends to suggest that his guardian resided not too far away from where he was found.

Redford also has the dubious distinction of being the birthplace of disgraced rocker Theodore Anthony Nugent who not only hates cats with a passion but admittedly shoots every one of them that he sees on sight. Even more outrageously, he is allowed to commit his dastardly deeds with impunity at a canned hunting farm that he operates in Jackson, one-hundred-one kilometers to the west of Redford, because no animal rights group in Michigan is willing to so much as even investigate him let alone put him in jail. (See The Washington Times, December 3, 2010, "Nugent: The Time for Kitty Killing Has Come.")

Since the overwhelming majority of all cases of animal cruelty go unreported by the press, that in turn makes passing judgment on a particular geographical area a rather dicey proposition. For example, some areas actually could be far more antagonistic toward cats than Michigan but their crimes are kept hidden from the outside world by an obliging media.

Nonetheless, there is not any getting around the inescapable conclusion that the catalog of crimes committed against the species by residents of the Wolverine State is indeed long and varied. Heading that list is, as one would expect, the failed city of Detroit where designer cats are shot down and killed in the street while others are poisoned. (See Cat Defender posts of April 19, 2014 and May 2, 2013 entitled, respectively, "Doomed from Conception to a Lifetime of Naked Exploitation and Destined to Never Fit in Anywhere, Chum Is Gunned Down in Cold Blood on the Violent Streets of Lawless and Uncaring Detroit" and "Poisoned Within an Inch of His Life While Living on the Mean Streets of Detroit, Chairman Waffles Survives Three Surgeries in Order to Live Again.")


Not only is the city itself bankrupt, but hundreds of homeowners are so cheap that they prefer to go dirty rather than to pay their monthly water bills. In such a depraved milieu, it is not any surprise that cats are abused with impunity.

Even in parts of the state that are still functioning more or less as normal neither education nor the lack thereof serves as any deterrent to Michiganders' lust for feline blood. (See Cat Defender posts of September 11, 2006, August 20, 2009, and November 24, 2009 entitled, respectively, "Selfish and Brutal Eggheads at Central Michigan University Target a Colony of Feral Cats for Defamation and Eradication," "Combine Operator Severs Howard's Front Paws and Leaves Him in a Ditch to Die but He Is Saved at the Last Minute by a Pair of Compassionate Lads," and "Howard the Combine Kitty Is Adopted by the Lads Who Saved Him from a Sure and Certain Death in a Ditch Alongside a Michigan Wheat Field.")

Shelters throughout the state not only liquidate cats and kittens that have homes waiting for them but they additionally do the dirty work of ailurophobic gardeners. (See Cat Defender posts of June 15, 2010 and August 19, 2010 entitled, respectively, "Bay City Shelter Murders a Six-Week-Old Kitten with a Common Cold Despite Several Individuals Having Offered to Give It a Permanent Home" and "Music Lessons and Buggsey Are Murdered by a Cat-Hating Gardener and an Extermination Factory Posing as an Animal Shelter in Saginaw.")

Like everywhere else in this world, individuals and businesses in Michigan exploit cats to the hilt and then whack them once they have outlived their usefulness to them. (See Cat Defender post of January 15, 2015 entitled "Lewis, Ann Arbor's Much Celebrated Garden Shop Cat, Departs This World Under Highly Suspicious Circumstances.")

That certainly is not the entire story in that Michigan also is home to a handful of individuals who not only care dearly about cats but are willing to go out of their way in order to rescue those in distress. (See Cat Defender post of October 16, 2007 entitled "Tourists from Michigan Save the Life of a Critically Ill Oregon Cat Named Marmalade.")

Redford, and presumably the remainder of Michigan as well, also is guilty of discriminating against cats in that although it is illegal in the city to leave a dog outside in the cold without the benefit of shelter, cats do not enjoy any comparable legal protections against the elements. "It is not illegal for a cat to be outside," Brown told WTSP-TV. "It's frowned upon."

Standing idly by and frowning while untold numbers of cats are suffering and dying in the cold is, quite obviously, not nearly good enough. Au contraire, Redford instead should follow the example set last year by the Philadelphia City Council when it entertained the notion of making it illegal to leave both cats and dogs outside when the thermometer either plummets below freezing or soars above 85° Fahrenheit. (See the Philadelphia Daily News' print edition, April 9, 2014, "Leaving Kitty Out Back All Year Could Cost You.")

While it is readily acknowledged that since neither humane groups nor the police do very much in order to enforce the existing animal cruelty statutes, they certainly are not about to break so much as a sweat safeguarding cats from the cold. Nevertheless, just having such a statute on the books coupled with an occasional arrest and prosecution might serve as a mild deterrent in some instances. Affording cats the same legal protections that dogs now enjoy also would go a long way toward eliminating the widely held view that their lives are somehow less worthy of protection.


While it is difficult offhand to think of either a season of the year or a particular set of circumstances that would justify the heartless abandonment of a cat, doing so during cold and snowy weather is an especially egregious offense. That is doubly so because if they are not done in by the elements they are likely to starve to death in that there is precious little outside for them to eat at such times.

That is especially the case with both exclusively indoor cats and kittens who do not have any firsthand experience at either surviving on their own or in the elements. (See Cat Defender post of February 2, 2015 entitled "Cruelly Denatured and Locked Up Indoors for All of His Adult Life, Nicky Is Suddenly Thrust into the Bitter Cold and Snow for Twenty-One Consecutive Days with Predictably Tragic Results.")

Perennially homeless cats, on the other hand, are experienced enough to at least seek shelter underneath buildings, in recesses in the ground and, unfortunately, underneath the hoods of automobiles. Even then their wiles often are not nearly sufficient in order to save them from sub-zero readings.

Even those fortunate few that somehow manage to survive end up, like Flick, scarred and maimed for the remainder of their lives by the cold. Regardless of how close to death they may be when first rescued, that is not a valid excuse under any circumstances for rescuers and veterinarians not doing all within their powers to save their lives.

For example, an elderly cat named Annie from Norfolk, Massachusetts, was brought back from death's doorstep in January of 2010 after she came within a hairbreadth of freezing to death in a snowstorm. (See Cat Defender post of January 21, 2010 entitled "Trapped Outdoors in a Snowstorm, Annie Is Brought Back from the Dead by the Compassion of a Good Samaritan and an Animal Control Officer.")

Later on January 26, 2014, a near death brown male kitten subsequently dubbed Frozen Kitten was dropped off at the Animal Care and Control Team in Philadelphia. Although utterly reprehensible and totally unforgivable, the first thought that percolated through the minds of the organization's top honchos was to finish him off on the spot.

Mercifully, volunteers Marta Skuza and Lori DiFiglia intervened with syringes filled with warm fluids, water bottles and heating pads in order to elevate his body temperature, and chest rubs in order to stimulate his circulation. Skuza even took Frozen Kitten home with her to her abode near King of Prussia.

Seven hours later, Frozen Kitten's body temperature had climbed to 97.2° Fahrenheit but he was far from being out of the woods. "We were very nervous and sad," Skuza related to the Burlington County Times of Willingboro, New Jersey, on January 28, 2014. (See "Volunteers Rescue a Cold Kitty.") "Frozen Kitten was getting better almost immediately but the progress was very slow and we were not sure if he is better or if he is going into shock, so we really didn't know that he will be just fine till about midnight when he reached his normal temperature and ate."

Frosty and His Frostbitten Ears and Nose

A few hours after that he was almost back to his old self. "Then I woke up at 3 a.m. to check on him and he moved off the heating pad, was stretched out and comfortably sleeping," she added "When he saw me he hissed and moved away from me. Obviously he got his personality of a scared kitten back and at that point it was definite that he was all better."

Frozen Kitten later was moved to the Pet Adoption and Lifecare Society in Broomall, Delaware County. "He is apparently very chatty now, eats like there is no tomorrow and doing great," Skuza confided to the Burlington County Times. "No more hissing. He is quite content now with the good life off the streets."

Whereas it was not disclosed if Frozen Kitten suffered either frostbite or internal injuries, an eighteen-month-old gray, brown, and yellow female with beautiful green eyes named Rosalie was not nearly so lucky. Found frozen to the ground sometime during the second week of January in 2014 on Merritt Island in Welland, Ontario, she ended up losing her right ear, part of her left ear, and the tip of her tail to frostbite.

Thanks to the prompt and competent care that she received from the Welland and District Humane Society and the Grand River Veterinary Hospital in Caledonia, she survived in order to live another day. As an added bonus, she later was adopted by her rescuer, Jamie Kmety. (See the St. Catherines Standard, January 17, 2014, "Frostbitten Cat Undergoes Surgery.")

On February 1, 2011, Natasha Schroeder was driving down Pawnee Street in Cleveland, Oklahoma, when she just happened to spy a two-month-old white kitten with black spots named Blizzard meowing piteously in eight inches of snow. His paws were cracked and bleeding, one of his rear legs was injured, and he was suffering from both hypothermia and starvation.

"It was shaking uncontrollably," she later told KJRH-TV of Tulsa on February 2, 20ll. (See "Woman Finds Kitten Freezing in the Snow after Being Dumped in Cleveland, Oklahoma.") "He could barely hold his head up."

Without so much as a moment to spare, Schroeder wrapped Blizzard in a blanket and rushed him to Pound Pals for emergency treatment. He recovered and subsequently was adopted by an unidentified member of the United States Marine Corps from San Angelo, Texas. (See KJRH-TV, February 28, 2011, "Kitten Found During Blizzard in Cleveland, Oklahoma, Has a New Home.")

As terrible as wintertime abandonments in the snowbelt are in themselves, they often are worsened by intentional acts of outrageous animal cruelty. For example, in late December of 2005, most likely on Boxing Day, a calico cat named Lucky was locked up inside a cage that was weighted down with a sixteen-pound stone and tossed into the Clark Ford River in Missoula, Montana.

Roo and Melissa Smith of the York SPCA

Thankfully, The Fates were looking after her on that dreadful occasion in that not only did her cage land on the ice but it was spotted by a passerby who notified the Missoula Fire Department which in turn mounted a rescue just in the nick of time. Later, she was adopted by one of her saviors, firefighter Josh Macrow. (See Cat Defender post of January 13, 2006 entitled "Montana Firefighters Rescue 'Lucky' Calico Cat Who Was Caged and Purposefully Thrown into an Icy River.")

History repeated itself during the yuletide season of 2010 when a black and white kitten named Chabot-Matrix was dumped in the Pennesseewassee Stream in Norway, Maine. Like Lucky before her, Chabot-Matrix landed on an ice floe and subsequently was rescued unharmed on December 30th by members of the Chabot Construction Company from Greene.

She later was adopted by local beautician Chris Ryan. (See Cat Defender post of March 25, 2011 entitled "Compassionate Construction Workers Interrupt Their Busy Day in Order to Rescue Chabot-Matrix from a Stream in Maine.")

Slightly before the attempt was made upon Chabot-Matrix's life, a handsome gray cat named Jack-in-the-Box was sealed up in a cardboard box on December 23, 2010 and left at the curb in frigid Troy, New York. The game plan called for him to either freeze to death during the overnight period or to be collected by the garbageman the next morning. Fortunately for him, he was found by Melissa Lombardo who promptly notified the Troy Police.

Although he was treated for exposure, Jack recovered and was scheduled to have gone to a new home in January of 2011. The man who had abandoned him, forty-eight-year-old Michael T. Walsh, was arrested on December 30th and charged with three counts of misdemeanor animal cruelty. (See WXAA-TV of Albany, December 23, 2010, "Abandoned Cat Found 'Miracle on One-Hundred-Tenth Street'" and Cat Defender post of October 14, 2011 entitled "Chucked Out in the Trash, Tabitha Winds Up in a Oxygen Chamber with Four Broken Ribs, an Injured Lung, and Pneumonia.")

The frigid temperatures unleashed by Mother Nature are not the only source of cold that cats have to fear in that the artificial, man-made variety can be every bit as deadly. For example, in one of the most outrageous cases of animal neglect and cruelty on record, the management and staff at an unidentified frozen food warehouse located somewhere in either Northamptonshire or the East Midlands knowingly allowed a one-year-old tuxedo named Frosty to spend five weeks in their -28° Fahrenheit facility during January and February of 2010.

It is theorized that Frosty was able to persevere in such an extremely cold environment because the doors to the warehouse where open some days in order to allow for the receipt and dispatching of deliveries and that in turn allowed in a degree of warmth. He also likely was able to have secured sanctuary in either a corner or inside some object where it was not quite as cold. As far as sustenance is concerned, he is believed to have avoided starvation and dehydration by eating frozen peas and licking the condensation off the outsides of packages.

Even so, frostbite cost him both of his ears as well as his tail. Although it is not known with any certainty, it nevertheless is believed that he became trapped inside the frozen death chamber after having arrived as an unwitting stowaway on one of the delivery trucks.


He also could have been intentionally dumped there by one of the drivers but no matter how that he arrived the neglect shown him by the callous capitalists can only be labeled as criminal. (See Cat Defender post of April 8, 2010 entitled "Frozen Food Purveyor Knowingly Condemns Frosty to Spend Five Weeks in Its -28° Fahrenheit Warehouse Without Either Food or Water.")

In November of 2008, an unknown and still at large monster in Chatham-Kent, Ontario, even went so far as to divest a twelve-week-old orange kitten named Chopper of his fur and then to abandon him, still bleeding from multiple cuts that resulted from a mean job of shaving, to the elements. Fortunately, his plight was discovered by a Good Samaritan who brought him to the attention of the Ontario SPCA (OSPCA).

In addition to the cuts, he had contracted a common cold, fleas, worms, and ear mites. He also was so emaciated that his bones were visible through his skin.

"He was in rough shape...we didn't know if he'd make it," Dave Wilson of the OSPCA later said. "He was probably just trying to survive on the street and someone did this to him."

That may not have been necessarily the case in that it could have been his guardian who shaved him and then abandoned him to the street; his health thereafter could have taken a downward spiral. The important thing, however, is that he was rescued in time, received treatment, and later was adopted. (See Cat Defender post of December 9, 2008 entitled "Shaved from Head to Tail and Left to Freeze to Death in the Ontario Cold, Chopper Is Saved at the Last Minute.")

The repercussions that result from the horrific toll that motorists take on cats even during clement weather is magnified a hundredfold whenever they commit their atrocities during the wintertime. For instance, back on February 16, 2007 a two-year-old brownish-gray cat named Roo was mowed down and left for dead by a hit-and-run motorist on Manor Road in Lower Windsor Township, Pennsylvania.

He thus found himself in a totally hopeless predicament that bears a strikingly resemblance to the one that befell Flick in that the blood from his injuries had frozen his front paws to the road. He was rescued by a compassionate woman who took him to the York SPCA but even then his right paw had to be amputated and his left one was placed in jeopardy due to a fracture. (See Cat Defender post of March 5, 2007 entitled "Run Down by a Motorist and Frozen to the Ice by His Own Blood, Cat Named Roo Is Saved by a Caring Woman.")

 Domino. Whatever Became of Her?

A pretty white female kitten with patches of black and brown to go along with captivating green eyes also was run down and left for dead around the middle of January of 2014 in Youngstown, Ohio. She somehow managed to survive the attack but was forced to hobble around town for another fortnight while she nearly succumbed to both hunger and the elements.

On January 28th she was rescued by an elderly woman in her eighties named Jean who attempted to procure veterinary assistance for her but every shelter that she contacted wanted to kill the kitten. Eventually she found her way to West Side Cats which not only took in the kitten but named her in her honor. (See January 28, 2014 untitled article on West Side Cats' Facebook page.)

On January 29th, Jean finally received the veterinary treatment that she so desperately needed and richly deserved. Specifically, she was diagnosed to be suffering from a luxating patella (trick knee) and a broken pelvis.

Frostbite also claimed the tops of both of her ears but, mercifully, her hearing was unimpaired. She additionally came through her long and trying ordeal in the cold without any apparent internal organ damage. (See January 29, 2014 untitled article on West Side Cats' Facebook page.)

"Jean is an absolute lover and whoever gets her is in for a real treat," the charity exclaimed March 2, 2014 in an untitled article posted on Facebook. Inexplicably, Jean is not listed on the organization's web site as having been one of its successful adoptions of 2014 and that glaring omission could mean almost anything from either her foster mother having elected to keep her or something tragic.

As revolting as it may be, rescue groups as well as individuals abandon cats to the cold and snow. Back in March of 2008, for instance, when Ann and Mike Hirz of Poynette, Wisconsin, decided to relocate to Green Valley, Arizona, they attempted to leave behind their five-year-old cat, Domino, to tough it out in the cold and snow.

Domino, however, became unwittingly trapped in a shipping crate and thus made the trip with the Hirzes to Green Valley. Instead of rectifying their original mistake and holding on to Domino this time around, they instead took the advice of Paws Patrol and transported her back to Poynette where they abandoned her for a second time.

Ninja and Kristina Clark

"It knows its safety areas. It knows it sources of food and shelter," Patti Hogan of the rescue group argued at that time. "This is Domino's best chance of survival."

For anyone looking for a totally bogus rationale for shirking their moral responsibilities, Hogan's baloney certainly fits the bill. First of all, with the Hirzes long gone Domino no longer had any food, shelter, or safety zones to return to in Poynette.

Much more importantly, her welfare and care was their solemn moral responsibility regardless of whether they continued to reside in Poynette or in Green Valley. It is not known what ultimately became of Domino but her bleak prospects are not pleasant to contemplate. (See Cat Defender post of May 8, 2009 entitled "Domino, Feral and All Alone, Faces an Uncertain Future in Wisconsin Following an Unplanned Trip to Arizona.")

Thankfully, not all cat owners are cold-hearted, low-life exploitative scumbags. For example, on January 25th of last year twenty-two-year-old Kristina Clark of Copper Center refused to allow a total lack of money, the biting cold, avalanches, and even being jailed by the Alaska State Police to dissuade her from procuring life-saving veterinary intervention for her ailing five-year-old gray and white tom, Ninja. As long as there is life on this planet, the heroism and dedication that she bestowed upon Ninja will remain the gold standard as to how all other cat lovers are judged. (See Cat Defender post of February 15, 2014 entitled "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.")

Looking ahead, there is not a good deal of room for optimism. Not only did Punxsutawney Phil predict six more weeks of winter on Groundhog Day but some meteorologists are expecting the cold and snow to linger on across North America until at least the middle of April. The area accordingly may not see any warm weather until July.

Also, considering the enormous amount of ice covering both the Arctic Circle and Greenland and has yet to melt it certainly looks as if winters in the northern hemisphere are destined to become progressively longer, colder, and wetter into the foreseeable future. Once all the ice has melted, conditions will rapidly deteriorate in the opposite direction.

That can only be interpreted to mean that in addition to Flick countless other cats are destined to suffer and die simply hideous deaths as the result of prolonged exposure to the unforgiving cold. Only caring individuals, the managers of TNR colonies, and the guardians of domestic cats have the power to significantly alter that distressing scenario.

Photos: Tail Wagger's 1990 (Flick), Burlington County Times (Frozen Kitten), Maryanne Firth of the St. Catherines Standad (Rosalie), Natasha Schroder (Blizzard), Daily Mail and SWNS (Frosty), Bill Bowden of the York Daily Record (Roo), West Side Cats (Jean), Green Valley News (Domino), and Kristina Clark (Ninja).

Monday, February 02, 2015

Cruelly Denatured and Locked Up Indoors for All of His Life, Nicky Is Suddenly Thrust into the Bitter Cold and Snow for Twenty-One Consecutive Days with Predictably Tragic Results

A Bedraggled Nicky Has His Paws Wrapped

"I just thought, gosh, there is no way he can make it because he's been inside with us all these years."
-- Candice Darmafall

Nothing good ever lasts.

If something sounds too good to be true, it likely is not so.

Good guys only win in the movies.

And, storybook endings are reserved for the world of fiction.

Like poisonous arrows shot from a quiver in spitfire fashion, the cynics sling their distressing truths at anyone willing to so much as lend them an ear. Moreover, there is precious little solace to be found in even the grudging acknowledgement that their pronouncements do contain a certain degree of validity. That is especially the case after a handsome and loving cat who, at first report had made a miraculous recovery from a simply horrendous case of frostbite and hypothermia, has had a relapse and died.

As painful as it is to even contemplate, let alone chronicle, that is precisely what has happened to a ten-year-old longhaired, orange-colored tom named Nicky from Lorain, Ohio, who died on January 17th as the result of cruelly having been left outside in the freezing cold for an astonishing twenty-one consecutive days and nights! Like countless other felines who succumb to the numbing effects of hypothermia each winter, Nicky's prolonged suffering was entirely preventable and that only serves to make his premature death all the more tragic and inexcusable.

On Thursday, January 15th he was found near death by an unidentified family in Amherst, eight kilometers due south of Lorain, and transported to the Friendship Animal Protection League (FAPL) in Elyria, fifteen kilometers to the west. "It was completely frozen. The cat was basically stiff as a board," Greg Willey of FAPL told WKYC-TV of Cleveland on January 18th. (See "Miracle Cat Found Frozen Has Died.") "The best way for me to describe it is that it looked like it came out a meat locker."

Willey's first instinct was to finish the job that Old Man Winter had started but when Nicky stirred and meowed he had a positive change of heart and instead rushed him to Fox Veterinary Hospital in Carlisle Township, approximately seven kilometers removed from Elyria. "The poor cat came to me completely flat out; we thought he was dead," veterinarian Ashley Berardi told WKYC-TV. "Temperature was low below normal, so low it wouldn't even register on the thermometer."

Like Willey before her, Berardi's first thought was not to even attempt to save Nicky's life but rather to snuff it out. "Greg had thought we were going to have to euthanize. But we kind of showed the cat some food and he perked up right after it, so he still had that drive," Berardi added to WKYC-TV. "So we thought, okay, let's get the catheter in, let's try."

As it should be obvious to any thinking person, the life of any sick or injured cat is worth saving regardless of whether it has an appetite or not. Furthermore, just because a cat is too sick to eat does not necessarily mean that it will not respond to veterinary intervention.

Based upon both Berardi's appalling lack of respect for the sanctity of feline life as well as her indefensible triage protocol, she undoubtedly would have followed Willey's advise and killed off Nicky on the spot if he had not responded to the offer of sustenance. That can only be interpreted to imply that if she were practicing medicine she likely would subject a man with a hole in his head to a test of scarfing down a platter of pork chops before she commenced treatment.

She eventually did, thankfully, get around to administering intravenous fluids and painkillers to Nicky as well as placing him on a heating pad in order to quickly elevate his body temperature. Each of his badly frostbitten paws also were treated and carefully wrapped.

All of that initially proved to be a resounding success in that he was able to shake off death's icy grip and to regain consciousness. "I cannot describe to you how much of a miracle it is that this cat is still ticking," Willey later marveled to The Chronicle-Telegram of Elyria on January 16th. (See "Olaf the Frozen Cat Reunited with Owner.") "It is truly incredible. You could have probably lifted it by its tail and it would have stayed flat."

Once Nicky's miraculous return to the world of the living had been reported by both WKYC-TV and Facebook, his longtime owner Candice Darmafall came forward to reclaim him on January 16th. "I'm so happy," she rejoiced to The Chronicle-Telegram. "He's so beautiful and has always been such a nice cat."

Since the staff at Fox had dubbed him Olaf in honor of the snowman from Walt Disney's 2013 production, Frozen, she even briefly contemplated changing Nicky's name. "We might have to start calling him Nickolaf," she mused to The Chronicle-Telegram.

Her newfound lightheartedness was strikingly at odds with the doom and gloom that she expressed when she was first reunited with him and he was still tethered to intravenous tubes. "I just thought, gosh, there is no way he can make it because he's been inside with us all these years," she told WKYC-TV.

As things tragically turned out, her original dire assessment of his slim chances of pulling through proved to be prophetic in that by Saturday Nicky was dead. "They (Darmafall and her family) got a chance to spend a lot of time on Saturday with Nicky and say their goodbyes, and that was a pretty important thing," was all that Willey was willing to disclose to The Chronicle-Telegram on January 19th. (See "Cat Nicknamed Olaf Dies from the Cold.")

Darmafall likewise was equally reticent about what actually had happened to Nicky. "Social media and caring people are what gave us the opportunity to reunite with him," she declared to The Chronicle-Telegram on January 19th. "We can't thank the family who found him, FAPL, and Fox Veterinary Hospital enough."

It therefore is not known what caused Nicky's abrupt relapse and death although Berardi earlier had warned that he could have sustained unspecified internal injuries as the result of his prolonged exposure to the elements. All that has been reported in the media is that by January 16th his body temperature had returned to normal and that he was up and about. It is not unusual, however, for ailing cats to raise the hopes of their loving guardians by mounting surprising, last-ditch rallies only to later break their hearts to bits by suddenly dying.

Nicky Lies Suspended Between Life and Death

Much more importantly, it is not even known if he was allowed to die on his own terms or was intentionally killed off by Berardi at Darmafall's urging. After all, Berardi certainly does not have any qualms whatsoever about killing cats so long as she is handsomely paid for her diabolical crimes.

It is even remotely conceivable that Nicky could have been whacked by Willey of FAPL in that it was he who announced his death. His outrageous tendency to repeatedly refer to Nicky as it also tends to suggest that he looks down upon cats as inanimate objects.

Furthermore, honesty is far from being FAPL's strong suit. For example, although it claims to be a no-kill operation, in practice it kills off all cats and other animals that enter its portals with the notable exception of those that it is able to sell back to the public for a profit.

On its web site it not only admits to killing animals that are terminally ill and deemed to be dangerous, but it also reserves the right to kill off its inmates in so-called emergencies as well as to comply with unspecified federal, state, and local laws. Most revealing of all, it declares that it will not allow animals to live for prolonged periods of time in cages and that can only be interpreted to mean that FAPL is operating a slaughterhouse thinly disguised as a no-kill operation.

Far from being an isolated case, that is how another no-kill fraud known as Kitty City in La Lutz, New Mexico, operates. Plus, it additionally has the audacity to support bans on the feeding of homeless cats as well as to stipulate that the ones it sells back to the public be cruelly confined indoors for the remainder of their lives. (See Cat Defender post of July 29, 2010 entitled "Benicia Vallejo Humane Society Is Outsourcing the Mass Killing of Kittens and Cats All the While Masquerading as a No-Kill Shelter.")

In addition to not knowing where and how Nicky died, it has not even been publicly disclosed what was done with his remains and, as per usual, it is precisely the capitalist media who are to blame for those glaring omissions in the public record. When it comes to their coverage of cats, they oscillate between cute stories that are designed to sell newspapers and to attract viewers and the outrageous lies spread by ornithologists, wildlife biologists, PETA, and others. Such a dishonest policy therefore allows them to laugh all the way to the bank without ever being compelled to recognize that cats are sentient beings endowed with both rights and liberties that should be respected.

As suspicious, horrible, and heartbreaking as Nicky's death was, that is only one part of the story. The other part is that he had been living on the streets ever since Boxing Day! Although the weather was mild enough on that ill-fated day in that temperatures ranged from 31°to 48° Fahrenheit, conditions soon deteriorated. According to data recorded at the Lorain County Regional Airport in nearby New Russia Township and posted online at www.friendlyforecast.com, the thermometer was below freezing on twenty of the days and nights that he was forced to spend outdoors. Included in that total were four days of single digit readings plus another four with of sub-zero temperatures.

It also snowed on twelve of those days and the rain came down on four other occasions. So, in addition to being nearly frozen to death, Nicky also was soaked to the bone.

In the end it undoubtedly was the sub-zero temperatures that killed him. Although he did somehow manage to survive a -4° Fahrenheit reading on January 8th and a -2° Fahrenheit night on January 10th, he was unable to make it through the night on January 14th when the thermometer plunged to -12° Fahrenheit. Even on the day that he finally was rescued the thermometer stood at a teeth chattering  -3° Fahrenheit.

It thus appears in hindsight that Nicky likely would still be alive today if his deliverance had come a day earlier. Sadly, neither The Fates nor lady luck were willing to accommodate him even in that regard despite the fact that he had suffered so painfully for so very long.

Compounding an already totally unmanageable stroke of simply horrendous misfortune, Nicky not only had lived his entire existence indoors but he had been cruelly declawed and neutered as well. "Nicky has been with us ten years and has never been outside," Darmafall disclosed to The Chronicle-Telegram in the January 16th article cited supra.

He accordingly knew absolutely nothing about the outside world and without claws he was unable to procure sustenance, defend himself against predators, and to climb trees and fences in order to elude pursuers. His weight at the time of his rescue has not been disclosed but it is difficult to imagine that he could have been anything other than severely emaciated.

It therefore is truly amazing that he lasted for as long as he did under such unrelenting, hellish circumstances. Needless to say, no cat ever should be subjected to the pain, suffering, deprivations, and fears that were visited upon Nicky.

His plight also serves as a poignant reminder of the adverse consequences of denaturing cats. First of all, besides being outrageously cruel, painful, and utterly barbaric, declawing amounts to a death sentence for cats that, one way or the other, find themselves outdoors and on their own for extended periods of time. (See Cat Defender post of November 29, 2010 entitled "Harrison's Turbulent Years Spent on the Street Are Yet Another Reason Why Declawing Is Not Only Cruel and Inhumane but Dangerous as Well.")

Secondly, confining cats indoors exclusively is not only cruel and inhumane but it deprives them of both the knowledge and skills that they need in order to survive should they unexpectedly find themselves outdoors. Most domesticated cats live for quite a few years and absolutely no one can foresee what the future will hold for either them or their guardians.

For instance, some of them have been known to escape from their carriers while en route to the veterinarian with disastrous results. (See Cat Defender post of March 7, 2008 entitled "Georgia Is Found Safe and Sound After Spending a Harrowing Twenty-Five Days Lost in the Bowels of the New York City Subway System.")

Individuals also not only die but cruelly abandon their cats. It therefore is imperative that they be acquainted with the outside world and know how to survive in it. No halfway responsible parent ever would lock up a child in a closet and keep it in total ignorance of the outside world and the same logic applies in spades to the nurturing of cats.

Nicky Is Briefly Reunited with  Candice Darmafall

Thirdly,  many kittens are weaned way too early. Without human intervention it is not uncommon for their mothers to continue to nurse and instruct them for as long as six to twelve months after birth.

Fourthly, PETA ridiculously wants to denature the species by transforming these obligate carnivores into vegetarians. Many owners do not help matters by feeding them a steady diet of cheap kibble instead of the meat that they crave.

Fifthly, although necessary in many instances, en masse sterilizations are robbing them of their sexual freedom. Sixthly and most outrageous of all, their guardians and unprincipled veterinarians are depriving them of their right to die natural deaths.

Man always has been the great manipulator and annihilator of the animals, Mother Earth, and even his fellow man but that does not make such abhorrent conduct either right or desirable, especially where the animals and Mother Earth are concerned. If modern man has sunk so low that he no longer has any ambition other than to be a dumb herd animal who works most of the time and devotes his ever diminishing leisure to counting his shekels and lapping up whatever garbage du jour that mass culture has to offer, that is his business but he should have enough decency not to impose his baseness upon cats and other animals.

"To live is so startling that it leaves little time for anything else," Emily Dickinson once observed and that is not a bad philosophy to follow. It will not make an individual either rich or popular but it will deter either him or her from abusing the animals and Mother Earth.

The circumstances that led to Nicky's abandonment are cloaked in every bit as much secrecy as his death and on that vitally important issue Darmafall has been anything but forthcoming. "I don't know how he got out, but we were so happy to find him," she vowed to The Chronicle-Telegram on January 16th.

On that latter point she appears to have been sincere. "She was just sobbing when she saw her cat," is how Willey described her reunion with Nicky at Fox to The Chronicle-Telegram on January 16th. "This was just a wonderful turn of events."

Notwithstanding that, it is nevertheless highly suspicious that Nicky disappeared on Boxing Day in that so many nominal Christians select that time of the year in order to get rid of their unwanted cats. (See Cat Defender post of January 15, 2015 entitled "Lewis, Ann Arbor's Much Celebrated Garden Shop Cat, Departs This World Under Highly Suspicious Circumstances.")

It additionally is odd that Nicky was found eight kilometers away in Amherst. Although it is remotely possible that he could have walked that distance over the course of a number of days, that seems unlikely given the inclement weather.

Besides, since he had spent his entire life indoors it only seems logical that he would have been frightened to death of the world outdoors and as a consequence would not have strayed far from home. That in turn opens up the possibility that he became trapped inside either a box or some article of furniture and thus unwittingly ended up in Amherst.

It is not a pleasant scenario to contemplate and there most assuredly is not a shred of evidence to support it, but it is conceivable that Nicky was driven to Amherst by Darmafall and turned loose in the cold to fend for himself. She is, after all, already guilty of robbing him of both his freedom and claws and this world is chock-full of all sorts of seemingly honest and respectable individuals who nevertheless do terrible things to cats. Plus, her total lack of candor concerning his disappearance only serves to fuel such speculation, no matter how unfounded it may be.

Her credibility is further undermined by the fact that it is unclear just how hard and thoroughly she and her family searched for Nicky. According to The Chronicle-Telegram's January 16th edition, she limited her rescue efforts to posting messages and photographs of him on Facebook.

If that is true, she belongs in jail! That is all the more the case given his handicaps and the inclement weather.

She was fully cognizant from the outset that he was ill-equipped to survive for very long under such dire conditions and her failure to mount an all-out rescue effort can only be described as inexcusable. In particular, all the while he was suffering piteously and dying by degrees in the unforgiving cold she appears to have contented herself with pecking away on her computer from inside the comfort of her heated house!

In that light it would be interesting to know how she spent New Year's Eve and New Year's Day. Specifically, was she in her cups, making merry, and watching the football games on the idiot box or out combing the streets and fields for Nicky?

None of that is meant to imply that locating an errant cat is an easy job; au contraire, it is a frustrating, heartbreaking, and near impossible feat to pull off even under the best of circumstances in that it is estimated that fewer that ten per cent of them ever are reunited with their owners. Be that as it may, that is not a valid excuse for not dropping everything and searching high and low, both night and day, for them.

The Amazing Annie

Instead of merely writing off Nicky as dead, she should have logged off of her computer, forsaken her warm and cozy house, and scoured her neighborhood for him. His health and well-being was, after all, her personal and moral responsibility and not that of the users of Facebook.

"Lost Cat" posters should have been printed and nailed to every lamppost and rescue groups, such as FAPL, promptly contacted. Most important of all, she should have trekked door-to-door interviewing residents and leaving "Lost Cat" posters with them.

Only she knows what happened on Boxing Day and how hard she tried to find Nicky. Above all, it is she who is going to have to live with the decisions that she made and that is destined to create a dilemma if she does in fact have a conscience.

It additionally does not reflect positively upon area residents and public officials in that at least some of them surely must have seen Nicky wandering the streets under life-threatening conditions and yet none of them had so much as the common decency to notify the authorities of his desperate plight. Even more deplorable, such callous indifference to the acute suffering of an animal is totally in keeping with Ohioans' well-earned reputation as being some of the most flagrant abusers of cats, both small and large, in the country. (See Cat Defender posts of October 20, 2005, February 26, 2007, August 2, 2007, April 8, 2008, September 22, 2011, and November 3, 2011 entitled, respectively, "After Ridding the Ohio Statehouse of Rats, Cats Now Find Themselves Facing Eviction," "Charged with Feeding a Feral Cat Named Fluffy, Retired Ohio English Teacher Beats the Rap," "Ohio Cat Shot in the Leg with an Arrow Is Forced to Endure a Long-Drawn-Out and Excruciating Death," "Ohio Politician Proposes Adding Cats to the Growing List of Pigs, Other Animals, and Humans Killed by Tasers," "Neanderthaloid Politicians in Lebanon, Ohio, Wholeheartedly Sanction the Illegal and Cold-Blooded Murder of Haze by a Trigger-Happy Cop," and "Sheriff Matt Lutz Settles an Old Score by Staging a Great Safari Hunt That Claims the Lives of Eighteen Tigers and Seventeen Lions in Zanesville.")

So, in Nicky's case the cynics were proven to be correct in that his remarkable turnaround ultimately proved to be just too good to last. They are not always right, however, in that other cats felled by Old Man Winter's ruthlessness have gotten off of their death beds in order to live again.

For instance back on January 2, 2010, an unidentified Good Samaritan found a thirteen-year-old tuxedo named Annie emaciated and apparently frozen to death in a snowdrift near Main Street and Sweetland Farm in the Boston suburb of Norfolk. The unidentified rescuer then wrapped her in a blanket and contacted Animal Control Officer Hilary Cohen.

"At first response, she appeared dead. She was cold, stiff, and unresponsive," she said at that time. "When I picked her up, I did hear an agonal cry, but that sometimes happens postmortem."

Despite having grave reservations about her chances of surviving, Cohen refused to give up on Annie. "I kept her in the blanket and put her on my lap in the cruiser and headed to the hospital," she later recalled. "Once in the car, I turned the heater on and saw a whisker twitch. That was the only sign of reflex I saw from her."

At Acorn Animal Hospital in nearby Franklin, Annie was diagnosed to have a body temperature of only 86° Fahrenheit, which is fifteen degrees below normal for a cat. She also nearly had starved to death in that she weighed only three and one-half pounds.

The hospital's staff used electric blankets, hair dryers, hot water bottles, and heat disks in a desperate effort to elevate her body temperature. They also administered intravenous fluids and steroids, conducted a blood test, and closely monitored her blood-sugar levels and heart rate.

Seven hours later Annie regained consciousness and within forty-eight hours she was eating, drinking, and back on her feet. "I've seen different kinds of animal issues over the years but I've never seen an animal this cold be revived," Cohen later marveled.

Instead of depositing Annie at a shelter, Cohen went beyond the call of duty when she elected to take her home to her house so that she could continue administering heat therapy to her. On January 5th, her owners came forward to reclaim her after reading about her plight in The Sun Chronicle of Attleboro.

As it later was disclosed, Annie's family had been living in Norfolk for only about a week before she mysteriously disappeared in early December of  2009. She was found only about three quarters of a mile from home but even to have made it that far she had been forced to cross railroad tracks and other obstacles. Although her owners had contacted Animal Control and put up "Lost Cat" posters, they quite obviously had not been looking in the right places. (See Cat Defender post of January 21, 2010 entitled "Trapped Outdoors in a Snowstorm, Annie Is Brought Back from the Dead by the Compassion of a Good Samaritan and an Animal Control Officer.")

As Annie's remarkable turnaround clearly demonstrates, time and knowledge are of the essence when dealing with cats suffering from frostbite and hypothermia. Cohen and Acorn's crackerjack veterinary team knew exactly what to do and they did not waste valuable time bandying about Annie and debating the merits of attempting to save her life as FAPL and Fox did in the case of Nicky.

It thus is safe to conclude that the cynics do not hold an absolute monopoly on truth because:

One never knows until one tries.

Miracles do happen and dreams do come true once in a blue moon.

Aegroto dum anima est, spes est.

And, never give up, especially on a cat.

None of that in any way can now either help Nicky or erase the haunting memory of what his last three weeks on this earth must have been like. Only a profound change in how individuals, especially guardians, look upon and treat cats can ever ensure that no cat is again put through what he was forced to endure. Sadly, even that seems to be every bit as far away as the shelter and warmth that he so desperately sought as he trudged day after day, lonely, frightened, and hungry, through the unrelenting Ohio cold and snow.

Photos: Friendship Animal Protection League (Nicky being attended to and with Darmafall), Dan Bowman of WKYC-TV (Nicky by himself on a table), and The Chronicle Sun (Annie).

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Lewis, Ann Arbor's Much Celebrated Garden Shop Cat, Departs This World Under Highly Suspicious Circumstances

Lewis and His Shadow Watch over the Plants

"I knew something was wrong today (December 27th) when I walked in and he wasn't lying there."
-- Brian Wolfe

Lewis, the longtime resident feline of Downtown Home and Garden at 210 South Ashley Street in Ann Arbor, Michigan, departed this vale of tears on Boxing Day. It is far from clear, however, if he left on his own accord or was deliberately shoved headfirst into the great void.

"Lewis, the orange tabby store cat at Downtown Home and Garden, has died peacefully at about twenty (sic) years of age," seventy-year-old Mark Hodesh, who up until January 1st owned and operated the store, announced in an untitled article posted at 12:53 p.m., December 26th, on the retailer's Facebook page.

The local rag, The Ann Arbor News, likewise demonstrated that it is every bit as adept as Hodesh in obfuscating the truth when it reported on December 27th that Lewis simply had "passed away." (See "Lewis the Cat Mourned at Ann Arbor Downtown Home and Garden.")

The response to his death from those in Ann Arbor who were fortunate enough to have known the eighteen-year-old tom during the fifteen years that he slaved away for peanuts at Hodesh's store was equally callous and uncaring. Although dozens of them took to Facebook in order to proclaim their abiding love for him, none of them questioned the mysterious circumstances surrounding his death.

"I knew something was wrong today (December 27th) when I walked in and he wasn't lying there (on the bench across from the cash register)," Brian Wolfe of Superior Charter Township, eighteen kilometers east of Ann Arbor, casually remarked to The Ann Arbor News.

There is nothing in the public record to suggest, however, that he treated Lewis's death as anything other than a mild curiosity. That in itself speaks volumes for just how little most humans value the sanctity of feline life. If either Hodesh or one of his employees had died suddenly Wolfe most definitely would have demanded to know the particulars.

"Lewis has regular visitors," Hodesh proclaimed to The Ann Arbor News on August 1, 2011 after his resident feline went AWOL for a week. (See "Ann Arbor Store Downtown Home and Garden Still Searching for Lewis the Cat.") "He means a lot to a lot of customers."

Evidently that was not the case. Much more disturbingly, the events surrounding Lewis's death lead to the likely, although by no means substantiated, conclusion that he was deliberately killed off by Hodesh and a local veterinarian.

First of all, there is not any evidence to indicate that Lewis recently had been ill; au contraire, the mere fact that he weighed a robust fifteen pounds would tend to suggest just the exact opposite. Moreover, since some cats have been known to live to be at least thirty-five-years-old, Lewis at eighteen was not really all that old.

Secondly, if Lewis had died of natural causes, Hodesh likely would have promptly divulged that information to the public. Thirdly, Hodesh's glaring lack of both surprise and grief tends to indicate that he ordered Lewis's death with all the sans souci that he does takeout from a chop suey joint.

Lewis and Mark Hodesh

Fourthly, Lewis's death on Boxing Day is a dead giveaway in that all-too-many alleged lovers of the species choose that time in order to abandon, dump at shelters, and kill off their faithful companions. Fifthly, even the timeline of events is suspicious.

For example, on its web site Downtown Home and Garden states that it shuttered its doors at 3 p.m. on Christmas Eve and did not reopen them again until December 26th. In spite of that, Hodesh posted a Christmas card on the store's Facebook page at 8:18 a.m. on Christmas Day and once again took pen in hand at 6:53 a.m. on Boxing Day in order to announce that every item in the store would be twenty per cent off throughout the remainder of the year.

While it is conceivable that he could have updated his Facebook page from home, that in no way shines any light upon what Lewis was doing between 3 p.m. Christmas Eve and the morning of December 26th when he allegedly died. In particular, was he left all alone during that period?

Hodesh's version of events simply is not plausible because he has not revealed exactly when Lewis died. If he simply had found him dead when he arrived at the store on December 26th it seems that he would have informed the public of that sad occurrence right from the outset.

Sixthly, December 31st was Hodesh's last day as owner and operator of Downtown Home and Garden and that makes it appear that getting rid of Lewis was one of his final acts as ruler of the roost. That analysis of his motivation is somewhat compromised in that he still owns the building and plans on continuing to toil away at the store in some unspecified capacity.

He also intends to continue operating the adjoining Mark's Carts, a summertime outdoor food court, as well as Bill's Beer Garden, which is open for business evenings in the garden shop's parking lot during both the spring and summer. There accordingly was not any obvious reason why he could not have continued to care for Lewis.

The solution to that conundrum in all likelihood lies with the store's new owner, former employee Kelly Vore, who may not have wanted Lewis around and that constitutes the seventh reason for questioning Hodesh's version of events. "The cat is a legendary part of this business," she acknowledged to The Ann Arbor News in the December 27th article cited supra. "That is a vacancy I wouldn't even begin to try to fill."

It thus could be argued that if Lewis had died unexpectedly and she truly had cared about him, she would have found an immediate replacement for him. After all, that would have been the best way in order to both honor him and to keep his memory alive.

Eightly, Hodesh has not explained what was done with Lewis's remains. Even more outrageously, he did not even provide him with a proper funeral. All of that strongly suggests that his corpse was either burned or tossed out in the trash like yesterday's newspapers.

If there is any validity to the foregoing analysis of events, Hodesh's conduct is not only morally repugnant and revolting, but totally unjustified. "I have plenty of money, I don't need much," he bragged to The Ann Arbor News on October 29th of last year. (See "Downtown Home and Garden Owner Mark Hodesh to Sell Business to Employee.") "I have a Ford Escort, not a BMW."

With that being the case, he did not have even a remotely valid excuse for killing off Lewis. For instance, if he had become ill, Hodesh easily could have afforded to pony up for his veterinary treatment no matter how much it cost.

Lewis Relaxes after a Hard Day's Work

That is a far different scenario from the gut-wrenching dilemmas faced every day by impecunious cat owners who are unable to pay the exorbitant fees that veterinarians demand in order to treat their ailing cats. There arguably is not any greater benefit to having money than to be able to use it in order to save the lives of sick cats, family members, and valued friends. Money should only be used for doing good, not evil, and that is a lesson that Hodesh, quite obviously, never has taken to heart throughout his many years upon this earth.

Secondly, with his money and contacts within the community, both personal and professional, it would have been a rather easy matter for him to have placed Lewis in either another home or at a sanctuary. He most definitely did not have any right to prematurely snuff out his precious life.

In all likelihood it never will be known how Lewis spent the first two years of his life. All that has come to light so far is that he showed up one day during the spring of 1999 at the residence of Maureen Grady in Scio Township, eight kilometers to the west of Ann Arbor. He remained with her for six months but never was fully accepted by her four cats and trio of canines.

"He was just fierce. He had his own agenda," she claimed to The Ann Arbor News in the December 27th article cited supra. "He was very aggressive. I realized that he needed a different home."

Either later that year or in early 2000 she fobbed him off on Hodesh and the rest in history. "It was an immediate fit," he told The Ann Arbor News on December 27th. "He ended up being very friendly to people."

"It was a marriage made in heaven," Peter Heydon of the Mosiac Foundation added. "He had the freedom of a big place."

None of those testimonies should be construed, however, to imply either that things could not have been worked out at Grady's residence if she had possessed the prerequisite savoir-faire or that Lewis would not have made a simply splendid companion for some other individual or family. As things eventually turned out, residing at Downtown Home and Garden was far from the idyllic paradise that Heydon claims.

Most notably, Lewis was forced to spend all of his nights as well as holidays when the store was closed all by his lonesome. Also, as his misadventures in 2011 vividly demonstrated, Hodesh irresponsibly placed his life in jeopardy by allowing him to roam without the accompaniment of a chaperon.

Although it would be unfair to maintain that Hodesh nakedly exploited him, Lewis most assuredly deserved a far better life than the one that he was forced to forge for himself as a garden shop cat. It also is clear that a lion's share of the benefits derived from the arrangement accrued to Hodesh and his store rather than to Lewis.

In particular, there can be little doubt that his presence drew countless new customers to the store and that in turn made Hodesh's cash register sing like a hallelujah choir. "We walked in after looking from the outside and (Lewis) was lying right there on the bench," Wolfe added to The Ann Arbor News in the December 27th article cited supra. "It was always nice seeing the cat there."

As all clever retailers and marketers know only too well, the path that leads to the wallets of adults often wends its way through the eyes and hearts of small children and that certainly was the case with Lewis and Hodesh's clientele. "A million kids learned how to pet a cat on his head," store employee Sarah Kaufmann told The Ann Arbor News on December 27th. "People in their twenties bring in their kids and say 'my mom used to come bring me to see this cat.' He was really amazing."

Lewis Holds Court with His Many Young Admirers

To his credit, that is a fact that Hodesh readily acknowledges. "He enjoyed a brilliant career here over seventeen (sic) years allowing children to maul him with kisses, and gently taught them when enough is enough," he wrote in the December 26th Facebook article cited supra. "He indulged foolish baby talk from some adults while keeping a knowing, dignified relationship with others."

He additionally sans doute kept the store free of rodents and that saved Hodesh a packet in pest control. All of that and much, much more Lewis freely donated to Hodesh and Downtown Home and Garden in exchange for only tuna, kibble, and water. Try as he may, Hodesh never will be able to find another employee willing to work for so long and hard for so very little in return.

In addition to lounging on the bench across from the till, Lewis will be remembered for snoozing near the radiator during the wintertime and for brightening the evenings of patrons at Bill's Beer Garden as he strolled from table to table. The unidentified North Carolinian who stops by the store each year on his drive up to his summer home in Petoskey, four-hundred-five kilometers north of Ann Arbor, also doubtlessly will be saddened to learn of his demise.

If indeed Hodesh had him killed, Lewis thus has joined the ranks of countless millions of cats before him who have been murdered in cold blood by their owners once their presence was no longer desired. Very few of these helpless victims are known to the world at large but, as the deaths of Lewis and numerous other cats like him have more than amply demonstrated, even worldwide acclaim is not any palliative against the perfidy that lurks like a viper in the diseased souls of most cat owners. (See Cat Defender posts of February 9, 2006, December 7, 2006, May 31, 2007, October 28, 2008, March 12, 2009, October 23, 2012, July 17, 2013, August 27, 2014, and October 18, 2014 entitled, respectively, "Newspaper Cat Named Tripod Is Killed Off by Journalists He Befriended in Vermont," "After Nineteen Years of Service and Companionship, Ingrates at Iowa Library Murder Dewey Readmore Books," "Port Taranaki Kills Off Its World Famous Seafaring Feline, Colin's, at Age Seventeen," "Love and Admired All Over the World, Feline Heroine Scarlett Is Killed Off by Her Owner after She Becomes Ill," "Too Cheap and Lazy to Care for Him During His Final Days, Betty Currie Has Socks Killed Off and His Corpse Burned," "A Supposedly No-Kill Shelter in Marblehead Betrays Sally and Snuffs Out Her Life Instead of Providing Her with a Home and Veterinary Care," "Not Satisfied with Merely Whacking Meiko, Garrison Keillor Struts on Stage in Order to Shed a Bucketful of Crocodile Tears and to Denigrate the Entire Species," "After Traveling for So Many Miles on the Bridport to Charmouth Bus, Dodger's Last Ride Is, Ironically, to the Vet Who Unconscionably Snuffs Out His Precious Life at the Urging of His Derelict Owner," and "Hamish McHamish's Derelict Owner Reenters His Life after Fourteen Years of Abject Neglect only to Have Him Killed Off after He Contracts a Preeminently Treatable Common Cold.")

Given that there are so many pressing political, legal, and moral issues affecting the lives of cats, it is difficult to single out any particular one that is of paramount importance. Nevertheless, the abolition of the odious practice of killing off elderly and ailing cats has to be near the top of the list.

In fact, it is difficult to understand how that the status of all abused cats, especially those that are homeless and preyed upon by vivisectors, ever can be upgraded so long as the guardians of domesticated ones are permitted to utilize with impunity the misnomered expedient of euthanasia as a convenient excuse in order to absolve themselves of their moral and custodial obligations to their faithful companions. To put the matter rather bluntly, their patently immoral behavior is only one step removed from the horrific crimes perpetrated against the species by ornithologists, wildlife biologists, PETA, and vivisectors.

As far as their accomplices in crime are concerned, absolutely nothing can be said in their favor; on the contrary, the entire miserable lot of them not only should be stripped of their licenses to practice veterinary medicine but, like Jack Kevorkian, sent to jail to boot. As things now stand, however, these glorified knackers are not even so much as compelled by law to disclose either their kill rates or the number of impecunious cats that they send to their premature graves each year by categorically refusing to treat them.

It additionally is nothing short of disgraceful that not a single known cat advocacy group is willing to so much as condemn this simply outrageous and morally repugnant practice. The reason for their deafening silence is, quite obviously, the petit fait that they are every bit as guilty as guardians and veterinarians of not only killing off cats that have been entrusted to their care but even their very own companions as well! (See Cat Defender post of January 2, 2013 entitled "Alley Cat Allies Demonstrates Its Utter Contempt for the Sanctity of Life by Unconscionably Killing Off Its Office Cat, Jared.")

"He met me at the door every morning," Hodesh declared to The Ann Arbor News on December 27th. "There will never be another cat like Lewis."

On that last point he is deadly correct but, malheureusement, there will be countless more men and women who think and behave just like him and therein lies the gist of the problem. Tant pis, in time even the memory of how Lewis lived and died will fade from the collective consciousness of those who knew him.

The killing, abuse, and exploitation of cats like him is thus destined to continue unabated. In that respect he has lived and died in vain because mankind has learned absolutely nothing from all that he gave so freely to this world and that makes his death all the more tragic, heartbreaking and, above all, totally unforgivable.

Photos: Facebook.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

The Federal Government's Resounding Court Victory in Its Long-Running War Against Ernest Hemingway's Polydactyls Was the Biggest Cat Story of 2012

The calendar year 2012 has long since come and gone but it is never too late in order to take a look back at some of its top stories. The thing that readily stands out about it is the cavalier manner in which cats, their owners, and caretakers continued to be victimized by both criminals and the courts around the world.

In the United States, the feds were handed a major victory over Ernest Hemingway's polydactyls in Key West by their buddies who sit on the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit in Atlanta while Virginia's utterly disgraceful excuse for a judicial system went overboard in order to shield a rogue cop from punishment after he savagely bludgeoned to death an already severely injured cat. In Angleterre, the courts continued to put their stamp of approval upon the killing of cats by both bird lovers and gardeners.

Christians also continued to perpetrate their age-old crimes against cats but they were joined in 2012 by a reporter from NBC Philadelphia who went out of his way in order to have the lives of six newborn kittens extinguished in southern New Jersey. A shelter in Massachusetts killed off Sally while still publicly professing to be a no-kill operation while veterinarians continued to kill cats, such as Hartley, through their gross incompetence and to literally steal others, such as Tazzy, from their owners.

Cats were murdered, frozen in ice, and then exhibited to the public in British Columbia and a thief in Washington State cost a homeless man the continued companionship of his beloved cat, Herman. Finally, not satisfied with merely eradicating the cats on San Nicolas Island, the utterly diabolical United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), and their subalterns held a party in order to both gloat about their hideous crimes as well as to plan additional ones.

For previous year-end reviews, see Cat Defender posts of January 4, 2007, January 11, 2008, February 2, 2009, March 16, 2010, June 20, 2011, and December 20, 2012 entitled, respectively, "The Continuing Mass Extermination of Millions of Cats at Shelters Across the World Heads the List of Top Ten Cat Stories of 2006," "Serial Cat Killer James Munn Stevenson's Victory in a Galveston Courtroom Heads the List of the Top Stories of 2007," "The Creation of Clones That Glow in the Dark for Vivisectors to Torture and Kill with Impunity Was the Most Disturbing Cat Story to Come Out of 2008," "Humane Society's Sellout of San Nicolas's Felines to the Assassins at the United States Fish and Wildlife Service Was the Biggest Cat Story of 2009," "Rocco's Abduction, Systematic Torture, and Cold-Blooded Murder by a Bird-Lover in München Was the Number One Cat Story of 2010," and "The Inexcusable Refusal of Washington's Derelict Legal Establishment to Punish Nico Dauphiné and the Smithsonian for Their Despicable Crimes Was the Most Momentous Cat Story to Come Out of 2011.")

1.)  The Feds Win a Decisive Court Victory Against Hemingway's Polydactyls.

Ernest Hemingway's Former Home in Key West 

"We (the museum and its cats) are now at the whim of the agency (APHIS). It's silliness; it's just got insane. This is what your tax dollars are paying for. The agents (of APHIS) are coming down here on vacation, going to bars and taking pictures of cats."
-- Cara Higgins, attorney for the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum

In what can only be described as an utterly outrageous and insane assault upon the liberties of all cats, the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, sitting in Atlanta, ruled on December 7th that the federal government has the authority to regulate the intimate details of their daily existence. Although numerous federal bodies, most notably the USFWS, have appropriated for themselves an unqualified right to exterminate en masse all homeless cats, the court's holding extends that mandate to include purely domestic felines residing in private home and businesses.

The case also marked the denouement in the USDA's Animal Plant Health Inspection Service's (APHIS) decade-long war against the world-famous polydactyls who, along with their antecedents, have resided at the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum in Key West since the 1930's. To make a long story short, the protracted legal wrangling boiled down to a heated debate over the interpretation of such nebulous terms as "distribution" and "exhibitor" contained within the ghoulishly misnomered Animal Welfare Act (AWA) of 1966.

Writing for a unanimous three-member panel, Chief Judge Joel Fredrick Dubina handed the feds their long sought after victory in a brief thirteen-page exposé in contorted logic that made a mockery of both justice and common sense. "The statute is ambiguous on the question whether 'distribution' includes the display of animals by a fixed-site commercial enterprise," he briefly conceded before lowering the boom on the cats. "And, given Congress's intent to regulate zoos, which are notably stationery and which could potentially exhibit animals that are neither purchased nor transported in commerce, we cannot see how the Secretary's (of the USDA) interpretation of 'exhibitor' is unreasonable."

In arriving at that totally absurd conclusion, Dubina argued, inter alia, that since the museum features images of the cats in its promotional materials it was in fact "distributing" them. Secondly, since the museum charges visitors an admission fee, that in turn made it an "exhibitor" of cats within the meaning of the AWA.

In doing so the court rejected out of hand the museum's perfectly sane argument that the cats merely reside on its premises and are not being exhibited to either the public or anyone else for that matter. Secondly, it contended that since they never roam outside the state of Florida they could not possibly be involved in interstate commerce. Thirdly, the museum argued that the AWA did not authorize federal preemption of a field already regulated by state and local animal welfare groups.

None of those arguments were sufficient, however, to dissuade Dubina and his colleagues from doing somersaults around both the law and logic in order to suck up to authority. "We conclude that the museum's exhibition of cats substantially affects interstate commerce," he summed up with a flourish and, presumably, a straight face to boot. Ergo, the feds now have a legal precedent for intruding into the private lives of domesticated cats based upon the authority granted them under the commerce clause which provided the constitutional backing for passage of the AWA.

Judge Joel Dubina

"Notwithstanding our holding, we appreciate the museum's somewhat unique situation, and we sympathize with its frustration," Dubina tossed out as an afterthought in an insultingly disingenuous act of beau geste. "Nevertheless, it is not the court's role to evaluate the wisdom of federal regulations implemented according to the powers constitutionally vested in Congress."

A year earlier on August 12, 2011, he was not nearly so deferential to congressional authority when in State of Florida et al. v United States Department of Health and Human Services, he and his brethren struck down the individual mandate of Obamacare. He accordingly has his jurisprudence all wrong because the flagrant abuse of federal power sanctioned in 907 Whitehead Street, doing business as the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum v USDA, Dr. Charles A. Gipson, deputy administrator of APHIS, clearly dwarfs anything even remotely contemplated in the Affordable Care Act.

For example, the museum now must, inter alia, purchase exhibitor licenses for each of its forty-four or so resident felines. It also is required to tag and individually cage them each night and to provide them with elevated resting areas inside their cages. All of that is in addition to the $200,000 that it already has ponied up in a futile effort to appease APHIS.

For instance, it has spent $15,000 on a sprinkler system and installed a net on top of the wall that surrounds the one-acre estate in an effort to prevent the cats from roaming. APHIS additionally has ordered it to purchase bowls in which to drown bugs.

The agency also wants it to hire a nightwatchman in order to keep an eye on the felines as well as to either extend or string an electrified wire across the top of the perimeter wall. It is unclear what other draconian measures the agency has up its sleeve but given its past track record it is unlikely to be magnanimous in victory.

"We are now at the whim of the agency," Cara Higgins, the museum's longtime attorney, said in defeat. "It's silliness; it's just got insane. This is what your tax dollars are paying for. The agents are coming down here on vacation, going to bars and taking pictures of cats."

That is not all. Besides spying on the cats, APHIS has threatened in the past to steal and, presumably, kill them and the museum has been subjected to numerous surprise and warrantless searches.

Worst of all, Dubina's interpretation of both the AWA and the feds' authority under the commerce clause has far reaching implications that extend well beyond the polydactyls and the museum. For instance, any blogger, author, breeder, groomer, and veterinarian who uses images of cats in their promotional materials and receives compensation from such activities could be subjected to surprise visits and regulation by APHIS. The same also could hold true for libraries that keep cats and street performers who use them and other animals in their acts.

Patches Contemplates Doing a Little Writing

Although the museum's position is indeed dire, it still has at least three arrows left in its quiver. First of all, it could request an en banc rehearing by the appellate court.

Secondly, it could appeal the adverse ruling to the United States Supreme Court. The danger therein lies in the fact that should it lose Dubina's ruling then would be the law of the land as opposed to currently being applicable in only the states of Florida, Georgia, and Alabama which make up the Eleventh Circuit.

Its third option would be to somehow try to convince Congress to rein in APHIS and that appears to be the direction in which it is leaning. "We're better off investing our money back into the business and employees," museum president Michael A. Marowski stated after the verdict. "So I think we're probably dealing with a legislative issue now."

As he surely is destined to find out for himself, getting Congress to do his bidding will be neither easy nor cheap. Also, given his previous monumental errors in judgment, Marowski needs to proceed with caution.

After all, it was his idiotic decision back in 2003 to employ Debbie Schultz, formerly of the Key West SPCA, to sterilize the polydactyls that precipitated this debacle in the first place. Being a mindless sterilization fanatic, she nearly succeeded in spaying and neutering the entire line out of existence and that in turn forced Marowski into firing her.

In retaliation, she not only ratted out the museum to APHIS but somehow succeeded in convincing it to go after the polydactyls with a vengeance. This entire legal imbroglio from start to finish therefore furnishes yet still another poignant example of how personality differences, prejudice, malice, and rank opportunism so often masquerade as rational and legal discourse. (See Cat Defender posts of January 24, 2013, August 3, 2006, January 9, 2007, and July 23, 2007 entitled, respectively, "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," "USDA Fines Hemingway Memorial in Key West $200 a Day for Exhibiting Papa's Polydactyl Cats Without a License," "Papa Hemingway's Polydactyl Cats Face New Threats from Both the USDA and Their Caretakers," and "Cat Behaviorist Is Summoned to Key West in Order to Help Determine the Fate of Hemingway's Polydactyls.")

2.)  Harrisonburg Cop Gets Away with Bludgeoning to Death an Injured Cat.

Wayne Meadows Sits on the Steps at the Scene of the Cat's Murder

"It is difficult for a judge to second-guess law enforcement. I think the way he killed the cat was in violation. The way he killed the cat was unnecessary."
-- Judge Steven H. Helvin

Bloodthirsty policemen kill cats with impunity every day of the week but seldom has this world witnessed the degree of savagery that was meted out by one of them to an injured cat on November 11, 2011 on Settlers Lane in Harrisonburg, Virginia. The chain of patently criminal events that led to the forever nameless cat's murder began when it was run down and severely injured by a hit-and-run motorist who remains at large to this very day.

The cat was discovered lying beside the road by kindhearted area resident Wayne Meadows who tried unsuccessfully to secure veterinary assistance for it. In particular, he contacted the Harrisonburg SPCA, Animal Control, and several unnamed veterinarians who, in a portent of events to come, refused to give him so much as the time of day.

At his wit's end, he committed the fatal faux pas of telephoning the Harrisonburg Police Department (HPD) which in turn dispatched twenty-five-year-old hotshot cop Jonathan N. Snoddy to the scene. Instead of compassionately taking the cat to the nearest veterinary office, which was only thirty minutes away, he elected to take matters into his own hands.

Specifically, he proceeded to bash out the cat's brains with his nightstick. Although he was indoors at the time and therefore did not actually witness Snoddy's brutality, Meadows nonetheless did overhear the report of at least twenty blows having been administered. In his defense, Snoddy later swore that he only struck the cat four times and that the other sounds that Meadows overheard had come from him attempting to close his collapsible baton.

The damage done to the siding and woodwork of Meadows' town house also makes it highly probable that Snoddy swung the cat's head against the building in order to make doubly certain that he had bashed out whatever lingering vestiges of life remained in its already battered body. The bloodstains left on the porch bear additional witness to the savagery of Snoddy's handiwork.

When the HPD, the mayor, city council, and local prosecutors all turned blind eyes to this simply outrageous act of premeditated animal cruelty, the Virginia State Police belatedly intervened on January 12, 2012 and charged  Snoddy with one count of misdemeanor animal cruelty. On March 8th, he was found guilty in a bench trial presided over by Judge Steven H. Helvin in Rockingham County General District Court but fined only a paltry $50.

Considering Helvin's long and checkered history of shortchanging both cats and their owners, even that small victory came as somewhat of a surprise. Plus, he also is overtly biased in favor of cops.

"It is difficult for a judge to second-guess law enforcement," this supposedly impartial trier of facts candidly admitted. "I think the way he killed the cat was in violation. The way he killed the cat was unnecessary."

Nevertheless, good old reliable Helvin was not about to allow Snoddy to spend any time behind bars. "He doesn't deserve to go to jail," he declared.

Not satisfied with merely escaping justice and being allowed to hold on to his job, Snoddy immediately appealed his conviction to the Rockingham County Circuit Court and that was when the already burlesque nature of the proceedings against him quickly morphed into a full-blown circus. The opening event consisted of Judge James V. Lane being chosen to serve as ringmaster and that was followed by his appointment of Page County district attorney Kenneth Leo Alger II to serve as his and Virginia's thoroughly corrupt judicial system's designated stooge.

After deliberately wasting several months of valuable time in order to allow public outrage to abate somewhat, Alger ultimately gave up all pretense of trying the case when he announced nolle prosequi in court on July 30th. In a ridiculously lame attempt designed to excuse his miserable abdication of duty, he then turned around and blamed Snoddy's detractors for spreading what he called "misinformation and sensationalism."

If the four-eyed cattle rancher and part-time law professor at James Madison University had had the bon sens to have stopped there that would have been outrageous enough in its own right, but he went on to express his wholehearted approval of Snoddy's heinous crime. "I think that putting the cat out of his (sic) misery immediately was the most humane thing to do as a result of the animal's broken spine and other internal injuries. As such, I do not feel that his actions rise to the level of criminal conviction of animal cruelty," he blowed long and hard. "It is my belief that under the urgency of the situation and a lack of specific guidelines and training, Officer Snoddy was acting to the best of his abilities."

Some of the Damage Done to Meadows' Town House

The very best that can be said for Alger's absurd reconstruction of events is that in spitting out such utter sottise he made all pathological liars extremely proud. First of all, there was absolutely nothing humane about what Snoddy did to the cat and consequently Alger should be dipped in hot oil for claiming otherwise.

Secondly, as far as it is known a necropsy never was performed on the cat and even if it did have a broken spine that was more likely the result of what Snoddy did to it rather than the motorist. Thirdly, Snoddy was charged with misdemeanor, not criminal, animal cruelty. Fourthly, the only urgency was to have gotten the cat to a veterinarian as soon as possible and certainly not to have bashed out its brains in such a cruel and inhumane fashion.

So, in the end, Snoddy not only walked out of court as a free man but he was able to even hold on to his precious $50 in the process. As far as Alger is concerned, he disgraced both himself and his profession by his unprincipled conduct but in doing so he also sans doute endeared himself to Virginia's political elites as a man who, like Helvin, can be counted on through thick and thin to protect their vested interests.

Much the same thing can be said for Cristobal Opp who prosecuted Snoddy the first time around with all the ferocity of a paper tiger. Old hacks Helvin and Lane also are to be commended for vividly demonstrating that it is utterly impossible for any cat to ever receive a fair hearing in the Old Dominion State. (See Cat Defender posts of March 22, 2012, April 26, 2012, and August 23, 2012 entitled, respectively, "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," " Virginia's Disreputable Legal and Political Establishment Is All Set to Acquit Jonathan N. Snoddy at His Retrial for Brutally Beating to Death an Injured Cat," and "Cat-Killing Cop Jonathan N. Snoddy Struts Out of Court as Free as a Bird Thanks to a Carefully Choreographed Charade Concocted by Virginia's Despicable and Dishonest Legal System.")

While those legal shenanigans were going on, Snoddy's colleague within the HPD, Sergeant Russell Metcalf, shot to death a black, eight-month-old collie-mix named Sadie when she had the temerity to cross his path on April 3rd while he was out riding his bicycle on Robinson Road in the Clover Hill section of town. Metcalf not only failed to report the shooting to headquarters but he also did a runner. Fortunately, he was tracked down by an unidentified neighbor whose description of him later led to his arrest.

Even with that valuable piece of evidence having been delivered to the authorities on a silver platter, it nonetheless took the appointment of Shenandoah County district attorney Amanda Wiseley to even determine that an actual crime had been committed. Once she had made that belated determination, Metcalf finally was arrested six weeks after the fact on May 18th, not by the HPD, but rather the Rockingham County Sheriff's Office.

Indicted on one count of misdemeanor animal cruelty and one count of the reckless handling of a firearm, Metcalf was convicted on both charges in Rockingham County District Court on August 23rd but he was given only a sixty-day suspended jail sentence. For that, he also had Helvin to thank who once again came out of semi-retirement in order to shield another obviously guilty cop from getting his just desserts.

As was the case with Snoddy, Metcalf did not have the prerequisite intelligence in order to leave well enough alone but instead appealed his conviction to the Rockingham County Circuit Court where on January 9, 2013 presiding judge Dennis Hupp convicted him once again of animal cruelty but exonerated him on the weapons violation. Even then he escaped with only an $800 fine.

"It appears he did it (in) a cavalier fashion," Hupp is quoted as stating in the January 10th edition of the Daily News-Record of Harrisonburg. (See "Ex-City Officer Fined.") "He would have had to have known it was someone's pet. It was pretty callous."

Sadly, nothing ever will bring back Sadie but her owner, forty-six-year-old Bryan Ware, did receive a measure of satisfaction from Metcalf's conviction. "It was such a senseless act. We feel like we got some justice for Sadie," he said after the first trial. "I don't think he should be a police officer or carry a gun."

Ultimately, Ware's latter wish did come true when Metcalf unexpectedly resigned from the HPD in September of 2012. (See Cat Defender posts of July 18, 2012 and September 7, 2012 entitled, respectively, "The Bloodthirsty and Lawless Harrisonburg Police Follow Up Their Bludgeoning to Death of an Injured Cat by Gunning Down a Collie Named Sadie" and "Peripatetic Helvin Rides to the Rescue of Harrisonburg Police Sergeant Russell Metcalf and in Doing So Puts the Judicial Stamp of Approval on His Gunning Down of Sadie.")

Regrettably, all the public outrage churned up by Snoddy's and Metcalf 's outrageous acts of animal cruelty has contributed absolutely nothing toward ending the law enforcement community's senseless attacks on cats and dogs. (See Cat Defender post of September 27, 2014 entitled "Falsely Branded as Being Rabid by a Cat-Hater, an Animal Control Officer, and the Gorham Police Department, Clark Is Hounded Down and Blasted with a Shotgun.")

3.)  Polygamists Kill Thomas by Burying Him Up to His Neck in Concrete.

Thomas Trapped in the Concrete That Became His Death Shroud

"Dead cats have been found in our place for years. This is the first time they've done it with a live animal."
-- Issac Wyler
In yet still another damning indictment of the practice of Christianity, a gray kitten named Thomas of undetermined age was buried alive up to his neck in wet concrete inside a cylindrical seven-foot-high steel post on a horse ranch in Colorado City, Arizona, on May 31st. Sadly, his desperate plight was not discovered until the following day when the owner of the property, Issac Wyler, and his assistant, Andrew Chatwin, returned to work on what was destined to be a shed for horses.

The pair was able to extricate Thomas by cutting away the steel post but that still left huge chunks of hardened concrete embedded in his fur. They then tried unsuccessfully to chip away the concrete before finally giving up and telephoning Best Friends Animal Sanctuary forty kilometers away in Kanab, Utah. The charity came and collected him but he died on June 4th as the result of his massive injuries.

Since the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS) owns practically every inch of both Colorado City and its sister town Hildale, located across the border in Utah, there can be little doubt that Thomas was murdered by one of the polygamists. That is especially the case in that both Wyler and Chatwin were declared personae non gratae by the sect's now imprisoned spiritual leader, Warren Steed Jeffs, back in 2004.

In an all-out effort designed to force them out of the insular community, Jeffs' confederates have subjected Wyler and Chatwin to a torrent of abuse, harassment, and discrimination. As part of that campaign, their enemies have killed up to a dozen cats and left them on Wyler's ranch in recent years.

"Dead cats have been found in our place for years," Wyler testified in the wake of Thomas's killing. "This is the first time they've done it with a live animal."

The FLDS was quick however to deny any involvement. "It's really inappropriate to try to extend that the FLDS church on the basis of nothing at all, except a dead cat," the sect's lawyer, Rodney Parker, retorted. "They don't even have evidence it was a church member, let alone the church."

A Rabbi Prepares to Dispatch a Rooster to the Devil That He Serves

It is difficult to imagine that the perpetrator of this heinous act could have been anyone else given that no one other than FLDS members are allowed to reside in Colorado City. Plus, the sect's secret police, God's Squad, keep both church members and visitors alike under constant surveillance.

Since concrete hardens quickly in hot weather, "someone had to have been watching us work on this project the whole time," Chatwin added. "Someone had to have done it quickly after I left."

Cats are far from being the only animals to feel the Mormons' wrath. For example, in 2001 Jeffs banned dogs from both Colorado City and Hildale and as a result all of them were rounded up, shot, and buried in a mass grave. Horses and other livestock also have been periodically abused.

Since all city officials as well as the officers of the Colorado City-Hildale Marshal's Office belong to the FLDS, it was a foregone conclusion from the outset that Thomas's premeditated murder never would be investigated. "Throw dirt on it (Thomas)," an unidentified marshal reportedly told Chatwin.

The situation in Colorado City is made all the more perilous due to the glaring absence of not only any animal protection groups but also any practicing veterinarians. Cats, dogs, and other animals thus have been left to the mercy of these morally repugnant Christians.

Doomed Chickens Outside Skware Mosdos shul in Boro Park, Brooklyn

Furthermore, their incestuous breeding of girls as young as eleven years old to old men not only has doomed them to lives as brood mares and sex slaves but also to a form of mental retardation known as Fumarase Deficiency or alternatively as polygamist Down's. Being so incapacitated, they thus are forced to thus spend their entire lives on welfare. (See Cat Defender post of August 8, 2012 entitled "Polygamists Condemn Thomas to a Long and Excruciatingly Painful Death by Burying Him Up to His Tiny Neck Inside a Steel Post Filled with Wet Concrete.")

The hideous abuse and killing of animals in the name of religion is by no means limited to either cats or the Mormons. Rather, it also extends to ultra-Orthodox Jews and their totally their inexcusable killing of thousands of innocent redemption roosters during Yom Kippur each autumn.

In an expiation ritual known as Kaparot, celebrants swing the roosters high above their heads three times before slitting their throats. The birds afterwards are allegedly donated to the poor but that is another of the Jews's blatant lies in that their corpses actually are deposited in the trash.

Thousands more of them die from heat exhaustion and other causes as the result of being left outside in the street in small plastic crates without either food or water for days. Even some of the birds that make it inside the synagogues in order to be sacrificed are instead suffocated to death inside plastic bags if they appear to be ailing.

Although United Poultry Concerns has been attempting since 1994 to get this ancient and bloodthirsty practice abolished, it has not made an iota of headway. Like the FLDS, the Jews are so powerful that everyone is scared to death to hold them accountable for their utterly despicable crimes. (See the New York Daily News' print edition, September 30, 2014, "Fowl Brawl. Activists Blast Chicken-Slaughtering Rite.")

That is all the more the pity because chickens, like all other animals, are richly deserving of both man's respect and compassion. Above all, they have an inalienable right to both live and to be free of abuse.

Far from being inanimate, unfeeling, and dumb animals, all of them are individuals with their own personalities, interests, and desires. They even recognize their individual names and come when called.

Furthermore, Christine Nicol of the University of Bristol claims that they outperform not only cats and dogs but four-year-old toddlers as well on a whole host of cognitive and behavioral tests. (See the New York Daily News, August 16, 2013, "Chickens: Smarter Than a Four-Year-Old.")

4.)  Ted Greenberg of NBC Philadelphia Orders the Murders of Six Kittens in Southern New Jersey.

A Pair of Kittens That Were Rescued from Aloe Village

"I just really appreciate the fact that Channel 10 (NBC Philadelphia) helped me and really helped all the neighbors. We couldn't do anything about it but you did and we thank you."
-- Evelyn Koegler

Even on their best of days, the members of the American capitalist media are sorry excuses for journalists. Whenever a television reporter stops merely covering the news, no matter how biased he may be in the first place, and instead not only starts choosing sides but taking an active role in shaping the outcome of events, he most often degenerates into something far worse, such as the cold-blooded murderer of six newborn kittens.

That was the dastardly and utterly unforgivable deed that Ted Greenberg of NBC Philadelphia committed on June 5th when he took it upon himself to call in a private exterminator named Raymond Lane of Animal Capture Control Services at 302 North Leipzig Avenue in Egg Harbor City in order to trap and remove an unspecified number of cats and kittens from the grounds of the nearby Aloe Village Senior Complex at 1311 West Aloe Street. In doing so he was acting at the behest of his fellow tribal member and inveterate cat-hater, Evelyn Koegler.

"It stinks back here," she complained to him and NBC Philadelphia on June 6th. (See "Animal Control Helps Capture Feral Cats.") "You can't open the door because of the smell."

In the same televised interview she even went so far as to ludicrously claim that the cats had attacked her when in fact it was she who had assaulted them. "I was shooing them and one grabbed a hold of my fingers," she bellyached in a pitiful effort designed not only to doom the cats but also to garner sympathy for herself.

She came a good deal closer to the truth earlier when she candidly blamed her cruel and inexcusable behavior on her advanced years. "They need to go. It's too much for old people," she declared to Greenberg and NBC Philadelphia on June 5th. (See "Senior Community Overrun with Feral Cats.") "I can't even get out here when they're here."

Always willing to snuff out innocent lives so long as he is handsomely paid for doing so, Lane hustled on over to Aloe Village where he wasted no time in trapping six kittens. "That's another six cats that aren't going to be breeding," he proudly crowed to Greenberg and NBC Philadelphia in the June 6th article cited supra.

True to his word, he then fobbed them off onto the Atlantic County Animal Shelter (ACAS) on Old Turnpike Road in nearby Pleasantville where their lives promptly were extinguished shortly after their arrival. "Any kitten under the age of three to four weeks is in danger of starvation if they (sic) do not have the means to feed every two or three hours. Unfortunately the shelter is inundated with young kittens," is how the death house's commandant, Andrea Ceremele,  feebly attempted to justify killing them in an interview with Care2.com on June 13th. (See "Death (sic) of Six Kittens Brings Community Together.") "In the shelter setting we do our best to find alternatives to euthanasia. The amount of kittens we see typically outweighs our resources and so we are left with the only humane solution to prevent starvation."

The cold-blooded murders of the six kittens pleased old Koegler no end. "I really appreciate the fact that Channel 10 (NBC Philadelphia) helped me and helped all the neighbors," she cooed to NBC Philadelphia and Greenberg on June 6th. "We couldn't do anything about it but you did and we thank you."

Kitten Killer Ted Greenberg of NBC Philadelphia

For his part, Lane vowed to return the next day and to trap the remainder of the estimated fifty to one-hundred cats and undoubtedly would have done just that if it had not been for the timely intervention of Alley Cat Allies (ACA). "Six newborn kittens have been ripped from their mothers and euthanized at the shelter," the organization's Becky Robinson told Care2.com in the article cited supra. "This cruel approach is not humane and it is not a solution."

Representatives from  the charity then visited the estate where they were able to persuade management to call off Lane and instead to adopt TNR. Almost immediately thereafter twenty-four cats were sterilized, vaccinated, and returned to the grounds. Ten kittens also were spared the hangman by being placed in foster care.

Even then ACA's intervention came way too late in order to save the lives of the dozens of cats and kittens that Lane and the ACAS had trapped and liquidated over the course of the previous three years. As deplorable as all of that was, it is merely the norm as to how cats are mistreated throughout Atlantic County.

For example, a stunning sixty-five per cent of the three-thousand-one-hundred-seventy-nine felines impounded at county shelters during 2012 were killed. (See The Press of Pleasantville, November 23, 2013, "Region's Cats Put Down by the Thousands.")

Almost as alarming, there is not any free sterilization service to be found anywhere in the county. Even the Atlantic County Humane Society, located next-door to the Borgata's gambling den in Atlantic City, charges close to $100 in order to sterilize a cat once all of its mandatory inoculations and other hidden costs are factored into the final price tag. It is in fact so hungry for shekels that it even charges for the disposal of the excised genitalia!

Furthermore, there are not any known cat sanctuaries in the county and those few TNR colonies that do exist are privately financed. Overall, it is difficult to imagine that there possibly could be a worse place for a cat to live in the United States than in Atlantic County.

Quite naturally, Greenberg purposefully neglected to inform his viewers about any of these distressing realities. Au contraire, he deliberately lied to them when he reported that the kittens would be evaluated by ACAS for adoption.

In a staggering indictment of the level of moral depravity and lawlessness that exists in both Atlantic County and the City of Brotherly Love, to this very day neither Greenberg nor his employer have been compelled to answer for their outrageous crimes in so much as the court of public opinion let alone a court of law . (See Cat Defender post of July 7, 2012 entitled "NBC Philadelphia Conspires with a Virulent Cat-Hater and an Exterminator in Order to Have Six Newborn and Totally Innocent Kittens Killed in Southern New Jersey.")

5.)  Sally Is Betrayed and Killed by a Supposedly No-Kill Shelter.

Animal Control Officer Betsy Cruger Visits Sally's Memorial

There is not very much positive that can be said about Homo sapiens to begin with, but their total lack of both appreciation and gratitude for cats that have provided them with unlimited amounts of unconditional love and faithful companionship over the course of many years is, arguably, their most repulsive character trait. Instead of reciprocating by providing them with the top-notch veterinary intervention and the around-the-clock care that they so richly deserve once they become either sickly or aged, their owners instead unconscionably have them killed off and, in most cases, their remains burned.

That was the cruel fate that befell a sixteen-year-old gray cat named Sally from Marblehead, twenty-six kilometers north of Boston, on April 30th after she had suffered a stroke. Although feline seizures are preeminently treatable, her de facto caretakers at the Friends of Marblehead's Abandoned Animals (FMAA) shelter at 44 Village Street and the Marblehead Animal Control Department elected instead to have her killed and her corpse cremated.

As far as it is known, Sally lived her entire life on the grounds of the shelter but rather than providing her with heated accommodations FMAA and Animal Control forced her to hole up in a pile of rocks out back. Considering Massachusetts' long cold and snowy winters, it is nothing short of amazing that she lasted for as long as she did under such inhumane conditions.

Although she apparently was provided with food and water on a daily basis, the shelter did absolutely nothing in order to protect her from the diabolical machinations of motorists on busy Village Street. Even more lamentable, it never attempted to either socialize her or to place her in a loving home. It therefore is safe to say that FMAA's attitude toward her was one of benign neglect.

As disgraceful and uncaring as all of that was, it nevertheless pales in comparison with the shelter and Animal Control 's shameful betrayed of her in her hour of greatest need. In particular, shortly before she suffered the stroke FMAA began to allow her into its basement where she was able to recline on a blanket.

Instead of exploiting her deteriorating health in order to finally do right by her by supplying her with permanent shelter and veterinary care, FMAA and Animal Control did the exact opposite and got rid of her for good. Only those monsters who strut around on two legs with their dirty schnozes poked high in the air are capable of such treachery and moral depravity.

FMAA's betrayal and murder of Sally was made all the more reprehensible by the fact that it likes to pass itself off as a no-kill operation. Whereas no cat ever should be killed under any circumstances, the so-called no-kill movement is not so much of a step in the right direction as it is a grotesque fraud that is rife with more double-talk, ruses, and just plain scams than those ever perpetrated by the protagonist in Herman Melville's 1857 novel, The Confidence Man.

To put the matter rather bluntly, to have any credibility at all no-kill should mean exactly what that connotation implies and nothing less. (See Cat Defender post of July 29, 2010 entitled "Benicia Vallejo Humane Society (now known as the Humane Society of North Bay) Is Outsourcing the Mass Killing of Kittens and Cats All the While Masquerading as a No-Kill Shelter.")

Sally's executioners did erect a small memorial in her honor in back of the shelter that consisted of her ashes and food dish as well as a photograph of her but all of that is a rather shabby substitute for the presence of the genuine article herself. (See Cat Defender post of October 23, 2012 entitled "A Supposedly No-Kill Operation in Marblehead Betrays Sally and Snuffs Out Her Life Instead of Providing Her with a Home and Veterinary Care.")

A lack of respect for the sanctity of feline life is by no means limited to no-kill impostors, such as FMAA, but it is a malignancy that extends to just about all feline advocacy groups as well. For example, ACA killed off its longtime office cat, Jared, in November.

Later on January 22, 2013, another of its office cats, Jazzy, either was killed off or died on her own. (See Cat Defender post of January 2, 2013 entitled "Alley Cat Allies Demonstrates Its Utter Contempt for the Sanctity of Life by Unconscionably Killing Off Its Office Cat, Jared" and ACA press release of January 23, 2013 entitled "Alley Cat Allies Remembers Office Cat Jazzy.")

As it readily should be apparent, it is extremely difficult to elevate the status of cats when those groups and individuals in the vanguard of the feline protection movement have so little respect for the sanctity of life. Moreover, their dismal conduct and public pronouncements set simply horrendous examples for everyone else to follow.

6.)  Bird Lover in Norfolk Murders Hartley with an Air Rifle.

"...the defendant explained he feeds wild birds that come into his garden and after seeing a cat chasing the birds he just lost it and didn't realize it was his neighbor's cat."
-- Jonathan Eales of the RSPCA

Ornithologists, both professional and amateurs, kill cats all the time but one of their most outrageous crimes in recent memory occurred on August 8, 2011 when sixty-eight-year-old retired construction worker Eric Reeves of Bradenham Hill Cottages in Bradenham, near Dereham, in Norfolk used an air rifle in order to mortally wound a handsome five-month-old brown and white cat named Hartley. The killing was especially hard on his owner, Nicholas Townley, in that he had only adopted him a few weeks earlier back in July.

At Reeves' trial in King's Lynn Magistrates' Court on October 26th, his attorney, Ian Graham, pulled out all the old familiar dodges in his client's defense. "He accepts he had the air rifle, that he fired the shot and that only he was responsible for the animal's death," he told the court. "He has shown a lot of remorse and is horrified by the pain the cat suffered."

In addition to confessing his guilt and feigning remorse, Reeves also claimed that he is not a cat-hater. "He used to have a cat himself," Graham told the court. "He has no bad attitude toward animals or cats and offered to pay for the vet bills but that offer was rejected."

All of Reeves' groveling and dissembling worked like a good luck charm on the judges who let him off with one-hundred hours of community service and £400 in court costs. Every bit as shocking, Reeves' de facto acquittal was just peachy keen with the RSPCA which had brought and prosecuted the case.

"This sends a clear message that it is unacceptable to go around shooting animals," the charity's Dave Padmore exclaimed in the face of all reason and experience to the contrary. "The RSPCA will continue to investigate incidents of this nature and where possible will always seek to bring a prosecution."

Even the organization's lead prosecutor, Jonathan Eales, seems to have accepted Reeves' ridiculous claim that the murder of Hartley was a one-time, spur-of-the-moment mistake in judgment. "...the defendant explained he feeds wild birds that come into his garden and after seeing a cat chasing the birds he just lost it and didn't realize it was his neighbor's cat," he told the court.

Eric Reeves

All of that is pure baloney! First of all, since he lives in a residential community Reeves most assuredly knew that Hartley had an owner. Homeless cats, on the other hand, most often are found in isolated area, near the waterfront, and in the industrial sections of towns.

Secondly, the only reason that an old fart like Reeves would have an air rifle in his possession would be to shoot cats. Consequently, it is a good bet that he has either wounded or killed numerous cats in the past. Moreover, instead of patting itself on the back the RSPCA should be ashamed of itself for allowing a serial cat abuser to escape justice.

In spite of being wounded in his right side, Hartley nonetheless was able to make it home on his own strength and very likely would have lived if it had not been for the utterly appalling incompetence shown by the veterinarian who treated him. Mistakenly believing that he had been injured in some sort of a fall, the unidentified practitioner not only neglected to x-ray Hartley but instead simply placed him on antibiotics and sent him home.

Tragically, he died at 7:45 a.m. the following day and a post-mortem x-ray later revealed that he had been shot in his intestines. Since he at that time was unaware of the evil that birders are capable of, Townley can be forgiven for not insisting that an x-ray be performed but the veterinarian certainly should have known better. After all, a bullet wound is clearly distinguishable even to the naked eye from an injury sustained in a fall.

The grotesque incompetence demonstrated by the attending veterinarian in this case bears a striking resemblance to that shown by a fellow colleague in Charford in Bromsgrove, Worcester, who back in 2010 cost Molly her left eye by idiotically misdiagnosing the presence of a ball bearing as a common eye infection. (See Cat Defender post of July 19, 2010 entitled "Molly Loses an Eye to an Assailant with a Ball Bearing Gun Only Later to Be Victimized by an Incompetent Veterinarian.")

Given that prosecutors are unwilling to go after cat killers with anything other than wet noodles and the adamant refusal of judges to punish even those few that eventually are convicted, wrongful death civil suits are about the only recourse open to aggrieved cat owners. In this particular instance, however, Townley was so disgusted with Reeves, King's Lynn Magistrates's Court, and the attending veterinarian that he chose instead to pull up stakes and to relocate elsewhere. (See Cat Defender post of March 9, 2012 entitled "Amateur Ornithologist Guns Down Hartley with an Air Rifle, Feigns Remorse, and Then Cheats Justice by Begging and Lying.")

7.)  Gardener Escapes Justice after Trapping and Then Shooting a Caged Cat.

Cowardly Patrick Doyle Hides His Ugly Mug
"You don't understand he's been digging up my flowers."
-- Patrick Doyle
Gardeners hate cats every bit as much as ornithologists and wildlife biologists and they can be just as ruthless and lawlessness as well. The patently criminal behavior exhibited by seventy-one-year-old monster Patrick Doyle of Fields Road in the village of Wootten in southwest Bedford, Bedfordshire, more than amply substantiates that claim.

Putting to use a trap that he had purchased at an antiques fair with the sole purpose in mind of catching what he called "vermin mucking all over the garden," he baited it with smelly fish on June 16, 2011 and then cleverly camouflaged it in his garden. Shortly thereafter a forever nameless black cat stumbled into the trap and that afforded Doyle the golden opportunity that he had long awaited in order to indulge in some feline bloodletting.

He accordingly grabbed his air rifle and shot the defenseless cats at point-blank range from two feet away. It is not known how many rounds that he pumped into the cat but there can be little doubt that he would have killed it on the spot if his neighbor, Caroline Benbow-Hunt, had not witnessed what he was doing and intervened.

"You don't understand he's been digging up my flowers," he howled in protest. Undeterred by his bluster, she eventually was able to convince him to remove the trap to her yard whereupon she, instead of promptly procuring veterinary treatment for the cat, thoughtlessly released it. Doyle subsequently was arrested and forced to face the music in Bedford Magistrates' Court on February 29, 2012.

On that occasion his lawyer, Nicky Daily, improvised many of the same arguments that had worked so well for Reeves at his trial earlier. "He is sorry...this was a moment of foolishness borne out of frustration," he told the court.

The Doomed Cat Trapped and Subsequently Shot by Doyle

English jurists quite obviously have a decided preference for lies and fantasies at the expense of both the truth and facts because the court fell head over heels for Daily's nonsense. The clincher, however, was Doyle's outlandish claim that he should not be jailed because he had a sick wife at home that needed him to care for her.

It therefore was anything but surprising that the robed buffoons that dispense justice in Bedford let him off with a suspended twelve-week jail sentence and £1,311.64 in court costs. He also was banned from owning any animals for five years and placed under a 9 p.m. to 7 a.m. curfew for two months but those additional sanctions are so inconsequential that they hardly are worth mentioning.

As was the case with its prosecution of Reeves, the RSPCA was contented that Doyle that gotten off scot-free. "This was a deliberate act of cruelty against an innocent animal and we are satisfied with the sentence handed out today," the organization's Dave Braybroke said afterwards. "We hope that this case acts as a deterrent and sends a message that acts of cruelty like this will not be accepted and the RSPCA will investigate and prosecute offenders."

Au contraire, the only thing that the decisions in both this and the Reeves case demonstrate is that gardeners and bird lovers have little or nothing to fear from either the RSPCA or the courts whenever they elect to take the law into their own hands and attack cats. The mere fact that these types of horrendous attacks continue to occur unabated makes a liar out of both Braybroke and the RSPCA.

For example in December of 2010, bird lover Ernst Bernhard K. of the Moosach section of München illegally trapped his neighbor's cat, Rocco, and then over the course of the following eleven days repeatedly attacked the caged male with both pepper spray and a high-powered water hose before finally killing him. Like Doyle and Reeves, he was let off scot-free by the courts. (See Cat Defender posts of January 19, 2011, August 8, 2011, and August 17, 2011 entitled, respectively, "Bird Lover in München Illegally Traps Rocco and Then Methodically Tortures Him to Death with Water and Pepper Spray over an Eleven-Day Period," "Ernst K.'s Trial for Kidnapping, Torturing, and Murdering Rocco Nears Its Climax in a München Courtroom," and "Ernst K. Walks Away Smelling Like a Rose as Both the Prosecutor and Judge Turn His Trial for Killing Rocco into a Lovefest for a Sadistic Cat Killer.")

Trumping all of those concerns is the fact that neither the RSPCA nor anyone else for that matter made an effort in order to locate the cat who, since it never was seen again in the neighborhood, is presumed to have died from its wounds. (See Cat Defender post of March 13, 2012 entitled "The Sick Wife Defense Works Like a Charm for Cunning Patrick Doyle after Her Traps a Cat and Then Shoots It with an Air Rifle while Still in Its Cage.")

8.)  A Cat Is Killed, Frozen in Ice, and Then Exhibited to the Public in British Columbia.

 Murdered Cat Frozen in Ice

"It is absolutely appalling that a cruel incident like this would occur once, but to have it happen again in the same neighborhood is extremely upsetting."
-- Marcie Moriarty of the BCSPCA

On March 13th, a dead cat was found on the lawn of the Mile Zero Trailer Park at 9117 Seventh Street in Dawson Creek, British Columbia. That would have been bad enough in its own right but this forever nameless feline also was frozen in a big block of ice.

Since the ice contained a considerable amount of blood, it seems likely that it died a simply horrific death. It may even have been tortured.

On January 15th of the previous year, a medium-sized black dog likewise was found entombed in another block of ice a stone's throw away from where the cat was found. It thus would appear that the perpetrator of these despicable acts of animal cruelty does not have any regard for either cats or dogs.

Since the victims were left in locations where they were in full view of the public, the culprit quite obviously was not only immensely proud of his crimes but wanted to send a message as well to the residents of the trailer park. In that last regard, he certainly more than succeeded.

"Realistically, in my seven years in this position, I haven't seen anything like this," Marcie Moriarty of the BCSPCA later declared. "You see some sick things but this is definitely concerning."

It is theorized that the culprit first kills his victims and then places their corpses inside large rubber trash cans. Water is then added and the corpses are next either left outdoors overnight in order to harden or frozen in a freezer before being dropped off the following morning at the trailer park.

"It is absolutely appalling that a cruel incident like this would occur once, but to have it happen again in the same neighborhood is extremely upsetting," Moriarty added. Besides her moral indignation, the BCSPCA did offer a reward for information leading to the arrest of the perpetrator of these crimes but that was about the extent of its commitment to the enforcement of the anti-cruelty statutes.

Instead, it contented itself with appealing to the public to intervene and do its job for it even though it already knew from past experience the futility of such a course of action. "Unfortunately, no one came forward with info regarding last year's case but we are hoping that someone in Dawson Creek knows something that will help us identify the individual responsible in this new incident so that we can seek justice and ensure that a sickening crime like this does not happen again," Moriarty admitted.

It is not only cats and dogs that have to fear for their lives in Dawson Creek but deer as well. For example, in either late May or early June of 2013 a motorist ran down a deer and then burned it before posting a video of his hideous crime on Facebook. It is unclear from press reports whether the animal was killed upon impact or was still alive at the time that it was torched. (See the CBC, June 5, 2013, "'Deer Burning' Video in Dawson Creek, British Columbia, Stirs Outrage.")

As far as it is known, no arrests have been made in any of those cases. The killers therefore are still on the loose and as long as that remains the case all cats, dogs, deer, and other animals residing in Dawson Creek are in imminent danger. (See Cat Defender post of April 13, 2012 entitled "Serial Killer Who Freezes the Corpses of Cats and Dogs in Blocks of Ice and Then Exhibits Them on His Neighbors' Lawns Is on the Loose in Dawson Creek.")

9.)  Wiltshire Family Prevails over a Veterinary Chain and a Foster Parent in a Tug-of-War over Tazzy.


"What I didn't like was that the vets seemed to wash their hands of it very, very quickly and that aggravated the situation."
-- Richard Smith
Given that there are so many homeless cats in this world it is a little surprising that feline custody battles are so common. Be that as it may, in the spring of 2012 a family in Melksham, Wiltshire, found itself in a tug-of-war with both a veterinary chain and a foster caregiver over its beloved seventeen-year-old oriental-spotted tabby, Tazzy.

The long-drawn-out saga began on March 28th when Tazzy mysteriously disappeared from Richard Smith's house on Primrose Drive. He was found shortly thereafter by an unidentified Good Samaritan alongside Clackers Brook, a scant one-hundred-fifty yards from home.

Injured, unconscious, and shivering, he immediately was taken to Chapel Surgery on Forest Road in Melksham which in turn fobbed off his care onto the shoulders of its parent company, Bath Veterinary Group (BVG). He quickly recovered from his undisclosed injuries and was placed in foster care with Joe Fenton of Ashley Avenue in Bath.

Smith eventually found out what had become of Tazzy and contacted BVG. The surgery at first agreed to return the cat but Fenton, not believing Smith to be a fit guardian, strenuously objected.

"He accused us of abusing the cat," Smith later related. "Basically, he said we're not getting the cat back."

That in turn prompted BVG to have a change of heart. "Vets are not in a position to decide on a matter of ownership," the chain's Alasdair Moore stated in a letter addressed to Smith. "We therefore cannot offer any more help in resolving the situation and suggest you seek your own legal advice."

Fenton readily concurred in that assessment of the impasse. "If Mr. Smith believes there has been any wrongdoing, he should report it to the police and go down proper sources," he defiantly declared.

Quite understandably, that served only to further incense Smith. "What I didn't like was that the vets seemed to wash their hands of it very, very quickly and that aggravated the situation," he said.

Being unable to get any satisfaction from either BVG or Fenton, Smith next turned to the RSPCA for assistance but that, too, proved to be a total waste of time. He then took his case to the online community via Facebook and Twitter as well as to the general public by fly-posting Bath.

The bad publicity generated by his action coupled with the justness of his cause eventually forced both BVG and Fenton to relent and belatedly return Tazzy to him. "I'm so pleased he's back with us," Smith said afterwards. "We're much happier."

For its part, BVG is still defending its actions. "We acted in the best interests of the cat and always put its welfare as a priority," Moore added. "We provided all the necessary treatment and, after a reasonable time, with no owner coming forward, we arranged to rehome the cat. (See Cat Defender post of June 26, 2012 entitled "A Family in Wiltshire Turns to Social Media and Leaflets in Order to Shame a Veterinary Chain and a Foster Parent into Returning Tazzy.")

10.)  Homeless Man Loses His Cat, Herman, During a Carjacking.

Jeff Young Reacts to Losing Herman
"It's stupid people that say it sounds stupid, but I'd rather have my cat back than the truck."
-- Jeff Young
For those truly unfortunate individuals who have lost their homes, the companionship of a beloved cat is often the only worthwhile thing that they have left in this world. Under those circumstances, the cat becomes a lifeline in much the same fashion as a man drowning at sea clings to a life raft.

It therefore is anything but surprising that the loss of a cat can have devastating consequences for a homeless individual. That was the harsh reality foisted upon Jeff Young on February 9th when he lost his beloved gray, brown, and black cat, Herman.

Being in significantly better financial shape than the average down-and-out bloke, Young at least had a 1989 silver Toyota truck in which to hang his hat and therefore he was not tied to the concrete in any particular urban hellhole. Unfortunately, having a set of wheels underneath him was insufficient in order to protect Herman and himself from the machinations of America's criminal element.

On the night in question, he and Herman were sacked out underneath a canopy in the bed of his truck in a parking lot at the Capital Medical Center in Olympia, Washington, when disaster struck. Specifically, a thief broke into the cab during the middle of the night and made off with the truck.

Rudely awakened by the unfolding events, Young telephoned the police on his mobile telephone but they were unable to catch up to the fleeing carjacker because their pursuit had been blocked by one of his accomplices. The thief belatedly became aware of Young's presence and pulled over  as soon as he had turned off of Highway 101.

"The guy steps around the vehicle and he has a huge knife," Young later recalled. "I bolt out the back and he bolts back up to the front and takes off with my vehicle with my cat Herman in it."

Young's truck was recovered by the authorities a few days later but by that time Herman was long gone. "I'd rather have the cat back than the truck," Young declared. "It's stupid people that say it sounds stupid, but I'd rather have my cat back than the truck."

As best it could be determined, Herman was believed to be on the loose in the vicinity of the Little Creek Casino in Shelton, west of Olympia. Nothing further has appeared in the press so it is not known if Herman and Young ever were reunited.

Holding on to a cat is never easy for even domiciled individuals but the dangers increase exponentially for those without permanent abodes. Despite all the difficulties involved in holding together their fragile relationships, homeless cats and their human counterparts are not only fellow travelers on the same rocky road but belong to the same fraternity of outcasts. (See Cat Defender post of March 2, 2012 entitled "Homeless Man in Washington State Pauses in Order to Take a Snooze and It Ends Up Costing Him His Beloved Cat, Herman.")

11.)  The USFWS and the HSUS Celebrate the Extermination of the Cats on San Nicolas Island.

A Pair of Cats That Were Rescued from San Nicolas Island

"This is a great conservation story. The size and scope of the project set the bar for similar ones."
-- David K. Garcelon

Merely slaughtering cats en masse is not sufficient as far as wildlife biologists and ornithologists are concerned; rather, their hideous crimes are a cause for endless celebrations. That is why the USFWS, the HSUS, the United States Navy, the Institute for Wildlife Studies of Arcata, and their fellow criminals convened on February 15th in order to celebrate their successful eradication of the cats on San Nicolas Island.

Using assassins armed with shotguns, lethal injections, dogs, and leghold traps, the USFWS killed approximately one-hundred-fifty cats during 2009 and 2010. (See Cat Defender posts of June 27, 2008 and July 10, 2008 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" and "The Ventura County Star Races to the Defense of the Cat-Killers on San Nicolas Island.")

Although initially opposed to the slaughter, the HSUS quickly changed its mind and actually endorsed it so long as it was allowed to safely remove fifty-two cats and kittens from the island, located off the coast of southern California. Even by entering into that Faustian bargain, it was forced to accede to the USFWS's demand that those cats rescued be cruelly and unjustly imprisoned indoors for the remainder of their natural lives. (See Cat Defender posts of April 28, 2009 and November 20, 2009 entitled, respectively, "Quislings at the Humane Society Sell Out San Nicolas' Cats to the Assassins at the Diabolical United States Fish and Wildlife Service" and "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.")

Rather than being ashamed of the central role that it played in dooming the cats on San Nicolas, the HSUS actually was rather proud of its aberrant behavior. "This project is a testament to the commitment of multiple agencies to find common ground and develop solutions for feral cats in areas with threatened or endangered species," the agency's Betsy McFarland rejoiced in a November of 2009 press release. "The cats from San Nicolas deserve the opportunity to live a full and happy life (sic), and we're proud to provide that at our sanctuary."

Buoyed by the whopping success of the cat-killing exercise on San Nicolas, David K. Garcelon of the Institute for Wildlife Studies in Arcata is already drooling at the mouth in eager anticipation of being part of additional feline extirpations. "This is a great conservation story," he crowed at the February 15th celebration. "The size and scope of the project set the bar for similar ones."

By that last reference he no doubt has in mind the USFWS's ongoing feline eradication efforts in the Florida Keys and elsewhere. (See Cat Defender post of February 24, 2012 entitled "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.")

The killers of the San Nicolas' cats are far from being the only members of the feline extirpation fraternity who are unable to stay away from the scenes of their crimes. For instance, in March of 2011 some of those responsible for the utterly barbaric eradication of more than thirty-four-hundred cats on Marion Island paid a return visit to the scene of the carnage in order to wallow in their diabolical cruelty and unjustness.

David K. Garcelon

Between 1977 and 1991, at least twelve-hundred of the cats were infected with the Feline Panleukopenia Virus (FPV), also known as the feline distemper, which destroys both their immune systems as well as their intestinal tracts. In particular, the virus causes diarrhea, severe dehydration, malnutrition, anemia, depression, lethargy, fever, vomiting, and incessant biting of the tail, legs, and back.

Also, the kittens of mothers exposed to the virus are sometimes born with cerebellar hypoplasia. All things considered, it is difficult to think of a more painful way for a cat to die than from FPV.

Thousands more were either shotgunned to death, killed by dogs, or poisoned with sodium monofluoroacetate (1080). "That's the price we paid, and we thought it was reasonable," Marthán Niewoudt Bester of the University of Pretoria, who spearheaded the eradication project, boasted to his chief propagandist and lackey, John Yeld, of the Cape Argus of Cape Town on March 29, 2011. (See "Marion's Slow Recovery from Feral Felines.")

To this very day, Bester delights no end in his diabolical crimes on Marion and could care less that the killing of the cats has allowed the mice population to grow exponentially. Also, man-made climate change may yet doom the sub-antarctic island located in the Indian Ocean. (See the Cape Argus, August 17, 2013, "Marion Island's Plague of Mice.")

A similar disastrous outcome occurred after the cats were eliminated from New Zealand's Little Barrier Island in 1980. In that instance, their extirpation led to a marked increase in predation of Cook's petrel by Pacific rats. (See The New York Times, December 11, 2007, "When Removing One Predator Harms the Prey.")

Just as he pimped and whored for Bester and his accomplices on Marion, Yeld did likewise for Les Underhill of the University of Cape Town when he eradicated the cats on Robben Island. (See Cat Defender post of March 23, 2007 entitled "Bird Lovers in South Africa Break Out the Champagne to Celebrate the Merciless Gunning Down of the Last of Robben Island's Cats.")

In a replay of what happened on Macquarie when the bloodthirsty and utterly barbaric Australians eradicated the cats living there, Robben Island was soon thereafter overrun with rabbits. (See Cat Defender post of September 21, 2006 entitled "Aussies' Mass Extermination of Cats Opens the Door for Mice and Rabbits to Wreak Havoc on Macquarie," The Guardian, October 2, 2009, "Mandela's Island Threatened by...Rabbits," and The New York Times, February 1, 2010, "Men Defend Historic Mandela Site...from Rabbits.")

Marthán Niewoudt Bester Killed 3,400 Cats on Marion

Clearly, all of these maniacal cat killers knew well beforehand of the adverse consequences of their crimes. They simply killed the cats in order to establish a rationale for exterminating other animals.

Like the National Audubon Society, their ultimate objective is to systematically liquidate any species that they either simply do not like or are able to obtain the funding to attack. All of their palaver about saving endangered species and the environment is merely a subterfuge for the commission of their horrific crimes. (See Cat Defender post of March 15, 2007 entitled "Connecticut Audubon Society Shows Its True Colors by Calling for the Slaughter of Feral Cats, Mute Swans, Mallards, Canada Geese, and Deer.")

In addition to providing ornithologists, wildlife biologists, and other ailurophobes with unlimited opportunities in order to line their pockets, pad their curricula vitae, slake their thirsts for feline flood, and to celebrate their evil deeds, the selection of remote islands as the venues for their extirpation campaigns allows them to perfect their extermination methodologies far from the prying eyes of the public. Their ultimate goal, however, is to apply the same technologies and lies toward the systematic eradication of cats everywhere.

For example, after years of eliminating cats on Macquarie, Tasman, and other islands, Australia is now posed to kill up to as many as twenty million of them on the mainland. In doing so it not only intends to employ some of the same techniques employed by Bester on Marion, such as the use of the FPV and 1080, but it has come up with some of its own that are every bit as sinister. (See Sydney Morning Herald articles of  July 1, 2014 and November 7, 2014 entitled, respectively, "'Curiosity': The Cat-Killing Bait to Protect Native Species" and "Dying to Be Clean: The New Technique for Controlling Feral Cats.")

Even if these feline extirpation campaigns were run on the level and served some valid conservation causes, which is most definitely not the case, they never would be either just or morally acceptable. First of all, the cats that are being so maliciously maligned and horrifically slaughtered with a vengeance were cruelly uprooted from their native lands and then subjected to long, grueling, and often fatal voyages to distant lands in the holds of cargo ships.

Once they had outlived their usefulness to their imperialist overlords they were cruelly and irresponsibly abandoned without food, water, shelter, and veterinary care. Now that there are megabucks to be made from their elimination, they are being hounded down like convicted felons and hideously killed. To condense a long and sordid story to its bare essentials, they are the victims and their killers are guilty of worse crimes than those ever perpetrated by the Hitlers and Pol Pots of this world.

If there were so much as an ounce of justice in this wicked old world, those individuals responsible for these mass murders would be arrested, tried and convicted, and then shot. In Bester's case, however, a bullet in his warped noggin would be far too charitable; instead, he should be administered, in measured increments, a dose of everything that he gave the cats on Marion. It is imperative that his punishment be protracted, excruciating, and hideous.

He is such a thoroughly evil son of a bitch that he has forfeited his right to remain above ground where he poisons the very air that he breathes. His demise also would put an end once and for all to his incessant preening like a peacock and bragging about how many cats that he has killed.

In memoriam:

Jonathan Frid, Television's Barnabas Collins, Dies at Eighty-Seven.

Jonathan Frid and His Cat

Anyone who was lucky enough to have grown up during the rollicking, frolicking 1960's sans doute recalls hurrying home from school each afternoon in order to catch the latest installment in a gothic soap opera entitled Dark Shadows. The star of the show was a two-hundred-year-old vampire named Barnabas Collins who was portrayed to perfection by Jonathan Frid.

Jonathan Frid as Barnabas Collins

After the show ended in 1971, he returned to the stage and in the early 1990's delivered a series of dramatic public readings in Manhattan. For the most part, however, he contented himself in later life by appearing at cast reunions of Dark Shadows and at memorabilia shows.

Little is known about his private life but it is believed that he was a devoted cat lover. Sadly, he died in his hometown of Hamilton, Ontario, on April 14th as the result of injuries sustained in a fall. (See The Philadelphia Inquirer, April 20, 2012, "Jonathan Frid, Eighty-Seven, TV Vampire" and the New York Post, April 20, 2012, "Dark Shadows' Star Dead.")

Davy Jones of the Monkees Dies at Sixty-Six.
Davy Jones

The Monkees were the American equivalent of the Beatles back in the 1960's and that transformed the band's Davy Jones into an overnight teenage hearttrob. Many of the band's signature tunes, such as "Daydream Believer," "Last Train to Clarksville," "Pleasant Valley Sunday," and "I'm a Believer," can still be heard on radio stations that cater to music from that fabulous era.

Although perhaps better known for his love of horses, Jones also kept four cats -- Big Red, Fluffy, Momma, and Liekey -- at his summer residence in the tiny Pennsylvania village of Beavertown, two-hundred-fifty-seven kilometers northwest of Philadelphia. Although he spent his winters in Florida, he hired his neighbor, Carol Wickard, to look after his cats during his absence.

Two of them lived under heat lamps in his barn while the remaining pair resided in his yellow clapboard house where he spent $4,000 annually on heat alone in order to keep them warm during the wintertime. He died in Stuart on February 29th but, sadly, it is not known what became of his cats. (See The Philadelphia Inquirer, March 9, 2012, "Hey, Hey, Monkee Hideaway.")

Both he and Frid will be sorely missed in that not only is this world a far poorer place without their artistry, personalities, and compassion, but because cats need all of their supporters and admirers alive, healthy and, above all, ready to do battle on their behalves. They also dearly need advocates who have not only razor-sharp fangs and claws but the savoir-faire and willingness to use them.

Photos: Trip Advisor (Hemingway's house), Alabama State Bar (Dubina), Roberto Rodriguez of the Associated Press (Patches), WHSV-TV of Harrisonburg (Meadows and his damaged town house), Andrew Chatwin (Thomas), the New York Daily News (rabbi with a rooster), Tanay Warerkar of the New York Daily News (chickens outside shul), Care2.com (kittens rescued at Aloe Village), Facebook (Greenberg), Terry Date of the Marblehead Patch (Cruger at Sally's memorial), Daily Mail and Albanpix (Hartley), Matthew Usher of the Dereham Times (Reeves), Daily Mail and Masons (Doyle), Bedfordshire on Sunday (cat trapped by Doyle), BCSPCA (cat frozen in ice), the Wiltshire Times (Tazzy), KIRO-TV of Seattle (Young), Hayne Palmour IV of the North County Times of Escondido (cats rescued from San Nicolas), Institute for Wildlife Studies (Garcelon), University of Pretoria (Bester), Confessions of a Pop Culture Addict (Frid with a cat), ABC-TV (Frid as Barnabas Collins), and the cover from Davy Jones's 1971 eponymous album (Jones).