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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

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Little Dickie Loses an Eye in Pet Rage Fracas That Culminates in His Owner's Murder by Police on Staten Island

A seven-year-old, ten-pound, neutered tomcat named Dickie lost his left eye to a knife wound in a case of pet rage on Staten Island February 16th that led to his owner being mercilessly gunned down by a trigger-happy New York City policeman.

The tragic events were the culmination of a long-simmering domestic dispute between Dickie's owner, sixty-five-year-old Stephanie Lindboe, and her next door neighbor, fifty-nine-year-old Linda Padula. According to press reports, the elderly tenants of the Kensington Gardens apartment complex in the Bay Terrace section of Staten Island had clashed repeatedly over Dickie's use of the hallway as a toilet.

While Padula has denied stabbing Dickie, Lindboe apparently believed that she was responsible for the cat's injury and that is why she flew into a rage and stabbed her neighbor eight times in the neck, chest, arms, and hands with a kitchen knife. A handyman who witnessed the attack on Padula called 911 and this led to the dispatch of five police officers who upon arrival were confronted by Lindboe wielding a foot-long knife. When she failed to heed a command to drop the weapon, a plainclothes police sergeant fired at her twice, striking her once fatally in the upper torso. Press reports did not specify whether or not the other officers were in uniform but certainly there was not any way that Lindboe could have known that her murderer was a cop.

The Lindboe killing is reminiscent of the execution of sixty-six-year-old Eleanor Bumpers by New York City's so-called finest back in 1984. When a stark-naked and obese Bumpers, who was being thrown out of her Bronx apartment because she owed the miniscule sum of $417.10 in back rent, confronted six police officers with a knife, she was gunned down with a pump shotgun by nineteen-year-old officer Stephen Sullivan.

These cases raise serious questions about the training, mental competence, and use of lethal force by the Gotham police. Although in both instances they were confronted by mentally-disturbed elderly women brandishing knives, they nonetheless enjoyed overwhelming manpower advantages in both cases. Moreover, since the police carry canisters of tear gas, nightsticks, and heavy flashlights, they could have used any of these devices to have disarmed both women without putting their own lives unnecessarily in jeopardy. The fact that Padula was able to absorb eight of Lindboe's thrusts without sustaining any life-threatening wounds indicates that either the knife was not very sharp or that Lindboe was not very proficient in using it. Nonetheless, any police officer incapable of disarming an old woman with a kitchen knife does not have any business wearing a badge and carrying a gun in the first place. As was the case with Bumpers' killer, Lindboe's murderer will likewise no doubt get off scot-free. There are a lot of people in this country who stupidly believe that anyone plugged by the police is only getting what he or she deserves.

Law enforcement and security personnel today rely primarily upon the use of deadly force and technology in order not only to apprehend suspects but also to control protesters; they are far too cowardly and lazy to either chase down or to physically disarm suspects. Police nationwide have already killed more than one-hundred suspects with TASERs (Thomas A. Swift Electric Rifles) and ear-splitting sound waves are now being used to disburse protesters and to drive away pirates from cruise ships on the high seas. The right to peacefully assemble and to protest will soon be a thing of the past and anyone who fails to obey (or even to hear) a police command to halt will be risking getting drilled in the back with a fatal bolt of electricity.

As for poor Dickie, although doctors were unable to save his badly injured eye they were able to successfully treat a contusion and swelling in his soft palate. Dr. Jeffrey Kessler of the Staten Island Veterinary Group in Travis who operated on the hazel-colored cat told the New York Daily News on March 3rd, "He's like brand-new. He's been through a lot, but he's a fighter." (See "Dickie's Just Ducky.")

He also has a new home. He was adopted March 2nd by Lindboe's sister-in-law, fifty-one-year-old Patricia Kramer (See photo below) of the Silver Lake section of Staten Island. "As soon as I heard about the incident, I wanted him," she told the Daily News. "She (Lindboe) loved this cat. I plan to spoil him rotten."

Despite Kramer's declaration, it is doubtful that Dickie will be receiving all that much attention because his new guardian already has five other cats as well as two dogs. The adoption has nonetheless been approved by Kessler who has advised Kramer to keep Dickie separated from her other animals for about a week in order to allow him time to adjust to his new surroundings. His $2,500 medical bill was footed by Animal Care and Control of New York City which maintains a Star Foundation to provide financial assistance to strays who would otherwise be exterminated.

Commenting upon the passions that pets arouse in their guardians, ASPCA Special Agent Joseph Pentangelo told the Daily News on February 20th, "Some people consider pets members of their family, and members of your family evoke powerful emotions -- both good and bad." In the same article, social worker Carole Fudin seconded Pentangelo's assessment of the strong bonds that people develop with their pets by adding, "It's that deep and they are willing to fight to protect them, just like they would a child." (See "Pet Rage Has 'em Fighting Like Cats and Dogs.")

Even Kessler was shaken by the chain of events which cost Dickie an eye. "I've seen some strange things but this whole scenario is pretty pathetic and sad," he told the Staten Island Advance on February 18th. (See "Injured Cat Recovering After Surgery.")

It is unlikely that this tragedy would ever have occurred if Padula, who at last report was still recuperating at a Staten Island rehabilitation center, were not an ailurophobe. She does not own the hallways of Kensington Gardens and should have accordingly minded her own business. If she had a problem with Dickie fouling the hallway she should have taken her complaint to management who would have most likely evicted Dickie since cats are not allowed in the complex in the first place. Instead she chose to scrap with Lindboe and that decision nearly cost her her life. Worst still, poor Dickie lost an eye and Lindboe wound up being exterminated by the police. Surely a little errant cat urine and feces is not worth this much carnage!

Moreover, just as Bumpers' relatives have been faulted for not helping her with both the rent and her mental problems, so too are Lindboe's relations blameworthy for not seeing to it that she received proper psychological care. In particular, Kramer's comment to the Daily News that "maybe this will help people to open their eyes to the seriousness of mental health" seems to be especially hypocritical in light of the fact that she works as an administrator at a domestic violence shelter. Since Lindboe's mental woes were well known to a number of tenants at Kensington Gardens, Kramer must have known about them also and yet she apparently did not do anything to help her sister-in-law.

Animal welfare officers in Gotham should closely monitor Kramer's performance as Dickie's new guardian in order to ensure that he is provided with a safe environment and proper medical care. Since he is getting on, his fouling of the hallway could be the result of incontinence and if this is so Kramer needs to be understanding about his condition.

Finally, if it is determined that Padula is responsible for putting out Dickie's eye she should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Every year there are countless reports of ailurophobes putting out antifreeze and other poisons in order to rid apartment buildings and lawns of cats. Sadly, aggrieved cat owners often never learn what has happened to their beloved companions. It is therefore imperative that legislators enact statutes that recognize both the sanctity of animal life and the rights of pet owners. Injuring or killing an animal should be taken as seriously as harming humans.

Photos: ABC Eyewitness News Channel 7, New York (Dickie) and New York Post (Dickie and Kramer).