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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, November 20, 2006

Ratty's Taste for Bangers Coupled with His Owner's Negligence Places Terrier's Life in Grave Jeopardy

"In order to really enjoy a dog, one doesn't merely try to train him to be semi-human. The point is to open oneself to the possibility of becoming partly a dog."
-- Edward Hoagland

Ratty sure does love bangers. In fact, he is so fond of them that he twice weekly takes a perilous unescorted fifteen-mile bus ride from his farmland home in Dunnington into York in order to get them.

Despite the enormous amount of interest that this story has generated in the English press, it is nonetheless feared that his owner's negligence along with the complicity of others may wind up costing this special little terrier (See photo above) his precious life.

If reports in The Sun of London and The Press of York are to be believed, Ratty has been taking the number ten bus into York ever since July of this year if indeed not longer. At first, he was getting off on Hull Road and stopping in at the Black Bull where a barmaid served him bangers.

Recently the friendly barmaid left, however, and the landlord banned Ratty from the premises. Undeterred, he is now dining across the street at the Rose and Crown (See photo below) on Lawrence Street.

"I saw it on the news when Ratty was going to the Black Bull, but it's great to have him here now," landlord Paul Clary told The Press on November 8th. (See "Ratty the Boozing (sic) Terrier Moves On to Find New Local.") "He's welcome here anytime," he amplified for The Sun on November 9th. (See "Bus Dog Switches Boozers.")

Although Ratty is apparently clever enough to get to York, he cannot get back home unaided. "About three weeks ago, someone was driving past the Rose and Crown and spotted him sitting outside the pub so (they) brought him back," his owner, Gary Kay, told The Press. "Another time one of my friends was in the pub and saw Ratty sitting by the back door."

Kay, who in addition to being a farmer is also a parish councillor, has repeatedly feigned ignorance about Ratty's inexplicable behavior. "I've no idea how he's doing any of this or how he crosses the road. The dog just has a mind of his own," he lied through his teeth to The Press.

First of all, since he is home most of the time Kay does not have any valid excuse for not looking after the welfare of his dog. If he is too lazy to do even that much he should at the very least chain Ratty or, better yet, fence in his yard.

This is imperative because Ratty, so named because he was acquired to check the rodent population, is already lame as the result of having one paw run over by a motorist. Instead of doing the right thing, however, Kay has appealed to the public to look out after his dog.

Secondly, Ratty would not be able to get to York in the first place were it not for the complicity of the operators of the number ten bus and the Fulford School bus that he also regularly rides. Thirdly, although there is certainly nothing wrong with pub owners feeding him, it is criminal for them to allow him to go back out into the busy street afterwards.

In the final analysis, this story sounds like a put-up job. More than likely Kay and the pub owners have some arrangement worked out whereby Ratty is being used to stimulate business and the mercenary capitalist press is playing along for a cut of the action. More alarming is the deafening silence of animal rights groups.

A measure of credence is provided for this hypothesis by Kay himself who boasted to The Press, "He is a local celebrity and must be York's most famous dog." It is also important to remember that far from enlightening the hoi polloi the capitalist media tell them only what they want them to know.

Nonetheless, it is also true that Old Blighty has a rich history of dogs frequenting pubs. For instance, a few years back The Sun published an article about a fourteen-year-old Jack Russell Terrier named Pluto (See photo above) who continued to do his daily pub crawl in spite of the death of his seventy-three-year-old owner, Arnold "Sooner" Millard. (See photo below.)

Having developed a taste for bitters and crisps as a puppy, Pluto would accompany "Sooner" (so called because he would sooner be at a pub than anywhere else) as he made the rounds of four drinking establishments in Featherstone, West Yorkshire. "Sooner was happiest with a pint in his hand and Pluto at his feet," Mary Sharpe, landlord at the Number One Club and Pluto's new guardian, told The Sun on April 23, 2002. (See "Paw Me a Pint.")

It is not clear from the account in The Sun if Pluto made the rounds unaccompanied after Sooner's death or if someone went with him. All four pubs are located within a mile's radius of each other but he had nonetheless to cross the road at least once in order to get to all of them. It is not even known what became of Pluto or if he is even still alive.

The bottom line is that it is far too dangerous nowadays to allow dogs and cats to run loose in busy city streets. (See Cat Defender posts of March 26, 2005 and August 17, 2006 entitled, respectively, "Silver, a Young Dog, Dies Needlessly" and "Brave Little Fred the Undercover Cat Has His Short, Tragic Life Snuffed Out by Hit-and-Run Driver in Queens.")

Moreover, should Ratty be injured again or killed by a motorist his blood will be all over the hands of everyone involved in exposing him to the whims of the homicidal maniacs and distracted drivers who today comprise the majority of the motoring public.

Photos: The Sun (Ratty, Pluto, and Sooner) and The Press (Ratty at the Rose and Crown).