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

Cat Defender

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

Monday, February 26, 2007

Charged with Feeding a Feral Cat Named Fluffy, Retired Ohio English Teacher Beats the Rap


"Le temps passe avec un chat n'est jamais perdu."
-- Sidonie Gabrielle Colette

The ongoing war against feral cats is heating up. Most recently a kindhearted retired English teacher from Grandview Heights, Ohio found herself in the dock for putting out food and providing shelter for a feral cat named Fluffy.

Janice L. Rolfe (See photos above and below) began feeding the cat about five years ago after she witnessed a motorist dump it in the woods of nearby Hilliard. Already the owner of three cats, she elected not to take possession of Fluffy but she did impose upon a friend to construct a shelter for it so that it would not freeze to death during Ohio's brutally cold winters.

All went well for both Fluffy and Rolfe until no-good Hilliard Police Officer Shane O'Connor stumbled upon what she was doing on December 13th. After observing her actions from a distance, this latter-day Scrooge took pictures of the food and shelter after she had driven away and used them as the basis for charging her with littering and illegally providing shelter for an animal.

In addition to the angst associated with being branded as a criminal for her selfless act of compassion, Rolfe was forced to spring for a shyster and to go to court. Fortunately, she selected a good one in Mark A. Serrott who on February 21st was able to convince Hilliard Prosecutor Kelleen Roth to drop all charges against his client.

Appearing in Hilliard Mayor's Court, he successfully argued that city law bans only the sheltering of livestock, not cats, and that feeding a cat is not littering. "People don't get prosecuted for acts of human kindness," he later told The Columbus Dispatch on February 22nd. (See "Justice Served for Stray Cat's Caring Caterer.")

Kerry Manion, chief of animal law enforcement at the Capital Area Humane Society, told the newspaper that in twenty years on the job he had never heard of an individual being cited for caring for just one feline. "This is a person who is taking care of an existing problem," he said.

That may very well be a fair statement as far as it goes, but the attitude of officials and residents in and around Columbus toward colonies of feral cats is considerably less than hospitable. For instance, back in 2005 ungrateful officials targeted a dozen feral cats who were living on the grounds of the state Capitol even though they had successfully cleansed the ancient facility of rodents. (See Cat Defender post of October 20, 2005 entitled, "After Ridding Ohio Statehouse of Rats, Cats Now Find Themselves Facing Eviction.")

As for Rolfe, she has now returned to the woods to attend to Fluffy's needs (See photo above) and this is hopefully the end of both of their travails.

Elsewhere around the country conditions are not nearly so rosy for either feral cats or their caretakers. In addition to the usual assortment of bird lovers, wildlife proponents, and ailurophobes who have placed a reward on the head of every cat, innumerable municipalities are enacting anti-feeding and anti-roaming laws. Some locales even have gone so far as to require that cats be walked on leashes, licensed, vaccinated, and microchipped.

Although public health and safety concerns are often invoked in order to attempt to justify these draconian measures, all of them are the product of a deep-seated hatred of cats that is as old as time immemorial. The purpose behind them is to cut off the cats' food supply and thus to starve them to death. (See Cat Defender posts of September 29, 2006 and November 9, 2006 entitled, respectively, "Avenal State Prison Reverts to Its Old Ailurophobic Ways by Scrapping TNR Program and Cutting Off Cats' Food Supply" and "Florida Ailurophobes and Politicians Are Attempting to Kill Two-Hundred Felines by Closing a Sanctuary.")

This society's mistreatment of feral cats is reminiscent of how it treats the poor. Prohibitions against panhandling, loitering, and vagrancy are part and parcel of the same genre of laws as anti-feeding ordinances.

The case in Hilliard also highlights the fact that there are rogue elements within every police department. Rogue cops are like serial killers and rapists in that they are constantly on the lookout for someone to victimize. Some of them behave in this fashion because they are bucking for a promotion; others do it for the pleasure that they derive from doing evil.

More importantly, Rolfe was able to prevail in court because she had the money in order to retain a shyster to advocate on her behalf; this is not, unfortunately, always feasible for all feral cat caretakers. As it has always been, the legal system remains closed to the powerless whether they are cats or humans. Le plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose.

Photos: The Columbus Dispatch.