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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

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Famed Manhattan Cat Hoarder Marlene Kess Gets Off with a Fine and Community Service

It was a strange ending to a bizarre case.

On March 15th, Superior Court Judge Nancy Sivilli of Essex County, New Jersey voided famed cat hoarder Marlene Kess's (See photo above) twenty-one-day jail term and reduced the fine levied against her from $14,000 to $12,599. She was also required to perform 1,140 days of community service.

Slap-on-the-wrists fines and a lack of time behind bars are certainly nothing out of the ordinary for cat abusers and killers, but Sivilli's ruling that Kess must fulfill her community service requirement at either the SPCA or an animal control agency is, to say the least, odd. This is especially true in light of the fact that Sivilli has banned her not only from housing any more animals but also ordered her to surrender her pets until she completes her community service, some thirty-eight months from now.

The case began on May 20, 2005 when Kess was arrested after the bodies of more than two-hundred cats were found stuffed into black plastic trash bags at her residence on State Street in East Orange. Since autopsies were not performed on the animals, it not known what killed them.

An additional forty-eight cats that were found alive inside her house were later exterminated by animal control allegedly because they were ill. (See Cat Defender post of May 26, 2005 entitled "Cat Hoarder Masquerading as Cat Savior Kills More Than 200 Cats.")

From the outset the case attracted a considerable amount of interest from both cat lovers and the media because Kess was the founder of a popular no-kill shelter in Manhattan known as KittyKind. (See logo below.) Operating out of a Petco store in Union Square, it found homes for many cats and was praised by both Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the New York Daily News.

The belated discovery of what was going on at her East Orange residence, quite understandably, perplexed and shocked many of her supporters. For her part, Kess maintained from the start that she had been trying to save as many cats as possible and just got in over her head.

She was originally convicted in East Orange Municipal Court in August of 2005 of thirty-eight counts of animal cruelty and for violating three municipal ordinances. She appealed and her sentence was reduced by Sivilli.

Although Sivilli called the treatment of the cats "horrendous and inhumane," she voiced more concern for children attending day-care next door to Kess's house than she did for the dead animals. (See Newark's Star Ledger, March 15, 2007, "Judge Tosses Jail Term for East Orange 'Cat Lady'.")

Sivilli's ruling is reminiscent of the paltry $500 fine that General District Court Judge Donald P. McDonough slapped on Ruth Knueven (See photo below) of Mount Vernon, Virginia in a similar cat hoarding case. (See Cat Defender posts of July 21, 2005 and December 23, 2005 entitled, respectively, "Northern Virginia Woman Caught Hoarding 575 Cats" and "Virginia Cat Hoarder Who Killed 221 Cats and Kept Another 354 in Abominable Conditions Gets Off With $500 Fine.")

Courts everywhere continue to place an extremely low value on the lives of both cats and dogs and this was demonstrated writ large recently when Hertford County Criminal Superior Court Judge Cy Grant allowed PETA to get away with killing dozens of cats and dogs. (See Cat Defender posts of January 29, 2007 and February 9, 2007 entitled, respectively, "PETA's Long History of Killing Cats and Dogs Is Finally Exposed in North Carolina Courtroom" and "Verdict in PETA Trial: Littering Is a Crime but Not the Mass Slaughter of Innocent Cats and Dogs.")

The Marlene Kess case is not an isolated incident. Cat hoarding has reached epidemic proportions in the United States with at least one new case being reported each week by the media. Quite naturally, the proliferation of such cases has sparked considerable debate concerning the motivations of the offending parties.

Some people accept Kess's explanation that she is a cat lover who simply tried to do too much and got into trouble. Others, such as Gary J. Patronek of Tufts, believe that cat hoarders are mentally deranged individuals who abuse cats in order to satisfy some need inside of themselves.

Without being personally acquainted with the individuals involved, it is difficult to say exactly what motivates them. Although like negligent parents they may claim that they love cats, their brand of love is the wrong kind. It is simply impossible for a large number of felines to survive for very long in a cramped house that is caked with urine and feces and where inbreeding is endemic.

That does not mean that all cat hoarders are necessarily bad people; rather, it demonstrates that they lack the bon sens to know when to stop taking in more cats than they can provide with a wholesome environment. Confronted with the fact that one-hundred per cent of all feral cats taken to shelters are killed upon arrival and that the kill-rate for strays and domestics is around eighty-five per cent, many hoarders no doubt feel that they have no other option than to collect cats.

The number one priority for all cat and dog advocacy groups should be the abolition of pet euthanasia. Not only would this save tens of millions of lives each year but it would deprive hoarders of their raison d'etre. Hoarding would then simply be treated as a crime instead of a psychoanalyst's puzzle.

As for Marlene Kess, she has since moved back to New York City but it is not known if she is affiliated in any way with KittyKind; she is certainly not mentioned anywhere on its website. As far as it is known, the shelter is still open for business as usual at its original Union Square location.

There certainly is not any reason for KittyKind to be padlocked just because of Kess's crimes, but the city needs to do a much better job of monitoring conditions at all animal shelters and stores that traffic in live animals.

Photos: GT Expressen, Goeteborg (Marlene Kess), Animal Forum (KittyKind's logo), and NBC-4, Washington (Ruth Knueven).

Friday, March 23, 2007

Bird Lovers in South Africa Break Out the Champagne to Celebrate the Merciless Gunning Down of the Last of Robben Island's Cats

"There will be no justice as long as men will stand with a knife or a gun and destroy those who are weaker than he is."
-- Issac Bashevis Singer

These are certainly heady days for cat killers in South Africa. Thanks to the marksmanship of feline assassin par excellence John Kieser, the feral cat population on Nelson Mandela's old hangout, Robben Island, has been reduced to two and they are not long for this world.

With the champagne, not to mention the blood, flowing as freely as the water off of the Cape of Good Hope, both bird lovers and the moneygrubbing administrators at the Robben Island Museum have been unable to contain their glee.

As the undisputed number one cat hater in all of South Africa, University of Cape Town professor Les Underhill (See photo on the left) is overjoyed at the cats' brutal murders. "The bottom line is that the feral cat removal operation can be declared a mega-success," he crowed for the Cape Argus on March 2nd. (See "Robben Island Birds on Road to Recovery.")

Denmark Tungwana of the Museum called the slaughter of the cats "extremely good news for the island." Francesco Bandarin of UNESCO's World Heritage Center (WHC) in Paris also sent a congratulatory letter.

After all, it was his organization that had threatened to revoke the island's World Heritage Site designation if the cats were not exterminated. Of course, Underhill and his fellow neo-Nazis have been killing and abusing them for ages and scarcely needed to be goaded into action by the WHC.

Johnny-on-the-spot as always to applaud the cat killers' every word and deed was the loathsome John Yeld (See photo below on the right) of the Cape Argus. This unprincipled scoundrel and champion of one-sided reporting is everything that a good journalist should not be.

Hunting by night with the aid of powerful flashlights, Kieser admits to having shotgunned to death fifty-eight cats in 2005. During the past year he has gunned down about a hundred more. Although the authorities do not want to admit it, he probably poisoned countless more and may have used dogs to track down and kill some felines.

Kieser is an old hand when it comes to killing cats. In the early 1980s, he killed in excess of twenty-eight-hundred of them on South Africa's Marion Island by deliberately injecting them with the feline panleucopenia virus (distemper). He and his fellow assassins returned to the sub-Antarctic island between 1986 and 1988 and shotgunned to death another eight-hundred-three cats. (See Cat Defender post of March 23, 2006 entitled "South Africans, Supported by Ailurophobic PETA, Are Slaughtering More Cats on Robben Island.")

Although he has no doubt sold his services to other ailurophobes, just based on the carnage that he has inflicted on Robben and Marion islands Kieser arguably has murdered more cats than any man who has ever tramped the face of the earth. Killing would be almost too kind of an ending for this devil; he instead should have his lights put out and every bone in his body broken before being dumped in a remote place to die a slow and agonizing death. Preferably, there would be vultures nearby to pick his bones clean while he was still alive.

The murders of these cats would not have been possible without the complicity and incompetence of the Cape of Good Hope SPCA. Although it is not known what role, if any, it played in the Marion Island slaughter, its feckless behavior on Robben has been a disgrace to animal rights groups everywhere.

Initially, the group's Allan Perrins said he would allow the cats to be shot under his supervision. He then reversed himself and instead asked for time to trap and remove them. Whether he intended to trap and kill or to trap and relocate them elsewhere is unclear. (See Cat Defender post of April 27, 2006 entitled "Cat-Hating Monster Les Underhill and Moneygrubbing Robben Island Museum Resume Slaughtering Cats in South Africa.")

According to the Cape Argus article cited supra, the SPCA's trapping effort on Robben was a miserable failure. As per usual, Yeld tells readers only what he wants them to know so it is difficult to know for sure why this effort failed.

The fact that some of the felines had been trapped, sterilized, and released previously was without question a contributing factor. Notwithstanding that impediment, the failure of the enterprise can most likely be attributed to a general lack of interest and competence on the part of the SPCA.

Elsewhere around the world volunteers are able to trap most feral cats with ease. With perseverance, even the wariest of feral cats can be eventually trapped.

Unfortunately, the failure of animal rights groups in South Africa to protect the lives of cats is nothing new. (See Cat Defender posts of September 22, 2005 and October 26, 2006 entitled, respectively, "College Students in South Africa Cook a Cat to Death in a Microwave Oven" and "South Africans Evict Cats from Parliament in Cape Town and Imprison Them In Mandela's Old Hellhole.")

Not content with the blood of thousands of murdered cats on their hands, South Africa's bird lovers have now trained their sights on the island's more than three-thousand rabbits. (See photo above.) As was the case with the cats, eagle-eyed Kieser once again has been hired to gun them down in cold blood.

Once he polishes off the bunnies, the birders want him to kill the one-hundred or so fallow deer (See photo below) who also call the island home. (See Cape Argus, March 11, 2007, "Island Bunnies to Bite the Bullet.") Presumably, the rabbits and deer are to be killed because they eat grass and trees.

Farther down the line, the seals who gave the island its German name most likely also will be killed because they allegedly prey upon penguins. As it is painfully obvious, bird lovers all over the world do not brooker any opposition. (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.")

Cats were uprooted and shipped all around the world because of their uncanny ability to keep rodent populations in check both on board ships and in their new homes. Rabbits were likewise transplanted far and near as a cheap source of meat. The deer were brought to the island to provide sport for hunters.

From womb to tomb, the cats, rabbits, and deer of Robben Island have been pawns of the colonialists and imperialists. By their steadfast unwillingness to show these defenseless animals any respect or compassion, Underhill, Kieser et alius have exposed themselves to be even viler individuals than the Nazis.

Predictably, the South Africans' total disdain for animal life is not confined to Robben Island. In the Cape Town suburbs of Welcome Glen and Scarborough the colonialists are going after baboons. In fact, at least nineteen of them have been either shot, poisoned, killed in traps, or run down by motorists during the past year.

Eighteen trackers have been hired to chase them down busy streets while residents, such as Chris Schulz of Welcome Glen, are attacking them with, inter alia, garden hoses, slingshots, and shovels. (See photos below.)

Greedy as hell as usual, the colonialists are constantly encroaching upon the animals' habitat with new developments and this inevitably leads to conflicts and calls for the animals to be killed. Unwilling to allow the primates even a moment of privacy, the South Africans are also selling guided tours into the hills so that voyeurs can observe the animals having it off. (See Living on Earth, March 16, 2007, "Home Invasion, Baboon-Style.")

Farther east, the South Africans' imperialist cousins, the Aussies, are at it again and this time around they are slaughtering wild camels. (See photo below.) During the 1840s, the jailbirds from Old Blighty's gulags who eventually conquered Australia imported twelve-thousand of these beasts of burden in order to open up the continent to colonization.

With the emergence of automobiles and trains as the preferred modes of transportation, the camels had outlived their usefulness to their colonial masters by the 1920s and they were released into the wild. Today, they have multiplied to the point that there are about one million of them.

Although they were already targeted for elimination, the ongoing drought has prompted some of them to inflict damage upon the imperialists' precious property in their desperate search for water and this has provided the authorities with an added incentive to get rid of them. In fact, several hundred of them already have been killed by property owners while thousands more have died of dehydration.

The government therefore plans to expedite its extermination timetable and will soon commence shooting and poisoning the animals. Plans also call for an increase in the number of live animals that are to be exported to knackers in Southeast Asia. Some of these unfortunate animals are already being turned into pet food. (See London's Independent, March 15, 2007, "Drought Drives Australian Camels to Go on Rampage.")

Culled from the flotsam and jetsam of the English gutter, there never has been anything sentimental, just, or compassionate about the Australians; bloodletting, subjugation, and moneymaking are all that has ever interested them or their South African cousins. Consequently, their mass exterminations of the animals that helped them tame their new homeland does not come as any surprise.

Camels are far from being the only animals that the Aussies have targeted for elimination. In 2005, officials announced that they also were going to exterminate three-hundred-thousand horses, five-million donkeys, twenty-three-million pigs, and an undetermined number of cats, rabbits, goats, and red foxes. (See Agence France Presse, September 25, 2005, "Millions of Animals Face Death Sentence in Australia" and Cat Defender post of October 20, 2005 entitled "After Ridding Ohio Statehouse of Rats, Cats Now Find Themselves Facing Eviction.")

Most of these defenseless animals will be either gunned down from helicopters by paid killers with assault rifles or they will be done away with by poisoned bait and water. (See Cat Defender post of August 11, 2005 entitled "Barbaric Australians Come Up with an Ingenious New Poison in Order to Exterminate Cats.")

The United States is every bit as barbaric as the Australians and South Africans when it comes to declaring animals to be pests and then killing them. For instance, in 2004 Wildlife Services, a division of the discredited USDA, slaughtered 31,286 beavers, 3,236 opposums, 2,210 prairie dogs, 10,518 raccoons, 1,673 rabbits and hares, 397 black bears (mostly in New Jersey), 359 cougars, 75,674 coyotes, 3,907 foxes, 191 wolves, 72 wild turkeys, 2.3 million starlings, 22,204 crows, ravens, and blackbirds, 76,874 pigeons, 10,806 geese and swans, 15,508 sparrows, and 143 wild chickens.

In most instances, these animals were merely living out their lives as they have always done without doing any harm to anyone or anything. Financial interests, however, wanted their habitats and the authorities were only too happy to oblige their paymasters. (See Cat Defender post of September 15, 2005 entitled "United States Government Exterminates Millions of Wild Animals at the Behest of Capitalists.")

As alarming as these figures are, they do not include the tens of millions of animals that are slaughtered each year by hunters. In addition to such commonly hunted species as deer, rabbits, squirrels, ducks, and birds, tens of thousands of coyotes are shot and killed for sport at so-called coyote callings all across the country. Idaho plans to allow hunters to kill more than five-hundred gray wolves later this year as soon as it receives the final approval from the feds.

Every March, upwards of ten-thousand western diamondback rattlesnakes are gased out of their dens in and around Sweetwater, Texas and then butchered. (See Reuters, March 12, 2007, "Texas Snake Roundup Rattles Ecologists.")

A good case could be made that the English and their cousins in America, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and elsewhere are the greediest and most bloodthirsty people who have ever lived. Without a doubt they have killed more men and animals than any other group of people. Much the same thing can be said for their environmental degradation.

As ruthless and as barbaric as they are, the English and their cousins certainly are not alone in their crimes against the animal world. In Deutschland, for example, officials are trying to decide what to do about a surplus of raccoons with the proponents of extermination currently holding sway over animal rights advocates. Imported from the United States in order to be bred and raised for their valuable pelts, these resourceful animals have long since escaped the fur farms and are now found in abundance in and around Berlin and the state of Hesse.

They are under attack from, inter alia, winegrowers in Annenwalde in the state of Brandenburg, cherry farmers in Witzenhausen, Hesse, and wildlife proponents from all over the country for allegedly raiding the nests of ducks.

Unfortunately, the Germans are following the South Africans' lead and gunning down the Waschbaeren with impunity. Last year alone more than thirty-thousand of these beautiful animals were mercilessly shot and killed.

The animals do, however, have a stout defender in Ursula Stoeter who operates a small zoo in the Brandenburg city of Krangen. (See photo above.) More importantly, she also nurtures and rehabilitates raccoons that she rescues.

"When there are problems with bird broods, there are always several reasons," she told Der Spiegel on March 9th. (See "Raccoons Invade Germany.") Humans, however, are the biggest problem, she added.

As the examples from South Africa, Connecticut, Australia, Deutschland, and elsewhere demonstrate, bird lovers are the new Nazis. It is therefore imperative that they be stopped before they can do any more damage.

Photos: University of Cape Town (Les Underhill), Herpetology in Southern Africa (John Yeld), Dave Lyung Madison (rabbit), Wikipedia (fallow deer), Terry FitzPatrick (baboons), MSNBC (camels), and Deutsche Presseagentur (Stoeter and raccoon).

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Rags to Riches Cat Named Joe Goes from Homeless Shelter to TV Stardom in One Giant Leap

"A cat is above all things, a dramatist."
-- Margaret Benson

Not all rags to riches stories in the tradition of Horatio Alger pertain to humans. Ever once in a while a lucky cat makes it big also and Joe is definitely such a cat.

Four-years-ago, the six-year-old, green-eyed moggy was just another homeless cat in Sheffield. Fortunately for him, he was taken in by Jane Ward of Furry Friends Cat Sanctuary in nearby Dore who immediately recognized his potential as a thespian. (See photo above of her and Joe.)

She then enrolled him in a school called Prop Farm in Bolsover which trains animals for acting careers. Since graduating he has appeared in two television detective shows, A Touch of Frost and Mayo, as well as a soap opera called Doctors. He is also slated to appear in several commercials.

So far, his roles have been primarily bit parts, such as sleeping on someone's lap or strolling across a room, but he, like Pip, has great expectations of bigger roles to follow.

"He has a very good temperament. He is what they call a 'staying cat' in that if you put him somewhere he will stay there," Ward told Sheffield Today on March 7th. (See "Joe Claws Way to TV Stardom.") "He was ideal for TV work."

He is so docile in fact that he is sometimes mistaken for an inanimate object. "We took him to an open day and placed him on a mat on top of a table and he stayed there all day. One person thought he was stuffed," Ward recalled.

Although he knows by now that he is a star, fame has not gone to his little head as it so often does with actors and actresses who have made it to the top. "If you take him somewhere he knows he is the center of attention. He is very photogenic and will do as he is told," Ward related.

Through his efforts on the screen Joe is also helping other stray and feral cats in that his earnings are plowed back into Furry Friends. Established fourteen-years ago, the sanctuary rescues cats from the streets in and around Sheffield. They are then given medical exams, sterilized, and microchipped.

Only a few of them are sent to acting school, however. The sanctuary instead concentrates most of its efforts on finding good homes for them. Although most of them are resettled in the Yorkshire area, some have been placed in homes as far away as Seattle.

Furry Friends currently has seventeen cats in its care but in the past it has had as many as sixty-five. "All cats need homes, but we attract the more difficult ones, which need extra-special homes," Ward told Sheffield Today in the article cited supra.

Ward is such a dedicated cat lover that she cannot even relax when she is en vacance. For instance, on a recent trip to Cyprus she ended up rescuing cats from the street and having them sterilized.

As for little Joe, cat lovers should be on the lookout for him whenever they are tuned in to the tele or at the movies. He may be a little guy and his parts may be small ones, but he is nonetheless a really big star.

Photo: Sheffield Today.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

El Cerrito's Bureaucrats Distinguish Themselves by Showing Compassion for a Waif Known as Bootsie

"You will always be lucky if you know how to make friends with strange cats."
-- Old American Proverb

Politicians and bureaucrats are not generally known for looking kindly upon either stray or feral cats. Their normal reaction is to get rid of them. (See Cat Defender posts of October 20, 2005 and October 26, 2006 entitled, respectively, "After Ridding Ohio Statehouse of Rats, Cats Now Find Themselves Facing Eviction" and "South Africans Evict Cats from Parliament in Cape Town and Imprison Them in Mandela's Old Hellhole.")

The bureaucrats at City Hall in El Cerrito, a small town of twenty-three-thousand residents located thirteen kilometers outside of Oakland, are a pleasant exception to that normally ironclad rule in that they have adopted a black stray named Bootsie as one of their own. (See photo above.)

Not much is known about the little waif other than that he started visiting City Hall about three years ago and subsequently accompanied the politicians and bureaucrats when they moved to their new temporary home up the street back in November. It is believed, however, that his previous owner resided in the vicinity of the old City Hall before abandoning him to the street for whatever reason.

Rather than giving him the bum's rush, city workers are positively delighted that he decided to accompany them to their new digs. "He figured it (the new location) out himself," Susan Griffin of Community Development told the Contra Costa Times on December 30, 2006. (See "Stray Feline Is the Cat's Meow at City Hall.")

She was not, however, always so certain that Bootsie would be able to find his way to the new workplace. In fact, she even got down on her hands and knees with a bowl of food in an unsuccessful attempt to coax him to follow her.

He now resides underneath the city manager's trailer while Griffin and other workers generously supply him with food, water, toys, medicine, and flea powder at their own expense. In return, he helps to boost morale by providing them with plenty of unconditional love and relief from stress. He is also reported to be a pretty good mouser.

He "pretty much has warmed his way into our hearts," Griffin told the Times. "He's definitely adopted us. He's part of the family now."

Building inspector Darryl Murray could not agree more. "He's a great little guy if you get to know him," he said. Not wanting him to go without turkey, Murray even made a special trip to the old City Hall on Thanksgiving in order to offer him some but was chagrined to learn that someone had already left him "a great big pile."

"He's a pleasure to have around," personnel technician Cheryl Mosby told the Times. "He brings smiles to our faces."

Although there has been some discussion concerning turning him over to a shelter in an attempt to find him a permanent home, nothing definite has been decided so far. Hopefully, he will be allowed to either remain at City Hall or one of the employees will adopt him.

Not only would sending him to a shelter be awfully stressful for him, but such facilities are riddled with disease. More importantly, there is not any guarantee that he would ever make it our alive. The staff could kill him or a vivisector or some other abuser right adopt him for nefarious reasons.

Since El Cerrito enjoys mild weather year-round, the elements are not a problem. Dogs, motorists, and ailurophobes are serious concerns, however, for any homeless cat.

The best thing that the employees could do for Bootsie would be to create a space inside City Hall where he could stay as public libraries do for their resident felines. That way he would have a secure place to live. Of course, if one of them wanted to adopt him that would be great also.

The employees are to be commended for the compassion and care that they have shown him. It would have been easy for them to have called Animal Control and had him exterminated but they chose not to take the easy way out. They instead opened up their hearts to him and he has enriched their lives every bit as much as they have enhanced his.

It is sincerely hoped that the commitment that they have made to him will be one that endures.

Photo: Mark DuFrene of the Oroville Mercury-Register.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Hamburger Giant Checkers Faces Threat of Legal Action as the Result of Its Cat-in-a-Bag Promotion

"If you are knowingly trying to put a domestic cat into a paper bag, it's patently ridiculous."
-- Marti Ryan, Hillsborough County Animal Services

Hamburger giant Checkers will do almost anything for a lousy buck. It is bad enough that it traffics in the sale of the flesh of cows, chickens, and fish, but it has gone too far with its patently cruel and abusive cat-in-a-bag promotion.

The ill-advised promotional stunt began last fall when the Tampa-based company transformed its paper sacks into feline wearing apparel. Information printed on the outside of them instructs customers on how to cut out holes for the paws and tail and then to back their cats into the bags. (See photo above.)

The bags are designed in such a manner as to resemble the basketball jersey and gold chain worn by a puppet named Rap Cat who appears in Checkers' commercials.

Once they have their cats inside, customers are urged to either photograph or videotape them wearing the paper sacks and then to send copies to Checkers. It is not clear if they receive any remuneration or prizes for their submissions.

What is clear, however, is that the hamburger chain is selling a considerable amount of Rap Cat merchandise. For instance, both a Rap Cat puppet and an album entitled Look What I Dragged In, which was released on November 14, 2005, are currently sold out. T-shirts, baseball caps, cologne, tire rims, and an energy drink are also peddled for a pretty penny. Rap Cat's latest album, Eight Lives Left, which was just released on February 19th, is also for sell as well as a book entitled I, Rap Cat.

Music videos and commercials can be viewed on the website, www.rap-cat.com, and there is a fan club that customers can join. Wallpaper can be downloaded and soon cell phone ringtones also will be available.

Although the promotional campaign so far has been highly successful, animal rights activists in Tampa are not amused to say the least. "If you are knowingly trying to put a domestic cat into a paper bag, it's patently ridiculous," Marti Ryan of Hillsborough County Animal Services told Tampa's Fox-13 TV on February 20th. (See "'Cat-in-a-Bag' Battle Could Wind Up in Court.")

Outrage over the promotion has led to the prospect that both cat owners and Checkers could be prosecuted for animal cruelty. There is even talk that the Hillsborough County Attorney may seek an injunction against Checkers in order to get it to cancel the promotion.

Although the paper sacks do contain a warning against endangering the well-being of cats, this has not appeased Ryan. "At issue here is the idea that you're asking a pet to do something against its will and forcing it into a bag," she said.

Whereas it is not uncommon for some cat owners to dress up their felines in various costumes for photo opportunities, this is perhaps the first time that a major business has so callously exploited and endangered the lives of so many domestic pets for monetary gain. A few docile cats might not object too strenuously to being treated in such a cavalier manner, but most felines will undoubtedly resist such cruel treatment.

It is after all difficult enough to get flea collars on some cats, let alone trying to stuff them into paper sacks. A video on Fox-13's website provides a pretty good idea of just how stressful this undertaking is for cats. In the video, one cat is shown being roughly handled while another one is pictured struggling to walk while its tiny body is encapsulated in a paper sack.

Quite obviously, treating a cat in this manner is both frightening and stressful for the animal. Moreover, it breeds distrust between cats and their caretakers and is bound to cause other problems as well.

The fact that Checkers would so nakedly exploit cats demonstrates not only that it places a low value on feline health and safety but that it also is lacking in bon sens. Its lust for profits at any cost has quite obviously addled the senses of its bigwigs in management.

Founded in Mobile in 1986, Checkers has more than eight-hundred restaurants nationwide. In fact, it claims to be the largest chain of double drive-thru restaurants. (See photo above.) It is therefore certainly not hurting for shekels.

Moreover, it is also difficult to understand how any conscientious cat owner could force a cat into wearing a paper sack. Cats are valued family members; not objects of cheap commercial exploitation and abuse.

Officials in Tampa are to be commended for voicing their disapproval at Checkers. They should tell the restaurant in no uncertain terms to either stop encouraging cruelty to cats or face legal action. It can still have its Rap Cat promotion so long as it drops the cat-in-a-bag portion of it. There are far better ways for it to peddle its burgers and fries than by endangering the welfare of cats.

Photos: Fox-13 TV (bag) and Checkers (restaurant).

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Connecticut Audubon Society Shows Its True Colors by Calling for the Slaughter of Feral Cats, Mute Swans, Mallards, Canada Geese, and Deer

"The assumption that animals are without rights and the illusion that our treatment of them has no moral significance is a positively outrageous example of Western crudity and barbarity. Universal compassion is the only guarantee of morality."
-- Arthur Schoepenhauer

It sounds counterintuitive but the more power that either an individual or a group acquires the more vulnerable they become at the same time. Consequently, fascists can never rest. The more people and animals that they kill, the more that there are for them to subjugate.

Since they must have absolute dominion, no amount of resistance, however minimal, can be tolerated under any circumstances. The Connecticut Audubon's Society's (CAS) recently released State of the Birds 2007 report is a good example of that principle in action.

Compiled by cat-hating bird-lovers and wildlife proponents with an agenda all their own, the report amounts to little more than a mixture of half-baked prejudices held together by cherry-picked empirical data and tortured logic that confounds both truth and morality.

Since these two groups have long targeted feral cats (See photo above) for extermination and house cats for imprisonment indoors, the report's reiteration of those positions does not break any new ground. By calling, however, for the mass extermination of mute swans (See photo below), Canada geese, mallard ducks, and white-tailed deer, the CAS has finally exposed itself as nothing more than a maniacal band of animal killers and outright criminals who will stop at absolutely nothing in the pursuit of their fascist agenda.

As far as the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection's (CDEP) Min Huang is concerned, mute swans (Cygnus olor), Canada geese (Branta canadensis), mallards (Anas platyrhynchos) do not have any right to life or intrinsic value as sentient beings; they are instead merely vermin that should be exterminated. His colleague, Kenneth Metzler, harbors the same low opinion of white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus).

It is quite an eye-opening experience to learn that alleged wildlife proponents have consigned to the devil so many of the species that they are charged with protecting! More to the point, they are doing their dirty work with taxpayers' dollars.

The report's piece de resistance, however, is a long-winded anti-cat screed penned by longtime ailurophobe Linda Winter who heads the American Bird Conservancy's (ABC) Cats Indoors Campaign. (See photo above of her receiving an award for butchering cats from Partners in Flight.)

Founded in 1997, this group is ostensibly dedicated to imprisoning all cats, both feral and domestic, indoors. Its real goal, however, is the roundup and extermination of all feral cats as well as any house cats that it can get its filthy hands on by either hook or crook.

Functioning as the militant arm of the diabolical National Audubon Society, the ABC is a well-financed group that is supported by, inter alia, National Geographic, PETA, National Wildlife Federation, Defenders of Wildlife, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and Songbird Survival.

Throughout her hate-filled diatribe, Winter trots out all of the ABC's time-worn lies and prejudices. Hard pressed to string together two logically consistent thoughts in a row, this small-brained neo-Nazi begins by stating categorically that all cats belong in Africa, not America.

Of all the lies that bird-lovers and wildlife proponents trumpet, the distinction that they make between native and alien species is the most disingenuous. Just as it is ridiculous for any group of men to lay exclusive claim to a particular patch of ground, so too is it just as crazy for fascists like Winter to claim the United States as the exclusive territory for certain species of birds. This point should be axiomatic for anyone with even half a brain, but since Winter and her supporters have been so successful in passing off their sottise as the truth, it merits further examination.

Men, animals, and plants have always migrated. Some men have done so by choice; others have been shanghaied into slavery in different lands and still others, such as Native Americans, have been driven off their lands at the point of a gun. Some animals likewise have migrated on their own but the vast majority of them have been forcibly transplanted to new habitats by man. Being territorial by nature, cats are not world travelers; the feline diaspora is in large measure the product of imperialism and colonialism.

Much the same thing can be said for flora. Some plants and trees have been dispersed by wind, water, and animals but many more have been dug up and transplanted by man. The theory of natural right, whether it is applied to man, animals, or plants, is totally bogus and has never been defended by anyone other than fascists and racists.

According to archaeologists, all men, including Winter and her buddies, originally also came from Africa. More to the point, there are an estimated one-hundred-twenty-five alien bird species in the United States, including thirty-seven different types of songbirds in Hawaii.

Should Winter and her beloved songbirds therefore be shot and killed? According to her mangled logic and warped morality the answer is a resounding yes!

After that inauspicious beginning, she goes on to claim that all feral cats are disease-ridden. This is just one more of her big, fat lies. For instance, writing in the February 23rd issue of The Duquesne Duke, Dr. Nancy Trun (See mug shot above on the right) of the school's biology department astutely points out that there exists studies which show that feral cats actually have fewer diseases than house cats. (See "The Cat's Meow: Biology Students Purrr-sue Feral Cats for Disease Research.") Of course, it goes without saying that an inveterate liar like Winter has absolutely no use for the truth.

She next sets her sights on TNR by making the totally absurd claim that it does not reduce the population of feral cats and should therefore be outlawed. She is obviously in desperate need of one of Professor Trun's biology courses if she believes that sterilized cats are still capable of propagation.

She vividly demonstrates her total loathing for cats when she states, "Unfortunately, managed cat colonies are known to persist for fifteen or more years..." (See "Connecticut State of the Birds 2007," page 23.)

Clearly, for Winter the only good cat is either a dead one or one that has been reduced to an indoor pet. Like most cat-killers, she defends her actions by claiming that she has owned cats for twenty-eight-years. In the unlikely event that there is a grain of truth in her claim, she should be investigated for possible animal cruelty.

As for feral cats, she recommends that they either be starved to death or trapped and killed. She is far too devious to say that in so many words but she knows as well as everyone else that one-hundred per cent of all feral cats taken to shelters are killed upon arrival. In fact, many of them are killed en route. None of them are put up for adoption. (See Cat Defender posts of January 29, 2007 and February 9, 2007 entitled, respectively, "PETA's Long History of Killing Cats and Dogs Is Finally Exposed in North Carolina Courtroom" and "Verdict in PETA Trial: Littering Is a Crime but Not the Mass Slaughter of Innocent Cats and Dogs.")

To top it all off, after she and her colleagues have called for the wholesale extermination of all feral cats, mute swans, mallards (See photo directly above), Canada Geese (See photo below on the right), and white-tailed deer, Winter has the chutzpah to state, "In an overall humane value system it is difficult to understand why a cat's interests overrides the existence of our native wildlife species." (See "Connecticut State of the Birds 2007, page 25.) Sans doute, the shrinks would have a high-oh time of it probing around inside her desiccated gourd!

Both Winter and her buddies at the CDEP have a kindred spirit in the form of Nick Forde of Songbird Survival. On March 3rd, he told London's Telegraph that feral cats, sparrowhawks, grey squirrels, rats, crows, and magpies should all be exterminated because some of them occasionally prey upon birds. (See "Predators to Blame for Birdless Gardens.")

Like Winter and Messrs. Huang and Metzler, Forde strongly believes that he and his bird-loving fascists have an exclusive right to determine which animals are to be allowed to live and which ones are to be exterminated. "A lot of old scientific reports are quoted saying that nature finds its own balance, be we say it hasn't found its own balance in this country since man came out of his caves. We say it's up to us to maintain biodiversity and it's getting out of balance," he thundered.

While it is undeniably true that there are limits as to what nature can and cannot remedy, the historical record contradicts rather than supports Forde's assertion that he and his fellow bird-lovers (or anyone else for that matter) should be allowed to play god. Whereas nature's miscues tend to be self-limiting, there never has been any limits on either man's folly or his will to dominate.

A good example of the folly of bird-lovers is the Australians debacle on Macquarie. (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.") In addition to their blatant stupidity, the actions of both bird-lovers and wildlife advocates are more often than not motivated by evil.

If nature is to be micromanaged, the key question is: who is going to do the managing? In short, who is the most qualified to determine which species are going to be allowed to live and which are going to be exterminated? By their own actions, pronouncements, and writings, bird-lovers and wildlife proponents have proven themselves to be totally unfit to undertake even the management of a public toilet.

This Achse des Boesen already has done considerable mischief and it will no doubt do abundantly more unless it is confronted, exposed, and stopped. Bereft of even the tiniest bit of respect for either animal life or the truth, there can be little doubt that if they ever trained their sights upon the human race they would make the crimes of Hitler and Pol Pot look like child's play.

In the final analysis, it is the corrupt capitalist media that is responsible for the fact that such total frauds have been taken seriously in the first place. Par exemple, in his March 1st story on the CAS's report, Robert Miller of The News-Times of Danbury repeats word-for-word the blatant lies of Winter, Huang, and Metzler without offering either any analysis of their conclusions or soliciting any rebuttals from the advocates of cats, swans, geese, ducks, and deer. (See "Saving the Birds.")

His story amounts to a pro-CAS press release and nothing more. Quite obviously, journalistic standards are non-existent at The News-Times; lies and prejudices are the bread and butter of that sleazy rag. A parallel situation exists at the Telegraph in that Martin Beckford's piece amounts to nothing more than a press release from Songbird Survival.

To her credit, Marian Gail Brown of the Connecticut Post did at least contact Lee Hall of Friends of Animals in Darien for her reaction to the report. "I think they are missing the big picture here. There is not one word in this report about the impact of global warming on the bird population," she immediately pointed out. (See "Audubon Report Claims Birds in Danger.")

"That is so much more of a problem than any other man-made one on birds," she added. "What this study should really be looking into is the effect of climate change in Connecticut. That strikes us as a much bigger issue than feral cats."

She also criticized the CAS's proposal to exterminate feral cats as being "out of step with society" and defended TNR as the best way to deal with feline overpopulation. "We need to encourage more spaying and neutering and when these cats are released we need to make sure there's some kind of stewardship for them to make sure they don't go hungry," she added.

Hall's criticism of the CAS's deliberate failure to mention the impact of global warming in Connecticut is equally applicable to Songbird Survival's deafening silence on this issue. In particular, England's second mildest winter on record has led to the premature deaths of many birds, rabbits, squirrels, grass snakes, toads, newts, pipistrelle bats, dormice, hedgehogs, and ducks from either starvation or hypothermia because they were born too early in the season.

Climate change has also forced butterflies and fish, such as the red mullet, to migrate farther north and plants and trees to flower earlier than normal. (See London's Independent, March 9, 2007, "Born to Die: Climate Change Disrupting Life Cycles with Fatal Results" and Cat Defender post of January 23, 2007 entitled "Global Warming Blamed for Unseasonable Increase in Feral Kitten Births on Long Island.")

Writing in the March 10th edition of the Norwalk Advocate, reporter Tim Stelloh grudgingly allowed Friends of Animals' Priscilla Feral to get in a word or two edgewise. In the limited amount of space that she was given, she called the CAS's claims about deer (See photo above) an exaggeration and questioned the motivations of the report's authors.

"They have been a pro-hunting organization," she said. (See "State Birds Worry Audubon Officials.") "They have a list of good and bad animals."

Feral's astute observation sums up the Connecticut Audubon Society's report in a nutshell. The animals and even man himself are going to be in dire straits if these moral degenerates and halfwits are ever allowed to have things their way. They instead should be locked up before they can do any more evil.

Photos: La Presse (cat), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Winter), University of Maryland (Trun), Wikipedia (mute swans, mallards, and Canada goose with gosling), and Associated Press (deer).

Friday, March 09, 2007

A Long Island Serial Cat Killer Is Guilty of Only Disorderly Conduct, a Corrupt Court Rules

"When he started having problems with that feral cat, he should have dug a hole, broken its neck, and put it in."
-- Eric N. Naiburg, DeSantis' shyster

As expected, he has gotten away with it! Serial cat killer and bird-loving psychopath Richard DeSantis (See mug shot above), 58, of 656 Hyman Avenue in West Islip, Long Island received only a $250 fine and six-months of probation for purposefully trapping his neighbor's cat and turning it over to the Town of Islip Animal Shelter to exterminate.

In a plea bargain worked out between his shyster, Eric N. Naiburg, and prosecutors, Desantis was allowed to plead guilty to one count of making a false written statement. After he has served his probation the charge will be reduced to disorderly conduct and he will then pay the fine.

When he was arrested in June of 2006, he was additionally charged with cruelty to animals, possession of stolen property, falsifying records, and criminal mischief. He was released on his own recognizance after pleading not guilty in a Riverhead court on June 13th.

The case began on April 2nd of last year when DeSantis illegally trapped a four-year-old Russian Blue male cat named Coal belonging to his next-door neighbors, Jesse and Regina Fagone. Coal and the family dog, Nala, are pictured below with the Fagones' children, Samantha, 13, and Nicholas, 12.

Through the filing of a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request with the shelter, the Fagones learned of DeSantis' criminal behavior and he was subsequently arrested. For his part, DeSantis has never admitted to any wrongdoing.

With Naiburg serving as his mouthpiece, he claimed that Coal was harassing -- not killing -- birds in his backyard and that as a licensed hunter he had a right to kill him. He also lied through his teeth by arguing that he thought the cat was feral.

DeSantis not only loves killing cats but he also gets a kick out of tormenting the Fagones' children. For instance, as soon as he was released after his arrest he immediately began taunting them by yelling in their direction, "Here, kitty, kitty, kitty."

His attorney was likewise just as remorseless after his victory in court. "My client made one mistake in his life," he told Newsday on February 28th. (See "Probation for Man Who Put Down Neighbor's Cat.") "When he started having problems with that feral cat, he should have dug a hole, broken its neck, and put it in."

Commenting upon his callous endorsement of feline homicide and animal cruelty, Moggies said on its website, "Eric Naiburg should be thrown off the benches ... how an attorney can say this and get away with it is beyond me!" (See www.moggies.co.uk)

Moggies has raised an interesting point. Naiburg's reprehensible comments should be brought to the attention of the New York State Bar Association for disciplinary action. As an officer of the court, he should not be allowed to advocate the killing of innocent animals and the theft of private property. If he were proposing that men and women should be treated in a like-minded manner, his license to practice law surely would be promptly revoked.

DeSantis' conduct in this case is not an isolated incident. Au contraire, like most cat-hating, bird-loving psychopaths, he had made a career out of killing cats. Through another FOIA request, the Fagones learned that back in 1998 he trapped two more of their cats, Corky, a male, and Grady, a female, and also turned them over to the local shelter to exterminate. He is also suspected in the disappearance of a fourth cat from the Fagone household back in 2002.

The Fagones are not the only family in the neighborhood to be victimized by DeSantis. Neighbor Tom Blaser has accused him of the Christmas Eve 1998 pellet gun murder of his daughter's cat, Kelly. He also surrendered an unnamed black and white cat to the shelter to be killed on March 21, 2006.

More than likely this is only the tip of the proverbial iceberg as far as DeSantis' crimes are concerned in that many other cats from the neighborhood have disappeared without a trace during the past ten years. (See Cat Defender post of June 15, 2006 entitled "Serial Cat Killer on Long Island Traps Neighbors' Cats and Then Gives Them to Shelter to Exterminate.")

In addition to pursuing disciplinary action against Naiburg, the Fagones should also file civil lawsuits against both DeSantis and the Town of Islip Animal Shelter. It should be rather easy to win a hefty judgment against the latter because of its negligence.

More to the point, the Fagones should have their shyster subpoena the records of the shelter in an effort to determine exactly how many cats DeSantis has killed over the years. It is inconceivable that the shelter did not know what he was up to especially since he is not an animal control officer. Since it has been complicit in his crimes, the shelter is therefore liable as well.

Moreover, it is both alarming and inexcusable that animal rights groups on Long Island have not rallied to the defense of the Fagones and other cat owners victimized by this monster. They also should be demanding a shakeup in the management of the shelter as well.

As for DeSantis, he is no doubt laughing up his sleeve at the gullibility of the courts. Tragically, he will soon be killing more cats one way or another. People like him never reform; their successes serve only to encourage them to do more evil.

His only discomfort is the pretty penny that he has been forced to fork over to Naiburg to get him out of this jam. It is not anything to gloat about, but it is nonetheless a real pleasure to know that he is squealing like a stuck pig because of the hit that he has taken in the pocketbook. Naiburg, it might be remembered, is the high-powered shyster who represented the so-called Long Island Lolita (Amy Fisher) about fifteen years ago and his services do not come cheap.

DeSantis is cut from the same piece of cloth as evil birder and cat killer Jim Stevenson (See mug shot above) who may have killed as many as two-hundred cats in Galveston. (See Cat Defender post of November 22, 2006 entitled "Evil Galveston Bird Lover Is Finally Arrested After Having Gunned Down Hundreds of Cats.")

There is only one way to deal with cat-killing monsters like DeSantis and Stevenson and that is to remove them from society. They should be locked away in some hellhole prison where they will never be allowed to see the light of day ever again during their miserables sojourns on this earth.

Finally, the inaction of cat lovers boggles the mind. Bird-lovers, wildlife proponents, and PETA are committed to ridding the world of all cats and yet just about all cat advocacy groups remain silent in the face of this threat. One has to wonder how many more cats will have to die before they finally locate their tongues.

It is time that all cat lovers woke up and confronted these fascist cat-killers. Remaining silent and turning the other cheek in a misguided hope that these evildoers are going to go away is no longer an option. The time for concerted action is now.

Photos: Newsday (DeSantis, Coal and Fagone children) and Galveston Police Department (Stevenson).

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Blackie the Cat Has Postmen, Bobbies, and Deliverymen Looking over Their Shoulders in Ramsgate, Kent

Blackie and Ann Hogben
"So if you 'ave business with Faber -- or Faber --
I'll give you this tip, and it's worth a lot more:
You'll save yourself time, and you'll spare yourself labour
If jist you make friends with the cat at the door."
-- T. S. Eliot, Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats

A feisty, twenty-one-pound tomcat named Blackie has residents of the small seaside resort of Ramsgate in Kent looking over their shoulders and his devoted owner on the defensive after having attacked thirteen individuals over a span of six years. So far, he has had run-ins with five letter carriers, five paper boys, a construction worker, a fast-food deliveryman, and even one bobby.

Since both postmen and bobbies wear uniforms, this has led Ann Hogben, his forty-eight-year-old owner, to speculate that the cat she lovingly refers to as Bruiser has authority issues. That seems unlikely, however, because cats do not see certain colors too well and most of them are unlikely to be able to distinguish uniforms from other modes of attire. Besides, paper boys, construction workers, and fast-food deliverymen seldom wear uniforms.

A couple of years back, a parrot made the news when he cursed out, inter alia, a bobby and a clergyman and this led to speculation that he had so-called authority issues. Actually, it was the truck driver who owned him that had the authority issues and the bird was merely mimicking what he had been taught. In this instance, there is not a speck of evidence that Hogben either harbors an antipathy for authority or that even if she did these sentiments could be passed on to her cat.

Blackie's recent attack upon a mailman shoving envelopes through the letter box can be explained by the fact that all cats like to hunt and will therefore paw at anything that is either dangled in front of them or runs across their field of vision. In short, they love to play catch, whether it is with a string, a mouse, or a hand poked through a chute in a door.

Animal shelter workers on the prowl for their daily quotas of cats to kill, will thrust ballpoint pens through the bars of felines' cages supposedly to test for aggression. Since almost all cats will grab at objects thrust at them, this test proves absolutely nothing. It merely provides shelter workers with a handy excuse to kill more cats.

More than likely, Blackie's aggressive tendencies stem from a lack of socialization. Since he and his mistress live alone, he has never gotten accustomed to interacting with other people and animals. Also, since Hogben dotes on him by supplying him with tuna, steak, chicken, and evaporated milk, he may have grown quite possessive and territorial.

The fact that there is nothing to indicate that he has ever gone after either invited guests or neighbors tends to suggest that this is a turf issue. If he is still intact, this could also be contributing to his aggressive attitude.

Boredom could also be a factor. Since Hogben has a job, Blackie is thus left to his own devices for a good portion of the day.

Regardless of the source of his aberrant behavior, Hogben is taking steps to put an end to the attacks. Most noticeably, she has erected a sign on her front door that reads: "Warning: Dangerous Cat -- Has Attacked Thirteen People in the Last Six Years." She also forbids him from going near the front door and now confines him to an adjacent room whenever there is even a knock at the door.

"I've done all I can to stop Blackie making a nuisance of himself," she told London's Daily Mail on December 26, 2006. (See "'Warning: Dangerous Cat -- Has Attacked Thirteen People in the Last Six Years.'") "There really is nothing else that I can do. I've warned all my neighbors. I just hope it brings to an end a very sorry saga," she added.

Despite his aggressive attitude toward interlopers on his territory, Hogben insists that Blackie is a very loving cat who likes to sleep in her lap. He does, however, snore like a freight train.

It might be worth trying to accustom him to walk on a leash. That would enable her to have more control over him around strangers and after a while he might eventually lose his aggressive tendencies.

Considering that he is twelve-years-old, however, behavioral modification techniques may not work with him. In that case, keeping him away from strangers may be the best that can be accomplished. The drawback with this approach is that it exacerbates rather than alleviates the underlying problem.

It is nonetheless refreshing to learn that the thirty-eight-thousand residents of Ramsgate have far more tolerance for these types of situations than do the residents of Connecticut. Last year, for instance, Fairfield resident Ruth Cisero was hauled into court by her disgruntled neighbors after her cat, Lewis, allegedly attacked several of them.

Some of them even went so far as to petition the court to have Lewis killed. Luckily, saner heads prevailed and Lewis escaped with his life and Cisero with probation. (See Cat Defender posts of April 3, 2006 and June 26, 2006 entitled, respectively, "Free Lewis Now! Connecticut Tomcat, Victimized by a Bum Rap, Is Placed Under House Arrest" and "Lewis the Cat Cheats the Hangman but Is Placed Under House Arrest for the Remainder of His Life.")

Photo: Daily Mail.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Run Down by a Motorist and Frozen to the Ice by His Own Blood, Roo Is Saved by a Caring Woman

"Many human beings say that they enjoy the winter, but what they really enjoy is feeling proof against it. For them there is no winter food problem. They have fires and warm clothes. The winter cannot hurt them and therefore increases their sense of cleverness and security. For birds and animals, as for poor men, winter is another matter."
-- Richard Adams, Watership Down

The bitterly cold weather that savaged the northeast during the month of February claimed not only the lives of several individuals but it also killed a large number of cats and other animals as well. Since animal life is cheap in this society, statistics are not even kept on this subject.

Also, an untold number of homeless kittens, born out of season as the result of an unusually warm December and January, were woefully unprepared for Old Man Winter's belated arrival and as the result they either froze or starved to death. (See Cat Defender post of January 23, 2007 entitled "Global Warming Blamed for Unseasonable Increase in Feral Kitten Births on Long Island.")

Private citizens and animal rescue groups did, however, succeed in rescuing a number of cats from the cold. On February 16th, a two-year-old brownish-gray cat named Roo from Lower Windsor Township in Pennsylvania was saved from a sure and certain death by an unidentified woman who heard his plaintive cries and promptly called 9-1-1. When an officer from the York County SPCA arrived on the scene he found the cat lying on his side on Manor Road with his front legs frozen to the ice.

Roo apparently had been hit by a motorist and the blood from his injuries had frozen his legs to the ice. The officer poured warm water over them in order to free him and then transported him to the SPCA's shelter in Manchester Township.

Upon examination, it was determined that his right front paw had been so severely damaged that it had to be amputated. "It was barely hanging on," the SPCA's Melissa Smith (See photo above of her and Roo) told the York Daily Record on February 24th. (See "They Call Him Roo.")

His left front leg was also broken but the vets are attempting to save it. "He had some of the worst injuries we've ever seen," Smith added.

It is expected that Roo will require about twelve weeks in order to recuperate. After that he will be put up for adoption since no one has come forward so far in order to take responsibility for him.

The brave little tabby was given his moniker due to the fact that after the surgery he sat up on his hindquarters and held out his bandaged paws in front of him like a kangaroo.

Hopefully, the York SPCA will be able to find him a good home and all of his bad times will be a thing of the past. He has suffered enough and should never again be left to the mercy of either homicidal motorists or Old Man Winter.

Cats are fairly adept at finding shelter underneath buildings and trailers, but this is not always possible for those that are abandoned in rural areas. Consequently, there is a pressing need for the construction of feline shelters.

Pet igloos (See photo above), which can be purchased from pet stores and other retailers, are one option. Lined with straw as opposed to blankets which can get wet, they will sometimes suffice if they are located out of the wind and temperatures do not drop too low.

Small boxes are in many respects better, however. They can be easily and inexpensively constructed out of scrap lumber, insulated with cardboard, and covered with either plastic or rubber in order to keep out the elements. A cat flap can be installed for ingress and egress and the insides can likewise be padded with straw.

They can also be purchased from retailers such as Indy Feral Cat. (See photo above.) Normally they retail for around $45 apiece plus shipping and handling.

For individuals with deep pockets, cat houses constructed out of cedar (See photo below) can be purchased for $250 and up from Northland Pet Supply in Bythewood, South Carolina and other retailers. These structures can also be made quite cozy by the addition of heaters and special insulation.

Regardless of whatever type of facility is ultimately selected, it is vital that shelters not be located alongside feeding stations since the latter attract wild animals, such as raccoons and possums, and this sometimes leads to deadly conflicts. This is precisely the type of ill-advised arrangement that Alley Cat Allies has in place underneath Atlantic City's Boardwalk.

If feasible, it is preferable that these ad hoc shelters have both front and back portals so as to make it easier for felines to escape predators. They should also be either camouflaged or hidden from view if possible because fascist bird lovers, wildlife proponents, and other ailurophobes seldom pass up an opportunity to do a cat harm.

The cats' food and water supply should be checked several times a day if possible in order to ensure that it has not been poisoned. Feral cat caretakers must be vigilant at all times because their charges have many enemies.

Little Roo's brush with death highlights once again the compelling need for laws to be enacted in order to protect cats, dogs, and other animals from motorists who like to make a game out of running down any of them that happen to cross their paths. The recent decision of officials in Milford, Connecticut to erect a cat crossing sign is a positive step in this direction but more desperately needs to be done. (See Cat Defender post of January 26, 2007 entitled "Cat Activists Succeed in Getting Connecticut Town to Erect a Cat Crossing Sign.")

Photos: Bill Bowden of the York Daily Record (Roo and Melissa Smith), Google Images (pet igloo), Indy Feral Cat (box shelter), and Northland Pet Supply (cat house).

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Top Retailers and Fashion Designers Are Caught Again Selling Dog Fur but U.S. Officials Continue to Look the Other Way

"Cruelty is one fashion statement we can all do without."
-- Rue McClanahan

Despite the fact the the importation of clothing apparel made from the fur of domestic cats and dogs has been banned since 2000, the practice continues unabated all across America.

Acting upon a tip from a consumer, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) recently purchased twenty-five coats from popular retailers and had them subjected to a process known as mass spectrometry. From these tests it was determined that three of the coats were manufactured out of the fur from domestic dogs, twenty came from raccoon dogs (See photo above), one from a wolf, and one from a coyote.

The offending parties comprise a Who's Who of retailers and fashion designers. The roll call of retailers includes Nordstrom's, Macy's, J.C. Penney, Burlington Coat Factory, Lord and Taylor, Bergdorf Goodman, and Nieman Marcus. Even Puff Daddy's Sean John line and Jay-Z's Rocawear were found to contain raccoon dog fur.

Among the designers caught red-handed were such well-known titans of the industry as Andrew Marc, Tommy Hilfiger, Donna Karan's DKNY, Michael Kors, and Oscar de la Renta.

"It's an industrywide deception," Kristen Leppert of the HSUS told the Los Angeles Times on February 24th. (See "Retailers Pull Dog-Fur-Trimmed Coats Mislabeled as Faux.") A more comprehensive survey would have no doubt also uncovered the wholesale use of cat fur in innumerable garments.

Not only is intentionally importing and selling dog and cat fur punishable by a $10,000 fine for each violation, but mislabeling such garments can bring either a $5,000 fine or a year in the slammer. Although the culprits have agreed to stop selling the coats, they apparently will neither be fined nor jailed.

A loophole in the law does not require fur valued at less than $150 to be labeled at all, but Democratic Congressman Jim Moran of Virginia wants to change this. He also wants to criminalize the importation of apparel made from the fur of raccoon dogs which, amazingly enough, is totally legal.

"Americans don't want Lassie turned into a fur coat," he told the Times. "In the United States, we treat cats and dogs as pets, not trimmings for the latest fashion wear." Some years ago, actress Rue McClanahan put it more succinctly when she said, "Cruelty is one fashion statement we can all do without."

Twenty-four of the coats examined by the HSUS were purposefully mislabeled as either faux or raccoon fur. The remaining coat was trimmed with coyote fur but advertised as imitation. As usual, all of the fur came from either China or South Korea.

Raccoon dogs (Nyctereutes procyonoides) are treated especially barbaric. A video shot by the Swiss Animal Protection (SAP) and available at www.animal-protection.net, opens with the stir-crazy dogs fighting desperately to escape their cages. Their struggle is in vain, however, because all of them are doomed.

The dogs are then clubbed and stomped into submission after which their hides are removed through a combination of incisions and manual dexterity while they writhe in excruciating pain on the ground. (See photo above.) It is not known how long they are forced to endure this type of pain before the Grim Reaper claims them, but many of these skinned-alive dogs still have enough strength left in them to attempt to get to their feet which suggests that their suffering is prolonged.

This video is about as sickening and disgusting as it gets, but it is nonetheless required viewing for all individuals who care about animals. In China alone, a million and one-half of these docile and beautiful animals are killed for their fur each year. (See photo below of their pelts spread out to cure.)

Native to Japan, Siberia, and Manchuria, raccoon dogs were introduced to Europe during the last century by the Russians and they are now found in Scandinavia and the Baltic States. In addition to predation by fur traders, their ranks are also being decimated by hunters, automobile drivers, pollution, and disease. Some people in Asia also eat them as a cheap source of protein.

Although they have been known to live for as long as eleven years in captivity, even those lucky enough to avoid the clutches of the diabolical fur traffickers only last about three to four years in the wild.

With the exception of their dog-like feet and short ringless tails, they could be easily au premier coup d'oeil be mistaken as raccoons. They are omnivorous and monogamous and, like possums, they will sometimes play dead in order to escape predators. This tactic, unfortunately, is of absolutely no avail whenever they cross paths with fur traffickers.

They are unique within the canine family in that they are its only members that hibernate during the winter. Thanks to their curved claws, they can also climb trees, which is a feat that only one other canine, the gray fox, is capable of duplicating. (See Mark Trail, February 4, 2007.)

Aside from the horrible murders and abuse of raccoon dogs, domestic cats and dogs, and other wild animals by those involved in the fur trade, the other outrage is the unwillingness of the law enforcement community in this country to enforce the law. The HSUS should not be forced into shouldering the entire load; customs inspectors, the USDA, Justice Department, and state and local officials should be routinely testing all fur, both domestic and imported, in order to make sure that it is not made from cat and dog hides.

It would be better still if the slaughter of all animals for their hides were outlawed. The killing of raccoons, wolves, coyotes, and other wild animals for their fur is no less egregious than the slaughter of domestic animals.

Man is no longer living in the Stone Age. He does not need to wrap himself in animal hides in order to either ward off the cold or to appear fashionable. Apparel made from synthetics, cotton, and other non-animal sources is every bit as warm and fashionable. More to the point, it is the only moral alternative.

It is quite obvious that both retailers and fashion designers are going to continue to flout the law at every turn unless the political and legal establishment comes down on them with both feet. They are also well financed and have an army of propagandists at their disposal concocting all sorts of zany rationales in order to justify their barbaric treatment of animals. Wikipedia's entry on raccoon dogs is a prime example of such sottise.

In January, the EU Commission passed a law banning the importation of cat and dog fur but it remains to be seen if its twenty-seven member states have the political will to enforce it. If the sorry example set by the United States is anything to go by, the Commission has its work cut out for it. (See Cat Defender post of February 5, 2007 entitled "Fur Traffickers and Vivisectors Suspected in the Disappearance of Berlin's Katzen.")

The news is not, thankfully, all bad. Attitudes in China are changing. Modernization is creating a burgeoning middle class that is beginning to look upon cats and dogs as companion animals as opposed to cash crops.

More astonishingly, thirty members of the I Cat Home animal rights group broke into a live market in Tianjin on February 11th and rescued four-hundred-fifteen cats who were destined to be sold in Guangzhou for their meat and fur. (See photo above of caged cats at another Chinese market.)

The rescued felines were relocated to the China Small Animal Protection Association in Beijing where an attempt is being made to find good homes for them. Unfortunately, these courageous and kindhearted cat lovers will likely face prosecution for their heroics. No good deed ever goes unpunished. (See India eNews, February 12, 2007, "Cat Lovers Save 400 Felines in China.")

Another sign that the times are a changing is the recent appearance of animal rights' billboards on the streets of Beijing and elsewhere in China. One erected by Animals Asia Foundation (See photo above) in Beijing admonishes citizens to remember that cats and dogs are man's best friends and that they need everyone's love and respect.

The summer Olympics will be held next year in Beijing and this is going to be an ideal time for activists both within and outside the Middle Kingdom to focus attention on its atrocious animal rights record. Paul McCartney has even gone so far as to urge that the games be boycotted unless China mends its evil ways. (See Cat Defender post of December 15, 2005 entitled "Heather Mills Asks EU to Ban Sale of Cat and Dog Fur; Paul McCartney Calls for Boycott of Chinese Goods and Olympics.")

Photos: Japanese Wikipedia (raccoon dogs), Swiss Animal Protection (raccoon dog being skinned alive), Fur Kills (raccoon dog pelts, and caged cats), and Animals Asia Foundation (Beijing billboard.)