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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, May 31, 2007

Port Taranaki Kills Off Its World Famous Seafaring Feline, Colin's, at Age Seventeen

"Deliberate cruelty to our defenseless and beautiful little cousins is surely one of the meanest and most detestable vices of which a human being can be guilty."
-- William Ralph Inge

Colin's, Port Taranaki's famous seafaring feline, was killed off earlier this month by Superintendent Gordon MacPherson after her health had taken a turn for the worst. (See photo above.)

The seventeen-year-old tortoiseshell, who had lost some weight and was not eating very much, appears to otherwise have been in relatively good health. To his credit, MacPherson did place her under the care of a local veterinarian for a week prior to administering the coup d'grace.

"It got to the stage where she had lost a lot of muscle mass, she was very thin. So the decision was made this morning that it would be best for her if she was put to sleep," MacPherson told the Taranaki Daily News on May 15th. (See "Farewell to New Plymouth's Famous Traveling Cat.")

The feline's decline was rather precipitate in that up until recently she was still giving the bum's rush to cats, sea gulls, and other animals who ventured onto the grounds of the sprawling marine terminal. Her body most likely will be cremated and plans are being made for some type of memorial to honor her memory.

"It was a bit emotional," MacPherson said about killing off Colin's. "She had been a good companion here for us."

The cat arrived at the terminal, located in the town of New Plymouth on New Zealand's north island, as a kitten where she was adopted by employee Colin Butler. Even though he is no longer with the terminal, the cat was known to her death as Colin's cat.

She made headlines around the world back in 2001 when she unwittingly became involved in one of those improbable misadventures at sea that seem to sometimes befall cats. (See Cat Defender posts of May 17, 2007 and December 9, 2005 entitled, respectively, "North Carolina Shelter Plotting to Kill Cat That Survived Being Trapped for Thirty-Five Days in Cargo Hold of Ship from China" and "Adventurous Wisconsin Cat Named Emily Makes Unscheduled Trip to France in Hold of Cargo Ship.")

The celebrated affair began when she was either willingly or unwillingly taken aboard the South Korean methanol tanker Tomiwaka by a crew member. For whatever it is worth, the sailor claimed at the time that both he and Colin's had fallen asleep in his cabin and were therefore unaware that the tanker was about to weigh anchor.

In any event, as soon as her disappearance was discovered the terminal set about trying to get her returned. She originally was scheduled to have been transferred at sea to another tanker heading to Taranaki but that plan was eventually jettisoned as being too dangerous.

Finally, cat food manufacturer Whiskas intervened by offering to pay for a rescue mission and MacPherson flew to the South Korean port of Yeosu and collected Colin's. (See photo below of the happy duo arriving back home.)

Upon her return, she received a hero's welcome. She was named an honorary ambassador for the district of New Plymouth by Mayor Peter Tennent as well as an honorary member of the local cat club. Plaques commemorating her exploits now adorn the walls of the terminal's kitchen and she is still featured prominently on the terminal's web site.

Being an adherent of the old adage that once an individual saves a life he or she is thereafter responsible for it, Whiskas did not abandon Colin's but instead generously supplied her with cat food and paid for her visits to the vet. She was not excessively old for a cat and very well may have recovered and gone on to live for many more years had MacPherson been willing to have provided her with the medical care that she so desperately needed and so richly deserved.

He lends a certain amount of credence to this interpretation of events by his declaration that he does not intend to get another cat. "We've thought about it for a while ... there won't be a replacement," he told the Taranaki Daily News. "A cat takes quite a bit or looking after, it's not for everyone and I won't be here forever."

That fatuous statement is only partially true. Cats require extensive care and significant monetary outlays only when they either get sick or very old. Otherwise, they pretty much can take care of themselves.

More to the point, since cats live such terribly brief lives, their sojourns on this earth should not be curtailed under any circumstances. Nonetheless, MacPherson's callous, murderous, and ungrateful attitude is the norm amongst many cat lovers.

For instance, last November the library in Spencer, Iowa killed off its world famous feline, Dewey Readmore Books. (See Cat Defender posts of December 7, 2006 and May 10, 2007 entitled, respectively, "After Nineteen Years of Service and Companionship, Ingrates at Iowa Library Murder Dewey Readmore Books" and "Iowa Librarian Vicki Myron Inks Million Dollar Deal for Memoir About Dewey Readmore Books.")

Earlier last year, the writers and editors of the New Caledonian Record in St. Johnsbury, Vermont likewise prematurely killed off their cat, Tripod. (See Cat Defender post of February 9, 2006 entitled "Newspaper Cat Named Tripod Is Killed Off by Journalists He Befriended in Vermont.")

Despite MacPherson's unconscionable decision to finish off Colin's, it is nevertheless encouraging to see that someone in New Zealand at least cares a little bit about cats. On the whole, New Zealand's treatment of felines is every bit as reprehensible as that of their Australian cousins to the north.

Like the British and Australian presses, the New Zealand news media are replete with stories of unspeakable acts of cruelty directed against cats. For instance, in 2005 two teens from the Auckland suburb of Huntly burned to death three caged cats. (See Cat Defender post of September 22, 2005 entitled "Two New Zealand Teens Douse Three Caged Cats with Glue and Burn Them to Death.")

For at least the past three decades, the Department of Conservation has used the deadly poison 1080 to kill untold numbers of both domestic and feral cats as well as dogs, pigs, deer, stoats, rats, and possums. (See Yahoo News for May 25, 2007, "1080 Vital in Protecting NZ's Bush, Birds.")

At Lincoln University outside Christchurch, Dr. Sean Ogilvie is working with a pest control company called Connovation in order to develop a so-called smart bait that will allow New Zealanders to poison cats with cyanide. (See Newswire.co.nz, March 8, 2007, "HortResearch Trial Smells for Pest Control.")

As usual, bird lovers and wildlife proponents are the prime movers behind these feline exterminations. They have also succeeded in having cats banned from subdivisions in Golden and Kaiuma bays on the south island. Now, the developer of a multimillion dollar community in Stringer Valley, southeast of Mapua and also on the south island, wants to ban both them and dogs. (See The Nelson Mail, April 20, 2007, "Pets in Dogbox for New Subdivision.")

In New Zealanders' twisted minds, it is perfectly justifiable to turn over large tracts of ecologically sensitive land to developers to destroy just as long as cats are declared to be personae non gratae.

On the south island's Kaikoura Peninsula, at least thirty-one cats have been trapped and shot during the past two years because they were allegedly preying upon Hutton's shearwaters. Worst still, New Zealand officials have vowed not to rest until all feral cats living in the area are exterminated. (See Marlborough Express, April 25, 2007, "Cats Kill Shearwaters.")

The English jailbirds who stole both New Zealand and Australia from their indigenous populations also forcibly brought cats, rabbits, donkeys, horses, camels, and dozens of other animals with them in order to assist them in their conquest. Now that they no longer needed, the colonialists are vilifying and slaughtering them en masse.

Even their concern for birds and wildlife is bogus in that they do not have any genuine appreciation of either of them. They are instead motivated by the lust for money and right now there is plenty of it to be made from tourists willing to pay dearly for a glimpse of exotic birds and wildlife.

Excess domestic animals, however, no longer have any monetary value to the Aussies and the Kiwis and that is why they have begun systematically exterminating them. Humane solutions are available, but they are far too cheap and morally deprived to pursue them.

As William Ralph Inge once said, "Deliberate cruelty to our defenseless and beautiful little cousins is surely one of the meanest and most detestable vices of which a human being can be guilty."

Photos: Taranaki Daily News.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Corporal Cuffs, a Beloved Station House Mascot, Is Abducted Right Under Cops' Noses

Corporal Cuffs and Sergeant Paul Sprigg
"A lot of hearts are broken over Cuff's going missing. We want him to come back."
-- Sergeant Paul Sprigg

The City of Brotherly Love is a tough town. Abject poverty and homelessness are at epic proportions and the homicide rate is out the roof. Pettiness and corruptness are the norms in politics and the weather is lousy seven months out of the year.

Before he became a famous novelist, Pete Dexter was beaten to within an inch of his life by assailants who took exception to a story that he had written for a local newspaper and disgruntled Eagles' fans once even booed Santa Claus! Despite all of that and more, it nonetheless takes an awful lot of bloody cheek to steal a station house cat from right under the noses of the cops.

As improbable as it may seen, that is precisely what happened on May 16th when an unknown white male on a red bicycle made off with Corporal Cuffs as he was sitting outside the station house at South and Ninth streets. The abduction of the three-year-old yellow and white mascot has had a profound effect on the officers.

"A lot of hearts are broken over Cuff's going missing," Sergeant Paul Sprigg told the Philadelphia Daily News on May 19th. (See "An All-Points Bulletin for Cuffs, a Cop Station's Top Cat.") "We want him to come home."

Officers have blanketed the area around the station house with posters that feature a color photograph of the cat and which read: "Police Station Mascot. Missed by Many." They also have asked shelters and veterinarians to be on the lookout for him.

Cuff's abductor was seen not only petting the cat outside the station house but also making off with him on his bike. The cops made an effort to track him down as soon as they realized that he had taken Cuffs but they were too late.

Although Cuffs normally wears a collar, he has a habit of wiggling out of it and was therefore not wearing any identification at the time of his abduction. It probably would not have made any difference anyway because honest individuals do not steal cats off other people's doorsteps. Moreover, neither microchips nor tattoos provide any protection against cat thieves.

Sadly, the cops' prospects of getting Cuffs back do not look particularly promising. The fact that he has not been returned in spite of the enormous amount of publicity generated by his seizure indicates that the thief intends to keep him.

Cuffs, a gift from officer Matthew Matt, arrived at the station house as a kitten and was immediately put to work as a mouser. He was so proficient in his work that the station house soon thereafter was declared to be rodent-free.

To say that he was just another underpaid working stiff would be a gross understatement because he quickly morphed into something much more. Not only did he become a beloved companion of the cops, but he also was a big hit with the adults, children and, oddly enough, dogs of the neighborhood.

"Cuffs gets more attention than the officers do around here," Sprigg added. "Everybody loves him. Of course, I'm the one who gets to clean his litter box."

The officers doted on him by giving him crab cakes, bottled water, and toys. Two ladies from the neighborhood even footed the bill for his veterinary care.

Mothers would bring their children by to play with him and even dog-walkers would occasionally stop by to visit him. In fact, he got along well with Sergeant Edward Mayer's bomb-sniffing German Shepherd, Blaster.

Much to the officers' chagrin, Cuffs was equally at home with those on the opposite side of the law. "He jumps right up in prisoners' laps and sits with them," Sprigg confided to the Daily News.

Some observers, such as Paula Poundstone, would no doubt interpret such impartiality as a moral weakness. "The problem with cats is that they get the exact same look on their face (sic) whether they see a moth or an ax murderer," she once opined.

She is incorrect, however. Unlike most people who rely upon prejudice and hearsay to inform their thinking, cats are far more open-minded in that they evaluate individuals and events on their own merit. Consequently, whatever misdeeds an individual may have perpetrated against someone else is of no concern to them so long as they are treated compassionately.

Perhaps even more illustrative is the transformative effect that cats like Cuffs have on both law enforcers and lawbreakers. As a group, cops are not known for either their compassion or sentimentality but yet Corporal Cuffs nonetheless was able to bring out these qualities in the members of the South Street station house.

A cat named Opie has had a similar effect upon the inmates at Turney Center Industrial Prison and Farm in Only, Tennessee. (See Cat Defender post of November 2, 2006 entitled "Three-Legged, Bobtailed Cat Named Opie Melts the Hearts of Hardened Criminals at Rural Tennessee Prison.")

Being a gregarious cat, Cuffs enjoyed, inter alia, sitting in the window at the station house or on the patrolmen's bikes as well as greeting his adoring public on the bench outside. Unfortunately, it was the latter that proved to be his undoing.

It is difficult to fault the cops' conduct in this case because there was no way that they ever could have anticipated that anyone would have been brazen enough to steal their cat. As for the future, the cops have stated that they simply would like to have Cuffs returned and that they do not intend to press charges against his abductor.

As for Cuffs, the best that can be hoped for at the moment is that he is now in the care of a genuine cat lover who will give him a good home. It is unlikely, however, that any individual or family will be able to lavish the amount of attention on him that he received from the cops and their neighbors.

If he was seized for nefarious purposes, such as medical research or the fur trade, it is probably curtains for the sweet little cat who touched so many lives during his brief stay at the station house.

At last report, his bed, food dish, and toys are still in their usual places so apparently the cops have not given up all hope of seeing him again.

Photo: Philadelphia Daily News.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

The United States Fish and Wildlife Service and the USDA's Wildlife Services Commence Trapping and Killing Cats on Florida's Big Pine Key

"It's not fair to kill some cat because it was abandoned."
-- Nancy Warner of Forgotten Felines

Ignoring the protests of cat lovers, the United State Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and the United States Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Wildlife Services  Monday began trapping and removing cats from in and around the National Key Deer Refuge on Big Pine Key. (See map above.)

The cats are being removed because they are allegedly preying upon the marsh rabbit, which has been protected by the Endangered Species Act since 1990. Only an estimated seventy-five to one-hundred-fifty of the medium-sized dark-brown cottontails with grayish-white stomachs remain on Big Pine Key. (See photo below.)

Last year, cat haters in Congress appropriated $50,000 for the cats' removal not only from Big Pine Key but also from federal and state parks on Key Largo where they are alleged to be decimating the population of wood rats and cotton mice. Ironically, cats were first brought to the Keys to control the rodent population.

On Big Pine Key, the USDA is setting out thirty to forty 36 x 12 x 12-inch no-kill traps that will be baited with, inter alia, cat food, sardines, marshmallows, and electronic birds that sing. The cats will then be taken to either the Big Pine Key Animal Shelter on Industrial Road or to Stand Up for Animals in Marathon.

Those judged to be either sickly or injured will be killed upon arrival. Domestic cats will be held for seven days in order to give their owners a chance to reclaim them. In order to facilitate reunions, photographs of the cats will be posted both at the shelters and at the visitors center at the refuge.

Unclaimed cats and those deemed suitable for adoption will be sterilized, vaccinated, and then offered to the public. Since very few tame cats are ever adopted and almost no feral ones, Forgotten Felines of Marathon, Caring for Cats of Islamorada, and Whiskers and Paws Forever of Monroe County have publicly stated that they will help the shelters to find sanctuaries and other locations where the cats can be safely released.

"We don't want to kill cats. We want to preserve rabbits," the USDA's Bernice Constantin told the Miami Herald on May 20th. (See "Cat Roundup Aims to Save Endangered Bunny.")

"Although there are rumors to the contrary, there are absolutely no plans to euthanize the cats," Sandy Brown of Friends and Volunteers of Refuges (FAVOR) told The Keynoter on May 9th. (See "Feral-Cat Roundup Starts This Month.") She is, however, a devotee of the diabolical American Bird Conservancy's (ABC) Cats Indoors campaign and is therefore probably lying.

Even Anne Morkill, manager of the refuge, swore to the Miami Herald that the cats will be "humanely trapped alive." She was careful, however, not to specify how long they will remain in that condition.

All of these assurances have not, with good reason, quelled the fears of cat lovers. Alley Cat Allies, for instance, has launched an online campaign to save the cats but it so far has been unsuccessful. This shameless organization even has stooped so low as to grovel at the feet of smut purveyor and despoiler of women Hugh Hefner for whom Sylvilagus palustris hefneri is named. (See its May 23rd press release entitled "Alley Cat Allies Appeals to Hugh Hefner to Protect Feral Cats in the Florida Keys.")

Alley Cat Allies' declaration on its web site that its raison d'etre is to sterilize all cats, domestic, stray, and feral, stands in marked contrast to its professed concern about saving cats from exterminators in that, if successful, its mass sterilization plan will eventually wipe out the species. Sterilization has its place but it is not for every cat.

Even Forgotten Felines' Nancy Warner, who is participating in the removal, is not convinced of the sincerity of the feds. "It's not fair to kill some cat because it was abandoned," she told the Miami Herald in the article cited supra.

The avowals made by the authorities do not cover all exigencies. For instance, there are not any outside monitors to ensure that the trappers do not execute the cats in the field, as Animal Control officers so often do. Secondly, since the traps will be checked only once every twelve hours, the cats could be attacked and killed by fire ants during the interim. Thirdly, rabbits and other animals also could be inadvertently trapped.

More importantly, sickly and injured cats deserve medical treatment not coups d'grace. Also, there is not any guarantee that the cat protection groups assisting the feds will be able to find suitable locations to release the cats back into the wild. The fact that none of these concerns have been addressed proves that the feds' assurances are meaningless.

No matter how the situation is analyzed, the bottom line is that a large number of the cats are going to be killed one way or another. Even those that are lucky enough to survive will be traumatized by being trapped, sterilized, and bandied about like Flying Dutchmen. Others will die from overdoses of anesthesia and some will contract diseases at shelters which will provide their bloodthirsty captors with a convenient excuse to kill them.

Furthermore, although both the Miami Herald and the United States Navy make a big deal out of the fact that twenty cats were successfully trapped at the Key West Naval Air Station on Boca Chica during 2005 and 2006, they purposefully omit any reference to the fate of the felines.

It can be safely assumed, however, that the Navy, like all branches of the despicable United States military, kills every cat that it traps. (See Cat Defender post of November 14, 2006 entitled "Military Killing Cats and Dogs by the Tens of Thousands as Imperialistic America Attempts to Conquer the World.")

Only a few weeks ago the United States Army in Iraq confiscated a cat named Taji and her four kittens from Army National Guard PFC Ronee Smith of Papillion, Nebraska and promptly killed all of them. Deployed with the 867th Corps Support Battalion, Smith had kept the cat and kittens in her living quarters at her base near the city of Taji for the past five months. Worst still, at the time of the seizure and subsequent murders, Smith was working with Military Mascots and the Nebraska Humane Society in an attempt to bring the cats to America before her tour of duty ends this summer.

"It could have been prevented," Smith's mother, Carla Buckner, told the Bellevue Leader of Bellevue, Nebraska on May 17th. (See "The Cat Isn't Coming Back.") "She was getting help and had the support lined up. It was horrible."

Although it is not known if any soldiers have been able to bring home cats from Iraq, at least one dog has made it out alive. (See Cat Defender post of October 26, 2005 entitled "Love Conquers All Obstacles as Soldier Locates His Lost Dog in Iraq and Brings It Home to Maryland.")

Marsh rabbits used to be found in abundance throughout the Lower Keys from Big Pine to Key West but development has severely reduced their habitat. Hefner became interested in their plight back in the 1980s and donated money which produced research that identified them as a distinct subspecies from their more common cousins found throughout southeast America.

The present campaign to get rid of the cats was in large part fueled by a 1995 study conducted for the USFWS by Beth Forys (See photo above) and Susan Jewell that concluded that domestic cats were responsible for fifty-three per cent of marsh rabbit mortalities. (See "They're Not Multiplying Like Rabbits.") The the only thing known about their methodology, however, is that the results were based on rabbits that they trapped and equipped with radio collars.

Although it is highly unlikely that Forys and Jewell could ever be persuaded to come clean, it would be interesting to know how many rabbits that they killed, intentionally or unintentionally, through their trapping and tagging regimen. (See Cat Defender post of May 4, 2006 entitled "Scientific Community's Use of High-Tech Surveillance Is Aimed at Subjugating, Not Saving, the Animals.")

The authors do admit, however, that birds, snakes, and raccoons also prey upon rabbits as well as motorists and hunters. Development, pesticides, and more intense hurricanes brought on by global warming are also having a deleterious effect on the rabbits' mortality rate.

Recent violent hurricanes also have displaced a number of Big Pine Key's five-thousand residents and this has left many cats homeless. Forys and Jewell, like all wildlife proponents and bird lovers, are far too dishonest to disclose this petit fait, let alone to ever display an ounce of concern for cats.

Once all of these additional factors are taken into consideration, it is difficult to see how removing the cats by itself is going to save the rabbits. As it has been the case down throughout history, they are simply being made to pay the ultimate price for the misdeeds of both man and other animals.

In particular, the USDA has been going after cats for a long time. Most recently it has been targeting Ernest Hemingway's cats down the road in Key West. (See Cat Defender posts of August 3, 2006 and January 9, 2007 entitled, respectively, "USDA Fines Hemingway Memorial in Key West $200 a Day for Exhibiting Papa's Polydactyl Cats Without a License" and "Papa Hemingway's Polydactyl Cats Face New Threats from Both the USDA and Their Caretakers.")

It is also the statutory responsibility of the USDA to monitor how cats and other animals are treated by vivisectors at universities, governmental laboratories, and private institutions, but yet it steadfastly refuses to lift to finger in order to stop these monsters from torturing, butchering, and killing tens of thousands of cats each year. The USDA can deny that it hates cats until the cows come home, but its actions tell an entirely different story.

Moreover, it does little or nothing to stamp out corruption down on the farm. Farmers receive in excess of $21 billion in welfare from the taxpayers each year plus whatever else they can steal while the USDA looks the other way. It also has failed miserably at protecting the nation's food supply as the recent deaths of thousands of cats and dogs and the sickening of numerous individuals has demonstrated. (See Washington Post, May 20, 2007, "Tainted Chinese Imports Common.")

Wildlife proponents, whether at the federal or state level, are even more antagonistic toward cats than the USDA. For instance, officials in Washington State refused to intervene last year when raccoons and coyotes were killing domestic cats and dogs. (See Cat Defender posts of August 28, 2006 and October 2, 2006 entitled, respectively, "Marauding Pack of Vicious Raccoons Rip Ten House Cats to Shreds and Terrorize Residents but Wildlife Officials Refuse to Intervene" and "Coyotes, Cheered on by Wildlife Officials, Join Raccoons in Killing Cats and Dogs in Washington State.")

The USFWS is in fact so bloodthirsty that it even slaughters the very animals that it is pledged to protect. For instance, it kills close to three million wild animals each year either at the urging of capitalists or as part of its own sinister plan to mould nature to its liking. Beavers, prairie dogs, bears, mountain lions, wolves, coyotes, foxes, opossums, raccoons, birds, and even rabbits are some of its prime targets. (See Cat Defender post of September 15, 2005 entitled "United States Government Exterminates Millions of Wild Animals at the Behest of Capitalists.")

Even those animals that it does not kill directly often fall victim to hunters because the agency has removed their federal protection. A good case in point is the impending mass slaughter of gray wolves in Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming and the Mexican gray wolf in the southwest. (See Environmental News Network, December 20, 2006, "Feds to Start Removing Wolf Protections" and Center for Biological Diversity press release of May 14, 2007 entitled "Conservationists Request Suspension of Mexican Wolf Killing Policy.")

More often than not, the decision to delist a species is made for political reasons. (See Center for Biological Diversity press release of May 23, 2007 entitled "Julie MacDonald Scandal Grows: Former Interior Official May Have Wrongfully Deleted Emails from Lobbyists.")

The USFWS has even done a poor job of managing the deer (Odocoileus virginianus clavium) population at National Key Deer Refuge. While it is true that the animals have rebounded from an all-time low of twenty-seven back in 1957 when the refuge was established to around eight-hundred today, mortality rates remain high. (See photo above of a doe and her male fawn.)

Par exemple, an astounding seventy per cent of their deaths are caused by collisions with motorists which are themselves the direct result of roadside feeding by the ninety-thousand tourists who annually visit the refuge. As is the case with marsh rabbits, habitat loss caused by development and hurricanes also claim the lives of countless others.

If the USFWS were serious about protecting rabbits, deer, and other wildlife, it would ban both developers and tourists from the island and thus allow the animals to live in safety and in peace. Such a policy would also put an end to cat dumping.

The situation on Big Pine Key is analogous to the one that prevails further south in the Galapagos Islands. Development and tourism are destroying both but the only action that wildlife officials are willing to take is to kill cats and other domestic animals that were brought to these ecologically sensitive areas against their wills.

As it should be obvious, the entire conservation effort on Big Pine Key is a total sham. It is a profitable fraud, however, in that the refuge's thirteen employees share an annual budget in excess of one-million dollars. More importantly, they get to kill cats with impunity.

In conclusion, if the cats must be removed from Big Pine Key, the job should have been given to bona fide cat advocates with the stipulation that none of them was to be harmed under any circumstances. Also, a sanctuary should have been designated beforehand so as to eliminate the need for confining the animals for lengthy periods of time in either cages or shelters.

The petit fait that none of these safeguards were undertaken is just one more proof that ailurophobia, not conservation, is the motivating factor behind the cats' expulsion and needless deaths.

Photos: Florida-Keys.fl.us (map), Neil Perry of the USFWS (marsh rabbit), Eckerd College (Beth Forys), and Big Pine Key.com (deer).

Monday, May 21, 2007

Salem, Massachusetts, Is Going After Cats Again Much Like It Did During the 1692 Witch Trials

"I love cats because I love my home and after a while they become its visible soul."
-- Jean Cocteau

As some cynics maintain, no good deed goes unpunished. Doubters should just ask Suzanne Sullivan.

As proprietress of the Clipper Ship Inn (See photo above) in Salem, Massachusetts, she has been taking in and housing homeless cats for years. She feeds them, provides them with litter boxes, vaccinates and sterilizes them, and makes an effort to find good homes for as many of them as it is feasibly possible.

Although it is unclear exactly what services, if any, that Salem provides for homeless cats, Animal Control Officer Don Famico admits to directing residents with unwanted felines to the Clipper Ship Inn. For her part, Sullivan also traps and sterilizes feral cats.

All went reasonably well until about four years ago when a disgruntled employee blabbed to city officials about the cats' presence. Since then Sullivan has found herself involved in one legal imbroglio after another.

In that sense her situation is similar to that of the Hemingway Home in Key West. After all, it was also a disgruntled employee who sicced the USDA on Papa's polydactyl cats. (See Cat Defender posts of August 3, 2006 and January 9, 2007 entitled, respectively, "USDA Fines Hemingway Memorial in Key West $200 a Day for Exhibiting Papa's Polydactyl Cats Without a License" and "Papa Hemingway's Polydactyl Cats Face New Threats from Both the USDA and Their Caretakers.")

In addition to the homeless cats, the Inn has two mascots and when a health inspector spied them near the breakfast area he took away the motel's license to serve food. (See photo below on one of them perched at the front desk.)

The official also claims to have counted between thirty-five and fifty cats in the basement. The matter was referred to court but no action was taken at that time.

For its part, the motel contends that it only has twelve to fifteen cats and that they are confined to three rooms in the sixty-room motel. All felines have been removed from the basement. (See photo below of a typical room at the motel.)

Acting on its own, the Health Department declared the Inn to be a de facto ancillary animal shelter and subsequently drafted guidelines requiring it to provide, inter alia, one litter box per cat, perches near windows, and rabies vaccinations for all of them.

Acting through her attorney, Tom Delaney, Sullivan is contesting the new guidelines on the grounds that her establishment is being singled out for punitive enforcement. "My understanding is some of the bed-and-breakfasts in town have cats," Delaney told The Salem News on April 26th. (See "Motel Gets Its Back Up About City's Crackdown on Cats.") More to the point, some of them serve meals with cats under foot, he added.

Delaney is also challenging the one litter box per cat rule by contending that cats kept at the Department of Public Health's animal research facility are forced to share their litter boxes with eleven other cats. Vivisectors who torture and kill cats in the pursuit of their worthless research have forfeited whatever right they may once have had to speak out on both animal welfare and sanitary issues.

Delaney is additionally arguing that the requirement that the cats be provided with window perches is excessive. "It is a perch, not a room with a view," he added.

Although Sullivan has not commented publicly on the brouhaha, one of her tenants, Rose Wolf, has not been hesitant to do so. "... the quiet but tireless labors of dedicated individuals like Suzanne Sullivan must be supported in order that a fraction, at least, of the pets so heartlessly discarded each year may be saved," she told The Salem News on May 3rd. (See "My View: Clipper Ship Inn Owner Performing an Important Public Service.")

Besides, none of the motel's guests have ever complained about the cats. Of course, that could be partially attributable to the fact that the felines are kept well out of sight.

Generally speaking, however, the motel's two mascots are a welcome distraction to most travelers in that their presence gives the old inn a touch of home. As Jean Cocteau once said, "I love cats because I love my home and after a while they become its visible soul."

By going after the Clipper Ship Inn's cats, the city of Salem is bucking a nationwide trend that favors pet-friendly lodging establishments. For instance, there are some motels that even rent out cats by the night to keep guests company.

The health board is scheduled to meet and discuss this matter again soon but Delaney is hoping that before then it will realize that the Clipper Ship Inn is performing a public service and therefore should be supported.

Just as importantly, Salem should not be anxious to repeat the crimes of 1692 when it rounded up and unjustly killed an unspecified number of cats for allegedly being the familiars of witches. This was in addition to the fourteen women and six men that it executed on the grounds that they were witches and warlocks.

Photos: Clipper Ship Inn.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

A North Carolina Shelter Is Plotting to Kill a Cat That Survived Being Trapped for Thirty-Five Days in the Cargo Hold of a Ship from China

"Every creature is better alive than dead, men and moose and pine trees, and he who understands it aright (sic) will rather preserve its life than destroy it."
-- Henry David Thoreau

Just as cats never cease to astonish, man likewise continues to amaze but in his case it is not for the right reasons.

Par exemple, it was only last week that a dehydrated and half-starved-to-death cat arrived in the tiny North Carolina mountain town of Hendersonville inside a cargo container stuffed with motorcycle wearing apparel. Since the forty-foot container had left Shanghai on April 3rd, she had been without food and water for an incredible thirty-five days! (See photo above.)

Unless she was purposefully locked inside as someone's idea of a cruel joke, she most likely became trapped when the container was sealed. Olympia Moto Sports owner Eric Congdon was, quite naturally, astonished at what he found when he opened the crate. (See mug shot below.)

"I have seen some small, dead critters before," he told the Times-News of Hendersonville on May 12th. (See "Live Cat Inside Crate from China.") "It's just inconceivable that the cat could live that long."

The cat, now dubbed China, was forced to spend her involuntary confinement in total darkness and wallowing in her own excrement. The fear, loneliness, claustrophobia, strange noises, frequent changes in temperature, and the general hopelessness of the situation must have exacted a terribly high psychological toll on her.

Barely alive and frightened out of her wits, China would not allow Congdon near her so he committed the grievous faux pas of summoning Henderson County Animal Services (HCAS) which is now plotting to kill the long-suffering and brave little cat.

Once the organization's Brenda Miller got her filthy hands on China she immediately declared that the cat had to be quarantined for six-months but that HCAS was too cheap to foot the bill for her confinement.

"We will keep the cat for as long as we can but we are about to enter a season that we have a lot of animal issues," she told the Times-News. "Also, the cat needs to be quarantined at a state qualifying veterinarian. We just don't have the funds to take on something like that."

Although it is a widely accepted fact that this world is chock-full of heartless and evil people who do not have a smidgen of justice in their black souls, Miller takes the cake. To even suggest that China should be killed after all that she has been through proves that she has no business whatsoever working with animals of any sort. She is most likely just another old political hack who is feeding at the public trough even though she does not have any expertise or interest in animal welfare issues.

Although the denizens from the land of Jesse Helms and Billy Graham like to blow long and hard about Jesus and sin, they have seldom ever shown an iota of compassion for either the poor or the millions of pigs, chickens, cows, and other defenseless animals that they slaughter each year on their factory farms. Their brand of piety amounts to little more than an elaborate camouflage of their wickedness and baseness.

For instance, it was only this February that a North Carolina jury allowed PETA to get away practically scot-free with killing scores of cats and dogs and then disposing of their corpses in a Dumpster. (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.")

Although still terribly undernourished and frightened, China appears to have come through her ordeal without any physical injuries. HCAS is, at least for the moment, feeding her but the organization has imprisoned her in another crate.

Alex Elam, one of Congdon's employees, has volunteered to adopt China but he has not said if he is willing to pay HCAS its blood money. As for Congdon, he has been even less forthcoming.

"It would be a shame for the cat to die after it survived such an ordeal," he told the Times-News. True enough, but he needs to put his wallet where is mouth is and save China from the butchers at HCAS.

After all, it was his idiotic decision to call HCAS that has landed China on death row. What he should have done was to have fed and watered her and given her a place to live. Since she was uninjured, there was not any need to even take her to the vet.

Moreover, the enormous amount of free publicity that China has generated for both his retail business and musical career more than compensates for what it would cost him to save her. For instance, he was interviewed on the CBC's As It Happens on May 15th.

Anyone who cares about cats and dogs needs to realize that Animal Control and shelters are primarily in the killing business; in reality, they are little more than glorified abattoirs. Since these institutions and individuals do not have any respect for the sanctity of animal life, it is therefore incumbent upon caring individuals to ensure that they never get their murdering hands on any cat, dog, or other animal.

Secondly, Congdon should have kept quiet about China being an immigrant. Forcing her to endure six-months of quarantine in a cage at either a disease-ridden shelter or veterinarian's office is not only unnecessary but unhealthy and cruel and inhumane as well. The only diseases that an initial examination might fail to detect would be those that she would contract during her confinement. Shelters, like hospitals and physicians' offices, are rife with disease.

The entire scheme amounts to little more than a shakedown in that it forces caring individuals to choose between the dictates of their hearts and their wallets. Laws should be enacted that would not only outlaw the killing of all animals but also bar shelters from holding cats like China for ransom.

If Congdon is too cheap to save China, then perhaps the manufacturer in Shanghai could be prevailed upon to ransom her. After all, its carelessness in sealing up China inside the cargo container was even more egregious than Congdon's negligence.

If neither of these capitalists are willing to intervene than the onus falls upon animal rights groups and cat-lovers in western North Carlina. One way or another, Miller and her murdering band must be stopped and China saved.

The intransigence of Olympia Moto Sports is in marked contrast to the compassion and generosity that Raflatac, a laminating and labeling company in Nancy, France, bestowed upon an American cat named Emily back in 2005.

The thirteen-month-old black and gray cat from Appleton, Wisconsin was accidentally trapped in a cargo container for more than three weeks as it wended its way to France. Far from being uncaring and cheap, Raflatac paid Emily's $210 quarantine fee. (See Cat Defender post of December 9, 2005 entitled "Adventurous Wisconsin Cat named Emily Makes Unscheduled Trip to France in Hold of Cargo Ship.")

The company also contacted Emily's owners, Donny and Lesley McElhiney, and Continental generously flew the cat home gratis. (See photo above of the happy reunion.)

It generally has been accepted as a truism that animals, man included, can survive for only about three weeks without food and only three days without water, but both China and Emily have disproved that notion. Michelle Misavage of After Hours Small Animal Hospital in Raleigh hypothesizes that cats are able to survive such ordeals by licking up condensation that collects inside their would-be tombs and that their kidneys and other vital organs are able to adjust to a lack of water and nourishment.

Misavage also pointed out to the Times-News that China must have been in good health at the start of her misadventure because she otherwise would have have survived. That admission in itself not only negates the need to quarantine her but also to kill her as well.

China therefore deserves to live not only because of all that she has endured, but also because all life is precious. As Henry David Thoreau once put it, "Every creature is better alive than dead, men and moose and pine trees, and he who understands it aright (sic) will rather preserve its life than destroy it."

It is a shame that the backward, cold-hearted, shekel-counting North Carolinians who hold little China's fate in their hands do not have a drop or two of French blood in their veins instead of only moonshine and hog fat.

Photos: Patrick Sullivan of the Times-News (China), Eric Congdon (mug shot), and Kirk Wagner of the Appleton Post-Crescent (Emily and the McElhineys.)

Monday, May 14, 2007

Davey Crockett May Have Lost the Alamo to the Mexicans but Clara Carmack Is Making Sure It Does Not Fall to Invading Mice

"There are people who reshape the world by force or argument, but the cat just lies there, dozing, and the world quietly reshapes itself to suit his comfort and convenience."
-- Allen and Ivy Dodd

Although it is better known for the likes of Davey Crockett and Jim Bowie who gave their lives in its defense, the Alamo in San Antonio has been home to some rather impressive felines during its long and illustrious history. In fact, there was at least one cat present on that fateful day in 1836 when the Texans were slaughtered by the Mexicans.

The Alamo's current feline heartthrob is an eleven-year-old, twelve-pound black and white little darling named Clara Carmack; C.C. for short. (See photos above and below.) She is named in honor of Clara Driscoll, a former owner of the shrine, and Alamo Committee Chairwoman Mary Carmack.

She arrived on the scene in 1996 pregnant, feral, and hissing at everyone who ventured near her. She was eventually trapped, presumably sterilized, and later domesticated.

She now has been on the job as the Alamo's official mascot for more than ten years and she is every bit as friendly and charming as she is beautiful. More to the point, she is living proof that anyone who claims that feral cats cannot be domesticated is a bare-faced liar.

Far from being merely ornamental, Clara performs a myriad of valuable functions at the memorial. First and foremost, she serves as a guard cat in much the same fashion that Wesley does at Geoff Warmouth's suburban Des Moines hardware store. (See Cat Defender post of December 14, 2006 entitled "Former Stray Named Wesley Lands Job as Greeter and Security Guard at Iowa Hardware Store.")

"She's our guard kitty and the grounds are her territory," employee Pattie Sandoval told San Antonio's Express-News on April 30th. (See "Four-Legged Defender Warms the Hearts of Those Around Her.") "We may be her caretakers, but she's in charge here. (She) bosses me and everybody else around."

She is also a proficient mouser. "No mouse would dare show his face around here," Sandoval added.

Clara's day begins promptly at 6:30 a.m. when she is served breakfast by Rosa Ayala. A typical day might find her helping to conduct a tour (See photo below), assisting both staff and scholars with their research at the memorial's library, and keeping an eye out for shoplifters at the gift shop.

There also is usually some time left over for her to sit for a while on curator Bruce Winders' shoulder, grab a few winks on the couch in the employees' lounge, and to watch the carp as they swim in a ditch that runs behind the Alamo. Her most appreciated function, however, may be in helping to ease stress levels for both staff and visitors.

Her presence also helps to give the memorial a homelike atmosphere. "C.C. brightens our lives and makes work fun," Sandoval affirmed. "Having her around makes the Alamo extra special."

To say that the staff dotes on her would be an understatement. For instance, director David Stewart stopped by one Christmas when the Alamo was closed in order to ensure that she had plenty of food and was inside and out of the cold. (See Cat Defender post of March 20, 2007 entitled "El Cerrito's Bureaucrats Distinguish Themselves by Showing Compassion for a Waif Known as Bootsie.")

The stunning transformations that cats such as Clara can have on individuals was well understood by Allen and Ivy Dodd. "There are people who reshape the world by force or by argument, but the cat just lies there, dozing, and the world quietly reshapes itself to suit his comfort and convenience," they once remarked.

Sometimes the hustle and bustle of the shrine becomes too much even for Clara and she has to sneak away for some privacy of her own. "Cats have a way of disappearing when they don't want you to see them or when they're just not in the mood to socialize," employee Sally Koch told the Express-News. "Who knows where they go? They're intriguing, mysterious creatures."

What is known, however, is that she used to raid the Dumpster at the nearby Hyatt Hotel and that she currently has an admirer in the form of an unidentified gray-striped tomcat who drops by from time to time.

Clara's predecessor, Ms. Ruby Le Gato, was an equally gifted and famous cat. (See photo above.) While patrolling the grounds of the Alamo during the 1980s, she was awarded an honorary certificate in basic security officer training by San Antonio College. It was said that "not a stray cat, dog, nor other varmint dared set foot in the sacred battleground" while she was around.

Her life was immortalized by Rita Kerr in her tome, The Alamo Cat and she is laid to rest on the grounds of the memorial. (See photo above.) It is likely that once her toils on this earth are completed that Clara will be buried beside her.

Through the compassion and understanding that they have shown Clara and her predecessors, the staff of the Alamo is pointing the way toward a new partnership between cats and the world of business and government. Both parties have much to gain from these types of arrangements but, most of all, they save precious feline lives.

Photos: J. Michael Short for the Express-News (Clara, Ruby's grave) and Daughters of the Republic of Texas Library (Ruby).

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Iowa Librarian Vicki Myron Inks Million-Dollar Deal for Memoir About Dewey Readmore Books

"From beasts we scorn as soulless,
In forest, field, and den,
The cry goes up to witness
The soullessness of men."
-- M. Frida Hartley

Vicki Myron, director of the public library in tiny Spencer, Iowa, has signed a $1.2 million deal with Grand Central Publishing (formerly Warner Books) in New York to author a book on Dewey Readmore Books. (See photo above of her and Dewey.)

North American rights to the book already have been sold and negotiations are currently under way to unload the international rights as well. Bret Witter, former editorial director of Health Communications and publisher of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series, has been hired to help her with the scribbling. Work is scheduled to begin on the manuscript any day now and the book should be in bookstores about a year from now.

Found stuffed into the library's book drop with frozen paws on a sub-zero January morning in 1988, Dewey recovered to serve as the library's mascot for nineteen years. As his notoriety spread, film crews from around the world came to do stories about him and vacationing tourists drove hundreds of miles out of their way in order to meet him.

Suffering from a hyperthyroid condition and stomach cancer, Myron took him to a veterinarian and had his life snuffed out last November 29th. (See Cat Defender post of December 7, 2006 entitled "After Nineteen Years of Service and Companionship, Ingrates at Iowa Library Murder Dewey Readmore Books.")

Recalling the impact that he had on people, Myron told the Des Moines Register on April 4th, "It just floored me. This is the way Dewey's whole life went. He drew people in his whole life from around the world. We had nothing to do with it. It's serendipitous." (See "Spencer Librarian Gets $1.2 Million Deal for Book on Cat.")

Following his killing, Dewey's remains were cremated and buried on the front lawn of the library. A black granite grave marker with a laser-scanned image of him is scheduled to be erected as soon as the ground warms up a little.

Myron has not revealed how she and Witter plan to divide the loot or if she intends to pocket her cut or to plow it back into the library. A book tour will no doubt ensue and a movie deal may not be totally out of the question.

With there being so much money and fame in the offing, Myron is quite naturally ecstatic. "Dewey's life was amazing all the way through and so is his death. He was an amazing cat and he still is," she gushed for the Des Moines Register.

Dewey was without doubt an exceptional cat and his story should be told. More importantly, the preservation of his memory will serve to encourage other libraries to give refuge to wayward cats.

Notwithstanding all of that, Myron's cashing in on Dewey's death is reminiscent of Colonel Parker's saying that Elvis would be worth more to him dead than alive. After all, she cruelly and unnecessarily had Dewey declawed and sterilized, fed him an unhealthy diet, and left him alone at the library for lengthy periods or time. No one who truly loves cats would have treated him so shabbily.

Most damning of all, she was too selfish and lazy to care for him in his old age and too cheap to provide him with the medical care that he needed in order to go on living. After all that he had done for both her and the library he certainly deserved a far better fate. It is a foregone conclusion that these unpleasant petits faits will be omitted from her narrative.

Her book will without doubt inspire others to treat cats in a more humane manner but respect for the rights of animals, like charity, begins at home.

Photo: Tim Gallagher of the Sioux City Journal.

Monday, May 07, 2007

British Punks Are Having a Field Day Maiming Cats with Air Guns but the Peelers Continue to Look the Other Way

"The kids were about to go out on their bikes and opened the back door. Ebony was waiting to come in. They screamed and said she had blood on her face. I noticed that her eye was hanging down to her cheek."
-- Virginia Dale

Scarcely a day passes without the English press being replete with shocking stories of cats and kittens that have been either killed or abused by male juveniles. During Guy Fawkes Day celebrations each November the punks' weapon of choice is usually firecrackers. (See Cat Defender post of November 30, 2006 entitled "Yobs Celebrating Guy Fawkes Day Kill Twelve-Year-Old Cat Named Tigger with Fireworks; Cat Named Sid Is Severely Burned.")

For the remainder of the year, they rely upon air and BB (ball bearing) guns. The fact that the authorities in Old Blighty, Wales, and Scotland even allow the manufacture and sale of these deadly weapons is a crime in and of itself and one for which they should be prosecuted.

In Wrexham, Wales, a two-year-old black cat named Ebony lost her right eye to a pellet fired from an air rifle on March 30th. (See photo on the left.)

Thirty-six-year-old Virginia Dale of Caia Park, who has cared for Ebony ever since she showed up on her doorstep shortly after entering this wicked old world, described to the Evening Leader on April 3rd just how she and her kids came to discover that she had been shot. "The kids were about to go out on their bikes and opened the back door. Ebony was waiting to come in. They screamed and said she had blood on her face. I noticed that her eye was hanging down to her cheek." (See "Pet Cat's Eye Shot Out.")

The vets were unable to save the eye and therefore had to suture her eyelid shut. In the process they had to shave the fur from about half of her face and she was forced to wear an Elizabethan collar until her face and vacant eye socket healed.

At last report, Ebony is still having a difficult time adjusting to having only one eye. "She is off-balance and walking backwards and (it) seems like she is always ready to pounce on someone," Dale said.

Not only have the police in North Wales failed to make an arrest in the case but a spokeswoman for the department even denies that the area has a problem with yobs attacking cats.

The incident has left both Dale and her children traumatized. "I was disgusted, the thought of someone hitting her deliberately is horrendous. Two of my children have nightmares because of it," she said.

Like any person of bon sens on this planet, she is incredulous at parents that allow their kids to have air and BB guns. "If someone has done this on purpose, I can't believe parents have bought their children air guns," she complained.

In Stenhousemuir, Scotland, ten-year-old Jacky Boy was shot in the face with an air gun on March 19th. He survived the attack but a pellet lodged between his jawbone and brain and cannot be surgically removed without endangering his life.

His guardian, thirty-two-year-old Fiona Proctor, told The Falkirk Herald on March 22nd that had the pellet been just a couple of centimeters higher it would have entered his brain and killed him. "It was bad enough when we thought he had been run over, but when we realized someone did this deliberately -- it's appalling," she added. (See "Gun Terror on the Streets.")

Like the Dales, the incident has left Proctor and her two children, seven-year-old Jay and ten-year-old Kirsteen, devastated. (See photo below of the Proctors and Jacky Boy.)

To make matters worse, their family cat faces an uncertain future. "He may yet suffer permanent problems because of the injuries," veterinarian David Charity of Pets Friends Veterinary Clinic told The Falkirk Herald.

Unprovoked attacks of this sort are not confined to cats. Three days earlier on March 16th, a trio of coeds at nearby Falkirk High School were hosed down with BB guns as they walked to class. Fortunately, they were able to get away from their attackers before they were seriously injured.

More recently in Silksworth, a suburb of Sunderland on England's North Sea, a ten-year-old black cat named Flopsy lost his right leg to a pellet fired from an air rifle by yobs who were using him for target practice. He was also shot in the back.

After the vicious attack, Flopsy was able to make his way back to six-year-old Chloe Bell's playhouse where he collapsed in a pool of blood. (See photo below.) Quite understandably, the cruelty inflicted upon her beloved cat has had a devastating effect upon the young girl.

"She was absolutely distraught," Louise, her thirty-five-year-old mother, told the Sunderland Echo on April 30th. (See "Cat Maimed by Gun Yobs.") "I had to go into her school the next day to tell the teachers why she was so upset."

Although he is expected to live, Flopsy is having a difficult time getting used to moving about on only three legs. He is able to make it to the litter box but that is about all so far.

With time and rehabilitation, his strength hopefully will return. Many cats in fact do rather well after they have lost a limb. (See Cat Defender posts of February 9, 2006 and November 2, 2006 entitled, respectively, "Newspaper Cat Named Tripod Is Killed Off by Journalists He Befriended in Vermont" and "Three-Legged, Bobtailed Cat Named Opie Melts the Hearts of Hardened Criminals at Rural Tennessee Prison.")

As per usual, the yobs have gotten away scot-free with another hideous crime against cats. "We've reported this incident to the police, but unfortunately there are no witnesses, so there's nothing they can do," Louise told The Echo.

The United States also has its share of cat-hating punks. Last autumn, a group of them from the Atlantic City suburb of Pleasantville beat up and then set on fire a defenseless kitten. (See Cat Defender post of October 5, 2006 entitled "New Jersey Teens' Idea of Fun: Beat Up a Defenseless Kitten and Then Burn It to Death.")

On March 26th, the bodies of an orange and yellow cat and a tortoiseshell kitten were found hanging on a fence outside a no-kill shelter in Huntington, Indiana. An arrow had been used to attach the adult cat to the fence. (See The Gazette Journal of Fort Wayne, March 28, 2007, "Dead Cats Found on Fence at Pet Shelter.")

In addition to attacking cats, American youth also get their kicks shooting up schoolhouses and beating to death homeless men. In fact, the latter has become so prevalent that it is rapidly eclipsing baseball as the nation's pastime. (See National Coalition for the Homeless, "Hate, Violence, and Death on Main Street USA: A Report on Hate Crimes and Violence Against People Experiencing Homelessness, 2006.")

Since both the United Kingdom and the United States share not only a common language and culture but also similar economic and political systems, it is not surprising that both societies are rotting from the roots. There are quite obviously a large number of mothers and fathers in both countries who do not take their parenting responsibilities seriously.

If they did, they would teach their children that it is morally reprehensible to abuse and kill both defenseless animals and individuals. It is even more shocking that neither the peelers, politicians, nor courts take such assaults seriously.

It is long overdue that these types of attacks were stopped and both yobs and their worthless parents held legally accountable. Any society that is unwilling to protect its most vulnerable members, both animals and individuals, has relinquished its moral authority to exist.

Photos: Evening Leader (Ebony), The Falkirk Herald (Jacky Boy and his family), and the Sunderland Echo (Flopsy and Chloe Bell).

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Principal Who Shotgunned to Death Two Kittens at a Minnesota School Is Rewarded with a Similar Post in Idaho

In the wake of the schoolhouse shootings in Columbine, Nickel Mines, Blacksburg, and elsewhere, some politicians are calling for the arming of teachers and principals as a way to combat the spiraling cycle of violence. Anyone who finds such sophistry persuasive should take a close look at the case of thirty-eight-year-old Wade Pilloud. (See photo below.)

As principal of Indus High School in Minnesota's northern Koochiching County, he was provided with a house trailer on campus. Not liking animals, however, he purchased a shotgun and set kill traps outside his residence.

In a trap allegedly set to capture woodchucks, he snared a skunk and a mother cat last September. Both animals died horrible deaths but the skunk exacted a measure of revenge by leaving his indelible mark on Pilloud's clothing.

He then committed the faux pas of returning to school without properly deodorizing himself where he, predictably, became the butt of a thousand jokes about how he smelled. Enraged by the ridicule, he stalked off the job saying he was quitting and, for good measure, punched a hole in the cafeteria's door on the way out.

Returning to his trailer, he used his shotgun to hideously blow away two five-week-old kittens that had been orphaned by his killing of their mother. Although classes had already adjourned by that time, a volleyball team was practicing nearby and heard the shots.

In December, he was convicted of one count of cruelty to animals and one charge of damaging school property. For killing three cats, countless wild animals, and damaging school property, presiding Judge Chad Leduc sentenced him only to attend anger management classes and to perform a minuscule twenty-four hours of community service. Indus High even gave him $31,000 in severance pay.

Because most parents are particular about the administrators and teachers who oversee the education of their children, Pilloud's crimes should have barred him from ever heading another school. This is America, however, and almost anything goes here.

In some ways it was not surprising therefore when Marsing High School on Idaho's Snake River announced last week that it had hired him as its new principal.

"He seemed very sincere," School Board Chairman David Van Wassenhove told the Star Tribune of Minneapolis on April 24th. (See "Minnesota Principal Who Was Fired After He Shot Kittens Gets Another Post in Idaho.") "He has good qualifications or we wouldn't have hired him."

There is perhaps no issue that generates more envy and disgust than the alarming number of either unqualified or unsuitable individuals who hold high positions in both the public and private sectors. While there is little that can be done about nepotism and tribalism, violent conduct, whether it is directed against animals or people, should disqualify such individuals from holding a job. In Pilloud's case, he belongs in jail, not heading a high school.

This society locks up the homeless, drug users, debtors, perjurers, white-collar thieves, and a myriad of other nonviolent offenders but yet it turns loose homicidal maniacs to kill and kill again. There is something terribly wrong with a society that will not punish violent offenders.

Despite the fact that Pilloud shotgunned the kittens to death in a violent rage precipitated by jokes about how he smelled, he nonetheless insists that he acted out of compassion, i.e., to keep them from dying of starvation. That is pure baloney. If he had been concerned about their welfare he would have attended to their needs, not blown out their brains; after all, it was he who robbed them of their mother in the first place.

Despite his actions, Pilloud insists that he is an ailurophile. "I understand cats, and I like cats. I'm not a cat hater," he declared to the Star Tribune.

Blatant lies of that sort place him on a par with bird lovers, wildlife proponents, PETA, and other ailurophobes who make a living off of killing cats all the while professing their love for the species. (See Cat Defender post of May 1, 2007 entitled "Houston Chronicle Launches Propaganda Offensive on Behalf of Serial Cat Killer Jim Stevenson.")

This case also highlights the urgent need for both kill traps and leghold snares to be banned. These patently cruel and inhumane torture devices should not be used on any animal, wild or domestic. (See Cat Defender posts of August 18, 2005 and December 24, 2005 entitled, respectively, "Brave Orange Tabby Cat Dubbed Hopalong Cassidy Loses Limb to Leghold Trap in British Columbia" and "A Cat Named Trapper Falls Victim to Another Rusty Leghold Trap in British Columbia.")

Equally disturbing is Pilloud's admission that he owns two cats and two dogs. With his violent temper and homicidal urges, it is not difficult to imagine the abuse that he undoubtedly heaps on these unfortunate animals.

A Gray Wolf

Interestingly enough, he claims to have at one time bred Bengal cats. Since the creation of hybrids is fraught with every conceivable kind of cruelty and exploitation imaginable, that admission is just one more proof that Pilloud is not a friend of cats. (See Cat Defender post of April 13, 2007 entitled "Killing and Torturing Wild and Domestic Cats in Order to Create Toygers Is Not Going to Save Sumatran Tigers.")

Marsing High, which has an enrollment of only one-hundred-eighty-three pupils, bans firearms from school grounds and this may prevent a recurrence of what happened at Indus High. It will not, however, put an end to Pilloud's killing and trapping of cats elsewhere.

In a way, Pilloud is in his element now. Idahoans love to kill animals. Moreover, they can hardly wait until gray wolves are removed from federal protection later this year. "I'm prepared to bid for that first ticket to shoot a wolf myself," Governor Butch Otter told a cheering crowd of three-hundred hunters gathered in Boise on January 11th. (See Environmental News Network, January 12, 2007, "Idaho Governor Calls for Gray Wolf Kill.")

Reintroduced to the American west from Canada about ten years ago, five-hundred-fifty of the state's estimated six-hundred-fifty wolves are slated for annihilation. No one will be surprised if Pilloud decides to participate in this mass slaughter.

Photos: Naymz (Pilloud) and John and Karen Hollingsworth of U.S. Fish and Wildlife (gray wolf).

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

The Houston Chronicle Launches Propaganda Offensive on Behalf of Serial Cat Killer Jim Stevenson

"Advertisements... contain the only truths to be relied on in a newspaper."
-- Thomas Jefferson

The capitalist media's campaign to allow Galveston serial cat killer Jim Stevenson (See photo) to get away with his heinous crimes is in full swing and the despicable, unprincipled Houston Chronicle is the leading the way.

Par exemple, on April 13th hack writer Harvey Rice devoted sixteen paragraphs to defending Stevenson and he even went so far as to print a photograph taken by Stevenson that purports to show a cat stalking a heron near the San Luis Pass Bridge. (See "Cat-Killing Bird-Watcher Heading to Trial.")

Rice allows Stevenson all the space in the world to recite his old excuses and lies and, more importantly, to defame cats. In particular, he asserts that he has a God-given right to shoot cats and that those who somehow manage to elude the cross hairs of his trusty .22 rifle should be trapped and exterminated by Animal Control.

"Feral cats are not protected by law, and I stopped a cat from doing that (allegedly killing a bird) and I get arrested," he groused to his buddy Rice.

The allegation that the cats are even feral is disputed by Galveston resident Maggie Petsch who in an April 21st letter to The Galveston County Daily News wrote that they are provided with beds, food, and veterinary care. (See " 'Feral' Cats Are a Picture of a Rare, Peaceful Life.") They are also cared for by the toll collectors who regard them as family.

Like all psychopathic bird lovers, Stevenson tosses out the obligatory declaration that in his heart of hearts he actually likes cats. Yeah! Sure! He likes cats in much the same fashion that Hitler liked Jews.

Rice also gives space to Stevenson's defenders so that they can repeat the same arguments in his defense that they uttered after his arrest last November. Nowhere in Rice's one-sided, anti-cat screed are defenders of cats permitted to get in so much as a word edgewise.

Although journalists never have been known for their ethics, The Chronicle's steadfast defense of a monster like Stevenson represents a new all-time low in yellow journalism. It is on a par with NBC's granting of a forum to Seung Hui Cho to posthumously defend his massacre at Virginia Tech. Sans doute, Rice and The Chronicle would champion the causes of the Pol Pots and Boston Stranglers of this world if they thought that they could get away with doing so.

The brand of scurrilous journalism practiced by The Chronicle brings to mind what Thomas Jefferson said about the press in a January 12, 1819 letter to Nathaniel Macon: "Advertisements... contain the only truths to be relied on in a newspaper." It is doubtful, however, that he would even find the ads credible if he were alive today.

The Chronicle's endorsement of Stevenson's murderous rampage was occasioned by his indictment on April 11th by a Galveston County grand jury for the merciless gunning down of a pregnant cat on November 8th. The Chronicle is so slipshod in its reporting that is difficult to say exactly what Stevenson was indicted for but presumably it was for only one count of felony cruelty to an animal.

Even if convicted, the severest sentence that he would be eligible for under Texas's extremely lax animal protection laws would be a $10,000 fine and between six and twenty-four months in the can. (See Cat Defender post of October 27, 2006 entitled "Tiny Kitten Named Zoe Has Her Ears Cut Off by Fiends but Texas Police Do Not Seem to Care.") The Chronicle does not disclose the trial date and in the meantime Stevenson remains free on a $10,000 bond.

The fact that the fifty-three-year-old former high school teacher from Tallahassee was only indicted on one charge of animal cruelty is a travesty in itself. Since the cat was pregnant, he at least should have been charged with two counts of murder.

Furthermore, the cat was already lame as the result on a bullet wound inflicted by Stevenson a few days earlier. Secondly, while fleeing the murder scene, he rammed the truck of toll collector John Newland who not only witnessed the shooting but apprehended him as well. Surely, deliberately ramming another vehicle is a crime.

Stevenson also shot and killed four other cats during the first week of November and at least ten during during 2006. By far and away the most incriminating piece of evidence against him, however, is a 1999 web posting wherein he bragged that he had been gunning down on the average of about two-dozen cats a year over the past decade.

By his own admission, he must have shot and killed at least two-hundred-forty cats during that time period. It also can be safely assumed that he has poisoned and trapped for Animal Control to exterminate countless others. Cat-hating monsters like him avail themselves of all lethal means at their disposal. (See Cat Defender post of November 23, 2006 entitled "Evil Galveston Bird Lover Is Finally Arrested After Having Gunned Down Hundreds of Cats.")

Rice fails to mention what Stevenson has been up to since his arrest but the fact that the paper published one of his photographs makes it clear that he is still harassing the cats that live near the San Luis Pass Bridge. The fact that no more dead bodies have turned up does not mean that he has put away his rifle; he simply may be too clever for the authorities to catch him.

Like all sadistic killers, Stevenson will never reform. If he is not actually killing cats at the present time, it is a sure bet that he will resume doing so as soon as he beats the rap.

The fact that he not only has been able to get away with his crimes for so long but also that The Chronicle is championing his killing spree breeds only contempt for both the law and the working press.

Photo: Galveston Police Department.