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Cat Defender

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

Monday, December 24, 2007

A Prominent New Zealand Physician Who Ludicrously Claims to Be an Ailurophile Gets Away with Stealing and Dumping His Neighbor's Cat

Max and Lisa Morice
"(Stealing cats is) not a nice thing for the neighborhood. We still feel quite spooked about it. It's beyond my comprehension how anyone could do this. There must have been twenty other ways to deal with the situation. Max is a very big boy. Quite obviously he's not a stray."
-- Lisa Morice

Bird lovers and gardeners apparently are not the only individuals who steal and then dump their neighbors' cats. For example, at least one self-proclaimed cat lover from the Auckland suburb of Westmere has been caught red-handed doing the same thing.

Peter Parkinson, a prominent sixty-six-year-old physician, captured Lisa Morice's cat, Max, on July 26th and drove him across the Auckland Harbor Bridge and dumped him in Northcote. He did this because he alleges that Max was entering his house through the cat door and fighting with his resident feline, Chiquita. He also has accused the six-year-old longhaired and green-eyed tom with helping himself to Chiquita's food and then leaving behind the byproducts of his repasts.

After a missing cat flier distributed by Morice turned up in his mailbox, Parkinson sent her an anonymous letter informing her that Max had been treated to what he called "a vacation overseas." The epistle also contained a map of the North Shore sarcastically identifying the spot where the cat had been dumped as "Max's Hilton."

Morice and her family then searched the streets of Northcote every night for two weeks before the cat was finally discovered underneath a house on Waimana Avenue. "I put my head under a hole and called him and Max strolled out of the darkness. It was wonderful," Morice recalled for the Auckland City Harbor News on November 9th. (See "Catnapper Escapes Prosecution.")

Luckily, Max was not physically harmed during his trying ordeal, although he did lose some weight. His abduction has, however, left him with some psychological scars. 

"Now he's very jumpy and distressed, especially when men come into the house," Morice told The New Zealand Herald on August 19th. (See "Prominent Doctor Facing Charges for Relocating Neighbor's Cat.")

Most cats that are abducted and dumped by ailurophobes are not nearly so fortunate and their owners seldom ever see them again. (See Cat Defender posts of October 30, 2007 and November 11, 2007 entitled, respectively, "Crafty Bird Lover Claims Responsibility for Stealing Six Cats from a Southampton Neighborhood and Concealing Their Whereabouts" and "Fletcher, One of the Cats Abducted from Bramley Crescent, Is Killed by a Motorist in Corhampton.")

Of course, it is not totally unheard of for ailurophiles to snatch cats but their conduct is usually motivated by benevolent reasons. (See Cat Defender post of July 19, 2007 entitled "Hungry and Disheveled Cat Named Slim Is Picked Up Off the Streets of Ottawa by Rescuer Who Refuses to Return Him to His Owners.")

Parkinson, who corralled Max by throwing a blanket over him after locking him inside and chasing him around the house for two hours, ludicrously claims that he thought the well-fed and immaculately groomed cat was a stray. He also lamely claims to have contacted not only the police but also the local and national offices of the SPCA before dumping Max.

More likely than not he got scared when Morice went to the authorities and the media and therefore belatedly decided to save his own skin by sending her an anonymous letter. Press reports do not detail how he was unmasked as Max's abductor.

Although the police initially said that Parkinson would be charged with willfully abandoning an animal, they have since decided not to press charges. After all, the Kiwis and their Aussie cousins falsely believe that is perfectly permissible to slaughter cats by the tens of thousands but a major crime to abandon one. (See Cat Defender posts of September 22, 2005 and August 11, 2005 entitled, respectively, "Two New Zealand Teens Douse Three Caged Cats with Glue and Burn Them to Death" and "Barbaric Australians Come Up with an Ingenious New Poison in Order to Exterminate Cats.")
Pet Mate's Cat Flap

"All the parties concerned were spoken to and with the fact that the cat ended up unharmed, it didn't really seem appropriate to charge him," Ponsonby sergeant Matt Srhoj told the Auckland City Harbor News in the article cited supra. "We felt we were going to get the desired result with issuing a warning."

This is a vindication for Parkinson and his criminal conduct. From the very outset he scoffed at the police's investigation by calling it a "ridiculous situation." He furthermore proclaimed to The New Zealand Herald, "I'm surprised (the) police have spent resources on this...my cat was trashed and bleeding on many occasions."

The morale of this sad story is that vigilanteism is not only alive and well in Westmere, but that the authorities are totally unwilling to punish cat stealers and abusers. There can be little doubt that Parkinson's prominence in the community was a factor in the police's decision not to charge him.

He currently operates a therapeutic practice out of his home but before that he worked as a lecturer and general practitioner in both London and New Zealand. A stonemason by avocation, he has also established a residence for street kids in London.

Despite all of that, he has never acquired any respect for either the property of others or the law itself. More than likely he considers himself exempt from such mundane concerns.

Perhaps even more disturbing is the petit fait that the Auckland City Harbor News declined to disclose his name in its report on the disposal of the case. In order to obtain that vital piece of information The New Zealand Herald had to be consulted.

For her part, Morice says that she does not have a problem with the police's decision to let Parkinson off the hook even though the good doctor has never bothered to apologize to her. "I would rather just leave it to the police to deal with," she told the Auckland City Harbor News.

That is certainly a far cry from the tune that she was singing back in August. "(Stealing cats is) not a nice thing for the neighborhood. We still feel quite spooked about it. It's beyond my comprehension how anyone could do this," she told The New Zealand Herald. "There must have been twenty other ways to deal with the situation. Max is a very big boy. Quite obviously he's not a stray."

If by Parkinson's own admission Max had been visiting Chiquita for a year, it is odd that he waited for such a long time before taking action. More to the point, he could have locked his cat flap and that would have solved the problem.

He also could have invested in any one of a number of new high-tech cat flaps that are now on the market. Most notably, the English firm Pet Mate is marketing the Elite Super Selective and the Elite Selective, both of which not only keep out unwanted cats and other animals but also can be programmed to regulate the comings and goings of up to as many as eight individual cats.
A Pet Porte Cat Flap

Although these systems rely upon RFID technology, they do not require microchip implants. Household cats instead wear the microchips suspended from their collars.

These devices are currently retailing for between $150 and $200 apiece and since physicians really rake in the shekels there is no question that Parkinson could easily afford one of them. (See Pet Health Care, December 13, 2007, "New Cat Flap for Eight Individual Cats.")

Microchip Cat Flaps is also marketing its Pet Porte RFID Microchip Cat Flap for between $200 and $250. Although this product operates pretty much the same way as Pet Mate's products, it does require that cats using the system have microchips implanted underneath their skin. (See PR.com, October 25, 2007, "Pet Porte: The World's First Microchip Cat Flap.")

Both systems have their drawbacks and limitations, however. Lugging around a disc containing a microchip is cumbersome for cats while implanted microchips have been linked to cancer. (See Cat Defender post of September 21, 2007 entitled "FDA Is Suppressing Research That Shows Implanted Microchips Cause Cancer in Mice, Rats, and Dogs.")

More importantly, an over reliance upon RFID technology gives cat owners a false sense of security while contributing very little to their pets' safety. (See Cat Defender post of May 25, 2006 entitled "Plato's Misadventures Expose the Pitfalls of RFID Technology as Applied to Cats.") Nevertheless, any one of these high-tech cat flaps would have remedied Parkinson's problems with Max.

More to the point, if he were a law-abiding citizen and a genuine lover of cats he would have either made an effort to have located Max's owner or he would have turned the cat over to the SPCA. The fact that he deliberately chose to forgo these perfectly legal and humane alternatives is proof that he is a criminal who should have been charged, convicted, and sentenced for what he did.

A hefty fine and six-months or so in the can would have perhaps taught him some humility and an abiding respect for the rights of cats and their owners.

Photos: Jason Oxenham of the Auckland City Harbor News (Max and Morice), Pet Mate (Elite Super Selective cat flap), and Microchip Cat Flaps (Pet Porte).