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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, September 11, 2008

North London Borough Bans Lost Cat Posters Thus Forcing Ginger Boy to Find His Way Home by Himself

"I think it's very sad. I think other councils take a slightly more lenient view."
-- Eileen Miles

Cat owners in the borough of Haringey in north London will have to find a new way of alerting the public when their beloved companions go missing now that the local council has banned the display of "Lost Cat" posters.

That was the sad lesson rudely driven home to fifty-three-year-old Eileen Miles after her cat, Ginger Boy, recently disappeared. (See photo above.) After posting twelve notices around the Harringay Ladder section of the borough she was informed in no uncertain terms by the council to either promptly remove them or be fined an exorbitant $140 for each one.

Confronted with that stark reality, she was left with little choice other than to capitulate. "I was horrified, so I took them down," she explained to the weekly Hornsey and Crouch End Journal on September 4th. (See "Council Outlaws Lost Cat Posters.") "I had put up a lot. I was very grateful. He (the council officer) could have been really officious and slapped a bill through the door."

Adding insult to injury, Miles is a council officer herself in Dagenham, Essex. (See photo below.) She only became involved in the rough and tumble politics of Haringey after she fobbed off Ginger Boy on her brother, David Jones, who lives on Falkland Road in Harringay Ladder.

That was done as a last-ditch effort in order to get the four-year-old former stray to shed a few pounds. Being either especially partial to Miles' vittles or, more likely, neutered, Ginger Boy's weight had ballooned up to more than seventeen pounds. (See Cat Defender post of August 22, 2007 entitled "Indoor Cats Are Dying of Diabetes, Hyperthyroidism, and Various Toxins in the Home.")

The game plan called for Jones to put the cat on a restricted diet that Miles apparently did not have either the heart or the time to implement herself. Not unexpectedly, Ginger Boy remained with Jones for about a week before doing a runner.

As both Miles and Jones should have known, cats are territorial and therefore must be locked up for at least a month or two if they are to be successfully relocated. Besides, Ginger Boy was not about to stay with a stranger who, at least in his mind, was attempting to starve him to death.

The sticks-in-the-mud who comprise the council are, quite naturally, standing by their ban. "Fly-posting is a problem that residents expect us to take seriously, and any fly-posting tends to attract more," a spokesman told the Hornsey and Crouch End Journal in the article cited supra. "We will prosecute companies responsible for commercial fly-posting. We would not prosecute individuals for one-off fly-posting, for example with missing cat posters as in this case, but we will issue polite warnings if concerns are raised with us."

Although she readily complied with the council's directive, Miles is certainly not enamored with it. "I think it's very sad. I think other councils take a slightly more lenient view," she told the weekly.

The council's hard-hearted ruling will sans doute make it more difficult for cat owners to locate their lost companions. Consequently, it will cost innumerable cats their lives.

"For anything from the heart, nothing profit-making, something that the community might be interested in, I think probably they should place little areas where people can put things like that," Miles told the Hornsey and Crouch End Journal.

Like just about all of London nowadays, property values in Haringey have gone through the roof and those running the show take a dim view of any activities that negatively affect that trend. That not only includes "Lost Cat" posters but the conversion of large houses into bedsits. (See The Independent, October 19, 2005, "More for Your Money: Harringay Ladder.")

Although Harringay Ladder is an upscale neighborhood, it is not nearly as hoity-toity as some council members would like to believe. In fact, according to Miles, the area is plagued by illegal dumping.

"It seemed very strange going around putting the posters up with everyone fly-tipping settees, beds, and old furniture," she complained to the Hornsey and Crouch End Journal. "The whole place looked like a dumping ground and sticking up a few posters probably adds to the distress of the place, but as soon as I got him back I would have taken them down."

Since the rules governing both free speech and free press are rather different in England than in the United States, it is doubtful that a legal challenge to Haringey's ban on "Lost Cat" posters would get very far. Nevertheless, it would be interesting to see what would happen if Miles or some other aggrieved cat owner were to stand on the corner and hold up a "Lost Cat" poster. Would he or she be arrested?

It is indeed a deplorable sign of the times when property values and trivial concerns over public order and neatness count for far more than reuniting lost cats with their owners. In this context it must be remembered that it was during Tony Blair's reign of terror and corruption that restrictions were placed on the right to assemble and protest, surveillance cameras (one per every twenty citizens) proliferated, detention without arrest was legalized, tracking devices were installed on all automobiles, the protection against double jeopardy was obliterated from the common law, national identification cards were introduced, and Anti-Social Behavior Orders (ASBOs) became commonplace.

As Angleterre continues its inexorable lurch to the political right, it was only a matter of time before politicians started going after cats just as both Blair and his successor, Gordon Brown, have repeatedly demonstrated their utter contempt for the rights of animals by coddling vivisectors.

Photos: Hornsey and Crouch End Journal.