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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

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Former First Cat Socks Is Gravely Ill with Cancer and Other Assorted Maladies

Socks at the Podium During His White House Days

"His days are numbered."
-- Barry Landau

He is the most famous feline to ever have resided at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and that is attested to by his appearance in 1996 on a series of postage stamps issued by the Central African Republic. A celebrity in his own right, he has shunned fame's siren call in favor of making countless visits to old folks' homes and hospitals in order to give hope to the sickly and abandoned. That is in addition to meeting and greeting tens of thousands of schoolchildren across the country.

His name is Socks and he served as First Cat during the Clinton Administration. Now as he approaches his eighteenth birthday he has been diagnosed with cancer of the jaw and is facing the final curtain.

"His days are numbered," presidential historian and author Barry Landau told U.S. News and World Report on December 12th. (See "Clinton's Socks the Cat Near Death.")

Although cancer in cats is curable if detected early enough and aggressively treated, Socks' current guardian, former Clinton secretary Betty Currie, has declined to pursue that alternative because of quality of life issues. This tragic situation is compounded by the fact that the black and white moggy also is suffering from a host of other maladies that include hyperthyroidism and kidney woes as well as hair and weight loss.

His advanced age is another consideration. "They fear he is too old," Landau, who considers himself to be Socks' godfather, added.

Recently apprised of the situation, the Clintons reportedly have volunteered to foot the bill for whatever Socks needs in the way of medical care. As things currently stand, however, it appears that he will be allowed to live out his final days at Currie's home in Hollywood, Maryland where he enjoys lounging in the sun and dining on chicken.

Hopefully, she and her husband, Bob, will not grow weary of caring for him and prematurely sign his death warrant as recently happened to the world famous Scarlett. (See Cat Defender post of October 27, 2008 entitled "Loved and Admired All Over the World, Feline Heroine Scarlett Is Killed Off by Her Owner after She Becomes Ill.")

Socks and Betty Currie

That is of particular concern because the sixty-nine-year-old Currie recently consented to go to work for John Podesta on Obama's transition team. Consequently, she is going to be busy most days and spending a disproportionate amount of her time in Washington. (See The Independent, December 18, 2008, "Secretary Who Stood by Clinton Signs Up for the Obama Team.")

Born in Little Rock in March of 1991, Socks was adopted by the Clintons from Chelsea's piano teacher. He first lived with them at the governor's mansion before joining them at the White House in January of 1993.

He pretty much had the rule of the roost until Bill Clinton adopted a chocolate Labrador Retriever named Buddy in 1997. Unfortunately, Socks hated Buddy at first sight and the feeling was mutual.

The situation ultimately proved to be hopeless. "I did better with...the Palestinians and the Israelis than I've done with Socks and Buddy," Clinton later quipped.

Consequently it did not come as any surprise that the Clintons fobbed off Socks on Currie when they relocated to Chappaqua in upstate New York in January of 2001. Buddy went with the Clintons to their new abode but his victory over Socks in the sweepstakes to win the ex-President's affections proved to be a Pyrrhic one in that he shortly thereafter was struck and killed by a motorist.

Having lost another dog to a motorist in Little Rock, Buddy thus became the second dog of the Clintons to wind up as a road fatality. The deaths of both dogs is a poignant reminder of just how many cretins there are in this society who derive pleasure at running down and killing small animals.

In addition to his battles with Buddy, Socks also unwittingly provoked the ire of right-wing lunatic Dan Burton, a republican congressman from Indiana, who resented the use of White House staff, postage, and stationery in order to respond to Socks' fan mail. Considering the reams of junk mail and spam that politicians bombard their constituents with, Burton's actions were not only hypocritical but petty and mean-spirited to boot.

Socks Snoozing in the Sun

More to the point, Burton and his fellow good-for-nothing bums seldom directly respond to inquiries from the public unless they just happen to come from either wealthy donors or powerful individuals and groups. Even the signing of petitions serves as an open invitation to be deluged with tons of their unrelated propaganda. The import of this patently undemocratic behavior is unmistakable: Dare to complain about anything and the politicians are going to get you!

Although largely out of the limelight since leaving the White House, Socks nevertheless has continued to make occasional public appearances. For instance, he appeared in Little Rock's annual Christmas parade in December of 2002 and in October of 2004 he was with Currie when she addressed the Officers' Spouses Club Luncheon at Andrews Air Force Base in Camp Springs, Maryland. His last known public appearance came in May of this year when he served as grand marshal of an animal fair hosted by St. Mary's County Animal Welfare League in Leonardtown, Maryland.

While he is far from being dead, some friends and admirers already have assumed the inevitable. "He was nothing but a gentleman. He was elegant and a perfect resident of the White House," Linda Kulman, who ghost wrote Hillary Clinton's Dear Socks, Dear Buddy: Kids's Letters to First Pets, prematurely eulogized him for U.S. News and World Report in the article cited supra. "He is the last of his kind" and "won't soon be replaced."

Although it is uncertain how Socks contracted cancer, Greg Ogilvie of the California Veterinary Specialist's Angel Care Cancer Center points an accusatory finger at indoor carcinogens. "Cats spend a vast majority of their time in the household, and many of the things that increase the risk of developing cancer with regard to human health, cats are also susceptible to," he told ABC News on December 17th. (See "Socks the Cat's Cancer Battle.")

Because of their diminutiveness and fastidiousness, cats inhale and ingest a disproportionate amount of indoors toxins. Of particular concern are tobacco smoke and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) which settle in their fur and then are ingested during grooming. (See Cat Defender posts of October 19, 2007 and August 22, 2007 entitled, respectively, "Smokers Are Killing Their Cats, Dogs, Birds, and Infants by Continuing to Light Up in Their Presence" and "Indoor Cats Are Dying from Diabetes, Hyperthyroidism, and Various Toxins in the Home.")

Numerous commonplace household items, such as linoleum and the foil from the tops of wine bottles, contain lead as do some cat toys. (See PetPlace, "Lead Toxicity in Cats.")

Even 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.")

Socks and Bill Clinton

Some armchairs and settees manufactured in China contain sachets of a fungicide known as dimethyl fumarate (DMF) which recently has been blamed for the death of a cat and two individuals in Paris. (See Daily Telegraph, December 4, 2008, "Toxic Armchair Kills Father, Son, and Cat, Family Claims.")

The lesson to be learned from all of this is that indoor environments are lethal to cats. Individuals who therefore choose to cruelly rob their cats of their freedom have a corresponding responsibility to remove all carcinogens from their houses and apartments.

As for Socks, it is difficult to say if Currie has made the correct decision in choosing not to treat his cancer. The disease is making it difficult for him to eat and his weight has subsequently plummeted to six pounds. A feeding tube could be inserted but she feels that would be too intrusive.

The best that can be hoped for him is that his cancer is not the aggressive type and that he will be able to hang on for quite a bit longer. In this context, the words that Dylan Thomas penned for his dying father are equally applicable to Socks:

"Don't go gentle into that good night
Rage, rage against the dying of the light."

Through his treatment of cancer-stricken cats, Ogilvie has become well acquainted with feline courage in the face of adversity. "One thing that I see each and every day is how much we learn from our kitties with cancer," he told ABC News in the article cited supra. "Kitties don't allow myths and misperceptions about cancer to cloud their living every day. They're a good role model."

Therefore even in his final days Socks is continuing to inspire and to show his human counterparts how to deal with illness and death. Moreover, his impending demise is a poignant reminder of man's mortality as well.

On that somber note, the last word fittingly belongs to Oliver Herford:

"Gather kittens while you may
Time brings only sorrow;
And the kittens of day
Will be old cats tomorrow."

Godspeed, Socks!

Photos: Barbara Kinney of the White House (Socks), Reid Silverman of Southern Maryland Newspapers (Socks and Currie, and Socks asleep), and the Smithsonian (Socks and Clinton).

Friday, December 19, 2008

Regardless of Whether He Is a Pixie-Bob or a Bobcat, It Is Going to Be a Blue Christmas for Benny after He Inadvertently Bites Santa Claus

"I don't want anything to happen to the cat. It's a beautiful animal and was naturally scared (of the dogs)."
-- Santa Claus, a.k.a. Jonathan Bebbington

Winston Churchill once astutely observed that "Americans will always do the right thing after they have exhausted all the alternatives." Those sentiments are indeed a propos to the recent brouhaha that has developed in wake of the accidental biting of Santa Claus by either a Pixie-Bob or a pet bobcat at a PetSmart store in Mays Landing, New Jersey on December 7th.

Forty-seven-year-old Vineland resident Jonathan Bebbington was posing in his Santa's outfit with an assortment of cats, dogs, birds, and other critters in order to raise money for Penny Angel's Beagle Rescue when Christine Haughey of nearby Egg Harbor Township strolled up with a rather large cat named Benny. Being an animal lover himself, Bebbington did not flinch and the photo opportunity went on as planned. (See photo above.)

Somewhere in the process, either before the shoot or immediately thereafter, Benny became spooked by the presence of several dogs waiting in line and bit Bebbington's left hand and wrist resulting in six puncture wounds. Bebbington later was given a tetanus shot and treated with antibiotics.

Concerns were raised about rabies but they soon were proven to be unfounded when Haughey came forward a couple of days later and demonstrated that the cat was up-to-date with his vaccinations. PetSmart even generously has offered to pay Bebbington's medical tab.

More to the point, Bebbington's wounds do not appear to have been much worse than insect bites. (See photo below) In fact, bites from mosquitoes and horseflies cause much more damage and are significantly more painful than being bitten by a cat. Dog and deer ticks can spread the deadly West Nile Virus and Lyme Disease, respectively, but no one goes bananas about them.

Quite obviously, Benny was not attempting to hurt Bebbington because if that had been his intention he certainly is more than capable of having done so. Besides, as Miguel de Cervantes observed long ago, "Those who will play with cats must expect to be scratched."

The matter should have died there but the Garden State's thoroughly corrupt and opportunistic politicians and bureaucrats decided to team up with their buddies in the moneybags media and transform this minor incident into a cause celebre. Consequently, the health departments of Atlantic County and Vineland as well as the local SPCA immediately shoved in oars with the New Jersey State Department of Health and the state Division of Fish and Wildlife (DFW) in hot pursuit right behind them.

Health officials immediately ordered Haughey to keep Benny confined for at least two weeks so that they could monitor him for any signs of rabies. The DFW meanwhile took it upon itself to launch an investigation into Benny's pedigree.

While it is legal to own Pixie-Bobs in New Jersey, keeping bobcats is strictly verboten. Photographs have been taken of Benny for analysis by so-called experts but the only surefire way to determine his pedigree would be through DNA testing.

For her part, Haughey maintains that the eight-month-old, thirty-pound feline is a Pixie-Bob that she purchased for $1,500 from a breeder in Wyoming. "There's nothing really special about him, just the way he looks," she told WCAU-TV of Philadelphia on December 10th. (See "Santa 'Clawed' Attacker Comes Forward.")

She should not, however, expect the DFW to let the matter drop there since it and its counterparts in the United States Fish and Wildlife Service have been attacking feral cats in Atlantic City, Cape May, and elsewhere for a long time. (See Cat Defender posts of July 5, 2007 and May 6, 2008 entitled, respectively, "Bird and Wildlife Proponents, Ably Assisted by The Press of Atlantic City, Launch Malicious Libel Campaign Against Feral Cats" and "National Audubon Society Wins the Right for Invasive Species of Shorebirds to Prey Upon Horseshoe Crabs.")

As far as the other bureaucrats are concerned, most of them hold either no-show jobs or sinecures and therefore do not have anything better to do with their time than to go after cats; attacking Benny is recreation as far as they are concerned. This irresponsible conduct comes at a time when the state is mired in a deep recession and the governor has slashed charity care for those without health insurance.

Moreover, health officials are so derelict in their responsibilities that they refuse to require government buildings, universities, restaurants, hotels, and casinos to provide their guests and visitors with hot water and soap. Anyone frequenting a restaurant in New Jersey would be well advised to bear that in mind before they chow down because this gross oversight is a far greater menace to public health than being bitten by a cat.

The highways are a no-man's land for both pedestrians and animals because the police steadfastly refuse to enforce the rules of the road and welfare payments to the poor range from between a minuscule $140 to $200 a month! This is in a state where some reports peg the per capita income at close to $60,000 a year. None of those pressing concerns seem to matter, however, in that all scarce resources now must be directed toward going after Benny.

The only person willing to stand up for him so far has been, ironically, his victim. "I don't want anything to happen to the cat," Bebbington, who by vocation is a locksmith at South Woods State Prison in Bridgeton, told The Press of Atlantic City on December 10th. (See "Large Cat Attacks Santa During Photo Shot.") "It's a beautiful animal and was naturally scared (of the dogs)." (See photo below of him without his costume.)

Surprisingly, the attack has not put him off charity work. "I'll still do it (pose with animals)," but "no bobcats," he told The Daily Journal of Vineland on December 11th. (See "Santa Gets Customer with Bite.")

That is considerably more than can be said for a duly chastened Haughey. "I'm really sorry, Santa, that he bit your hand and I apologize," she told WCAU-TV in the article cited supra. "I'm done. I learned my lesson for taking Benny out of the house."

Although the fact that a frightened cat inflicted a few minor wounds upon Santa is not any big deal in itself, the creation of so-called hybrids, such as Pixie-Bobs, represents the very epitome of animal cruelty and should be outlawed. There are many reasons why this should be the case but none perhaps more compelling than the secrecy that surrounds their creation.

Pixie-Bobs, for example, were first created by Carol Ann Brewer of Bellingham, Washington in 1986 by breeding what she claims to have been the progeny from illicit liaisons that had developed in the wild between domestic cats and bobcats. Subsequent DNA testing has failed to detect the presence of bobcat genes in Pixie-Bobs and some experts, such as Dr. Jan Strother of the North Alabama Cat and Bird Veterinary Clinic in Hartselle, even doubt that bobcats mate with domestic cats in the wild.

The forced breeding of bobcats with domestic cats is a more likely scenario. At least that is what Pixie-Bob breeder Mitchell Morris of Lawrence County, Alabama bragged about doing last year. (See Cat Defender post of June 28, 2007 entitled "Rural Alabama Man Makes a Killing Forcibly Breeding Domestic Cats to Bobcats in Order to Create Pixie-Bobs.") Artificial insemination is another distinct possibility.

The creation of other hybrids are cloaked in every bit as much secrecy as that which surrounds Pixie-Bobs. Par exemple, Judy Sugden of Eeyaas Cattery in Los Angeles claims to have created Toygers out of the union of domestic cats with an unknown Kashmir street cat. (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.")

Asheras likewise are alleged to be the product of breeding African Servals (Leptailurus serval) and Asian Leopard Cats (Prionailurus bengalensis) with a trade secret domestic cat. (See Cat Defender post of February 19, 2008 entitled "Asheras Are the Designer Chats du Jour Despite the Cruelties Inflicted During Their Hybridization.")

Savannahs also are said to be the offspring of unions between African servals and domestic cats and the Audubon Center for Research of Endangered Species has shanghaied countless house cats into service as egg donors and surrogate mothers in order to clone African wildcats. (See Cat Defender posts of May 19, 2005 and September 6, 2005 entitled, respectively, "Savannahs: More Feline Cruelty Courtesy of the Capitalists and the Bourgeoisie" and "Clones of Endangered African Wildcats Give Birth to Eight Naturally-Bred Healthy Kittens in New Orleans.")

Even Allerca Lifestyle Pets refuses to divulge the details of how it has created its allergy-free cats. (See Cat Defender posts of July 10, 2006 and October 10, 2006 entitled, respectively, "More Devilry from Scientific Community as California Company Creates World's First Hypoallergenic Cat" and "Dodgy Allerca and Dishonest CBS Join Forces to Market an Allergy-Free Cat Named Joshua to a Gullible Public.")

The blatant lies and secrecy surrounding the creation of hybrids is merely the tip of a proverbial iceberg of feline cruelty and abuse. First of all, wild cats are stolen from their natural habitats and brought to the United States where they are then imprisoned at breeding farms.

In some instances, the importation of these cats is no doubt in violation of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) of which the United States is a signatory. It is therefore the duty of both customs officials and the Commerce Department to interdict this trade.

Since these breeding mills are unregulated, no one knows the extent of the abuses, manipulations, and killings that occur inside them. More poignantly, wild cats deserve to be protected in their natural habitats as opposed to being pressed into service as studs and brood mares.

Both wild and domestic cats are then subjected to forced breeding, artificial insemination, genetic manipulation, and God only knows what other horrors. Miscarriages, birth defects, and flawed hybrids are routine.

Since the operators of these catteries are the epitome of bloodsucking capitalists, they are far too cheap to ever care for the sickly and flawed cats that they create and, consequently, these unfortunate cats are systematically eliminated.

While Pixie-Bobs generally are thought to be rather healthy cats, they nonetheless are known to suffer from such reproductive maladies as Cryptorchidism, Dystocia, Cystic Endometrial Hyperplasia, and Pyometra. They additionally are prone to Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy and, like most cats, immune system disorders such as Herpes. Furthermore, since they are a relatively young breed it is conceivable that other diseases may manifest themselves in succeeding generations.

Once hybrids leave the breeding farms many of them are subjected to a second round of abuses at the hands of their owners whereby they are divested of their claws, fangs, and tails. Some of them answer the call of the wild by running away from home only to be hunted down and shot like convicted felons on the lam by ignorant and bloodthirsty cops and private citizens.

Easily disgruntled owners soon grow tired of them and either abandon them to fend for themselves or dump them at already overcrowded shelters. This in return necessitates the creation of new rescue organizations designed to care for these horribly abused cats.

Of late, these pricey cats even have become a favorite target of thieves. (See Cat Defender post of February 20, 2008 entitled "Exotic and Hybrid Cats, Perennial Objects of Exploitation and Abuse, Are Now Being Mutilated, Abandoned, and Stolen.")

The most bewildering aspect of Pixie-Bobs, Toygers, Savannahs, and Asheras is their canine personalities. It strains credulity to believe that this trait could be the product of interbreeding between wild and domestic cats.

Their owners consequently treat them like dogs. For instance, Haughey walks Benny on a leash and keeps him chained in her yard. Hybrids also reportedly suffer from separation anxiety just like dogs. They thus appear to be dogs trapped inside the bodies of cats.

This unconscionable abuse of both wild and domestic cats is only sustained by the unchecked greed of breeders and the perverse tastes of those individuals who purchase hybrids. Despite the myriad of diabolical crimes currently being committed against the feline species no animal rights group has seen fit to confront breeders and purchasers alike and hold them accountable. Either they do not care or they support these outrages.

Finally, a brief word needs to be said about the use of animals as photo props. As any fool knows, cats and dogs generally do not mix. It was therefore a grievous error on the part of both Penny Angel's Beagle Rescue and PetSmart to have assembled these age-old antagonists under the same roof.

Even some veterinarians now have separate entrances for cats and dogs and consequently it would be a good idea for organizations staging such photo sessions to set aside one day for cats and another one for dogs. Although no problems have been reported at churches that regularly bless animals, they, too, might want to consider implementing such a policy.

Zoos are another huge problem. First of all, petting zoos are rife with E. coli. Washing with soap and hot water therefore should be mandatory for all visitors who handle animals at such facilities.

A far more pressing problem exists at more conventional zoos, hotels, and resorts that exploit wild animals, especially large predators, as photo props. (See photo above of a chimp on the beach at a resort in Cancun.) In order to pacify the animals, their handlers often drug, declaw, chain, and even wire their mouths shut.

These unfortunate animals also are under an extreme amount of stress as the result of constantly being handled by people. In most instances, they were taken from their mothers at an early age and therefore have spent their entire lives in captivity.

Once they become either too old or too difficult to handle they are either sold to circuses, other zoos, or killed outright. Although this naked abuse occurs practically everywhere, it is particularly rampant in Thailand, Mexico, Spain, Bulgaria, Morocco, Russia, Rumania, India, and Sri Lanka.

In addition to the toll inflicted on the animals, tourists are in danger of both contracting diseases and being injured as well. Earlier this year a young girl in China was killed by a tiger that had been spooked by a camera flash.

In order to put an end to this practice, the Born Free Foundation and the Federation of Tour Operators in Haywards Heath, West Sussex, have adopted a Preferred Code of Practice. Already Riu Hotels and Resorts of Mallorca has agreed to stop using wild animals as photographic props at its one-hundred-two establishments around the world. The English and Irish offices of Touristik Union International of Hanover, the Thomas Cook Group, and Virgin Holidays have agreed in principal that such exploitation is unacceptable.

Travelers who encounter such abuses are encouraged to report them to Born Free in Horsham, West Sussex, or at info@bornfree.org.uk.

Photos: WCAU-TV (Benny and Santa), Joseph P. Smith of The Daily Journal (bit marks and Bebbington), and Born Free (chimp).

Monday, December 15, 2008

Vicious Attack on Sid Leads to the Creation of a Fund to Aid Four-Legged Victims of Domestic Violence

"So many times in domestic violence incidences, animals are abused by the perpetrators."
-- Vista Exline

The savage stomping to death of Sports Illustrated reporter Lisa Altobelli's cat, Norman, by former New York Mets' farmhand Joseph Petcka was far from being an isolated incident. (See Cat Defender post of November 10, 2008 entitled, "London Teenager, Convicted of Killing the HMS Belfast's Kilo, Also Is Unmasked as a Remorseless Liar and Drunkard.")

Disgruntled males often vent their spleens on their lovers' cats. Par exemple, on October 22nd a two-year-old brown cat named Sid belonging to twenty-six-year-old Brandy Henderson of Wheat Ridge, Colorado was bashed against the wall of a shower by her boyfriend.

Sid sustained a dislocated jaw and other unspecified injuries as the result of the unprovoked attack. The assault was so brutal in fact that it not only left him spouting blood from both his mouth and rectum but gasping for breath as well.

He was rushed to Wheat Ridge Animal Hospital where he was treated with pain medication and given intravenous fluids. At last report, he was out of the hospital and back home with Henderson although he still is only able to eat soft food and to take small sips of water. (See photo above.)

James Ian Whitlock, also twenty-six, has been charged with aggravated animal cruelty and was being held in the Jefferson County Jail in lieu of $50,000 bail. (See photo below.) He was scheduled to have appeared in court on November 7th but no follow-up stories have appeared in either the media or at pet-abuse.com.

As it is so often the case in these types of domestic disputes, both Whitlock and Henderson were pretty far along in their cups when an argument turned violent. (See Cat Defender posts of September 18, 2008 and November 24, 2008 entitled, respectively, "Drunken Brute Beats, Stabs, and Then Hurls Fifi to Her Death Against the Side of a House in Limerick" and "Kilo's Killer Walks in a Lark but the Joke Is on the Disgraceful English Judicial System.")

Although the specifics are not important, apparently Henderson locked Whitlock out of the house only to have him break in through a window and then attack Sid. Eyewitnesses also have reported that Whitlock sat on Henderson and tried to throttle her. Consequently, he also has been charged with a potpourri of ancillary charges that include extortion, menacing, and criminal mischief.

An admitted heroin addict, Whitlock also has been charged with possession of a controlled substance and drug paraphernalia in addition to drunk driving. Prosecutors and judges therefore have plenty to work with and if this cretin is not put away for a long time they should be summarily fired.

In spite of all that he has been through, Sid is fortunate in that very few felines survive these types of assaults. Nevertheless, Henderson was left with a $2,200 medical bill that she was unable to pay and the veterinarians were unwilling to forgive.

While there are numerous groups that come to aid of the victims of spousal abuse, no such organizations are known to exist that provide financial assistance to their abused cats. That glaring oversight got the good folks at Victims Outreach Information (VOI) of nearby Golden to thinking about how they could expand their charitable work to include cats as well as abused women.

It was out of those deliberations that the Sid Fund for Animal Crime Victims was born. So far, more than $400 has been raised which will go to four-legged victims of domestic violence in the First Judicial District of Jefferson and Gilpin counties.

"So many times in domestic violence incidents, animals are abused by the perpetrators," VOI's Vista Exline told The Denver Post on November 4th. (See "Cat's Ordeal Inspires Group to Help Animals.") "People in the community wanted to help (with Sid) but there is (sic) no mechanism for that to happen smoothly."

The establishment of funds to help cats and other animals who are victimized by domestic violence is a development that is long overdue. Injured animals should not be denied medical assistance simply because their owners are either unable or unwilling to foot the bill.

More to the point, humane undertakings such as the Sid Fund should not limit their compassion solely to the victims of domestic violence. Au contraire, these types of emergency funds should be made available for the treatment of any sick or injured animal.

In the final analysis, it is a disgrace that animals are left to the mercy of kindhearted groups and individuals. In any halfway decent society the law of the land would mandate that all veterinarians and physicians treat animals and individuals regardless of the size of their wallets.

To withhold such life-saving services constitutes the most blatant form of discrimination imaginable. This galling situation is made all the more reprehensible by the fact that in the United States there is a huge surfeit of trained medical personnel, equipment, and drugs.

Being as rich as Croesus, it would not kill veterinarians and physicians to do a little pro bono work from time to time. In fact, it should be mandatory, especially in light of all the taxpayer dollars that are doled out annually to the medical schools and research institutions.

Furthermore, there is something inherently perverse about a nation that has trillions of dollars to throw at imperialistic misadventures, tax cuts for the filthy rich, Wall Street crooks, and the automakers in Detroit but scarcely a sou for sick animals and the poor. Sadly, that is the way that Americans want it because it was only last month that they went to the polls and voted to maintain the status quo.

According to Eliza Mazzaferro of Wheat Ridge Animal Hospital, Sid's prognosis is good. He nonetheless needs to monitored for brain damage and any internal injuries that he may have suffered.

Above all, Henderson needs to seriously consider getting herself a new boyfriend because as soon as Whitlock gets out of the slammer Sid's life will be once more in mortal danger. She also could do a far better job of taking care of him if she were to cut down on her own imbibing.

Photos: Special to The Denver Post (Sid) and Jefferson County District Attorney's Office (Whitlock).

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Shaven from Head to Tail and Left to Freeze to Death in the Ontario Cold, Chopper Is Saved at the Last Minute

Chopper with Kelly Spero of the Ontario SPCA
"He was probably just trying to survive on the street and someone decided to do this to him. It isn't something that just happened...this obviously took time and forethought."
-- Dave Wilson
Wintertime is hard enough on homeless cats without fiends shaving them from head to tail. That nevertheless was the cruel fate that befell a twelve-week-old orange kitten named Chopper from Chatham-Kent in southwest Ontario last month.

He apparently was held upside down by the tip of his tail while his sides, head, tail, and belly were divested of their fur. The monsters who committed this appalling act of animal cruelty also did such a mean job of shaving that they inflicted numerous cuts over his tiny body.

Fortunately for him, he was discovered crying and shivering on an unidentified homeowner's porch on Selkirk Street and brought to the local branch of the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. (OSPCA). In addition to his obvious injuries, he also was found to have a respiratory infection, fleas, worms, and ear mites.

If he had not died from either hypothermia or infection, he surely would have starved to death because he was so skinny that his hip bones and ribs were clearly visible through his skin. "He was in rough shape... we didn't know if he'd make it," Dave Wilson of the OSPCA told The Chatham Daily News on November 29th. (See "Kitten Left in Cold after Coat Cut.")

Despite odds of a million to one against him, Chopper's injuries are healing and his other maladies are improving as well. Even his fur should grow back in time.

Just as importantly, his days as a stray are over in that he has a new home waiting for him as soon as he is cleared by the veterinarians to leave the hospital.

Amazingly enough, all the hell that he has been through has not robbed him of his faith in mankind. "He's probably one of the most affectionate cats or kittens you're ever going to meet," Wilson added. "It just continues to amaze us how forgiving these little guys are and how willing they are to give us a second chance."

That petit fait alone demonstrates writ large that animals are sans doute morally superior to man. "Of all the creatures ever made he (man) is the most detestable. Of the entire brood he is the only one...that possesses malice. He is the only creature that inflicts pain for sport, knowing it to be pain," Mark Twain once observed. "The fact that man knows right from wrong proves his intellectual superiority to the other creatures, but the fact that he can do wrong proves his moral inferiority to any creature that cannot."

Unfortunately, the cretins responsible for Chopper's injuries probably never will be caught and brought to justice. Even on those rare occasions when feline abusers and killers are apprehended the courts invariably let them off with slaps on the wrists.

"He was probably just trying to survive on the street and somebody decided to do this to him," is how Wilson summed up Chopper's plight to The Chatham Daily News in the article cited supra. "It isn't something that just happened...this obviously took time and forethought."

Anyone with any information that might lead to the arrest of the culprits is urged to contact either the OSPCA at (519) 354-1713 or Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-TIPS.

Smudgie with Nicki White's Daughter, Felicity

Several thousand miles away in the city of Toowoomba in southeast Queensland, a seven-week-old charcoal-colored kitten named Smudgie had a chilling experience himself on November 12th when he was deliberately locked inside a refrigerator. How he got there is a mystery.

At first it was assumed that burglars, who had stolen several electronic devices, were responsible for his confinement. Following their arrests, however, detective Scott Stahlhut confounded the community by publicly stating that there was not any evidence to suggest that was the case.

According to Smudgie's guardian, Nicki White, she and her daughters heard the kitten crying from inside the icebox after they returned home to their Campbell Street residence. "He was upset, but very happy to see us," she told the Toowoomba Chronicle on November 14th. (See " Burglars Condemn Pet Cat to Chilly Fate.")

Although Smudgie appears to have come through his ordeal none the worse for wear, the outcome could have been altogether different if the Whites had not returned home when they did. "I don't think it would survive for more than a couple of hours," veterinarian Alistair Webb told the Chronicle in the article cited supra.

While it is entirely possible that the thieves did indeed lock Smudgie in the refrigerator, that explanation is suspect. First of all, the kitten more than likely would have secreted himself away the moment that he realized that strangers were in the house.

Secondly, the burglars would have had to first capture him before they could imprison him and given the fact that thieves want to get in and get out as quickly as possible it is highly unlikely that they would waste valuable time chasing down a kitten. It is therefore conceivable that someone from the White household is responsible for this dastardly deed.

The only thing for certain right now is that Smudgie certainly did not lock himself in the icebox. "It's hard to imagine how a seven-week-old kitten could get inside a fridge on its own," Webb hypothesized for the Chronicle.

"It's despicable behavior if someone has put it in there," he added. Nevertheless, Australians have a long history of not only horribly mistreating cats but slaughtering them by the millions. (See Cat Defender posts of August 11, 2005 and September 21, 2006 entitled, respectively, "Barbaric Australians Come Up with an Ingenious New Poison in Order to Exterminate Cats" and "Aussies' Mass Extermination of Cats Opens the Door for Mice and Rabbits to Wreak Havoc on Macquarie.")

In fact, there is an ongoing contest between them, the New Zealanders, and the South Africans to determine which nation can kill the most cats each year. (See Cat Defender posts of September 22, 2005 and April 17, 2006 entitled, respectively, "Two New Zealand Teens Douse Three Caged Cats with Glue and Burn Them to Death" and "Cat-Hating Monster Les Underhill and Moneygrubbing Robben Island Museum Resume Slaughtering Cats in South Africa.")

The four unidentified men charged in the burglary of the Whites' residence are due to appear in Toowoomba Magistrates Court on December 15th and perhaps evidence presented at that time will shine some light on who was responsible for trying to kill Smudgie.

Photos: Erica Bajer of The Chatham Daily News (Chopper and Spero) and the Toowoomba Chronicle (Smudgie and White).

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Brooklyn Belle Whips Up on Men in Order to Fund Her Rescue of Stray and Feral Cats

"Being a dom is hard work. I've pulled muscles whipping slaves. But I do it because I earn enough to help a lot of cats."
-- Goddess Haley

Seeing as how the world is chock-full of ailurophobes, cats and their protectors are accustomed to being beaten up on by all sorts of individuals and groups. In the Bushwick section of Brooklyn, however, there is an enterprising twenty-eight-year-old blonde who dishes out whippings in order to save cats.

Known in the trade as Goddess Haley, she spends her days working as a dominatrix at an S&M haunt in the Chelsea section of Manhattan. After work, she puts away her leather and lace and devotes her evenings and free time to plucking stray and feral cats from the mean streets of Brooklyn.

In an average year she rescues around ninety cats that she houses, feeds, procures veterinary assistance for, and then places in permanent homes. Currently, she and her husband Andy, a transplanted musician from Kansas City, are sharing their two-bedroom flat with about thirty felines. (See photo above.)

Since rescuing cats is not cheap, she is fortunate that her day job pays $180 an hour. For instance, she spends around $1,000 a month on food and other essentials while her annual veterinary bill runs to $5,000.

"Being a dom is hard work. I've pulled muscles whipping slaves," she admitted to the New York Post on October 27th. (See "Pussy-Whipped.") "But I do it because I earn enough to help a lot of cats."

She is in fact so devoted to her charges that she sometimes takes kittens to work with her. "Once I was even flogging a slave and realized it was feeding time and had to excuse myself for a few minutes but he probably liked the neglect," she related to the Post. "But, really, some of the slaves are very understanding. Some know what I do and they appreciate it."

This is one more poignant example of the transformative power of cats. "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 once astutely observed.

That is a lesson that has not been lost on Goddess Haley. "It's kind of funny," she confessed to the Post. "I spend all day as the master of men, but when I get home I'm ruled by my cats."

Whether it is rushing home at night in order to make sure that dinner is served on time for the domestics or trudging out in the snow and cold long before sunup to feed and water a colony of homeless cats, all lovers of the species are pretty much in the same boat as Goddess Haley. Their vocations may not be quite as exotic as hers but they are no less familiar with the responsibilities and expenses that go hand in hand with their unconditional love.

Photo: Ben Parker of the New York Post.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Peruvians Ludicrously Claim That as the Descendants of Slaves They Are Entitled to Massacre and Eat Cats with Impunity

"There have always been some people who eat cat but we've broken the silence. For us, it's a tradition for many years and they can't take that away from us."
-- Sabio Canas

There never has been anything positive that could be said about the slave trade but to use it as a convenient excuse in order to kill and eat cats is not only dishonest but barbaric as well. Nevertheless, that is precisely the rationale behind the two-day Festival Gastronomica del Gato held each September in La Quebrada.

Located one-hundred-forty kilometers south of Lima, La Quebrada was founded by slaves brought to colonial Peru in order to work on the cotton plantations. It was at that juncture in their history that they claim to have begun feasting on cats due to a lack of food.

"There have always been some people who eat cat but we've broken the silence," festival organizer Sabio Canes told Planet Ark on September 28, 2001. (See "Cat-Eaters Take Note: Feline Feast at Peru Festival.") "For us, it's a tradition of many years and they can't take that away from us."

While it is not in dispute that the three-thousand residents of La Quebrada have been eating cats for a long time, it is far from certain that the practice has its roots in necessity. For example, the plantation owners had to feed them in order that they would have sufficient strength to work in the fields and it strains credulity to believe that they expected them to supplement their diets by killing and eating cats.

The more likely story is that they ate cats long before they ever arrived in Peru. Besides, even if times were meager on the plantation that is not a valid reason to continue this horrible practice.

Regardless of the rationale, it is estimated that around one-hundred cats are butchered and eaten each year at Festival Gastronomica del Gato. Some of them are specially bred for the pot while others, both domestics and strays, are rounded up off the streets.

Their legs, tails, and insides are then fried up along with onions, garlic, hot peppers, and squash and served at the outdoor festival held in honor of Santa Ifigenia. (See photos above and below.) So-called cat burgers are another popular item on the menu.

"Yo como gato desde que tengo uso de razon, mis diecisiete hijos tambien lo comen y es gente muy sana," sixty-three-year-old Aura Francisca told Trome of Lima on September 23rd. (See "Gato al huacatay fue la sensacion.")

Many of the attendees also claim that eating cats not only cures bronchial ailments but also improves their performance in the sack. Although there is not a scintilla of scientific evidence to back up either claim, the Peruvians are far from being the only subscribers to such outlandish nonsense. (See Cat Defender posts of September 13, 2007 and February 8, 2006 entitled, respectively, "Costa Rican Bull Rider Bites Off the Heads of Live Cats, Dogs, and Other Animals, Drinks Their Blood, and Then Eats Their Flesh" and "Stray Cats Rounded Up in Shanghai, Butchered, and Sold as Mutton in Restaurants and on the Street.")

Contrary to what most people would ordinarily think, eating cats is not confined to stupid and backward people. Par exemple, Australian wildlife proponent and children's author Kaye Kessing is attempting to eradicate feral cats by eating them into extinction. (See Cat Defender post of September 7, 2007 entitled "Australians Renounce Civilization and Revert to Savages with the Introduction of a Grotesque Plan to Get Rid of Cats by Eating Them.")

Earlier this year, students at the Danish School of Journalism in Aarhus cooked and devoured a cat as part of a cheap publicity stunt. (See Cat Defender post of August 25, 2008 entitled "Danish Journalism Students Procure the Corpse of a Murdered Cat and Then Skin, Cook, and Eat It in Order to Promote Their Careers.")

Although the rationales vary from country to country, all consumers of feline flesh share in common an abiding hatred of cats. Claims of starvation, medicinal benefits, and tradition are mere subterfuges that they trot out in order to justify their crimes. Furthermore, it is highly unlikely that such individuals would even flinch at the thought of engaging in a little cannibalism if they thought that they could get away with it.

In a certain sense the crimes perpetuated by the residents of La Quebrada against cats are even more odious because they demonstrate that they have learned absolutely nothing from the travails of their ancestors. If they had, they would have acquired by now a measure of compassion for a defenseless animal that they treat far worse than their forefathers were ever treated as slaves.

Photos: Peru.com.