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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, August 28, 2008

In Memoriam: Trooper Survives Being Thrown from a Speeding Automobile Only to Later Die on the Operating Table


"Oh Death, please consider my age
Please don't take me at this stage...
Oh Death, oh Death
Won't you spare me over till another year?"
-- Ralph Stanley


There are plenty of misty eyes and broken hearts at the Mount Pleasant Veterinary Clinic in Chesapeake, Virginia these days. Little Trooper has died at the tender age of eight-weeks.

His tragic demise began on July 31st when he was tossed from a speeding automobile on Route 168 South somewhere in the vicinity of the North Carolina and Virginia border. Luckily, he was picked up by Michele Laney of Moyock who rushed him to the veterinary clinic.

The hazel-eyed, twenty-four-ounce black and white kitten sustained a broken rear leg as well as cuts and bruises to his face as the result of this diabolical act of animal cruelty. Pins were inserted in his femur and the leg was placed in a cast. Antibiotics were administered and he was put on a high-protein diet.

As soon as his plight became known to the general public, get-well cards, gift baskets, and money for his treatment poured in so profusely that the clinic was forced into taking the unprecedented step of turning away donations. For his part, Trooper seemed to be responding so well to treatment that he was expected to go home with Laney, who had decided to adopt him, in about a week.

"He is really doing fabulously," veterinary technician Gabrielle Reed told The Virginian Pilot on August 7th. (See "Kitten Thrown from Chesapeake Car Is Healing, Enjoying Fame.")

A few days later, however, Trooper's condition took a tragic turn for the worst. His lungs collapsed and his kidneys started to fail.

Emergency surgery was performed on him August 14th in order to install a catheter but he stopped breathing and died unexpectedly shortly after completion of the procedure. "We performed CPR for ten to fifteen minutes," Reed told The Virginian Pilot on August 19th. (See "Kitten Thrown from Car Dies After Surgery in Chesapeake.") "We couldn't resuscitate him."

Reed and her colleagues theorize that Trooper must have sustained internal injuries that did not show up on the initial X-rays taken shortly after he was admitted to the clinic. He also more than likely was just too young for his system to cope with the severity of his injuries.

Both the clinic and Laney are mum on burial plans and whether or not there will be a memorial service. The clinic nonetheless has announced that it will be returning to the community the more than $2,000 donated for Trooper's care.

Although the staff at the hospital knew that one day they would have to say good-bye to the adorable kitten who loved to be held they certainly did not anticipate that it would be under these somber circumstances. "We're all running around holding him when we get the chance," Barbara Springer told The Virginian Pilot in the August 7th article cited supra. "I'm trying not to get attached because it'll break your heart when he leaves."

That is a feeling that Reed understands only too well. "He got through what is known in medicine as the hardest days," she told The Virginian Pilot in the August 19th article cited supra. "I allowed myself to get attached. My heart is broken." (See photo below of her and Trooper in happier days.)

As sad and heartrending as Trooper's story is, all of the grief obscures an even harsher reality, namely, that his is not an isolated case. Au fait, scarcely a day goes by without several cats being tossed from automobiles.

Most of them never make it to a veterinary hospital and as a consequence their plights do not become part of public consciousness. They instead are either run over by oncoming motorists who refuse to brake for them or limp away to die alone in the woods from their untreated injuries.

One of the fortunate ones to survive such an ordeal was an orange tabby named Freeway who was tossed from a gray pickup truck on I-95 near Stuart, Florida on Boxing Day. (See Cat Defender post of January 14, 2008 entitled "Freeway Miraculously Survives Being Tossed Out the Window of a Truck on Busy I-95 in South Florida.")

He sustained abrasions to his face, nose, and ears but no fractures unless a broken tooth counts. Like Trooper, he was lucky enough to have been rescued by a passing motorist, in this case Catherine Barton, who procured emergency medical treatment for him.

Dumping cats on the side of the road and locking them inside abandoned houses are horrible enough deeds in their own right, but it takes an inveterate cat-hater to toss one out the window of a speeding automobile. Moreover, such heinous acts are not committed solely in order to get rid of unwanted felines, but rather for the sadistic thrill of inflicting as much pain and damage as possible upon defenseless animals.

Furthermore, it is doubtful that any of the perpetrators of these despicable acts ever have been arrested and forced to answer for their crimes. That is because it is not only difficult to track down such fiends, but also due to the fact that the law enforcement community has never taken cruelty to cats seriously.

Even when the police and SPCA officials do their jobs neither prosecutors nor judges are willing to punish offenders. (See Cat Defender post of August 21, 2008 entitled "Justice Denied: Exterminator Who Gassed Three Cats at the Behest of Fox-35 in Richmond Gets Off with a Minuscule Fine.")

In other cases, unsympathetic juries refuse to follow the law and convict. (See Cat Defender post of November 20, 2007 entitled "Bird Lovers All Over the World Rejoice as Serial Killer James M. Stevenson Is Rewarded by Galveston Court for Gunning Down Hundreds of Cats.")

Trooper certainly did not deserve to be either abused in such a horrible manner or to have his life ended so shortly after it only had begun. He was a lovable and friendly kitten who no doubt would have grown into a very special cat that would have enriched the lives of everyone around him.

Alas, none of that is any longer possible. As legendary bluegrass performer Ralph Stanley knows only too well, there is no dickering with the Grim Reaper:

"Oh Death, please consider my age
Please don't take me at this stage...
Oh Death, oh Death
Won't you spare me over till another year?"

Requiescat in pace, Trooper. Your sojourn upon this earth may have been brief, but it was not in vain and you will live on in the memories of everyone who was fortunate enough to have known you.

You experienced firsthand the best and worst that human nature has to offer and yet somehow managed to embrace life with an open heart. In doing so, you became an inspiration for one and all.

Photos: Brian Clark of Hampton Roads TV (Trooper) and Moggies (Trooper and Reed).

Monday, August 25, 2008

Danish Journalism Students Procure the Corpse of a Murdered Cat and Then Skin, Cook, and Eat It in Order to Promote Their Careers


"This is the worst way to draw people's attention to animal welfare. The choice of a cat was an especially bad one, since we get most of our calls about them."
-- Ole Munster of Dyrenes Beskyttelse

Back in June, a group of students at the Danish School of Journalism (Denmarks Journalisthojskole) in Aarhus, Jutland, somehow got hold of a black and white cat that mercilessly had been gunned down by a farmer. (See photo above.) They then hired a professional chef who skinned and cooked it. (See photo below.)

Led by twenty-five-year-old Laura Boge Mortensen, editor of the school's magazine Citat, they proceeded to stuff their faces. (See bottom photo of Mortensen on the left with an unidentified cohort gorging themselves on a couple of thighs.)

"Es schmeckt wie Poulet mit Pelz," is how Mortensen later described the dining experience to Zurick's Blick on June 10th. (See "Studentinnen essen Busi.")

In much the same fashion that teenage hoodlums are not content with merely brutalizing defenseless homeless men but instead videotape the beatings that they administer so as to be able to repeatedly relive their devilry, these students not only published their exploits in Citat but posted thirty photographs as well as a recipe for a dish called "Litter Box" on Facebook.

In the uproar that followed the students claim to have received death threats and were given the bum's rush by Facebook. For her part, Mortensen has given contradictory explanations for her abhorrent behavior.

"The idea behind the article was to question why we treat pets and animals raised for food differently," she wrote in a guest column for the Copenhagen Post on June 26th. (See "Is It Okay to Eat Cats and Dogs?") "The press often carries stories about pigs suffering or dying while being transported. At the same time, we spend thousands of kroner each year on our pets, and have few qualms about buying a diamond-studded collar if it will make our pooch look a little cuter."

She also does not see any difference between eating a cat and devouring a pig. "Warum kann man nicht genauso gut eine Katze verzehren wie ein Schwein?" she complained to Blick in the article cited supra.

Based upon those comments, it would thus appear that she has a grudge against cats and dogs and therefore resents the privileged position that they occupy not only in the hearts and minds of most people but under the law as well. If so, she is certainly not alone.

In fact, that is pretty much the standard fare of birders and wildlife biologists who, whenever they are not taking the law into their own hands, are constantly agitating for the abridgement of all rights currently enjoyed by cats. Although their attacks on canines are far less strident and frequent, they certainly are not in love with them either. (See Cat Defender post of July 19, 2007 entitled "Up to Their Old Tricks, Wildlife Officials Reintroduce Fishers to the Northeast to Prey Upon Cats and to Provide Income for Fur Traffickers.")

In spite of her words and deeds, Mortensen insists that she and her colleagues are not animal rights activists. "It is not up to us to tell people what they can and should do to animals. We just want them to think over what it is they do," she told the Copenhagen Post in the article cited supra.

The only logical conclusion to be drawn from the seemingly irreconcilable incongruencies in her declarations is that she is a complete nihilist who supports the consumption of both farm and companion animals. C'est-a-dire, since it is impossible to save every farm animal individuals should not love and respect cats and dogs.

That is really not much different from maintaining that since it is impossible to save every abused and fatherless child that parents should abandon their own children to fend for themselves in the street. Applied on a societal level, adherents of such a philosophy would be in favor of disregarding all concepts of justice and morality and thus allowing evil to triumph unopposed.

Hypocrisy may very well be the "hommage que le vice rend a la vertu," as Francois duc de la Rochefoucauld once argued, but it is still preferable to a world where all considerations of right and wrong have ceased to exist. The goal for both individuals and societies always has been to advance to a higher humanity, not to degenerate into monsters.

The quest therefore is to expand the circle of empathy, not contract it. "Our task must be to free ourselves...by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and beauty," is the way that Albert Einstein once put it.

Since she and her colleagues categorically reject the notion that they are animal rights activists, no matter how warped in their thinking and deeds, Mortensen then falls back upon the claim that they are merely journalists. "We saw ourselves -- and continue to see ourselves -- as journalists who have brought an issue up for discussion," she told the Copenhagen Post.

That argument does not hold water either. By taking possession of an assassinated cat, skinning, cooking, and eating it, Mortensen and her crew ceased to be journalists and became newsmakers themselves.

There also is the disturbing question of how the cat was obtained. For instance, did they put out a contract on its head just so that they could devour it? This is a matter that should be investigated by both the police and animal rights groups.

It thus appears that their inhumane and gruesome conduct was nothing more than a crude publicity stunt designed to further their careers as journalists. Malheureusement, they probably have succeeded in that regard considering the corruptness and baseness of the capitalist media.

"This is the worst way to draw people's attention to animal welfare," Ole Munster of the animal welfare group Dyrenes Beskyttelse of Frederiksberg told the Copenhagen Post on June 11th. (See "Cat-Eating Students Shooed Off Facebook.") "The choice of a cat was an especially bad one, since we get most of our calls about them." (See photo at the bottom of the page.)

Truer words were never spoken. As Carl Van Vechten wrote in The Tiger in the House, "So the cat through the ages has been more cruelly and persistently mistreated than any other beast."

For starters, bird advocates and wildlife biologists are intent upon eradicating them from the face of the earth. Shelters and veterinarians kill tens of millions of them each year and that is only in the Etats-Unis.

Purveyors of exotic breeds, hybrids, clones, and hypoallergenic cats torture, mutilate and kill countless more in their kennels as do vivisectors in their laboratories. Untold numbers are subjected to random acts of violence every day that include, inter alia, being thrown from speeding automobiles on busy highways, poisoned with antifreeze, shot with rifles, BB guns, and bows and arrows, as well as set on fire and doused with acid.

Others are preyed upon by dogs, coyotes, fishers, and birds. Millions more are robbed of their claws and ability to reproduce.

Ailurophobes are attempting to enact draconian laws that will take away their freedom by confining them indoors where they are susceptible to diabetes, hyperthyroidism, and cancer. (See Cat Defender posts of August 22, 2007 and October 19, 2007 entitled, respectively, "Indoor Cats Are Dying from Diabetes, Hyperthyroidism, and Various Toxins in the Home" and "Smokers Are Killing Their Cats, Dogs, Birds, and Infants by Continuing to Light Up in Their Presence.")

Many apartment blocks and assisted-living arrangements will not allow their presence and all feral and stray cats live in mortal danger of the machinations of both private individuals and governmental officials. These abuses have been going on forever and they do not show any sign of abating anytime soon.

As is the case in most of Europe, it is not illegal to shoot feral cats in Denmark. This is bad enough in itself but the petit fait that cat hunters kill innumerable domestic cats by mistake only compounds the atrocities.

Nor is eating feline flesh illegal. The only stipulation that the law makes is that the cat must not have suffered during its execution.

That is more sophistry. If being blindsided by a bullet that blows out its brains and robs it of its all-too-short life is not cruel and inhumane then nothing fits that definition. The cat's pain may be brief, but it still suffers. More importantly, it suffers the loss of its life and that is what is important.

All of these needless killings and cat-eating publicity stunts could be brought to a swift end if Danish politicians only had the intestinal fortitude to criminalize such conduct and give cats the legal protections that they so desperately need and deserve. By their failure to do so, the Danes are destined to remain outcasts within the civilized world in much the same fashion as the Swiss, Costa Ricans, Australians, and Chinese. (See Cat Defender posts of February 8, 2006 and September 7, 2007 entitled, respectively, "Stray Cats Rounded Up in Shanghai, Butchered, and Sold as Mutton in Restaurants and on the Street" and "Australians Renounce Civilization and Revert to Savages with the Introduction of a Grotesque Plan to Get Rid of Cats by Eating Them.")

Undaunted by either the criticism that she has received or the morally repulsive nature of her actions, Mortensen remains defiant. "Wir stehen einhundert Prozent hinter unserer Aktion," she told Blick. Her only regret is that Facebook pulled the plug on her gastronomical orgy of bad taste and cruelty toward cats. With her total lack of both decency and shame, she already has all the making of a good journalist and should go far in her chosen field.

With an enrollment of eleven-hundred fulltime students and an operating budget of $16 million, half of which comes from public money, the Danish School of Journalism (DSJ) is the oldest and largest institution of its kind in Denmark. On its website, the school states that its goal is to enhance its position "as the provider of one of the best journalism educations in Europe."

It goes on to boast that it "has a strong international profile in all of its activities." To that august list can now be added cat-eating.

Universities always have been dens of iniquity where all sorts of disgusting vices and hackneyed opinions have found sanctuary underneath the mantle of scholasticism, but with the reprehensible conduct of these students the DSJ has plummeted to a new nadir. Back in May of 2005, students at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in Durban, South Africa roasted a cat in a microwave oven but even they were not brazen enough to consume its flesh. (See Cat Defender post of September 22, 2005 entitled "College Students in South Africa Cook a Cat to Death in a Microwave Oven.")

Since press reports are silent on the issue, apparently neither administrators nor professors have the bon sens to even disassociate themselves from their students' behavior.

Although it is highly unlikely that the students genuinely care about the plight of the trillions of terrestrial animals that are sacrificed each year for human consumption, it is nonetheless a subject that has been ignored for way too long. Factory farms and slaughterhouses are abominable institutions that should be outlawed.

The animals are first of all genetically manipulated which not only endangers their health and well-being but also that of those who consume their flesh, milk, eggs, cheese, and other products. The conditions under which they are bred and raised are nothing short of heartbreaking.

At slaughterhouses, they are cursed, beaten, and dragged down assembly lines where they are often killed without anesthesia. At Agriprocessors in Postville, Iowa, par exemple, a rabbi slits the throats of cows and then a machine turns them upside down and rips out their tracheas. They are then left to thrash about on the floor as they slowly choke to death on their own blood. (See Martha Rosenberg, "Postville, Iowa Needs Four-Hundred Meat Workers -- Start Immediately," in the May 29, 2008 edition of Common Dreams.)

At the Hallmark Meat Packing Company in Chino, California, downer cows are shocked with electricity, waterboarded, and rammed with forklifts in order to force them to their feet so that they can be legally killed. (See Humane Society of the United States, January 30, 2008, "Undercover Investigation Reveals Rampant Animal Cruelty at California Slaughter Plant -- a Major Beef Supplier to America's School Lunch Program.")

Sadly, farm animals are treated as nothing more than inanimate objects. They do not have any rights and their suffering always has fallen upon deaf ears.

The systematic abuse and slaughter of farm animals should be stopped but killing and eating cats contributes absolutely nothing toward the realization of that worthy goal. Tant pis, it only retards the animal rights movement.

Anyone halfway serious about saving farm animals would begin by becoming a vegetarian, not eating cats. Even those who do not care about animal welfare should be careful about what they are putting in their stomachs.

Photos: Blick (dead cat and Mortensen) and Dyrenes Beskyttelse (Munster).

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Justice Denied: Exterminator Who Gassed Three Cats at the Behest of Fox-35 in Richmond Gets Off with a Minuscule Fine


"He (Copi) more than anyone else would know" that cats were protected. "What he did was not legal euthanasia; it was illegal killing."
-- Prosecutor Heidi Barshinger

Another cat killer has escaped justice. This time around it is a thirty-seven-year-old exterminator named Keith Copi of Chesterfield County, Virginia.

Back in June, Fox-35 of Richmond hired Copi, who owns and operates one of Critter Control's one-hundred-twenty nationwide franchises, to remove several dozen feral cats from its property at 1925 Westmoreland Road. Not content with merely getting rid of the existing felines, the station also called in a wrecking crew to dismantle the cats' habitat and posted "No Trespassing" signs in order to scare off their caretakers. (See photos above and below.)

Copi admits to trapping at least three cats on June 23rd and immediately gassing them inside his truck. Following the modus operandi of the evildoers at PETA, he then disposed 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.")

Thanks to the intervention of local animal rights groups and the coverage given events by Fox's rival, WRIC-TV, the carnage was soon brought to an abrupt end. (See Cat Defender post of July 7, 2008 entitled "Fox Affiliate in Richmond Murders at Least Three Cats and Then Sends in the Bulldozers to Destroy Their Homes.")

Some of them, such as Freddie, have been trapped and removed by Save Our Shelters and are awaiting adoption. (See photo at the bottom of the page.) The fate of the remainder of the cats is unknown.

Judgment day for Copi came on August 14th when he was convicted in Henrico County General District Court of three counts of misdemeanor animal cruelty. Obviously no lover of either cats or justice, the unidentified presiding judge then turned around and let him off with a measly $750 fine. He did tack on a suspended three-year jail term but that was only for cosmetic purposes.

Copi will be forced, however, to have his license as an exterminator renewed by the Department of Gaming and Inland Fisheries but due to the slipshod and sketchy reporting of Richmond's Times-Dispatch it is impossible to tell whether that is merely a formality or if he indeed has had his license temporarily revoked.

He also will have to pony up to his shyster, John A. Rockecharlie of Bowen, Champlin, Carr, Foreman, and Rockecharlie, for getting him off but that is about all. Besides, he is planning to appeal and may in the end manage to get his fine reduced to zero. It is even possible that the courts may decide to compensate him for his crimes.

Since Fox-35 paid him $409 for trapping and killing the cats, he is actually only losing $341. In the final analysis, the court decided that the lives of his three victims were worth only a minuscule $113.66 each.

As for Copi's paymasters at Fox-35, they have gotten off completely unscathed. That petit fait underscores one of the glaring differences between animal cruelty laws and homicides because if Fox-35 had ordered the murders of individuals it surely would have been charged along with its hired killer.

Specifically, Copi was charged with gassing companion animals which has been illegal in Virginia since February 22nd of this year. According to the new statute, companion animals only can be killed by licensed veterinarians.

At trial, Copi pleaded not only ignorance of the new law but lamely attempted to justify his criminal behavior on the grounds that it would have been cruel to have driven the cats around town locked in traps inside his truck. He furthermore claimed that his actions had been sanctioned by Animal Control, which is run by the Henrico Police.

The courts seldom recognize pleas of ignorance and they did not in this case either. "He more than anyone else would know" the cats were protected, prosecuting attorney Heidi Barshinger told the Times-Dispatch on August 15th. (See "Man Avoids Jail Time in Killing of Three Cats.") "What he did was not legal euthanasia; it was illegal killing."

In victory, Copi was anything but remorseful. In fact, the only thing weighing on his black conscience is the impact that the new law is going on have on his wallet.

"You'd be better off trying to get rid of a homeless person camping in your yard than having to deal with a stray cat," he sneered to the Times-Dispatch in the article cited supra. Based upon that comment, it thus appears that Copi believes that the homeless, like cats, need to be eradicated.

That is not surprising in that cruelty toward animals usually translates into cruelty toward humans. That fact alone should give even judges who suffer from ailurophobia something to ponder before they turn loose cat killers but, alas, it does not.

For his part, Rockecharlie attempted to convince the court that the killings were justified because Animal Control would have killed them sooner or later anyway. He also cited the American Veterinary Medical Association's (AVMA) approval of the use of gas chambers as a suitable means in order to kill cats.

As a shyster who has been practicing at or near the law for twenty years, he should know far better than anyone else that Virginia law takes precedent over any twaddle put forward by the inveterate cat-haters at AVMA and therefore is not germane to the resolution of this case. Besides, the AVMA is a strident opponent of both TNR and feral cats. (See Cat Defender post of May 16, 2006 entitled "Kansas City Vets Break Ranks with AVMA to Defend Cats Against Bird Advocates, Wildlife Proponents, and Exterminators.")

Even more telling, not only has the AVMA never lifted a finger to protect the lives of farm animals but it actually assists factory farmers and slaughterhouses in the commission of their heinous crimes. Small animal veterinarians are not much better in that they charge pet owners an arm and a leg for their services.

Despite the travesty of the court's ruling, Robin Starr of the Richmond SPCA was pleased with it. "This sends a clear message that people can't simply kill feral cats and other companion animals or treat them cruelly," she told the Times-Dispatch.

The reaction from Becky Robinson of Alley Cat Allies was even more effusive. "Justice has been served," she crowed in a press release dated August 16th. (See "Alley Cat Allies Praises Anti-Cruelty Conviction. Richmond Case Shows Cruelty Toward Feral Cats Not Tolerated in Civil Society.") "More and more of these kinds of cases are being brought to trial nationwide, reflecting an increasing understanding in our criminal justice system that cruelty toward cats is not tolerated in civil society."

Quite obviously, both Starr and Robinson either have an underdeveloped sense of justice or have lost their minds. The three murdered cats have not received anything remotely resembling justice and this decision does little to safeguard the lives of feral and stray cats.

Copi will get a new license and continue to kill cats with impunity. He will either take greater care so as not to get caught again or simply dump them at shelters to be killed.

In fact, Animal Control in Richmond traps and kills cats gratis. "Sometimes it takes us a while to get to them," police sergeant Jimmy Hancock told the Times-Dispatch. "We do the best we can with what we have."

Moreover, companies such as Fox-35 have money to burn and they are not the least bit hesitant about spending it on killing cats. Pest control companies are certainly aware of this and know that the more cats they kill, both feral and domestic, the more money they are going to make. (See Cat Defender post of August 30, 2007 entitled "Texas Couple Files Lawsuit Against Pest Control Company for Trapping and Gassing Their Cat, Butty.")

All is not lost, however, in that Robinson's subaltern, Wendy Anderson, apparently still has her marbles. "This is a serious crime and he should have received jail time," she told ABC News on August 18th. (See "No Jail Time for Convicted Cat Killer.")

Although the statute under which Copi was convicted is a step forward, this ludicrous verdict is another black mark against a state which has an atrocious record on animal rights. (See Cat Defender posts of October 23, 2007 and January 17, 2007 entitled, respectively, "Virginia Does It Again! Farmer Who Drowned at Least Five Cats Gets Off with Slap-on-the-Wrists" and "Loony Virginia Judge Lets Career Criminal Go Free After He Stomps to Death a Fourteen-Year-Old Arthritic Cat.")

The objective should be to outlaw the killing of all cats under all circumstances by both private concerns and public officials alike. In the end, it really does not make much difference whether a cat is gassed by a moneygrubbing pest exterminator or killed off by a jab of sodium pentobarbital administered to the heart by some equally avaricious veterinarian. The cat is just as dead in either case.

It is high time that pest control companies, animal control officers, shelters, and the manufacturers of gas chambers and deadly barbiturates were put out of business and forced for once in their miserable existences to earn an honest buck.

Photos: WRIC-TV (demolition of cats' habitat) and Save Our Shelters (No Trespassing sign and Freddie.)

Monday, August 18, 2008

Ronaldo Escapes Death after Retailer Coughs Up the Exorbitant Bounty That Quarantine Officials Had Placed on His Head


"This tiny kitten has come all the way from Portugal and survived a three-day journey in a container without his mother. This little cat has already survived against the odds and deserves a chance."
-- Petrina Alderman


Imagine being scarcely more than ten-days-old, separated from your mother, stone-broke, and given a fortnight to come up with $3,200 or face the hangman. As cruel and insane as all of that sounds, it is nonetheless the dire straits that Ronaldo recently found himself in after he arrived in not-so-merry old England on a lorry from Portugal. (See photo above.)

Trapped inside a shipping crate, he was discovered sometime during the first week of August by dock workers at the distribution center of clothing retailer Matalan in Corby, Northamptonshire. They immediately contacted Northamptonshire Animals Needing Nurturing and Adoption (NANNA) in nearby Irthlingborough who took custody of the famished, dehydrated, and frightened kitten. After christening him Manuel, they immediately began bottle-feeding him around the clock.

The good-for-nothing troublemakers that comprise the Northamptonshire County Council soon got wind of his arrival and promptly sicced the dogs on him in the form of undercover agents from Trading Standards who descended upon NANNA like a swarm of hungry locusts and spirited away the kitten to an unknown quarantine location. Quarantine officials then renamed him Ronaldo and placed a bounty on his tiny head.

"Our initial inquiries lead us to believe this animal may have arrived into the country in a vehicle that has come from abroad," an unidentified spokesman for the Council screeched to the Kettering Evening Telegraph on August 9th. (See "Kitten Survives Epic Journey but Now Faces Death Sentence.") "In these circumstances we are duty bound to take all appropriate precautions to protect against the risk of any possible rabies infection."

As per usual, that is pure hogwash. Shaking down cat-lovers for $3,200 is what this is all about and nothing more. Even if the rabies threat were real, putting a price on the head of a newborn kitten or any animal is unconscionable.

Nevertheless, cat-lovers were presented with a fait accompli of either ponying up or allowing quarantine officials to kill Ronaldo. "This little kitten has come all the way from Portugal and survived a three-day journey in a container apparently without his mother," Petrina Alderman of NANNA told the Evening Telegraph. "This little cat has already survived against the odds and he deserves a chance."

Next came the inevitable appeal for donations. "We are desperate to raise enough money to keep him alive so when he has finished being in quarantine we can bring him back here and give him a second chance at life," she continued.

Fortunately for Ronaldo, Matalan generously agreed to sponsor him. "We decided to donate the full amount because the kitten was in one of our depots and it has touched everyone in the office," the retailer's Carly Hughes told the Evening Telegraph in a follow-up article also dated August 9th. (See "Clothing Shop Steps In to Save Kitten Ronaldo.") "They were all chuffed to bits to be able to help him." (See photo below of one of the retailer's one-hundred-ninety outlets.)

Pet food supplier Royal Canin has agreed to pay for his food, milk, and to provide him with a bed but even that has not placated NANNA which is still badgering the public for additional funding in order to cover the cost of Ronaldo's care and veterinary bills. These incessant appeals for money prompts one to wonder what NANNA, the County Council, Trading Standards, and the quarantine center do with all the tax dollars and other monies that they receive.

They must either be pocketing it or blowing it on eating, drinking, and illicit sex because it certainly looks like spending tax dollars on the public good is passe.

Au fait, the entire quarantine process has all the trappings of an elaborate scam. First of all, there have not been any confirmed cases of rabies in either animals or humans in Portugal in recent memory. Moreover, since the incubation period for the disease can be as short as two-weeks or as long as a year, it is difficult to fathom how locking up cats for six months significantly enhances either animal or human health.

Although quarantine laws are by definition discriminatory, the English nonetheless allow kittens born to pregnant cats in quarantine to be released after only eight weeks of confinement and this petit fait puts the lie to the notion that safeguarding public health is of paramount importance. Au contraire, kittens born in quarantine are released earlier solely because they were born on English soil, not because they are per se any healthier than those that have arrived from abroad.

More to the point, tourists and immigrants are not quarantined and they often carry far more dangerous pathogens than do cats. Likewise, livestock entering the country is not quarantined and customs officials can do little to keep out invasive plants and animals.

Finally, this situation is made all the more ridiculous by the fact that both countries are integral members of the European Union although the English, unlike the Portuguese, have never signed on to the Schengen Acquis.

Money thus appears to be the raison d'etre behind quarantine laws in both England and America. For example, quarantine officers in Nottinghamshire pulled this same maneuver with Ginger last month as did shelter officials last year in Hendersonville, North Carolina with a cat named China. (See Cat Defender posts of August 11, 2008 and May 17, 2007 entitled, respectively, "Trapped Inside a Crate, Ginger Licks Up Condensation in Order to Survive a Nightmarish Sea Voyage from China to Nottinghamshire" and "North Carolina Shelter Plotting to Kill Cat That Survived Being Trapped for Thirty-Five Days in Cargo Hold of Ship from China.")

The game that quarantine centers are playing with the lives of defenseless cats is a refined version of the same ruse that pet stores and shelters practice with such adroitness. With all of these groups and institutions, it is only the money that matters; cats are merely a commodity that they wheel and deal in, hold for ransom, and kill as their wallets dictate.

All of this is terribly wrong. Cats have an unconditional right to live regardless of whether they have any money or not and for quarantine officials to harm them in any way is tantamount to cold-blooded murder.

Secondly, it is cruel and unjust to imprison cats in cages for six months. They have not broken any laws and they certainly have not received anything remotely resembling due process of law. Besides, disease is rampant at kennels and the care that cats receive is slipshod at best.

Thirdly, it is morally repugnant for any veterinarian or MD to withhold treatment from any animal or individual due solely to an inability to pay. Members of the medical community who do so are a disgrace to their profession and should be stripped of their licenses to practice medicine.

As for Ronaldo, the details of his misadventures are sketchy. Most likely, he was born in the shipping crate but became separated from his mother either while she was out looking for food or somewhere en route to Corby.

The truck in which he was traveling left an unidentified Portuguese city, crossed Spain, and then traveled up the French coast. When it arrived at Coquelles it most likely took the Chunnel to Corby.

In quarantine, Ronaldo is being bottle-fed and is said to be looking well. He will be returned to NANNA in February where an effort will be mounted in order to place him in a good home.

Deprived of his mother's milk for three days, it is a miracle that he did not die in the shipping crate. The second miracle occurred when Matalan agreed to ransom his life. After all that he has been through, surely the Fates can pull one more miracle out of their sleeves for such a deserving young cat.

Photo: Alison Bagley of the Kettering Evening Telegraph (Ronaldo) and BBC (Matalan).

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Birds Killing Cats: Blackie Is Abducted by a Sea Gull and Then Dropped but Her Fall Is Broken by a Barbed-Wire Fence


"All her paws were really badly cut, so we had to work really quickly to get her out. If that hadn't worked there's absolutely no doubt I'd have had to destroy her, which I would have hated to have to do."
-- John Bellshaw


Snatched from her mother by a voracious black-backed gull, a five-week-old kitten named Blackie was saved from a sure and certain death when she landed on a barbed-wire fence after her abductor accidentally dropped her.

The incident occurred late last month at Her Majesty's Naval Base (HMNB) Clyde in Faslane, twenty-five miles outside of Glasgow. The base, which has sixty-five-hundred employees culled from the ranks of the Royal Navy, Ministry of Defense (MOD), Babcock Naval Services, and civilian contractors, is home to England's Trident nuclear submarines. (See photo at the bottom of the page.)

Blackie was the recipient of a second bit of bonne chance in that her abduction was witnessed by John Bellshaw, a pest control officer with MOD, and PC David Duffton, both of whom raced to her rescue. Malheureusement, she was now impaled on the fence.

"She was absolutely terrified," Bellshaw later told Glasgow's Evening Times on July 30th. (See "Kitten Loses One of Its Lives Escaping from Killer Gull.") "We managed to get close enough to hold down the wire with a piece of wood, but the only way I could get her out was to grab one of her paws and pull her through the wire." (See photo above of him with Blackie wearing an Elizabethan collar.)

"All her paws were really badly cut, so we had to work really quickly to get her out," he continued. "If that hadn't worked there's absolutely no doubt I'd have had to destroy her, which I would have hated to have to do."

It is unclear whether it was landing on the barbs or her rescuers' brusque manner that did the most damage; most likely it was a combination of both. In any event, she not only lost a considerable amount of blood but patches of fur as well. (See photo below.)

Once they were able to untangle her from the fence Bellshaw and Duffton rushed her to Cobb's veterinary practice in nearby Helensborough where medical personnel were able to stanch the bleeding and stitch up her paws. She is expected to make a complete recovery and Duffton has offered to give her a proper home.

Three of her siblings have disappeared, however, and Bellshaw suspects that the same gull may have eaten them. "I have seen gulls take ducklings before, but never a kitten," he told the Evening Times in the article cited supra.

Although statistics are not kept on this subject, avian predation of cats and kittens is widespread. Besides gulls, owls, eagles, and hawks also kill cats. (See Cat Defender post of July 31, 2006 entitled "Fifteen-Year-Old Cat Named Bamboo Miraculously Survives Being Abducted and Mauled by a Hoot Owl in British Columbia.")

Bird advocates, both private citizens and employees of the national and state governments, also kill cats with impunity. (See Cat Defender posts of August 7, 2008 and June 27, 2008 entitled, respectively, "Crime Pays! Having Made Fools Out of Galveston Prosecutors, Serial Cat Killer James Munn Stevenson Is Now a Hero and Laughing All the Way to the Bank" and "United States Fish and Wildlife Service and the Navy Hatch a Diabolical Plan to Gun Down Two-Hundred Cats on San Nicolas Island.")

This case also highlights the glaring dissimilarities in how the Royal Navy and its American counterparts treat felines. For their part, the English revere cats for the immeasurable contributions that they make not only toward rodent control but in boosting morale and providing companionship.

"We need the cats as they're great hunters," Bellshaw told the Evening News.

Not only are they well treated and appreciated during their lifetimes, but they are honored long after they are gone. (See Cat Defender post of November 13, 2007 entitled "Simon, Hero of the Yangtze Incident, Is Remembered with a Wreath-Laying Ceremony in Ilford.")

Perhaps even more telling, there was widespread public outrage earlier this year when a trio of teens boarded the museum ship HMS Belfast and drowned its resident feline, Kilo. (See Cat Defender post of July 17, 2008 entitled "Trio of Laughing Yobs Board HMS Belfast and Hurl Kilo to His Death in the Thames.")

The American military, on the other hand, hates cats with a passion. In 2002, military brass issued General Order 1-A which mandated that all non-working animals on American bases be rounded up and killed. This same directive also outlawed TNR and the feeding of cats.

At the American base in Rota, Spain, naval personnel have taken matters one step further by poisoning cats with antifreeze and suffocating kittens in plastic bags which are then dumped in trash cans. (See Stars and Stripes, European Edition, April 28, 2004, "Navy Policy Has Compounded Problem of Stray Cats at Rota, Some Say" and 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.")

In addition to the military's own death squads, outside exterminators, such as Dick Cheney's partners at Kellogg, Brown, and Root, have been brought in to assist in these mass slaughters. (See Cat Defender post of June 16, 2008 entitled "Targeted for Elimination by the American War Machine and Cheney's Henchmen, Baghdad's Cats Are Befriended by an English Mercenary.")

Photos: Glasgow Evening News (Blackie and Bellshaw, injured paw) and Wikipedia (HMNB Clyde).

Monday, August 11, 2008

Trapped Inside a Crate, Ginger Licks Up Condensation in Order to Survive a Nightmarish Sea Voyage from China to Nottinghamshire


"The conditions in the container were awful. There would have been nothing for the cat to eat and he would have been drinking condensation off the container. It would have been very dark and wouldn't have been very pleasant at all."
-- Jane Whiteside


With only dripping condensation for sustenance, a very brave and long-suffering cat named Ginger recently somehow managed to survive a nightmarish five-week, sixty-five-hundred-mile sea voyage from China to the village of Forest Town on the outskirts of Mansfield in Nottinghamshire while trapped inside a shipping crate. (See photo above.)

Press reports are contradictory, but apparently Ginger left the port city of Xiamen (Amoy) in Fujian Province sometime in mid-June. (See photo below of the port as seen from Gulangyu Island.) Following a stop in Singapore, the ship sailed through the Suez Canal before continuing on up the Mediterranean Sea.

This is pure conjecture, but the ship most likely docked in either Venice, Genoa, Nice, or Marseilles and Ginger was then trucked to Hamburg. From there he was placed on another ship and sent onward to the English port of Felixstowe where he was loaded onto a truck and driven to Forest Town.

The crate was finally unsealed by employees of Toray Textiles sometime during the third week of July. (See photo below of the plant.) To say that they were surprised to find more than polyester yarn inside would be an understatement.

"We were obviously surprised when the container of yarn was opened to find a cat looking at us, and still alive after five weeks on the sea," the manufacturer's Donna Harding told the Mansfield Chad on July 28th. (See "Stowaway Cat Uses Up Its Nine Lives on Five-Week Sea Journey.") "The cat was in poor condition and obviously distressed."

That is putting it mildly. Ginger, so named because of the color of his coat, was famished, dehydrated, and obviously at the end of his rope.

Toray immediately contacted Jean Smith of Nottinghamshire County Council's Animal Health and Welfare office which arranged for Ginger to be put up at the Nottinghamshire International Quarantine Center in nearby Retford. Because of England's absurd quarantine laws, Ginger will be confined there in a cage for the next six months. (See bottom photo.)

To subject him to such an ordeal after all that he has been through is the very epitome of cruel and inhumane treatment. Besides, veterinarians certainly do not need six months in order to determine if a cat is carrying any exotic diseases.

The good news, however, is that he is again eating and drinking and beginning to relax. He also has a home waiting for him once his imprisonment is over in that Toray employee Deborah Ford has announced plans to adopt him.

The Council paid for Ginger's first two weeks of confinement and Toray is generously coughing up $2,800 in order to cover the cost of the remaining five and one-half months.

"The conditions in the container were awful," Jane Whiteside of the Quarantine Center told the BBC on July 29th. (See "Cat Hitches Ship Ride from Taiwan (sic).") "There would have been nothing for the cat to eat and he would have been drinking condensation off the container. It would have been very dark and wouldn't have been very pleasant at all."

As far as it is known, no studies have been conducted on the long-term physical and mental effects that these types of hellish experiences have upon cats. It is nonetheless quite obvious that being deprived of food and water for such a lengthy period of time can damage internal organs. The psychological damage is incalculable.

Even more disturbingly, these types of feline misadventures are increasing in frequency as world trade expands. In fact, Ginger is the second cat known to have been mistakenly shipped from China in little more than a year.

In April of 2007, a cat dubbed China by her rescuers was accidentally included in a consignment of motorcycle wearing apparel shipped from Shanghai to Hendersonville, North Carolina. Although there initially was concern that she might be killed by shelter workers, an employee of the importer has reportedly agreed to adopt her.

As with Ginger, China also was forced to endure six months of unnecessary confinement. (See Cat Defender post of May 17, 2007 entitled " North Carolina Shelter Plotting to Kill Cat That Survived Being Trapped for Thirty-Five Days in Cargo Hold of Ship from China.")

In order to get around these idiotic quarantine laws, it would be better if importers simply took stowaway cats to veterinarians and kept mum about their origins. That way the cats would receive the medical attention that they need while simultaneously avoiding being locked up for long periods of time. After all, the goal is to save the cats' lives, not to fatten the coffers of already fabulously wealthy veterinarians.

This also would make finding homes for the cats both easier and cheaper since there are not too many businesses like Toray that are willing to foot the bill for their time in quarantine. Consequently, some stowaways no doubt are killed by shelters simply because their importers are too cheap to provide them with the financial assistance that they require.

Moreover, for every story of this genre with a happy ending there are thousands more that never make the news because the cats either died en route or shortly after being rescued. (See Cat Defender posts of March 21, 2008 and April 25, 2008 entitled, respectively, "Malli Survives a Thirty-Two-Day Voyage from Johor Bahru to Cleveland Trapped Inside a Shipping Crate" and "After Surviving a Lengthy and Hellish Confinement at Sea, Malli Dies Unexpectedly in Foster Care.")

Importers in Angleterre and elsewhere could save the lives of innumerable cats and other animals by doing business only with vendors that agree to double-check their shipping containers for live cargo before sealing them. Quite naturally, the same logic applies to consignments that they ship abroad. That is not asking much and it would not cost exporters a solitary cent.

As for Ginger, he is not out of the woods just yet. His quarantine period has only begun and shelters are notorious for both their unhygienic conditions and the slipshod care that they provide. Hopefully nothing harmful will befall him and he will be home with his new family sometime during the holidays.

Photos: BBC (Ginger), Wikipedia (Xiamen), and Mansfield Chad (Toray and Ginger in a cage).

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Crime Pays! Having Made Fools Out of Galveston Prosecutors, Serial Cat Killer James Munn Stevenson Is Now a Hero and Laughing All the Way to the Bank


"Actually, I gained hundreds and hundreds of clients because of this (killing cats). This story was in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times. As far as my business is concerned, it was a godsend."
-- James Munn Stevenson


With all due respect to The Shadow, crime does pay and it pays quite handsomely at that. Doubters need only to examine the life and times of serial cat killer James Munn Stevenson who has grown richer, cockier and, above all, more evil since a Galveston jury failed to convict him last November. (See Cat Defender posts of November 20, 2007 and November 22, 2006 entitled, respectively, "Bird Lovers All Over the World Rejoice as Serial Killer James M. Stevenson Is Rewarded by Galveston Court for Gunning Down Hundreds of Cats" and "Evil Galveston Bird Lover Is Finally Arrested After Having Gunned Down Hundreds of Cats.")

"Actually, I gained hundreds and hundreds of clients because of this," he boasted to the San Antonio Current on July 30th. (See "A Necessary Kill?") "This story was in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times. As far as my business is concerned, it was a godsend." (See mug shot above.)

That is all true enough in that Stevenson is as equally adept at raking in the shekels as he is at gunning down defenseless cats with his trusty .22-caliber rifle. Not only does he operate a profitable bed and breakfast in Galveston and conduct bird-watching tours, but he also has landed a job teaching at the College of the Mainland in nearby Texas City. (See photo below of the student center on Lake Eckert.)

It is not exactly clear what this cretin from Tallahassee has been hired to blather on about since all he knows is how to kill cats and to use a rifle. While it is conceivable that academic tastes may have nosedived over the years, ailurophobia and marksmanship traditionally have not been considered to be legitimate academic disciplines.

It is not, however, surprising that the school would hire him in that most universities are willing to do almost anything for an easy buck. Besides, there are as many cat-haters amongst the so-called intelligentsia as there are within the public at large. (See Cat Defender post of July 31, 2007 entitled "Cal State Long Beach Is Using the Presence of Coyotes as a Pretext in Order to Get Rid of Its Feral Cats.")

His entree into college teaching does, however, raise some serious issues. Since just about all campuses are home to feral cats, do administrators at College of the Mainland allow him to carry his rifle on campus?

More importantly, what possible defense would the school have if he accidentally shot a student, worker, or fellow faculty member while taking potshots at cats? It is doubtful that there is a jury in the land that would not hold the school liable since it knowingly endangered lives by deliberately hiring a psychopath with a known proclivity toward violence.

Furthermore, Stevenson has emerged as a hero with birders and wildlife biologists who cheer on his murderous rampages. "I'm normally greeted as a hero with the environmental types," he proudly admitted to the Current. "I don't go out of my way to tell people who I am, but a lot of people remember the cat incident and are very complimentary."

On that point, Stevenson is merely pointing out the obvious. As far as birders and wildlife biologists are concerned, the only good cat is a dead one. Moreover, if they, like Stevenson, can secure either private or welfare funding in order to finance their killing sprees that is so much the better. (See Cat Defender posts of June 27, 2008 and July 10, 2008 entitled, respectively, "United States Fish and Wildlife Service and the Navy Hatch a Diabolical Plan to Gun Down Two-Hundred Cats on San Nicolas Island" and "The Ventura County Star Races to the Defense of the Cat-Killers on San Nicolas Island.")

Nor are they the least bit hesitant about appropriating other species for their own designs. (See Cat Defender posts of May 6, 2008 and March 15, 2007 entitled, respectively, "National Audubon Society Wins the Right for Invasive Species of Shorebirds to Prey Upon Unborn Horseshoe Crabs" and "Connecticut Audubon Society Shows Its True Colors by Calling for the Slaughter of Feral Cats, Mute Swans, Mallards, Canada Geese, and Deer.")

By extending their wholehearted financial and political support for Stevenson, birders and wildlife biologists have sacrificed the last vestiges of their rapidly dwindling credibility and exposed themselves as being cut from the same piece of cloth as their champion. The legal establishment may continue to turn a blind eye to their heinous crimes but the public is sure to remember them.

By this own admission, Stevenson owes much of his notoriety and bulging coffers to the support that he has received from the capitalist media. (See Cat Defender posts of December 8, 2007 and May 1, 2007 entitled, respectively, "All the Lies That Fit: Scheming New York Times Hires a Bird Lover to Render His 'Unbiased' Support for James M. Stevenson" and "Houston Chronicle Launches a Propaganda Offensive on Behalf of Serial Cat Killer Jim Stevenson.")

The most egregious mistake, however, was committed by prosecutors in Galveston who ignored pleas from Alley Cat Allies and others and refused to retry Stevenson after the jury deadlocked eight to four in favor of conviction after a measly eight and one-half hours of deliberation. Presumably the presiding judge, Frank T. Carmona, was too cheap to sequester the panelists overnight.

Of course, it is possible that he either had a golfing date or shares Stevenson's inveterate hatred of cats. Regardless of his motivation, the decision to declare a mistrial so soon was inexcusable.

In their rush to be shed of this controversial case as quickly as possible, both prosecutors and Carmona demonstrated not only how little they value feline life but also their contempt for the integrity of the judicial system that they supposedly serve. On a more practicable level, they surely must have known that Stevenson and his minions were going to rub their noses in the muck and expose them as derelicts and fools.

In order to have ensured that justice was done and respect for the law upheld, prosecutors should have retried Stevenson as many times as necessary until a jury reached a unanimous verdict one way or another. Just because the going is slow and costly is not a valid reason to abandon the fight.

Worst still, demons like Stevenson never mend their evil ways. Au contraire, their successes serve only to embolden them to commit additional crimes.

It therefore is highly likely that he is still killing cats. He probably has switched his modus operandi from rifles to poison and is more circumspect in going about his deadly deeds but that is about all.

Au fait, he pretty much came out and admitted as much in the interview with the Current. At least, that is the distinct impression that he left with reporter Kiko Martinez.

Photos: Galveston Police Department (Stevenson) and Wikipedia (College of the Mainland).

Monday, August 04, 2008

Brooklyn Man Gets Locked Up in a Nuthouse and then Loses Digs, Job, and Honey All for Attempting to Save His Friend's Cat, Rumi


"The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn, like fabulous Roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars."
-- Jack Kerouac


From out of the file labeled "No Good Deed Goes Unpunished" comes the bizarre story of forty-nine-year-old contractor Chris Muth who last month was unjustly locked up in a nuthouse for six days all because he attempted to rescue a cat that had become trapped inside the walls of his condominium in the Carroll Gardens section of south Brooklyn.

The saga began on July 7th when Muth agreed to take care of a black seven-year-old Persian and American Shorthair mix named Rumi for his friend, Yanusz Gilewicz. Frightened at being uprooted from his home and subsequently marooned in unfamiliar surroundings, the cat bolted and fell through a hole underneath the bathroom sink.

With the cat trapped thirty-feet below in a narrow shaft, Muth enlarged the hole but was still unable to reach Rumi. (See photo above of him with Rumi and the one below of him and some of his handiwork.)

Muth next sought and received permission from building superintendent Doug Steiner to enter an adjoining apartment and to drill another hole in the wall. When that proved to be unsuccessful, he drilled several more holes which quickly drew Steiner's ire.

"'What the hell are you doing? The owner's going to flip out'," Steiner reportedly told Muth according to the July 25th edition of the New York Post. (See "Krazy Kat Got Me Kommitted.")

Undeterred, Muth entered a third unit and started knocking holes in the walls which caused Steiner to blow his gasket. He telephoned the cops and they carted Muth away to Long Island College Hospital in nearby Cobble Hill where he was held for observation in the psychiatric ward for six days.

Obviously not being cat-lovers themselves, the shrinks could not believe that anyone would go to all that trouble just to rescue a cat and consequently they dismissed Muth as a crackpot. "He has the bizarre delusion that he was trying to save a cat of his friend," medical records obtained by The Brooklyn Paper on July 24th disclosed. (See "Trapped Cat Drives Man to Psych Ward.")

While Muth was confined to the nuthouse, Rumi remained trapped inside the walls of the former house of God that was being converted into apartments for the affluent. Animal Care and Control (ACC) was finally prevailed upon to intervene but their rescue efforts were allegedly hampered by kindhearted neighbors who were dropping food down the shaft to the starving cat.

"Because he wasn't too hungry, it wasn't really enticing for him to go into the devices we had lowered down there," ACA's Mike Pastore told The Brooklyn Paper in the article cited supra.

Perseverance finally paid off, however, and Rumi wandered into a lasso dangled by ACA on July 21st. The cat, who is named after a famous thirteenth century Persian poet, emerged from his fifteen days of solitary confinement hungry, thirsty, and dirty but otherwise in good shape except for a minor respiratory ailment.

"I knew he'd survive," Gilewicz said confidently to The Brooklyn Paper. "This cat is a fighter."

Rumi's hellish ordeal was now over but for Muth his travails were only beginning. In fact, the heartless Steiner could not even wait until he got out of the nuthouse before evicting him from his condo.

"'You're a nice guy, but you're too exciting and we're going to have to ask you to leave'," Steiner reportedly told Muth according to the New York Post's July 26th edition. (See "Feline's Fine -- Not Him.") Moreover, the treacherous Steiner would not even allow him to return for his personal belongings but instead cleaned out his apartment and gave them to his girlfriend for safekeeping.

One of the most distasteful things about living in Gotham is that it is chock-full of two-faced, back-stabbing sidewinders like Steiner. If it is in their interest to be cooperative, New Yorkers can be decent enough blokes but their interests and temperaments can change in a New York minute and suddenly Dr. Jekyll is now Mr. Hyde. Denizens of the sprawling metropolis have elevated cutthroat and underhanded behavior to an art form that would turn even Cesare Borgia green with envy.

Not about to be outdone, his employer also gave him the boot. "I lost a five-thousand-dollar job with a contractor who said, 'You should have shot the cat, left it there and come to work'," Muth related to the Post in the July 26th article cited supra.

Of all the inhumane and asinine utterances ever made by ailurophobes that has to rank at the top of the pile. Not only is it illegal to discharge a firearm within the city limits, but to fire blindly through a hole in the floor is just plain moronic. Since Long Island College Hospital is so hungry for business it should ask Muth for this guy's name and then go after him.

If losing his job and being evicted were not punishment enough for his good deeds, his girlfriend, Marianne Young, also has given him the Bill Bailey treatment by tossing out both him and his belongings. "His optimism approached delusion," she kvetched to the Post. "He's hypermanic. I was the one who did the right thing by calling Animal Control. They are the real heroes."

At least Rumi's grateful owner is sticking by his friend. "I feel terrible for him," Gilewicz told the Post on July 26th.

Although saving Rumi has been a costly experience, Muth does not have any regrets. "Was going into the apartment and making holes a bad idea? I don't think so," he told The Brooklyn Paper. "I can fix holes, but I can't bring a cat back to life."

Upon reflection, he does concede however that if he had known that rescuing Rumi was going to get him into so much trouble he might have found another way of getting him out. In the beginning, he did attempt to interest the fire and police departments in Rumi's plight but both declined to help.

That certainly is out of character for a city where the uniformed services and humane groups generally go out of their way in order to rescue cats. (See Cat Defender posts of March 7, 2008 and April 20, 2006 entitled, respectively, "Georgia Is Found Safe and Sound After Spending a Harrowing Twenty-Five Days Lost in the Bowels of the New York City Subway System" and "Molly Is Finally Rescued After Spending Two-Weeks Trapped Inside the Walls of an English Deli in Greenwich Village.")

Nonetheless, this case raises some disturbing questions about the conduct of not only the police and fire departments but ACA as well. If any of those agencies had responded in a timely manner to Muth's entreaties, Rumi could have been promptly rescued and he would not have been put through his ordeal.

The individuals running the psychiatric ward at Long Island College Hospital should not be allowed to escape censor either. In fact, a prima facie case could be made that anyone who would lock up a man for attempting to save the life of a cat in extremis is in need of institutionalization themselves.

As for those who stubbornly insist that Muth is off his rocker, it could be countered that the world needs more caring individuals like him regardless of their mental stability. "The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn, like fabulous Roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars," Jack Kerouac wrote in On the Road. Or, as Roger Waters once wrote about Syd Barrett, "Shine on, you crazy diamond."

On a more practical level, finding new digs in the Big Apple can be a daunting task unless one is as rich as Croesus. A man of Muth's talents should not, however, encounter too many difficulties in finding work.

As far as his former girlfriend is concerned, he is better off without her. Besides, it is doubtful that he will be lacking in female companionship now that he is famous.

Au contraire, he will more likely than not be forced to carry a stick in order to beat off the women. The only dicey part will be in finding one with enough moola so as to be too proud in order to allow her man to work for a living.

Paul Klusman and T.J. Wingard, a pair of aerospace engineers from Wichita, most defintely have not experienced any shortage of female admirers since their wildly successful video entitled "An Engineer's Guide to Cats" appeared on YouTube back in February. (See photo above of Klusman with Zoey, Wingard with Ginger, and Oscar in the foreground.)

Not only have they received a slew of marriage proposals from around the world but some "extremely interesting" photographs as well. (See Kansas City Star, June 20, 2008, "Wichita Yodeling Cats a YouTube Sensation.")

There is a certain je ne sais quoi about a cat man that seems to drive the women wild. Furthermore, it is generally conceded that caring for a cat is a good primer on how to talk to and treat a woman.

Photos: Ben Muessig of The Brooklyn Paper (Muth and Rumi), Gregory P. Mango of the New York Post (Muth on ladder), and the Associated Press (Klusman and Wingard with cats.)