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Cat Defender

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

Monday, March 30, 2009

Duckie Is Saved by a Compassionate Veterinarian after Family Practitioner Demands Either C$1,600 or Her Life

"We're here for the animals that need us. We don't practice because that's how we're going to make a million dollars. We practice because we believe in what we do."
-- Deb Carroll

After three-month-old Duckie had fallen and broken her left rear leg, her guardians rushed her to their regular veterinarian who demanded C$1,600 up front for life-saving hip surgery. Either unwilling or unable to pay that amount, they first attempted to fob off the Siamese kitten on the moneygrubber who responded by threatening to kill her.

Duckie then was unceremoniously dumped at the Edmonton Humane Society (EHS) in mid-January. It was there that her plight came to the attention of an unidentified veterinary technician who in turn contacted Dr. Deb Carroll of Grenada Veterinary Clinic in nearby Sherwood Park.

Without so much as a moment's hesitation, Carroll graciously agreed to come in on one of her days off, February 16th, and operate on Duckie gratis. As the result of her magnanimity, Duckie now has made a complete recovery and has only a scar on her leg to show for her recent travails.

Moreover, her death row reprieve and restored health are not the only good things to have happened to her in recent days. For instance, after having been sterilized and microchipped she went home to a new family on March 4th.

"We're here for the animals that need us. We don't practice because that's how we're going to make a million dollars," Carroll told the Edmonton Sun on March 5th. (See "Veterinarian Gives Kitty a New Lease on Life.") "We practice because we believe in what we do."

Since most small animal veterinarians are better known for, inter alia, withholding their services from impecunious cats and dogs, killing off, as opposed to treating, the sick and elderly, the administration of unnecessary and sometimes harmful vaccinations, and charging exorbitant fees for sterilizations, Carroll's attitude is indeed a breath of fresh air. The collusion of large animal veterinarians with factory farmers, slaughterhouses, vivisectors, racing enthusiasts (horses, Greyhounds, huskies, etc.), and others who systematically abuse animals, is even more reprehensible.

"(Carroll and the technician) went above and beyond to help with this kitten and, essentially, save her life and give her that quality of life and the opportunity to have that second chance and go up for adoption," Shawna Randolph of EHS told the Sun in the article cited supra. (See photo above of her and Duckie.) "We're so thankful she took time on her stat (statutory) holiday, on Family Day, to help out with this kitten."

Although the Society maintains a Sick and Injured Animals Fund, Carroll's intervention has allowed it to conserve those precious resources for future emergencies. "Duckie's getting a lot of attention, but there are so many other animals in our care...that have their own stories," Randolph continued. "Maybe not as drastic as this one, but every animal that's homeless has a touching story."

Although rare, Carroll is not alone in her idealism and commitment to saving impoverished cats. For example, Mairead Berkely and Tommy Hefferman of Avondale Veterinary Hospital in Arklow recently donated several months of their time and resources in an attempt to save a cat named Sparkles whose head was partially blown off by fiends armed with a firecracker. (See Cat Defender posts of November 20, 2008 and January 12, 2009 entitled, respectively, "Trusting Domestic Cat Has Her Left Ear Blown Off with a Firecracker by Cretins Outside an Irish Bar" and "Disoriented and Racked with Excruciating Pain, Seizures, and Infections, Sparkles Loses Her Long Struggle to Live.")

Then there is Geoffrey Adams of Pasco Animal Hospital in New Port Richey, Florida, who donated his services in an effort to save a cat named Arwen who was mortally wounded last year by an arrow. (See photo directly above.)

His dedication not only extended to amputating Arwen's infected leg and medicating her, but he also spent a weekend hand-feeding her. (See Cat Defender post of May 13, 2008 entitled "Just When It Appeared That She Was Going to Make It, Arwen Dies Suddenly after Being Shot in the Abdomen with a Barbed Arrow.")

On the other hand, some veterinarians save cats through simple acts of compassion as opposed to medical skill. Shannon Sierra of Best Friends Animal Clinic in Medford, Oregon, is one such individual.

In particular, he saved the life of an orange cat named Maxwell by taking him in and making him his office cat. Since Maxwell was blind and toothless as well as homeless, he would not have survived much longer on his own without Sierra's kindness. (See Cat Defender post of September 27, 2007 entitled "Abandoned to Die in a World of Darkness and Without Even Teeth, Maxwell Is Saved by the Compassion of a Rescue Group and a Veterinarian.")

All animal rescue groups are dreadfully underfunded. It therefore is a real shame that the various economic recovery plans that recently have been introduced around the world have not included a few dollars for no-kill shelters, cat sanctuaries, sterilization initiatives, and veterinarians like Carroll, Berkely, Hefferman, Adams, and Sierra.

Such initiatives would not only have saved innumerable lives but created jobs as well. Instead, the world's wealth is being squandered on crooked bankers, militarists, vivisectors, and other evildoers.

One such organization that could have used a helping hand is the Washington Animal Rescue League which provides either free or low-cost veterinary care to the pets of the poor and unemployed in the nation's capital. Not only has it recently experienced a dramatic increase in demand for its services, but it additionally has been forced to establish a food pantry for the benefit of owners unwilling to even provide sustenance for their cats and dogs.

Compounding matters further, some individuals are returning pets that they had previously adopted from the shelter. (See Washington Post, March 15, 2009, "No Job; No Easy Cure for Pets" and MSNBC, March 26, 2009, "Steep Vet Bills, Sour Economy Doom More Pets.")

Sans doute, individuals who lose their houses and apartments have a difficult time of holding on to cats and dogs, but that should not be an insurmountable hurdle for the domiciled. After all, the procurement of shelter is about ninety-nine per cent of the task of living for both individuals and animals alike.

Cats, in particular, eat very little and most people should be able to scrape up enough money in order to purchase food for them. In those rare instances where even that is not feasible, it is perfectly acceptable to feed them table scraps and water. In fact, commercial pet food has only been around since the 1950s.

In addition to the numerous pet food banks that have sprung up in recent years, Food Stamps and WIC coupons are plentiful as are regular soup kitchens and food banks. Individuals who therefore use a lack of food as an excuse in order to abandon animals deserve censure, not pity.

Until the day arrives when the animals are provided with the medical assistance that they so richly deserve regardless of either the willingness or ability of their guardians to pay, cats like Duckie will remain dependent upon the compassion and goodwill of conscientious veterinarians such as Deb Carroll.

Photos: CBC (Duckie and Randolph) and Pasco Animal Hospital (Adams).

Monday, March 23, 2009

Mistakenly Tossed Out with the Trash, Autumn Survives a Harrowing Trip to the City Dump in Order to Live Another Day

"She (Autumn) was just looking all in shock. We were both in shock and just looked at each other, not knowing what was what."
-- Wilbert Davis

Just as cemeteries exist for the final disposition of human and animal remains, city dumps serve as repositories for all the inanimate objects that society discards. They are desolate places for the most part and, with the notable exception of whatever scavengers retrieve, not much that is deposited there ever makes its way back to the world of the living.

Into one of these wastelands, a two-year-old American Shorthair named Autumn was cast on February 20th. Trapped inside a box-spring that her guardians carelessly had discarded earlier on Valentine's Day, she was destined to die a slow and lonely death.

Deprived of both water and food, she already had worn her claws down to a frazzle in a futile attempt to fight her way out of what only days before had been a favorite hiding spot of hers and her mates, Zoey and Miss Patty, at Ann and Wayne Crews' residence in Richmond, Virginia. Now, the old familiar box-spring was looking more and more like her coffin.

All that stood between her and a premature date with the Grim Reaper was fifty-four-year-old Wilbert Davis of Haynes Home Furnishings. He and his partner, Norman Bleech, were in the process of dumping the box-spring and mattress at the city dump in Suffolk and returning to their warehouse in Williamsburg when Davis heard what he thought was a faint meow coming from inside the bundle. He and Bleech flipped it over, spied Autumn, and then freed her.

"She was just looking all in shock," Davis later recalled for Zootoo of Secaucus on March 1st. (See "Lost Cat Found Living in Mattress.") "We we're both in shock, and just looked at each other, not knowing what was what." (See photo above of him alongside the Crewses and Autumn.)

Autumn, whose fortunes quickly had gone from abysmally bad to fantastically good, was even luckier than she could have imagined in that her savior turned out to be an animal lover. "I'm an animal lover myself, and when I heard that this customer had been calling every day about her cat, crying and whatever else, I could understand why," he added in the interview with Zootoo. "It's like your child. Every day, I pray for my dog along with the rest of my family before I go to work."

It therefore is not surprising that his faith played a major role in his decision to rescue Autumn. "I do things from the heart. It was all through God," he told the Richmond News-Dispatch on February 25th. (See "Cat Rescued from Box-Spring After Being Lost for a Week.") "I can't take credit. God used me to do this."

If Autumn had been discovered by an ailurophobe, say a bird advocate or a wildlife biologist, she would not have had a chance. Even if she eventually had been able to claw her way to freedom she not only would have been unable to find her way back home but also subject to attacks from birds of prey and other scavengers that frequent city dumps.

Autumn's traumatic ordeal began when the Crewses accepted receipt of a new bedroom set from Haynes. Ordinarily that would not have created a problem if the Crewses had not in turn asked the deliverymen to cart away their old mattress and box-spring.

On the way out the door, Zoey had scampered out of the box-spring but even that flashing warning sign was insufficient to prompt the unthinking Crewses to either check it for Autumn or to search the house for her. As a result, she was forced to spend the next six days trapped inside the box-spring as it wended its way seventy-four kilometers from Richmond to Haynes' warehouse in Williamsburg and then another sixty-one kilometers to the dump in Suffolk.

Somewhere along the way the mattress and box-spring were fastened together with tape and this effectively closed off all escape routes. It is nonetheless odd that her presence was not detected during this process.

Eventually, the Crewses' faux pas began to dawn on them. "When the deliverymen were gone, we started looking for Autumn, and we just couldn't find her," sixty-one-year-old Ann told Zootoo. "We turned the house upside down."

It was at about that time that they belatedly put two and two together and solved the puzzle of the missing moggy. "I thought, oh my gosh, I bet Autumn was in the box-spring with Zoey," she told WAVY-TV of Portsmouth on March 12th. (See "Purr-fect Ending to a Wild Cat Nap.")

The Crewses then contacted Haynes in a futile effort to gain access to its warehouse in order to search for Autumn. They additionally touched bases with Chesterfield Animal Control, blanketed the neighborhood with "Lost Cat" posters, and even took out an ad in a local rag.

It was at this critical juncture that they committed their second grievous error in judgment by squandering precious time gassing on the blower with Haynes instead of taking the bull by the horns and driving to Williamsburg and demanding that the mattress and box-spring be promptly returned to them. If Haynes still had been uncooperative, they could have sought emergency relief from the courts.

After all, it is too easy for people to say no over the telephone and, more importantly, Autumn's life was hanging in the balance. Under such circumstances, cat owners should never take the cheap and lazy route; they would not behave in such a lackadaisical fashion if the life of one of their children was at stake and the same logic should be applied to missing cats.

In the meantime, Davis and Bleech immediately knew that Autumn was a domesticated cat as opposed to either a feral or a stray because of the purple rhinestone collar that she was wearing. They accordingly took her back to their warehouse and treated her to a saucer of milk and some table scraps.

The long-suffering cat was not out of the woods just yet, however. For although the Crewses had outfitted her with a collar, it contained neither a nameplate nor a tag. Consequently, Davis and Bleech were forced to consult their records in order to ascertain exactly where they had picked up the mattress and box-spring.

Besides contributing absolutely nothing toward reuniting lost cats with their distressed owners, decorative collars can be every bit as harmful to animals as their more conventional counterparts. (See Cat Defender post of May 28, 2008 entitled "Collars Turn into Death Traps for Trooper and Que but Both Are Rescued at the Eleventh Hour.")

Despite that impediment, Haynes and the Crewses eventually were able to piece together their respective narratives and Autumn was reunited with her guardians at around 5:30 p.m. on February 21st. "We were just ecstatic," Ann told Zootoo. "We hugged her and gave her lots of treats."

For rescuing and returning Autumn, the Crewses gave Davis a $50 reward which he generously has agreed to split with Bleech. Since most humane organizations charge an adoption fee of approximately $100, the Crewses' gratitude should have been at least equal to that amount.

Moreover, the paltry monetary value that they placed on Autumn's life is more in keeping with the ridiculously lenient fines that judges in Virginia mete out to cat killers. (See Cat Defender posts of January 17, 2007, October 23, 2007, and August 21, 2008 entitled, respectively, "Loony Virginia Judge Lets Career Criminal Go Free After He Stomps to Death a Fourteen-Year-Old Arthritic Cat," "Virginia Does It Again! Farmer Who Drowned at Least Five Cats Gets Off with a Slap-on-the-Wrists," and "Justice Denied: Exterminator Who Gassed Three Cats at the Behest of Fox-35 in Richmond Gets Off with a Minuscule Fine.")

Of course, it could be that cheapness flows as freely in the veins of Virginians as does moonshine and hominy. There can not be any disputing, however, that Davis deserved a few more bob in return for his good deed, especially in light of the fact that he is forced to work two jobs in order to make ends meet.

Haynes, likewise, is not completely blameless either. Although it deserves praise for its willingness to foot the bill for Autumn's trip to the vet, it could have saved itself that expenditure if it had been willing to thoroughly search the mattress and box-spring as soon as the Crewses telephoned with their fears and suspicions.

As for Autumn, her travails left her famished, dehydrated, and fatigued. At the veterinarian's office, electrolytes, fluids, steroids, and a jab of B12 were administered and as a consequence her physical health should have returned to normal by about this time.

Her mental health could be a different story, however. In addition to possibly having developed a fear of tight places, her pride may have been wounded as the result of being tossed out in the rubbish. After all, cats have long memories.

In Roughing It, Mark Twain recounts the story of Dick Baker's gray cat, Tom Quartz, who one day fell asleep inside a mine and was blown sky-high when the miners set off a charge. He miraculously survived the blast but as the result he, quite understandably, developed an fervent prejudice against quartz mining.

The celebrated storyteller vividly described Tom Quartz's indignation and wounded pride in the following memorable passage:

"Well sir, it warn't no use to try to apologize -- we couldn't say a word. He took a sort of a disgusted look at hisself, 'n' then he looked at us -- an' it was just exactly the same as if he had said -- 'Gents, maybe you think it's smart to take advantage of a cat that ain't had no experience of quartz minin', but I think different' -- an' then he turned on his heel 'n' marched off home without ever saying another word."

Along about the time that Autumn's misadventures were coming to a joyous conclusion, Callie's were just beginning and they, too, involved discarded furniture. The only differences were that Callie had become trapped inside a couch as opposed to a box-spring and she wound up in a new home as opposed to the city dump.

Her troubles began on February 19th when her owner, Spokane resident Bob Killion, donated a couch to the Value Village thrift store. On February 25th, Vicky Mendenhall purchased the couch for $27 and took it home to her house on North Madison Street.

She and other family members immediately heard meowing but were unable to locate the source and consequently mistakenly concluded that it was coming from underneath the house. Finally on March 10th, her boyfriend, Christ Mund, felt something stir against the back of his legs from inside the sofa and when he investigated he discovered Callie.

He next cut a hole in the upholstery and freed her. (See photo above.) That does not, however, explain how she got inside the couch in the first place.

Just as it was Autumn's good fortune to be rescued by an animal lover, it just so happened that Mendenhall is not only a cat-lover but also works for Spokanimal C.A.R.E. She accordingly took Callie to work with her where she prevailed upon a veterinarian to examine her.

Other than being famished and dehydrated as the result of going nineteen days without sustenance, the cat was in remarkably good shape. (See photo directly above of her with Mendenhall.)

Mendenhall then contacted Value Village but management promptly revealed itself to be every bit as out to lunch on this subject as Haynes was when queried about Autumn. The tunnel vision exhibited by both firms is most likely attributable to their being run by bean counters. At her wit's end, Mendenhall turned to the local media for help.

A local television station did a feature on Callie's plight which was seen by an acquaintance of Killion's who in turn relayed the good news to him. He thus was able to reclaim his cat on March 12th.

"It was one of the most joyous things ever to happen to me except for the birth of (my) children and marriage," he told the CBC's As It Happens on March 16th. (See "Couch Cat.") "It's a miracle. I can't describe the joy."

Diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2001 and given only eighteen months in which to live, the former master sergeant with the United States Air Force is well-acquainted with miracles. Even more illuminating, he credits Callie along with his other resident feline, Tiger, and his Pomeranian, Lola, with helping to save his life.

Cats are legendary for cheating death and their narrow escapes are fodder for the tabloids. None of that substantially alters the sobering reality that for every lionized survivor hundreds more die in obscurity.

Much more importantly, cats such as Autumn and Callie need not have suffered if only their guardians had acted more responsibly. Because of their diminutiveness and penchant for hiding, the movement of all individuals, animals, and objects in and out of their environments must be treated as potential hazards.

Moving vans and even packages sent through the post can place cats in jeopardy. (See Cat Defender posts of November 6, 2007 and July 21, 2008 entitled, respectively, "Trapped in a Moving Van for Five Days, Texas Cat Named Neo Is Finally Freed in Colorado" and "Janosch Survives Being Sent Through the Post from Bayern to the Rhineland.")

Home repairs present their own set of dangers. (See Cat Defender posts of September 8, 2008 and August 4, 2008 entitled, respectively, "Bonny Is Rescued at the Last Minute after Spending Seven Weeks Entombed Underneath a Bathtub" and "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.")

Outdoor storage sheds easily can be transformed into tombs if owners get careless. (See Cat Defender post of January 23, 2008 entitled "Emmy Survives Being Locked in an Outdoor Storage Shed for Nine Weeks Without Either Food or Water.")

It is, however, conventional modes of transportation that take the heaviest toll on cats. For example, cats can wind up stranded hundreds of miles from home simply by getting trapped inside delivery trucks. (See Cat Defender posts of December 12, 2007 and August 18, 2008 entitled, respectively, "Bored with Conditions at Home, Carlsberg Stows Away on a Beer Lorry for the Adventure of a Lifetime" and "Ronaldo Escapes Death after Retailer Coughs Up the Exorbitant Bounty That Quarantine Officials Had Placed on His Head.")

Cats even have been known to climb aboard freight trains. (See Cat Defender post of June 7, 2007 entitled "Rascal Hops a Freight Train in South Bend and Unwittingly Winds Up in Chattanooga.")

Nevertheless, of all modern modes of conveyance it is cargo ships that, arguably, endanger and kill the most cats. (See Cat Defender posts of December 9, 2005 and July 16, 2007 entitled, respectively, "Adventurous Cat Named Emily Makes Unscheduled Trip to France in Hold of Cargo Ship" and "Accidentally Trapped in a Shipping Crate, Calico Cat Named Spice Survives Nineteen-Day Sea Voyage from Hawaii to San Bernardino.")

This is an especially egregious problem in the Orient. (See Cat Defender posts of August 11, 2008, April 25, 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," "After Surviving a Lengthy and Hellish Confinement at Sea, Malli Dies Unexpectedly in Foster Care," and "North Carolina Shelter Plotting to Kill Cat That Survived Being Trapped for Thirty-Five Days in Cargo Hold of Ship from China.")

Finally, cat owners additionally need to be cognizant of the fact that it is not only furniture that moves around that can be harmful to their companions but stationary pieces as well. For instance, it recently was revealed that some types of furniture manufactured in China contain sachets of a fungicide known as dimethyl fumarate (DMF).

Concealed inside in order to retard the growth of mold during transport, DMF is normally inert but it can turn deadly whenever it is exposed to body heat. In particular, it has been blamed for the deaths of two individuals and a cat in Paris. (See Daily Telegraph, December 4, 2008, "Toxic Armchair Kills Father, Son, and Cat, Family Claims.")

That is just one more reason why consumers should be wary of anything that is not either grown or manufactured locally. Even bread baked a few hundred miles away and trucked in contains far too many preservatives to ever be entirely safe for consumption.

Photos: Ann Crews (Autumn, Davis, and the Crewses), KREM-TV of Spokane (Callie and couch), and Christopher Anderson of The Spokesman Review of Spokane (Callie and Mendenhall).

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Eco, Who for Years Was a Mainstay at a Small Massachusetts Police Department, Is Run Down and Killed by a Motorist

"He was part of the family here."
-- detective Stephen Trepanier

Another cat belonging to the law enforcement community has been killed by a motorist. This time around it was a handsome black one named Eco who for the past eleven years was an integral part of the police department in Hamilton, Massachusetts. (See photo above.)

Eco, shorthand for the department's Emergency Center Operations, was killed on February 15th on Bay Road in front of Winthrop School. Although press reports have dodged the issue, more than likely he was killed by a hit-and-run driver.

Eco was buried near Hamilton Cemetery and the officers later held a small memorial service in his honor. Their willingness to do that much for him stands in stark contrast to the coldhearted behavior of Betty Currie who not only had Bill Clinton's former cat, Socks, killed off but his corpse cremated and his ashes parceled out to friends without so much as a service of any kind. (See Cat Defender post of March 12, 2009 entitled "Too Cheap and Lazy to Care for Him During His Final Days, Betty Currie Has Socks Killed Off and His Corpse Burned.")

"He was part of the family here," detective Stephen Trepanier told The Salem News of Beverly on March 2nd. (See "Police Cat Killed by a Car.")

In addition to serving as the station house's head mouser and official mascot, Eco helped the officers to relieve some of the daily stress that comes with wearing a badge and carrying a gun. He also provided comfort not only to the victims of crime but to those who had run afoul of the law as well.

"It (Eco) wasn't a problem. Everybody loves pets. It would kind of calm the situation down here," Trepanier added in an interview with officer.com of Beltsville, Maryland, on March 3rd. (See "Massachusetts 'Police Cat' Killed by Car.")

Furthermore, it was not unheard of for Eco to crawl into the cells of lawbreakers and fraternize with them. His lack of prejudice should not be construed to imply that he was soft on crime; on the contrary, his pursuit and apprehension of rodents intent upon fouling the officers' food supplies disproves that notion.

Ironically, Eco first came to the attention of the officers after he was struck and seriously injured by a motorist on Moulton Street back in the 1990's. A local veterinarian patched him up and the officers attempted to reunite him with his previous owners.

It eventually came to light that they cruelly had dumped him in the street and hightailed it out of the tiny Boston suburb of eight-thousand residents in favor of La Floride. Consequently, the officers took him in at the station house.

It apparently was not love at first sight, however. "You push it out the door and it keeps coming back," Trepanier admitted to officer.com in the article cited supra.

By the time that the officers were ready to move into new headquarters two years ago Eco had become such an important part of their lives that they elected to take him along with them. It is not known what role this change in scenery may have played in his death.

There can be no denying, however, that his passing has left a big hole in the officers' lives. "What they're going to miss is the cat kind of being around," Trepanier added for officer.com. "It's like a pet at home."

Eco thus joins a growing list of cats who have worked and died in law enforcement. Most notably, there was a fifteen-month-old gray and yellow American Shorthair named Fred who, while working for the Brooklyn District Attorney's Office, went undercover to help corral an unlicensed butcher who was masquerading as a veterinarian. (See photo above on the right of him with his guardian, Assistant Brooklyn District Attorney Carol Moran.)

Like Eco, he also unfortunately was run down and killed by a hit-and-run motorist in Howard Beach, Queens. (See Cat Defender posts of February 14, 2006 and August 17, 2006 entitled, respectively, "Special Agent Fred the Cat Goes Undercover to Help Nab a Quack Vet in Brooklyn Sting Operation" and "Brave Little Fred the Undercover Cat Has His Short, Tragic Life Snuffed Out by a Hit-and-Run Driver in Queens.")

In the City of Brotherly Love, officers at the South Street station house were left with egg on their faces after a bicyclist made off with their three-year-old yellow and white mascot, Corporal Cuffs, on May 16, 2007. (See Cat Defender post of May 29, 2007 entitled "Corporal Cuffs, Beloved Station House Mascot, Is Abducted Right Under Cops' Noses.")

A cat named Tizer has enjoyed considerably better luck after he was adopted by officers of the British Transportation Police. (See photo directly below of him with Inspector Roy Sloane.)

He now pretty much runs the show at King's Cross Station in central London where he has been made an honorary constable as well as head mouser. (See Cat Defender post of November 23, 2007 entitled "Tizer Lands a Job Working for the Police After Ending up at a Shelter Following the Death of His Previous Owner.")

On the negative side of the ledger, cops often are not only antagonistic toward cats but their executioners as well. For example, on March 22nd of last year an unidentified police officer in Cecil, Pennsylvania, shot and killed Roger Oldaker's cat, Elmo, at point-blank range.

Worst still, the officer was never brought to justice and made to pay for his heinous crime. (See Cat Defender post of March 31, 2008 entitled "Cecil, Pennsylvania Police Officer Summarily Executes Family's Beloved Ten-Year-Old Persian, Elmo.")

Likewise, a deputy with the Orange County Sheriff's Department in southern California was suspected, but never charged, with killing a cat with a taser last April. (See Cat Defender post of April 29, 2008 entitled "Orange County Sheriff's Department Is Accused of Killing a Cat with a Taser at the Theo Lacy Jail.")

Big cats often do not fare any better than their domestic counterparts in confrontations with the police. Although they just as easily could have tranquilized the animals, police officers in San Francisco and Chicago recently elected instead of liquidate an Amur Tigress named Tatiana and an unnamed cougar. (See Cat Defender posts of January 28, 2008 and May 5, 2008 entitled, respectively, "Hopped Up on Vodka and Pot, Trio Taunted Tatiana Prior to Attacks That Led to Her Being Killed by Police" and "Chicago's Rambo-Style Cops Corner and Execute a Cougar to the Delight of the Hoi Polloi and Capitalist Media.")

Finally, there is the disgraceful spectacle of police officers who steadfastly refuse to enforce the anti-cruelty statutes. One such rotter in the woodpile is Police Chief Aram Thomasian Jr of North Brookfield, Massachusetts, who not only has turned a blind eye to Sewer Commissioner Laurence E. Thayer's repeated drowning of kittens but has even had the temerity to voice support for such patently inhumane and illegal conduct.

"He (Thayer) dealt with the problem (unwanted kittens) the best he could. Back in their day, that's what they did," Thomasian is on record as stating. (See Cat Defender post of July 3, 2006 entitled "Crooked Massachusetts Cops Allow Politician to Get Away with Attempting to Drown a Kitten Named Lucky Girl.")

As Thomasian is no doubt aware, genocide, slavery, and the trafficking in women also are as old as the hills but no one except a complete nincompoop would dare to voice support for them. Consequently, anyone who thinks and behaves like Thomasian does not have any business of being a police officer in the first place let alone of heading up a force.

In the final analysis, the law enforcement community's animal rights record is mixed when it comes to cats. There definitely are departments, such as the one in Hamilton, that care deeply about them but for the most part indifference and downright hostility seem to predominate.

Even for those officers and prosecutors who are favorably disposed toward them, the unnecessary deaths of Eco and Fred are particularly disturbing. One preventative measure worth trying would be for officers to erect Cat Crossing signs near their headquarters.

In Milford, Connecticut, for instance, Bobette Moore and Gary Caufield were able to convince local authorities to erect such a warning sign on Erna Avenue and it seems to be saving some feline lives. (See photo above.) Lower speed limits outside station houses with resident felines also would be helpful. (See Cat Defender post of January 26, 2007 entitled "Cat Activists Succeed in Getting Connecticut Town to Erect a Cat Crossing Sign.")

The installation of cat fencing would be the best solution to the problem in that it would allow cats to enjoy the great outdoors in a secure environment that is free of the machinations of motorists and thieves alike. It is not about to happen anytime soon, but the running down of cats and other animals should be made a criminal offense.

Most motorists that kill animals do it for sport and even those whose motives are considerably less malevolent could slow down and brake but they choose not to do so for various reasons. The law enforcement community also could do a significantly better job of requiring motorists to share the road with animals, pedestrians, and bicyclists.

Therefore, since cats are incapable to anticipating the evil designs of ailurophobes and with anti-cruelty statutes being so impotent, the ultimate responsibility for their welfare rests squarely upon the shoulders of their guardians. Only they have it in their power to ensure their well-being.

Photos: Jim Daly of The Salem News (Eco), Alan Raia of Newsday (Fred and Moran), Islington Gazette (Tizer and Sloane), and Connecticut Post (Moore and Caufield in front of Cat Crossing sign.).

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Too Cheap and Lazy to Care for Him During His Final Days, Betty Currie Has Socks Killed Off and His Corpse Burned

"I'm miserable, miserable, miserable."
-- Betty Currie

As predicted back in December when news of his failing health was first released to the public, Betty Currie took the cheap and easy way out when she had Bill Clinton's cat, Socks, killed off on February 20th. (See Cat Defender post of December 24, 2008 entitled "Former First Cat Socks Is Gravely Ill with Cancer and Other Assorted Maladies.")

Suffering from cancer of the jaw and not eating, she took him to Three Notch Veterinary Hospital in Hollywood, Maryland, where either David Langford or one of his subalterns did the dirty deed for, of course, a hefty fee. There always has been good money in killing cats but shelters, Animal Control officers, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, the USDA's Wildlife Services, and birders are not the only cretins on this planet who have lined their pockets at the expense of the species. (See Cat Defender post of March 10, 2009 entitled "Audubons' Dirty Dealings with the Mercenary United States Fish and Wildlife Service Redound to the Detriment of Acorn Woodpeckers.")

"He wouldn't eat for two days," Currie attempted to rationalize her inhumane act for the benefit of Southern Maryland Newspapers on February 25th. (See "Socks Dies After Life of Good Fortune, Fame.") "This morning, when I got up, he didn't get up like he normally would."

Socks thus joins the ranks of Scarlett, Dewey Readmore Books, Colin's, and countless other cats whose international fame was not enough to save them from being killed off by their ungrateful owners once they had become old and sickly. (See Cat Defender posts of October 27, 2008, December 7, 2006, and May 31, 2007 entitled, respectively, "Loved and Admired All Over the World, Feline Heroine Scarlett Is Killed Off by Her Owner after She Becomes Ill," "After Nineteen Years of Service and Companionship, Ingrates at Iowa Library Murder Dewey Readmore Books," and "Port Taranaki Kills Off Its World Famous Seafaring Feline, Colin's, at Age Seventeen.")

For genuine lovers of the species, caring for an ailing cat is not an imposition; au contraire, it is a duty and a sacred honor. Besides, not much is required.

The cat must be brought inside and kept warm and secure. If a halfway decent one is available, a veterinarian should be summoned and an effort undertaken in order to get food and water into the animal.

Around-the-clock attention should be showered on the cat because once it is gone it will not be coming back. No true lover of cats would want their faithful companion to be forced to face the final curtain alone.

Afterwards the cat should be laid to rest in a coffin and given a tombstone. A brief service would be appropriate along with periodic bouquets of flowers on its grave.

Unfortunately, most cat owners are far too cheap and selfish to care for an ailing cat. They will willingly feed, shelter, and medicate it so long as this does not cost them too much of their time and precious shekels but that is about the outer limit of their devotion.

While most individuals would not dare to hasten along a blood relative's "Long Ride on the Dragon," they do not hesitate to do likewise to their cats. The difference between the two cases boils down to the fact that mercy killings are considered to be murder in most jurisdictions whereas killing off unwanted cats is perfectly acceptable behavior everywhere.

"I'm miserable, miserable, miserable," Currie moaned to Southern Maryland Newspapers in the article cited supra. Although it is doubtful that she has much of a conscience, she should be remorseful for abandoning Socks in his hour of greatest need.

Although she had been working for Obama's transition team, it is not known if she is either still affiliated with his Administration or what role her professional ambitions may have played in her unconscionable decision. Most likely in her mindset the only thing that sick cats are fit for is killing. (See photo at the top of the page of her and Socks at home during happier days.)

This line of reasoning is buttressed by Currie's decision to have Socks cremated. She is holding on to one-quarter of his ashes which will be spread along the banks of a creek near her home. Another quarter is going to the Clintons who so shamelessly abandoned him when they hightailed it out of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in disgrace in January of 2001. Another portion is going to one of Currie's former co-workers with the final quarter destined to be returned to an unidentified party in Arkansas.

Divvied up and parceled out to friends and supporters like earmarks in Obama's recent stimulus package, Socks is destined to spend eternity being bandied about like some dime store novelty item. His remains could even wind up on e-Bay one day, especially if any of the recipients ever should get into financial difficulties.

Although it could be argued that cremation is a step up in the world from merely tossing out Socks's body with the rubbish, that is not saying very much. He deserved a proper burial, tombstone, and flowers.

As for the very busy and relentlessly ambitious Clintons, they left it to one of their minions at the William J. Clinton Foundation to issue the following terse elegy: "Socks brought much happiness to Chelsea and us over the years, and enjoyment to kids and cat-lovers everywhere."

The statement then went on to thank Currie for taking Socks off of their hands. "We're grateful for those memories, and we especially want to thank our good friend, Betty Currie, for taking such loving care of Socks for so many years."

While the world sans doute has become an incredibly busy place chock-full of all sorts of material comforts and amusements, something fundamental has been lost in the process. The human race's so-called progress has robbed it of its soul and most individuals no longer possess either the inclination or time to think, feel, and empathize with either the animals or their fellow citizens and Currie's shabby treatment of Socks is merely one of a multitude of examples that could be cited of this escalating level of callousness.

In time the sordid details of Socks's demise will fade from consciousness and he will be remembered for the brief time when he was young and ruled the roost at the White House. (See photo above.) Unfortunately, this disgraceful and immoral expedient of killing off elderly and sick cats is destined to outlive even his memory.

On a related note, the London dailies of late have been devoting extensive coverage to the decision made by eighty-year-old Peter Duff and his seventy-year-old spouse, Penelope, to leg it out of this vale of tears on February 27th at the infamous euthanasia clinic known as Dignitas in Zurich. (See photo on the right.)

Duff was a well-known wine merchant from Bath in Somerset and both he and his wife were patrons of the arts. Tragically, each was suffering from terminal cancer.

Like shady banking, Sterbetourismus has become big business in Switzerland with Dignitas charging clients four-thousand euros for the dirty deed itself plus an additional seven-thousand euros for funerals, medical costs, and official fees. As of March of last year, eight-hundred-forty individuals had availed themselves of this service, including an estimated one-hundred English citizens.

Although the firm's motto is "Live with dignity, die with dignity," Paul Clifford, the son of Maxine Coombes who died at Dignitas on January 10, 2007, has accused it of not only gross callousness and cheapness but also of operating out of a flat that is covered in graffiti and reeks of urine. (See the Daily Mail, January 26, 2007, "Swiss Suicide Clinic Like a Backstreet Abortionist's.")

Even more shocking, when Coombes voiced concern over her son's ability to cope with her death an employee of Dignitas generously offered to send him along with her at a cut-rate! No matter how much this issue is rationalized and sugar-coated, the stubborn fact remains that practitioners of euthanasia, like all morticians, are merchants of death who traffic in dead bodies. To put it succinctly, death is not any bargain regardless of the price.

While assisted suicide remains a criminal offense in England, it is highly unlikely that anyone will be charged in the Duffs' demise. Besides, since Dignitas incinerates its victims, that would make holding an inquest rather difficult. (See the Daily Mail, March 7, 2009, "Prince Charles Sends Condolences to Family of Millionaire Couple Who Died at Swiss Euthanasia Clinic.")

As odious as this practice is, it is nonetheless gaining in popularity and various groups around the world are campaigning for its legalization. Should that ever come to fruition, it would open up numerous avenues of abuse and mischief but none quite as alarming as the prospect that one day the right to die could be easily transformed into a duty to die.

"...if euthanasia was (sic) ever legalized in Britain, vulnerable and seriously ill people would come under pressure to end their lives prematurely," a spokesman for Care Not Killing told The Independent on March 6th. (See "British Couple Die in Suicide Pact at Swiss Euthanasia Clinic.")

Under such a scenario, the elderly, sick, redundant, and those who are simply disliked and unpopular would then be no better off than their counterparts in the animal world. The best way therefore to put the kibosh to this ever-growing cult of death would be to outlaw these so-called mercy killings for both animals and humans.

The minimal intrusion upon individual rights that this would entail is more than compensated for by the beneficial effect that it would have on both the animals and the downtrodden. Besides, there is nothing, except a lack of courage, that has ever stood in the way of individuals desiring to take the Roman way out.

Doing away with oneself is, after all, a rather simple affair; an overdose of barbiturates usually will do the job efficiently and painlessly. It is living that is difficult.

Without knowing all the gory details it is difficult to speculate with any degree of accuracy on what may have prompted the Duffs to sneak away to Zurich and end their lives. Nevertheless, it does seem odd that with all their money, family, friends, and varied interests that they gave up so easily. Although they were in obvious pain and without prospects, they still had much to live for even if time was running out fast.

Looking on the bright side, the Duffs at least were free to choose to end their lives; the same cannot be said for Socks and the tens of millions of other cats that are systematically exterminated each year. Consequently, all of these unnecessary killings are nothing more than legalized murder and that disturbing fact will remain unchanged until the day arrives that all cats learn to talk like Hector Munro's Tobermory and request to be killed.

Consequently, all claims of "doing what is best for the animal" and of "not wanting it to suffer" will remain, as they always have been, pure sophistry devoid of both legal and moral significance. Life is indeed cheap and, as the examples of both Socks and the Duffs vividly illustrate, it is growing cheaper by the hour for both animals and humans alike.

Photos: Marietta Van Natta of Southern Maryland Newspapers (Socks and Currie), Los Angeles Times (Socks on the White House lawn), and the Daily Mail and SWNS (the Duffs).

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Audubons' Dirty Dealings with the Mercenary United States Fish and Wildlife Service Redound to the Detriment of Acorn Woodpeckers

"Although unpopular, euthanasia is a fact of life in the animal welfare community and should be employed to alleviate the suffering of stray and abandoned animals (cats) that cannot or should not be adopted."
-- Tim Steinbesier, Redbud Avian Rehabilitation Center

The moneygrubbing, cat-hating fascist hypocrites that comprise the ranks of the National Audubon Society (NAS) and its affiliates once again have been caught with their pants down and their dirty drawers exposed for all to see. This time around it is their disgraceful collusion with the natural-born animal annihilators within the mercenary United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) that has been their undoing.

For years, the Audubons have co-opted the USFWS into serving as their very own publicly financed death squad in order to have feral cats exterminated on San Nicolas Island, Florida's Big Pine Key, and elsewhere. (See Cat Defender posts of June 27, 2008, July 10, 2008, and May 24, 2007 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," "The Ventura County Star Races to the Defense of the Cat Killers on San Nicolas Island" and "USDA and Fish and Wildlife Service Commence Trapping and Killing Cats on Florida's Big Pine Key.") They also have successfully used it in order to have cats evicted (and most likely later killed) from the beaches of Cape May, Long Island, and elsewhere.

There is not any honor amongst killers, thieves, and liars, however, and today's comrades in arms often turn out to be tomorrow's mortal enemies. That is the bitter harvest that the thick-headed members of the California Audubon Society (CAS) are reaping now that their erstwhile buddies at USFWS have approved the killing of fifty of their lucrative Acorn Woodpeckers at the Rossmoor retirement community. (See photo above.)

Rossmoor is an affluent enclave comprised on ninety-two-hundred souls in Walnut Creek, California, thirty-four kilometers west of San Francisco. The average age of its denizens is seventy-six and two-thirds of them are women. (See photo below of the entrance.)

Although the residents may be made of money, Rossmoor's developer used cheap Styrofoam and a thin coating of stucco for window dressing and other decorative trim. That idiotic decision coupled with the petit fait that the development sits smack-dab in the middle of an oak forest was an invitation for trouble from the outset.

Being anything but dummies, the woodpeckers quickly discovered that it was considerably easier to drill into Styrofoam than into wood and attacked the expensive townhouses with a vengeance. So far they have drilled in excess of three-thousand holes into more than a dozen of them. (See photos further down the page.)

In addition to doing considerable structural damage to the residences, the birds' incessant pecking is driving some of the tenants nuts. "It's (the birds) an attraction for most people, but it's a pain in the neck for some people," long-time resident Earl Orum told the Los Angeles Times on February 16th. (See "Boring in on a Woodpecker Controversy.")

In an effort to find a humane solution to the dilemma, residents have shelled out in excess of $170,000. They have, inter alia, painted their townhouses with chemical deterrents, erected screens and nets, hung out Mylar balloons, and played recordings of falcons and hawks.

They also have pressed into service battery-powered spiders with fake webs and purchased wooden owls. Not only have none of these ploys deterred the woodpeckers, but to add insult to injury the intrepid birds even have pecked holes in the owls.

Sick and tired of paying out the wazoo and at their wits' end, the residents last summer secured a permit from the USFWS to hire a sharpshooter to kill fifty of the birds. The record is not exactly clear but apparently twenty-two of the birds already have been mercilessly gunned down with another eighteen expected to be dispatched to the devil before the permit expires in May.

Under fire from the CAS, the USFWS is considering revoking the permit that it issued solely at the request of Rossmoor and without even looking into the matter beforehand. Nevertheless, the USFWS's Alexandra Pitts had the audacity to tell the Los Angeles Times, "We don't issue depredation permits lightly."

The CAS, which had offered to build soft-wood posts with existing holes so that the birds would have somewhere to store their nuts, abandoned this plan back in January after Rossmoor refused to put an end to the killings. "We're incredibly disappointed that the boards of the Rossmoor homeowner's groups have elected to proceed with this utterly pointless exercise," the organization's Graham Chisholm told the San Francisco Chronicle on January 28th. (See "Woodpeckers in a Peck of Trouble at Rossmoor.")

Both the CAS and the Mount Diablo Audubon Society of Walnut Creek vociferously maintain that Rossmoor has not exhausted all the non-lethal remedies available to it and that killing the birds will not solve the problem. Au contraire, they argue that such precipitate action will only create a vacuum which in turn will be filled by other woodpeckers. (See CAS press release of January 27, 2009 entitled "Rossmoor Group Rejects Audubon Assistance on Woodpeckers, Opts to Go Ahead with Shooting.")

It is more than a little amusing that the Audubons would trot out those arguments in that they are precisely the same ones that they have categorically rejected time and time again whenever they have been put forward by cat advocates, such as Alley Cat Allies and others. In fact, it is not only cats that they are hellbent upon obliterating but all animals that they view as a threat to birds that they find financially attractive. (See Cat Defender post of March 15, 2007 entitled "Connecticut Audubon Society Shows Its True Colors by Calling for the Slaughter of Feral Cats, Mute Swans, Mallards, Canada Geese, and Deer.")

It is axiomatic that any individual or group that expects to be treated with compassion and respect should be willing to reciprocate. The fact that bird advocates are so totally unwilling to do that is just one more bit of evidence that they are, arguably, the biggest frauds and hypocrites that this world has ever produced.

In addition to the immense pleasure that they derive from defaming and killing cats, bird advocates are motivated far more by greed than by any genuine appreciation for the species that they allegedly are defending. Jim Edgar of Mount Diablo gave the game away when he told CAS in the press release cited supra that "Acorn Woodpeckers are very popular among bird enthusiasts." By that he means that there are big bucks to made off of conducting bird-watching tours to see them and through the sale of overnight accommodations and binoculars.

Of course, greed is not limited to either Mount Diablo or the CAS. No one will ever forget how Ed Stiles of New Jersey Audubon salivated over all the moola that he and his comrades were going to make after they secured the right for Red Knots and other shorebirds to feast on horseshoe crabs.

"We applaud the successful effort of legislators to secure this treasure and ensure we don't cook the golden goose by destroying a multimillion-dollar wildlife watching tourism industry," he said last year. (See Cat Defender post of May 6, 2008 entitled "National Audubon Society Wins the Right for Invasive Species of Shorebirds to Prey Upon Unborn Horseshoe Crabs.")

Then there is serial cat killer James Munn Stevenson's outlandish bragging to take into account. "As far as my business is concerned, it (killing cats) was a godsend," he roared with impish delight last summer. (See Cat Defender post of August 7, 2008 entitled "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.")

The environment as well as the animals also has suffered as a result of the various Audubons' relentless shekel chasing. For instance, the NAS spent fifty years drilling for natural gas and oil in the Paul J. Rainey (Bird) Sanctuary in Louisiana. The organization pocketed $25 million from this misadventure all the while it was vociferously campaigning against similar exploration in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) and at other environmentally-sensitive locations.

The Audubons' disingenuousness goes far beyond greed and killing cats, however, and extends to its utter failure to protect the lives and habitats of unpopular avian species. For example, back in January, one of the USFWS's partners in crime, the USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), poisoned thousands of starlings in Griggstown, New Jersey without the Audubons uttering so much as a peep in protest. (See photo below of the carnage.)

This mass eradication was ordered after a farmer had complained that the birds were gobbling up feed that he had put out for his livestock. Perhaps even more illustrative, the birds were felled by the deadly avicide DRC-1339 which not only causes kidney and heart failure but was jointly developed by the Denver Wildlife Research Center and Ralston Purina.

Just because not too many individuals are willing to part with their precious shekels to see starlings does not mean that these birds are unworthy of protection. They are in fact quite remarkable creatures that are capable of mimicking both speech and songs and are often kept as pets. Mozart, for instance, had a pet starling that he thought so highly of that he composed a poem for it when it died.

Due to the Audubons' dereliction of responsibility, the defense of the starlings fell by default to Janet Piszar of the Bear Education and Resource Group. "As always, the problem was created by man, as were the bear and deer issue (sic)," she told The New York Times on February 1st. (See "A Farmer's Loss Leads to a Shower of Dead Starlings.")

"Sportsmen and others have manipulated animal populations for their own special interests," she continued. (Also see Chris T. Darimont et al., "Human Predators Outpace Other Agents of Trait Change in the Wild," volume 106 of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, pages 952-954, published online January 12, 2009 and National Parks Traveler, January 18, 2009, "Humans as 'Super Predators' -- New Study Offers Startling Information About Hunting and Fishing.")

"It's not that we don't like starlings," APHIS spokeswoman Carol A. Bannerman told The Times. "Our interest was to assist a local farmer with a problem."

With that pithy pronouncement, Bannerman summed up all that is so terribly wrong with APHIS, the USDA, USFWS, Wildlife Services, and other federal agencies that exist in order to kill animals. Instead of safeguarding the lives and habitats of animals, they instead are doing the dirty work of farmers, ranchers, developers, energy companies, sportsmen, the military, municipalities, loggers, airports, golf course operators, the owners of swimming pools and, above all, the Audubons.

On the average, the USDA's department of Wildlife Services spends between $100 and $120 million per annum shooting, poisoning, and trapping between two and three million wild animals. Included in the agency's 2004 death toll of 2.7 million animals were: 31,286 beavers, 3,236 opossums, 2,210 prairie dogs, 10,518 raccoons, 1,673 rabbits and hares, 397 black bears, 359 cougars, 75,674 coyotes, 3,907 foxes, 191 wolves, and 1,918 bobcats.

Birds were not spared the gallows either. For instance, 22,204 crows, ravens and black birds, 76,874 pigeons and doves, 10,806 geese and swans, 72 turkeys, 15,508 sparrows, and 143 free-range chickens also were liquidated. (See Cat Defender post of September 15, 2005 entitled "United States Government Exterminates Millions of Wild Animals at the Behest of Capitalists.")

"Most of the public has no idea that a significant portion of the federal wildlife budget is actually devoted to extermination," Jeff Ruch of Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) said at that time. "Animals that inconvenience humans become expendable 'varmints' that are then dispatched with stunning efficiency."

Not content with merely slaughtering wildlife with impunity, Wildlife Services also kills its fair share of cats and dogs. Par exemple, in 2004 it annihilated 1,099 cats. In 2005, the death toll rose to 1,147 while for 2006 it stood at 1,184. The extermination rate for dogs during the same period remained constant at between 512 and 519 deaths per year.

The lesson to be learned from the multiplicity of crimes committed by the feds is that they are the sworn enemies of both wild and domestic animals. In an ideal world, people would have enough bon sens to respect and treasure all animal life but since that is not the case the second best alternative would be to refrain from colluding with those organizations that are dedicated to their extirpation.

Sadly, that petit fait is beyond the intellectual grasp of the Audubons. Moreover, they steadfastly refuse to acknowledge that it was precisely their prior dirty dealings with the USFWS that have paved the way for the killing of the Acorn Woodpeckers.

No one, however, should be deluded into believing that the tragic deaths in Rossmoor will prompt the Audubons to mend their evil ways. Far from it, they will emerge from this catastrophe even more committed to the eradication of cats and other species of animals.

Their true intentions are made abundantly clear on a daily basis by the hate-filled anti-cat screeds that they dash off to both newspapers and scientific journals. The sentiments recently expressed by Tim Steinbeiser of the Redbud Avian Rehabilitation Center in Lawrenceville, New Jersey, are representative of how these inveterate cat-haters think and behave.

After declaring no-kill shelters to be "only a dream," he proceeded to categorically declare that they "do not accept feral or stray cats." Anyone even remotely familiar with the work of Nathan Winograd and other no-kill advocates knows that both of Steinbeiser's statements are complete fabrications.

From that inauspicious beginning, he went on to show his true colors by saying in effect that the only good cat is a dead one. "Although unpopular, euthanasia is a fact of life in the animal welfare community and should be employed to alleviate the suffering of stray or abandoned animals (cats) that cannot or should not be adopted," he bellowed to The Times of Trenton on February 24th. (See "When Kindness Kills.")

First of all, Steinbeiser needs to part with a few of his shekels in favor of a dictionary of the English language. If he could be convinced to make the sacrifice, he quickly would discover that there is a huge difference between en masse exterminations of perfectly healthy cats and euthanasia.

Secondly, whether he or his fellow bird advocates like it or not, stray and feral cats have just as much of a right to live as do birds. In fact, it could be argued that they have more of a right because they do considerably less damage to the environment than birds and are more valuable to mankind. That in no way alters the fact that the Acorn Woodpeckers in Rossmoor should not be killed under any circumstances.

Of course, demonizing and killing cats provides bird lovers with the perfect cover for their mindless greed and failure to protect unpopular avian species from the machinations of the USFWS and other economic interests. In the final analysis, they are little more than sleazy capitalists with an agenda that has absolutely nothing to do with safeguarding animal life.

Photos: Michael Maloney of the San Francisco Chronicle (Acorn Woodpecker and damaged townhouse), Coro of Wikipedia (Rossmoor), Wally Skalij of the Los Angeles Times (damaged window ledge), and John O.Boyle of The Star Ledger of Newark (dead starlings). the