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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, May 28, 2009

Sparky, the Vivacious Mascot of a Michigan Shelter, Is Adopted by an English Couple and Flown to His New Home Outside London

"He took me here on the other side of the Atlantic. I thought they would say 'you guys are completely mad'."
-- Rose Rasmussen

Although Old Blighty, like everywhere else, certainly has its fair share of ailurophobes, that does not alter the salient fact that the English are some of the world's most ardent champions of the feline species. It is, after all, impossible to ever forget Hector Munro's Tobermory and Dick Whittington's nameless cat still lives on in folklore centuries after his death.

At 17 Gough Square in London, a bronze statue of Dr. Samuel Johnson's cat, Hodge, adorns the courtyard in which he used to play and hunt. Tourists leave tins of wet food and scatter kibble into replicas of the oysters that Johnson used to feed him.

There was widespread sorrow a few years back when John Major's former resident feline, Humphrey, finally succumbed to the inevitability of old age. (See Cat Defender post of April 6, 2006 entitled "Humphrey, the Cat from 10 Downing Street Who Once 'Read' His Own Obituary, Passes Away at 18.")

It therefore is not anything out of the ordinary whenever the English go to great lengths for the sake of a cat. That point was made explicit once again earlier this month when Rose and Chris Rasmussen journeyed from their home in suburban London to tiny Harrison, Michigan, forty-seven kilometers outside of Mount Pleasant, in order to adopt a vivacious nine-month-old moggy named Sparky that they had seen profiled on Petfinder. (See photos above and below of them with Sparky.)

"He took me here on the other side of the Atlantic," Rose told The Morning Sun of Mount Pleasant on May 13th. (See "Purr-fect Cat Sparks Four-Thousand-Mile Trip.") "I thought they would say 'you guys are completely mad'."

Actually, that turned out not to be the case. In fact, officials at the Clare County Animal Shelter, where Sparky had hung his hat since last August, were not even surprised that the charismatic tuxedo with the sparkling green eyes had piqued the Rasmussens' interest.

"A lot of people would ask, 'Why come from England'?" Clare County Animal Control Director Dave Gendregske acknowledged to The Morning Sun in the article cited supra. "When people meet Sparky, find he has a dynamic personality, they fall in love with him."

The Rasmussens also were taking quite a chance by traveling so far in order to adopt a cat they knew only from the web. "There's no turning back," Chris freely acknowledged. "You have to take a chance."

Before the couple was able to take Sparky home with them they had to fill out a mountain of paperwork and the red tape was not any picnic for Sparky either. He had to be microchipped, vaccinated for rabies, subjected to a blood test, and checked out by a veterinarian. He most likely also was sterilized.

The Rasmussens left Harrison with Sparky in tow sometime during mid-May on a trans-Atlantic flight to London. Upon arrival, he will be required to serve six-months in quarantine before he will be allowed to join them and their resident feline, Leo, at home. They will be able to visit him during the interim, however.

It is not exactly clear from the account given in The Morning Sun why the Rasmussens had their hearts so set upon adopting a tuxedo cat but it must have been that Sparky reminded them of a black and white moggy that they previously had owned. Otherwise it would have been much simpler for them to have adopted a cat closer to home.

Far from being the type of cat that sits around twiddling his toes, Sparky undoubtedly will find plenty to keep himself busy at the Rasmussens. While he was at the shelter, for instance, he not only served as its mascot but the staff used him in order to test the temperament of dogs awaiting adoption to get along with cats.

He additionally provided the staff and volunteers with loads of free entertainment. "Sparky likes to explore," volunteer Betty Beadle told The Morning Sun. "He destroyed Christmas trees twice."

That petit fait alone should make the yuletide season an adventure for the Rasmussens!

With his long-distance adoption, Sparky thus became the second American cat in recent memory to have been adopted by the cousins from across the pond. Last August, par exemple, Sue Watts of Birmingham saved the life of a beautiful green-eyed, black and white cat named Tinkerbelle that was on death row. (See photo above.)

Watts, who had traveled to Davenport, Florida, last July in order to attend the wedding of a niece, accidentally met the stray shortly after her arrival and began taking care of her. Once her vacation time was over, she committed the near-fatal mistake of handing over Tinkerbelle to the notorious cat killers at the Lakeland SPCA. (See Cat Defender post of May 11, 2006 entitled "Mass Murderers at SPCA Are Operating an Auschwitz for Cats and Dogs in Lakeland, Florida.")

Once back in Birmingham, her conscience got the better of her and she negotiated by telephone a last-minute reprieve for Tinkerbelle and had her shipped to England. The cat had to spend the mandatory six months in quarantine but if all went as according to plan she should have been home with Watts several months ago.

"This cat struck up a relationship while we were there and we fell in love with it. So, it's the cat that we want to provide a home for," Watts explained at the time of the adoption. (See Cat Defender post of September 4, 2008 entitled "Tinkerbelle Is Freed from Death Row and Flown to Safety in England Capping Off a Storybook Ending to Her Travails in Florida.")

Photos: Ryan Evon of The Morning Sun (Sparky with the Rasmussens) and Fox-13 of Tampa (Tinkerbelle).

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Macho B, America's Last Jaguar, Is Illegally Trapped, Radio-Collared, and Killed Off by Wildlife Biologists in Arizona

"The life or death of a single animal has no bearing on recovery of an entire species, especially where breeding populations range from northern Mexico in central America and all the way to Brazil and Argentina in South America."
-- Arizona Game and Fish Department

Throughout the history of their miserable existence wildlife biologists have done an extraordinary amount of evil and precious little good, but their recent trapping, electronic collaring, and coldblooded murder of Macho B is sans doute one of their most egregious crimes.

Known as the last American jaguar, fifteen-year-old Macho B was caught in a leghold trap set by officials of the Arizona Game and Fish Department (AGFD) on February 18th in a rugged mountain area south of Tucson and near the Mexican border. (See photo above of the area and of Macho B following his initial release.)

According to AGFD, Macho B was inadvertently caught in a snare designed for cougars and black bears. That study, which almost certainly involved them being fitted with surveillance collars, had been going on for more than a year.

Since they now had Macho B at their mercy, the wildlife biologists then anesthetized him and fitted him with a satellite tracking collar before releasing him. This is not in the record, but it usually is standard procedure under those circumstances for biologists to also take blood and tissue samples as well as to weigh and measure all animals that they trap and tag.

Consequently, the trap could have done irreparable damage to Macho B's leg and if a biopsy were taken the wound later could have become infected. It also is conceivable that he could have picked up some type of disease from the biologists.

Based upon data obtained from the satellite collar, the biologists concluded on February 28th that Macho B had become lethargic and a team was dispatched to locate him. Aided by bloodhounds, they were able to run Macho B to ground on March 2nd and dart him.

The cat then was transported to the Phoenix Zoo where blood was drawn and he was subjected to a complete physical examination. Based upon the information obtained from those procedures, he was diagnosed to be suffering from renal failure.

Veterinarians at the zoo, AGFD, and the bloodthirsty fiends at the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) then put their acuminate heads together and decided that under no circumstances could he be permitted to go on living. "Acting on the veterinarians' recommendation, the USFWS and AGFD decided to euthanize him rather than rerelease him to the wild, where his debilitated condition would likely cause prolonged suffering before death," the AGFD states on its web site.

Therefore, less than five hours after his darting, Macho B lay dead at the Phoenix Zoo. It is even doubtful that he ever regained consciousness.

In the furor that has erupted following the public disclosure of his murder, almost every aspect of the wildlife biologists' rather tall tale has been called into question by eyewitnesses, outside veterinarians, politicians, and conservation groups. Most notably, it is alleged that Macho B's initial trapping and collaring were planned well in advance as opposed to being accidental.

For its part, AGFD vociferously denies that claim. "The Department and Commission did not authorize or condone intentional initial capture of this jaguar," it stated April 2nd on its web site.

Whether it was intentional or accidental, there can be no doubt that AGFD was tickled pink to have bagged such a trophy. Far from being just any ordinary jaguar, Macho B was well-known to AGFD in that his image had been repeatedly captured on trail cameras ever since 1996. (See photo above.)

It therefore did not come as any surprise when the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) announced on May 12th that it intends to bring legal action against AGFD for trapping Macho B without a permit as is required for all animals protected under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The CBD also is seeking a court injunction to block the future trapping of jaguars that wander in from south of the border.

"It is disturbing that AGFD seems committed to doing the exact thing that resulted in the terrible loss of the jaguar, and we're determined that no more jaguars go through what Macho B went through," the CBD's Michael Robinson told the Arizona Capitol Times of Phoenix on May 15th. (See "Environmental Group Plans to Sue over Jaguar Capture.")

Much for pertinently, CBD and other groups familiar with the case insist that tissue samples taken from Macho B failed to show any signs of kidney failure. On the contrary, they claim that it was a combination of stress brought on by his being captured twice and the debilitating side effects of the anesthesia that killed him.

Moreover, he was quite elderly for a Panthera onca and trapping and anesthetizing animals in his age group can sometimes be fatal. That at least is what Alan Rabinowitz of Panthera in New York City told National Geographic on March 3rd. (See "First Jaguar Caught in U.S. Put to Sleep.")

Even Dean Rice, a veterinarian at the Phoenix Zoo who performed a necropsy on Macho B, concurs in part. "I'm sure the kidneys were going bad for some time. Kidneys don't go bad at the snap of a finger," he told the Los Angeles Times on March 5th. (See "Jaguar Macho B's Capture May Have Hastened His Death.") "If you sedate someone with drugs and the kidneys aren't working, the sedative can have a negative effect. My guess is that sedation probably aggravated his kidneys."

He then went on to ludicrously add, "I'm glad they collared him. Otherwise he would have just gone off and died somewhere on his own."

Although it is uncertain what role, if any, he played in the decision to end Macho's B's life, the only logical conclusion that can be drawn from his incongruent statements is that Rice is glad the cat is dead.

Even AGFD's claim that he was killed in order to spare him from prolonged suffering is an astounding statement for alleged wildlife advocates to make. After all, suffering and death are as endemic to nature as they are to civilized society.

If he had been given the choice, there can be little doubt that Macho B would have chosen prolonged suffering and death all alone in the wilderness that he loved as opposed to a premature end in a sterile and utterly terrifying veterinary clinic run by a gaggle of fascist frauds who have an appalling disregard for the sanctity of all animal life.

This is made abundantly clear by AGFD on its web site: "The life or death of a single animal has no bearing on recovery of an entire species, especially where breeding populations range from northern Mexico into Central America all the way to Brazil and Argentina in South America."

AGFD furthermore is charging that critics of its treatment of Macho B are motivated by an ulterior motive. "Unfortunately, some people and organizations are also using this unfortunate incident to try to politically influence the development of a recovery plan and designation of critical habitat in the United States," it states on its web site.

Ever since the American jaguar was granted protection under the ESA in 1997, conservation groups, such as CBD, have been at loggerheads with the USFWS over its steadfast refusal to prepare a recovery plan for the species and to set aside critical habitat for it. Amazingly enough, the jaguar is the only native species that the USFWS has refused to protect and that is in spite of the fact that both measures are mandated by the ESA.

All of that could be about to change, however, thanks to a March 30th ruling by Federal District Court Judge John M. Roll in Tucson that requires the USFWS to reconsider its decision not to prepare a recovery plan for the American jaguar. Under the ruling, the USFWS has been ordered to return to court next January and explain its position.

"Judge Roll has thrown a lifeline to one of North America's most endangered animals," Robinson of CBD said in an April 1st press release. (See "Judge Strikes Down Refusal to Recover Jaguars, Protect U.S. Habitat.")

The USFWS's clearly illegal conduct raises the thought-provoking question of just why is it so antagonistic toward jaguars? One possible explanation is that the antipathy that if harbors in its bosom toward jaguars is merely a logical extension of its virulent hatred of domestic cats.

There also are economic and political considerations as well. In particular, ranchers are strenuously opposed to jaguars and they exercise considerable political clout in both Phoenix and Washington.

That certainly would go a long way toward explaining AGFD's cavalier dismissal of Macho B's death as unimportant. Now, with the last American jaguar dead, local ranchers are no doubt dancing in their cow pastures. It is even conceivable that the USFWS could have been operating under the belief that if it somehow got rid of Macho B it would not have to prepare a recovery plan for the species.

Macho B's trapping and death therefore solved a conflict of interest for both the USFWS and ranchers and thus allows them to return to exploiting and killing animals on a full-time basis. It is, after all, important to bear in mind that it was precisely the USFWS and other federal agencies that were responsible for shooting, poisoning, and trapping the cats into extinction during the early days of the twentieth century.

Plus, Macho B clearly was worth considerably more financially dead than alive to the USFWS and its affiliated organizations and institutions who traffic in the bones, pelts, and tissues of exotic cats. Par exemple, no fewer than nine institutions and individuals have so far received bits and pieces of Macho B's corpse.

In particular, the Phoenix Zoo, the Arizona Veterinary Diagnostic Lab, the United States Geological Survey Wildlife Health Center in Madison, Wisconsin, and the University of California at Davis have received tissue samples taken from Macho B's vital organs. The University of Arizona in Tucson and the American Museum of Natural History in New York City also are receiving blood, hair, and saliva samples.

The San Diego Zoo is getting the cat's carcass as well as unspecified tissue samples and one of his premolars was extracted and sent to Montana for cementum aging by specialists. Finally, a taxidermist divested Macho B of this valuable pelt and sent it to a tanner for preservation.

That is precisely what happened to the remains of an unnamed cougar that was mercilessly gunned by the Chicago Police in April of last year after it wandered into town. (See Cat Defender post of May 5, 2008 entitled "Chicago's Rambo-Style Cops Corner and Execute a Cougar to the Delight of the Hoi Polloi and Capitalist Media.")

It is simply mind-boggling that wildlife biologists, zoos, museums, and other highbrows are allowed to commit with impunity the exact same crimes that poachers are jailed for perpetrating under the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). Just as a rich girl who sleeps around is no less of a slut than a poor girl who does likewise, scientists who traffic in endangered species, or in any animal for that matter, are no better than glorified poachers.

Being not only bloodthirsty killers but shameless shekel and fame chasers as well, wildlife biologists and their buddies in the scientific and intellectual communities have repeatedly demonstrated the grotesque lengths that they are prepared to go in order to advance their careers. These individuals are so morally bankrupt that they not only refuse to give their victims proper burials but instead insist upon mutilating their corpses as well.

In a way, their barbaric treatment of the dead is even more illustrative of the types of individuals they are than their hideous crimes. In the final analysis, it is nothing short of criminal for such moral degenerates to hold any positions of either power or influence in society.

After correctly concluding that AGFD's internal investigation into Macho B's killing could not possibly be objective, the CBD and Congressman Raul M. Grijalva of Arizona turned around and ludicrously asked the USFWS to investigate. (See CBD press release of April 2, 2009 entitled "Federal Investigation Called for on Capture of Macho B, Euthanized Last American Jaguar.")

Grijalva furthermore compounded this idiocy (or is it a cover-up?) on May 7th by calling on the Interior Department's Office of Inspector General to launch an investigation into its own agency, i.e., the USFWS! (See photo above on the right of Grijalva.)

"Specifically, it appears that at all levels and at every stage of this process, mistakes were made, and decisions taken that may not have been in the best interests of the animal," he is quoted in the May 8th edition of the Arizona Daily Star of Tucson as stating in a letter to the Inspector General. (See "Second Macho B Inquiry Sought.") "Serious allegations have been made about the agencies' and federal and state employees' roles in this matter..."

As expected, the USFWS vehemently denies that it is biased and therefore incapable of policing its agents. "My policies do not hinder me from investigating anybody within the Fish and Wildlife Service or the Game and Fish Department or any other government agency if there is a specific violation of the statutes we enforce," the agency's Nicholas Chavez shot back to the Arizona Daily Star.

That is pure drivel. Not only is the USFWS totally dishonest but so, too, is the entire tightly-knit wildlife protection community. For example, when the USFWS went shopping for a pack of lies in order to justify its coldblooded murder of more than two-hundred cats on San Nicolas Island it turned to its buddies at W.T. Harvey Associates of Fresno who, for a price, obliged it with a one-sided, anti-cat screed.

Furthermore, at no time during the preparation of its indictment against the cats were any cat advocacy groups contacted for input. (See Cat Defender post of June 27, 2008 entitled "United States Fish and Wildlife Service and the Navy Hatch a Diabolical Plan to Gun Down Two-Hundred Cats on San Nicolas Island.")

It additionally enticed its allies within the capitalist media, especially the Ventura County Star of Camarillo, into serving as its de facto department of agitprop. (See Cat Defender post of July 10, 2008 entitled "The Ventura County Star Races to the Defense of the Cat Killers on San Nicolas Island.")

Finally, the USFWS conspired with the capitalist media and other groups in order to truncate the legally mandated thirty-day period for public comment on its diabolical plan to a measly twelve days. (See Cat Defender post of April 28, 2009 entitled "Quislings at the Humane Society Sell Out San Nicolas's Cats to the Assassins at the Diabolical United States Fish and Wildlife Service.")

The USFWS, state wildlife agencies, and their colleagues in the universities are always up to something immoral and illegal. Moreover, being pathological liars as well, no one can believe a word that they have to say on any subject.

They have their own agendas and they always play to win. Unfortunately, with little or no outside oversight of their activities they have grown accustomed to getting away with just about anything.

For example, the USFWS's sister agency, Wildlife Services, spends around $120 million each year systematically exterminating between two and three millions animals at the behest of ranchers, farmers, developers, municipalities, golf course operators, and other economic concerns. (See Cat Defender posts of September 15, 2005 and March 10, 2009 entitled, respectively, "United States Government Exterminates Millions of Wild Animals at the Behest of Capitalists" and "Audubons' Dirty Dealings with the Mercenary United States Fish and Wildlife Service Redound to the Detriment of Acorn Woodpeckers.")

For anyone to even dare suggest that wildlife officials are capable of fairly investigating themselves is tantamount to assigning the Boston Strangler to investigate Jack the Ripper! If the truth is ever to win out and justice to prevail, a team of experts selected from outside the wildlife establishment must be assembled in order to investigate the killing of Macho B.

Even they would be severely handicapped by not only their limited expertise in conservation matters, but also by their unfamiliarity with the tactics and crimes of wildlife biologists. Nevertheless, only such a panel is capable to getting at the truth.

Macho B's tragic death once again has focused attention on the cruel, inhumane, and deadly practice of electronically monitoring animals. On its web site, AGFD states that Macho B was tagged because it wanted to know how often he visited Mexico.

First of all, it is not anyone's bloody business how often he or any other animal visits Mexico or anywhere else for that matter. Besides, the various wildlife services maintain innumerable cameras in situ in order to answer that question.

Furthermore, AGFD argues that it needed to know if Macho B returned to Mexico in order to have sex. Since the last female American jaguar was killed near the Grand Canyon in 1963, it is quite obvious that if he was still mating it was in Mexico.

Thirdly, AGFD argues that Macho B was tagged so that it could learn how, when, and where he hunted. Once again, that is superfluous information that AGFD has no legitimate reason for collecting.

None of those rationales have anything to do with conservation and everything to do with collecting data that could be used by the USFWS to assist ranchers and thus thwart any attempt to reestablish the cats in the southwestern United States. That is the real reason Macho B was collared and killed.

Even more revealing is the AGFD's admission that satellite collars are of limited value in rough terrain, such as that of southern Arizona. "Tracking-collar data are extremely limited because the area is so rugged that the tracking collar signal cannot reach the satellite network," the agency confesses on its web site.

If that is indeed the case, it calls into question the validity of tagging cougars, black bears, and the Mexican gray wolf. The CBD therefore should be demanding that all trapping and tagging be immediately stopped in the southwest. It would be better still if it could see its way clear to fight for the abolition of this odious practice everywhere.

The collar that Macho B was fitted with was rather large and heavy. Although AGFD insists that it did not impede his movements or ability to hunt, it nevertheless did cut into ears and the battery pack pressed up against his throat.

Under those circumstances, it is hard to think of it as being anything other than an albatross around his neck. (See photos above.)

Since the battery was expected to last for a maximum of only eighteen months, Macho B would have been chased by bloodhounds and darted every year or so until the day that he finally dropped dead. In fact, that is the cruel fate that awaits all animals once they have been tagged. (See Cat Defender posts of February 29, 2008 and May 4, 2006 entitled, respectively, "The Repeated Hounding Down and Tagging of Walruses Exposes Electronic Surveillance as Not Only Cruel but a Fraud" and "Scientific Community's Use of High-Tech Surveillance Is Aimed at Subjugating, Not Saving, the Animals.")

Worst still, if Macho B ever have been accused of killing a cow or menacing an individual, the wildlife biologists would have immediately dispatched a team of assassins to have eliminated him. That is how the USFWS treats gray wolves both in Alaska and the Rockies. Often they use helicopters and planes with onboard satellite receivers that hone in on the location of the collared and doomed animals.

It is difficult, however, to deliver a clean shot to a moving target from an aircraft and as the result these coldblooded assassins quite often only wound their intended victims. The wolves and other animals hunted in this barbaric fashion are thus left to limp off into the brush where they eventually bleed to death.

Next door in New Mexico, the USFWS not only provides ranchers with satellite receivers so that they can track the movements of radio-collared Mexican gray wolves but it also knowingly cooperates with them in their elaborate schemes to entrap the animals into killing cows. (See photo above of a Mexican gray wolf.)

Once the wolves fall for the bait and kill any of these sacrificial cows, the USFWS immediate steps in and kills the wolves. The ranchers and the USFWS thus win all the time while the wolves do not have a prayer in Hell of surviving. (See High Country News, December 24, 2007, "Last Chance for the Lobo.")

In addition to making it doubly easy for wildlife biologists to track, spy on, and purposefully kill animals, trapping and tagging initiatives also cause the accidental deaths of thousands of them each year. Since both governmental agencies as well as private conservation groups freely engage in this diabolical practice, they should be compelled to publicly disclose exactly how many animals they kill and injure each year in this manner.

In a recent case that generated nationwide attention, wildlife biologists with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation accidentally killed a one-year-old coyote named Hal after he wandered into Manhattan's Central Park. (See photo above.)

Instead of simply returning him to the wild, they suffocated him to death while attempting to attach a surveillance tag to his ear. (See Cat Defender post of April 17, 2006 entitled "Hal the Central Park Coyote Is Suffocated to Death by Wildlife Biologists Attempting to Tag Him.")

Although it is wildlife that is harmed the most extensively by electronic surveillance, domestic animals are by means exempt from the deleterious effects of modern technology. For example, microchips implanted in cats and dogs have not only limited efficacy but raise serious health concerns as well. (See Cat Defender posts of May 25, 2006 and September 21, 2007 entitled, respectively, "Plato's Misadventures Expose the Pitfalls of RFID Technology as Applied to Cats" and "FDA Is Suppressing Research That Shows Implanted Microchips Cause Cancer in Mice, Rats, and Dogs.")

It therefore is imperative that all invasive electronic monitoring of animals be outlawed as soon as possible. The only way that they can be protected is through the establishment of legally protected habitats where all developers, hunters, and wildlife biologists are barred from entering. Only when it is employed in order to keep out these personae non gratae can electronic surveillance be of any benefit to the animals.

That is not about to happen anytime soon, however, because wildlife officials have become too powerful. Besides a cottage industry has grown up around the sale of traps, bait, radio collars, microchips, and satellite receivers on the one hand and the manufacture of guns and ammunition on the other hand.

Wildlife biologists thus have become the lords of the universe. It is they who now decide which animals are going to be permitted to go on living and under what conditions.

With Macho B now dead, it is uncertain if the CBD is going to be able to prevail against the USFWS in court. The anti-immigration fence along the Mexican border is likewise going to severely limit the number of jaguars that are going to be visiting from Mexico. Moreover, even those who do make it across the border face a hostile reception from both ranchers and wildlife biologists.

Although the species is listed as near threatened by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN), it enjoys a range that extends from the southwestern United States to northern Argentina. Poaching, predation by farmers and ranchers, deforestation, fragmentation of its habitat, and hurricanes are nevertheless taking their toll on the cats.

The good news is that quite a bit is being done to help the cats in their southern range. Naturalia, for instance, is buying up farms in Mexico to serve as their habitat.

Pathera also has bought up ranches in the Pantanal area of Brazil in order to create a biological corridor for the cats. It additionally has inaugurated an innovative program with Mount Sinai Medical School in Manhattan whereby physicians trained in jaguar conservation are being sent to the Pantanal to set up schools and health clinics.

The rationale behind this initiative is not only to assist the residents but to provide them with incentives to stop killing jaguars. (See Living on Earth, May 8, 2009, "A Home for Jaguars.")

Photos: AGFD (Macho B with surveillance collar), Emil McCain (a younger Macho B), United States Congress (Grijalva), Jim Clark of USFWS (Mexican gray wolf), and James Carbone of Newsday (Hal).

Monday, May 18, 2009

Elijah Teaches Himself How to Detect Low Blood Sugar Levels in His Guardians and Others

"I may not be stabbing my finger anymore. I may just have Elijah come up and tell me if I'm okay."
-- Peter Shute

The record is not exactly clear, but at least some cats have been trained to detect low blood sugar levels in humans. In Tampa, however, a two-year-old orange and white cat named Elijah has confounded the medical profession by, apparently, acquiring this valuable skill on his own. (See photo above.)

It is theorized that Elijah taught himself this skill as a means of self-preservation while residing with a woman who suffered from both diabetes and sleep apnea. C'est-a-dire, he understood that if something were to happen to her, there would not be anyone around to care for him. He accordingly would alert her whenever either her blood sugar got out of whack or she stopped breathing while sleeping.

After she died, he tragically wound up at the SPCA's notorious killing factory in Lakeland and it likely was only the belated discovery of his special talent by a diabetic staffer that saved him from the hangman. (See Cat Defender post of May 11, 2006 entitled "Mass Murderers at SPCA Are Operating an Auschwitz for Cats and Dogs in Lakeland, Florida.")

He has since landed on his feet and has a new job and a home caring for Peter Shute, a diabetic nurse. In practical terms, this involves sniffing his guardian's breath two or three times a day in order to check for either an excess or an absence of ketones.

If Shute's blood sugar level is normal, Elijah does not say anything and goes on about his business. If there is a problem, however, he meows.

"I know that if I run into trouble that he is going to do something," Shute told Zootoo on March 2nd. (See "Rare Cat Tests Diabetic for Low Blood Sugar.") "He's got a job. He knows what he's doing and he does it."

Having only been diagnosed with diabetes four years ago, Shute is still in the process of learning how to properly gauge fluctuations in his blood sugar level and this is where Elijah comes in especially handy. "I may not be stabbing my finger anymore," he added. "I may just have Elijah come up and tell me if I'm okay."

Unlike medical professionals who hoard their resources and skills and then niggardly parcel them out to the highest bidders, Elijah is an egalitarian practitioner in that he not only checks his guardian's blood sugar levels but those of all individuals that he encounters. Since numerous individuals suffer from diabetes without knowing it, he is indeed performing a much needed public service.

This also would seem to undermine the notion that Elijah is motivated solely by reasons of self-preservation in that he has absolutely nothing to gain by vetting complete strangers. Just because altruism is a foreign language to most humans, it does not necessarily follow that the same holds true for cats and other animals.

Although dogs currently are being trained to detect low blood sugar levels, there certainly is plenty of room for additional practitioners in this emerging field. Cats in particular would be especially welcome in the homes of diabetics who are unable to properly care for dogs.

Just as cats recently have been shown to be able to detect cancers and to anticipate seizures and attacks of emphysema, their willingness to help regulate blood sugar levels in humans opens up all sorts of vistas for the development of mutually beneficial relationships between them and diabetics. (See Cat Defender posts of April 11, 2009 and April 18, 2009 entitled, respectively, "Tiger Saves Calgary Man's Life by Alerting Him to a Cancerous Growth on His Left Lung" and "Blackie Stays Up Nights Monitoring His Guardian's Breathing for Emphysema Attacks.")

Most importantly, this would be a way of saving feline lives as well as drastically reducing the number of blood tests that diabetics are forced to perform on themselves.

Photo: John McQuiston of Zootoo.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Virginia Is for Cat Killers, Not Lovers, Now That Its Legal Establishment Has Sanctioned Donald Curtis Hunt's Drowning of Five Kittens

Community service is sufficient punishment for drowning five kittens. "What Mr. Hunt did was a cruel act, but I do not think Mr. Hunt is a cruel person."
-- prosecuting attorney Nate Green

The Old Boy Network is alive and well in Virginia! That is good news for well-heeled criminals, but a distressing development for cats.

The network's latest assault on the humane laws came on April 16th when Judge Samuel T. Powell III cleared fifty-seven-year-old Norge sodbuster Donald Curtis Hunt of drowning five defenseless kittens in August of 2007. (See mug shot above.)

Back on October 11, 2007, Williamsburg-James City County District Court Judge Colleen Killilea had sentenced him to a paltry thirty days in jail, a $500 fine, and one-hundred hours of community service. That was not much in itself but it was far better than nothing, especially in light of the fact that prosecuting attorney Nate Green earlier had charitably dismissed four of the five counts of misdemeanor animal cruelty against Hunt. (See Cat Defender post of October 23, 2007 entitled "Virginia Does It Again! Farmer Who Drowned at Least Five Cats Gets Off with a Slap-on-the-Wrists.")

Far too cheap to even accept that sweetheart deal, Hunt appealed his conviction to the Williamsburg-James City County Circuit Court where he finally hit the jackpot. Citing his family's longtime ownership of four-hundred-acre Hill Pleasant Farm, his lack of a criminal record, and his standing in the community, Powell reversed the district court and cleared Hunt of all charges.

"I feel that justice has been done," a triumphant Hunt gushed to the Daily Press of Newport News on April 17th. (See "Animal Cruelty Charges Dropped Against JCC Man.") "I'm just glad it's over."

As he left the courtroom, the cat killer received a hero's welcome from his equally morally depraved supporters who cheered and congratulated him on his adroitness at being able to so easily get away with his crimes. Actually, the number of cats that this monster has murdered over the years could be in the hundreds if not indeed the thousands.

That assessment is buttressed by admissions made in open court by his own shyster, local politician Thomas K. Norment Jr. Not only did he inform the court that Hunt thought it was perfectly legal to drown cats, but that doing so was humane.

Even more telling, Hunt to this very day has neither expressed an iota of remorse for his heinous crimes nor pledged to refrain from killing cats in the future. In fact, his ludicrous assertion that "justice has been done" is an indication that he intends to kill more cats.

Powell's thoroughly disgraceful ruling was the culmination of a fix that had been in the works for a long time. For instance, press reports indicate that Hunt voluntarily had performed an unspecified amount of community service and made a contribution to Heritage Humane Society of Williamsburg during the past two years.

Those reports do not, however, specify either the amount or type of community service that he allegedly performed. Likewise, the amount of his donation to Heritage is a closely guarded secret. This total lack of candor on behalf of both the court and the media certainly makes it appear that those acts of penance fell way short of what originally was demanded by the district court. More to the point, it is difficult to imagine someone like Hunt voluntarily parting with five cents let alone anything remotely resembling five-hundred bucks.

Nevertheless, Green told the Daily Press that Hunt's preemptive service was sufficient punishment for drowning five kittens. "What Mr. Hunt did was a cruel act, but I do not think that Mr. Hunt is a cruel person."

Anyone with even a remote acquaintance with the law knows that Green's comment is pure twaddle. After all, the law is supposed to deal with behavior, not personalities, economic clout, and amateur psychology.

In that context it would be interesting to know if Green would apply the same rationale to homicidal maniacs? Par exemple, would he be so brazen as to tell the court that although murdering individuals is cruel, not to mention illegal, that the perpetrators of such affronts should be turned loose because he does not believe them to be cruel individuals? If he ever dared to do so, he not only would be laughed out of court but sacked as well.

By making such idiotic utterances Green has disgraced both himself and the laws that he is sworn to uphold. That is in addition to being complicit in Hunt's outrageous crimes.

Powell's performance on the bench was even more reprehensible than Green's. For instance, his smug little statement to the Daily Press that "there probably have been capital murder charges that don't get as much attention as that case" is a further indication of the utter contempt that he harbors in his malignant bosom for cats.

Contrary to whatever miscreants like Powell, Green, and Hunt believe, feline life is every bit as worthy of the protection of the laws as human life. In fact, a good argument could be made that animal life is deserving of even stronger protection.

After all, children, women, and the elderly are afforded extra protections under the law because of their vulnerability. Cats and other animals likewise cannot take care of themselves and that is precisely why anti-cruelty statutes exist.

By not only refusing to apply the law but simultaneously snickering up his dirty sleeve at the coldblooded murder of these kittens, Powell has shown himself to be a disgrace to the bench. It would be interesting to see how funny he would find it to be divested of his robes and turned out on the street. Besides, no one likes a redneck judge no vainly believes that it is cute to be derelict in applying the law.

Powell's outrageous ruling is the latest in a series of judicial rulings that have demonstrated the total disregard that courts in Virginia have for the sanctity of feline life. For example on August 14th of last year, Henrico County General District Court fined Keith Copi of Critter Control in Chesterfield County a measly $750 for gassing three cats at the behest of Fox-35 in Richmond.

Since Fox-35 paid him $409 for his dirty work, the court's ruling therefore placed a monetary value of only $113.66 on the life of each of his victims. (See Cat Defender posts of August 21, 2008 and July 7, 2008 entitled, respectively, "Justice Denied: Exterminator Who Gassed Three Cats at the Behest of Fox-35 in Richmond Gets Off with a Minuscule Fine" and "Fox Affiliate in Richmond Murders at Least Three Cats and Then Sends in the Bulldozers to Destroy Their Homes.")

Earlier in 2006, another Virginia court allowed Peter J. Landrith to get away with stomping to death Luke. (See Cat Defender post of January 17, 2006 entitled "Loony Virginia Judge Lets Career Criminal Go Free After He Stomps to Death a Fourteen-Year-Old Arthritic Cat.")

Gunning down cats with rifles also is winked at by judges in Virginia. (See Cat Defender posts of June 22, 2006 and August 14, 2007 entitled, respectively, "Used Car Dealer in Virginia Murders Sweet Three-Year-Old Cat Named Carmen with Rifle Shot to the Neck" and "Grieving Owner Seek Justice for Orange Tabby Named Bill That Was Hunted Down and Savagely Killed with a Bow and Arrow.")

Furthermore, judges in Virginia positively love cat hoarders. (See Cat Defender posts of December 23, 2005 and July 21, 2005 entitled, respectively, "Virginia Cat Hoarder Who Killed 221 Cats and Kept Another 354 in Abominable Conditions Gets Off with a $500 Fine" and "Northern Virginia Woman Caught Hoarding 575 Cats.")

In Hunt's case, it is easy enough to connect the dots. He is a large and powerful landowner backed up by a state legislator who doubles as his shyster. Add in an obliging prosecutor and judge and the result is that the lives of cats in James City County are no longer worth a plug nickel.

Hunt, Norment, Powell, and Green most likely belong to many of the same social clubs, purchase their moonshine from the same bootleggers, and attend the same churches on Sundays with their fellow hypocrites and phonies. Bound together by a multitude of economic and class interests as well as a sickening perversity of tastes, they undoubtedly are rich and powerful individuals but the way in which they treat cats is nothing short of criminal.

More than likely that is the modus operandi throughout Virginia's judicial system. Furthermore, the fact that cats cannot get a fair hearing calls into question the integrity of the justice meted out to individuals.

It is a well-known maxim in legal circles that the accused are considered innocent until proven broke and since the capitalists and the bourgeoisie seldom run out of shekels it is rare that any of them ever go to jail. As a consequence, penal institutions exist primarily for punishing the impecunious.

For the sake of both honesty and clarity, however, Virginia owes it to the millions of tourists who visit each year to adopt a more accurate state slogan. Instead of the old familiar "Virginia Is for Lovers," a far more accurate choice would be "Virginia Is for Cat Killers."

Visitors are, after all, entitled to know not only how disgracefully Virginians treat cats but also the extensive corruption that is endemic to their judicial system. Hopefully, they then will find somewhere else to spend their shekels and thus leave these Neanderthals to wallow in the cesspool of their own cruelty and corruption.

Judges south of the border in equally backward North Carolina are every bit as antagonistic to cats as their colleagues in Virginia. For instance, on April 15th of last year, the North Carolina Court of Appeals threw out the littering convictions of PETA employees Adria Hinkle and Andrew Cook. (See The News and Observer of Raleigh, April 15, 2008, "PETA Workers Cleared of Animal Cruelty Convictions.")

In that celebrated case, Hinkle and Cook journeyed from their headquarters in Norfolk to shelters in the Tar Heel State where they took possession of hundreds of cats and dogs under the pretense that they were going to place them in good homes. What they did instead was to kill the animals and then deposit their corpses in a Dumpster behind a Piggly Wiggly in Ahoskie. (See mug shots of Hinkle and Cook above.)

During May and June of 2005, police officers recovered the corpses of eighty-two dogs and seventeen cats from one Dumpster. The actual number of cats and dogs killed by these two cretins could well have been in the thousands.

Nevertheless, on February 2, 2007 a Hertford County Criminal Superior Court jury cleared them of all charges except one count each of littering. Presiding Judge Cy Grant fined them each $1,000, gave them ten-day suspended jail sentences, ordered them to perform fifty hours of community service, and placed them on twelve months probation.

They additionally were ordered to split $5,975.10 to cover the cost of the proper disposal of the corpses and the storage of evidence. (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.")

While it is not known if PETA is still dumping corpses, it certainly has not mended its cat and dog killing ways. "Our service is to provide a peaceful and painless death to animals no one wants," head honcho Ingrid Newkirk unambiguously proclaims to this very day.

Consequently, it is not surprising that PETA exterminates just about all animals that enter its Norfolk facility. For example, its kill rate for 2008 was an astounding ninety-five per cent while in 2007 it soared to ninety-eight per cent.

Far from being anything new, Newkirk's murderous rampages date to the time when she worked for more conventional shelters. "I went to the front office all the time, and I would say, 'John is kicking the dogs and putting them in freezers.' Or I would say, 'They are stepping on the animals, crushing them like grapes, and they don't care.' In the end, I would go to work early, before anyone got there, and I would kill the animals myself," she confessed to The New Yorker on April 14, 2003. (See "The Woman Behind the Most Successful Radical Group in America.") "Because I couldn't stand to let them go through that, I must have killed thousands of them, sometimes dozens every day."

Clearly, PETA does not have an ounce of respect in its calcified bones for the sanctity of animal life. Moreover, it is far too lazy and cheap to be bothered with finding homes for cats and dogs; deadly jabs of sodium pentobarbital are more cost effective as far as it is concerned. As the events in Ahoskie have demonstrated, it is even too miserly to pay for the proper burial of the corpses of its totally innocent victims.

It therefore is no small wonder that PETA is headquartered in a state that is one of America's most unfriendly toward animals. In the final analysis, there really is not any measurable difference between Newkirk and her minions on the one hand and Hunt, Powell, and Green on the other hand. They are all peas in the same desiccated pod and that makes conditions doubly perilous for cats and dogs in Virginia.

Photos: Daily Press (Hunt) and Court TV (Hinkle and Cook).

Friday, May 08, 2009

Domino, Feral and All Alone, Faces an Uncertain Future in Wisconsin Following an Unplanned Trip to Arizona

"It (Domino) knows its safety area. It knows its sources of food and shelter...We always try to get the ferals back to where they came from."
-- Patti Hogan of Paws Patrol

Despite all the admonitions, another cat has fallen prey to the deliberate carelessness of a family relocating from one locale to another. This time around it was a five-year-old, black and white feral cat named Domino from the tiny village of Poynette, north of Madison, Wisconsin. (See photo above.)

In their haste to hightail it out of Poynette, Mike and Ann Hirz thoughtlessly sealed up Domino in a large shipping crate. As a consequence, she was forced to endure an eleven-day, two-thousand-mile journey to Green Valley, thirty-two kilometers south of Tucson.

Even after all of that, her presence was not discovered until a workman installing drapes overheard her plaintive meows on April 10th. "When we opened the pod and saw the cat in there I couldn't believe it," Mike told KOLD-TV of Tucson on April 24th. (See "Stowaway Cat Makes It to Green Valley.") "I'm wondering 'now what'?"

"I was devastated," Ann earlier told the Green Valley News on April 16th. (See "Feral Cat Has Eight More Lives, One More Trip.")

That was because Domino is not just any ordinary feral cat but one that the Hirzes had been feeding off their back porch in Poynette for the past four years. They even had adopted one of her kittens but never had been able to trap her.

"She's a smart cat," Ann told KOLD-TV. "She could get tuna out of any trap and get away."

That did not pose much of a problem, however, for Patti Hogan of Paws Patrol who had Domino in custody a scant five hours after setting a trap for her. She immediately was taken to a veterinarian where she was pronounced to be in remarkably good condition despite going without either food or water for such a lengthy period of time. While she was there, she also was given antibiotics and sterilized.

The next order of business for the Hirzes was to decide what to do with Domino and, based upon Hogan's recommendation, they have elected to return her to Poynette. "We have agreed to do so," Ann told KOLD-TV in a video posted on its web site. "I would say reluctantly but we have agreed to do so. We want to do what is best for the cat."

"It (Domino) knows its safety area. It knows its sources of food and shelter," Hogan told the Green Valley News in the article cited supra. "This is Domino's best chance of survival," she added to KOLD-TV. "She knows where the food is there and not to mention coyotes."

She will not, however, have the Hirzes to feed her and perhaps not even their back porch for shelter if the new tenants object to her presence. On top of that Wisconsin winters are brutal.

Nevertheless, Hogan insists that if Domino were to remain in Green Valley her chances of survival would be only fifty per cent. "We always try to get the ferals back to where they came from."

What to do about feral cats even under normal circumstances is an excruciatingly heartrending decision, but Domino's plight is compounded by the extraordinary circumstances surrounding her trip to Green Valley. She might perhaps be better off with the Hirzes but without additional knowledge about their living arrangement or the neighborhood that is mere supposition.

Consequently, the Hirzes have decided to drive her back to Poynette and then release her. She at least will have the summer in order to find a new source of food and shelter. Perhaps the Hirzes will be able to prevail upon a neighbor to take care of her.

Although she has been traumatized and her world turned upside down by her misadventures, it could be argued that she is in no worse shape than she would have been if she had not gotten trapped inside the shipping crate in the first place. Tampering with fate is a risky business, however.

Perhaps Domino's karma was to accompany the Hirzes to Green Valley? Besides, time and tide waiteth neither for cats nor men; both must venture forth into an uncertain future. Trying to turn back the hands of time is usually not a good idea.

Much more pertinently, through their feeding of her, an unbreakable moral bond was established between the Hirzes and Domino. Like it or not, she is their responsibility and it was cruel of them to even have considered running out on her.

That is why they have a responsibility to make some sort of arrangement for her continued care and sheltering in Poynette. If they are unwilling to go the extra mile for her, it is unlikely that anyone else will be willing to do so either.

Regardless of how things turn out, it was heartening to hear Hogan acknowledge the sanctity of Domino's birthright. This is especially true in light of the smear campaign launched by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service and bird advocates to deny all cats the right to even exist anywhere and under any circumstances.

Worst still, those fascists and moral degenerates are being fully supported in the commission of their heinous libels and crimes by the twenty-four karat frauds at the Humane Society of the United States and PETA. (See Cat Defender post of April 28, 2009 entitled "Quislings at the Humane Society Sell Out San Nicolas's Cats to the Assassins at the Diabolical United States Fish and Wildlife Service.")

If neither an animal's nor a human's birthright establishes an inviolable entitlement to exist, than nothing else does. The distinction that the cat-haters make between native and non-native species is fascist drivel designed to excuse their crimes and to mask their utter moral depravity.

Ambrose Bierce was acutely aware of the consequences of such malignant thinking and behavior, especially when it is coupled with the ownership of real estate. "Carried to its logical conclusion, it means that some have the right to prevent others from living; for the right to own implies the right exclusively to occupy..." he wrote in his Devil's Dictionary. "It follows that if the whole area of terra firma is owned by A, B, C, there will be no place for D, E, F, and G to be born, or born as trespassers, to exist."

Although he was principally concerned with humans and private property when he penned those sentiments, they are equally applicable to public lands and the animals. Moreover, to demonize and murder defenseless cats contravenes the moral imperative that all life be respected.

As for Domino, rough days are ahead. Bonne chance, little girl! You are going to need it.

Photo: Green Valley News.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

A Resident of a Church-Run Homeless Shelter in Seattle Uses a Box Cutter in Order to Gut Scatt from Collarbone to Tail

"A cat has been hurt so horribly, I can't even look at the wounds."
-- Unidentified deputy sheriff in King County

During the past few years a number of homeless shelters have taken in stray cats in order to serve as companions for both the staff and inmates. (See Cat Defender post of May 5, 2009 entitled "Gracie Brings a Ray of Hope and Good Cheer to the Down-and-Out at Women's Shelter in Fredericton.")

Generally speaking, these ad hoc arrangements have worked out really well for all concerned. The cats gain a home and regular meals while the inmates benefit from the companionship and unconditional love that the animals freely return.

In addition to being too poor to afford conventional shelter, a few homeless individuals are habitual drunkards, dope addicts, and violent offenders. Worst of all, an occasional inveterate cat-hater turns up at these last stop before you drop facilities.

With prior convictions for drunk driving, drug possession, assault, and eluding the police, forty-seven-year-old Tracy A. Clark fits that bill to a tee. What the staff at the men's shelter run by Cross Church in south Seattle did not know when they admitted the former Vancouver, Washington, resident is that he also hates cats.

This glaring oversight on their part almost wound up costing their resident feline, Scatt, his life when Clark grabbed him by the throat and used a box cutter to open up an eight-inch gash from his collarbone to his tail. (See photo above.) The miscreant then flung Scatt against a wall breaking several of his ribs.

Mike Stinnette, director of the church's rehabilitation program, discovered the orange and white cat near death in the church's parking lot on April 19th and rushed him to the South Seattle Veterinary Hospital where emergency surgery was performed on him by Dr. Harbir Goraya.

A deputy with the King County Sheriff's Department was left visibly shaken by what he discovered upon investigation. "A cat has been hurt so horribly, I can't even look at the wounds," he told Pasado's Safe Haven of nearby Sultan.

Despite the severity of his wounds, the good news is that Scatt is, miraculously, expected to recover. In fact, he was discharged from the hospital on April 28th and is now recuperating at the home of pastor Jerry Wilson and his wife, Jennifer. (See photo below of him with Jennifer.)

"Scatt is home and doing well...He is perched near a window where he can see out and have the sunshine on his stitches," Jennifer is quoted as saying on Pasado's web site. "He has had antibiotics, pain meds, and warm packs -- doing great. He also is eating and drinking a lot...Amen!"

Clark, who had been at the shelter for about a month, hightailed it out of the facility after committing his heinous deed but not before he idiotically bragged to a fellow inmate about gutting Scatt. The Sheriff's Department was notified and luckily was able to apprehend him the next day.

If they had not corralled him, it is a good bet that Clark would have been forced to answer to some of his fellow inmates who were justifiably outraged at what he had done to Scatt. "Some of the guys we deal with and who come from a little harder background wanted to go take care of the guy themselves," Stinnette confided to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer on April 22nd. (See "Man Charged with Felony in Church Cat Attack.")

On April 22nd, prosecutors charged Clark with felony animal cruelty and tacked on an additional charge for his use of a deadly weapon. Even if convicted on all counts, he is believed to face a maximum prison sentence of only eighteen months.

At last report, he was still being held in the King County Jail in lieu of $50,000 bail. He is scheduled to be arraigned this morning.

For his part, Clark told arresting officers that he had gutted Scatt in self-defense after the cat attacked him. Although he reportedly does have scratches on one of his arms, they were undoubtedly inflicted by Scatt in self-defense after Clark attacked him.

Outraged by Clark's ludicrous attempt to play the role of the victim while simultaneously casting Scatt as the villain, Pasado has organized a rally to be held at 8:30 a.m. (PDT) today in front of the King County Courthouse in Seattle in order to demand justice for the cat. If similar cases are anything to go by, it is essential that political pressure be put on the judicial system in order to ensure that the presiding judge takes this vicious attack seriously.

In particular, this case bears an eerie similarity to the senseless murder of an elderly arthritic cat named Luke in Leesburg, Virginia, on October 15, 2004 by career criminal and drifter Peter Landrith. (See photo below of Luke.)

In that tragic case, Landrith outrageously claimed that he had stomped Luke to death in a tussle over a tuna fish sandwich. Loudoun County Circuit Judge J. Howe Brown Jr nevertheless let him off scot-free. (See Cat Defender post of January 17, 2006 entitled "Loony Virginia Judge Lets Career Criminal Go Free After He Stomps to Death a Fourteen-Year-Old Arthritic Cat.")

Like Clark, Landrith previously had been convicted of drunk driving as well as larceny. Although at the time of the incident he was living with his girlfriend, Allyn Cornell, he had neither a regular job nor a permanent abode. Consequently, he was more or less homeless himself.

The best that can be hoped for is that the judge who hears this case will exercise a modicum of bon sens that is totally lacking in Virginia judges. (See Cat Defender post of October 23, 2007 entitled "Virginia Does It Again! Farmer Who Drowned at Least Five Cats Gets Off with a Slap-on-the-Wrists.")

Although Scatt is not out of the woods just yet, his wounds should heal in time but it is difficult to predict the psychological impact that this attack will have upon him. He was, after all, quite understandably wary of people when he first arrived at the church ten ago as a stray and it took him a while to adjust to being around people.

There can be no disputing, however, the impact that his presence has had on both the staff and the down-and-out at the shelter. "He would sleep on the guys' bunks, and people would feed him," Stinnette recalled for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer in the article cited supra. "He would come in when we were having service and hang out with us. He's part of our family."

It therefore is not surprising that the church has rebuffed Pasado's offer to procure a permanent home for Scatt and instead intends to return him to the church as soon as he recovers. If that is indeed the scenario, it is imperative that the church do a far better job of disarming its inmates in order to not only ensure Scatt's safety, but that of all residents and staffers as well.

Finally, Clark has furthermore impugned the already tarnished reputation of homeless people everywhere by attacking Scatt. Contrary to the blatant lies disseminated by the capitalist media, politicians, and others, the overwhelming majority of the sans-abri are not drunkards, dope addicts, criminals, and mental patients.

Rather, they are simply individuals who are unable to earn enough money in order to regularly pay rent. Moreover, none of them are bankers or auto manufacturers who are thus able to ring up their bought and paid for politicians and demand trillion-dollar bailouts.

If that were the case, there would not be any homeless people. Cats likewise would not be slaughtered by the tens of millions each year by shelters, Animal Control, veterinarians, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, and other ailurophobes if they, too, had a few powerful politicians in their hip pockets.

It also is important to bear in mind that rough-sleepers are sans doute the most abused individuals in America in that hundreds of them are beaten to death each year while thousands more are severely injured in violent attacks. The perpetrators of these despicable crimes are usually juveniles, primarily middle-class Irish lowlifes, who know only too well that the only reaction from the police and society in general is going to be one of "good riddance."

If the truth dare be told, beating up on the homeless has replaced baseball as the national pastime. (See Cat Defender posts of January 26, 2006 and June 5, 2006 entitled, "Blood Sport, Bourgeoisie Style: Fort Lauderdale Teens Murder Homeless Man, Severely Beat Two More with Baseball Bats" and "Two Mean and Greedy Old Women Alleged to Have Murdered Homeless Men in Order to Collect Life Insurance Money.")

Suffering as it does from a fatal case of selective amnesia, the American public will remember cretins like Clark and Landrith while it simultaneously could care less about the thousands of homeless men and women who each year are themselves victimized by unprovoked acts of violence. Furthermore, rallies demanding an end to these types of attacks are as rare as hens' teeth.

As far as social justice for the poor is concerned, it never has been a priority in this capitalist dystopia and that is not about to change anytime soon. There are many reasons why that is the case but none perhaps more telling than that mistreating the defenseless is big business for hoodlums, the police, social workers, and poverty pimps. (See Cat Defender post of December 1, 2005 entitled "Poverty Pimps at the Salvation Army Pay Their Homeless Bell-Ringers Less Than $4 an Hour.")

Photos: Pasado's Safe Haven (Scatt by himself and with Jennifer Wilson) and Cornell Family (Luke).

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Gracie Brings a Ray of Hope and Good Cheer to the Down-and-Out at Women's Shelter in Fredericton

"She runs through Grace House into the office, going from bedroom to bedroom, often bringing things with her, like some girl's earring, or a toy that someone has bought her, which may be bigger than she is. She takes turns sleeping wherever she pleases. The women wake up in the morning and someone always says, 'Gracie slept with me last night.' She is an absolute delight and we are so happy to have her."
-- Shelter manageress Marcia Tanner

The best things in life truly are free, unconditional, and totally unexpected. The staff and inmates at Grace House Emergency Shelter for Women in Fredericton, New Brunswick, know that only too well now that Gracie has come to brighten up their otherwise dreary surroundings. (See photo above.)

No stranger to homelessness herself, Gracie was a six-week-old tortoiseshell kitten living in the mean streets of Fredericton when she first came to the attention of shelter manageress Marcia Tanner last September. Spying the kitten while on her lunch break one day, she was able to corral it and bring it back to the shelter with her.

She since has been spayed and vaccinated and now has a home for life at the shelter. "She will reign for many years to come and will definitely bring joy to the lives of all the women she will meet here, no matter how long a period of time they spend at our shelter," Tanner told The Daily Gleaner of Fredericton on March 28th. (See "Gracie the Cat Brings an Extra Bit of Grace to Grace House Emergency Shelter for Women.")

Although Gracie's favorite place to hang out is high atop the office window where she can discreetly follow the comings and goings of both staffers and inmates from a safe distance, she has free rein of the entire facility. "She runs through Grace House into the office, going from bedroom to bedroom, often bringing things with her, like some girl's earring, or a toy that someone has bought her, which may be bigger than she is," Tanner related to The Daily Gleaner. "She takes turns sleeping wherever she pleases. The women wake up in the morning and someone always says, 'Gracie slept with me last night.' She is an absolute delight and we are so happy to have her."

Gracie also functions as a substitute alarm clock by gently nudging the residents back from the Land of Nod each morning. "Gracie sleeps with me most of the time and is my alarm clock," a woman identified only as Marion confided to The Daily Gleaner in the article cited supra. "When I get my wake up call for work she gets up on my bed and licks my nose and kneads the blanket around me until I'm out of bed."

Already looking forward to the time when she will be able to get back on her feet financially, Marion has no intention of forgetting the kindness bestowed upon her by Gracie. "I'm very glad she came to live here," she added. "I'll sure miss her when I go but I'll come back to visit her."

The elites must grudgingly be given credit for doing such a sensational job of bamboozling the hoi polloi into forsaking all that is truly beautiful and genuine in this world in favor of an artificial existence where only the accumulation of shekels and the consumption of the ordure churned out by the mass media is valued. Consequently, the joie de vivre to be found in cats, friends, family, Charles Dickens, lightning bugs, crickets, and sunsets is lost on most individuals.

If Marion, Tanner, and the other inmates and staffers at Grace House have learned that there is more to life than money and mindless self-indulgence, then Gracie has taught them an invaluable lesson. Furthermore, if the lesson sticks, even a detour into the black hole of homelessness will have been a small price to have paid for their enlightenment.

If there is one place that is even drearier than a homeless shelter, it is a women's prison but even there cats and kittens are having a huge impact upon the morale of both inmates and guards. For instance, the Solano County Sheriff's Claybank Sentenced Detention Center in Fairfax, west of San Francisco, a few years back inaugurated a highly successful program whereby female inmates foster feral kittens. (See photo above of inmates Donica Laury and Latisha Bevilacqua, left to right, with their cats, Lucky Charm and Lilyanna.)

The Blaine Street Jail in Santa Cruz has a similar program and there are probably others in existence elsewhere throughout the penal system. (See Cat Defender post of October 27, 2005 entitled "Inmates at Women's Prisons in California Save Lives by Fostering Feral Kittens.")

Unlike people, cats do not judge individuals by the size of their wallets and the positions that they occupy in the pecking order of society. On the contrary, they judge individuals solely on how they are treated by them.

Considering that the homeless are treated like dirt everywhere, it is not surprising that the unconditional love, nonjudgmental attitude, and companionship that Gracie has bestowed upon the women at Grace House has been so appreciated. As Dickens once astutely observed, "What greater gift than the love of a cat?"

Photos: The Daily Gleaner (Gracie) and Vanessa Stumpf of the California Aggie (Laury and Bevilacqua with Lucky Charm and Lilyanna).