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).