Blind and Deaf on Her Left Side as the Result of a Bow and Arrow Attack by a Juvenile Miscreant, Valentine Is Still Looking for a Permanent Home
"This was not an accident. I think this cat had to have been held down. This person was a great shot to get it right through the eye. Either the cat was held down or tied down, is my personal feeling."
-- Sheri L. Schneider of Simply Cats
Long suffering little Valentine is an awfully patient cat. Four and one-half months after having been shot through the eye with an arrow, she is still waiting for her forever home.
Back on January 20th, the then nine-month-old gray and brown moggy was discovered by an unidentified good Samaritan on Redmon Road in the Boise suburb of Caldwell with an arrow protruding from her left orb. The projectile had been fired with such velocity that it actually had gone through the back of her tiny head.
Compounding the deplorable situation even further, it was estimated by local residents that she had been wandering around Caldwell for at least a week with the arrow embedded in her eye. (See photo above.)
Once corralled, she was rushed to WestVet Emergency and Specialty Center in nearby Meridian where surgeon Sean Murphy magnanimously removed the barb gratis. (See photo of him on the right below.) Although Valentine lost her left eye and the hearing in her left ear she was indeed fortunate to have escaped with her life after such a vicious attack.
"To have it not penetrate the brain, just the eye and ear and have it come about three or four millimeters from the brain, she's a lucky cat," Murphy told KBCI-TV of Boise on January 21st. (See "Stray Cat Found with Arrow Through Its Head.")
Just the thought of the excruciating pain and despair that she was forced to endure is heartbreaking. The real miracle therefore is not that she survived a delicate operation, but rather that she was able to summon the strength in order to persevere until the good Samaritan and Murphy intervened.
Perhaps in an odd sort of way of looking at it, all the abuse and neglect that she had previously endured during her short existence had bolstered her resolve and given her the strength in order to persevere in the presence of overwhelming odds against her. For example, although an unidentified man residing near Farmway and Oasis roads had been periodically feeding her, she apparently had been abandoned by her previous caretaker shortly after birth.
Secondly, the bow and arrow attack was not the first time that she had been used for target practice. That fact is attested to by at least one BB gun pellet that Murphy found embedded in her side when he examined her.
According to a May 26th e-mail letter received from Brenda Johnson of Simply Cats, which has been caring for Valentine ever since her release from the hospital, an unidentified fourteen-year-old boy was arrested and prosecuted for attacking Valentine but he was not given any jail time. Instead he was ordered to write letters of apology to WestVet and Simply Cats.
He therefore got off every bit as lightly as the sixteen-year-old London girl who last year drowned the HMS Belfast's mascot, Kilo, in the Thames. (See Cat Defender posts of November 24, 2008 and November 10, 2008 entitled, respectively, "Kilo's Killer Walks in a Lark but the Joke Is on the Disgraceful English Judicial System" and "London Teenager, Convicted of Killing the HMS Belfast's Kilo, Also Is Unmasked as a Remorseless Liar and Drunkard.")
In his defense, the teenager claimed that he was justified in shooting Valentine because she allegedly had been stalking quail. Notorious serial cat killer James Munn Stevenson of Galveston and his many supporters within bird and wildlife advocacy groups must be beside themselves with joy not only because of Valentine's debilitating injuries but also for being able to attract such an ardent young acolyte to their cause. (See Cat Defender posts of November 22, 2006 and November 20, 2007 entitled, respectively, "Evil Galveston Lover Is Finally Arrested After Having Gunned Down Hundreds of Cats" and "Bird Lovers All Over the World Rejoice as Serial Killer James M. Stevenson Is Rewarded by Galveston Court for Gunning Down Hundreds of Cats.")
There are others, such as Sheri L. Schneider of Simply Cats, who are not the least bit hesitant to point out that the lad's account of events does not corroborate with the facts. "This was not an accident," she told the Idaho Statesman of Boise on January 21st. (See "Idaho Humane Society Offers Reward in Case of Cat Shot with Arrow.") "I think this cat had to have been held down. This person was a great shot to get it right through the eye. Either the cat was held down or tied down, is my personal feeling."
She is furthermore acutely aware of the banality of animal cruelty. "It makes you want to cry, it's so disturbing," she added to KBCI-TV in the article cited supra. "It says a lot about society; it's heartbreaking. The cat was used as target practice and some people think it's okay."
The worst part of the scenario that she describes is not that there are individuals who commit these atrocities, but rather that lawmen, prosecutors, and judges consistently refuse to take them seriously. (See Cat Defender posts of May 14, 2009 and August 7, 2008 entitled, respectively, "Virginia Is for Cat Killers, Not Lovers, Now That Its Legal Establishment Has Sanctioned Donald Curtis Hunt's Drowning of Five Kittens" and "Crime Pays! Having Made Fools of Galveston Prosecutors, Serial Cat Killer James Munn Stevenson Is Now a Hero and Laughing All the Way to the Bank.")
This blatant disregard for the sanctity of animal life is especially egregious in Idaho in that it is only one of five states that categorically refuse to criminalize animal cruelty. Since these types of abuses are therefore treated as misdemeanors, offenders know well beforehand that the maximum sentence they could face, no matter how horrific their crimes, would be half a year in jail and a $5,000 fine.
Consequently, the abuses continue unabated. After all, it was only a little over a year ago on May 8, 2008 that a dog was bound with duct tape and beaten to death near where Valentine was shot.
Although to its credit the Idaho Humane Society (IHS) offered cash rewards in both cases, its record in protecting animal life is far from stellar. For example, on March 21, 2006 it assisted in the demolition of the Double D Feed and Seed Store in Meridian which cost the lives of at least sixteen feral cats who had been residing there.
"You'd hope that the cats would run away when the work starts, but they'll probably just get under things and hide," executive director Jeff Rosenthal predicted in an interview with the Idaho Statesman on March 20, 2006. (See "Deadline Looms for Feral Cats in Building.") "A lot of animals are likely to be killed. There's no good solution."
Even more shocking, he seems to be a proponent of using demolition as a population control measure. "It would be nice to give people more time to catch the cats, but it's kitten season so every day that goes by there's likely to be more kittens," he added.
Comments such as those leave cat-lovers nonplussed because if humane organizations such as the IHS are unwilling to go to the mat in order to protect defenseless animals, it is highly unlikely that the law enforcement community is going to be willing to do so either. (See Cat Defender post of March 31, 2006 entitled "Idaho Humane Society Lends Its Support to the Demolition of a Derelict Seed Store That Claims the Lives of Dozens of Cats.")
Then there is the pathetic example set by Idaho's laughingstock of a governor, C. L. "Butch" Otter. When the animal annihilators at the disreputable United States Fish and Wildlife Service first announced that they were planning to sacrifice the gray wolves of the Rockies and the Great Lakes to hunters Otter appeared on the steps of the state Capitol in Boise to give his full support to the slaughter.
"I'm prepared to bid for the first ticket to shoot a wolf myself," he bellowed to a cheering crowd of three-hundred of his fellow bloodthirsty hunters on January 11, 2007. (See Live Science, January 12, 2007, "Idaho Governor Can't Wait to Kill Wolves.") Being a pro-fetus Roman Catholic as well as a convicted drunk driver, Otter quite obviously is untroubled by the blatant hypocrisy inherent in his staunch opposition to abortion vis-a-vis the malice aforethought that he harbors in his bosom for the wolves.
The maiming of Valentine additionally brings up the disturbing issue of crimes committed against cats by juveniles. In addition to the murder of Kilo in London last year, two fifteen-year-old girls in Santa Rosa, California, torched a black kitten named Adam on June 20, 2007. (See Cat Defender post of July 12, 2007 entitled "Burned Nearly to Death by Laughing Teenage Girls, Two-Month-Old Kitten Named Adam Is Fighting for His Life in Santa Rosa.")
He suffered second and third degree burns over seventy-five per cent of his body but miraculously is alive today. He did, however, lose his tail, a large patch of skin off his back, and his ears were shriveled by the inferno.
Earlier on September 25, 2006, a trio of teens in the Atlantic City suburb of Pleasantville beat up and burned to death a kitten. (See Cat Defender post of October 5, 2006 entitled "New Jersey Teens' Idea of Fun: Beat Up a Defenseless Kitten and Then Burn It to Death.")
In April of 2005, seventeen-year-old Wirimu Karena and eighteen-year-old Sahn Papa of Huntley doused a trio of caged cats with glue and burned them to death. (See Cat Defender post of September 22, 2005 entitled "Two New Zealand Teens Douse Three Caged Cats with Glue and Burn Them to Death.")
College students likewise can be every bit as diabolical in their treatment of cats as their grammar and high school counterparts. (See Cat Defender posts of September 22, 2005 and August 25, 2008 entitled, respectively, "College Students in South Africa Cook a Cat to Death in a Microwave Oven" and "Danish Journalism Students Procure the Corpse of a Murdered Cat and Then Skin, Cook, and Eat It in Order to Promote Their Careers.")
Since courts all over the world are so totally unwilling to punish juveniles, the only solution is to hold their worthless parents liable for their crimes. That is the only way to restore any credibility to judicial systems and to protect the lives of cats.
Society also is culpable for allowing minors to possess bows and arrows in the first place when it is well-known that most of them cannot even be trusted with old-fashioned slingshots. Although accurate statistics are hard to come by, attacks upon cats by archers are increasing.
For example, a cat named Arwen from New Port Richey, Florida, was shot with a barbed arrow on April 28th of last year and died a few days later. Like Valentine, she too was forced to wander around town for at least four days with the projectile embedded in her stomach before she was discovered. (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.")
A three-year-old orange cat named Bill from Vista, California, was brutally hunted down and killed with a bow and arrow by a cat-hating neighbor on April 11, 2006. Thanks to the perseverance of his owner, Janine Bubien, prosecuting attorney Kate Flaherty, and a judge with bon sens, Robert Eugene Brunner was sentenced to three years in jail for this despicable crime.
That marked one of the few occasions when a cat killer actually was sent to prison. (See Cat Defender posts of August 14, 2007 and September 24, 2007 entitled, respectively, "Grieving Owner Seeks Justice for Orange Tabby Named Bill That Was Hunted Down and Savagely Killed with a Bow and Arrow" and "California Man Who Slew His Neighbor's Cat with a Bow and Arrow Is Sentenced to Three-Years in Jail.")
One of the lucky ones ever to have survived a bow and arrow attack was a one-pound tuxedo kitten named Archer from Tarpon Springs, Florida. (See Cat Defender post of August 25, 2005 entitled "Nine-Week-Old Kitten Named Archer Recovering after Being Shot with Crossbow Near Tampa.")
By and large, however, the overwhelming majority of cats shot by archers are ferals and strays who limp away to die prolonged and agonizing deaths that are seldom ever reported. (See Cat Defender post of August 2, 2007 entitled "Ohio Cat Shot in the Leg with an Arrow Is Forced to Endure a Long-Drawn Out and Excruciating Death.")
Pellet guns are another invention of the devil that do not belong in the hands of juveniles under any circumstances. In fact, their manufacture and sale should be interdicted everywhere. (See Cat Defender post of May 7, 2007 entitled "British Punks Are Having a Field Day Maiming Cats with Air Guns but the Peelers Continue to Look the Other Way.")
On May 20th, a seven-month-old black and white kitten named Wilbur from Rancho Santa Fe, California, lost his right eye when he was shot with a pellet gun. (See photo above.)
He then was placed in a cardboard box and abandoned outside the Helen Woodward Animal Center (HWAC) by an unidentified couple. Their dastardly deed was captured on film by a surveillance camera and the San Diego County Sheriff's Department is searching for them. At the very least they are guilty of animal abandonment if not animal cruelty as well.
The good news is that Wilbur not only survived the attack but has been adopted by a couple known only as Oliver and Diane from the University Heights section of San Diego. (See photo above of him with his new guardians.)
"We received dozens of calls from families interested in Wilbur's condition and the possibility of adopting him," the HWAC's John Van Zante told Channel 6-TV of San Diego on May 29th. (See "Wilbur the One-Eyed Wonder Cat Gets a New Home.") "When he became available for adoption he was snatched up almost immediately..."
Like bows and arrows and pellet guns, fireworks also are frequently employed in order to injure cats, dogs, and wildlife. (See Cat Defender posts of November 30, 2006 and July 11, 2005 entitled, respectively, "Yobs Celebrating Guy Fawkes Day Kill Twelve-Year-Old Cat Named Tigger with Fireworks; Cat Named Sid Is Severely Burned" and "Thirty Dogs Killed Fleeing Fireworks in Tucson.")
In one of the most abominable crimes ever perpetrated against a cat, someone outside a watering hole in Arklow stuffed a firecracker inside the left ear of a cat named Sparkles last October 29th and lit the fuse. Sparkles held on for as long as she could but ultimately succumbed to her injuries in early December. (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.")
Individuals who commit these types of crimes should be promptly removed from society and permanently locked up regardless of their age. No good will ever accrue to either the animals or society at large so long as the legal establishment continues to look the other way and refuses to punish animal abusers.
When the news first broke detailing how horribly Valentine had been violated, there was an outpouring of concern for her amongst residents of Treasure Valley and this led Simply Cats to believe that she would be adopted as soon as she was well enough to leave the hospital. Malheureusement, that has not proven to be the case.
Part of the difficulty stems from the fact that she was later diagnosed to be suffering from the Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) and therefore requires a home where she would be either the only cat or one wherein all the other resident felines also suffer from the disease. Despite that impediment, the unwillingness of residents of Boise to give her a loving home is another black mark against the community.
That is especially true not only in light of Oliver and Diane's prompt decision to adopt Wilbur, but also in the willingness of Sue Watts and Birmingham and Rose and Chris Rasmussen of suburban London to go to such great lengths and exorbitant expense in order to adopt American cats and return them to England. (See Cat Defender posts of September 4, 2008 and May 28, 2009 entitled, respectively, "Tinkerbelle Is Freed from Death Row and Flown to Safety in England Capping Off a Storybook Ending to Her Travails in Florida" and "Sparky, the Vivacious Mascot of a Michigan Shelter, Is Adopted by an English Couple and Flown to His New Home Outside London.")
Despite this latest setback, Valentine is holding her own. "Valentine is doing quite well," Schneider told KBCI-TV on May 20th. (See "Cat Still Struggling to Find Home.") "She loves attention and having her picture taken." (See photo directly above of her at play.)
The good part of the situation is that Simply Cats is not about to either turn her out on the street or, tant pis, kill her. Au contraire, the organization has vowed to stand by her no matter how long it takes in order to find her a permanent home.
Anyone interested in adopting Valentine is therefore encouraged to contact Simply Cats at either (208) 343-7177 or by e-mail at email@example.com.
Photos: KBCI-TV (Valentine with arrow), WestVet (Murphy), Channel 6-TV (Wilbur by himself and with his new guardians), and Simply Cats (Valentine at play).