.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

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, July 30, 2009

Ferals Living at a Baltimore Church Find Out the Hard Way That Hatred of Cats Is Every Bit as Christian as Unleavened Bread and Cheap Wine

"Christian: One who believes that the New Testament is a divinely-inspired book admirably suited to the spiritual needs of his neighbor. One who follows the teachings of Christ in so far as they are not inconsistent with a life of sin."
-- Ambrose Bierce, Devil's Dictionary

Northside Baptist Church in Baltimore advertises itself on its web site as a "church with an open heart and an open door." Whenever it comes to down-and-out cats from the neighborhood, however, both its heart and its doors are closed as tightly as the vault to Fort Knox.

Earlier this month, the church ordered that a feeding station that served about forty cats be dismantled and removed from its property. Ostensibly, it argued that the cats were besmirching its immaculate lawn with feces but the real reason behind their ouster was organized Christendom's long-standing hatred of the species.

Pastor Reginald Turner has all but admitted as much. "I've got members who are not cat fanciers, and we're trying to be as patient as possible," he told the Baltimore Sun on July 17th. (See "Cats Versus Churchgoers.") "Yet we're the bad guys in all of this." (See photo of him above.)

Even if there is a smidgen of truth in what he says, it is the job of a pastor to lead his flock and not to pander to either financial interests or cat-haters. In that light, it would be interesting to know what he would do if some members of his congregation objected to the presence of dogs, birds, the homeless, or drunkards?

It was church deacon McKinley Watson, however, who demonstrated the hollowness of Christian piety for all the world to see when he announced that he hoped that the cats would meet some untimely end. "We were told we would be feeding them for our lifetime (and) I'm like, 'That's a scary thought'," he screeched to the Sun in the article cited supra.

First of all, the care of the cats is not costing either Watson or Northside Baptist a solitary cent. That would be a logical impossibility anyway because no one ever has gotten much of anything other than hypocrisy and sottise out of Christians. (See Cat Defender post of December 1, 2005 entitled "Poverty Pimps at Salvation Army Pay Their Homeless Bell-Ringers Less Than $4 an Hour.")

They are in fact so greedy and stingy that about all they ever dole out to the poor are moth-eaten old clothes and stale food and even those items are donated by the public. Any halfway decent food and clothing that they receive is either siphoned off for their own personal use or resold for a profit with the proceeds winding up in their own pockets.

Occasionally their cheapness gets the better of them as happened in the case of a homeless man that they put to work sorting donated clothing at a Salvation Army warehouse for $1 a day. While rummaging through an old pair of shoes, he unexpectedly discovered $2,000 in cold, hard cash which he immediately pocketed before repairing to the nearest gin mill in order to give thanks if not necessarily to Jesus then at least to Dionysus for his deliverance.

If any of them were ever forced to part with some of their precious shekels they would have a conniption fit. Just because they are Christians does not mean that their fondness for fancy cars, expensive clothes, jewelry, opulent estates, good booze, and high-class whores as well as catamites is any less fervent than that of sinners.

Stinginess and exploitation of the poor is by no means confined to Protestants. "I think it is very beautiful for the poor to accept their lot, to share it with the passion of Christ," the so-called champion of the poor, Mother Teresa, no stranger to living high on the hog herself, once told a press conference in Washington. "I think the world is being much helped by the suffering of the poor people."

No one can argue with the soon-to-be Saint Teresa on that last remark. The capitalists and the bourgeoisie have been eating the poor's lunch ever since the dawn of civil society. (See Michael Parenti, "Mother Teresa, John Paul II, and the Fast-Track Saints," posted at Common Dreams on October 22, 2007.)

Of course, it is likely that some of Northside Baptist's wealthier parishioners did complain about the cats' presence and Turner and Watson, scared to death of losing their financial support, decided to evict the felines. Regardless of whatever rationales are put forward, most issues eventually come down to money.

By accepting the helm at Northside Baptist, Turner found himself in what Charles Dickens euphemistically might have called reduced circumstances. In his previous post as pastor of First Baptist in Woonsocket, Rhode Island, he inaugurated a cable television show, a newsletter, a web site, and Turn-A-Bout Ministries.

According to his current employer's web site, however, his only goal in Baltimore is to keep "the church doors open." That is quite a comedown for someone who perhaps at one time harbored ambitions of being either the next Jimmy Swaggart or Jim Bakker.

The heated dispute reached a crescendo when one of the cats' dedicated caretakers, chemical engineer Denise Farmer from the suburb of Parkville, decided that she was not going to give up without a fight. "It's heartbreaking," she told the Sun. "It's completely unbelievable how cruel these people are." (See photo above of her preparing to feed the cats.)

Deprived of feeding the cats, she started protesting outside the church during Sunday services. Carrying signs that read "Northside Baptist Denies Food to Animals" and "Practice What You Preach: Compassion for All God's Creatures," she soon got Watson's goat.

"They're only here to feed the cats and protest. They don't care about this place," he snarled to the Sun. "What happened to love your neighbor as yourself?"

That is a very good question. It is just too bad that big shot Christians like Watson and Turner are too full of themselves to realize that the teachings of Jesus apply to themselves as well as to everyone else.

Ambrose Bierce certainly knew what he was talking about when in his Devil's Dictionary he defined a Christian as "one who believes that the New Testament is a divinely-inspired book admirably suited to the spiritual needs of his neighbor (but not himself)." Or, alternatively, as "one who follows the teachings of Christ in so far as they are not inconsistent with a life of sin."

It is a sure bet that if the cats were feeding the till instead of just lounging around on church property that Turner and Watson would be singing an entirely different tune. Since that is not the case, they were more than willing to forget all about the compassion that they as children of Christ owe to all living creatures and instead to indulge in the most blatant form of ailurophobia.

Racism sans doute also factored into the equation somewhere in that Turner and his colleagues certainly did not appreciate the fact that suburban whites had appropriated their property for the cats. They were not totally unjustified in feeling that way since all sorts of outsiders have been setting up shop in black neighborhoods for as long as anyone can remember with the sole intention of taking advantage of the locals.

Most prominent among these naked exploiters are white and oriental ghetto liquor store operators who make a packet peddling rotgut before retiring to their palatial estates in Miami Beach and the Cayman Islands. All that they ever leave behind in their wake are drunkards, desiccated livers, and broken lives.

Cats are not bigots, however, and even their fiercest enemies, such as the American Bird Conservancy and the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, have yet to accuse them of that although given enough time they probably eventually will get around to doing so. More to the point, the cats came from the surrounding neighborhood and are therefore, at least in part, the church's responsibility.

Instead of looking at the cats' caretakers as interlopers and exploiters, Northside Baptist should appreciate their assistance in taking care of a problem that it and its parishioners have neglected for so long.

The battle raged on for at least two weeks while the cats were forced to go without food and water. Farmer picked up support along the way in her struggle as the church's inhumane and cruel treatment of the felines spread like wildfire via e-mail and Facebook.

Darlene Harris of the Baltimore City Animal Response Team was one of the first to come to the cats' defense. "These poor cats," she moaned to the Sun. "This is a church and we want to respect that, but we also want them to have some respect for animals."

Local resident Greg Eames, who has a feeding station located on his property, has nothing but kudos for the cats. "We don't have a mice problem anymore in the entire neighborhood," he testified to the Sun.

Farmer's spirited advocacy and the much-appreciated coverage given this story by the Baltimore Sun generated so much bad publicity for Northside Baptist that it ultimately was forced into accepting a compromise negotiated by Alley Cat Allies (ACA). Under this arrangement, a new feeding station has been erected in a more remote section of church property. (See photo above of the cats.)

ACA also has donated decorative stones and motion sensors that emit high-pitched noises in an effort to keep the cats from eliminating in the church's flower beds. It is unclear, however, how that is going to solve the feces problem.

Being extremely clean animals, cats always cover up their excrement if either sand or dirt are available. Whenever they are not, such as in cases where concrete and lawns predominate, is where there are problems.

It therefore is imperative that both ACA and Farmer be willing to pick up after the cats if this arrangement is going to work because the church has made it quite clear that it is not going to tolerate feces on its lawn.

ACA also is going to attempt to get area residents to sterilize their cats as a way of curtailing the dumping of additional cats on church property. Furthermore, it is attempting to recruit caretakers to help shoulder some of the load with Farmer.

If it somehow could be prevailed upon to stop demonizing cats and being a stick-in-the mud, Northside Baptist potentially could play a positive role in resolving this dispute. Turner, in particular, could use his office as a bully pulpit in order to preach not only compassion for homeless cats but responsible pet ownership as well. In doing so, he would not only be helping the cats but his church also.

"Obviously we all want what is best for the cats and this agreement will ensure their presence on the ground with volunteers being allowed to feed," ACA's Elizabeth Parowski told the Baltimore Sun on July 19th. (See "Church Relents on Cat-Feeding Ban.")

That is only partially true. The arrangement will not bear fruit unless all parties are committed to making it work and act in good faith.

The stakes are high in this game in that if things do not work out it could be curtains for the cats. If the authorities are called in, the cats will be trapped and taken to shelters where nearly one-hundred per cent of all feral arrivals are immediately killed.

Relocating the cats is not only expensive but difficult. Besides finding a suitable location, the cats usually need to be confined in cages for up to at least a month before being released so as to dissuade them from attempting to return to their old haunt.

Finally, ACA needs to remain vigilant in order to ensure that neither Northside Baptist nor any of its cohorts decide to take the law into their own hands and do away with the cats by nefarious means. After all, Baptists have a history of not only sneaky, underhanded dealings but of killing cats as well.

For example, while their students were away on Christmas break in 2006, administrators at Eastern University in St. Davids, Pennsylvania, rounded up an unspecified number of feral cats and gave them to the Delaware County SPCA to exterminate. (See Cat Defender post of February 12, 2007 entitled "God-Fearing Baptists at Eastern University Kill Off Their Feral Cats on the Sly while Students Are Away on Christmas Break.")

"Keeping the cats on campus would be irresponsible and inhumane," Bettie Ann Brigham, vice president of Student Development, said at the time. "Our primary concern is student safety."

Such twisted morality in support of cold-blooded murder bears out the wisdom of Dr. Lawrence J. Peter when he once opined that "going to church does not make you a Christian any more than going to a garage makes you a car." Or, as Thomas Jefferson once volunteered, "Christianity is the most perverted system that ever shone on man."

As morally abhorrent as the Baptists in both Baltimore and St. Davids have behaved, it actually was Catholics who wrote the book on demonizing, abusing, and killing cats. In 1233, Pope Gregory IX denounced black cats as satanic in a papal bull and in doing so gave birth to a prejudice that still persists to this very day.

Later in the fifteenth century, Pope Innocent VIII issued his infamous witch bull wherein he declared that all cat-worshipers and, by implication all felines, should be disposed of via the auto-da-fe.

As the result of the Catholics' lies, untold numbers of cats were summarily executed during the Middle Ages and this left the rodent population free to multiply unchecked. This in turn led to periodic outbreaks of bubonic plague which was spread by fleas carried by mice. All totaled, it is estimated that one-quarter of all Europeans perished because of this deadly disease.

The centuries-old ritual of tossing cats from the bell tower of historic Cloth Hall in Ieper, Belgium, during the triennial celebration of Kattenstoet is a permanent monument to just how horrible cats were treated by Medievals. The major difference between today and yesterday is that between the fourteenth century and 1817 the cats tossed from Cloth Hall were live ones whereas today they are stuffed replicas. (See Cat Defender post of May 22, 2006 entitled "Belgian Ritual of Tossing Stuffed Cats from Belfry Makes Jest of Hideous Crimes of Capitalists and Catholics.")

Even though the Vatican has moderated his views on cats somewhat, many Catholics still harbor a passionate hatred for the species in their malignant bosoms. For example, St. Jude Catholic Church in affluent Tequesta, Florida, thirty-one kilometers north of Palm Beach on United States Highway 1, hired a trapper back in 2007 to remove twenty-five or so strays from its property. (See photo directly above.)

The cats had lived on three and one-half acres of vacant church property along Village Boulevard for years without any problems. Parishioners fed, watered, sheltered, vaccinated, and sterilized them. They even were able to find homes for some of them.

The good times came to an abrupt end in early 2007 when a cat-hating snowbird living next door at a condominium called Lighthouse Cove complained to Palm Beach County Animal Care and Control (PBCACC). Unwilling to leave the dispute to the proper authorities to mediate, he additionally took matters into his own hands by physically confronting the cats' caretakers and erecting signs urging citizens to copy down their license plate numbers so he could report them to the police.

Whether or not church officials had been lying in wait like vipers in the grass for just such an opportunity in order to give the cats the heave-ho or simply bowed to the snowbird's strong-arm tactics is unclear. The important thing is that they not only knuckled under but bought into his outlandish slanders as well.

"Because of the diseases that feral cats may carry, St. Jude's is in the process of acquiring a professional trapper to transport the feral cats that exist to a safe environment where they will not be health hazard or a nuisance to individuals in the parish," Alexis Walkenstein of the Palm Beach Diocese told the Palm Beach Post on October 19, 2007. (See "Cat Feeders Hiss at Church's Barricade.")

As a prelude to their eventual eviction, St. Jude's erected a six-foot-high chain-link fence around its property in September of 2007 in order to bar the cats' caretakers from encroaching upon church property. It even successfully inveigled the Tequesta Police into enforcing its edict.

Malheureusement, it has been impossible to determine what happened to the cats. If the knackers at PBCACC got their blood-drenched hands on them they most likely were immediately killed because of the one-thousand-three-hundred-sixty-three cats that it took in during September of 2007 it extirpated one-thousand-one-hundred-twelve of them.

As an advocate for scrub jays, PBCACC's David Walesky firmly believes that all stray and feral cats should be killed. "There are worse things than humane euthanasia for wild cats," he declared to the Palm Beach Post in the article cited supra.

First of all, there is nothing more morally reprehensible than murdering perfectly healthy cats or any animal for that matter. Second of all, murder and euthanasia are two entirely different matters and Walesky is aware of that distinction as well as everyone else.

Thirdly, the cats at St. Jude's were strays, not ferals, that had been cruelly abandoned most likely by local residents. Accordingly, both the church and Tequesta had a moral responsibility to take care of them.

Fourthly, the argument that cats carry diseases and are a nuisance is totally bogus. Besides, what St. Jude's does on its own property is none of the business of a part-time condo owner from up north.

St. Jude's unchristian treatment of the cats left Lori Layton so disillusioned that she quit the church. "Because it's on church property, we're dealing with a moral issue; we're Catholic," she told the Palm Beach Post. "It really makes me embarrassed that I'm Catholic. I'm so disgusted with these people."

Bill Green, one of the cats' caretakers, put is succinctly when he told the Post, "I thought it was my obligation to do something."

St. Francis of Assisi would have wholeheartedly concurred. "God requires that we assist the animals when they need our help," he once wrote. "If you have men who will exclude any of God's creatures from the shelter of compassion and pity, you will have men who will deal likewise with their fellow men."

Being that he is such a huge fan of the species, it would be interesting to know what the current pontiff, Joseph Ratzinger, thinks of St. Jude's inhumane treatment of its cats. Not only does he regularly feed the Vatican's strays but when he was still a cardinal he used to take care of the hungry felines that congregated outside his summer home in Panting, Bayern.

Back in 2007, Jeanne Perego authored a biography about the pope entitled Joseph and Chico. The story of the pontiff's life is told through the eyes of a nine-year-old cat named Chico that lives next door to him in Panting. (See photo above.)

"The pope of course loves cats and all animals because they are creatures of God and often, like Chico, they have lessons for us that are worth learning," Father Georg Ganswein, the pope's private secretary, told the Daily Telegraph on October 3, 2007. (See "Chico the Cat Pens Pope's Biography.")

To give the ailurophobes their due, all the derision, righteous moral indignation, and charges of hypocrisy leveled against Northside Baptist, St. Jude's, and Christianity in general may be unfair because the Bible is largely antagonistic to animals. (See John W. Loftus, "The Bible and the Treatment of Animals," posted July 13th at Debunking Christianity.")

Most notably, the Dominion Mandate contained in Genesis I:26 and 28 as well as God's directive to Peter in Acts 10:10-13 to kill and eat animals, reptiles, and birds have been interpreted by Christians, Jews, and nonbelievers alike down through the centuries as implying that animals do not have any rights whatsoever. Consequently, they can be exploited, abused, and killed at will and such treatment would be in keeping with the explicit word of God.

Cats, for instance, are only mentioned once in the Bible and that is in the Apocrypha. In verse twenty-two of the Letter of Jeremiah an oblique reference is made to them as sitting on top of statues of the Egyptian gods.

Perhaps it is therefore time that people stopped looking at Christianity as a moral force in this world and instead viewed it as just another power-hungry, money-making enterprise. Its record on the environment, poverty, war and peace, democracy and equality, as well as its atrocious treatment of animals, certainly does ne casse pas trois pattes a un canard.

As long ago as 1968 Father Phil Berrigan spilled the beans on organized religion. Following a draft card burning protest in Catonsville, Maryland, he and a group of Catholics issued the following statement: "We confront the Roman Catholic Church, other Christian bodies, and the synagogues of America with their silence and cowardice in the face of our country's crimes. We are convinced that the religious bureaucracy in this country is racist, is an accomplice in this war, and is hostile to the poor."

Or maybe being a Christian is such tough row to hoe that no one can make the grade. "Im Grunde gab es nur einen Christ und er starb am Kreuz," is how Friedrich Nietzsche summed up the dilemma in his book, Der Antichrist.

Photos: Northside Baptist Church (Turner), Gene Sweeney Jr. of the Baltimore Sun (Farmer and Northside Baptist's cats), Lannis Waters of the Palm Beach Post (cats at St. Jude's), and Amazon (book jacket from Joseph and Chico).

Friday, July 24, 2009

Critically Wounded Dave Limps Home to His Family with an Arrow Embedded in His Chest Only One Inch Away from His Heart

"This defies understanding of people's minds. It is absolutely horrific. Who would do this to a cat?"
-- Andrew Childerhouse

Punks from across the pond normally prefer air guns as their weapon of choice whenever they decide to abuse cats, which is not infrequently. American juvenile miscreants on the other hand seem to prefer bows and arrows. (See Cat Defender posts of July 23, 2009 and May 7, 2007 entitled, respectively, "Robin Hood Is Wounded in the Leg in Yet Still Another Bow and Arrow Attack Upon a Cat in the Tampa Area" and "British Punks Are Having a Field Day Maiming Cats with Air Guns but the Peelers Continue to Look the Other Way.")

There are not any formalized rules of engagement when it comes to attacking defenseless cats and both groups are not the least bit hesitant about using whatever weapon is handy in order to perpetrate their cowardly deeds. That is what members of the Childerhouse family of Racecourse Road in the village of Terrington St Clement in Norfolk found out to their horror on June 10th when their eleven-month-old cat, Dave, limped home with a fourteen-inch arrow protruding from his thoracic cavity. (See photo above.)

The bolt, which entered his neck and came out by his left front paw, missed striking his heart by an inch and his lungs by an even smaller margin. Veterinarian Sarah Colegrove of Mill House Veterinary Surgery in nearby King's Lynn theorizes that the blunt-tipped arrow pushed Dave's major organs out of the way, as opposed to ripping them asunder, as it passed through his chest.

The arrow did, however, carry with it a considerable amount of hair and other debris into Dave's thoracic cavity and this necessitated his spending five days in intensive care where he was treated with strong antibiotics in order to ward off infection. He is back home now with Andrew and Juliet Childerhouse and their two daughters, twelve-year-old Hannah and eight-year-old Phoebe, all of whom are taking turns caring for him. Even the family dog and a pet chicken have been pressed into service as part of the convalescent team. (See photo below of him with the females of the household.)

The staples have been removed from his chest and his appetite has returned, but the ordeal has, quite understandably, left him with some pretty severe psychological scars. "He doesn't go outside (in) the garden anymore. He's still very scared and he's frightened of people now," Juliet told Lynn News on June 26th. (See "Miracle Cat Recovering after Crossbow Attack.") "Once upon a time, he would be all over people, sitting on their laps."

Just as is the case in America, veterinary costs are out the roof in Angleterre but the Childerhouses can take heart in the fact that the RSPCA has agreed to pay part of Dave's $1,320 bill. The general public also is helping out with donations. (See Cat Defender post of September 25, 2007 entitled "Acid Attack Leaves Solskjaer with Severe Injuries and Horrific Pain as His Cash-Strapped Family Struggles to Cope.")

Dave disappeared on June 2nd and the Childerhouses had all but given him up for dead until sharp-eared Hannah heard his jingling bell heralding his return eight days later. Her joy soon turned to hysteria when she saw that her once healthy cat was now emaciated, smelly, his fur filthy and, above all, critically injured.

"Hannah was screaming constantly," Juliet related to the Daily Mail on June 23rd. (See "Miaouch! Amazing Pictures of a Cat That Spent a Week with a Crossbow Bolt Through Its Body.") "She could not go to school."

Since the skin around the projectile already had begun to heal, Colegrove estimates that it must have been inside Dave for at least a few days. Others believe that it could have been inside him for as long as a week.

Unless the culprit can be apprehended, Dave's whereabouts during the eight days that he was AWOL are destined to remain a mystery. While it is conceivable that he could have been shot on June 2nd and it took him over a week in order to muster the strength to make it back home, it also is possible that he was shanghaied, abused, and then dumped. The latter theory would account for the elapsed time but nothing can be taken for granted where cats are concerned.

It would be helpful to know if Dave has a habit of staying away from home for extended periods of time. If so, it is possible that he has a second family. (See Cat Defender post of July 9, 2007 entitled "Hungry and Disheveled Cat Named Slim Is Picked Up Off the Streets of Ottawa by Rescuer Who Refuses to Return Him to His Owners.")

For their part, neither of the elder Childerhouses are buying into the Peelers' theory that Dave was the victim of a random act of violence. "The police think it was someone riding past who shot him, but in our view it was a clean shot at close range," Juliet told the Daily Mail in the article cited supra. "Dave is a very friendly cat so someone probably got very close and let him have it," Andrew added.

Confronted with the intransigence of the police, the best that the Childerhouses can hope for is that the culprit will get careless and expose either himself or herself. "It's being talked about quite a bit and I'm hoping those responsible will get a bit cocky and slip up, perhaps admit to someone what they did," Juliet told Lynn News in the article cited supra. "It put my girls in such a panic (and) upset the whole family and we're not going to let them just get away with it."

Although because of their lack of homes and owners to protect them, feral cats are the most vulnerable members of any society. They do have one huge advantage over domestic cats such as Dave and that is their inherent wariness of humans.

It is precisely that fear which enables them to survive in the face of astronomical odds against them and is the number one reason why feral colony caretakers should not attempt to socialize them unless they are prepared to go whole hog and find permanent homes for them. Domestics and strays on the other hand are vulnerable to all sorts of mischief precisely because they have lost their fear of humans.

There is additionally a rather disquieting parallel between this case and the savage attack upon Valentine that took place back in January in the Boise suburb of Caldwell. On that tragic occasion, Valentine was left blind and deaf on her left side when an unidentified fourteen-year-old cat-hater shot her directly in the eye with a crossbow.

Although he later claimed that he was justified in doing so because she allegedly was stalking quail, Sheri L. Schneider of Simply Cats does not believe a word of his outrageous lies. "This was not an accident," she publicly stated after reviewing the evidence of the attack. "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."

Compounding matters further, this was not the first time that Valentine had been abused and that fact was attested to by the air gun pellet that the attending veterinarian found lodged in her stomach after examining her. (See Cat Defender post of June 1, 2009 entitled "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.")

The sometimes fatal mistake of underestimating the depth of ailurophobia that exists throughout this wicked old world is not something that is peculiar to cats like Dave and Valentine. Au contraire, it also extends to dedicated cat-lovers such as Andrew.

"This defies understanding of people's minds," he exasperated to the Daily Mail. "It is absolutely horrific. Who would do this to a cat?"

The concise answer to that question is all sorts of people. Cat-haters, abusers, and killers abound in every society but, like child molesters, most of them do not go around advertising their presence.

If cat-lovers in America have one advantage over their cousins in England it is that they are constantly reminded that they are in the midst of an all-out war to save the species from its mortal enemies. For in addition to unaffiliated cat-haters and abusers who commit randomized acts of violence, several governmental and numerous nongovernmental bodies are dedicated to eradicating the species from the face of the earth.

Most prominent among them are the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, the Pentagon, the National Audubon Society, and the American Bird Conservancy. Much the same can be said for all wildlife biologists as well as for the United States Department of Agriculture's Wildlife Services and its Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS).

Fortunately, the Childerhouses and other English families do not have to worry too much about their government killing and defaming cats, but the number of incidences where cats have been attacked with air guns, firecrackers, and poisoned with antifreeze and other deadly chemicals is proof that ailurophobia is as English as tea and crumpets. Hopefully, the bow and arrow attack on Dave is not a precursor of additional attacks by archers on English cats.

It is imperative nevertheless that individuals who care about cats to be on their guards at all times. The enemies of the species, of which there are many, are such unprincipled and ruthless scoundrels that they will stop at absolutely nothing in order to achieve their objectives.

Going forward, the Childerhouses, especially little Hannah and Phoebe, can draw inspiration from what their illustrious countrywoman Dame Agatha had to say on the subject of evil. "Remember that now you can have confidence in yourself always," Hercule Poirot said to Norma Restarick in The Third Girl. "To have known, at close quarters, what absolute evil means is to be armored against what life can do to you."

Photos: Mason's News Service for the Daily Mail.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Robin Hood Is Wounded in the Leg in Yet Still Another Bow and Arrow Attack Upon a Cat in the Tampa Area

"For someone to be out there shooting him is just unimaginable to me. I don't know what kind of person does that. If they are going to hunt animals, what's next, children?"
-- Gail McFarland

The recent spate of attacks upon cats by archers in and around Tampa continues unabated as law enforcement authorities apparently are either unwilling or too incompetent to put a stop to them. The most recent one occurred on June 16th at the junction of U.S. 19 and Whitney Road in the High Point neighborhood of Clearwater when an orange-colored cat subsequently named Robin Hood was shot in his right front leg with a two-foot-long aluminum arrow. (See photo above.)

Fortunately for him, he was discovered by area resident Gail McFarland who cares for a group of feral cats that reside near an electrical substation where he was found. It is unclear, however, whether he was a member of the colony or simply a stray.

"I saw an arrow like that in his front paw and tried to get it out but got caught up all in the brush there," she later told Channel 13 in Orlando on June 17th. (See "Cat Dubbed 'Robin Hood' Shot with Arrow Through Paw.")

Being unable to extricate the projectile herself, McFarland did the next best thing by contacting the Humane Society of Pinellas County (HSP) which immediately dispatched a veterinarian to the scene. The vet tranquilized the traumatized moggy and transported him to HSP's shelter where emergency surgery was performed in order to remove the arrow.

The rescue and subsequent surgery was Robin Hood's second piece of good luck; his first came earlier when the arrow narrowly missed the bone. He consequently is expected to make a full recovery and then be put up for adoption. (See photo below.)

There can be little doubt, however, that he has been put through Hell. In particular, it is estimated that he was walking around with the arrow embedded in his leg for between twenty-four and forty-eight hours before help arrived.

As excruciatingly painful as that undoubtedly was, other cats have been discovered with arrows that had been in them for up to as long as a week. Numerous other feline victims of archers slink off into the woods and die lonely, uncounted deaths.

Robin Hood's narrow escape has, quite understandably, left his rescuer deeply disturbed. "For someone to be out there shooting him is just unimaginable to me," McFarland told Channel 13 in the article cited supra. "I don't know what kind of person does that. If they are going to hunt animals, what's next, children?"

The Pinellas County Sheriff's Office has checked the arrow for fingerprints and HSP is offering a $500 reward for information leading to the arrest of the perpetrator of this dastardly deed. If prior cases of this sort are anything to go by, anyone expecting the guilty party to be brought to justice anytime soon is going to be sadly disappointed.

Last year, par exemple, a black and white cat named Arwen was murdered by an archer in New Port Richey and, as far as it is known, no arrests have been made in that case. There was, of course, the customary public outrage and mashing of teeth but that was about all. (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.")

In the one known incident where an archer was apprehended it was through tips supplied by the public. That occurred during the summer of 2005 when nineteen-year-old Stephen H. Cockerill of Palm Beach was arrested for shooting a black and white kitten named Archer in Tarpon Springs.

On July 28, 2006, he pled guilty to one charge of animal cruelty but the presiding judge sentenced him to only thirty days in jail, one-hundred hours of community service, and eighteen months of probation. (See Cat Defender post of August 25, 2005 entitled "Nine-Week-Old Kitten Named Archer Recovering after Being Shot with Crossbow Near Tampa.")

While the difficulties involved in apprehending the perpetrators of these heinous crimes cannot be underestimated, it nevertheless is difficult to believe that the law enforcement community and humane officials are doing all that they could in order to stem the tide. In that regard they are not any different from their counterparts in other parts of the country.

Back in 2007, an unnamed feral cat was shot and killed by an archer in Miami, Ohio, and no arrests have been made in that case. (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.")

Even on those rare occasions when law enforcement personnel can be prevailed upon to take the initiative and make an arrest, the end result usually is a repeat performance of what happened with Cockerill. Such was the case earlier this year in the Boise suburb of Caldwell when a fourteen-year-old boy left a nine-month-old gray and brown cat named Valentine blind and deaf on her left side as the result of a bow and arrow attack. (See photo below.)

Instead of doing both cats and society a huge favor and locking up this juvenile monster for the remainder of his worthless life, the judge only required him to author letters of apology to the attending veterinarian and the shelter caring for Valentine. (See Cat Defender post of June 1, 2009 entitled "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.")

Homeless cats, like the sans-abri, are considered to be fair game for almost any sort of abuse because they do not have owners and most sectors of society could care less about what happens to them. In most instances, justice can only be secured for an abused cat through the dogged determination of it owner. Thankfully, such owners do exist and Janien Bubien of the San Diego suburb of Vista is one of them.

When her scumbag neighbor, Robert Eugene Brunner, tracked down and executed her three-year-old orange-colored cat, Bill, with a bow and arrow she not only saw to it that he received a three-year jail sentence but also pursued monetary damages against him as well. Her perseverance paid off when an enlightened civil court judge ordered Brunner to pay her $2,500 for killing Bill.

The court did not stop there but went on to award her an additional $5,000 so that she could relocate to a more cat-friendly neighborhood. (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."

The legal establishment's appalling indifference to attacks upon cats is compounded by the complicity of individuals like Twila Cole of HSP who have their own agendas to promote. "We hope Robin Hood will have a speedy recovery and inspire others to keep cats at home safe from those who want to harm them," she pontificated to Tampa Bay Weekly on June 18th. (See "Robin Hood Doing Well.")

First of all, Robin Hood and millions like him do not have homes and therefore must be protected in the wild. Secondly, as the cold-blooded murder of Bill demonstrates, cat-killers are not the least bit hesitant about trespassing onto private property in order to commit their crimes.

Furthermore, if she is advocating that all cats should be imprisoned indoors for life as the American Bird Conservancy advocates, she should be publicly horsewhipped for selling them down the river to those fiends and frauds. Cats are neither slaves nor second-class citizens of this planet and are thus entitled to their freedom.

Moreover, indoor environments are lethal to cats. (See Cat Defender posts of August 22, 2007 and October 19, 2007 entitled, respectively, "Indoor Cats Are Dying from Diabetes, Hyperthyroidism, and Various Toxins in the Home" and "Smokers Are Killing Their Cats, Dogs, Birds, and Infants by Continuing to Light Up in Their Presence.")

The objective should be to apprehend and severely punish all feline abusers, regardless of where the crimes occur or the socio-economic status of the victims. No one would be so audacious as to suggest that small children should be locked up at home and deprived of attending school and going to the park just because there are individuals out there who wish to do them harm.

Of course, it goes almost without saying that the amount of freedom a domestic cat is given depends upon the circumstances. In rural areas that are free of feline predators they safely can be given a huge amount of liberty as opposed to busy and congested cities where they should be allowed out only in specially-designed, fenced-in yards.

In the final analysis, the ultimate blame for all the misery that cats like Robin Hood, Arwen, Archer, and Bill were forced to endure rests squarely with those politicians who steadfastly refuse to ban the sale of bows and arrows. They, like everyone else, know that most often it is juveniles who are attracted to them and that it is cats and other animals who usually wind up as their victims.

The situation with bows and arrows is analogous to that of air guns, which also should be outlawed. (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.")

If retailers in and around Tampa are unwilling to stop selling bows and arrows, local politicians should enact laws that require each arrow to be encrypted with an invisible code that is electronically recorded at the time of sale. That at least would allow the police to trace it back to the purchaser.

The expertise and the resources are available to put an end to these sickening attacks. The only thing lacking is the resolve to do so on the part of politicians, policemen and, above all, rescue groups, such as HSP, who prefer to stick their heads in the sand and blame cat owners rather than the perpetrators of these crimes.

Photos: Bay New 9 (Robin Hood with blanket over him), HSP (Robin Hood), and Simply Cats (Valentine).

Friday, July 17, 2009

Fliers at Hurlburt Field Give the Cat Killers at Fort Hood a Lesson in Humanity by Rescuing Four Kittens from Inside a Wall

"I wish I could take them home to my dorm, but I can't. They're babies, angels!"
-- Airwoman First Class Nadia Katana

Cat-haters drown them in streams, suffocate them in plastic bags, and even toss them out with the rubbish. They often are either deliberately or accidentally separated from their mothers shortly after birth and as a consequence soon perish without ever having had the opportunity to live.

They thus never experience the warmth of the sun or the cooling breezes of evening. They never taste tuna, have sex, climb trees, or experience a loving pat on the head or a scratch behind the ears.

They are the offspring of feral and stray cats and with the deck stacked so heavily against them it is nothing short of a minor miracle that any of them ever reach adulthood. Nevertheless, four such waifs are alive today at the Alaqua Animal Refuge in Freeport, Florida, thanks to the unexpected compassion of a group of men and women not generally known for being kindly disposed toward the species.

The new arrivals were discovered and pulled to safety from inside a wall by members of the United States Air Force's Five-Hundred-Fifth Command and Control Wing at Hurlburt Field in nearby Mary Esther. The facility, which was featured in the 1944 movie, Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo, is part of the larger and better-known Eglin Air Force Base reservation.

"I wish I could take them home to my dorm, but I can't," Airwoman First Class Nadia Katana, who helped bottle-feed the four-day-old kittens, lamented to Air Force Print News on June 25th. (See "Airmen Rescue Kittens Inside Wall.") "They're babies, angels!" (See photo above of her with one of the kittens.)

The kittens' presence was detected early on June 22nd by Bruce Chappell, a civilian employee of the base, who at first mistook their plaintive cries for help for something altogether different. "My first thought was it was a cell phone ringer or screen saver," he admitted to Air Force Print News in the article cited supra. "Then I asked others and they heard it, too."

Starving kittens never quieten down until they are fed and it was precisely their persistence that led to their deliverance. At 4:15 p.m., Master Sergeant Mark Young arrived on the scene and carefully began cutting holes in the wall underneath Chappell's desk.

"I had a utility knife in hand so I cut a small hole in the wall and I could hear them meowing in the background," he later related to the Northwest Florida Daily News of Fort Walton Beach on June 23rd. (See "Kittens Found Trapped in Hurlburt Wall.") "I could see one of the kittens was directly behind the next stud and I could see him clawing, trying to get past that. So, I cut another hole to get in and pulled it out." (See photo below of him with one of the rescued kittens.)

Although Young may have been the one to have freed them from the wall, their care over the next day or so that they remained at Hurlburt Field was a total team effort. Captain Adriana Fernandez, who in civilian life is a veterinary technician, took turns with Katana in bottle-feeding the newborns every two hours throughout the night.

Another unidentified flier rustled up some old T-shirts to serve as a makeshift bed for the little ones while another colleague filled bottles with hot water and wrapped them in towels so as to provide them with some warmth. Still another aviator manually stimulated their distended stomachs so as to force them to eliminate.

The kittens were handed over the next day to Alaqua, which operates a ten-acre, no-kill shelter. According to a video posted on the web site of the Northwest Florida Daily News, the quartet is comprised of two brown and white kittens, one tuxedo, and a gray and white baby cat, all of whom are the very picture of health.

They are expected to remain at Alaqua until they are weaned and after that they will be put up for adoption. If they are not readily claimed, they will be transferred to Eglin Pet Welfare (EPW).

Located on the base itself, the humane organization also is a no-kill facility that specializes in taking in the cats and dogs that Air Force personnel cruelly leave behind when they are transferred elsewhere. Altogether, EPW places approximately three-hundred homeless animals in new abodes each year.

That is the humane and responsible way in which to deal with homeless cats and dogs and stands in stark contrast to the barbaric and murderous behavior of the United States Army at Fort Hood and the United States Navy on San Nicolas Island and in Rota, Spain. (See Cat Defender posts of July 16, 2009 and June 27, 2008 entitled, respectively, "Yellow Two Is Shot and Maimed for Life at Fort Hood in the United States Army's Latest Criminal Offense Against Cats" and "United States Fish and Wildlife Service and the Navy Hatch a Diabolical Plan to Gun Down Two-Hundred Cats on San Nicolas Island.")

It would be interesting to know, however, how Hurlburt Field's and Eglin's outwardly friendly policies toward cats and dogs mesh with the Pentagon's 2002 edict that all non-working animals on military installations be exterminated. The best that can be hoped for in that regard is that the rescue of the kittens was not an isolated incident and that neither facility employs pest control officers who routinely gun down cats.

EPW also provided a humane trap which allowed the airmen to successfully trap the mother cat and to reunite her with her babies at Alaqua. That was essential in that it is not a good idea to remove kittens from their mothers until sometime after they have been weaned. It also saved the staff at Alaqua a lot of sleepless nights.

Although nothing can be taken for granted where cats are concerned, the airmen theorize that the mother crawled into the building through a ventilation duct and gave birth in one the crawl spaces in the ceiling. The kittens then for some unknown reason tumbled out of the ceiling and landed behind the wall.

It is a sure bet that their mother has borne her last litter but hopefully Alaqua will allow her to remain with them long enough in order to teach them how to play, hunt, and groom themselves. After that it would be wonderful if loving homes could be found for all of them, including the mother, especially in light of how hard they have had to struggle in order to make it even this far.

Photos: Keith Keel of the United States Air Force.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Yellow Two Is Shot and Maimed for Life at Fort Hood in the United States Army's Latest Criminal Offense Against Cats

"They carry diseases and are a nuisance around units when training because they (the units) have food. We have several endangered species on Fort Hood and, in fact, the feral cats and dogs are the biggest threats."
-- Chuck Medley of Fort Hood

Yellow Two has pins in his right front leg and walks with a limp. In approximately three and one-half months veterinarians will reevaluate him in order to determine if the pins can be removed.

While his long-term prognosis is uncertain, it is a foregone conclusion that he has been maimed and most likely faces a diminished life expectancy. (See photo above.)

At around 9 a.m. on April 28th, he crawled through a barbed-wire fence that separates his owner's ranch on Maxdale Road in Killeen, Texas, from the United States Army's base at Fort Hood. His presence inside the compound was immediately detected by a cat-hating pest control officer who wasted no time in putting a bullet through his leg.

Yellow Two crumpled to the ground in a patch of dense brush and the unidentified pest control officer, satisfied with both himself and his dirty deed, left him to die a prolonged and agonizing death while he continued on his merry rounds seeking out other defenseless cats to kill. More than likely that would have been the end of the line for Yellow Two if his owner, Herman Wright, had not been working outside and heard the gunshot.

Upon investigation, he discovered his wounded cat and rushed him to a local veterinarian who stanched the bleeding, inserted the pins, and placed his leg in a splint. The good news is that the one-year-old bobtailed cat has survived this senseless and unprovoked attack; the bad news is that he probably never will be able to climb or jump properly again and is going to have to learn to live with pain for the remainder of his life.

The incident has, quite justifiably, infuriated Wright. "I'm getting madder by the minute. There's no reason (for the shooting)," he told The Killeen Daily Herald on May 3rd. (See "Game Warden Shoots Cat; Post Investigating.") "That cat was no danger to him."

Moreover, it is not only the wounding of Yellow Two that disturbs Wright but the pest control officer's callous act of leaving him to suffer. "If he's going to shoot something, he should make sure it's dead, not just lying there," he added.

Wright's girlfriend, Belinda Robertson, was ever blunter in her criticism. "Some people may say it's just a cat, but a federal game warden has no business shooting a cat," she told The Killeen Daily Herald in the article cited supra.

In the uproar that followed the shooting, the pest control officer was temporarily relieved of his responsibilities and assigned to administrative duties while the Army conducted its own so-called investigation. The inquiry now has been completed and, as predictable as it is that feces is going to smell, the Army has exonerated the pest control officer.

Chuck Medley, acting director of emergency services at Fort Hood, ostensibly claims that Yellow Two was shot because he was not wearing a collar. As it will be shortly demonstrated, that self-serving hogwash hardly jives with the facts.

Since the cat was shot in dense brush and from an unspecified distance, it is unlikely that the pest control officer was in any position to see if he was wearing a collar or not. Secondly, he could have been wearing a breakaway collar which is designed to come off whenever it becomes snagged in brush, barbed-wire, or other objects that might have asphyxiated him.

Thirdly, collars are passe as identification devices in that more and more cat owners are opting for implanted microchips. In fact, just about all shelters implant chips in the felines that they offer to the public for adoption.

Consequently, Medley's overreliance upon Yellow Two's lack of a collar is a totally bogus argument. In addition to there not being any surefire way to distinguish between ferals and strays on the one hand and domestics on the other hand, a cat's inalienable right to life and liberty is not nullified by its socio-economic status.

To indulge in such sottise is tantamount to claiming that only the rich and the bourgeoisie are entitled to the protections afforded by the law whereas it is permissible to gun down with impunity the impecunious and working class. Of course, it almost goes without saying that based upon its criminal conduct in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Vietnam, and elsewhere, it is not surprising that the Army has no regard for the lives of cats.

In reality, it does not have any regard for life at all, whether it be human, animal, or environmental. Its sole raison d'etre is to kill and destroy. As an old Chinese proverb maintains, "One does not make soldiers out of good men anymore than one makes bullets out of good steel."

Cat-haters, whether they be bird advocates, wildlife biologists, or the United States Military, are the easiest of all puzzles to solve. This is because the antipathy that they harbor in their malignant bosoms for the feline species is seldom far from the surface no matter how much effort they put into trying to camouflage their true feelings.

As far as the case at hand is concerned, it certainly did not take Medley long to show his hand. "They carry diseases and are a nuisance around units when training because they (the units) have food," he pontificated to The Killeen Daily Herald on July 3rd. (See "Fort Hood: Cat Shooting Unfortunate, but Legal.") "We have several endangered species on Fort Hood and, in fact, the feral cats and dogs are the biggest threats."

So, in the end, the truth finally emerges and, lo and behold, the petit fait that Yellow Two was not wearing a collar had absolutely nothing to do with the attempt on his life. The real reason he was shot is that the United States Army hates cats.

Furthermore, Medley's outrageous slanders and lies sound as if they were taken verbatim from press releases distributed by the American Bird Conservancy and the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). (See Cat Defender post of June 15, 2009 entitled "American Bird Conservancy, The New York Times, and the Humane Society Unite to Form an Achse of Boesen Against Cats.")

Regardless of whichever group is responsible for their espousal, these lies are so old, tired, and worn-out that they sound like a broken record. Nonetheless, since such diverse media outlets as The Killeen Daily Herald and The New York Times continue to view their role in society as to function as the cat-haters' public relations department, it is necessary once again to refute them.

First of all, cats are extremely clean animals that neither carry diseases nor make nuisances of themselves. On the contrary, it is precisely birds and other wildlife that carry and spread deadly diseases, such as Schweinegrippe, and destroy property.

Wildlife also pollute streams with their excrement. For example, more than half of the bacteria found in Virginia's Potomac and Anacostia rivers and the Magothy River and Accotink Creek in Maryland comes from wildlife. (See Washington Post, September 29, 2006, "Wildlife Waste Is Major Water Polluter, Studies Say.")

More to the point, the United States Military is arguably the world's biggest menace to the animals and the environment. To pretend that bullets, saturation bombing, chemical warfare, nuclear weapons, and such modern killing devices as depleted uranium, white phosphorous, and cluster bombs ever could be friendly to wildlife and the environment is even more preposterous than for the coal companies to claim that leveling five-hundred mountains in Appalachia is good for the people and the region.

Even the air and noise pollution that the armed forces' planes, ships, rockets, and tanks emit during training maneuvers and on the battlefield do irreparable damage to the health of all living beings, including Mother Earth. Moreover, unless they have their sticky fingers in the till, it is difficult to believe that residents living in close proximity to a military base would ever classify it as being anything other than a public nuisance.

Second of all, cats pose only a very limited threat to endangered species when compared to the egregious crimes committed by the military against both wildlife and the environment. The recovery credit system in place at Fort Hood is itself an acknowledgement of that reality.

Fashioned after the discredited anti-pollution cap and trade policies of the EU and Turtle Bay, the recovery credit system allows Fort Hood to kill endangered species and to destroy their habitats at a rate commensurate with that which the Pentagon is able to convince local landowners to temporarily set aside habitat for the endangered Golden-Cheeked Warbler. Administered by the cat-cloners at Texas A&M University of College Station, this program so far has doled out $4.4 million to landowners and contractors.

Plans also are in the works to expand this program to Camp Lejeune in eastern North Carolina where the activities of the United States Marine Corps are impacting upon the endangered Red-Cockaded Woodpecker. The Federal Highway Administration also is expected to get in on the deal even though it is unclear how any animal could possibly last for long living alongside a busy thoroughfare.

Combining war machines and kamikaze motorists on the one hand with animals and pristine environments on the other hand is akin to mixing vodka and toxic sludge in a glass and then pretending to have a potable refreshment. (See Washington Post, February 9, 2009, "Pentagon Issues 'Credits' to Offset Harm to Wildlife.")

The lies, corruption, and egregious crimes committed against cats and other animals nonetheless continue to persist. Currently, the United States Navy is assisting the USFWS and bird advocates in the gunning down of two-hundred cats on San Nicolas Island, off the coast of Los Angeles, where it maintains a large base.

This deplorable situation is not much better for wildlife in that those animals not either mowed down or traumatized to death by the Navy are in turn repeatedly subjected to continuous trappings, electronic collarings, medical manipulations, and experimental captive-breeding initiatives run by wildlife biologists. In the end, the cats are exterminated and wildlife enslaved all in the name of conservation.

It also is important to bear in mind that most of the cats currently being eliminated, or at least their ancestors, were brought to the island by naval personnel who used and abused them and then abandoned them to fend for themselves. That sort of crass, unconscionable behavior is so typical of the godless American war machine which also leaves behind tens of thousands of half-breed, illegitimate children whenever it ventures abroad.

Even the rank opportunists and inveterate shekel chasers at the Humane Society of the United States have been brought on board in order to help the Navy and the USFWS to legitimize their heinous crimes. (See Cat Defender posts of June 27, 2008, July 10, 2008, and April 28, 2009 entitled, respectively, "United States Fish and Wildlife Service and the Navy Hatch a Diabolical Plan to Gun Down Two-Hundred Cats on San Nicolas Island," "The Ventura County Star Races to the Defense of the Cat-Killers on San Nicolas Island," and "Quislings at the Humane Society Sell Out San Nicolas's Cats to the Assassins at the Diabolical United States Fish and Wildlife Service.")

For whatever it is worth, Fort Hood has instituted new regulations that require pest control officers to report to their superiors whenever they shoot animals and to identify their victims as best they can before they leave the killing field. "We just wanted to strengthen the policy a little bit more to make sure we didn't have another unfortunate incident like that," Medley somehow managed to spit out with a straight face to The Killeen Daily Herald in the July 3rd article cited supra.

As it is immediately obvious for all except the mentally impaired to comprehend, these new regulation would not have saved Yellow Two from being gunned down and left to die. Moreover, they do absolutely nothing to put a stop to Fort Hood's flagrant crimes against cats.

Even more astonishing, if pest control officers are unable to identify what they are shooting at they do not have any business shooting at all. Once an animal, or an individual, has been shot it is too late most of the time to undo the damage.

None of that has deterred Medley from continuing to lay on the lies with a trowel. "We want to make sure we're doing the right thing," he added to The Killeen Daily Herald on July 3rd.

To their eternal credit, neither Wright nor Robertson believe a word of Fort Hood's outrageous lies and are continuing to seek justice for Yellow Two. Although they failed in their quest to have the pest control officer charged with animal cruelty, they have filed a $5,000 claim against the installation in an effort to recoup the $5,000 that they have spent so far on veterinary care for Yellow Two and as compensation for the irreparable damage done to his health. The Army is expected to drag its feet for up to six months before turning down Wright and Robertson flat without so much as a lousy dime in compensation.

The sniveling cowards and bare-faced liars at Fort Hood should stop acting like spoiled, snot-nosed teens and admit that they are in the wrong. They should not only immediately pay Wright and Robertson the $5,000 that they are demanding, but pledge to cover all of Yellow Two's future veterinary bills.

Even that petit gesture would neither restore Yellow Two's health nor adequately compensate Wright and Robertson for their anguish. "I felt I couldn't put a price on my cat," Robertson told The Killeen Herald on July 3rd. "My cat is still limping. I think he's going to stay crippled."

Fort Hood also should issue a formal apology to Wright and Robertson. The pest control officer should be identified and turned over to civilian authorities for prosecution. Contrary to what an awful lot of people in this country believe, soldiers are not above the law anymore than corporations and former Vice Presidents.

Above all, the United States Army must change its policies and safeguard the lives of all cats on and near its facilities. As a first step in that process, Fort Hood should be compelled to make a public accounting of exactly how many cats it has killed since it opened for business in 1942.

If it does not want cats on its bases, the proper thing for the United States Military to do would be to humanely trap the animals and deliver them to either no-kill shelters or sanctuaries. Its persistent failure to do even that much proves conclusively that it not only hates cats but believes, as do birders and the USFWS, that the only good cat is a dead one.

As far as the monetary damages are concerned, Fort Hood has no business squealing like a stuck pig in light of the fact that the United States Military is an even bigger welfare bum than Wall Street, Detroit, Israel, and big agriculture combined. Since every cent that it has in its bulging coffers comes directly from the people, it therefore does not have a valid excuse for not paying Wright and Robertson.

It is an often overlooked point, but the United States Military is paid the astronomical sums that it is in order to keep America safe from its foreign enemies, not to go around gunning down its citizens' cats. Unlike the Department of Agriculture's Wildlife Services, it is not supposed to be acting as the USFWS's death squad.

The inhumane and disgraceful way in which cats are treated at Fort Hood is typical of the way that they are mercilessly abused at America's six-thousand domestic military installations and its more than one-thousand facilities abroad. Although an official death warrant was issued in 2002 for all non-working animals on its bases, the American military has been killing and abusing cats with impunity ever since it came into existence. (See Shawn Plourde, "What Did You Do in the War, Fido?")

For example, the Air Force's Three-Hundred-Eightieth Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron's Entomology Flight tramps the globe looking for cats to kill. In 2006, it killed at least one-hundred-fifty-eight felines at Al Udied, a base that the United States shares with its Qatari counterparts. (See photo further up the page of a caged yellow cat right before it was executed.)

Even when the military is not actually doing the killing itself it is contracting out the work to the likes of Halliburton and its former subsidiary, Kellogg, Brown, and Root. This is how most of Baghdad's cats were eliminated. (See Cat Defender posts of November 14, 2006 and July 16, 2008 entitled, respectively, "Military Killing Cats and Dogs by the Tens of Thousands as Imperialistic America Attempts to Conquer the World" and "Targeted for Elimination by the American War Machine and Cheney's Henchmen, Baghdad's Cats Are Befriended by an English Mercenary.")

An attempt was even made in 2005 to do in the cats whose ancestors have been living on the grounds of the Army Navy Country Club in Arlington, Virginia, since the days of the Johnson Administration. Fortunately, Alley Cat Allies and Democratic Congressman John P. Murtha were able to put the kibosh to that devilry. (See Cat Defender post of January 19, 2006 entitled "Public Outcry Forces Army Navy Country Club to Scrap Plans to Evict and Exterminate Long-Tern Resident Felines.")

The trumped up war on terrorism also has cost innumerable cats their lives as vacant buildings that they once called home have been demolished in order to make room for mock anti-terrorism drills. (See Cat Defender post of June 9, 2005 entitled "War on Terrorism Costs Cats Their Home -- and Maybe Their Lives Also.")

In stark contrast to the totally reprehensible and murderous polices pursued by military brass, numerous enlisted personnel as well as lower-ranking officers continue to go out of their way in order to rescue cats and kittens. One of the most compelling rescues occurred on June 22nd at Hurlburt Field in Mary Esther, Florida, when members of the Five-Hundred-Fifth Command and Control Wing pulled a quartet of four-day-old kittens from inside a wall. (See Air Force Print News, June 25, 2009, "Airmen Rescue Kittens Inside Wall.")

At Edwards Air Force Base in Southern California, the Ninety-Fifth Mission Support Group has hired a one-year-old gray Maine Coon and Manx-Mix named Wizzo as a weapons support officer. (See photo above.)

In civilian parlance that means he is head mouser at the base's supply warehouse. So far, Wizzo has garnered nothing but accolades for both his proficiency as a mouser and as a dear companion.

"Wizzo is our mobility rodent deterrent," Warehouse Specialist Heather Chapman said at the time that his appointment was announced to the public. "He was brought in for pest control and is earning his keep by doing his job." (See Cat Defender post of August 6, 2007 entitled "In a Marked Departure from Its Cat Killing Ways, Air Force Hires Wizzo as Head Mouser at California Warehouse.")

Not all enlisted men and women harbor soft spots in their hearts for cats, however; in fact, some of them can be every bit as brutal as the cat-hating cretins that they serve. At the United States Naval Base in Rota, Spain, for example, sailors routinely poison cats with antifreeze and suffocate kittens in plastic bags. (See Stars and Stripes, European Edition, April 28, 2004, "Navy Policy Has Compounded Problem of Stray Cats at Rota, Some Say.")

Photos: Wright and Robertson (Yellow Two), Jason Tudor of the Air Force (cat at Al Udeid), and Mike Young of the Air Force (Wizzo).

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Politicians and a Condominium Developer Share the Blame for the Abandonment of at Least Fifteen Domestic Cats in Bonita Springs

"They were people's cats and they just left them...What was the plan when the food ran out?"
-- David Fine

While the care and welfare of a cat is primarily the responsibility of its guardian, the patently immoral and quite often illegal policies pursued by predatory capitalists and crooked politicians are sans doute contributing to the escalating problem of feline abandonment. A good case in point occurred last month in Bonita Springs, Florida, where local politicians conspired with developer Eagle Bay in order to get rid of the three-hundred or so poor Hispanic residents of Glade Haven RV and Trailer Park.

Under the threat of arrest if they did not clear out by June 15th, the residents hurriedly assembled their meager belongings and complied but they cruelly left behind at least fifteen cats to fend for themselves. Not totally bereft of all conscience, they did leave out tins of wet food and dispensers of kibble for their erstwhile mousers and loyal companions. Although press reports are not exactly clear on the matter, apparently a few dogs, pigs, and chickens also were abandoned.

The food gave out within a few days and the cats soon were forced into scaveging for their next meal and to slaking their thirst by licking up rain water. (See photos above and below.)

"They were people's cats and they just left them," Glade Haven maintenance man David Fine groused to the Naples Daily News on June 29th. (See "Cats Gone Wild in Vacant Bonita Trailer Parks (sic).") "What was the plan when the food ran out?"

Consequently, the care of the abandoned cats has fallen by default to Fine and Annika Matos of nearby Morton Grove who have been feeding, watering, and procuring veterinary care for them. Concerned citizens also are chipping in by donating food and dollars.

Par exemple, last week an anonymous donor dropped off seventy-five pounds of kibble and one-hundred-ninety-two tins of food. "The response was overwhelming," Fine told the Naples Daily News on July 1st. (See "Community Steps Up to Support Abandoned Cats in Bonita Trailer Park.") "I almost fell over. I couldn't believe it."

Meanwhile, Matos is using the money that she has received in order to get some of the cats sterilized and to find homes for all of them. "We need homes for them," she told the Naples Daily News in the July 1st article cited supra.

Malheureusement, time is not on either hers or the cats' side in that Fine expects to have the leftover debris and trash on the twenty-acre tract cleaned up in about two weeks and at that time the trailers will be removed and the land cleared. This is in spite of the fact that Eagle Bay is not expected to build on the site until 2017.

Nevertheless, if homes are not found soon for these domesticated cats there is a strong possibility that they will be trapped and killed by Animal Control. Matos, for her part, has contacted eight or nine shelters and rescue groups in the area about taking in the cats without an iota of success.

In fact, shelter space and funds are in such short supply that Collier County to the south is considering abolishing all adoption services and instead murdering the cats that have the misfortune to pass through its portals. As a result, whether the cats continue to go on living depends upon the good will of Fine and Matos as well as the generosity and compassion of the general public. (See photo below of him feeding the cats.)

The situation at Glade Haven is the second large-scale abandonment of domestic cats to have occurred in Bonita Springs in less than a year. An unspecified number of cats were abandoned last summer when Tropical Storm Fay forced more than two-hundred residents from their homes at nearby Manna Christian Village RV Park.

The cats were picked up by Lee County Domestic Animal Services (LCDAS) which offered to return them to their guardians once they settled back in but few tenants availed themselves of this opportunity. Although it is difficult to believe that the knackers at LCDAS would ever turn loose a cat once they got their hands on it, the Naples Daily News insists that those cats now roam the empty lots of the park. More than likely they are cats that never were trapped in the first place.

As reprehensible as the abandonment of any cat is, being uprooted from their homes has not been easy on the former tenants of Glade Haven. Through the intervention of Florida Rural Legal Services, each tenant received two weeks free rent plus $1,374 for trailers that they were unable to move out of the park.

In order to receive this rebate, however, they were forced to prove that they were the legal owners of their homes and, as a consequence, it is speculated that many of them were unable to take advantage of this offer. This assumption is buttressed by the fact that many of them apparently were even too poor to hire a truck in order to move their furniture and children's toys to their new abodes.

Some of the tenants have relocated to other low-rent accommodations in Bonita Springs, such as Manna Christian, Saldivar Migrant Camp, and Pueblo Bonito, while others have been forced to seek out cheap housing in either Cape Coral or North Fort Myers. Still others have left the area altogether.

Being hard-working people, however, they should eventually land on their feet. They also are receiving an unspecified amount of support from the state and Christian charities.

None of that materially alters the fact that neither the cats nor their guardians should have been given the bum's rush in the first place. The blame for this tragedy rests squarely upon the shoulders of the politicians in Bonita Springs and Eagle Bay who saw an opportunity to kill two birds, c'est-a-dire, with one stone and took it.

To make a long story short, local politicians wanted rid of the poor Hispanics on the one hand and saw an opportunity on the other hand to greatly increase tax revenues through their Faustian bargain with Eagle Bay. It also is conceivable that campaign contributions and other inducements played a role in winning the support of the politicians. In order to sell this outrageous land grab to a gullible public, the politicians relentlessly attacked the trailer park's antiquated sewer system.

"(Glade Haven) has a failing sewer plant that has not been properly maintained and operated for a number of years," Bonita Springs City Manager Gary Price told the Naples Daily News on June 14th. (See "End Is Near for Bonita Springs Trailer Community.") "It was creating concerns for adjacent neighbors and the (City) Council saw an opportunity to have the situation cleaned up." (See photo of him on the left below.)

Price's lopsided, hypocritical view of the sewage problems at Glade Haven is fully endorsed by the park's former manager, Richard McKinley. "We've always had problems with water here, sewage you know," he told WINK-TV of Fort Myers on June 15th. (See "Mobile Home Park Closes to Make Way for Condos.") "Everything's pretty old. I'm just glad we finally got outta here."

That certainly is an odd statement coming as it does from a man who now is presumably out of a job and invites speculation as to the source of his elation.

In that good old, time-honored, American tradition of kicking individuals while they are down, some residents of Bonita Springs simply have been unable to resist getting in their licks. "They (the residents) really live in like squalor," an unidentified young white male screeched to WINK-TV in the article cited supra.

It was, however, Elizabeth Sherlock, a white female, who really let her slip show for all to see. "This is the worst living conditions I've ever seen," she swore to WINK-TV. "I've been into one of these trailer homes, and it is all rotten floors, and there's smell of sewage and bugs, and it's just so sad to see that people are forced to live in this situation."

Her remarks are reminiscent of those uttered by Eddie Boy Koch when he ruled the roost in Gotham back during the 1980's. He did not want the poor living in residential hotels and tenements so he and his rich buddies demolished most of the city's low-income housing and threw the poor into the street.

Overlooked in all of this self-serving propaganda and bigotry is the petit fait that it was the responsibility of the management and owners of Glade Haven, i.e., McKinley, to properly maintain the sewage system as well as to make sure that the trailers were fit for human habitation. Secondly, it was the responsibility of city officials to ensure that management complied with all existing laws.

Obviously, neither management nor the city did their jobs. In fact, it certainly appears that they purposefully were derelict in their duties so as to foist a fait accompli upon the tenants.

This reading of the situation is reinforced by comments made by City Council member Janet Martin. "It's (the condos) going to be a positive thing for the piece of property," she gushed to the Naples Daily News in the June 14th article cited supra.

In stark contrast to what one would expect based upon the comments made by their opponents, all of the former residents seen in recent videos are well-spoken, clean, and their clothes immaculate. Moreover, even their detractors never have accused them of being anything other than hard-working, albeit poor, residents of the community. (See photo immediately below of former tenant Maria Ramirez outside her trailer.)

So, in the end, the capitalists and the politicians who stooge for them have won again as is per usual in America. To borrow a turn of phrase from late country crooner Jerry Reed, they got the gold mine while the poor and the cats got the shaft.

This is an all-too-familiar refrain that has been played out from Gotham to La-La Land over the past thirty years and is the principal reason why America has so many dirt-poor and homeless individuals. It also explodes the myth that America is anything remotely resembling a democracy as opposed to the kleptocracy that it is in reality.

The disgraceful failure of blowhard Obama and the Democrats in Congress to enact meaningful health care reform, to curb global warming, phase out the use of fossil fuels, and to reform the credit markets are additional examples of this harsh reality. (See Organic Consumers Association, June 18, 2009, "A List of Corporate Lobbying by Jill Richardson," Washington Post, July 6, 2009, "Familiar Players in Health Bill Lobbying," and The Guardian, June 26, 2009, "The Failed State of United States Climate Change Policy.")

In any halfway civilized society neither the cats nor the tenants would have been forced out into the street. In this case, the courts should have intervened and compelled Eagle Bay and Bonita Springs to have either allowed both of them to have remained in their dwellings under improved conditions or to have resettled them beforehand in new abodes.

Considering the billions of dollars that both parties stand to make off of this weasel deal, such a stipulation would have cost them peanuts but it would have spared the cats and tenants untold misery. Things are not done that way in capitalistic, despotic America, however.

While holding governmental officials accountable for anything is nigh near impossible these days, an all-out effort nonetheless needs be made in order to expose their role in adding to the population of both homeless cats and individuals. That is in addition to their systematic slaughter of tens of millions of cats each year. (See Cat Defender post of September 14, 2006 entitled "Cat Killing Season Is in Full Swing All Across America as Shelters Ramp Up Their Mass Extermination Pogroms.")

Of immediate concern is the race against the clock to save Glade Haven's cats and anyone willing to contribute to this rescue effort can contact Matos at annikamatos07@gmail.com

Photos: Allie Garza of the Naples Daily News (cats and Fine), City of Bonita Springs (Price), and Lexey Swall-Bobay of the Naples Daily News (Ramirez).

Monday, July 06, 2009

Miracle Survives a Drowning Attempt on the McClugage Bridge and Later Hitchhikes a Ride to Safety Underneath the Car of a Compassionate Motorist

"We figured someone had a litter of kittens they didn't want and tossed them into the river. This little one didn't make it over the wall. It's just terrible, heartbreaking. But I'm thrilled we were able to save her and give her a home and a second chance."
-- Carol Jones

Six-week-old Miracle is not only a very courageous kitten but a quick thinking one also. When she found herself stranded on the McClugage Bridge she wisely stowed away underneath Carol Jones's Ford Focus and because of that she is still alive today. (See photo above of her with Jones.)

The story began on June 22nd when Jones and her daughter, Kim, were crossing the bridge in the eastbound lane en route to a doctor's appointment in Washington, Illinois. "Oh my gosh, Mom, I just saw a cat!" Kim is reported to have exclaimed to her mother according to the June 26th edition of The Journal Star of Peoria. (See "Tiny Kitten Hitches a Ride to a New Home.")

Sure enough when Carol looked up from the road she, too, saw a diminutive tortoiseshell cowering against the wall of the bridge as the traffic, only a precariously few feet away, whizzed on by without either slowing down or stopping. (See photo below of the bridge.)

The Joneses continued on to their appointment but on their way back they were surprised to see that the kitten had not moved from where they had spotted it several hours previously. Carol immediately turned around and retraced her route back across the bridge.

Once they reached the kitten, Kim jumped out and attempted to corral it a pied but it took off running. She then got back in the car and she and her mother attempted to chase it down that way.

They eventually caught up with it but when they got out of their chariot it had mysteriously vanished seemingly into thin air. "We looked around, under the car, in the wheel wells, everywhere and...nothing. It doesn't make any logical sense now, but all I could think of at the time was she had fallen through a grate into the river," Carol told The Journal Star in the article cited supra.

Dejectedly, Carol and Kim got back into their vehicle and continued on to their home in West Peoria. They soon forget about the stranded kitten but, as things turned out, that was only a temporary state of mind.

Two days later on June 24th, Carol and her husband, Russ, were in their garage loading up their car when she heard a faint meow. At first she thought that she had lost her mind. "I thought to myself, 'That's ridiculous. No way. I've got to get that cat out of my mind'," she later recalled.

Other telltale signs indicating the presence of a cat soon were detected and this prompted Carol and Russ to initiate a full-scale search of the premises. A little bit later a kitten was spotted hiding between an old box and a Coleman stove. It just was not any kitten, however, but the one Carol had seen on the bridge two days earlier!

In retrospect, it is obvious that the kitten the Joneses now call Miracle had secreted herself somewhere in the undercarriage of Jones's auto when she had stopped on the bridge and hitchhiked a ride back to her garage. She and Kim simply had not done a thorough enough job of looking for her.

An analogous situation occurred on Hylan Boulevard in Staten Island on June 12th when Judge Catherine DiDomenico attempted to rescue an abandoned kitten named Lucky. On that momentous occasion, DiDomenico positioned her car over the kitten so as to shield it from the oncoming traffic.

The terrified kitten then crawled into one of the wheel wells. It is conceivable that Lucky's presence also might have gone undetected by the judge if two off-duty police officers had not arrived on the scene and spotted her. (See Cat Defender post of July 2, 2009 entitled "Three-Week-Old Lucky Is Rescued by a Staten Island Judge after She Is Tossed Out the Window of a Pickup Truck on Hylan Boulevard.")

The Joneses took Miracle to a local veterinarian where was pronounced to be dehydrated and hungry but otherwise in pretty good shape. Almost as important as being alive, she does not have to worry about either being sent to a shelter or spending nights on the street in that she now has a permanent, forever home with the kindhearted Joneses.

On a considerably more troubling note, it is quite obvious that Miracle did not wind up on the busy McClugage Bridge through her own volition; au contraire, she was purposefully dumped there.

"We figured someone had a litter of kittens they didn't want and tossed them into the river. This little one didn't make it over the wall," Carol theorized for The Journal Star. "It's just terrible, heartbreaking. But I'm thrilled we were able to save her and give her a home and a second chance."

Assuming that Carol is correct in her analysis of events, Miracle was indeed doubly fortunate not to have been either drowned in Lake Peoria or struck and killed by a motorist. The odds of her being able to best her would-be murderer and thousands of unconscionable, kamikaze motorists are astronomical.

As revolting as it is, disposing of unwanted cats on busy highways and in streams is a common practice. (See Cat Defender post of July 3, 2009 entitled "Pretty Little Sleepy Survives a Suffocation and Starvation Attempt on Her Life Thanks to the Timely Intervention of a Mattress Store Employee.")

Par exemple, on December 27, 2005 a calico cat subsequently named Lucky was stuffed into a cage with a sixteen-pound brick and tossed into the Clark Fork River in Missoula, Montana. Fortunately, she landed on an ice floe and was spotted by a passerby who alerted the local fire department who in turn mounted a successful rescue.

Even before that attempt on her life, Lucky had been almost starved to death by her guardian as well as nearly throttled by a collar that was wound too tightly around her tiny neck. (See Cat Defender post of January 13, 2006 entitled "Montana Firefighters Rescue Lucky Calico Cat Who Was Caged and Purposefully Thrown into an Icy River.")

On May 5, 2008, a gray mother cat was crammed into a sack with a brick and tossed into the West Branch of Cayuga Inlet Creek in Newfield, New York. Her deadly plunge was interrupted when the sack caught in a dead tree and a passerby happened along and noticed her plight. Malheureusement, her kittens never were found. (See photo above.)

On May 12th of last year, a ten-year-old dark-gray domestic cat from Hampton, New Hampshire, was sealed up inside a gym bag with forty to fifty pounds of rocks and left on the beach to drown when the tide came in and inundated her in six feet of water. Compounding matters further, the poor cat already was obese and suffered from heart disease. (See Cat Defender post of May 20, 2008 entitled "Malice Aforethought: Upstate New York Cat Is Saved from a Watery Grave by a Dead Tree and a Passerby; New Hampshire Cat Is Not So Fortunate.")

The number of cats purposefully disposed of each year on highways and in rivers must be in the thousands. Worst still, it is almost unheard of for any of the perpetrators of these monstrous crimes to ever be apprehended and punished.

The drowning and suffocation of kittens is even more pervasive. In recent memory, at least two individuals who were caught committing these heinous offenses have received the blessings of the disgraceful American legal establishment. (See Cat Defender posts of July 3, 2006 and May 14, 2009 entitled, respectively, "Crooked Massachusetts Cops Allow Politician to Get Away with Attempting to Drown a Kitten Named Lucky Girl" and "Virginia Is for Cat Killers, Not Lovers, Now That Its Legal Establishment Has Sanctioned Donald Curtis Hunt's Drowning of Five Kittens.")

Perhaps even more sobering, this odious practice of disposing of unwanted kittens as if they were nothing more than worn-out pairs of shoes is so old and pervasive that even Helen M. Winslow, supposedly a cat-lover, bragged about how many kittens that she had killed in her book, Concerning Cats.

In conclusion, Miracle is without a doubt a very special cat to have survived her ordeal on the McClugage Bridge. Much the same sentiments apply to Carol and Kim in that there are not too many individuals who would have gone to the extraordinary lengths that they did in order to save a kitten in extremis.

The Fates brought Miracle and the Joneses together and nothing but good things are destined to result from this improbable set of circumstances. It also is a good bet that Miracle will strive to repay Carol and Kim for saving her life for as long as she lives and that, hopefully, will be for a long, long time.

Photos: Leslie Renken of The Journal Star (Miracle and Carol), Weather Bonk (McClugage Bridge), and Tompkins County SPCA (surviving mother cat).