Home Alone in New Zealand, Friendly Little Nookie Is Repeatedly Kicked and Left for Dead by Vicious Burglars
"Lambchops came up to him and she was trying to lick him but he kept closing his eyes."
-- Amy Pascoe
Nookie was an extremely friendly cat and, as it so often happens, it well may have been that very characteristic that ending up costing him his life.
The one-year-old tomcat was home alone with his sister, Lambchops, mother Lisa, and another unidentified cat on the evening of August 14th when burglars broke into his Albert Street residence in Hamilton, one-hundred-thirty kilometers south of Auckland, through a locked bathroom window.
No one can say for certain what transpired during the break-in but the end result was that the burglars broke Nookie's tail in three places as well as his pelvis. He also suffered significant internal injuries, including a damaged bladder, as the result of having been repeatedly kicked like a soccer ball.
Almost as disturbing, the badly beaten and bloodied cat was not discovered until after more than twenty-four hours had elapsed following the break-in when ten-year-old Amy Pascoe found him cowering in a cupboard. "Lambchops came up to him and she was trying to lick him but he kept closing his eyes," she related to the Waikato Times of Hamilton on August 19th. (See "Cat Left for Dead after Hamilton Burglary.")
Due to the extent of his injuries, Pascoe and her thirty-three-year-old mother, Amanda Faulkner, elected to have him killed off rather than treated. (See photo above of them with Lambchops.)
While a broken tail certainly is not a life-threatening condition, it is considerably more difficult to render an opinion on the extent of his other injuries without first having had access to his medical records. More than likely, however, he could have been saved if Faulkner had been willing to have paid for the surgical procedures and medicine that he needed.
It also is hard to believe that it took Faulkner and Pascoe so long to discover what had happened to Nookie. If they had launched an all-out search for him immediately after the entry it is conceivable that he could have been saved. Any way that the situation is analyzed it is still a pity that he had to die.
There additionally has been considerable collateral damage in that Nookie's death has left Amy so traumatized that she now has trouble sleeping at night. "I had a dream that the people came into the house again and I had to call 111," she told the Waikato Times in the article cited supra.
Much the same thing can no doubt be said for the surviving felines of the household who, in addition to being deprived from now on of Nookie's presence and companionship, were forced to witness the brutal assault as well.
The significance of the fact that Nookie was the only cat attacked during the burglary has not been lost on Amy. "He's just really friendly and really nosey," she related to the Waikato Times. "He normally brushes up to anyone to see what he can get out of them."
That quite obviously was the wrong way to have behaved around the intruders. Conversely, if he had run and hidden there is a good chance that he still would be alive today.
The thieves, who are still at large, made off with a car, lawnmower, and the keys to the house although the vehicle was later found burned and abandoned.
This marked the second time in less than three years that the Faulkners have been burglarized. Right before Christmas in 2006, they also were cleaned out by thieves.
"I've been robbed before, but it was a very different feeling," Faulkner told the New Zealand Herald of Auckland on August 19th. (See "Family's Heartbreak after Burglar Tortures, Beats Cat.") "The worst is the cat. I would rather they took all I own rather than do this. There was no need."
If the perpetrators of this despicable crime ever are apprehended, Robyn Kippenberger of the SPCA has recommended to the authorities that they be charged under the Animal Welfare Act in addition to the burglary itself. "A burglar who would spend their (sic) time (attacking a cat) has more problems than stealing," she told the New Zealand Herald in the article cited supra. "That sort of behavior has a sadistic and antisocial aspect to it."
On November 12th of last year, a seven-week-old charcoal-colored kitten named Smudgie was found locked in an icebox following a burglary at the home of Nicki White on Campbell Street in Toowoomba, Queensland. Luckily, the Whites returned home in the nick of time in order to save Smudgie but not several electronic appliances.
"I don't think it would survive for more than a couple of hours," veterinarian Alistair Webb said at the time. (See photo above of Smudgie and Felicity White.)
At first, it was believed that the burglars were responsible for locking Smudgie in the refrigerator but detective Scott Stahlhut later inexplicably publicly stated that there was not any evidence to support that theory. Four suspects were later arrested and given a December 15th hearing in Toowoomba Magistrates Court.
Possibly those proceedings were able to resolve the perplexing question of who was responsible for Smudgie's close brush with death. (See Cat Defender post of December 9, 2008 entitled "Shaved from Head to Tail and Left to Freeze to Death in the Ontario Cold, Chopper Is Saved at the Last Minute.")
On May 6th of this year while Valerie Hernandez was away from her Tinton Avenue digs in the Bronx, her former roommate, seventeen-year-old career criminal Cheyenne Cherry, and a fourteen-year-old single mother and jailbird identified in court documents only as Whitney B. broke in and ransacked the place. They destroyed furniture, cut electrical wires, and splashed bleach on the walls before making off with food and DVDs. (See Cat Defender post of June 8, 2009 entitled "Adam Is Persevering Throughout All the Pain Two Years after Having Been Torched by Giggling Teenage Girls in Santa Rosa.")
That in itself is not especially newsworthy because the Bronx is rife with all sorts of crime. It was the duo's final act before exiting that has landed them in jail and the news.
In what Cherry later told the police was "just a joke," they stuffed Hernandez's kitten, Tiger Lily, into a five-hundred-degree oven and burned it to death. (See photo above on the right of Tiger Lily.)
For this heinous crime, Bronx Supreme Court Judge Margaret Clancy charitably let off Cherry with a year in jail and the proscription that she not own any pets for three years. (See photo of her below on the left.) Whitney B. was later ordered to serve a year and a half in juvenile detention. The discrepancy in sentences is attributable to the fact that it actually was Whitney B. who placed Tiger Lily in the oven.
On her way out of court, the unrepentant Cherry reveled in her own wickedness by grinning from ear to ear, hissing, and sticking out her tongue at animal rights protesters. "It's dead, bitch!" she shouted in their faces according to the July 16th edition of the New York Daily News. (See "Teen Cheyenne Cherry Taunts Animal Activists after Guilty Plea for Killing Kitten in Oven.")
Not a great deal of attention is paid to feline victims of burglars. Even more disheartening, there is not all that much that cat owners can do in order to ensure the safety of their beloved companions whenever they are away from home other than to make certain that thieves do not gain entry in the first place. That entails at the very minimum strong doors, good locks, bars over the windows, and a functioning alarm system.
If it is safe for cats to be allowed outdoors, multiple cat flaps would provide them with several escape routes should there be a break-in. The obvious drawback with that sort of arrangement is that a frightened feline might take to its heels and stay away from home for several days.
Locking away cats in either basements or attics is another possibility, but that is cruel and might not work anyway. After all, if burglars are able to get inside they are certainly capable of gaining access to basements and attics as well.
Since cats do not like to travel, taking them to work, restaurants, and the malls is not feasible either. Cat sitters are another possibility, albeit an expensive one.
That leaves only the option of forsaking all professional, social, and recreational activities and becoming a hermit. That way an individual would be at home all the time and thus able to protect his or her cats against intruders. If Charlie Brown was willing to quit school in order to devote the remainder of his days to making Snoopy happy, it is hard to imagine how anything less could be expected of devoted cat-lovers.
Since few people are willing to go to that extreme, the best that can be hoped for whenever a break-in occurs is that cats either will run away and hide or that the miscreants simply will take whatever they want and leave them alone. It goes almost without saying that the absolute worst nightmare that could be inflicted upon any cat or individual would be for them to find themselves at the mercy of sadistic killers like Cherry and Whitney B.
Cats, after all, are not dogs. They neither bark nor attack strangers so there is not any need for burglars to injure them in the first place. As every cat-lover knows only too well, the world is chock-full of ailurophobes and it is axiomatic that they are anything but rational actors.
Judges could help by starting to take crimes committed against cats seriously, but as the cases of Cherry, Whitney B., and other feline abusers and killers have demonstrated that is not about to happen anytime soon. (See Cat Defender posts of August 17, 2009 and May 14, 2009 entitled, respectively, "America's Insane Love Affair with Criminals Continues as Drunkard Who Sliced Open Scatt with a Box Cutter Gets Off with Time on the Water Wagon" and "Virginia Is for Cat Killers, Not Lovers, Now That Its Legal Establishment Has Sanctioned Donald Curtis Hunt's Drowning of Five Kittens.")
Photos: Donna Walsh of the Waikato Times (Lambchops with Pascoe and Faulkner), Toowoomba Chroncile (Smudgie and Felicity White), MySpace (Tiger Lily), and Lombard of the New York Daily News (Cherry).