Deliberately Entombed Inside a Canvas Bag for Six Days, Duff Is Saved by a Pair of Alert Maintenance Workers at an Apartment Complex in Spokane
"This kitten was very lucky to be found at 11:00 this morning, otherwise it probably would have died today. We are thankful to those who rescued this kitten from what would have been a (sic) horrific death."
-- Nicole Montano of SCRAPS
Donivan Crews thought that he had committed the perfect crime. Saddled with caring for an orange and white kitten that he did not want, he entombed it inside a black canvas bag and, just to make doubly sure that it did not escape, he zipped up the bag inside an even larger duffel bag. He then tossed out the bag with the trash.
The worst part of this scenario is that he almost succeeded. Thankfully, the Spokane apartment dweller's fiendish plot unraveled like a cheap sweater on August 20th when two maintenance workers who were testing and reprogramming garage door openers heard the kitten meowing from behind one of them.
Quickly unzipping the bags, the unidentified workers freed the emaciated kitten who was now covered in urine and feces. One way or another, the workers and representatives of the Spokane County Regional Animal Protection Service (SCRAPS) were able to successfully trace the bags back to Crews who readily admitted that he indeed had placed the kitten inside them six days previously.
Having gone without food and water for such an extended period of time, officials at SCRAPS believe that the kitten, subsequently named Duff, was about at the end of his rope. "This kitten was very lucky to be found at 11:00 this morning, otherwise it probably would have died today," Nicole Montano stated August 20th on the organization's web site. (See "Man Charged Criminally for Leaving Kitten in Duffel Bag.") "We are thankful to those who rescued this kitten from what would have been a (sic) horrific death."
Following his eleventh-hour rescue, Duff was taken to SCRAPS's headquarters for some much needed nourishment and rehabilitation. Once he recovered, his two rescuers were expected to have adopted him. (See photo above.)
As hard as it is to comprehend, Crews so far has been charged with only "confinement in an unsafe manner." At the very least, he should have been charged with criminal animal cruelty if not indeed attempted murder.
Of equal concern, whenever there is one kitten there are likely to be additional newborns plus a mother cat. Clearly, Crews has no business owning cats and any others found in his possession should have been promptly removed by SCRAPS and provided with new homes.
Also, since litters normally consist of four to six kittens, SCRAPS should launch an investigation into what happened to Duff's siblings. More than likely Crews has used suffocation and starvation in order to get rid of countless other kittens in the past.
Like Virginia, Washington has a well-deserved reputation of being hostile to cats. For example, earlier this year a court in Seattle sentenced a serial violent offender to a minuscule nine-months of daytime alcohol rehabilitation with nights in the pokey after he viciously used a box cutter in order to nearly kill a therapy cat named Scatt at a homeless shelter. (See Cat Defender posts of August 17, 2009 and May 6, 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 "Resident at Church-Run Homeless Shelter in Seattle Uses a Box Cutter in Order to Gut Scatt from Collarbone to Tail.")
Then there are bird advocates such as Robert and Debbie McCallum from the Seattle suburb of Edmonds who back in 2006 got away with illegally trapping Laura Martin's two-year-old cat, Turbo, and turning him over to a shelter. (See Cat Defender post of October 30, 2006 entitled "Collar Saves Cat Named Turbo from Extermination After He Is Illegally Trapped by Bird-Loving Psychopaths.")
During his traumatic ordeal, Turbo sustained multiple lacerations to his face as the result of his futile attempt to extricate himself from the trap and this wound up costing Martin $58.25 in veterinary fees. (See photo above of her and Turbo.)
One of the most heartwrenching stories of animal cruelty to come out of Washington in 2007 concerned a four-week-old kitten named Angel who was not only born without eyes but also prematurely taken away from her mother and dumped at the Humane Society for Tacoma and Pierce County. (See Cat Defender post of February 23, 2007 entitled "Born Without Eyes and Later Abandoned, Humble Kitten Appropriately Named Angel Has Hope for a Brighter Tomorrow.")
Fortunately for her, officials at the shelter elected not to kill her but instead saw to it that she received the necessary surgeries that she required in order to remove her tear ducts and to suture shut her eyes. After that, she was put up for adoption.
Like wildlife biologists everywhere, those employed by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) insist that raccoons and coyotes have an unbridled right to live in towns where they prey upon both domestic and feral cats. (See Cat Defender posts of August 28, 2006 and October 2, 2006 entitled, respectively, "Marauding Packs of Vicious Raccoons Rip Ten House Cats to Shreds and Terrorize Residents but Wildlife Officials Refuse to Intervene" and "Coyotes, Cheered on by Wildlife Officials, Join Raccoons in Killing Cats and Dogs in Washington State.")
As a consequence of those policies, Matthew Garcia of Seattle was forced on July 1st of last year to come to the aid of his cat, Jewel, after she was attacked by a raccoon in his yard. (See Cat Defender post of September 25, 2008 entitled "Seattle Resident Beats Off a Voracious Raccoon with a Broom in Order to Save the Life of His Cat, Jewel.")
Jewel was so traumatized by the attack that she ran away and did not return home until eight days later. When she did, Garcia discovered to his horror that she has sustained a broken fibula, a fractured hip, and two puncture wounds.
While wildlife biologists have out the welcome mat for coyotes and raccoons, cougars are strictly verboten. On September 6th, the WDFW used bloodhounds in order to chase a two-year-old cougar up a tree in Seattle's five-hundred-thirty-four-acre Discovery Park. (See photo below.)
This animal, which was at least the second cougar in the past dozen or so years to be summarily evicted from the park, was tranquilized and eventually released in the foothills of the Cascades near Skykomish. (See BBC, September 9, 2009, "Wild Cougar Captured in United States Park.")
Before they released it, WDFW officials attached a radio collar to its neck that will twice daily relay its location. This will allow wildlife biologists to turn it into a guinea pig that they will be able to repeatedly trap in order to replace worn-out batteries in the collar and to carry out various invasive experiments.
Should it at anytime be suspected of either killing livestock or of just being too old, the biologists will use the radio signal emitted by its collar in order to track it down and kill it. (See Cat Defender posts of May 21, 2009, February 29, 2008, and May 4, 2006 entitled, respectively, "Macho B, America's Last Jaguar, Is Illegally Trapped, Radio-Collared, and Killed Off by Wildlife Biologists in Arizona," "The Repeated Hounding Down and Tagging of Walruses Exposes Electronic Surveillance as Not Only Cruel but a Fraud," and "Scientific Community's Use of High-Tech Surveillance Is Aimed at Subjugating, Not Saving, the Animals.")
Like all tagged animals, this cougar has been irretrievably deprived of its freedom and will never see another day of peace for as long as it lives, which probably will not be for very long. Also, WDFW officials killed an unspecified number of fish and elk that they used in an unsuccessful attempt to trap the cougar.
The prevailing attitude amongst a wide spectrum of the public is that kittens do not have any legitimate right to live and as a consequence they may be disposed of in any convenient fashion. Practitioners of these horrendous crimes point to the equally outrageous offenses perpetrated at shelters and by Animal Control officers, who kill millions of cats each year, as a justification for their actions. Clearly, both groups do not have any regard for either feline life or an ounce of morality.
Far from being an isolated case, Crews's attempt to suffocate little Duff is a common modus operandi of cat-haters. For example, seamen stationed at the United States Naval Base in Rota, Spain, routinely wrap kittens in plastic bags and toss them out with the trash. That is in addition to poisoning others with antifreeze. (See Star and Stripes, European Edition, April 28, 2004, "Navy Policy Has Compounded Problem of Stray Cats at Rota, Some Say.")
Back in late June, a seven-week-old kitten subsequently named Sleepy was sealed up in a brown box without either ventilation or food and water and left on the doorstep of one of Sleepy's retail outlets in Swansea, Massachusetts. A few days earlier, an eight-week-old kitten named Postina was found stuffed inside a mailbox in Boston's Hyde Park.
Miraculously, both kittens survived thanks to timely rescues. (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.")
Other than suffocation, death by drowning always has been a popular method of disposing of unwanted kittens. (See Cat Defender posts of May 14, 2009 and July 3, 2006 entitled, respectively, "Virginia Is for Cat-Killers, Not Lovers, Now That Its Legal Establishment Has Sanctioned Donald Curtis Hunt's Drowning of Five Kittens" and "Crooked Massachusetts Cops Allow Politician to Get Away with Attempting to Drown a Kitten Named Lucky Girl.")
In her celebrated tome, Concerning Cats, Helen M. Winslow admits to drowning dozens of kittens. Worst still, this self-proclaimed lover of the species carried out her heinous crimes without, apparently, a smidgen of remorse.
In addition to suffocating and drowning defenseless kittens, the odious practice of dumping them on busy highways to be crushed to death underneath the wheels of speeding, unconscionable motorists is steadily gaining in popularity. (See Cat Defender posts of July 2, 2009 and August 28, 2008 entitled, respectively, "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" and "In Memoriam: Trooper Survives Being Thrown from a Speeding Automobile Only to Later Die on the Operating Table.")
These and other despicable crimes committed against cats and kittens persist because, first of all, society places a minuscule value on feline life and, secondly, it is difficult to apprehend the perpetrators. Even more alarming, in those rare cases where kitten killers and abusers, such as Crews, are caught red-handed prosecutors and the courts refuse to punish them.
With the legal establishment so unwilling to change its thinking and ailurophiles too impotent to turn their concerns into political and legal reality, more kittens like Duff are destined to suffer.
Photos: SCRAPS (Duff), Jon Lok of The Seattle Times (Turbo and Martin), and BBC (cougar).