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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, February 26, 2009

Dog Groomer Who Sold Mutilated Gothic Kittens on the Internet Is Finally Identified and Ordered to Stand Trial


"She chose to pierce them because it was neat, or to beautify them; other people buy gold collars, or dress their pets in clothes and hats and have birthday parties."
-- Demetrius Fannick


The Pennsylvania dog groomer arrested in December for body-piercing kittens as young as eight-weeks-old finally has been identified and bound over for trial. (See Cat Defender post of January 9, 2008 entitled "Pennsylvania Pet Groomer Is Caught Piercing the Ears, Necks, and Tails of Cats and Dogs and Then Peddling Them on eBay.")

Her name is Holly Crawford and she is the thirty-four-year-old proprietor of Pawside Parlor at 71 Dobson Road in Sweet Valley, twenty-two kilometers west of Wilkes-Barre. William Blansett, her thirty-seven-year-old boyfriend from 188 Gordon Road, also in Sweet Valley, so far has not been charged because he reportedly only assisted in peddling the $400 so-called Gothic kittens on eBay and other Internet web sites but did not actually mutilate any of them.

The decision to move the case forward was made by Magisterial District Judge John Paul Hadzick on February 17th and will result in Crawford being arraigned in Luzerne County Court of Common Pleas on April 24th. She remains free and even if convicted the severest sentence that she is likely to receive is a minuscule fine.

Even Hadzick admitted that piercing kittens falls within a gray area of the law. "I don't think that the decision is for me to be made here," he is quoted as saying in the February 17th edition of Citizens Voice of Wilkes-Barre. (See "Woman Accused of Piercing 'Gothic' Kittens Will Face Charges in County Court.")

Crawford's shyster, Demetrius Fannick of Wilkes-Barre, is promising to mount a robust defense. "There's nothing in the statute that expressly says you can't pierce your cat's ears or necks, or even crop their tails," he told Citizens Voice in the article cited supra. "It's a case that you will be for or against as an animal owner. Let the legislature say you can't pierce or tattoo your animal, and it will be different."

Acting upon a tip from an unidentified party who had seen the ads on the Internet, the SPCA of Luzerne County and the Pennsylvania State Police raided Pawside Parlor on December 17th. Inside they found three kittens, an adult cat, and a dog all sporting body piercings. It is not exactly clear, but apparently the cat and dog were being kept as pets and were not, like the kittens, for retail sale.

The three kittens were pierced a total of ten times and made to wear fourteen-gauge rings that made their ears flop. Additional rings were inserted in their necks so that leashes could be attached. (See photos above and below.)

Rubber bands were wound tightly around their tails so as to constrict the flow of blood and thus cause them to rot off. Rings were then inserted in the shortened appendages.

No one seems to be willing to say just how long this mutilation factory had been in operation or how many victims it may have claimed, but of the kittens discovered in the raid one of them already had lost its tail while another one had to have its surgically removed because of an infection. The jewelry also had to be removed and all of the kittens required antibiotics.

"If you see these kittens, they were hurt pretty badly," Luzerne County Deputy District Attorney David Pedri told the Indiana Gazette of Indiana, Pennsylvania on February 18th. (See "Shopping for Kitty or Puppy? Consider Pierced Earrings or a Tattoo.") "There were infections. They weren't well cared for."

As it would be expected, Crawford vociferously disputes that charge and insists that she used sterile needles and surgical soap in order to carry out her dirty work. "They were definitely loved, well-fed, no fleas, clipped nails, and they were happy," she declared to the Associated Press on January 23rd. (See "Pennsylvania Pet Groomer Charged with Piercing Kittens.")

Nevertheless, even Crawford admitted to arresting officers that the kittens cried when she pierced them. "She caused them pain," Pedri added for Citizens Voice. "She did this to sell them to make money."

That is putting the case rather mildly in that Crawford is not only greedy but cheap as well. While the age-old use of rubber bands in order to castrate bulls, dogs, and cats stubbornly persists in some rural areas, most pet owners who cruelly choose to dock the tails of their companion animals usually are willing to spring for the services of a qualified veterinarian. (See Cat Defender post of February 26, 2008 entitled "The Dark Side of Spay and Neuter: Veterinarian Botched Surgeries and Back Alley Castrations Claim the Lives of Numerous Cats.")

Fannick's amateurish attempt to pass off his client's mutilations as a form of art does not wash either. "She chose to pierce them because it was neat, or to beautify them; other people buy gold collars, or dress their pets in clothes and hats and have birthday parties," he told the Times Leader of Wilkes-Barre on February 18th. (See "Cat Abuse Case Sent to Court.")

He evidently is oblivious to the distinction between inanimate objects, such as blocks of stone used in sculpturing, and live animals. At the very least, his sentiments display a callous disregard for anti-cruelty statutes.

Having little patience for either prevaricators or their sophistry, Pedri shot back in same article by declaring, "That constitutes cruelty! It inflicted pain and caused infections."

Even saying that much hardly begins to do justice to all the harmful side effects that body piercings engender. For instance, in addition to pain and infections, such procedures sometimes lead to cancerous growths.

Moreover, dangling jewelry and leashes can easily snag on foreign objects and do extensive damage to body tissues as well as inflict horrific pain. Jewelry also can damage delicate cartilage in cats' ears as well as impair their hearing.

If anesthesia is used, there always is the possibility that the person administering the drug will use too much and inadvertently kill the animal. That is a common problem whenever cats are sedated for either sterilization or travel by air.

No additional information has been made public about the fate of the adult cat and dog found at Crawford's place of business. The SPCA, however, is holding on to the three kittens as evidence to be used at Crawford's upcoming trial.

Considering all that the kittens have been put through so far, that is not only cruel and inhumane but unnecessary as well. Since the jewelry has been removed, evidence of the abuse will disappear as soon as the cats' fur grows back and their wounds heal.

Photographs of the cats taken at the time of the raid plus the testimony of the SPCA and the attending veterinarian are all that is needed. The kittens should have been adopted out months ago instead of being indefinitely confined to cages until the case against Crawford and any subsequent appeals are adjudicated.

As far as it is known, Pawside Parlor is still open for business as a dog grooming salon although Crawford is singing the do-re-mi blues these days. "My name is ruined, my reputation's ruined, (and) my business is ruined," she moaned to the Associated Press in the article cited supra.

To give the devil his due, Fannick is totally justified in pointing out that animal modification is by no means limited to body piercings. Most notably, the tattooing of cats and dogs for the purpose of identification is standard practice in France and Quebec while veterinarians in the southern United States sometimes tattoo the faces of white-colored cats, dogs, and horses supposedly to prevent them from developing sun-related cancers.

Cows and horses are routinely branded and as soon as the National Animal Identification System (NAIS) is implemented all animals used in food production will be implanted with microchips that will allow satellites to track their movements from birth to slaughter. Implanted microchips also have become popular in recent years as a means of keeping track of pets in spite of the health hazards associated with their use. (See Cat Defender post of September 21, 2007 entitled "FDA Is Suppressing Research That Shows Implanted Microchips Cause Cancer in Mice, Rats, and Dogs.")

The same concerns are equally applicable to the wide scale use of implanted microchips and radio collars in order to spy on wildlife. (See Cat Defender posts of April 17, 2006, May 4, 2006, and February 29, 2008 entitled, respectively, "Hal the Central Park Coyote Is Suffocated to Death by Wildlife Biologists Attempting to Tag Him," "Scientific Community's Use of High-Tech Surveillance Is Aimed at Subjugating, Not Saving, the Animals," and "The Repeated Hounding Down and Tagging of Walruses Exposes Electronic Surveillance as Not Only Cruel but a Fraud.")

Tail dockings, debarking, and onychectomies are so common that their legitimacy is seldom questioned. The sterilization and ear-tipping of desexed feral cats also are blatant forms of mutilation.

Still other individuals get a kick out of divesting cats of their fur. (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.")

Spray-painting cats and dogs in garish colors also has its adherents. For instance, the Calgary Humane Society has taken in four kittens in recent months that were covered in paint. (See The Edmonton Sun, January 29, 2009, "Sicko Spray-Paints Stray Felines.")

It is a bit of a stretch, but unnecessary and useless vaccinations administered by moneygrubbing veterinarians and which subsequently lead to the development of vaccine associated sarcomas (VAS) also could be viewed as a form of mutilation.

The lesson to be learned from all of these abuses is that respecting the sanctity of all animal life is not sufficient; the integrity of their bodies as well as their freedom also must be preserved. Mutilations occasionally can be justified, such as to prevent the birth of animals that society is only going to turn around and kill anyway, but the creation of Gothic kittens in order to turn a fast and easy buck does not fall within that purview.

As a general rule, all animal mutilations should be regarded as suspect with the burden of proof resting with the mutilators. If they are unable to meet this legal standard, jurists and legislators have a duty to decide in favor of the animals.

Photos: Times Leader (mutilated kitten) and Sky News (kitten advertised as "Snarley Monster").

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Daring Rescue in the Sky Spares the Life of a Cat Dumped on an Overpass in Houston


"While we were up there, we were able to gain the confidence of the cat and bring it to our side of the pillar by coaxing it with some food, spending a few minutes just talking to it, and petting it."
-- Charles Jantzen, Houston SPCA


The number of cats deliberately run down and killed by motorists each year must be in the hundreds of thousands while those who escape with their lives but suffer debilitating injuries must be in the millions. (See Cat Defender post of March 5, 2007 entitled "Run Down by a Motorist and Frozen to the Ice by His Own Blood, Cat Named Roo Is Saved by a Caring Woman.")

In addition to those individuals who make a sport out of running down cats, dogs, opossums, and other defenseless animals, there is yet another group of cretins whose ingrained hatred for the feline species is so malignant that it prevents them from either attempting to find alternative homes for their unwanted companions or even releasing them in the wild. Instead, they simply toss them out the windows of speeding automobiles on busy thoroughfares.

The vast majority of these horribly abused cats die instantaneously underneath the wheels of oncoming motorists while the remainder limp away to die prolonged deaths alongside the road. Only the truly lucky ones survive.

An nameless brown-colored cat from Houston joined that select group on February 11th when it was rescued by the SPCA from a six-story concrete pillar below the East Freeway. (See photo above.)

The rescue was made possible by the timely concern and due diligence shown by area resident Blake McGee who had first heard the cat's plaintive cries for help the previous evening. "I walked around that pillar for a few times, because I thought it (the cat) was on the ground but I couldn't find it," he told KHOU-TV of Houston on February 11th. (See "Crews Rescue Cat from Top of Six-Story East Freeway Pillar.") "So then I listened closer, and I realized it was above me."

Reading between the lines, it appears that the Houston Fire Department flatly refused to help while the SPCA must keep banker's hours because it did not respond to McGee's summons until the following day. Of course, abdication of duty is nothing new for fire brigades. (See Cat Defender posts of February 20, 2007 and March 20, 2008 entitled, respectively, "Stray Cat Ignominiously Named Stinky Is Rescued from Rooftop by Good Samaritans After Fire Department Refuses to Help" and "Bone-Lazy, Mendacious Firefighters Are Costing the Lives of Both Cats and Humans by Refusing to Do Their Duty.")

Once the SPCA finally decided to rouse itself, it procured a lift and an unidentified operator who elevated Charles Jantzen to the ledge where the cat was stranded. In short order the cat was plucked to safety, placed inside a carrier, and lowered to the ground. (A video of the dramatic rescue is available on KHOU-TV's web site.)

"While we were up there, we were able to gain the confidence of the cat and bring it to our side of the pillar by coaxing it with some food, spending a few minutes just talking to it, and petting it," Jantzen later told KHOU-TV in the article cited supra. "It realized we weren't there to cause it any kind of harm or danger."

Famished, dehydrated, and still crying, the cat was taken to the SPCA's shelter for medical attention and no additional information has been made public about either its condition or future. Hopefully, it either will be put up for adoption or sent to a sanctuary as opposed to being exterminated.

Jantzen theorizes that the cat fell through an expansion joint on the freeway and landed on the pillar. He also has stated that he believes the cat is a stray who simply got stranded on the overpass.

It is difficult to say with any certainty, but he likely is mistaken on both counts. The ease with which the cat was lured from the ledge strongly indicates that it is a domesticated feline rather than either a stray or a feral.

Secondly, it is hard to imagine any set of circumstances that would tempt a cat to scale a busy roadway six stories in the sky. A more likely scenario is that it was dumped on the overpass by a motorist and then inadvertently fell through a crack while attempting to avoid motorists intent upon killing it.

If that theory is correct, the cat joins a long list of felines who have experienced similar fates in recent years. In August of 2006, for instance, sympathetic officials in the Tirol section of Austria closed the five-kilometer-long Roppen Tunnel in order to rescue a ten-week-old black kitten with red streaks in its fur that had been abandoned there. (See photo above.)

Dubbed Lucky by her rescuers, she later was put up for adoption and no additional information about her is available. (See Cat Defender post of August 14, 2006 entitled "Austrian Officials Close Busy Alpine Tunnel in Order to Rescue Kitten Cruelly Abandoned by a Motorist.")

On Boxing Day of 2007, an orange cat named Freeway was tossed out the window of a speeding pickup truck on I-95 near Stuart, Florida. Thanks to the timely and successful rescue mounted by passerby Catherine Barton, he escaped with only abrasions to his face, nose, and ears in addition to a broken tooth. (See Cat Defender post of January 14, 2008 entitled "Freeway Miraculously Survives Being Tossed Out the Window of a Truck on Busy I-95 in South Florida.")

An eight-week-old black and white kitten named Trooper was not nearly so blessed when he was tossed out of an automobile on Route 168 South near the North Carolina and Virginia border on July 31st of last year. Although he initially had the good fortune to be rescued by Michele Laney of Moyock, his injuries ultimately proved to be too much for him to overcome. (See Cat Defender post of August 28, 2008 entitled "In Memoriam: Trooper Survives Being Thrown from a Speeding Automobile Only to Later Die on the Operating Table.")

Whenever ailurophobes are not disposing of unwanted felines in traffic, another of their favorite tactics is to stuff them into weighted-down sacks and cages and then toss them off bridges and overpasses. In late December of 2005, a famished calico cat subsequently named Lucky was tossed off a bridge into the icy Clark Fork River in Missoula, Montana.

Fortunately for her, the cage that she was in landed on the ice and was spotted by a passerby on December 27th. She was the recipient of a second stroke of good luck when firefighter Josh Macrow later decided to adopt her. (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.")

A gray-colored mother cat from upstate New York has a dead tree and a concerned passerby to thank for saving her life after she was weighted down in a sack and tossed into the West Branch of Cayuga Inlet Creek in Newfield by a motorist on May 5th of last year. (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 tree broke her fall and the good Samaritan rescued her from the creek and took her to a shelter. Her kittens were never found.

With most motorists now in possession of mobile phones, it should be possible for the police to apprehend some of these criminals. Of course, the real deterrent value lies in judges that would be willing to severely punish individuals caught disposing of cats in this grossly inhumane fashion. Given the fact, however, that they are so seldom willing to punish even more egregious forms of feline cruelty, the prospects of that happening do not look particularly good.

As sickening as all of those horrific crimes are, they do not tell the entire story in that there are numerous Catherine Bartons and Michele Laneys of this world who go out of their way in order to save injured cats. To that impressive list of esteemable notables the names of Peter Whiting and Jo Laker now must be added.

Whiting is a forty-five-year-old resident of Norwich, north of London, who has been driving for First Buses for the past twenty-four years. At 6:40 a.m. on February 10th he was motoring down Fakenham Road in the Taverham section of Norwich when he made a grisly discovery. (See photo above of him outside his chariot.)

"It was dark and raining and then I saw a movement and a pair of eyes look up at me from the middle of the road, and I realized it was a cat lying there," he later related to the Norwich Evening News on February 14th. (See "Caring Bus Driver Hailed for Helping Injured Cat.") Without further ado, he pulled over, gathered up the cat, and took it aboard his stagecoach.

"It had some blood on its paws and its face and looked like it had been hit by the wheels of a car," he continued. "I was surprised it wasn't dead but we put it on the luggage rack, and I had to get two liters of soapy water from a house to wash the rack down afterwards because it was all messy and covered in blood. I think it has used up most of its nine lives with that."

Laker, a thirty-three-year-old mortuary technician from Taverham, helped to care for the injured cat while it was on the bus and later took it to Chapelfield Veterinary Partners in Wymondham. "A lady emptied a carrier bag and I put him in that to stop him moving about too much and put my coat over him to keep him warm," she told the Evening News in the article cited supra. "I gave him a cuddle and sat on the steps at the vets until it opened at 8 a.m. He was covered in blood and shaky on his feet."

The unnamed and still unclaimed black cat with white paws has been diagnosed to be suffering form a broken jaw and a concussion. Worst still, it may have sustained brain damage.

The good news is that the RSPCA has agreed to pay for at least part of its medical treatment and to attempt to find it a home once it recuperates. The latter may not be all that difficult a task in that Laker has consented to take it in if its owner does not come forward.

"...All the passengers on the bus were rallying around with tissues and things to clean it up," Linda Barrington-Smith, another passenger, related to the Evening News. "I thought it was really good that the bus driver had picked it up. It's nice to know that people care about animals to that extent. The whole bus was helping."

To their credit, transit workers in England have a long history of being kindly disposed to cats. (See Cat Defender posts of April 19, 2007 and November 23, 2007 entitled, respectively, "Bus-Hopping Macavity Earns High Praise from His Fellow Commuters for Being the Perfect Passenger" and "Tizer Lands a Job Working for the Police After Ending Up at a Shelter Following the Death of His Previous Owner.")

Photos: WPVI-TV of Philadelphia (Houston cat), Tierschutzverein fur Tirol (Lucky), and Norwich Evening News (Whiting).

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Health Department Banishes Smallcat from a Popular Carson City Restaurant but Her Feisty Owner Is Putting Up Quite a Fight


"I was told to get rid of her immediately or my business license would be suspended. I got rid of the complainer instantly, but apparently they meant the cat."
-- June Joplin


Another cat has run afoul of Health Department regulations and been given the boot. This time around it is a longhaired calico named Smallcat who for the past five years had charmed both employees and patrons at Comma Coffee across the street from the statehouse in Carson City, Nevada.

"Animals can carry diseases that can spread to humans," Dustin Boothe of Carson City Health and Human Services told the Nevada Appeal on February 3rd. (See "Comma Coffee Owner Starts Petition Drive to Allow Cat in Shop.") "It's not a routine thing, but they can carry bacteria or other organisms that can make people sick. Obviously the mascot's great, but there are reasons behind (the ordinance)."

The cause celebre began, as per usual in matters of this sort, with an anonymous complaint filed with the Health Department. "I was told to get rid of her immediately or my business license would be suspended," Comma's feisty proprietor June Joplin told the Appeal in the article cited supra. "I got rid of the complainer instantly, but apparently they meant the cat." (See photo above of her proudly displaying a framed portrait of Smallcat.)

Smallcat, who arrived at Comma as a stray kitten, used to bed down in Joplin's office where she was permitted to come and go as she pleased through an open window. Relieved of her responsibilities as the restaurant's head mouser, mascot, and customer relations manager, she now has been banished to Joplin's residence where she is anything but a happy camper.

"She's in exile. She's very stressed and very unhappy," Joplin confided to the Appeal. She is reportedly having a difficult time adjusting to her mistress's other felines as well as to being confined.

In a last-ditch effort to secure a variance from the Nevada Board of Health, Joplin has initiated both in-store and online petitions which to date have garnered one-hundred-sixty and six-hundred-eighteen signatures, respectively. It is not known when the state authorities will act on her challenge.

"Smallcat, for me, represents what Comma Coffee is all about," online signatory Laura Jean Karr of Nevada wrote on February 2nd. "She is a furry little symbol of freedom, free-thinking and comfort rolled into one."

Nevadan William Shaw, who signed the petition on February 11th, availed himself of the opportunity to take backhanded swipes at both the competition and Health Department. "Having Smallcat at the Comma made it seem much more homey and friendly than the typical Starbucks type sterility," he wrote. "As for claiming that I could catch a disease from Smallcat, rest assured I stand a much better chance of catching an illness from the Health inspector..."

Smallcat even has at least one supporter who is allergic to cats. "I have to say that I'm allergic to cats and I still miss the cat," Rabbi Jonathan Frierich told KOLO-TV of Reno on February 5th. (See "Comma Coffee's Cat in Exile, Fans Press for Return.") "The cat is an essence of the place."

The rabbi's open-mindedness on this subject is one further bit of evidence that cats need not be banned from either public or retail establishments just because some individuals are allergic to them. (See Cat Defender post of February 11, 2008 entitled "U.S. Postal Service Knuckles Under to the Threats and Lies of a Cat-Hater and Gives Sammy the Boot.")

Besides, indoor environments, like nature itself, are chock-full of all sorts of allergens and few individuals would have the chutzpah to demand that a restaurant be closed simply because they are allergic to peanuts, soap, or the perfume worn by employees. It is only cats that provoke this type of tyranny from a minority of ailurophobes.

When they were on the campaign trail grubbing for money and votes, Obama, Biden, and Rodham all frequented Comma Coffee and none of them voiced any objection to Smallcat's presence. True to form, now that they have achieved their objectives, the Janus-faced Democrats are nowhere to be found in Smallcat's hour of need.

As for those who object to Smallcat's presence, Joplin has a word of friendly advice for them: Get lost! "There are places to have a (sic) homogeneous, sterile environment to eat in. That is not what Comma Coffee is all about," she told the Appeal. "This is a homey place. And the cat is part of the energy of a healthy environment."

In defense of Smallcat, Joplin insists that she is not allowed in areas of the restaurant where food is prepared and, more importantly, that she actually has improved sanitary conditions by keeping the rodent population at bay. In fact, she goes so far as to claim that Smallcat has not only scared off the mice at her place of business but from the entire block as well.

Her argument may sound counterintuitive to some people, especially those who think that all animals are not only unclean but disease carriers as well, but Joplin has a salient point that is worthy of serious consideration.

Anywhere there are people there also are bound to be grain and food stores which invariably attract mice. It is not so much the case that mice are voracious eaters as it is that they contaminate great quantities of food with their urine and feces.

It therefore was precisely man's evolvement from nomadic hunters and gatherers into farmers with fixed abodes that led to the domestication of cats in the Fertile Crescent and surrounding areas roughly ten-thousand years ago. Once Homo sapiens acquired sufficient technology in order to develop ships and weaponry they degenerated into militarists, imperialists, and colonialists.

That proved to be a disastrous development for Felis domesticus in that the species then was shanghaied by the would-be lords of all creation and transported to the far reaches of the world to secure grain and food stores. Once deadly chemicals and sturdier storage bins were developed these cats became expendable.

They initially were abandoned to fend for themselves in the wild but once the exploiters and usurpers discovered that tourists would willingly shell out megabucks in order to view exotic fauna they began exterminating their former helpmates en masse. As a consequence, millions of cats have been systematically extirpated from hundreds of lands, primarily islands, during the past one-hundred years.

Not surprisingly, the so-called civilized and humane Australians, South Africans, New Zealanders, Americans, and English have been the most prolific cat killers. (See Cat Defender posts of September 21, 2006, March 23, 2007, and June 27, 2008 entitled, respectively, "Aussies' Mass Extermination of Cats Opens the Door for Mice and Rabbits to Wreak Havoc on Macquarie," "Bird-Lovers in South Africa Break Out the Champagne to Celebrate the Merciless Gunning Down of the Last of Robben Island's 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.")

These crimes have been so widespread and horrific that nothing short of an international body assembled along the lines of the Nurnberg war crimes tribunal would be sufficient in order to not only put at end to them but to bring those responsible for their commission to justice.

Despite being ubiquitous, pest control companies are not very good at what they do and as a consequence many cats are still able to find work as mousers on farms, in private homes, and at retail establishments. (See Cat Defender post of February 21, 2006 entitled "Chairman Meow Finds a Home in a Barn and a Job as a Mouser on Texas Horse Ranch.")

Mice that are poisoned also have a tendency to crawl off and die inside walls and other nooks and crannies and as the result their rotting corpses stink up houses and stores from stem to stern. Cats, on the other hand, do not even have to be particularly good mousers in order to be effective in that their body odor is usually sufficient to scare off most rodents.

For instance, at a livestock feed store called Agway in Ellington, Connecticut, a black and white female named Leslie is doing what cats have done for millenniums. Adopted from a shelter on January 2, 2007, she has been safeguarding the store's inventory ever since. (See photo above.)

In addition to keeping the rodent population under control, Leslie also has become a big hit with both patrons and management. "(She is) a nice addition to Agway," store employee Liz told The Examiner of Newark on February 7th. (See "The Agway Cat.")

Although some nitpickers might quibble that hiring a cat to protect animal feed is a far cry from having one to safeguard food intended for human consumption, the perceived difference is more fanciful than real. After all, meat, eggs, milk, cheese, and other products that come from livestock are later consumed by humans.

Logic would seem to dictate that if cats are as unhygienic as Boothe and other health inspectors maintain, they would be equally unwelcome on farms as well as in restaurants such as Comma Coffee. Moreover, if that were ever to come to pass all livestock feed soon would become contaminated by rodents and farmers would not have much of anything left to feed their animals.

Nevertheless, the discrimination directed at cats like Smallcat is widespread. Last year, par exemple, a cat named Ember was evicted from the Blunsdon Arms in Swindon after complaints were lodged by Health Department inspectors. (See Cat Defender post of October 23, 2008 entitled "Pecksniffian Management at Swindon Pub Plies Ember with Food and Then Gives Her the Bum's Rush.")

In New York City, proprietors of restaurants, bodegas, and delicatessens often are presented with a Hobson's choice of whether it is preferable to have mice or to keep a cat, both of which are illegal. "It's hard for bodega owners because they're not supposed to have a cat, but they're also not supposed to have rats," Jose Fernandez of the Bodega Association of the United States told The New York Times on December 21, 2007. (See "To the Dismay of Inspectors, Prowling Cats Keep Rodents on the Run at City Delis.")

He then went on to point out a petit fait that should be obvious to everyone but nevertheless is often overlooked amidst all the sound and fury. "If cats live in homes and apartments where people have food, a cat shouldn't be a threat in a store if it's well maintained," he told The Times.

Another often overlooked fact is that cats are considerably cleaner than most people. In particular, it is well-known that since the majority of restaurant employees work for peanuts, they cannot afford to miss a day's pay and therefore often come to work while under the weather.

In practical terms, that translates into more mucus and airborne germs in the food that they prepare and serve. It additionally is not uncommon to see pus oozing from sores on their hands and arms.

Many of them likewise do not even bother to wash their hands after going to the toilet, picking their noses, and scratching their crotches. Worst still, some restaurateurs are too cheap to even provide employees and guests with hot water and soap. Corrupt and ailurophobic public health officials, who go ballistic at the sight of a cat, compound the situation by turning a blind eye to these blatant code violations.

All things considered, the food served in most restaurants is not only ridiculously overpriced but substandard in quality and unclean to boot. As Rex Stout's fictional private investigator and gourmand par excellence Nero Wolfe was fond of saying, anyone who wants to eat good food must either cook it themselves or hire a private chef.

It also is a false assumption that the quality of the fare is commensurate with its price. George Orwell, for instance, put the kibosh to that notion when he wrote in this first novel, Down and Out in Paris and London, that it is actually the pricier fares that contain the most spittle and dirt.

On the subject of cats and food, the Japanese are considerably more forward thinking than their western counterparts. In Tokyo, for example, there are at least seven neko cafes where patrons pay between eight and twelve dollars an hour for the privilege of sipping tea and dining in the presence of cats. (See Cat Defender post of June 5, 2008 entitled "Teahouse Cats Are Given Shelter and Work but Precious Little Job Security and No Legal Protections.")

All of these teahouses adhere to strict sanitary rules but some Westerners might be surprised to learn that they are designed as much for the protection of the cats as they are for that of the humans. All of the felines are vaccinated and the premises are vacuumed frequently so as to prevent a build-up of cat hairs and dandruff. Diners likewise must not only remove their shoes before entering but wash their hands as well. (See photo above of some cats hard at work at Cafe Calico.)

Much the same thing can be said for eating and drinking establishments in both Angleterre and on the Continent who, in general, take a considerably more relaxed attitude toward the presence of cats and dogs. (See Cat Defender post of November 20, 2006 entitled "Ratty's Taste for Bangers Coupled with His Owner's Negligence Places Terrier's Life in Grave Jeopardy.")

A number of hotels across America and elsewhere rent out cats by the night to their guests. (See Cat Defender post of May 15, 2008 entitled "Predatory Capitalism Rears Its Ugly Head as Minnesota Bed and Breakfast Sacks Overnight Cats, Morris and Fred.")

Since guests quite obviously not only keep food in their rooms but also sleep and cuddle with their feline companions it is difficult to understand how this type of intimate contact could be viewed as hygienic while it is verboten to keep a cat in a restaurant.

In conclusion, there is not any good reason why Health Department officials should not be willing to compromise with restaurants such as Comma Coffee and other food retailers. Besides providing a more hygienic environment for both diners and employees, the keeping of restaurant cats would not only reduce the number of homeless cats but also those that are slaughtered at shelters.

They additionally provide companionship, help to alleviate worker stress, and are popular with patrons. (See Cat Defender post of January 7, 2008 entitled "Roosevelt, Who Has Brightened the Lives of So Many Vacationers, Now Sets His Sights on Saving Other Homeless Cats and Dogs.")

Photos: Cathleen Allison of the Nevada Appeal (Joplin and Smallcat), The Examiner (Leslie), and Kichimani (Cafe Calico cats).

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The United States Postal Service Knuckles Under to the Threats and Lies of a Cat-Hater and Gives Sammy the Boot


Notice:
"Sammy (the post office cat) is no longer allowed in this building due to a customer complaint. Thanks for your help."
--- Carolyn Hood, temporary Postmistress


An orange tabby known as Sammy who had served as the mascot of the Notasulga Post Office for a decade now finds himself on the outside looking in as the result of the machinations of a local cat-hater. (See photo above.)

Owned by Lorenz Ponzig who lives on Lyons Street less than a block away, Sammy used to stop by the Alabama post office each morning where he would nap on a front table in between greeting customers and well-wishers. All of that came to an abrupt end last month when an anonymous female resident of the Auburn suburb of nine-hundred-sixteen souls decided to make a stink about his presence.

She began her frontal assault by complaining to temporary postmistress Carolyn Hood that since Sammy did not pay federal taxes he therefore had no right to be in the building. Despite the stupidity of the argument, Hood fell for it hook, line, and sinker and promptly gave Sammy the bum's rush.

"She (the complainant) acted very ugly on the phone with me," Hood told The Tuskegee News on January 15th. (See "Notasulga's 'Post Office Cat' Receives National Attention.") "I told her I'd do everything I could to keep the cat outside."

True to her word, Hood posted the following notice on the front of the building: "Sammy (the post office cat) is no longer allowed in this building due to a customer complaint. Thanks for your help."

As any simpleton should know, the ailurophobe's argument is pure rubbish in that all sorts of individuals, such as illegal immigrants, foreign tourists, exchange students, tax-cheats, and the unemployed, tramp in and out of federal buildings every day without paying a solitary cent in federal taxes. In fact, the avoidance of paying taxes is not merely viewed as a badge of honor by some Americans but it also is a sure-fire way of landing a high-ranking position within blowhard Obama's corrupt-as-hell administration.

More to the point, the United States Postal Service (USPS) has been an independent agency ever since the Postal Reorganization Act of 1970 and as such it technically is not even part of the federal bureaucracy. It therefore is free to admit or bar anyone or any animal that it chooses from its premises. It also sets its own rates which, coincidentally, are going up again on May 11th.

The objection that Sammy is not a paying customer is equally without merit in that the same argument could be invoked to bar all sorts of individuals from entering postal facilities without first making a financial contribution. In order to make the enforcement of such a rule feasible, customers would have to either make their purchases at the door or pay admission.

Hood's precipitate action was met with open rebellion from Sammy's supporters around town. "But the town went crazy after the sign went up," she admitted to The Tuskegee News in the article cited supra. "They call (Sammy) in here more than ever now."

On January 7th, for instance, about fifteen of the cat's vociferous supporters persuaded a reporter from WFSA-TV in Montgomery to travel to Notasulga and do a feature on the brouhaha. On that historic occasion, legendary former Auburn University football coach Pat Dye, who is arguably Notasulga's most famous current resident, told the cameras, "Sammy's got more friends in Notasulga than any other individual I know."

Dye is furthermore quoted by KARE-TV of Minneapolis on January 9th as adding, "We ain't worried about football. We're worried about the cat." (See "Post Office Feline Sparks Cat Fight in Small Alabama Town.") Sammy should be flattered because there are few things in life that Alabamians love more than football.

"He doesn't bother a soul," an unidentified resident volunteered for KARE-TV.

"Bother me?" another resident scoffed to The Tuskegee News. "I was going to suggest we put in a cat door for him."

Eighty-seven-year-old retired schoolteacher Elizabeth Averrett thought that she had hit upon a more practical way of getting around the ban when she and Louise Pratt pooled their resources and purchased a post office box in Sammy's name. (See photo above of Everrett.)

The idea was an immediate success and the mail poured in from all across the country and even from as far away as Austria. In fact, between January 9th and January 13th Sammy received sixty-eight letters as well as two packages.

Included in the haul were a homemade treat from Wisconsin, assorted cat food, toys, a gift certificate, and money. Averrett and Pratt have announced that they plan on donating the food and moola to a local humane group.

Although the post office box was a resounding success in attracting worldwide attention to the injustice being done to Sammy, it backfired politically in that it soon caught the attention of Hood's superiors higher up in the postal bureaucracy who retaliated by ordering that Sammy be kept out of the facility under all circumstances.

This was without doubt attributable to the relentlessness of Sammy's opponent. When her tax argument was thwarted, she changed tactics and pleaded that Sammy had to go because she was allergic to cats.

When that did not work, she pulled out all the stops and charged that Sammy had attacked her one night while she was inside the building. Of course, there were not any witnesses to this alleged attack and Sammy, unfortunately, does not have any method of refuting her lies.

Taken altogether, her actions demonstrate writ large not only how ingrained and pervasive ailurophobia is, but more importantly the extraordinary lengths that cat-haters are prepared go to in order to harm the species. At last report, Sammy is still banned from entering the building although he is able to greet his supporters on the sidewalk outside. (See photo above.)

Readers of Rita Mae Brown's enormously popular murder mysteries will immediately recognize the parallels between what happened to Sammy and the cats and dog owned by the fictional Mary Minor "Harry" Haristeen. As postmistress of tiny Crozet in southern Virginia, Harry for years worked alongside her cats, Mrs. Murphy and Pewter, and a female corgi named Tee Tucker until her superiors banned them from the facility.

Unlike Hood, however, Harry chose to resign her commission rather than to be deprived of the presence of her beloved companions. (See Brown's tome, Cat's Eyewitness.)

In marked contrast to the anti-animal policies of their supervisors, some letter carriers have been known to harbor soft spots in their hearts for cats and dogs. One such postal employee is fifty-two-year-old Kim Pinkham of Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin, who is so dedicated to helping cats and dogs that she has been dubbed an "animal vigilante" by some of her critics. (See photo above of her at home with some of her cats and dogs.)

"I'm not a policeman (sic)," she told the La Crosse Tribune in defense of her advocacy on January 19th. (See "Postal Carrier Helps Out Cats, Dogs Seen During Route.") "It's not my authority, but it is my business."

Since she began delivering the mail in May of 2004, she has, inter alia, shelled out $200 for a Caesarian section for a black feral cat named Bailey with paralyzed rear legs, coaxed a cat down from a tree, secured a blanket for a dog forced to live outdoors in the cold, and provided food and a doghouse for a pregnant black Labrador Retriever and Coon Hound mix. She later even found homes for the dog's puppies.

As for why she has taken it upon herself to save the neglected and abandoned cats and dogs that she encounters along her mail route, Pinkham says simply, "They present themselves to me."

In England, letter carriers have been fraternizing with cats for ages. In the tiny village of Woolavington in Somerset County, par exemple, a four-year-old black cat named Charlie has been making the rounds inside Nick Lock's mailbag for the past month or so. (See photo above.)

It would not be completely accurate, however, to suggest that this unlikely arrangement came about because Charlie has the slightest interest in the efficient delivery of the mail; au contraire, that credit belongs to Old Blighty's notoriously dreadful weather. One day it was raining, well, cats and dogs, and Charlie scampered into Lock's unattended mailbag in order to escape the deluge.

Apparently liking what he found inside, Charlie now regularly accompanies Lock while he delivers the mail. "Most days now he's about," Lock told the BBC on January 29th. (See "Cat Helps Deliver Town's Letters.") "I think it's because he likes people. I don't think he likes being by himself."

This unusual arrangement is just peachy with Charlie's eighteen-year-old guardian, Lara Lucas of Meadway Road. "I couldn't believe it when he started going around in Nick's bag," she told the BBC in the article cited supra. "When I heard about it I fell into fits of laughter."

Then there is the case of a six-year-old ginger and white tomcat named Beezley from the coastal town of Lyme Regis in Dorset who has been making the rounds with forty-four-year-old mailman Terry Grinter for well over a year. (See Cat Defender post of October 13, 2008 entitled "Life Imitates Art as a Small Town in Dorset Acquires Its Very Own Version of Postman Pat and Jess in the Form of Terry and Beezley.")

In this instance, Beezley reclines on top of Grinter's mailbag as he maneuvers his two-wheeler up and down the hilly streets of Lyme Regis. (See photo above.)

Not all feline encounters with the postal services are pleasant affairs, however. For instance, last summer a one-year-old black cat named Janosch from Rottach-Egern in Bayern unwittingly became trapped inside a neighbor's shipping crate and was mistakenly sent seven-hundred-seventeen kilometers through the post to the Nordrhein-Westfalen city of Dorsten. (See Cat Defender post of July 21, 2008 entitled "Janosch Survives Being Sent Through the Post from Bayern to the Rhineland.")

Luckily for him, an alert postal employee noticed that something was alive and moving inside the crate and freed him. It took some doing, but the wayward moggy eventually was reunited with his grateful owner, Gitti Rauch. (See photo directly above.)

Al things considered, most postal workers around the globe keep an open mind when it comes to cats. After all, a cat is sans doute a welcome sight to any letter carrier who has just been chased down the block by a vicious dog nipping at either his or her heels.

In Notasulga, however, the authorities have overreacted to the rantings of a cat-hater. Notasulga is a small town and since Sammy has been a mainstay at the post office for a decade he should have been allowed to remain.

Perhaps if there is enough of a hue and cry from cat-lovers the post office will be forced to reconsider its inhumane edict. After all, the patronage of sixty-million feline owners is a big chunk of change that the U.S. Mail hardly can afford to lose.

For the time being at least, Sammy still can be reached at Post Office Box 173, Notasulga, AL 36866.

Photos: The Tuskegee News (Sammy and Averrett), KARE-TV (Sammy and his supporters), Peter Thomson of the La Crosse Tribune (Pinkham), BBC (Charlie and Lock), Richard Austin of the Daily Mail (Beezley and Grinter), and Theo Klein of Bild (Janosch and Rauch).

Monday, February 02, 2009

The Creation of Clones That Glow in the Dark for Vivisectors to Torture and Kill with Impunity Was the Most Disturbing Cat Story to Come Out of 2008

"Mutilating animals and calling it science condemns the human species to moral and intellectual Hell...This hideous Dark Ages of the mindless torture of animals must be overcome."
-- Gracie Slick

Although not all the cat news to come out of 2008 was bad, the vast majority of it was alarming to say the least. Most notably, it was another banner year for vivisectors.

Following upon the heels of last year's decoding of the feline genome, advances in cloning technology as well as the perfection of the use of green and red fluorescent proteins as biological markers now have made it possible to clone glow-in-the-dark cats that suffer from up to two-hundred-fifty deadly human diseases. From now on they are going to be tortured and killed as prolifically as lab mice, guinea pigs, and rabbits.

From San Nicolas Island off the coast of California to Richmond, Virginia, to Baghdad, and elsewhere, the war on feral and stray cats continued unabated as large numbers of them were systematically exterminated throughout the year. Meanwhile, the Danes and Peruvians joined their Chinese, Australian, Costa Rican, and Swiss counterparts in demonstrating their abiding love for the consumption of feline flesh.

The repercussions of the worldwide economic meltdown were reflected not only in the growing legions of homeless men and women but also in the large number of cats that were either abandoned or dumped at shelters to be killed. In particular, the plight of a German woman named Brigitte and her cat, Mumu, who have been forced to rough it at an airport on the island of Mallorca attracted worldwide sympathy but, sadly, no offers of relief.

As is the case with Felis domesticus, big cats continue to be killed with impunity. For instance, a cougar that wandered into the North Side of Chicago was mercilessly gunned down by cops to the delight of both onlookers and the capitalist media. At the San Francisco Zoo, an Amur tigress named Tatiana was gunned down by trigger-happy cops after she attempted to defend herself from a trio of drunken potheads who taunted and threw objects at her.

Only rarely do either the police or prosecutors take seriously crimes committed against cats and even when they do it is a futile battle because judges invariably turn loose the killers and abusers. That was precisely the disposition of a case brought against an unrepentant sixteen-year-old London lass who drowned the HMS Belfast's mascot, Kilo, in the Thames last February. Elsewhere in Old Blighty, at least two local councils banned the display of "Lost Cat" posters.

Like a bad penny that keeps turning up, serial cat killer James Munn Stevenson was back in the news making a big to-do about how much moola he is raking in as the result of his crimes. The proliferation of designer cats not only continued but became headline news when one of them named Benny bit Santa Claus.

Finally, the sad fate which befell kindhearted Christ Muth of Brooklyn pretty much epitomized what kind of a year it was for cats. Not only did he lose his job, pad, and girl, but he also was locked up in a nuthouse for attempting to rescue a cat!

A brief recap of these stories follows below. For a look back at the top cat stories of the past two years see Cat Defender posts of January 4, 2007 and January 11, 2008 entitled, respectively, The Continuing Mass Extermination of Millions of Cats at Shelters Across the World Heads the List of the Top Ten Cat Stories of 2006 and Serial Cat Killer James Munn Stevenson's Victory in a Galveston Court Heads the List of the Top Stories of 2007.

.1) Fluorescent Cats Are Not Any Joking Matter.

Vivisectors have been systematically torturing and killing cats for centuries. The primary motivational factors behind these despicable crimes have been a love of both money and fame although many scientists get a sadistic kick out of torturing and killing cats. Now, thanks to three recent scientific breakthroughs, vivisectors finally have the feline species at their mercy.

The first development was the decoding of the feline genome in 2007 by a gaggle of vivisectors affiliated with the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Maryland. The sequencing of feline DNA allows researchers to, inter alia, isolate specific genes and then study their relationship to similar genes in humans.

"The domestic cat was included in the mammalian genome set mainly to stimulate genome research on a species that provides a large number of human medical models," researcher Joan U. Pontius wrote in Genome Research on November 1, 2007.

Ironically, even having cats treated by veterinarians is contributing to these atrocities. "Cats, like dogs, enjoy extensive veterinary medical surveillance that has described two-hundred genetic disorders analogous to human disorders," Pontius proclaimed in spite of the well-known fact that the results of animal tests are not transferable to humans. (See Cat Defender post of December 5, 2007 entitled "Decoding the Feline Genome Provides Vivisectors with Thousands of New Excuses to Continue Torturing Cats in the Course of Their Bogus Research.")

The emergence of green and red fluorescent proteins as genetic markers has provided vivisectors, cloners, breeders, and other manipulators of feline DNA with a readily observable way of determining if their machinations have succeeded. For their contributions to this fast-emerging field of endeavor, Osamu Shimomura, Martin Chalfie, and Roger Y. Tsien were awarded the 2008 Noble Prize in chemistry last October by the cat-killers at the Swedish Academy. (See Cat Defender post of October 20, 2008 entitled "Swedish Academy Bestows Its 2008 Nobel Prize in Chemistry on Yet Another Trio of Vivisectors Whose Discoveries Are Maiming and Killing Cats.")

Although according to research compiled jointly by the Humane Society of the United States and the American Anti-Vivisection Society, mammalian cloning has a mortality rate of ninety-nine per cent, recent technological advancements have made it possible for researchers to clone cats with a variety of deadly human diseases. A team of researchers led by Kong Il-keun of Gyeongsang University in Jinju were the first to accomplish that feat when in 2007 they cloned several Turkish Angoras that glowed red in the dark. (See photo at the top.)

"The technology used to produce cloned cats with manipulated genes can be applied to clone animals suffering from the same diseases as humans," Kong triumphantly declared in January of last year. (See Cat Defender post of February 1, 2008 entitled "Cats Are Destined to Be Treated as Horribly as Lab Mice Now That Vivisectors Are Able to Clone Them with Altered Genes.")

The Audubon Center for Research of Endangered Species (ACRES) in New Orleans quickly replicated the Koreans' work by cloning a cat named Mr. Green Genes that glows green in the dark. He then was paraded before a gullible public on MSNBC's Today Show in early November. (See photo above.)

Instead of working to save endangered wild cats, ACRES now has abandoned its original mandate and gone into the business of cloning sick cats for vivisectors to torture and murder with impunity. (See Cat Defender post of November 17, 2008 entitled "Mr. Green Genes' Coming Out Party Ushers In a New Era of Unspeakable Atrocities to Be Committed Against Cats by Cloners and Vivisectors.")

With an endless assortment of diabolical diseases at their disposal to test out on defenseless cats, vivisectors and cloners already are drooling at the mouth not only over how much money they are going to make but also about all the fun they are going to have torturing and killing cats. Sadly, the lack of a spirited response from cat-lovers to this diabolical development has been disappointing.

2.) Mass Exterminations of Feral Cats Are Continuing.
Despite the best efforts of Alley Cat Allies, Nathan Winograd, and others, mass exterminations of feral and stray cats are continuing. The most outrageous offense to come out of 2008 was a decision by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and the United States Navy to gun down more than two-hundred cats on San Nicolas Island off the coast of California. (See photo above.)

This slaughter follows on the heels of similar eradications of San Miguel, Santa Cruz, Anacapa, and Santa Barbara islands. (See Cat Defender posts of June 27, 2008 and July 20, 2008 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" and "The Ventura Star Races to the Defense of the Cat-Killers on San Nicolas Island.")

When it is not pimping and whoring for hunters, fishermen, farmers, ranchers, and developers, the USFWS busies itself by killing cats on Big Pine Key, in Cape May, New Jersey, and elsewhere. (See Cat Defender posts of May 6, 2008 and May 24, 2007 entitled, respectively, "National Audubon Society Wins the Right for Invasive Species of Shorebirds to Prey Upon Unborn Horseshoe Crabs" and "USDA and Fish and Wildlife Service Commence Trapping and Killing Cats on Florida's Big Pine Key.")

In addition to its dirty work on San Nicolas, the United States military has designated hit squads that scour its bases both at home and abroad looking for cats to slaughter. These feline assassins have been particularly active in Baghdad and elsewhere in Iraq.

About the only ally Baghdad's beleaguered cats and dogs can rely upon is a thirty-five-year-old English mercenary named Louise who so far has managed to rescue and smuggle six cats and two dogs out of the city and home to England. (See Cat Defender post of June 16, 2008 entitled "Targeted for Elimination by the American War Machine and Cheney's Henchmen, Baghdad's Cats Are Befriended by an English Mercenary.")

Closer to home, management at Fox-35 in Richmond, Virginia paid Keith Copi of Critter Control to eliminate a colony of feral cats that resided on its property at 1925 Westmoreland Road. On June 23rd, he trapped and, a la PETA, subsequently gassed at least three cats before dumping their corpses in a Dumpster.

The station then called in a wrecking crew with bulldozers to destroy the cats' habitat. (See photo above.) Thanks to the forceful and timely intervention of the Richmond SPCA and Save Our Shelters, the carnage was soon halted and Copi was arrested and charged with three misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty.

At his August 14th trial in Henrico County General Court, the presiding judge let him off with a measly $750 fine. Since Fox-35 paid him $409 for his crimes, he was thus out of pocket only $341. For its part, Fox-35 got off scot-free.

"You'd be better off trying to get rid of a homeless person camping in your yard than having to deal with a stray cat," Copi later complained in a post-conviction interview. Quite obviously, he would not hesitate to trap and gas individuals as well as cats. (See Cat Defender posts of July 7, 2008 and August 21, 2008 entitled, respectively, "Fox Affiliate in Richmond Murders at Least Three Cats and Then Sends in the Bulldozers to Destroy Their Homes" and "Justice Denied: Exterminator Who Gassed Three Cats at the Behest of Fox-35 in Richmond Gets Off with a Minuscule Fine.")

3.) Danes and Peruvians Revel in Eating Cats.

It is well-known that the Chinese, Australians, and Swiss are voracious consumers of feline flesh. (See Cat Defender posts of February 8, 2006 and September 7, 2007 entitled, respectively, "Stray Cats Rounded Up in Shanghai, Butchered, and Sold as Mutton in Restaurants and on the Street" and " Australians Renounce Civilization and Revert to Savages with the Introduction of a Grotesque Plan to Get Rid of Cats by Eating Them.")

Although not nearly as widely publicized, the Danes also participate in this odious practice. Led by twenty-five-year-old Laura Boge Mortensen, a group of students at the Danish School of Journalism in Aarhus, Jutland, last May procured the corpse of a black and white cat that had been gunned down by a farmer and proceeded to cook and eat it. (See photo above; Mortensen is the blonde.)

Although they initially claimed that they were attempting to call attention to the plight of farm animals, the glorification of their heinous deed in the school's magazine, Citat, the posting of thirty photographs of their repast on the web, and the inclusion of a recipe for a dish called "Litter Box" on Facebook left the distinct impression that their actions were a cheap publicity stunt designed to promote their careers.

The posting of the recipe also seems likely to have been designed to encourage the consumption of feline flesh. Taken as a whole, their abhorrent behavior betrays their utter contempt for the feline species.

"This is the worst way to draw people's attention to animal welfare," Ole Munster of the humane organization Dyrenes Beskyttelse of Frederiksberg said of their behavior. "The choice of the cat was an especially bad one, since we get most of our calls about them." (See Cat Defender post of August 25, 2008 entitled "Danish Journalism Students Procure the Corpse of a Murdered Cat and Then Skin, Cook, and Eat It in order to Promote Their Careers.")

Denizens of the city of La Quebrada, south of Lima, do not make any effort whatsoever in order to conceal their deviant culinary tastes. In fact, each September they consume more than one-hundred cats during the Festival Gastronomica del Gato.

Some of these animals are specially-bred and raised for the pot while others, often pets, are rounded up off the streets and killed. (See photo above.)

Since some of the residents are the descendants of slaves brought to Peru in order to toil on the cotton plantations, they argue that they are entitled to eat cats. "There have always been some people who eat cat but we've broken the silence," festival organizer Sabio Canes said in 2001. "For us, it's a tradition of many years and they can't take that away from us."

Other festival participants lamely have attempted to justify their crimes on the grounds that eating cats not only helps to alleviate respiratory ailments but to improve sexual performance as well. (See Cat Defender post of December 1, 2008 entitled "Peruvians Ludicrously Claim That as the Descendants of Slaves They Are Entitled to Massacre and Eat Cats with Impunity."

4.) Economic Recession Is Creating More Homeless Cats.
The economic downturn has exploded the myth that Americans love cats and dogs. Not only have people been dumping pets at shelters in record numbers but many individuals have abandoned cats and dogs inside their foreclosed homes. Still others have dumped animals in the street.

The soaring price of timothy and other grains also has contributed mightily to the wholesale abandonment of large animals such as horses and cows. While caring for livestock is an expensive proposition, the same cannot be said of cats and dogs. Although some brands of cat food have tripled in price during the past year, that nevertheless does not constitute a valid excuse for abandoning felines to fend for themselves in a hostile world.

The National Coalition for the Homeless estimates that between five and ten per cent of America's sans-abri own cats and dogs and this has led to the establishment of an organization known as Feeding Pets of the Homeless which collects and distributes pet food to food banks and soup kitchens. Numerous humane organizations also have begun giving away cat and dog food in an effort to put the brakes on the escalating number of companion animals that are being surrendered to shelters.

In Deutschland, an organization called Tiertafel has established nineteen soup kitchens that cater to the nutritional needs of rabbits, guinea pigs, and birds as well as impoverished cats and dogs.

The sad plight of both homeless individuals and cats was epitomized by the revelation that a forty-eight-year-old German ex-pat named Brigitte and her Persian cat, Mumu, have been eking out an existence at Son Sant Joan Aeropuerto in Palma de Mallorca for the past ten years. (See photo above.)

Known as "La Mujer del gato" to airport personnel, Brigitte is without prospects because neither the Spanish nor the German authorities are willing to lift a finger in order to help her. As for Mumu, he would not be able to survive long without Brigitte's protection because Mallorca has one of the most atrocious animal rights' records in the world. (See Cat Defender post of November 3, 2008 entitled "Down and Out in Paradise: Against All Odds, Brigitte and Mumu Strive to Forge New Lives for Themselves at Mallorcan Airport.")

5.) Big Cats Are Under Attack in Both Cities and Zoos.

In a sickening display of senseless police brutality, a two-year-old, one-hundred-twenty-four-pound male cougar who had wandered into the North Side of Chicago was shot between eighteen and sixty times and killed on April 14th. (See photo above.) The trigger-happy cops also shot up a house and endangered the lives of residents in Roscoe Village with their reckless and bloodthirsty behavior.

Although the police later claimed that they were left with no alternative but to use lethal force, the facts tell an entirely different story. For instance, not only had the cat been roaming the neighborhood for the better part of the day, but cougars had been sighted in the suburbs for weeks.

Consequently, the police had plenty of time in order to have armed themselves with tranquilizer guns and nets. The obvious glee expressed by the local media in its coverage of this staged execution was matched only by the disgusting giggling, gawking, and joking of onlookers.

Even in death, the cougar was destined to find neither peace nor respect. Right off the bat the Brookfield Zoo and Cook County Animal and Rabies Control divested him of his organs, teeth, and brain. What little that remained of him was then given to the Field Museum which removed the fat and muscle from his pelt and bones and then filed them away for researchers to paw over from now to eternity. (See Cat Defender post of May 5, 2008 entitled "Chicago's Rambo-Style Cops Corner and Execute a Cougar to the Delight of the Hoi Polloi and Capitalist Media.")

In South Dakota, where it is legal to hunt cougars, eighteen adults were shot and killed between January 1st and January 18th of this year. In addition to that, three kittens were illegally shot. At least seventeen more adults will be massacred before hunting season ends on March 31st.

Additional hunts are currently occurring in several other western states. (See Black Hills Pioneer of Spearfish, January 19, 2008, "Two More Kittens Killed in Lion Season.")

What transpired in Chicago was an almost exact replay of events that occurred earlier on Christmas Day of 2007 at the San Francisco Zoo. On that tragic occasion an Amur tigress named Tatiana was shot and killed by the police after she was provoked into leaping from her enclosure and killing one man and mauling two others. (See photo above.)

High on both vodka and pot, Amritpal and Kulbir Dhaliwal and Carlos Sousa Jr. taunted and threw tree branches at Tatiana immediately before the attack. Now, both the Dhaliwal brothers and Sousa's survivors have instigated lawsuits against the zoo.

Although their lawsuits are without merit, the zoo should not have admitted them in the first place. More importantly, a security guard should have been stationed outside Tatiana's enclosure at all times in order to have prevented precisely this type of episode from occurring in the first place.

Furthermore, given the zoo's history of similar near-fatal mishaps, the San Francisco Police do not have a valid excuse for not having been prepared for such an eventuality. Like their counterparts in the Windy City, they should have been equipped with tranquilizer guns. Quite obviously, the members of both departments view themselves as big-game hunters more so than as policemen.

Adam Roberts of Born Free USA put his finger on the crux of the matter when he said: "Tigers simply don't belong in the zoo. Tigers don't belong on concrete, tigers don't belong behind bars, and frankly, tigers don't belong near people." In spite of that warming, the zoo did not waste any time in procuring a replacement for Tatiana. (See Cat Defender post of January 28, 2008 entitled "Hopped Up on Vodka and Pot, Trio Taunted Tatiana Prior to Attacks That Led to Her Being Killed by Police.")

6.) Giggling Yob Drowns Kilo and Gets Away With It.

In the most notorious cat-killing case of 2008, a sixteen-year-old girl known only as Jessica from the borough of Enfield in south London was let off scot-free for drowning the HMS Belfast's resident mouser and mascot, Kilo. (See photo above.)

Pissed as a coot and giggling her silly head off, Jessica and two of her mates strolled aboard the museum ship at 6 a.m. on February 9th and flung the trusting moggy overboard into the cold waters of the Thames. His body was never recovered.

Following the release of surveillance photos to the public, Jessica was eventually apprehended last fall and ordered to stand trial in Camberwell Youth Court. (See photo below; Jessica is the one in the middle.)

Despite being captured on film and positively identified by security guard Steve Laceby, Jessica not only denied being the murderer but also that she was in her cups at the time of the incident. Nevertheless, she was found guilty but District Judge Sue Green inexplicably let her off with nine-months of probation and a directive that she pen a letter of apology to the grief-stricken crew of the HMS Belfast.

As hard as it may be to believe, Jessica giggled throughout the trial and even was so brazen as to howl in Green's face during sentencing on November 14th. "This is an absolute disgrace!" the editor of the web site Moggies said in a statement issued after the verdict was handed down. "So-called British justice has failed miserably to allow this teenager to go free, especially with the contempt she has shown is just not right."

As for Judge "Stench of the Bench" Green, Moggies added: "She should be barred from ever presiding over a court again." (See Cat Defender posts of July 17, 2008, October 2, 2008, November 10, 2008, and November 24, 2008 entitled, respectively, "Trio of Laughing Yobs Board HMS Belfast and Hurl Kilo to His Death in the Thames," "Sixteen-Year-Old London Girl Is Finally Arrested in the Horrific Drowning Death of Kilo from the HMS Belfast," "London Teenager, Convicted of Killing the HMS Belfast's Kilo, Also Is Unmasked as a Remorseless Liar and Drunkard," and "Kilo's Killer Walks in a Lark but the Joke Is on the Disgraceful English Judicial System.")

7.) Lost Cat Posters Are Banned in England.

Over the past decade or so the English have taken numerous steps down the road to authoritarianism through the systematic abridgement of civil liberties and the banning of "Lost Cat" posters in at least two communities last year was another move in that direction.

In Whitstable, Kent, Stephen and Heather Cope were threatened last August with not only a fine but an Anti-Social Behavior Order (ASBO) as well after they posted fliers of their missing eight-year-old tortoiseshell, Milly, throughout the neighborhood. (See photo above of Heather with son Daniel.)

Public outcry eventually forced the Canterbury City Council to back down and to issue an apology to the Copes. Better still, Milly was rescued by a neighbor on October 8th who had seen one of the Copes' fliers. Without a doubt, "Lost Cat" posters do get results.

In the north London borough of Haringey, Eileen Miles also was threatened with an exorbitant fine last September after she posted fliers concerning her lost cat, Ginger Boy. (See photo above.)

Luckily for her, councillor George Meehan intervened on her behalf and the fine was rescinded and she was allowed to put up her "Lost Cat" posters after all. She received a second piece of good news on October 23rd when Ginger Boy was found in the Harringay Ladder section of the borough.

It remains to be seen, however, if the politicians have learned their lesson and will put a stop to this egregious practice. (See Cat Defender posts of September 11, 2008, October 3, 2008, and November 7, 2008 entitled, respectively, "North London Borough Bans Lost Cat Posters Thus Forcing Ginger Boy to Find His Way Home by Himself," "Haringey Council Comes to Its Senses and Rescinds Its Ban on Lost Cat Posters but It Already May Be Too Late to Save Ginger Boy," and "Ginger Boy Is Found Safe and Sound after Roaming the Streets of Harringay Ladder for Nearly Two Months.")

8.) James Munn Stevenson Cashes In on His Crimes.

Anyone who still naively believes that crime does not pay would be well advised to take a good hard look at the case of James Munn Stevenson. Fresh off of his 2007 victory in a Galveston courtroom, this notorious serial cat-killer is now living high on the hog and receiving the hero treatment from certain environmentalists.

In particular, he really cleaned up financially last year at both the profitable bed and breakfast that he operates as well as from the bird-watching tours that he conducts. "Actually, I gained hundreds and hundreds of clients because of this (killing cats)," he crowed last summer.

Being an appreciative soul, Stevenson was not about to forget all the support that he received from the capitalist media throughout his trial. "This story was in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times. As far as my business is concerned, it was a godsend," he boasted.

He also was welcomed aboard the faculty of College of the Mainland in nearby Texas City. It is unclear, however, exactly what he possibly could be teaching since ailurophobia and rifle marksmanship are all that the knows and even they are not normally considered to be traditional academic disciplines.

It also is unclear if administrators allow him to bring his rifle on campus and to take potshots at stray cats. With him, there simply is no way of knowing when he might go berserk and kill fifteen to twenty people as well as cats.

In addition to laughing all the way to the bank, he also is wallowing head over heels in the adoration of his fellow cat-hating sympathizers. "I'm normally greeted as a hero with the environmental types," the proudly declared. "I don't go out of my way to tell people who I am, but a lot of people remember the cat incident and are very complimentary." (See Cat Defender post of August 7, 2008 entitled "Crime Pays! Having Made Fools Out of Galveston Prosecutors, Serial Cat Killer James Munn Stevenson Is Now a Hero and Laughing All the Way to the Bank.")

Not unexpectedly, Stevenson's uncanny ability to elude justice has led other bird-lovers to take the law into their own hands and kill cats. For example, Daniel Boa of Ypsilanti, Michigan, used a rifle to shoot and kill neighbor Janie Sawyer's declawed cat, Ben, in her backyard last October. (See Ypsilanti Courier, January 8, 2009, "Man Will Not Face Felonies in Cat Slaying.")

9.) Designer Cat Bites Santa Claus.

Since certain segments of the public are not only willing but able to pay dearly for the privilege of owning an exotic cat, designer cats continue to proliferate. The latest such creation to hit the market in 2008 was the Ashera.

They are allegedly the end product of breeding African Servals (Leptailurus serval) and Asian Leopard Cats (Prionailurus bengalensis) with a trade secret domestic cat. (See photo above.) Created by Simon Brodie's LifeStyle Pets of Los Angeles, they retail for around $22,000. (See Cat Defender post of February 19, 2008 entitled "Asheras Are the Designer Chats du Jour Despite the Cruelties Inflicted During Their Hybridization.")

Brodie, it might be remembered, was responsible for creating the world's first hypoallergenic cat earlier in 2006. (See Cat Defender posts of July 10, 2006 and October 10, 2006 entitled, respectively, "More Devilry from Scientific Community as California Company Creates World's First Hypoallergenic Cat" and "Dodgy Allerca and Dishonest CBS Join Forces to Market an Allergy-Free Cat Named Joshua to a Gullible Public.")

Consequently, it is not surprising that LifeStyle Pets also is peddling allergy-free Asheras for $28,000.

On December 7th, an exotic cat named Benny owned by Chrstine Haughey of Egg Harbor Township in southern New Jersey created a nationwide sensation when he bit Santa Claus during a photo shoot in Mays Landing. The bites were not serious, however, and Santa, a.k.a. Jonathan Bebbington, soon recovered. (See photo below.)

That did not prevent a controversy from arising regarding the cat's pedigree. For her part, Haughey insists that he is a Pixie-Bob that she purchased from a breeder in Wyoming for $1,500; others insist that he is a bobcat. (See Cat Defender post of December 19, 2008 entitled "Regardless of Whether He Is a Pixie-Bob or a Bobcat, It Is Going to Be a Blue Christmas for Benny after He Inadvertently Bites Santa Claus.")

Unfortunately, the brouhaha over Benny's pedigree has been allowed to obscure the cruelties and illegalities involved in the creation of such cats. First of all, the importation of rare cats may be in violation of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) of which the United States is a signatory.

Secondly, all of these cats are subjected to either forced breeding, artificial insemination and, possibly, genetic manipulation. Thirdly, many of them are born with genetic defects and experience reproductive difficulties.

Fourthly, some owners docks their tails while others have them declawed. Finally, some of them are dumped at shelters once their owners grow tired of their novelty, others run away from home, and still others are stolen by thieves. (See Cat Defender post of February 20, 2008 entitled "Exotic and Hybrid Cats, Perennial Objects of Exploitation and Abuse, Are New Being Mutilated, Abandoned, and Stolen.")

10.) Brooklyn Man Winds Up in Nuthouse Trying to Save a Cat.

The outrageous coups du sort that befell forty-nine-year-old Brooklyn contractor Chris Muth last summer pretty much sum up what type of year 2008 was for cats and their guardians. His travails began on July 7th when he generously consented to care for a friend's seven-year-old Persian and American Shorthair mix named Rumi. (See photo above.)

For some unexplained reason, Rumi became spooked and hid in a hole underneath a bathroom sink. In an effort to get him out, Muth began knocking holes in the walls of adjoining apartments.

This led to his being arrested and locked up in a nuthouse for six days. That was just the beginning of his woes in that as soon as he was released his landlord promptly evicted him from his Carroll Gardens' apartment. Next up his boss canned him for missing work. Finally, his girlfriend gave him the Bill Bailey treatment.

While all of this was going on, Animal Care and Control intervened and Rumi was rescued on July 21st. Although he lost everything trying to save him, Muth does not regret making the effort.

"Was going into apartments and making holes a bad idea? I don't think so," he later said unapologetically. "I can fix holes, but I can't bring a cat back to life."

It is unfortunate that more individuals do not share this latter-day Don Quixote's attitude. (See Cat Defender post of August 4, 2008 entitled "Brooklyn Man Gets Locked Up in a Nuthouse and Then Loses Digs, Job, and Honey All for Attempting to Save His Friend's Cat, Rumi.")

Photos: Gyeongsang National University (red fluorescent Turkish Angora), MSNBC (Mr. Green Genes), State of California (San Nicolas Island), WRIC-TV of Richmond (Fox-35), Blick of Zurich (Danish cat-eaters), Peru.com (Peruvian cat-eaters), S. Llompart of the Mallorca Zeitung (Brigitte and Mumu), San Francisco Zoo (Tatiana), Candice C. Cusic of the Chicago Tribune (cougar), HMS Belfast (Kilo and his killer), Kent News (Heather and Daniel Cope), Hornsey and Crouch End Journal (Ginger Boy), Glaveston Police Department (Stevenson), Daily Mail and SWNS (Ashera), WCAU-TV of Philadelphia (Benny and Bebbington), and Ben Muessig of The Brooklyn Paper (Muth and Rumi).