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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

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

A Winnipeg Family Is Astounded by Tiger Lily's Miraculous Return after Having Been Believed Dead for Fourteen Years

"We thought a fox got her. She just disappeared. We put up posters but she was never returned."
-- Ingrid Kerger

Stories about prodigal cats just keep getting more fantastic all the time. Take, for example, Tiger Lily who was reunited with her family back in January after having been believed dead for almost fourteen years!

"We thought a fox got her," Ingrid Kerger told the Winnipeg Free Press on February 2nd. (See "Cat Came Back: Fourteen Years Later.") "She just disappeared. We put up posters but she was never returned."

That was way back on October 12, 1996 when the orange-colored cat was only three-years-old and Kerger and her family were living in Lockport, 31.6 kilometers north of Winnipeg. Eventually, she assumed the worst and gave up looking for Tiger Lily. Life went on and she later relocated her family to Winnipeg.

Imagine then the jolt that she received in late January when she received a surprise telephone call from the Oakbank Animal Hospital, fifteen kilometers east of Winnipeg, informing her that it had found Tiger Lily. "I was in shock when they called," she told the Winnipeg Free Press. "My sons were incredulous."

In circumstances that are not exactly clear, Tiger Lily wound up in the hands of a staffer at Oakbank who noticed that the cat had an ear tattoo. From that number, the diligent team at Oakbank was able to pinpoint Kerger's old address in Lockport and eventually track her down in Winnipeg.

Tiger Lily apparently had been either homeless or severely neglected for some time because she was thin and dehydrated when she finally wound up at Oakbank. The staff generously gave her intravenous fluids, food, and a bed without charge.

Since being returned to the Kergers she has been eating like a horse and appears to be in remarkably good shape, especially for a now seventeen-year-old cat. (See photo above of her with Kerger.)

The key question is, of course, does she remember Kerger and her two sons, Richard and Mark? Kerger believes that is indeed the case because on her first night back home Tiger Lily chose to sleep with Richard just like she did so many nights all those years ago.

While that very well could be true it is a rather dubious assertion to make. After all, the Kergers have aged considerably and occupy a new house.

Cats belong to places, dogs to people, as the old Sprichwort goes and that would tend to mitigate against Tiger Lily remembering the Kergers. Since she always has been a loving cat who liked to cuddle, she therefore might be prone to curling up with almost anyone who feeds and is kind to her.

Anyway, determining exactly what cats retain would be a fascinating topic to explore if it could be done in a noninvasive fashion that did not involve either confinement or cruelty. Since that most likely would be impossible, such issues perhaps are best left to speculation.

It is interesting to note in passing, however, that researcher Carol Sankey and her colleagues at the University of Rennes have determined that horses are able to remember individuals who have treated them well even after eight months of separation. Needless to say there are big differences between cats and horses and a separation of eight months is in no way comparable to one lasting fourteen years. (See Discovery News, March 17, 2010, "Horses Never Forget Human Friends.")

Kerger attributes Tiger Lily's longevity to the fact that she had been sterilized before she disappeared. She also must have benefited substantially from spending the better part of her fourteen years away with a good family who cared for her everyday security, nutritional, and veterinary needs.

Considering that Tiger Lily turned up in Oakbank, there is a good chance that she was stolen off the streets of Lockport and driven there. She then was confined indoors for a period of time so as to prevent her from attempting to return to her old home. That is mere supposition, however.

This incident once again demonstrates that tattoos, microchips, and collars are totally useless when it comes to protecting cats against thieves. Moreover, collars can come off, tattoos can fade and be defaced, and microchips have been linked to cancer. (See Cat Defender post of September 21, 2007 entitled "FDA Is Suppressing Research That Shows Implanted Microchips Cause Cancer in Mice, Rats, and Dogs.")

Because records of this sort are not compiled, it is difficult to say with any authority but fourteen years very well could be the longest period of time that a tattooed cat has been missing before being successfully reunited with its owner. With microchips, these types of long-lost reunions are fairly commonplace.

For example, Marmalade was reunited with his owner, Allegra Strauss, in the Melbourne suburb of Brunswick in 2007 after having been away for eleven years. (See Cat Defender post of February 16, 2007 entitled "Marmalade Receives a Tepid Homecoming After Having Been Missing for Eleven Years.")

Sneakers, a longhaired black cat who disappeared from Allison MacEwan's Seattle home in 1996, turned up at a Sacramento shelter ten years later. (See Cat Defender post of June 16, 2006 entitled "Given Up for Dead, Sneakers Is Reunited with His Owner After Having Gone AWOL Ten Years Ago.")

Distance does not seem to be any barrier either when it comes to reuniting microchipped cats with their owners. For instance, a black American Shorthair named Cheyenne, who disappeared from Pamela Edwards' Bradenton, Florida, home in 1997, turned up at a shelter in San Francisco in 2004. (See Cat Defender post of December 9, 2005 entitled "Adventurous Wisconsin Cat Named Emily Makes Unscheduled Trip to France in Hold of Cargo Ship.")

Then there are enterprising cats that find their way home the good old-fashioned way by apparently navigating by the stars. Mimine, for example, spent thirteen months walking eight-hundred kilometers in order to rejoin her family in Treveray, northern France, after she had been abandoned by them in Toulouse in the southern part of the country. (See Cat Defender post of April 27, 2007 entitled "French Chat Named Mimine Walks Eight-Hundred Kilometers to Track Down Family That Abandoned Her.")

As remarkable as all of these lost cat stories are, Kerger hit the nail on the head when she bemoaned the fact that Tiger Lily is unable to talk. Therefore, the only thing that can be said for certain about any of these truly remarkable cats is that no one knows the half of what any of them endured during their travails away from home.

Photo: Winnipeg Free Press.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Taken In Off the Street by a Compassionate Woman, Sumo Returns the Favor by Alerting Her to a Cancerous Growth on Her Bosom

"I don't know what my chances of survival would have been without him (Sumo). I know I'd certainly be far worse off. I sometimes feel overwhelmed because I feel humbled. I can't understand why this animal turned up for me."
-- Judy Danchura

"You will always be lucky if you know how to make friends with strange cats," so goes an old American Sprichwort. Judy Danchura is not an American but she probably would agree.

Last June, the Winnipeg resident befriended a homeless orange and white cat named Sumo and that simple act of compassion very well may have saved her life. (See photos above and below of her and Sumo.)

Hours after taking him into her house, Sumo climbed into bed with Danchura and her husband. In doing so he inadvertently stepped on her chest unleashing a sharp pain that coursed through her bosom. Upon examining her breasts the following morning she discovered the presence of a lump.

"I sort of went, 'Oh geez, there's something wrong there'," she recalled for the benefit of the CBC on March 1st. (See "Stray Cat Credited in Cancer Diagnosis.")

A hurriedly arranged trip to the doctor and a series of diagnostic tests confirmed her worst fears: she had breast cancer. Thanks to the cat that she now refers to as her "furry four-footed angel," the malignant tumor was detected early and Danchura's chances of surviving are pegged at ninety-five per cent.

"I don't know what my chances of survival would have been without him (Sumo). I know I'd certainly be far worse off," she told the CBC in the article cited supra. "I sometimes feel overwhelmed because I feel humbled. I can't understand why this animal turned up for me."

The compassion that she has in her heart for homeless cats coupled with her gratitude for life's blessings are reminiscent of the same attributes exhibited last summer by Georgia resident Rachel Honeycutt under equally trying circumstances. (See Cat Defender post of August 10, 2009 entitled "Georgia Woman Is Struck and Nearly Killed by a Motorist while Attempting to Rescue Kittens Dumped in the Middle of a Busy Highway.")

Even more astounding, this is the second instance in recent memory where a cat has been credited with detecting cancer in his caretaker. Last year, an eight-year-old orange cat named Tiger detected stage one lung cancer in his owner, fifty-nine-year-old Calgary resident Lionel Adams. (See photo below of Tiger.)

"He (Tiger) would climb into bed and take his paw and drag it down my left side," Adams later revealed. "He was adamant there was something there and it was right where the cancer was."

Like Danchura, Adams therefore is convinced that his cat saved his life. "I think if he hadn't done that pawing part it could have gone on for another five, six months undetected," he theorized. (See Cat Defender post of April 11, 2009 entitled "Tiger Saves His Owner's Life by Alerting Him to a Cancerous Growth on His Left Lung.")

Skeptics may scoff at the life-saving heroics of both Sumo and Tiger but in treating cancer early detection is the key and both Danchura and Adams are in considerably better shape than they otherwise would have been because of their cats. Hopefully, both will lick the "Big C" and go on to have many more happy years with their cats.

In addition to detecting cancerous growths, cats long have been known to lower blood pressure levels in their owners. Moreover, additional health benefits that derive from cat-ownership are being reported each year.

For instance, an Albany, Oregon, cat named Blackie has taught himself to detect emphysema attacks. (See Cat Defender post of April 18, 2009 entitled "Blackie Stays Up Nights Monitoring His Guardian's Breathing for Emphysema Attacks.")

Other cats have taught themselves to detect low blood sugar levels in individuals suffering from diabetes by simply sniffing their breaths. (See Cat Defender post of May 18, 2009 entitled "Elijah Teaches Himself How to Detect Low Blood Sugar Levels in His Guardian and Others.")

Individuals who rescue cats and other animals know only too well that they are the lucky ones because these animals often will spend the remainder of their lives repaying them for their kindness. It is man, not the animals, who is an ingrate.

Of course, cats always have contributed mightily to human health and welfare by keeping the destructive rodent population in check. They thus have not only secured man's food supply but checked the spread of disease as well. Accordingly, a good argument could be made that throughout history cats have been man's best friend.

Moreover, whenever man has disrespected cats disastrous results have ensued. For example, that was what happened when the Roman Catholic Church declared war upon the species during the Middle Ages and thus allowed the unchecked bubonic plague, which was spread by rodents, to kill one-quarter of all Europeans.

Now, centuries later, bird and wildlife advocates are falsely accusing these immaculate creatures of carrying diseases as one justification for exterminating them on more than one-hundred islands around the world as well as anywhere else that they are able to get away with their egregious crimes.

Although extremely useful, cats are valued even more because they make such agreeable companions. For example, a writer without a cat is an anomaly.

As French veterinarian and writer Fernand Mery understood only too well: "Dieu a fait le chat pour donner a l'homme le plaisir de caresser le tigre."

Photos: CBC (Danchura and Sumo) and CTV (Tiger).

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Mayor of Naples Fears the Worst Now That City Kitty Has Not Been Seen in Several Weeks

"No one really wants to address this because everyone just expects City Kitty to show up and be here in the morning. She certainly has been missing for a couple of weeks, (but) I don't think anyone wants to face the facts."
-- Mayor Bill Barnett

She has been a mainstay at Naples City Hall for the past fifteen years. Politicians and bureaucrats have come and gone but the black and white female known as City Kitty was always there to greet both visitors and hangers-on alike.

When she was not serving as the city's unofficial mascot she could be found most days relaxing either in the sun or inside her white cat house on the back steps. (See photo above.)

All of that could very well now be a thing of the past in that City Kitty has not been seen at City Hall since early February. There are accordingly quite a few long faces these days in Naples and Mayor Bill Barnett all but wrote her obituary last week.

"No one really wants to address this because everyone just expects City Kitty to show up and be here in the morning," he told the Naples Daily News on March 16th. (See "City Kitty, a Cat That Hung Around Naples City Hall for Years, Is Believed Dead, Officials Say.") "She certainly has been missing for a couple of weeks, (but) I don't think anyone wants to face the facts."

In addition to getting on, City Kitty was diagnosed by the staff at Harborside Animal Clinic last June with both arthritis in her hips and Feline Hyperthyroidism (FH). Those diagnoses were made after Naples resident LaVeeda Krumm trapped the cat and took her to the clinic because her claws were allegedly overgrown.

That is peculiar in itself in that it is almost unheard of for outdoor cats' claws to become overgrown because of all the scratching and climbing that they do. It therefore is conceivable that Krumm either does not like cats with sharp claws or has felt the sting of those belonging to City Kitty.

Regardless of the rationale, Krumm did not have any business trapping City Kitty and handing her over to the medical men for a purely cosmetic procedure. Elderly cats, both big and small ones, are ill-suited to deal with the stress of being repeatedly trapped and monkeyed with by veterinarians. (See Cat Defender post of May 21, 2009 entitled "Macho B, America's Last Jaguar, Is Illegally Trapped, Radio-Collared, and Killed Off by Wildlife Biologists in Arizona.")

Moreover, extreme caution must be observed in treating arthritis and thyroid conditions in cats as well as in humans. Sometimes the powerful drugs used to treat those maladies can be lethal.

It is not known what medications, if any, City Kitty was taking when she disappeared. Other than natural remedies, NSAIDs and opiates are commonly prescribed to treat the pain and inflammation that accompanies arthritis in both cats and humans.

Drugs, surgical removal of the thyroid glands, and injections of radioactive iodine are, correspondingly, the most common treatments of FH. In City Kitty's case, she was scheduled to have received the latter treatment gratis from RadioCat in nearby Estero last July. (See Naples Daily News, July 16, 2009, "Naples' Residents Foot City Kitty's Vet Bill.")

It is unclear what role, if any, that the veterinary care that she received played in either prolonging or shortening (if indeed that is the case?) her life. Although her repeated trapping as well as whatever treatment she may have received is problematic, there was nothing at all ambiguous about the $439 bill that Harborside turned around and demanded from the city.

That is not really all that surprising in that most veterinarians expect at least that much for just saying hello. Anything more extensive usually requires the donation of an arm, leg, and a testicle!

City employees and area residents rallied to City Kitty's side and donated close to $1,000 which not only covered her veterinary tab but left a substantial surplus that was used to purchase food for her and several other homeless cats who hang out at City Hall.

While it is difficult to say what may have happened to City Kitty, it is unlikely that she left the area voluntarily. Cats are territorial by nature and if she is still alive she most likely is either living indoors with someone or has been transported, intentionally or accidentally, out of the area.

Despite all of their good work in caring for her, the mayor and other city officials were remiss in not mounting an immediate search and rescue mission the very first day that she failed to show up for work at City Hall. The surrounding area should have been thoroughly canvassed, "Lost Cat" posters erected on every electrical and telephone pole, and area residents and businesses leafleted.

Shelters and Animal Control should have been promptly contacted. The mayor would not have been out of line if he had issued a prompt appeal to any suspected catnappers to return her at once.

City Kitty is a treasure and, against all odds, it might not be too late to save her if Barnett were to order an all-out search for her. Since that does not appear to be in the cards, Naples probably has seen the last of City Kitty unless she either returns of her own volition or a citizen comes forward with some new information.

In her absence, a gray and white cat named Earl Grey and an orange one named Stewart have taken up residence on the steps of City Hall where they now great workers and visitors alike each day. To his credit, the mayor has magnanimously pledged to keep out the welcome mat for all feline visitors to the center of power in Naples by continuing to provide them with free food and water.

A plate of red salmon accompanied by a saucer or two of thick cream from time to time also would be much appreciated by the city's peripatetic felines. No expense should be spared because the cats deserve the very best that the city has to offer.

The same logic equally applies to those visiting City Hall. T.S. Eliot summed up the situation as follows in his epic poem, Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats:

"So, if you 'ave business with Faber -- or Faber --
I'll give you this tip, and it's worth a lot more:
You'll save yourself time, and you'll spare yourself labor
If jist you make friends with the cat at the door."

Eliot went on to osbserve that the bonds of friendship between cats and humans, like those that are formed man-to-man, are solidified and strengthened by:

"Some little token of esteem
Is needed, like a dish of cream;
And you might now and then supply
Some caviar, or Strassburg Pie,
Some potted grouse, or salmon paste --
He's sure to have his personal taste."

Before attempting any of that, those with business before the politicians would be wise to consult with their attorneys in order to ascertain if the anti-bribery statutes pertain to the cats of politicians.

The cat-friendly policies of Naples stand in stark contrast to those of Bonita Springs, twenty-two kilometers to the south, where politicians bend over backwards in order to dispossess both cats and citizens. (See Cat Defender post of July 9, 2009 entitled "Politicians and a Condominium Developer Share the Blame for the Abandonment of at Least Fifteen Domestic Cats in Bonita Springs.")

Furthermore, in an age where so many local politicians are obsessed with rounding up and killing cats en masse, imposing draconian anti-roaming and leash laws, and knuckling under to the lies and threats made by avian and wildlife proponents, Mayor Barnett is to be saluted for both his compassion and bon sens. If researchers ever were to look into the matter there can be little doubt that they soon would discover that municipalities that have cats looking over the shoulders of their elected representatives are significantly better governed than their opposites.

Take, for example, the impact that a black and white former stray named Bootsie has had on the politicians and bureaucrats in El Cerrito since his arrival in 2004. (See Cat Defender post of March 20, 2007 entitled "El Cerrito's Bureaucrats Distinguish Themselves by Showing Compassion for a Waif Known as Bootsie.")

In tiny Carlstadt, New Jersey, a cat named Caloo with a multicolored coat and beautiful green eyes has been keeping the politicians in line since 2008. (See photo above.)

Saved from the hangman by Borough Administrator Jane Fontana, the Borough Council voted unanimously on September 4, 2008 to adopt her as "The Carlstadt Cat." Caloo, who has a fondness for croissants, now spends weekdays at Borough Hall and weekends with Fontana. (See Cat Defender post of September 22, 2008 entitled "New Jersey at Long Last Has at Least One Honest Public Servant and Her Name Is Caloo from Carlstadt.")

In Natchez, a toothless, three-legged cat named Tripod wandered into City Hall in June of 1979 and forever changed the way that Mississippi River town feels about the species. That accomplishment is all the more remarkable in that he died prematurely four years later on October 9, 1983.

As an example of how much he still is revered even today, about forty citizens and politicians assembled near his grave at City Hall on October 9, 2008 to commemorate the twenty-fifth anniversary of his passing. The Reverend Darian Duckworth of Grace United Methodist Church presided over the ceremony and afterwards the attendees repaired to City Council chambers where a ten-minute news feature about Tripod's life was shown. (See Cat Defender post of November 28, 2008 entitled "Natchez Politicians Pause to Remember Tripod on the Twenty-Fifth Anniversary of His Death.")

Not all politicians are fair, compassionate, and appreciative toward cats, however. In fact, some of them are outright ingrates and rabid ailurophobes.

That is the case with those in Columbus, Ohio, who rewarded a colony of homeless cats for taking care of the rodent problem at the Capitol by issuing them an eviction notice and, most likely, a death sentence. (See Cat Defender post of October 20, 2005 entitled "After Ridding Ohio Statehouse of Rats, Cats Now Find Themselves Facing Eviction.")

Finally, although Barnett is known for his political astuteness, he has been wrong before and hopefully he is wrong this time around about City Kitty.

Photos: Lexey Swall of the Naples Daily News (City Kitty) and Alexis Tarrazi of The Leader of Lyndhurst (Caloo).

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Seven-Month-Old Bailey Is Fed to a Lurcher by a Group of Sadistic Teens in Search of Cheap Thrills in Northern Ireland

"This happened last Monday (February 22nd) but I've been too upset to speak about it until now. I just don't know how these young people can sleep at night after doing something like this. They are nothing but scum!"
-- Bailey's distraught owner

Lurcher dogs are taking a heavy toll on cats in both Northern Ireland and England. For example, pretty seven-month-old Bailey was let out on February 22nd by her owner to sit on top of the oil burner like she always did.

Little did the unsuspecting moggy realize that death was lurking just around the corner for her. (See photo above.)

She immediately was set upon by a group of ten teenagers who fed her to a black greyhound-type dog, most likely a lurcher. Upon hearing Bailey's plaintive cries for help, her unidentified owner hurried outside and was able to pry her loose from the dog's jaws. The damage already had been done however and Bailey, who was left with several broken bones and multiple lacerations, later died en route to the vet.

This savage killing occurred on Carlton Drive in Strabane, Northern Ireland, an impoverished town of seven-thousand residents in County Tyrone. Its population is 93.9 per cent Roman Catholic and the local chapter of the Provisional IRA waged a war of terror and destruction against English institutions and establishments in the city from the early 1970s until the turn of the century.

It then handed off the ball to the Irish National Liberation Army which staged numerous bank robberies and kidnappings between 2000 and 2006. The city therefore is far from being a stranger to violence.

"This happened last Monday (February 22nd) but I've been too upset to speak about it until now," Bailey's heartbroken owner related to the Strabane Chronicle on March 4th. (See "Cat Mauled to Death after Youths Set Dog on It.") "I just don't know how these young people can sleep at night after doing something like this. They are nothing but scum!"

The unpopular answer to her rhetorical question is: like babies. Individuals who commit these types of despicable crimes do so for pleasure. Instead of feeling a smidgen of remorse, they are extremely proud of themselves and their devilry.

"Goading a dog into killing a defenseless cat and reveling in the suffering is sadism," Stephen Philpott of the Ulster SPCA told the Strabane Chronicle in the article cited supra.

Moral indignation and name calling are fine as far as they go but they contribute very little toward either apprehending the perpetrators or putting an end to these types of attacks. That is a job for the police, prosecutors, judges, and jailers.

Besides, juvenile lawbreakers are able to get away with almost any crime. What societies everywhere fail to realize is that these youthful offenders only become more emboldened by their successes and accordingly go on to commit even more hideous crimes as adults.

The feeding of cats and kittens to lurchers as bait is far from being confined to County Tyrone. In fact, it has been going on for at least several years in the Creggan, Waterside, and Shantallow sections of Londonderry.

Moreover, not all of these attacks are isolated, ad hoc incidents, but rather are part and parcel of an organized cat-stealing operation replete with steel cages that are baited with tuna. (See Belfast Telegraph, February 25, 2010, "Fears That Many Cats Are Being Caught for Dog Baiting.")

Attacks by lurchers, whether intentional or circumstantial, also are a recurring problem in England as well. For instance, a lurcher strayed into a yard in the civil parish of Keighley in North Yorkshire on March 5th and killed a twenty-year-old female cat named Gismo.

The cat's owner, fifty-two-year-old Mick Clarke of Guardhouse Road, attempted to mount a rescue but the dog refused to let go of Gismo. The police and the RSPCA have been notified but, predictably, no arrests have been made so far and the dog is still at large.

"I'm just absolutely disgusted," Clark told the Keighley News on March 11th. (See "Warning after Cat Is Killed by Lurcher.") "What if my granddaughter had been out there at the time with the cat in her arms? Anything could have happened. This just isn't right."

With that type of aberrant behavior occurring, it is not surprising that Keighley is every bit as far removed from being an urban idyll as Strabane. In 2003, for example, an online poll conducted by The Idler magazine listed it as one the fifty worst places to live in England.

Isolated attacks by lurchers that are unaccompanied by their irresponsible owners, such as the one in Keighley, pose a difficult problem for the police. Since these dogs are difficult to corral, they simply run off and commit additional offenses elsewhere.

That is hardly the case with professional dog baiting rings and teenage hoodlums who use lurchers in order to kill cats. With the expenditure of a little money and elbow grease, police and humane officials should be able to bring these criminals to justice.

After all, it was only last July that the Humane Society of Missouri, the FBI, the Missouri State Highway Patrol, and the USDA successfully staged the largest dogfighting raid in American history. (See St. Joseph News-Press, July 9, 2009, "Dogfighting Ring Busted.")

That measure of success requires, however, that officials take animal abuse seriously and be willing to commit sufficient resources to the cause. Unfortunately, that does not appear to be the case in either Northern Ireland or England.

Photo: Strabane Chronicle.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Congressman John P. Murtha, a Friend of Cats, Dies Suddenly at Age Seventy-Seven Following a Botched Gallbladder Operation

"That's just terrible. It doesn't meet the common sense test."
-- John P. Murtha on killing cats

In December of 2005 the big shots who rule the roost at the posh Army Navy Country Club in Arlington unilaterally decided to get rid of several dozen cats who, along with their ancestors, had called the grounds of the facility home ever since the rip-roaring 1960s. In an effort to rationalize their rabid ailurophobia, the suits falsely branded the cats as being both vicious and diseased.

The outcry from cat-lovers was vociferous and widespread. One voice stood out above the din, however, and it belonged to longtime club member, Congressman John P. Murtha of Pennsylvania. (See photo above.)

"That's just terrible," he told the Washington Post on December 24, 2005. (See "Army Navy Club Going to War on Cats.") "It doesn't meet the common sense test."

Thanks to Murtha's support, Alley Cat Allies was able to broker a compromise whereby the cats were relocated to a more remote area of the property. The club even chipped in $1,500 toward their relocation, sterilization, and vaccination. (See Cat Defender post of January 19, 2006 entitled "Public Outcry Forces Army Navy Club to Scrap Plans to Evict and Exterminate Long-Term Resident Felines.")

It therefore was a sad day for cat-lovers when he died at the age of seventy-seven on February 8th at Virginia Hospital Center in Arlington as the result of a botched gallbladder operation performed on January 28th at the National Navy Medical Center in Bethesda. In what can only be described as another stinging indictment of America's grotesquely overpriced and underperforming health care system, incompetent surgeons at the VA facility reportedly mishandled a routine laparoscopic procedure by slicing into his colon.

Murtha then developed an infection which caused his premature death. Normally, the mortality rate for gallbladder surgery is less than two per cent. (See Politico, February 17, 2010, "Murtha's Death Under Review.")

During his thirty-seven years in the House of Representatives some critics labeled him as the "King of Pork" in response to his prowess of steering federal money to his congressional district in southwestern Pennsylvania. Others were considerably less kind and labeled him an outright crook.

"If I am corrupt, it's because I take care of my district," he is quoted in the February 9th edition of the Washington Post as responding to his adversaries. (See "John Murtha Dies; Longtime Congressman Was Master of Pork-Barrel Politics.") "Every president would like to have all the power and not have Congress change anything. But we're closest to the public."

Whether Murtha simply did what every other politician at all levels of government does every day or if he stepped across the line and ventured into illegalities is for others to determine. It is indisputable, however, that when the cats at the Army Navy Country Club needed his help he was there for them.

As far as it is known, the cats still are living there where they are cared for by volunteers such as retired Rear Admiral Tom Evans and his wife, Dottie. (See photo above of her feeding the cats back in 2006.)

Moreover, Murtha's support for cats neither began nor ended at the club. For example, he sponsored legislation aimed at limiting the number of them used by the monsters at the Pentagon in their diabolical experiments.

Among its hideous crimes against the animal kingdom, the Pentagon of late has been blowing up innocent pigs in order to test the resilience of body armor and armor-plated vehicles to withstand blasts from roadside bombs in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Even more shockingly, during the Cold War its sister agency, the CIA, surgically implanted recording devices and transmitters inside cats in a failed attempt to take advantage of the Kremlin's penchant for using street cats as mousers.

Throughout its checkered history, the Pentagon has demonstrated an appalling disregard for the sanctity of life by using cats and a multitude of other animals for every conceivable purpose. (See Shawn Plourde, "What Did You Do in the War, Fido?")

Although the baby steps that Murtha took toward eradicating these horrific abuses are much appreciated, they fell way short of what is needed. Nothing short of a comprehensive ban on the use of all animals, lab mice included, in both military and medical experiments ever can be deemed to be morally acceptable.

Murtha undoubtedly will be remembered for many things, both good and bad, but there can be no denying that he was a friend of cats. In fact, the pivotal role that he played in saving the lives of those at the Army Navy Country Club may very well prove to be his most enduring legacy. They and their descendants, like Ernest Hemingway's polydactyls in Key West, are in a way a living memorial to him and his work.

Since cats have so many mortal enemies and detractors, the loss of even one committed ally has the potential to be catastrophic, especially if it happens to be a man of Murtha's stature. (See Delaware Coast Press, March 17, 2010, "Cat Society Dissolves after Founder's Death.")

Murtha therefore will be sorely missed but never forgotten. Requiescat in pace, John!

Photos: United States Congress (Murtha) and James A. Purcell of the Washington Post (Dottie Evans and the cats).

Friday, March 19, 2010

Trapped and Killed by the Delaware County SPCA, Keecha'a Life Is Valued at Only $1 by a Pennsylvania Arbitration Panel

"I am very happy we won. I would do this all over again."
-- Margaret Reynard

How much is the life of a beloved family cat worth? Only one dollar. At least that is the considered opinion of a Pennsylvania arbitration panel comprised of a trio of shysters.

That insulting ruling was handed down on January 8th against the Delaware County SPCA for its cold-blooded murder of Upper Darby resident Margaret Reynard's eight-year-old cat, Keecha, on April 11, 2006. That there was an award at all was due to the fact that the SPCA violated its own rule that cats be held for seventy-two hours before being killed.

In poor Keecha's case, she was killed a scant twenty-four hours after having been victimized by both the SPCA and Upper Darby's draconian anti-roaming laws.

Press reports fail to disclose either the names of the arbitrators or why they awarded Reynard only one dollar as opposed to the $50,000 that she had been seeking in compensation. "I think (the arbitrators) believe a wrong was done, but this was all they could legitimately give," Reynard's attorney, Kevin Fitzgerald, told the Philadelphia Inquirer on January 9th. (See "Delco Owner of Euthanized Cat Wins Case.")

To have her own attorney defend the arbitrators' outrageous ruling is certainly the last thing that Reynard needed to hear in light of the fact that she foolishly paid him $2,500 to try the case. That was in addition to ponying up for a necropsy and toxicology tests, filing a complaint with the state veterinary board, and putting in more than one-hundred hours at a library researching the law.

Despite the Pyrrhic nature of her victory, Reynard surprisingly expressed satisfaction at the outcome. "I am very happy we won," she told the Inquirer. "I would do this all over again."

As far as the SPCA is concerned, it attempted to hide behind one lie after another throughout the proceedings. For example, former shelter manager Nicole Wilson testified that Keecha was aggressive and therefore had to die.

Reynard vehemently denied that charge and instead testified that Keecha was shy and quiet. Moreover, Keecha had been serving as a therapy cat for Reynard's foster children.

The SPCA's lies about Keecha and other cats are as old as the hills. In reality, there are not any aggressive cats, except perhaps for those that either have contracted rabies or are acting in self-defense.

The so-called temperament testing techniques employed by shelters, such as poking ballpoint pens inside their cages, are a dishonest joke. Any caged cat will defend itself against objects thrust in its direction.

"Trying to temperament test a cat is fraught with more problems than dogs," Nathan Winograd of the No-Kill Advocacy Center wrote in an online article a while back. (See "Temperament Testing in the Age of No-Kill.") "In most shelters, cats are relegated to tiny cages, which not only precludes species-typical behavior, but requires them to sleep, eat, and defecate in the same space, something so contrary to feline behavior that I believe it is difficult to accurately access a cat in that environment."

Much more importantly, Winograd does not believe that even those cats with so-called behavioral issues should be killed. Au contraire, even those animals can be placed in barns and homeless colonies if not in traditional homes.

Norman L. Haase, who represented the SPCA at the hearing, attempted to excuse the killing of Keecha as a one-time mistake. "This represents the findings of negligence on one day in April of 2006," he swore to the Philadelphia Inquirer in the article cited supra.

The Inquirer, however, unearthed evidence that another cat was prematurely killed by the SPCA only a few weeks before Keecha was eliminated. Furthermore, in that case the SPCA falsified records by claiming that the cat had bitten a shelter employee.

A little bit later in 2006, the SPCA accepted receipt of the homeless cats that Eastern University in St. Davids had removed from its campus while its students were away on Christmas break. All of those cats most likely were killed upon arrival. (See Cat Defender post of February 12, 2007 entitled "God-Fearing Baptists at Eastern University Kill Off Their Feral Cats on the Sly while Students Are Away on Christmas Break.")

As Winograd and others have pointed out time and time again, Animal Control officers and shelters are in the business of killing cats and dogs. That is what they get paid to do by a public that is, on the one hand, too morally bankrupt to respect the sanctity of all animal life and too lazy and cheap on the other hand to demand that the killers be divested of their blood money and that it instead be put into socialization and adoption services, sanctuaries, and veterinary care.

Just as importantly, no one should be bamboozled into believing that these killers are decent individuals who care about animals. That is pure rubbish! They are instead sadistic killers who should be accorded the same brand of justice that is meted out to war criminals. (See Cat Defender posts of September 30, 2005, November 23, 2005, and May 11, 2006 entitled, respectively, "Morally Bankrupt Washington Post Pens a Love Letter to Shelter Workers Who Exterminate Cats and Dogs," "Texas Newspaper Defends Pet Genocide by Publishing Graphic Photographs of Shelter Workers Exterminating a Dog," and "Mass Murderers at SPCA Are Operating an Auschwitz for Cats and Dogs in Lakeland, Florida.")

In addition to all the shekels that the killers themselves rake in, a highly lucrative cottage industry has grown up around these en masse exterminations. First and foremost are the purveyors of sodium pentobarbital and other deadly drugs, the manufacturers of gas chambers, and those who either burn or cart off the millions of corpses.

There is very little that is positive to be said about either these individuals or organizations. They are all bad but some of them, such as PETA, are worse than others. (See Cat Defender posts of February 9, 2007 and January 29, 2007 entitled, respectively, "Verdict in PETA Trial: Littering Is a Crime but Not the Mass Slaughter of Innocent Cats and Dogs" and "PETA's Long History of Killing Cats and Dogs Is Finally Exposed in North Carolina Courtroom.")

The killing of Keecha also demonstrates how unfairly Pennsylvania legislators treat cats. For instance, whereas state law mandates that shelters must hold impounded dogs for at least seventy-two hours before killing them, cats may be killed twenty-four hours after arrival. In Reynard's case, she tragically arrived two hours too late in order to have saved Keecha.

Finally, Upper Darby's anti-roaming statute is not only contrary to nature but inhumane and cruel as well. Former Illinois Governor Adlai E. Stevenson understood that all too well when on April 23, 1949 he vetoed a similar bill rammed through the legislature by cat-hating bird advocates.

"I cannot agree that it should be the declared public policy of Illinois that a cat visiting a neighbor's yard or crossing the highway is a public nuisance. It is the nature of cats to do a certain amount of unescorted roaming. Many live with their owners in apartments or other restricted premises, and I doubt if we want to make their every brief foray an opportunity for a small game hunt by zealous citizens -- with traps or otherwise," he astutely pointed out.

Nevertheless, that is exactly what anti-roaming statutes, such as the one in situ in Upper Darby, ultimately lead to as well as, quite often, the murder of cats such as Keecha.

Stevenson did not stop there but instead went on to add: "The problem of cat versus bird is as old as time. If we attempt to resolve it by legislation who knows but what we may be called upon to take sides as well in the age-old problems of dog versus cat, bird versus bird, or even bird versus worm."

In The Pickwick Papers, Charles Dickens likened the law to a knife that cuts very sharp and deep but not too evenly and as a consequence those who are attempting to use it against cats would do well to bear in mind that such efforts could boomerang against them. (See Cat Defender post of March 10, 2009 entitled "Audubons' Dirty Dealings with the Mercenary United States Fish and Wildlife Service Redound to the Detriment of Acorn Woodpeckers.")

No one knows how many domestic cats are murdered by shelters and Animal Control officers each year but the number is not insignificant and the problem is worldwide in scope. For example, in May of 2007 the RSPCA trapped and two and one-half hours later killed Katherine and Paul Parker-Brice's beloved nineteen-year-old cat, Mork, in Ruislip, Middlesex. (See photo above.)

This incident was triggered by a cat-hating neighbor who sicced the RSPCA on Mort when he strayed into her precious little garden. Even more revolting, the RSPCA ignored its own guidelines which stipulate that all cats picked up must be taken to a veterinarian, that "Lost Cat" posters be put up, and neighbors leafleted before any blood is spilled.

The gulf between the RSPCA's rhetoric and its behavior was not lost on Mrs. Parker-Brice. "The RSPCA quickly prosecutes anyone who neglects animals yet here it is killing them indiscriminately," she pointed out.

The RSPCA's murder of Mork not only left the Parker-Brices devastated but also his sister, Mindy. "This man's (Mork's killer) broken our hearts. He has left Mork's sister, Mindy, without a companion," Mrs. Parker-Brice continued. "They were together for nineteen years and have now been torn apart by a careless, casual act. His sister is pinning for him. She keeps wandering around the house looking for him."

Like Reynard, the Parker-Brices instituted legal action against the RSPCA but it has not been possible to ascertain the outcome of their suit. (See Cat Defender post of June 5, 2007 entitled "RSPCA's Unlawful Seizure and Senseless Killing of Mork Leaves His Sister, Mindy, Brokenhearted and His Caretakers Devastated.")

This outrageous situation is further exacerbated by the existence of some shelters that are so trigger-happy that they do not even bother to ascertain if individuals surrendering cats are in fact their lawful owners. This glaring dereliction of duty thus allows inveterate cat-haters, such as Richard DeSantis of West Islip on Long Island, to get away with illegally trapping their neighbors' cats and then turning them over to shelters to kill. (See Cat Defender posts of June 15, 2006 and March 9, 2007 entitled, respectively, "Serial Cat Killer on Long Island Traps Neighbors' Cats and Then Gives Them to Shelter to Exterminate" and "Long Island Serial Cat Killer Guilty of Only Disorderly Conduct, Corrupt Court Rules.")

Shelters and Animal Control officers acting illegally are not the only entities that cat owners have to fear. Private pest control companies also trap and kill many domestic cats each year. In March of 2007, for example, ABC Lawn and Pest of Houston trapped and gassed Patrick Boland and Shelley Bolek's cat, Butty, in League City. (See photo above on the right.)

"He'd just been such a survivor," a distraught Bolek said at that time. "It was rotten it had to end that way."

Against gargantuan odds, they, too, initiated legal action against ABC Lawn and Pest but it is not known how they fared in court. "It's going to cost more to sue them than he's (Boland) going to collect," their lawyer, Neil Baron, said. "I think his point is to say that people don't have a right to dispose of an animal like this."

Butty's murder did, however, prompt League City to revamp its laws so as to require that all trappers use snares issued by the city and that they then turn over all animals captured to Animal Control as opposed to killing them on the spot. (See Cat Defender post of August 30, 2007 entitled "Texas Couple Files Lawsuit Against Pest Control Company for Trapping and Gassing Their Cat, Butty.")

Fortunately, cat owners are not completely at the mercy of these killers in that there are several proactive measures that they can take in order to safeguard their companions. First of all, they should thoroughly investigate a neighborhood for the presence of cat-haters before moving into it. Local police departments usually have a certain amount of data pertaining to crimes committed against cats but a far better alternative would be to sound out various residents about their experiences with and attitude toward cats.

In some communities, however, cats are not only hated but banned as well. That is the situation at a four-hundred-fifty house development in Farnborough, Hampshire, where both cats and dogs have been declared personae non gratae by the developer, Redrow, in order to allegedly protect endangered species of birds occupying a habitat one mile removed.

Oddly enough, the birds' habitat is open to the public and their pets as well. (See The Times of London, December 27, 2009, "New Estate Bans Cats and Dogs to Protect Bird Life.")

Secondly, it always is a good idea to keep a close eye on cats whenever they are outside. Thirdly, any suspicious vehicles in the neighborhood, such as those belonging to Animal Control officers, pest exterminators, and moving companies, are red flags that danger lurks in the air.

Reynard, the Parker-Brices, and Boland and Bolek are to be commended for their efforts to hold the ruthless killers of their cats accountable in the courts. In the final analysis, however, the only sure-fire way to put an end to these illegal killings is to outlaw the killing of all cats under all circumstances. Otherwise beloved family cats are going to continue to die needlessly.

Photos: Delaware County SPCA (logo), Katherine Parker-Brice (Mork), and the Galveston County Daily News (Butty).

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Humane Society's Sellout of San Nicolas's Felines to the Assassins at the United States Fish and Wildlife Service Was the Biggest Cat Story of 2009

"It isn't an option to kill them. This is a problem that humans have created, and to try to solve it by killing cats is really inhumane. I think we say a lot about ourselves as a society by how we treat the weakest members, including animals."
-- Mary Jean Kraybill, University of Chicago's Divinity School

The recently concluded year will be remembered as one that saw the continued mass extermination of untold numbers of cats by wildlife biologists and bird advocates. A new twist was added to the plot, however, in the form of the collusion of so-called animal protection groups in these atrocities.

In particular, the fraudulent Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) sold out San Nicolas's long-term resident felines to their archenemies at the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). On Tory Island, Birdwatch Ireland rounded up and exterminated all the homeless cats.

The USFWS and its sister agency, the Arizona Game and Fish Department (AGFD), illegally trapped, radio-collared, and killed America's last known jaguar, Macho B, in March. Not about to be outdone by federal and state animal killers, the police in Raymore, Missouri, trapped and summarily executed Kelly Wesner's nineteen-year-old deaf and declawed cat, Tobey.

In Seattle, southern Virginia, and Berlin, courts continued to wink at cases of horrific feline abuse. One notable exception was a court in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, which last month convicted the "Sweet Valley Mutilator" of piercing the ears, necks, and tails of so-called Gothic kittens.

Bow and arrow attacks upon cats reached epidemic proportions in 2009 as did the abandonment of both cats and kittens on busy thoroughfares. Organized Christianity continued its centuries-old abuse and defamation of cats while in both England and America pet Burmese pythons emerged as a new threat to cats.

In both Minneapolis and Luzern cats were placed under house arrest without the benefit of due process of law after having been falsely accused of attacking humans. The death of a pregnant Minskin and her unborn kittens in the cargo hold of an airliner on a cross-country flight renewed concern over not only the cruelties inflicted in the creation of designer cats but the safety of air travel for animals as well.

Finally, the tiny Belgian city of Ieper staged its triennial celebration of the odious Medieval practice of tossing cats off the tops of buildings. The only difference between then and now is that stuffed replicas have replaced the genuine articles.

For a review of the top cat stories of past years, see Cat Defender posts of January 4, 2007, January 11, 2008, and February 2, 2009 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," "Serial Cat Killer James Munn Stevenson's Victory in a Galveston Courtroom Heads the List of the Top Stories of 2007," and "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."

1.) HSUS Sells Out San Nicolas's Cats to the USFWS.

"The Humane Society of the United States is the nation's largest animal protection agency and considers the Preferred Alternative of padded leghold traps and shooting cats as inhumane regardless of how the EA (Environmental Assessment) labels and defends this strategy," the organization's Nancy Peterson declared in June of 2008 when the USFWS and the Navy first announced plans to eradicate more than two-hundred cats living on San Nicolas Island off the coast of Los Angeles. "This is not humane. I would not say shooting cats and leaving them in leghold traps for up to fourteen hours is humane."

Despite Peterson's high-flown rhetoric, the HSUS did an about-face a few months later and sold San Nicolas's cats down the river to the assassins at the USFWS. Under this Faustian bargain, the HSUS has trapped and removed between forty and fifty cats from the island and imprisoned them at its sanctuary in Ramona, California, where they can never, as stipulated by the USFWS, be adopted. (See photo above of three of the rescued cats.)

The remaining one-hundred-fifty or so cats have been hunted down at night by marksmen armed with torches and accompanied by bloodhounds and then shotgunned to death. Others have been snared in padded leghold traps and later killed.

Throughout much of 2009 and continuing into 2010 the HSUS and the USFWS have staged a series of dog and pony propaganda offensives where they have touted the success of their joint undertaking. At no time during any of these public relations stunts has the fate of those cats eradicated on San Nicolas ever been mentioned so much as once.

Likewise, the thoroughly dishonest capitalist media have served as the killers' press agents by concealing these horrific crimes from the public. Even the cats' corpses have been turned over to wildlife biologists who have inventoried their stomachs. Selected results obtained from these necropsies will be used as the basis for an outpouring of so-called scientific papers aimed at justifying this mass slaughter.

(See Cat Defender posts of November 20, 2009, April 28, 2009, July 10, 2008, and June 27, 2008 entitled, respectively, "Memo to the Humane Society: Tell the World Exactly How Many Cats You and Your Honeys at the USFWS Have Murdered on San Nicolas Island," "Quislings at the Humane Society Sell Out San Nicolas's Cats to the Assassins at the Diabolical United States Fish and Wildlife Service," "The Ventura County Star Races to the Defense of the Cat-Killers on San Nicolas Island," and "United States Fish and Wildlife Service and the Navy Hatch a Diabolical Plan to Gun Down Two-Hundred Cats on San Nicolas Island.")

Nor should the bloodthirsty United States Navy be allowed to escape censure since it was, after all, its personnel who were largely responsible for shanghaiing the cats and bringing them to the island in the first place. They then ruthlessly exploited them as mousers and companions before cruelly abandoning them to fend for themselves on the desolate island's forbidding landscape.

That is merely par for the course as far as the Navy and its sister branches of the military are concerned. None of them have the least bit of regard for human life, the animals, or the environment. (See Cat Defender posts of November 14, 2006, June 16, 2008, and July 16, 2009 entitled, respectively, "Military Killing Cats and Dogs by the Tens of Thousands as Imperialistic America Attempts to Conquer the World," "Targeted for Elimination by the American War Machine and Cheney's Henchmen, Baghdad's Cats Are Befriended by an English Mercenary," and "Yellow Two Is Shot and Maimed for Life at Fort Hood in the United States Army's Latest Criminal Offense Against Cats.")

To make matters worse, the HSUS's treachery on San Nicolas was merely the opening gambit in its and its allies grand scheme to sabotage the homeless cat protection movement by mandating that all caretakers be brought under its thumb. This in turn will enable it to enter into all sorts of weasel deals with the cats' sworn enemies, i.e., birders and wildlife biologists.

Of course, it almost goes without saying that the cats' caretakers still will be expected to foot one-hundred per cent of the bill for their care since the HSUS spends less than one per cent of its annual budget of $120 million on the care of the animals that it is supposedly protecting. Even for its efforts on San Nicolas it cadged $100,000 from the search engine Do Great Good while the USFWS received at least $1,854,100 in welfare dollars from the Montrose Settlements Restoration Program in order to finance its part in the killing spree. (See Cat Defender post of June 15, 2009 entitled "American Bird Conservancy, The New York Times, and the Humane Society Unite to Form an Achse des Boesen Against Cats.")

2.) Birdwatch Ireland Exterminates Homeless Cats on Tory Island.

Birdwatch Ireland proudly announced to the world in November that it had rounded up and eradicated all the homeless cats on Tory Island. Although the murderers were careful not to reveal how many cats they had slaughtered, it is likely that at the very least several dozen were killed.

Unwilling to stop even there, Birdwatch Ireland also rounded up all domestic cats and sterilized them. "As things now stand, the domestic cat population has been neutered and hopefully there won't be too many kittens next year," the organization's Sandy Alcorn roared like a latter-day wild-eyed Adolf Hitler. As far as she and her cohorts are concerned, one live cat is one too many.

This en masse extermination was undertaken ostensibly to protect the migratory Corn Crake (Crex crex) and tourists visiting the tiny island located nine miles off the coast of County Donegal. (See photo above of the birds.)

In doing so, the birders categorically rejected all humane alternatives and thus proved once again that their only raison d'etre is to defame and kill cats. Furthermore, it is anticipated that their next move is going to be the interdiction of the importation of all felines to the remote island.

Tory islanders thus have joined the citizens of at least one-hundred other islands around the globe who have cruelly and unjustly exterminated their resident felines. (See Cat Defender post of January 5, 2010 entitled "Tourists and Consumers Alike Should Boycott Ireland and Its Exports in Response to Its Extermination of the Homeless Cats on Tory Island.")

3.) Attacks by Archers Are Continuing to Increase.

Attacks against cats by archers are not only proliferating but they have become a worldwide problem. Of the countless assaults reported by the media last year, the maiming in January of a nine-month-old gray and brown cat named Valentine from the Boise suburb of Caldwell was particularly heartbreaking.

Having been shot through her left eye with an arrow by an unidentified fourteen-year-old boy, she was left blind and deaf on her left side. Adding to her distress, she was not adopted until February of this year because she also suffers from the Feline Immunodeficiency Virus.

As hard as it is to believe, her assailant escaped punishment and was ordered simply to pen letters of apology to Valentine's caretaker, Simply Cats, and the attending veterinarian. (See Cat Defender posts of June 1, 2009 and March 5, 2010 entitled, respectively, "Blind and Deaf on Her Left Side as the Result of a Bow and Arrow Attack by a Juvenile Miscreant, Valentine Is Still Looking for a Permanent Home" and "Struck Down by an Archer and Shunned by an Uncaring Public for More Than a Year, Valentine Finally Finds a Home.")

In the village of Terrington St Clement in Norfolk, Andrew and Juliet Childerhouse's eleven-month-old cat, Dave, returned home on June 10th with a fourteen-inch arrow in his chest that narrowly missed his heart and lungs. The good news is that he miraculously survived; the bad news is that his attacker remains at large. (See Cat Defender post of July 24, 2009 entitled "Critically Wounded Dave Limps Home to His Family with an Arrow Embedded in His Chest Only One Inch Away from His Heart.")

In Clearwater, Florida, a homeless cat named Robin Hood was discovered on June 16th by Gail McFarland with a two-foot aluminum arrow lodged in his right leg. (See photo above.)

He has since recovered and on October 22nd was moved to a sanctuary in Sarasota operated by In Defense of Animals where he will be allowed to live out his life. No arrests have been made in this case either. (See Cat Defender posts of July 23, 2009 and November 1, 2009 entitled, respectively, "Robin Hood Is Wounded in the Leg in Yet Still Another Bow and Arrow Attack Upon a Cat in the Tampa Area" and "Robin Hood, Who Survived a Near Fatal Bow and Arrow Wounding, Is Sent to a Sanctuary in Order to Live Out the Remainder of His Life.")

On August 24th, a four-year-old orange and white cat named Brownie returned home to his owner, eighty-three-year-old Dillon Eaks, in Bloomington, Indiana, with a thirteen-inch arrow in his head. Luckily, the projectile narrowly missed all vital organs and Brownie has since recovered. (See photo directly above.)

Despite the offer of a reward totaling at least $2,920, no arrests have been made in this case. (See Cat Defender post of January 6, 2010 entitled "Large Reward Fails to Lead to the Capture of the Archer Who Shot an Arrow Through Brownie's Head.")

Finally, as far as it is known, nineteen-year-old Chloe O'Connor of Hyde in Greater Manchester was the only archer to be sent to jail in 2009 for attacking a cat. On September 9th she was ordered to serve a measly twelve-weeks in juvenile detention for the cold-blooded murder of her neighbor's six-year-old ginger and white cat, Trouble. (See Cat Defender post of December 18, 2009 entitled "Teenage Wino Who Gunned Down Her Neighbor's Cat with a Crossbow from Her Bedroom Window Cheats Justice.")

4.) Burmese Pythons Emerge as a New Menace to Cats.

On June 25th, four-year-old Wilbur from the Brislington section of Bristol strayed into neighbor Darren Bishop's yard where he was eaten by a thirteen-foot-long pet Burmese python. Because of Bishop's lack of cooperation, officials from the RSPCA were forced to run a microchip scanner over the snake's body in order to determine what had happened to Wilbur. (See photo above.)

"He never stood a chance against a creature more than thirteen times his weight with such immense power," Wilbur's heartbroken owner, Martin Wadey, said afterwards. "Wilbur was ambushed, asphyxiated, and consumed whole...The fact he was trapped like this would have been his ultimate fear." (See Cat Defender post of September 8, 2009 entitled "Four-Year-Old Wilbur Is Ambushed and Eaten Whole by a Thirteen-Foot-Long Pet Burmese Python.")

In 2008, Ruth Butterworth of the Bridgeman Downs section of Brisbane was bitten twice and suffered a broken wrist when she intervened in order to save her cat, Tuffy, who also had been attacked by a python. (See Cat Defender post of March 14, 2008 entitled "Brisbane Woman Is Bitten Twice by a Voracious Python but Still Somehow Manages to Save the Life of Her Cat, Tuffy.")

In August of last year, twenty-eight-year-old Jeremy Tuffly of Mesa, Arizona, fed a kitten to a python who magnanimously refused to eat it. Incensed over the snake's uncharacteristic behavior, Tuffly then kicked the kitten to death. (See mug shot of him above on the left.)

That inspired James King of the Phoenix New Times to later opine, "Congratulations, Phoenix! We have the one guy on the planet who was outclassed by a snake. Hopefully, he can look on the bright side: if he doesn't like jail, at least he has Hell to look forward to." (See Cat Defender post of November 7, 2009 entitled "Jeremy Tuffly Feeds a Kitten to a Pet Python but When It Demurs He Does the Foul Deed Himself by Kicking It to Death.")

5.) Wildlife Biologists Kill Off America's Last Known Jaguar, Macho B.

Falsely claiming that he was suffering from renal failure, officials of the USFWS, AGFD, and the Phoenix Zoo killed off America's last known jaguar, Macho B, on March 2nd. This was after the fifteen-year-old cat twice had been illegally trapped and anesthetized by the AGFD.

Once they had him at their mercy, the wildlife biologists also took blood samples from him and fitted him with a satellite tracking collar. The GPS device apparently malfunctioned and that provided the AGFD with an excuse to dart him again only this time around he would not be released.

In the controversy that ensued, other veterinarians testified that there was nothing wrong with Macho B's kidneys but that it was rather a combination of dehydration, the anesthesia, stress brought on by the trappings, and his age that led to his lethargic behavior. Other experts also have disputed the wildlife biologists' claim that he was accidentally caught in a trap intended for cougars and black bears and instead maintain that his trapping and collaring were intentional. (See photo above of him in a leghold trap only hours before his murder.)

This in turn prompted the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) to take legal action against the AGFD for repeatedly trapping Macho B without a permit as is required for all animals protected by the Endangered Species Act (ESA). This additionally led Democratic Congressmen Raul M. Grijalva of Arizona and Nick Rahall II of West Virginia to request that the Interior Department's Office of Inspector General investigate the matter.

In January of this year that office concluded that Macho B's trapping and collaring indeed had been intentional and therefore illegal. It also concluded that the USFWS had erred in ordering a partial, as opposed to a complete, necropsy.

The AGFD is standing by its original lies and a criminal investigation into Macho B's death is continuing. (See Tucson Weekly, January 21, 2010, "United States Inspector General Macho B Inquiry: Criminal Misconduct in the Trapping of Last Known Jaguar in United States?" and Tucson Citizen, January 25, 2010, "Two Releases on Captured Jaguar Macho B: Blame and Rebuttal.")

It is indisputable, however, that Macho B was worth considerably more dead than alive to all sorts of interests. For example, no fewer than nine institutions and individuals divvied up his valuable remains. (See Cat Defender post of May 21, 2009 entitled "Macho B, America's Last Jaguar, Is Illegally Trapped, Radio-Collared, and Killed Off by Wildlife Biologists in Arizona.")

Moreover, the USFWS's decision to order a cosmetic necropsy was based, at least in part, on a desire to preserve the cat's pelt intact. His death also was no doubt welcomed by ranchers, the AGFD and, above all, the USFWS which for years had steadfastly refused to develop a recovery plan for the cats and to set aside critical habitat for them as mandated by the ESA.

On March 30, 2009, Federal District Court Judge John M. Roll sided with the CBD and ordered the USFWS to comply with the dictates of the ESA and on January 12th of this year it belatedly agreed to do so. (See Center for Biological Diversity's press release of January 12, 2010 entitled "Endangered Jaguars to Receive Critical Habitat Protection and Plan for Recovery of United States' Population.")

6.) Raymore Police Summarily Execute Family's Beloved Cat, Tobey.

Although the United States is supposedly a nation of laws, many police officers continue to operate under the mistaken belief that they are above all legal and moral constraint. For example, on Labor Day police in Raymore, Missouri, rounded up Kelly Wesner's nineteen-year-old cat, Tobey, and pumped two shotgun blasts into his head. They then nonchalantly deposited his corpse in a trash can.

Having escaped from Wesner's house, Tobey next strayed onto the property of a cat-hating neighbor who turned a garden hose on him. The unidentified neighbor then telephoned the police to report that a large and vicious feral cat with rabies had scratched a girl.

The police accepted the liar's word as gospel and promptly summarily executed Tobey. This was in spite of the fact that Tobey was declawed, deaf, and elderly. Also, because he suffered from hyperthyroidism, his weight had plummeted to only six pounds.

In the elaborate cover-up that followed, Raymore Police continued to insist that Tobey was not only vicious but had claws as well. City Manager Eric Berlin maladroitly attempted to fob off blame on the fact that the murder occurred on Labor Day and that Tobey was wet from the rain.

"He was a family member," a distraught Wesner said following Tobey's murder. "He was the sweetest animal (and he) was always there to be your friend. He didn't know a stranger." (See Cat Defender post of September 16, 2009 entitled "Acting Solely Upon the Lies of a Cat-Hater, Raymore Police Pump Two Shotgun Blasts into the Head of Nineteen-Year-Old Declawed and Deaf Tobey.")

On March 22, 2008, a policeman in Cecil, Pennsylvania, likewise summarily executed Roger Oldaker's ten-year-old Persian, Elmo. As was the case with Tobey, the officer simply accepted the lies of a cat-hating neighbor and murdered Elmo without conducting an independent investigation of any sort. (See Cat Defender post of March 31, 2008 entitled "Cecil, Pennsylvania, Police Officer Summarily Executes Family's Beloved Ten-Year-Old Persian, Elmo.")

7.) Courts Are Continuing to Wink at Criminals Who Abuse and Kill Cats.

Last year was another disaster for cats and their protectors who sought justice from the courts. Most prominently, on April 19th serial violent offender and drunkard Tracy A. Clark used a box cutter in order to inflict an eight-inch wound upon a cat named Scatt at a church-run homeless shelter in south Seattle. (See photo above of Scatt's horrific injuries.)

Not satisfied with gutting the defenseless moggy from collarbone to tail, he next flung Scatt against a wall breaking three of his ribs in the process.(See photo below of him being led out of court.)

For this dastardly crime, King County Superior Court Judge Michael C. Hayden sentenced him to spend his nights in the pokey for the next nine months; his days were to have been spent in alcohol rehabilitation. (See Cat Defender posts of May 6, 2009 and August 10, 2009 entitled, respectively, "Resident at a Church-Run Homeless Shelter in Seattle Uses a Box Cutter in Order to Gut Scatt from Collarbone to Tail" and "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.")

On April 16th, Judge Samuel T. Powell III of Williamsburg-James City County Circuit Court cleared Norge sodbuster Donald Curtis Hunt of drowning five kittens in August of 2007. "I feel that justice has been done," Hunt crowed as he left court to a hero's welcome from his equally morally deprived fellow citizens.

(See Cat Defender posts of May 14, 2009 and October 23, 2007 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 "Virginia Does It Again! Farmer Who Drowned at Least Five Cats Gets Off with a Slap-on-the-Wrists.")

Demonstrating that American jurists do not hold a monopoly on coddling cat killers, a judge in Berlin last June fined thirty-nine-year-old Stefan W. thirteen-hundred-fifty euros for scalding to death his cat, Kitty, in a washing machine. Although he additionally was banned from owning any more cats, he escaped without any jail time.

In fact, he probably never would have been caught in the first place if he had not gone to a local park and bragged about his foul deed. (See Cat Defender post of October 31, 2009 entitled "Stefan W., Who Publicly Boasted of Scalding Kitty to Death in a Washing Machine, Is Let Off by a Berlin Court with a Measly Fine.")

8.) Disposing of Unwanted Cats and Kittens on Busy Highways Continues Unabated.

It is difficult to imagine a crueler fate than to be tossed out the window of a speeding automobile and then to be run over and killed by another motorist. As despicable as that sounds, it is nevertheless a reality faced by hundreds, if not indeed thousands, of cats and kittens each year.

Based upon their aberrant behavior, it thus would appear that a certain percentage of the population is unable to discern any measurable difference between a live animal and a candy wrapper. Compounding matters further, seldom if ever are any of these monsters apprehended and forced to atone for their vileness.

As is the case every year, 2009 saw its share of cats and kittens dumped on highways. For instance, a six-week-old black kitten named Miracle was abandoned on the McClugage Bridge in Peoria, Illinois, on June 22nd.

The quick-thinking kitten then surreptitiously hitched a ride underneath Carol Jones's auto when she stopped to mount a rescue. Miracle's fate was not known until she was discovered two days later in Jones's garage in West Peoria. Thrilled to death that her rescue attempt had not been in vain after all, Jones elected to give Miracle a permanent home. (See Cat Defender post of July 6, 2009 entitled "Miracle Survives a Drowning Attempt on the McClugage Bridge and Later Hitchhikes a Ride to Safety Underneath the Car of a Compassionate Motorist.")

On June 12th, a three-week-old kitten named Lucky was saved from a sure and certain death on Hylan Boulevard when Staten Island Judge Catherine DiDomenico stopped and rescued her from oncoming motorists. She later was put up for adoption. (See Cat Defender post of July 2, 2009 entitled "Three-Week-Old Lucky Is Rescued by a Staten Island Judge after She Is Tossed Out the Window of a Pickup Truck on Hylan Boulevard.")

On June 30th, an eight-week-old kitten named Luzie was rescued from the three-kilometer-long Neuer Elbtunnel in Hamburg by forty-one-year-old traffic cop, Soenke de Vries. During her nightmarish ordeal Luzie sustained a broken hip and an unspecified injury to her mouth.

Fortunately, she later was adopted by de Vries and his Frau, Steffi. (See Cat Defender post of September 12, 2009 entitled "Luzie Sustains a Broken Hip and a Bloody Mouth Before She Is Successfully Rescued from the Busy Elbtunnel.")

Cats are not the only casualties that result from these cruel abandonments. Occasionally, good Samaritans come to grief while attempting to undo the evil done by cat-haters.

That is precisely what happened to twenty-eight-year-old Rachel Honeycutt last June when she stopped and got out of her car on the East-West Connector in Cobb County, Georgia, and attempted to mount a rescue of two kittens that had been tossed out the window of a speeding automobile. Blindsided by a motorist, she was knocked seventy-five feet in the air and landed on the opposite side of the road.

Battered and bruised from head to toe, she suffered a shattered pelvis as well as brain and organ damage. She then lapsed into a comma and had to be put on life-support.

Miraculously, she survived but was left with skyrocketing medical bills and, at last report, was in danger of losing her house to foreclosure because of her inability to work. The police even had the unmitigated gall to write her a ticket!

Despite all the pain and suffering, she was singing anything but the blues after she regained consciousness. "I can't believe I'm okay," she said instead. "Everybody I've helped has helped me so much in a situation that brings it all around. Everything you give you get back." (See photo above of her.)

Through her words and deeds, Rachel has proven once again that cat-lovers have some of the biggest hearts on the planet. (See Cat Defender post of August 10, 2009 entitled "Georgia Woman Is Struck and Nearly Killed by a Motorist while Attempting to Rescue Kittens Dumped in the Middle of a Busy Highway.")

9.) Organized Christianity Remains Unapologetically Hostile to Cats.

Organized Christianity's hostility toward cats did not end at the close of the Middle Ages but rather it is alive and well today. For example, back in July the hierarchy at Northside Baptist Church in Baltimore ordered a feeding station that served around forty cats be removed from its premises. (See photos above and below.)

Furthermore, Pastor Reginald Turner and deacon McKinley Watson were not the least bit hesitant about expressing their antipathy toward the species. As a consequence, for two weeks the cats were forced to go without food and water before Alley Cat Allies stepped in and negotiated an uneasy compromise that, at least for the time being, is permitting the cats to be fed on a more remote section of the church's property. (See Cat Defender post of July 30, 2009 entitled "Ferals Living at a Baltimore Church Find Out the Hard Way that Hatred of Cats Is Every Bit as Christian as Unleavened Bread and Cheap Wine.")

This type of flagrant hostility for downtrodden cats is nothing new as far as Baptists are concerned. For example, back in 2006 while its students were away on Christmas vacation underhanded administrators at Eastern University in St. Davids, Pennsylvania, rounded up all the homeless cats on campus and gave them to the Delaware County SPCA to exterminate. (See Cat Defender post of February 12, 2007 entitled "God-Fearing Baptists at Eastern University Kill Off Their Feral Cats on the Sly while Students Are Away on Christmas Break.")

Catholics are every bit as bad, if not indeed worse, than Protestants when it comes to mistreating cats. For instance, back in 2007 St. Jude Catholic Church in affluent Tequesta, Florida, had twenty-five cats removed from its property and taken to a shelter where they most likely were killed upon arrival.

The philosophy extolled by Mary Jean Kraybill of the University of Chicago's Divinity School in relation to Hyde Park's resident felines should be the gold standard in dealing with all homeless cats everywhere. "It isn't an option to kill them," she told the Chicago Maroon on May 9, 2008. (See "Hyde Park's Feral Cats Gain Local and Citywide Sympathy.") "This is a problem that humans have created, and to try to solve it by killing cats is really inhumane. I think we say a lot about ourselves as a society by how we treat the weakest members, including animals."

10.) Pierced Gothic Kittens Are the Latest Fad in Feline Cruelty.

Thirty-five-year-old Holly Crawford of Sweet Valley, Pennsylvania, somehow discovered that there are morally-warped individuals in this wicked old world who willingly will pay up to $400 for so-called Gothic kittens. She therefore got hold of an unspecified number of tiny black kittens and pierced their ears, necks, and tails.

Jewelry was inserted in their ears while rings were placed in their necks through which leashes then were threaded. She even crudely used rubber bands in order to dock their tails before fitting rings into the remaining stubs.

In addition to the obvious pain that she inflicted on the kittens, the piercings damaged both their hearing as well as their sense of balance and ability to jump. The mutilations also left them vulnerable to infections, cancerous growths, and torn flesh.

Her grooming business, Pawside Parlor, was raided on December 17, 2008 and five kittens were seized. She was first identified in print in February of 2009 when she was indicted. On February 3rd of this year she was convicted of one count of summary animal cruelty and one count of misdemeanor animal cruelty by a jury sitting in Luzerne County Court of Common Pleas.

She is scheduled to be sentenced on March 31st. (See Cat Defender posts of January 9, 2009, February 26, 2009, and February 27, 2010 entitled, respectively, "Pennsylvania Dog Groomer Is Caught Piercing the Ears, Necks, and Tails of Cats and Dogs and then Peddling Them on eBay," "Dog Groomer Who Sold Mutilated Gothic Kittens on the Internet Is Finally Identified and Ordered to Stand Trial," and "Sweet Valley Mutilator Is Convicted of Piercing the Ears, Necks, and Tails of Tiny Kittens That She Later Sold on eBay.")

11.) Two More Cats Are Placed Under House Arrest.

If it were not bad enough that humane officials and the law enforcement community steadfastly refuse to take seriously crimes committed against cats, this deplorable situation is compounded by the draconian edicts that some municipal bodies are imposing upon the species and their caretakers. Among these are anti-roaming statutes, limits on the number of cats that an individual can own, and mandates that cats be licensed, microchipped, sterilized, and vaccinated.

In some jurisdictions cats even have been placed under house arrest for life based solely upon the unsubstantiated testimony of their detractors. Not only have they unjustly been deprived of their freedom without due process of law, but should they violate the terms of their confinement municipal officials have vowed to kill them.

In Minneapolis, eighty-two-year-old Lee Noltimier's nineteen-year-old cat, Hoppy, lives under such a death threat. This is the result of his having been involved in two separate scraps with dogs and their owners outside his home on Drew Avenue South near West Thirty-Ninth Street. (See photo above.)

Moreover, Minneapolis Animal Care and Control also has decreed not only that Noltimier must place Hoppy in a harness and on a leash whenever he takes him outside but that he must be segregated in either a kennel or a separate room whenever guests visit.

As far as it is known, this represents the first time that the long arm of the law has been used to regulate the purely social relationship between a cat and its owner inside a private dwelling. (See Cat Defender post of October 18, 2009 entitled "Minneapolis Is Working Overtime Trying to Kill an Octogenarian's Cat Named Hoppy for Defending His Turf Against Canine Intruders.")

Dogs have been attacking and killing cats ever since time immemorial and to single out the latter for defending themselves and their turf is not only unfair but ludicrous as well. The absurd lengths that some dog owners are willing to go to in order to defame and punish cats was epitomized last summer by the behavior and outlandish lies of fifty-two-year-old John Randall of Pitsea in Essex.

While out strolling the neighborhood with his Jack Russell Terrier, Scrappy,
on September 18th, Randall claims that they were attacked without provocation by a quintet of homeless cats. In response, he then proceeded to beat them with his cane. (See Cat Defender post of October 23, 2009 entitled "Essex Welfare Bum Who Sicced His Dog on Cats and Beat Them with His Cane Is Now Pretending to Be the Victim of an Assault.")

In addition to attacks by dogs and their owners, cats are sometimes victimized by other cat owners who unwisely intervene in cat fights. These owners often make matters worse by throwing objects at other cats and squirting them with water.

That is what happened to a thirteen-year-old cat named Bingo that is owned by Ana de Vito in Luzern. As a consequence, a Swiss tribunal on April 17th declared Bingo to be a dangerous animal after he bit a cat owner who had stepped between him and another cat in a feline standoff. (See photo above of Bingo and de Vito.)

Bingo was placed under house arrest and de Vito fined US$471.60. (See Cat Defender post of October 17, 2009 entitled "Bingo Is Placed Under House Arrest for Defending Himself Against a Neighbor Who Foolishly Intervened in a Cat Fight.")

The circumstances and unjust outcome reached in this case bear a striking resemblance to those involving Fairfield, Connecticut, resident Ruth Cisero's five-year-old longhaired, polydactyl tuxedo, Lewis, in 2006. (See Cat Defender posts of April 3, 2006 and June 26, 2006 entitled, respectively, "Free Lewis Now! Connecticut Tomcat, Victimized by a Bum Rap, Is Placed Under House Arrest" and "Lewis the Cat Cheats the Hangman but Is Placed Under House Arrest for the Remainder of His Life.")

12.) Designer Cat Freezes to Death in the Cargo Hold of an Airliner.

Due to the inherent cruelty and attendant genetic defects involved in their creation, both designer and purebred cats should be outlawed. If society is unwilling to take that bold step, at the very least it should ban the shipping of these cats around in the world in the cargo holds of airliners.

That conclusion was made crystal clear early last year when a pregnant Minskin and her unborn kittens froze to death in the cargo hold of an airliner on a trip from Rhode Island to Oregon. The mother cat was shipped by Cranston breeder John Froais to another breeder on the West Coast. (See photo above of him with one of his Minskins.)

Research by the Atlanta Constitution and Journal earlier revealed not only just how dangerous it is to ship cats and other animals by air but also how thoroughly dishonest the airline industry is when it comes to disclosing exactly how many animals are killed, injured, and lost each year on planes and at airports.

Since Section 710 of the Wendell H. Ford Aviation Investment and Reform Act for the Twenty-First Century of 2000 defines an animal as "any warm or cold-blooded animal which, at the time of transportation, is being kept as a pet in a family household in the United States," tens of thousands of deaths go unreported each year. For instance, deaths of cats shipped by breeders, such as Froais, and pet shops are not covered by the above definition. The same holds true for livestock, laboratory and zoo animals, and those employed in the entertainment industry.

In addition to those that freeze to death in cargo holds, others are killed on the tarmac by either baggage conveyor machines or the elements. Animals also often escape and disappear whenever their cages are dropped by careless airline personnel.

Some cats that are sedated never regain consciousness while even those that do survive often suffer broken teeth and claws as the result of the stress brought on by their frightening ordeal. (See Cat Defender post of April 7, 2009 entitled "Pregnant Minskin Arrives in Oregon Frozen as Solid as a Block of Ice Following a Fatal Cross-Country Flight in the Cargo Hold of an Airliner.")

Although most airlines still allow a few cats to travel in the passenger cabin, that soon may be a thing of the past, especially for those passengers who frequent either Air Canada or WestJet Airlines of Calgary. That is because the Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) ruled on February 25th of this year that passengers who are allergic to cats are disabled and therefore must be accommodated.

For the time being the CTA has stopped short of banning cats from the cabin but it has taken the matter under advisement and such an odious outcome is a distinct possibility. (See National Post, February 26, 2010, "Fliers with Cat Allergies Are Disabled, Agency Rules.")

Pet Airways, which inaugurated weekly service to New York, Washington, Chicago, Omaha, Fort Lauderdale, Denver, and Los Angeles last July, offers a far safer alternative, especially for those with deep pockets. An additional eighteen destinations are planned for 2011.

On these flights animals fly in climate-controlled cabins and their well-being is monitored every fifteen minutes by trained attendants. Fares start at $150.

13.) Belgians Are Still Celebrating Their Past Crimes Against Cats.

From the fourteenth century up until 1817 residents of Ieper disposed of their unwanted cats by hurling them to their deaths on Grote Markt from the top of two-hundred-thirty-foot-high Cloth Hall. Known as Kattenworp, this odious practice was the reward that the cats received for keeping the residents' precious textiles safe from rodents. In other words, the citizenry got rich while the cats got their brains splattered all over the cobblestones.

This sick and barbaric ritual was reinstituted in 1938 with the only difference being that stuffed cats were substituted for live ones. (See photo above of a jester hard at work at the 2003 event.)

A parade, known as Kattenstoet, was inaugurated in 1946 and it features thousands of costumed cat dancers, marching bands, floats, and fireworks. The forty-second edition of this triennial event stepped off on May 10th and attracted an estimated fifty-thousand spectators, many of them from Japan. (See photo below.)

While there is absolutely nothing wrong with Kattenstoet itself, it is perverse for the citizens of Ieper to continue to celebrate their past offenses against cats. It would be far more in keeping with the spirit of Kattenstoet if they instead were to abolish Kattenworp, issue a formal apology for their past crimes, and work to end current abuses and exterminations of cats throughout the country. (See Cat Defender posts of August 6, 2009 and May 22, 2006 entitled, respectively, "Unrepentant and Totally Shameless, Ieper Once Again Makes a Mockery of Its Past Crimes Against Cats by Staging Kattenstoet" and "Belgian Ritual of Tossing Stuffed Cats from Belfry Makes Jest of Hideous Crimes of Capitalists and Catholics.")

Photos: Rob Varella of the Ventura County Star (rescued cats from San Nicolas), Johann Andreas Naumann, Naturgeschichte der Voegel Mitteleuropas via Wikipedia (Corn Crakes), Bay News 9 of Tampa (Robin Hood), Rebecca Brown of Monroe County Animal Control via Splash News and the Daily Mail (Brownie), Moggies (Wilbur), Phoenix New Times (Jeremy Tuffly), AGFD (Macho B), Kelly Wesner (Tobey), Pasado's Safe Haven (Scatt), KOMO-TV of Seattle (Tracy A. Clark), WXIA-TV of Atlanta (Rachel Honeycutt), Northside Baptist Church (exterior of facility), Gene Sweeney Jr. of the Baltimore Sun (homeless cats at Northside Baptist), Sky News (Gothic kitten), KSAX-TV of Minneapolis (Hoppy), Sabine Wunderlin of Blick (Bingo and Ana de Vito), WPRI-TV of Providence (John Froais and a Minskin), Niko Deleu (Kattenworp), and De Morgen of Brussels (Kattenstoet).