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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, April 29, 2010

Long Suffering River Finally Finds a Home after Having Been Run Over by a Motorist and Nearly Drowned


"He gets around, but not as well as a cat who hasn't been affected this way. I'm afraid he wouldn't be able to get away from something that wanted to get him."
-- Amy Boddie of Fairhope Cat Coalition

River apparently at one time had a regular home but for whatever reason he found himself out walking near County Road 10 outside of Fairhope, Alabama, last October 4th. That was when the handsome ten-month-old mixed-breed American Shorthair was struck by a motorist and knocked into the Bon Secour River.

Pulled from the river by an unidentified party, he had suffered a shattered pelvis and a broken femur. Thanks to the veterinary care procured for him by the Fairhope Cat Coalition, his life was not only spared but he has recovered about as well as could be expected considering the severity of his life-threatening injuries.

"He gets around, but not as well as a cat who hasn't been affected this way," Amy Boddie of the Coalition told the Baldwin Times of nearby Daphne on January 1st. (See "Cat Fished Out of River Still Needs Good Home.") "I'm afraid he wouldn't be able to get away from something that wanted to get him."

River also is unable to scratch his ear with the leg that was broken but otherwise he has been given a clean bill of health by the attending veterinarians and should not have any more health issues related to the assault. 

After having been sterilized and vaccinated, he languished at the Coalition for months waiting to be adopted despite being a very sociable cat. "He is marvelous, social. He gets in the laps of people he doesn't know," Boddie told the Baldwin Times in the article cited supra. "He likes cats and dogs. He's a very affectionate cat."

Recently, his ship finally came in and he now has a permanent home. In fact, according to an April 14th letter from the Coalition's Glenda Turner, his new family is so delighted with him that it is considering establishing a "River Fund" in his honor.

When it comes to rescuing cats there is never enough money, veterinary care, or rooms at the inn. It therefore would have been easy for the Coalition to have turned its back on this badly injured cat and allowed him to die.

To their credit here and now and possibly later on, they chose not to do so. Instead, they spared no expense in order to not only save his life but also to rehabilitate him and to find him a good home.

Now, he hopefully can look forward to long and joyful life. To have survived life on the street, being run over by a hit-and-run motorist, nearly drowning in a river, and months of captivity at a shelter, he certainly is entitled to his happiness.

It is indisputable that he is better off alive than dead. Likewise, the people at the Coalition are better individuals for having chosen compassion over coldblooded expediency.

For whatever reason, not all rescue groups and shelters are willing to go the extra mile for injured and sick cats. (See Cat Defender post of April 18, 2010 entitled "Ally's Last Ride Lands Her in a Death Trap Set by an Uncaring and Irresponsible Supermarket Chain and a Bargain Basement Shelter.")

Photo: Amy Boddie of Fairhope Cat Coalition.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Holly Crawford Hits the Jackpot by Drawing a Judge Who Simply Adores Kitten Mutilators and Dope Addicts

"I couldn't have asked for more than that (no jail time) today, honestly!"
-- Holly Crawford

It is springtime and love is in the air but as far as Judge Tina Polachek Gartley of the Luzerne County Court of Common Pleas in Wilkes-Barre is concerned all of her love is reserved for a kitten mutilator and a dope addict. (See photo of her on the right.)

Cynics will perhaps scoff, but love at first sight does occur from time to time and the love bug surely must have given Gartley a big bite when she first laid eyes on thirty-five-year-old Holly Crawford of 71 Dobson Road in Sweet Valley, Pennsylvania. That is because on April 12th she let off the convicted kitten mutilator and purveyor of so-called Gothic kittens with a slap across the chops with a wet noodle.

That was in spite of the fact that she had been convicted by a jury on February 3rd of one count of summary animal cruelty and another count of misdemeanor animal cruelty and should have been sentenced to between six months and five years in jail. (See Cat Defender post of February 27, 2010 entitled "Sweet Valley Mutilator Is Convicted of Piercing the Ears, Necks, and Tails of Tiny Kittens That She Later Sold on eBay.")

Instead, Gartley sentenced her to six months of house arrest during which time she must wear an electronic monitor plus an additional twenty-one months of probation and evaluation. She additionally was ordered to shutter her profitable kitten mutilation factory and dog grooming business known as Pawside Parlor until she is released from probation.

Although she was allowed to retain custody of her three cats, one dog, and three snakes, Gartley mandated that she not acquire any more animals. At the urging of Deputy District Attorney David Pedri, she also was commanded to shut down her web site, www.gothickittens.net.

"I couldn't have asked for more than that today, honestly!" a triumphant Crawford gushed to the Times-Tribune of Scranton on April 13th. (See "Woman Convicted in 'Gothic Kitten' Case Receives House Arrest.") Truer words were never spoken. (See photo below of her striding out of court.)

Her attorney, Jeffrey Conrad, was equally ecstatic as well as totally unrepentant. "We're very pleased with the sentence," he told the Times Leader of Wilkes-Barre on April 13th. (See "House Arrest in Kitten Case.") Crawford was only trying to "beautify" the kittens, he added.

Although he inexplicably termed Gartley's outlandishly lenient sentence as appropriate, Pedri vociferously disagreed with Conrad's characterization of Crawford's conduct. "Our office recognizes (sic) this was a crime and cruelty to animals from day one," he told the Times Leader in the article cited supra. "Twelve people in that jury box unanimously agreed."

Gartley's ruling is all the more ludicrous in light of the fact that Crawford is a career criminal. She has been arrested on at least seventeen prior occasions resulting in convictions for shoplifting, drunk driving, theft, and trafficking in heroin. She even stole guns from her own mother, Moya Linde.

Crawford told the court that she had been off of heroin for five years and that mutilating tiny kittens had helped her to kick the habit. Regardless of the veracity of that declaration, Gartley was suitably impressed and readily concurred that such patently cruel and inhumane behavior was an acceptable tradeoff and therefore of no consequence.

Considering all the pain and suffering that she has inflicted upon kittens, it would have been far better if Crawford had stuck with her beloved heroin. By now perhaps she would have overdosed and society would be shed of both her and her despicable crimes.

Besides, even if she is truly off of heroin that does not necessarily mean that she was not using other controlled substances and thus abusing kittens in order to finance her addiction. Even more troubling, if she still has an addiction problem there is a good chance that she will continue to commit offenses of one sort or another.

This case is on all fours with that of serial criminal offender Tracy A. Clark who on April 19th of last year used a box cutter in order to slice open a cat named Scatt at a homeless shelter in Seattle. The only difference between Crawford and Clark is that the former is a drug addict whereas the latter is an habitual drunkard.

In Clark's case, King County Superior Court Judge Michael C. Hayden let him off with an order that he spend his nights in the pokey for nine months; his days were to have been spent, for whatever good it might do, 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.")

Gross miscarriages of justice such as occurred in these cases raises the troubling question of just what would it take to convince some jurists to remove dangerous individuals from society? Presumably, for both Gartley and Hayden nothing short of two or three coldblooded murders would suffice.

Even more shockingly, there is absolutely nothing in press reports to indicate that either Gartley or Hayden ever expressed one iota of concern for the victims of these serial offenders and derelicts. Likewise, providing a measure of justice to the kittens and Scatt never seems to have entered into their warped gourds.

Im Gegenteil, all of their compassion and justice were lavished on these two losers. The only logical conclusion to be derived from Gartley's and Hayden's jaundiced jurisprudence is that since birds of a feather flock together they must be cut from the same piece of moldy cloth as Crawford and Clark. The only difference being that they successfully have clawed their way to the pinnacle of society's pecking order whereas their soul mates are still languishing around the bottom looking for a way up to the top.

There might have been some room for leniency if Crawford had apologized and pled guilty from the outset but that is far from what happened. On the contrary, she insisted throughout sixteen months of judicial wrangling that it was "neat" to mutilate kittens.

"She thought it was a great idea (to pierce kittens)," Carol Morrison of the SPCA of Luzerne County said shortly after Crawford's arrest.

Her only concern all along was with her pocketbook and reputation. "My name is ruined, my reputation is ruined, (and) my business is ruined," she whined in February of 2009.

Even after her conviction all of her concern was concentrated on her wallet. "If it's part of my sentence that I can't work with animals anymore, that's just completely devastating," she confessed.

On that point it is unclear if Gartley's order bars her completely from working with animals or just from operating Pawside Parlor. If the ban is total, Crawford then will be forced to find some other means, legal or illegal, of sustaining her plush lifestyle.

She obviously has money because she ran through three attorneys during the course of beating the rap. Demetrius Fannick handled the early pleadings while John Pike unsuccessfully tried the case before handing off the ball to Conrad to deal with the sentencing phase.

At trial she even was able to afford a veterinarian who ludicrously testified that the kittens were not harmed by the mutilations. The prosecution countered with Melinda Merck who not only spelled out the damage done to the kittens' hearing, balance, and jumping ability but also the pain inflicted during these barbaric procedures.

Throughout the lengthy proceedings Crawford was permitted not only to keep open Pawside Parlor but to continue to solicit donations for her defense on her web site. Presumably, the mutilations stopped after the raid but even that cannot be taken as an indisputable fact.

The closest that Crawford has come to uttering a syllable of contrition was when she was standing before Gartley awaiting sentencing. "I had no idea what I was doing was a crime," she is reported in the Times Leader as saying. "It was wrong, and I'll never do it again."

Of course, it goes without saying that a convict awaiting sentencing will say just about anything in order to alleviate either his or her punishment. Even "Juice" Simpson begged like a dog in a futile attempt to avoid incarceration after his conviction for sticking up a sports memorabilia peddler in Las Vegas. In Crawford's case, the proof is in the pudding and the authorities would be well advised to keep a close eye on her.

Furthermore, if making the punishment fit the crime is the gold standard when it comes to sentencing convicts, Crawford should have had her ears, neck, and tail pierced. A leash should have been threaded through the ring inserted her neck and she then should have been pulled and jerked all over town.

It would have been interesting to find out just how "neat" and painless she would have found that exercise. The same treatment likewise should have been meted out to her trio of highly-paid mouthpieces as well as to Gartley.

This case began on December 17, 2008 when agents of the SPCA of Luzerne County and the Pennsylvania State Police raided Pawside Parlor and seized at least three two-month-old black kittens that weighed between only two and three pounds. Their ears had been pierced and jewelry inserted. Their necks and docked tails likewise had been pierced and rings inserted.

The neck piercings were made in order to facilitate the insertion of leashes. Crawford was so cheap in fact that she used tightly-wound rubber bands in order to shorten the kittens' tails.

These so-called Gothic kittens then were later sold on both eBay and through her web site for up to $4,000 apiece. (See Cat Defender post of January 9, 2009 entitled "Pennsylvania Pet Groomer Is Caught Piercing the Ears, Necks, and Tails of Cats and Dogs and Then Peddling Them on eBay.")

Throughout this sordid get-rich-quick scheme, Crawford was assisted by her boyfriend, thirty-seven-year-old William Blansett of 188 Gordon Road in Sweet Valley. Since he apparently only assisted in marketing the kittens he was not charged in this case.

She also was aided by the press which did not even identify her until she was arraigned in February of 2009 and it waited until after she was sentenced before publishing any photographs of her. (See Cat Defender post of February 26, 2009 entitled "Dog Groomer Who Sold Mutilated Gothic Kittens on the Internet Is Finally Identified and Ordered to Stand Trial.")

As is the case with her lenient sentence, Crawford's kid gloves' treatment by the media was especially unfair when compared to the countless number of individuals who are charged with lesser offenses every day. Seldom if ever are they shielded by the media; au contraire, they mercilessly are skewered long before they are even given their day in court.

Although this case is now closed, many questions remain unanswered. First of all, how long had Crawford been mutilating kittens at Pawside Parlor and elsewhere? Secondly, how many victims were there and what has happened to them?

Equally disturbing, who buys Gothic kittens and how many more mutilators are there peddling them? After all, Crawford only was caught because she became greedy and did her dirty work online. Most likely there are numerous others like her who are mutilating cats and selling them surreptitiously.

Finally, at last report the trio of kittens seized from Pawside Parlor were still at the SPCA of Luzerne County where they ridiculously have been held as evidence. With the proceedings now at an end, hopefully the SPCA will make good on its pledge to find homes for them.

Photos: Facebook (Gartley) and Mark Moran of The Citizens' Voice of Wilkes-Barre (Crawford).

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Ally's Last Ride Lands Her in a Death Trap Set by an Uncaring and Irresponsible Supermarket Chain and a Bargain Basement Shelter

The Ill-Fated Ally and Chris Anderson
"The people at Albertsons didn't think she was in the truck for long, but we think she was. Cats hide in amazing places, so she could've gone unnoticed for a long time."
-- Billings Animal Control Officer Nancy Lindstrom

Another cat has fallen victim to a corporate giant that puts profits ahead of compassion and an animal shelter that scrimps on veterinary care. On this latest occasion it was a rare ten-year-old Snowshoe Siamese named Ally and the perpetrators responsible for her untimely demise were the Boise-based retailer Albertsons, which operates hundreds of supermarkets out west and across the south, and Yellowstone Valley Animal Shelter (YVAS) of Billings, Montana.

It is not known where Ally hailed from but because of her pedigree it is highly probable that she at one time had a home. Tragically, it is a good bet that there is a brokenhearted individual out there somewhere who is grieving for her to make a miraculous return.

The only thing known for certain is that she arrived in Billings early on March 3rd in the back of one of Albertsons' delivery trucks from Salt Lake City. Workmen unloading the truck discovered her presence and contacted Animal Control Officer Nancy Lindstrom who came and collected the badly injured cat and took her to YVAS.

"I was expecting a cat in bad, bad shape. She appeared that way but she hissed at me and growled at me," she told the Billings Gazette on March 3rd. (See "Cat That Survived Long Truck Ride Recovering at Yellowstone Valley Animal Shelter.") "When I got back to (the) shelter, I opened up the box and I was talking to her, and she let out a tiny meow. Feral cats won't meow at you."

Actually, Ally was in far worse shape that either  Lindstrom or anyone else realized at that time. She had sustained unspecified injuries to her back and had possibly a broken hip, both of which would be consistent with having a heavy object dropped on top of her.

She also was famished and dehydrated which would tend to indicate that she had been trapped in the truck for an extended period of time. Not only has Albertsons refuted that claim but it has ordered its employees not to discuss Ally at all with outsiders.

"The people at Albertsons didn't think she was in the truck for long, but we think she was," Lindstrom told the Gazette in the article cited supra. "Cats hide in amazing places, so she could've gone unnoticed for a long time."

Since Billings is only about a seven-hour drive north of Salt Lake City (622 kilometers), that is far too short of an interval for Ally to have become dehydrated and famished unless she already was in that conditions and did indeed hop on board in Salt Lake City. Moreover, cats trapped in delivery trucks have endured significantly lengthier confinements and emerged from their ordeals in far better shape than Ally.

For instance, in 2006 a four-year-old longhaired cat named Neo accidentally spent five days trapped in one of Golden Van Lines' vehicles on an eleven-hundred-seventy-three kilometer trip from Crowley, Texas, to Longmont, Colorado. Company vice president Mike McCarthy and his staff tracked down his owners, Amos and Sonja Gaines, and flew Neo back to Crowley via American Airlines. (See Cat Defender post of November 6, 2006 entitled "Trapped in a Moving Van for Five Days, Texas Cat Named Neo Is Finally Freed in Colorado.")

Later in 2008, a ten-day-old black and white kitten named Ronaldo survived a three-day trip by truck from Portugal to Northamptonshire. Like Ally, he arrived famished and dehydrated but any kitten deprived of its mother's milk for such a long time would have arrived in the same condition. (See Cat Defender post of August 18, 2008 entitled "Ronaldo Escapes Death after Retailer Coughs Up the Exorbitant Bounty That Quarantine Officials Had Placed on His Head.")

Even more disturbing, it also is likely that one of Albertsons' employees somewhere along the way was responsible for Ally's back and hip injuries. Furthermore, if one of them had dropped a pallet on her it is likely that she would have cried out in pain and run for cover.

It therefore is not only clear that someone at Albertsons is lying but an employee also knowingly left Ally to suffer all alone from the injuries that either he or she so callously inflicted. Although there are plenty of exceptions to the rule, delivery drivers and and warehouse personnel generally are not known for their humane treatment of cats. (See Cat Defender post of April 8, 2010 entitled "Frozen Food Purveyor Knowingly Condemns Frosty to Spend Five Weeks in Its -28 Degree Fahrenheit Warehouse Without Either Food or Water.")

Upon arrival at YVAS, Chris Anderson had Ally, shorthand for Albertsons, examined by a veterinarian and then placed in a warm cage. She was given plenty of food and water and since she had a good appetite it looked for a while that she was going to make a complete recovery.

In fact, Anderson even had made tentative plans to either put her up for adoption or to keep her around as an office mascot. For reasons that are not exactly clear, YVAS did an abrupt about-face and immediately placed Ally in foster care. Two days later on March 5th she became anemic and was returned to YVAS.

Blood tests performed by a veterinarian disclosed that she had contracted an unidentified parasite that normally is not found in Montana. She was given antibiotics and returned to foster care where at 7 a.m. on March 9th she sadly died.

Because of the Gazette's elliptical reporting, it is not possible to say with any certainty what exactly killed Ally. It does seem rather strange, however, that a cat with back injuries, a broken hip, and a deadly parasite in her system would be so quickly placed in foster care.

Considering the extent of her health problems, she needed around-the-clock veterinary care. In particular, an emergency blood transfusion may have been warranted in order to have stabilized her anemia.

It also is conceivable that the attending veterinarian inadvertently hastened her demise by administering a lethal cocktail of drugs designed to alleviate her multiple maladies. Ally's system may not have been strong enough to have dealt with the parasite, a broken hip, and back injuries after all that she had been put through recently.

This case bears a striking resemblance to that of a kitten named Malli who arrived in Cleveland following a lengthy sea voyage from Malaysia in 2008. In that case, he seemed to be doing fine until he was released into foster care. (See Cat Defender posts of March 21, 2008 and April 25, 2008 entitled, respectively, "Malli Survives a Thirty-Two-Day Voyage from Johor Bahru to Cleveland Trapped Inside a Shipping Crate" and "After Surviving a Lengthy and Hellish Confinement at Sea, Malli Dies Unexpectedly in Foster Care.")

Despite her glaring lack of attentiveness, Anderson already has shrugged off Ally's death. "The last three or four days of her life, we know that she was well cared for, well fed, watered, and warm," she crowed to the Billings Gazette on March 10th. (See "Parasite Deadly for Stowaway Cat.")

That is not good enough. Acts of beau geste accompanied by the usual platitudes and self-serving rationalizations do not save lives.

Admittedly, money, space, and expertise are always in short supply when it comes to rescuing cats. Nevertheless, half-hearted veterinary care is totally inexcusable; closeness only counts when pitching horseshoes.

Cats that have undergone extended periods of deprivation, such as those trapped in delivery trucks and the cargo holds of ships, require special attention and monitoring. Anyone who is either too lazy or cheap to provide such care does not have any business being either a veterinarian or operating a shelter.

It also is revealing that YVAS rebuffed numerous entreaties not only from local residents but from concerned cat-lovers as faraway as Salt Lake City, Connecticut, and Georgia to both adopt Ally and to foot the bill for her veterinary care. That is not the least bit surprising in that Snowshoe Siamese cats are not only expensive and attractive, but affectionate, vocal, and intelligent as well. They additionally get along well with children and dogs.

The breed, which only has been in existence for about forty-five years, was started by Dorothy Hinds-Daugherty of Philadelphia by breeding Seal Point Siamese to bicolor American Shorthairs. Today, Snowshoes are bred to Snowshoes but reproducing the desired markings is a difficult task and that accounts for their rarity.

Considering the numerous funding options available to it, YVAS therefore does not have a valid excuse for scrimping on Ally's care by fobbing her off to a foster home. Now that it is too late to either save her life or to take advantage of those offers, YVAS is badgering the public to cover the outstanding balance due on Ally's veterinary bill.

There are not any heroes in this story. Both Albertsons and YVAS failed Ally miserably. If either of them had acted promptly, humanely, and with compassion there is a good chance that this lovely female would still be alive today. As it is, her premature death is a shame that borders on criminality.

"She wants to live," Anderson said of Ally in the March 3rd article cited supra. "She wants to live in the worst way."

Sometimes wanting to live is not enough, however. Mistreated, abandoned, and sickly cats require compassion from the business community and competent veterinary care from shelters.

Following her death Ally's corpse most likely was either unceremoniously tossed out with the trash or burned. Her existence already most likely has been forgotten by both Albertsons and YVAS.

This world is chock-full of Allys, however, and they are going to continue to turn up at both businesses and shelters alike. It would be comforting to believe that the next wayward feline would be treated differently but that would be to engage in wishful thinking.

Photo: Larry Mayer of the Billings Gazette.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Lake Lanier's Cats Face an Uncertain Future Following Their Ouster by the Liars and Defamers at the United States Army Corps of Engineers

"The cats, to me, are as much a part of this park as the squirrels, the birds, and the people. I don't see them as any more of a threat, a danger, or nuisance than the geese that poop everywhere or the squirrels that get in the garbage and knock everything over."
-- area resident Bessie Lamica

The federal government's all-out war against cats has entered a new phase with the recent decision of the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) to get rid of all the resident felines at Lake Sidney Lanier, north of Atlanta. (See photo above of one of the uprooted cats.)

Specifically, between thirty and one-hundred cats living in West Bank Park off of Buford Dam Road in Cumming, Forsyth County, are in the process of being trapped and removed. In order to facilitate their ouster, the USACE last month embarked upon a plan to starve the cats to death by banning their caretakers from feeding them.

"No Feeding" signs accordingly were erected at the park although it is not known if any violators have been arrested and carted off to the clink. (See photo below.)

Assisted by the equally ailurophobic Forsyth County Sheriff's Department, the Corps began trapping the cats on March 28th and turning them over to the Forsyth County Animal Shelter (FCAS). Under the USACE's original plan, the cats were to have been held for seven days and then killed if not ransomed by rescue groups.

Not being big on adoption, the FCAS is a notorious cat-killing factory. For example, on March 31st it listed on Petfinder twenty-six dogs as being available for adoption but only two cats! On April 15th, it was offering to the public only eighteen dogs and one cat.

Under pressure from individual cat-lovers from across the country, the USACE belatedly has relented and is now allowing the Humane Society of Forsyth County (HSFC) and the Georgia SPCA to join in the trapping effort. Tom Wargo of Backyard Sanctuary and the Feral Cat Program of Georgia also are believed to be involved in this project.

So far, sixteen cats have been trapped and removed, but it is unclear what has been done with them. Presumably, some of them are still at the FCAS while the remainder are with either the Georgia SPCA or the HSFC. It therefore is imperative that supporters of the cats vociferously demand that they be protected and well cared for at all times and that their imprisonment be as brief as possible.

"We are looking for help trapping during the hours of 7 and 10 a.m. and 7 to 10 p.m., transportation for the cats to and from the vet and holding locations, as well as volunteers to care for cats and locations for placement," Jill Gooch of HSFC told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution on April 11th. (See "Cat Compromise: Lanier's Feral Cats Won't Be Euthanized.") "This is one of the largest combined efforts in Georgia to rescue and save feral cats."

The long-term game plan calls for some of the cats and all of the kittens to be placed in homes while a new outdoor location must be secured for those cats that the rescue groups do not have either the time or the resources in order to socialize for domestic life. Besides a new habitat, feeding stations, shelters, and caretakers must be found for the cats.

Under an earlier arrangement worked out with the Corps, rescue groups were given only one week in order to trap and remove the cats and it is unclear how much longer that deadline will be extended. Much more importantly, neither the USACE nor the rescue groups have speculated about the fate of those cats that will be left behind.

In all probability, the USACE then will resort to violence and have the cats either shot or poisoned. It most likely already has sentenced innumerable kittens to die of starvation and predation by its deliberate selection of birthing season to trap and remove their mothers.

Moreover, this problem is not going to magically disappear overnight regardless of how many cats the USACE either evicts or kills. West Bank Park is a popular and convenient location for irresponsible residents from all over northern Georgia and Atlanta to dump their unwanted cats.

In order to sell its inhumane eviction scheme to the public, the USACE is relying upon the same old discredited lies that bird advocates and wildlife biologists have been spouting ad nauseam. As Mark Twain once astutely observed, "One of the remarkable differences between a cat and a lie is that a cat only has nine lives."

"From a health standpoint, from a safety standpoint, from a natural resources standpoint, a large colony of cats on a small twenty-eight-acre park that's the most visited recreational area on Lake Lanier, just doesn't work for us," Chris Lovejoy of the USACE told WSB Radio of Atlanta on April 2nd. (See "Lanier Feral Cats Given Reprieve.")

Other than the cats' alleged negative impact on wildlife, Lovejoy ludicrously claims that they carry diseases and attack humans. "The other side is they carry diseases that are harmful to pregnant women. They're a vector for rabies," he proclaimed to Fox-5 of Atlanta in a video on March 29th. (See "Feds Remove Cats from North Georgia Park.") "Not to mention the fact that there are kids in the park by the hundreds on a holiday weekend, any given weekend, and it just takes one time for that cat to get trapped or penned in some place and it attacks someone."

The editor of Moggies responded on April 13th by pointing out the obvious. "That statement is false. It is humans who spread disease and decimate the wild areas of our world. The Army should know better than to spread stupid lies."

Carmela Quinlan, who over the course of the past four years has trapped and sterilized one-hundred-fifty of the park's cats, quickly disposed of the latter half of Lovejoy's sottise. "They don't pose a threat to anyone. They're not a threat to humans," she declared in the same video. "They're afraid of humans." (See photo of her below.)

Being thoroughly dishonest, Lovejoy purposefully neglected to point out that visitors to the park do not have any business trapping and harassing cats or any other animals. Furthermore, as the owner and manager of the park, the USACE has a solemn duty to protect the cats from miscreants intent upon doing them harm. Most importantly of all, cats, like all animals, have an unequivocal right to defend themselves when attacked.

If Lovejoy has in his possession any evidence that proves conclusively that homeless cats attack humans without provocation he should reveal it. Otherwise, he should stop telling whoppers.

As far as toxoplasmosis is concerned, it is spread by wildlife as well as cats and also can be contracted from handling meat and vegetables. As he should know, it is only a threat to pregnant women who neglect to wash their hands after changing litter boxes.

Rabies, meanwhile, is rare in cats but quite common in wildlife. Presumably, the cats returned to the park by Quinlan were vaccinated against the disease when they were sterilized. This may not necessarily be the case with cats that are dumped in the park in the future now that the USACE idiotically has outlawed TNR.

To be truthful about it, it is precisely wildlife, not cats, that carry deadly diseases and therefore are a threat to people. "The cats, to me, are as much a part of this park as the squirrels, the birds, and the people," Bessie Lamica, who lives nearby, told WGCL-TV of Atlanta on April 6th. (See "Feral Cats Running Rampant in State Park.") "I don't see them as any more of a threat, a danger, or nuisance than the geese that poop everywhere or the squirrels that get in the garbage and knock everything over."

Anyone even remotely acquainted with the destructive damage that birds, mice, squirrels, raccoons, and other animals do to crops, food stores, electrical wiring, and other property can readily identify with what Lamica is saying. All of those animals also can carry deadly diseases.

In fact, Mary Cotter who teaches veterinary technology at LaGuardia Community College attributes the disappearance of rabbits from Manhattan's Central Park to a roundworm found in the feces of raccoons. (See New York Daily News, April 1, 2010, "Where Did All the Bunnies Go? Last Wild Rabbit Spotted in Central Park Was Four Years Ago.")

It also has been well documented that wildlife are major polluters of rivers and streams. (See Washington Post, September 29, 2006, "Wildlife Waste Is Major Water Polluter, Studies Say.")

Birds are even more dangerous to humans. Not only do they decimate crops and start forest fires, but their excrement and urine damage automobiles, outdoor furniture, and children's toys. They even poop on top of people's heads!

Much more importantly, they are responsible for spreading influenza and the West Nile Virus. Researchers at Yale University's School of Public Health and the Connecticut Agricultural Station in New Haven last year reported that thirty-eight per cent of robins carry and spread the deadly West Nile Virus. (See Living on Earth, September 4, 2009, "Robins and West Nile Virus.")

Based upon the self-serving drivel that Lovejoy, bird advocates, and wildlife biologists pass off as the gospel truth, it is precisely birds and other wildlife that should be removed from the environment, not cats. Of course, no cat-lover ever has advocated such a patently immoral scheme.

To put it succinctly, the chances of an individual visiting West Bank Park and getting stung by a mosquito that had contracted the West Nile Virus from a robin are immensely greater than that person getting bitten by a sick cat.

Although the feds, birders, and wildlife biologists do not have an ounce to spare, this case also is about justice. Namely, that these cats have just as much of a right to live in West Bank Park as any other species and instead of defaming and attempting to kill them the USACE should be protecting, feeding, and caring for them.

They were cruelly and irresponsibly abandoned by their previous owners and left to fend for themselves against both human and wild predators. As Quinlan said in the above cited video, "These cats have a right to live. They were here however they got here."

Moreover, Quinlan feels that it is a total waste of taxpayer dollars for the USACE to trap and kill the cats. "Animal Control doesn't do that for free. We're paying for that," she told WSB Radio on March 30th. (See "Plan to Euthanize Lake Lanier Cats.") "If someone wants to pay for something, pay to have them fixed and stop the overpopulation and control, control (sic) the colony."

Lovejoy, however, insists that TNR does not work. "We've trapped cats over the years when the population got somewhat out of control and then reduced the population then we see in a few years later that the population has grown again," he bellowed to WSB Radio in the March 30th article cited supra.

He is, of course, being dishonest again. TNR does indeed work, at least as far as those cats that are sterilized are concerned. It also works for those cats and kittens that are removed and adopted.

It does not stop individuals from abandoning cats but neither will the USACE's trap and kill policies. Much more importantly, managed colonies are a fairer and more humane approach to dealing with homeless cats.

It is therefore paramount that the USACE disclose to the public exactly how many cats it has killed or had killed by its subalterns in West Bank Park over the years. It additionally should be compelled, by court order if necessary, to do likewise in regard to all the other properties that it owns and manages around the country and world.

Included in its humongous portfolio are, inter alia, another two-hundred-eighty-three lakes and reservoirs, six-hundred-nine dams, and two-hundred-fifty-seven navigation lock chambers at two-hundred-twelve locations.

It also maintains nine-hundred-twenty-six coasts and inland harbors, including those on the Great Lakes, as well as 38,700 acres of wetlands. Plus, it is active in ninety foreign countries.

Most of these locations have resident felines and if they already have not been either killed or evicted that surely is destined to be their fate in the near future unless the USACE is stopped.

Considering its barbaric and dishonest treatment of cats, it is not surprising that the USACE additionally has proven itself totally incompetent to manage water levels in Lake Lanier itself. In 2006, for instance, it was forced to admit that the gauge it was using was off by almost two feet and, as a consequence, the reservoir had considerably less water than originally thought.

In September of 2009 when streams south of the lake were flooding the USACE idiotically continued to release even more water, thus compounding the damage. Based upon that kind of behavior, no one would be really surprised if it turned up at a forest fire with a can of petrol and a box of matches!

Over the years the USACE erroneously has insisted that it had the authority to set aside twelve per cent of Lake Lanier's water for Atlanta. Finally, in July of last year a federal judge sitting in Jacksonville rejected that claim and gave the USACE three years to either stop this unlawful practice or to seek additional authorization from Congress.

Another option would be for Georgia to work out some sort of a compromise with Alabama and Florida, which also receive water from Lake Lanier. (See Lake Lanier.com, October 1, 2009, "Corps of Engineers on Lake Lanier Fights Criticism" and Wikipedia's article on Lake Lanier.)

Its mistreatment of cats and incompetent, illegal management of Lake Lanier's resources are merely the tip of the proverbial iceberg as far as the USACE is concerned. For example, on November 18th of last year United States District Court Judge Stanwood R. Duval, Jr. ruled that the agency was negligent in its maintenance of the levees in New Orleans which led to so much catastrophic property damage and loss of life in Saint Bernard Parish and in the Lower Ninth Ward when Hurricane Katrina roared through in 2005.

That case involved only four residents and one business owner who were awarded a grand total of $719,698. Other residents of the Big Easy are likely to follow suit and some experts have estimated that the USACE's potential liability could be as high as $500 billion.

Earlier, its design and operation of a rifle range for the National Guard at Camp O'Ryan in Wethersfield, New York, resulted in lead contamination of not only local wells but the Niagara River and Lake Ontario as well.

With its thirty-four-thousand-six-hundred civilian employees on top of six-hundred-fifty military big shots, the USACE long has been known as a cesspool of glorified welfare bums, corruption, pork barrel politics, and boondoggles. It was, however, its gross mismanagement of the levees in New Orleans that finally attracted the attention of the legislative branch of government.

"American taxpayers cannot wait for another natural disaster like Katrina before we act to improve the safety and security of Corps' projects," United States Senators John McCain and Russ Feingold said in a joint statement released after Duval's ruling. (See About Lawsuits.com, November 23, 2009, "Hurricane Katrina Lawsuit Results in Damages Against Army Corps.")

Absolutely no one should hold either his or her breath expecting any reforms to be instituted at the USACE. After all, looking to America's thoroughly corrupt and mendacious politicians to police the Corps is tantamount to asking Jesse James to make a law abiding citizen out of Billy the Kid.

Nevertheless, it is crying shame that no one in Congress can be interested in investigating the crimes committed against cats by the USACE and other federal agencies. At the top of the list is the United States Fish and Wildlife Service which kills scores of cats with impunity each year. (See Cat Defender posts of June 27, 2008 and May 24, 2007 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 "USDA and Fish and Wildlife Service Commence Trapping and Killing Cats on Florida's Big Pine Key.")

Although it is better known for the millions of wild animals that it systematically exterminates each year at the urging of its capitalist buddies, the United States Department of Agriculture's Wildlife Services also guns down at least twelve-hundred cats each year. (See Cat Defender post of September 15, 2005 entitled "United States Government Exterminates Millions of Wild Animals at the Behest of Capitalists.")

The various branches of the military also have their taxpayer-paid killers who travel both the United States and world hunting down and killing cats. (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.")

Not about to be left out of the cat-killing craze, the National Park Service, probably the U.S. Forest Service, and governmental-run laboratories also kill and torture their fair share of cats as well. No one could even begin to hazard a guess as to how many additional ensanguined feline corpses are hidden away in the closets of other federal agencies.

This widespread antipathy toward cats raises the thought provoking question of whether ailurophobes simply are attracted to the United States Government because of the abundance of opportunities that it presents for them to kill cats and to get paid handsomely for doing so, or are these individuals more or less normal when recruited but then go completely off the rails once brainwashed by their superiors. After all, such uniformity of thought does seem a trifle odd even for as people as servile and sycophantic as Americans.

In that respect the feds' behavior is reminiscent of that of Reverend Sun Myung Moon's acolytes who peddle flowers in Manhattan's Times Square. Totally incapable of either rational discourse or independent inquiry, they simply repeat by rote whatever silliness they have been indoctrinated to believe.

There is one important difference between the two groups, however. With the notable exception of their complicity in the wholesale slaughter of bluefin tuna for the lucrative American sushi market, Reverend Moon's zombies largely are benign in their approach to the world. The feds, on the other hand, are maniacal cat defamers and killers. Worst still, all of their evil deeds are being perpetrated with taxpayer dollars and under the cover of law.

Photos: Jim Dean of the Forsyth County News.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

A Frozen Food Purveyor Knowingly Condemns Frosty to Spend Five Weeks in Its -28° Fahrenheit Warehouse Without Either Food or Water

"It's extremely cold in there. We were surprised that he survived. He's a very lucky boy. He was very frightened and obviously freezing cold."
-- Spokesman for the unidentified frozen food warehouse

In yet still another utterly appalling example of how capitalists, the phony-baloney RSPCA, and the English press treat cats, a one-year-old tuxedo named Frosty was knowingly left to languish without either food or water in a frozen food warehouse for close to five weeks during January and February. Against all odds, he somehow survived although the -28° Fahrenheit temperature inside the facility cost him both ears and his tail.

Other than his ironclad will to live, it is theorized that Frosty survived by eating frozen peas and licking condensation off the outside of packages. (See photo above.)

In the massive media-orchestrated cover-up that has ensued, at least three contradictory and severely redacted versions of events have surfaced. Most notably, neither the Leicester Mercury, the Daily Mail, nor the RSPCA have been willing to identify the warehouse which so callously allowed Frosty to needlessly suffer in agony for such an extended period of time.

The Mercury has categorically refused even to disclose its location whereas all the Daily Mail has had to say on this vitally important subject is that it is located in Northamptonshire. Therefore, about the only thing that can be surmised is that the warehouse is located somewhere in the East Midlands.

Even the long overdue rescue itself is cloaked in secrecy. The Mercury has reported that Frosty was saved by the staff of the warehouse whereas according to the Daily Mail he was trapped by the RSPCA. On its web site, the RSPCA states only that he "was finally rescued and brought to" its Woodside Animal Center in Leicester. (See photo below.)

Even if the RSPCA was responsible for trapping Frosty it did so in a callous, lackadaisical manner by setting out a baited trap and leaving it unattended overnight. Considering Frosty's weakened condition, it is a wonder that the stress brought on by being left overnight in a cage did not finish off the job started by the cold and starvation.

At the very least, the laggards at the RSPCA should have checked the trap every few hours or so. That is what they get paid to do and saving the life of a cat in distress is certainly worth losing a few winks.

Apparently Frosty arrived at the facility as a stowaway aboard one of the delivery trucks and thereafter either escaped or was purposefully abandoned by a driver. The latter scenario would not be unusual in that scores of individuals abandon cats in the cold without so much as a second thought. (See Cat Defender posts of December 9, 2008 and January 13, 2006 entitled, respectively, "Shaved from Head to Tail and Left to Freeze to Death in the Ontario Cold, Chopper Is Saved at the Last Minute" and "Montana Firefighters Rescue 'Lucky' Calico Cat Who Was Caged and Purposefully Thrown into an Icy River.")

Although the doors to the facility often were left open in order to facilitate arriving and departing lorries, Frosty apparently was too frightened by all the hustle and bustle in order to make a break for freedom. Employees of the facility likewise apparently were either too lazy or ailurophobic to even chase him out into the warmth of the sun.

"It's extremely cold in there," a spokesman for the warehouse superfluously pointed out to the Mercury on March 4th. (See "Cat Trapped in Freezing Food Warehouse for Weeks.") "We were surprised that he survived. He's a very lucky boy. He was very frightened and obviously freezing cold."

Statements such as that constitute a prima facie case that the warehouse was intent upon freezing and starving Frosty to death from the get-go. Furthermore, they go a long way toward explaining why it so steadfastly refused to put out both food and water for him once his presence was detected.

According to the RSPCA's web site, Frosty is recuperating at its shelter in Leicester where he still is listed as its "Pet of the Week." "When he came to us he was pretty shy, which isn't surprising considering the ordeal he'd been through," the organization's Rachel Allcock told the Mercury in the article cited supra. "He's a lovely cat and he's become very playful."

As outrageous and irresponsible as it sounds, the RSPCA plans to allow one of the warehouse workers who hideously ignored his plight for five weeks to adopt Frosty! That should not be permitted to take place under any circumstances.

Because of their past neglect, no one associated with the warehouse should be allowed within ten feet of Frosty. He needs and deserves a loving home where not only his basic needs are met but his disabilities are addressed as well.

Moreover, if the RSPCA and other humane organizations were doing their jobs the warehouse would be charged with animal cruelty and forced to answer for its outrageous behavior in a court of law. Instead, it is being rewarded with custody of the cat that it did everything in its power to kill.

Of course, it is generally recognized by the cognoscenti that the RSPCA, like PETA and the Humane Society of the United States, is a fraud. Among its numerous crimes, it picks up domestic cats off the street and kills them without cause and sits idly by while world-renown cats are left to gambol in dangerously busy streets. (See Cat Defender posts of June 5, 2007 and January 30, 2010 entitled, respectively, "RSPCA's Unlawful Seizure and Senseless Killing of Mork Leaves His Sister, Mindy, Brokenhearted and His Caretakers Devastated" and "Casper Is Run Down and Killed by a Hit-and-Run Taxi Driver while Crossing the Street in Order to Get to the Bus Stop.")

Frosty to date has racked up a veterinary tab in excess of five-hundred pounds sterling (US$762) and, not surprisingly, the RSPCA is begging the public to foot the bill for its and the warehouse's gross negligence. For whatever it is worth, employees of the facility have passed the hat but, true to form, they are keeping mum about how much money was collected.

A few choice words also are in order for the English media. First of all, it is inexcusable for the Mercury and the Daily Mail to shield the warehouse from public censure. It should be named, shamed, and its products boycotted.

Secondly, it would not kill the press to occasionally do something other than parrot the Establishment's propaganda. Unfortunately, that most likely is asking too much of a business that only employs conservatives and sycophants.

Furthermore, this is not an isolated case. Shipping companies and warehouses doom large numbers of cats to prolonged suffering and often agonizing deaths each year because of either carelessness or rabid ailurophobia. (See Cat Defender posts of August 18, 2008, August 11, 2008, April 25, 2008, May 17, 2007, and December 9, 2005 entitled, respectively, "Ronaldo Escapes Death after Retailer Coughs Up the Exorbitant Bounty That Quarantine Officials Had Placed on His Head," "Trapped Inside a Crate, Ginger Licks Up Condensation in Order to Survive a Nightmarish Sea Voyage from China to Nottinghamshire," "After Surviving a Lengthy and Hellish Confinement at Sea, Malli Dies Unexpectedly in Foster Care," "North Carolina Shelter Plotting to Kill Cat That Survived Being Trapped for Thirty-Five Days in Cargo Hold of Ship from China," and "Adventurous Wisconsin Cat Named Emily Makes Unscheduled Trip to France in Hold of Cargo Ship.")

In conclusion, since the RSPCA has not uttered so much as a solitary syllable concerning Frosty's prognosis, the public has been left in the dark. The best that therefore can be hoped for is that his hearing is still intact despite the loss of his external ears.

Unfortunately, his internal ears are now more than ever exposed to the elements, parasites, and sharp objects. Prosthetics are a possibility but their implantation would entail not only considerable cost but additional surgeries as well.

Moreover, considering all the scratching that a cat does, the implants would need to be especially durable. The healing process that follows such a procedure also would require that he be fitted with a cumbersome Elizabethan collar for an extended period of time.

The loss of his tail will hinder his balance and jumping ability as well as eliminate a valuable tool in the fight against bothersome insects. Nevertheless, many bobtailed cats get along just fine.

In the photographs released so far, he also appears to have sustained frostbite to his nose and the same is likely true for his paws as well. Worst of all, he may have suffered internal injuries that the RSPCA has not disclosed to the public. It therefore is imperative that he be placed in a home where his health will be closely monitored for the foreseeable future.

As amazing as it is that Frosty survived such a hellish ordeal, it is even more staggering how anybody or group of individuals could have knowingly committed such an atrocity. That is not right and neither the warehouse nor the RSPCA should be permitted to get away with their outrageous criminal behavior.

While it is not possible at this time to contact the warehouse, the Leicester chapter of the RSPCA can be given an earful by snail mail at 190 Scudamore Road, Leicester LE3 1UQ or by e-mail at info@rspcaleicester.org.uk.

Photos: Daily Mail and SWNS (Frosty) and Leicester RSPCA (shelter).

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Although as Rich as Croesus, Chevron Has Only Peanuts to Offer the Two-Hundred Cats Who Live at Its Refinery in El Segundo

"In today's economy, when it's actually cheaper to kill, they chose life. It made me rethink everything I used to think about oil companies."
-- Vanessa Bell of GRACE Animal Rescue

Chevron is a humongous multinational corporation that had revenues in excess of $273 billion in 2008 and yet when it comes to the two-hundred or so cats that call the grounds of its sprawling one-thousand-acre refinery in El Segundo home all that it has to offer them is chicken feed. (See photo above of the plant.)

Nevertheless, its announcement last November that it had donated a paltry $5,000 towards the sterilization, deworming, feeding, and veterinary care of the cats came as a pleasant surprise. Even cadging so much as a lousy sou out of a serial polluter, environmental despoiler, and tax cheat like Chevron comes as something of a coup.

The recipient of the petroleum giant's largess was Giving Rescued Animals a Caring Environment (GRACE) Animal Rescue of El Segundo which has consented to undertake the trapping and desexing. Just as importantly, through its partnership with Petco at the Crossroads Shopping Center in Torrance, it also will attempt to secure homes for some of the cats.

Regrettably, as of December 17th only five of the cats trapped so far had been deemed suitable for adoption. That in itself is not surprising under the circumstances but if GRACE and Chevron were willing to invest the time and resources needed to socialize the cats almost all of them eventually could adjust to domestic life on some level.

"In today's economy, when it's actually cheaper to kill, they chose life," GRACE's Vanessa Bell caroled to the Daily Breeze of Torrance on November 19th. (See "Refinery Donates $5,000 to Help Its Feral Cat Population.") "It made me rethink everything I used to think about oil companies."

Later on December 17th she gushed to The Beach Reporter of Manhattan Beach, "It's just so amazing to me how sympathetic they were toward the animals." (See "Feral Cats at Chevron Benefit from Donation.") "You wouldn't expect that from a large company."

If she is being truthful, the only thing that declarations of that sort prove is that her head is easily turned by a flash of cash no matter how infinitesimal. After all, it is doubtful that $5,000 is going to go very far when it comes to a job of this magnitude.

That is a petit fait that even she seems to be cognizant of in her saner moments. "It's very expensive with the feral cats, but it's definitely a labor of love," she added in the interview with the Daily Breeze.

Luckily, neither Chevron nor GRACE are located in Beverly Hills where the wiseacres who sit on the City Council have mandated that only specially-designed feeding stations that cost $1,800 apiece can be used in order to feed the cats that their filthy rich constituents have so cruelly and irresponsibly abandoned. (See The Beverly Hills Courier, November 19, 2009, "Will the Beverly Hills Cats Ever Be Fed?")

In addition to the paucity of funding, far more weightier questions remain unresolved. Most poignantly, although TNR has been mentioned neither GRACE nor Chevron have publicly specified exactly what is to happen to those cats that are not adopted.

It is in this light that Bell's crack about it being cheaper to kill a cat than to spare its life is especially disturbing. If he were alive today, Henry David Thoreau would quickly denounce such thinking as being both morally and intellectually repugnant. "Every creature is better alive than dead, men and moose and pine trees, and he who understands it aright will rather preserve its life than destroy it," he once wrote.

More pertinently, TNR actually is more cost effective in the long run than the trap and kill policies in situ across the vast majority of the United States and world. In particular, a recent study commissioned by Best Friends Animal Society of Kanab, Utah, calculated that it would cost taxpayers $16 billion to trap and kill America's estimated eighty-seven-million homeless cats.

On the opposing side of the ledger, these same cats could be trapped, sterilized, and released at a cost of only $9 billion. (See Earth Times, March 18, 2010, "New Research Exposes High Taxpayer Cost for Eradicating Free-Roaming Cats" and PR Web, February 16, 2010, "Best Friends Animal Society Excited by Growing Trend of Humane Approach to Free-Roaming Cats.")

Nevertheless, that financial reality has been shouted down for far too long by those who earn their daily bread by killing cats. Included in this rogues' gallery of merciless killers are, inter alia, Animal Control officers, shelters, phony-baloney rescue groups such as PETA and the Humane Society of the United States, and the manufacturers of sodium pentobarbital and gas chambers.

Bird advocates and wildlife biologists hate cats with a passion and care neither about the costs involved nor the immorality of their actions. They also profit handsomely from feline eradication projects, such as the one on San Nicolas Island. (See Cat Defender posts of June 27, 2008, April 28, 2009, and November 20, 2009 entitled, respectively, "United States Fish and Wildlife Service and the Navy Hatch a Diabolical Plan to Gun Down Two-Hundred Cats on San Nicolas Island," "Quislings at the Humane Society Sell Out San Nicolas's Cats to the Assassins at the Diabolical United States Fish and Wildlife Service," and "Memo to the Humane Society: Tell the World Exactly How Many Cats You and Your Honeys at the USFWS Have Murdered on San Nicholas Island.")

While a number of municipalities will no doubt find Best Friends' study to be appealing, it is really superfluous because no one should be given the right to kill cats under any circumstances. They have just as much of a right to live in freedom and to procreate as do all other species.

It therefore is imperative that those cats which are not adopted are either returned to the grounds of the refinery or relocated elsewhere. Under no circumstances should they be harmed in any way.

It is unclear how the refinery came to be in the possession of so many cats in the first place. All that the Daily Breeze has to say on that vitally important point is that they were abandoned there but it neglects to say by whom. It therefore is likely that employees of the refinery are at least in part responsible for the explosion in population.

The good news is that after attacking the problem in fits and starts over the better part of the past decade the suits at Chevron now seem committed to finding a humane solution. "It's just the right thing to do," the company's Lily Craig told the Daily Breeze in the article cited supra. "We were so excited to have the help."

To their credit, employees already have set up feeding stations in safe areas of the refinery and taken steps to exclude the felines from the hazardous sections. That is a good start but the proof is in the pudding and the actions of both the refinery and GRACE need to be closely monitored to insure that they keep their word.

Despite its obvious shortcomings, the rescue plan concocted by Chevron and GRACE is a big improvement over the trap and kill policy implemented by aerospace giant Northrop Grumman at its Space Technology Unit eight kilometers away in Redondo Beach. (See Cat Defender post of July 27, 2006 entitled "Northrop Grumman Plans to Exterminate a Colony of Feral Cats That Has Lived at Its Redondo Beach Facility for Twenty Years.")

After falsely branding them as being unhealthy, spreading disease, and making a stench, Northrop called in Western Exterminators of Anaheim in July of 2006 to trap the cats. They were then turned over to an unidentified animal shelter in Los Angeles County where they most likely were killed upon arrival. (See photo above of Northrop Grumman.)

Retired employee Carol Kahler, who helped to look after the cats, was not the least bit hesitant to point out that there was a far more sinister motive behind Northrop's slanders and crimes. "Some idiot engineer comes (sic) along and said, 'I want to park my car back here but there are cats'," she disclosed at that time.

It also is interesting to note that between 2001 and 2006 Northrop employees reportedly spent $20,000 trapping, desexing, and vaccinating about thirty cats. Although costs vary considerably for one locale to another, that figure, if accurate, nonetheless provides some idea of about how far $5,000 is going to go in doing likewise for the two-hundred cats at Chevron.

To be fair about it, giant oil and aerospace concerns are far from being the only businesses that are antagonistic toward cats. At the very top of this ever-growing list are the mass media led by the inveterate cat-haters at the thoroughly despicable and dishonest New York Times. (See Cat Defender posts of December 8, 2007 and June 15, 2009 entitled, respectively, "All the Lies That Fit: Scheming New York Times Hires a Bird Lover to Render His 'Unbiased' Support for James M. Stevenson" and "American Bird Conservancy, The New York Times, and the Humane Society Unite to Form an Achse des Boesen Against Cats.")

Like their behemoth of the south, The Caledonian Record in tiny St. Johnsbury, Vermont, in early 2006 cruelly killed off its resident feline, Tripod, once he had become old and sickly. (See Cat Defender post of February 9, 2006 entitled "Newspaper Cat Named Tripod Is Killed Off by Journalists He Befriended in Vermont.")

For an inspiring account of one man who resisted the expedient of taking the easy way out when his cat, Toby Jug, became ill, Denis O'Connor's recently published book, Paw Tracks in the Moonlight, is a must read. A lengthy excerpt was published in the Daily Mail on October 27th of last year. (See "Smitten by Kitten: When I Rescued a Dying Animal, It Was the Start of a Truly Magical Friendship.")

Not about to be forgotten was the decision made by Fox-35 in Richmond in 2008 to have its homeless cats gassed and their habitat destroyed. The carnage would have been far greater if it had not been for the spirited intervention of the Richmond SPCA and other groups. (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.")

It is no small wonder that the working press is so antagonistic toward cats when journalism students at the Danish School of Journalism in Aarhus, Jutland, in 2008 cooked and ate one that previously had been shot by a hunter. (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.")

In a rare display of enlightenment, Congress in 1999 passed a law banning so-called crush videos. The best known representatives of this sordid genre feature naked women in stiletto heels stomping to death defenseless kittens and puppies.

In June of 2008, the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in Philadelphia struck down the law as being in contravention of the First Amendment. The United States Solicitor General has appealed that decision and the case, United States versus Stevens, is currently before the United States Supreme Court with a ruling expected this term.

Not surprisingly, no fewer than thirteen news organizations have filed amicus curiae briefs in favor of crush videos. At the head of the class are, as expected, The New York Times and National Public Radio.

Many farmers likewise do not have any use for cats. For example, Virginia sodbuster Donald Curtis Hunt drowned at least five kittens in 2007 and got away scot-free with his crimes. (See Cat Defender posts of October 23, 2007 and May 14, 2009 entitled, respectively, "Virginia Does It Again! Farmer Who Drowned at Least Five Cats Gets Off with a Slap-on-the-Wrists" and "Virginia Is for Cat Killers, Not Lovers, Now That Its Legal Establishment Has Sanctioned Donald Curtis Hunt's Drowning of Five Kittens.")

Shekel-chasing combine operators also take a heavy toll on cats. For example, a wheat harvester in Alaiedon Township, Michigan, last summer severed the front paws of a kitten named Howard and left him unattended in a ditch to die. (See Cat Defender posts of August 20, 2009 and November 24, 2009 entitled, respectively, "Combine Operator Severs Howard's Front Paws and Leaves Him in a Ditch to Die but He Is Saved at the Last Minute by a Pair of Compassionate Lads" and "Howard the Combine Kitty Is Adopted by the Lads Who Saved Him from a Sure and Certain Death in a Ditch Alongside a Michigan Wheat Field.")

Shipping companies, especially those in China, seldom if ever check their cargoes for stowaway cats and as a result untold numbers of them starve to death on long sea voyages. Against all odds, a minute few miraculously survive. (See Cat Defender posts of May 17, 2007, April 25, 2008, and August 11, 2008 entitled, respectively, "North Carolina Shelter Plotting to Kill Cat That Survived Being Trapped for Thirty-Five Days in Cargo Hold of Ship from China," "After Surviving a Lengthy and Hellish Confinement at Sea, Malli Dies Unexpectedly in Foster Care," and "Trapped Inside a Crate, Ginger Licks Up Condensation in Order to Survive a Nightmarish Sea Voyage from China to Nottinghamshire.")

Airlines likewise kill numerous cats each year by cruelly transporting them in their cargo holds where they often succumb to hypothermia. (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.")

There are, of course, airlines and shipping companies that care dearly about cats. Back in 2005, for example, Continental Airlines dispatched two of its employees to Nancy in northeast France in order to fly a wayward cat named Emily home to Appleton, Wisconsin. Best of all, she flew gratis in a $6,000 business-class seat. (See photo above of her on the left.)

Continental's act of kindness was made possible by the generosity of Raflatac, a laminating and labeling company in Nancy, who paid Emily's $210 quarantine fee after she arrived trapped in a consignment from Appleton. (See Cat Defender post of December 9, 2005 entitled "Adventurous Wisconsin Cat Named Emily Makes Unscheduled Trip to France in Hold of Cargo Ship.")

By contrast, developers seldom have demonstrated any concern for the well-being of cats. For example, last June Eagle Bay gave the boot to three-hundred, low-income Hispanics living at the Glade Haven RV and Trailer Park in Bonita Springs, Florida. The displaced tenants then turned around and returned the favor by abandoning fifteen cats. (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.")

An uncaring and irresponsible housing estate in Pitsea, Essex, likewise has not only neglected its homeless cat population but allowed at least one tenant to take the law into his own hands by assaulting them. (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.")

Over the years the hospitality industry has garnered both high and low marks for its treatment of cats. On the positive side of the equation is Lake Quinault Lodge on the coast of Washington State that has taken in a black stray named Roosevelt. (See photo above.)

Not only has Roosevelt proven to be a big favorite with guests but he also is helping to raise money for other homeless cats and dogs. (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.")

The herculean efforts of Suzanne Sullivan of the Clipper Ship Inn in Salem, Massachusetts, to provide shelter for homeless cats are equally commendable, especially in light of the resistance that she has encountered from the local health department. (See Cat Defender post of May 21, 2007 entitled "Salem, Massachusetts Is Going After Cats Again Much Like It Did During 1692 Witch Trials.")

The story is altogether different at Anderson House in Wabasha, Minnesota, where cats are recruited to spend their nights with paying guests and then tossed out in the street once they either become too old or fail to live up to the expectations of management. (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.")

Many restaurateurs and publicans also keep cats but generally it is not out of any love for the species; rather, they are housed in order to keep the rodent population in check. It therefore is not surprising that these entrepreneurs often run into trouble with health officials.

Establishments such as the Blunsdon Arms in Swindon, Wiltshire, and Comma Coffee in Carson City, Nevada, have caved in to political pressure and given their resident felines the boot. (See Cat Defender posts of October 23, 2008 and February 17, 2009 entitled, respectively, "Pecksniffian Management at Swindon Pub Plies Ember with Food and Then Gives Her the Bum's Rush" and "Health Department Banishes Smallcat from Popular Carson City Restaurant but Her Feisty Owner Is Putting Up Quite a Fight.")

Others, such as Myers of Keswick in lower Manhattan, hang on to their prized mousers regardless of the risks involved. (See Cat Defender post of April 20, 2006 entitled "Molly Is Finally Rescued After Spending Two Weeks Trapped Inside the Walls of an English Deli in Greenwich Village.")

In Tokyo, some teahouses have out the welcome mat for cats but this is strictly a business decision not unlike the one at Anderson House and it is not known what happens to the cats once they are deemed to no longer be of any monetary value to their employers. (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.")

Restaurants such as Gaspar's Grotto in Tampa, The Swan in Ironbridge, Shropshire, and The Bugle Horn Inn in Bassingham, Lincolnshire, have taken in waifs from off the street and given them a home. (See Cat Defender posts of December 13, 2007, December 12, 2007, and February 25, 2010 entitled, respectively, "Tanker Ray Survives Being Abandoned as a Kitten in Order to Become the World Famous Mascot of a Tampa Bar," "Bored with Conditions at Home, Carlsberg Stows Away on a Beer Lorry for the Adventure of a Lifetime," and "Bess Twice Defies the Hangman Before Finally Landing on All Four Paws at a Pub in Lincolnshire.")

Finally, there is kindhearted Lisa Bertroch of the now defunct Chicken Kitchen who took it upon herself to rescue the dozens of cats left behind after the Pollardville Ghost Town in Stockton, California, closed its door for good in 2007. (See photo above of her.)

She and her helpers trapped at least sixty-six homeless cats and relocated them to the Fat Kitty City pet sanctuary run by the Agee Memorial Wildlife Fund in El Dorado Hills. (See Cat Defender post of June 21, 2007 entitled "Caring Restaurant Worker Rescues Ghost Town's Cats from the Wrecking Ball and Finds Them a New Home" and the El Dorado Hills Telegram, December 9, 2009, "Abused Felines Find a Friendly Respite.")

Photos: Chevron (El Segundo refinery), Northrop Grumman (Redondo Beach facility), Christophe Ena of the Associated Press (Emily), David Sandler of The Daily World of Aberdeen (Roosevelt), and Craig Sanders of The Stockton Record (Bertroch).

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Lumpi Is Unforgivably Left to Die in a Burning Apartment by the Ingrates Whose Lives He Saved

"Die Katzen haben geschrien. Wir wollten nach ihnen schauen, aber wir sahen kaum noch etwas und konnten nicht mehr atmen."
-- Susi S.

Scarcely a week passes without at least one cat somewhere in the world saving the lives of its guardians by alerting them to either a fire or some other impending disaster. (See Cat Defender posts of November 30, 2007, October 31, 2007, and April 23, 2007 entitled, respectively, "Cuddles Saves Saskatchewan Family from a Blaze in a Faulty Fireplace That Destroys Their Home," "Bacon Shows His Appreciation and Love for His Rescuer by Awakening Her from a Burning Apartment," and "Winnie Saves Indiana Family of Three from Dying of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning.")

Despite the volume of these tales of feline derring-do, they still pale in comparison with the far greater number of cats who die unheralded while saving the lives of their often unworthy guardians. Nine-month-old Lumpi from the Swabian town of Altshausen in Baden Wuerttemberg was one of these unfortunate heroes. (See photo above.)

The deadly drama unfolded at 4 a.m. last New Year's eve when fire engulfed the newly renovated second floor apartment that Lumpi and his sister, Sissi, shared with their guardians, forty-four-year-old Susi S. and forty-six-year-old Edgar K. (The German press rarely discloses the surnames of purely private individuals.) It is believed that the conflagration started in a defective television set.

Susi and Edgar were sound asleep in their bedroom and oblivious to what was going on until they were rudely awakened by Lumpi and Sissi. "Ploetzlich kratzte und miaute es an unserer Schlafzimmertuer," Edgar later told Bild on January 3rd. (See "Kater rettet Familie aus brennendem Haus -- und stirbt.") "Als ich oeffnete, stuermten unser Kater Lumpi und unsere Katze Sissi ins Zimmer. Ich sah Qualm auf dem Flur, aus dem Wohnzimmer schlug mir eine beissende Rauchwolke entgegen."

Clad only in pajamas, Susi and Edgar fled their burning apartment and left their saviors to fend for themselves. "Die Katzen haben geschrien," Susi told Bild. "Wir wollten nach ihnen schauen, aber wir sahen kaum noch etwas und konnten nicht mehr atmen."

Afterwards, firemen found Lumpi's lifeless body wedged between the mattresses on the couple's bed. He had died of smoke inhalation. Sissi, on the other hand, survived by hiding underneath the bed.

The apartment was completely destroyed thus forcing the couple to temporarily move in with Susi's parents. (See photo below of them inside their burned out abode.)

"Er war ein ganz verschmuster Kater," Susi eulogized Lumpi to Bild. "Er kuschelte sich oft auf dem Sofa an uns. Jetzt verdanken wir ihm unser Leben."

Although she survived the inferno, the loss of her brother has left Sissi traumatized. "Sie ist verwirrt, miaut herzzerreissend," Susi told Bild. "Sie sucht den ganzen Tag nach ihrem Bruder."

Whether or not the couple did all that they could in order to have saved Lumpi is a debatable point. Moreover, it is they who are going to have to live with whatever choices that were made in that burning apartment.

Based exclusively upon their statements to Bild, however, it thus would appear that they did absolutely nothing to save Lumpi; im Gegenteil, their only concern was saving their own skins and to hell with the cats. At the very least they could have tried to save him. After all, their bedroom was not filled with smoke and they could hear both Lumpi and Sissi shrieking.

Each of them therefore could have grabbed a cat and carried it to safety. If that was not possible, they could have ventilated the bedroom by throwing a chair or two through the windows. That alone might have been sufficient to have saved Lumpi's life.

Once the firefighters arrived the couple should have immediately buttonholed them and explained to them that two cats were trapped in the blaze. Most fire brigades nowadays are equipped with pet oxygen masks and all firefighters are trained to administer mouth-to-mouth resuscitation to stricken animals as well as to adults. (See Cat Defender post of September 29, 2008 entitled "Kiki Is Healthy Again but in Legal Limbo as Her Rescuer, Firefighter Al Machado, Basks in the Glory of His Heroics.")

House fires are not any different from anything else in that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. In this case, the apparent absence of both a smoke detector and a sprinkler system is inexcusable.

Much more importantly, apartment dwellers with cats should keep cages, leashes, and harnesses handy and in good condition for just such emergencies. Large towels that can be soaked in water and used for both covering and protection are another essential.

If these precautions are followed, it should be possible in most instances to save domesticated cats from buildings that turn into deathtraps. New arrivals, such as strays and ferals, are an entirely different matter because a cat must trust its guardian implicitly before it will cooperate in an emergency.

Zum Beispiel, on March 31st a bomb that the Royal Air Force dropped on Aachen during the second world war was unearthed on Bendstrasse. Four-thousand area residents were evacuated so that the bomb could be safely detonated. (See Aachener-Zeitung, March 31, 2010, "Bombenfund: Viertausend Aachener aus den Haeusern geholt.")

An unidentified elderly resident of the neighborhood was prepared, however, and escaped with his cat in a carrier to the Eurogress concert and exhibition hall which had been set up as a temporary shelter. (See photo above.)

It is painful to contemplate what Lumpi must have endured during the final moments of his all-too-brief existence. No matter how this this unfortunate incident is analyzed, this brave and heroic cat should not have been abandoned in his hour of greatest need, especially after all that he had done for his caretakers.

Whether it is abandonments, the en masse exterminations carried out by shelters and Animal Control, the blatant lies and slaughters committed against the species by birders and wildlife biologists, random acts of feline cruelty, or the black crimes of vivisectors, in the end cats always seem to get shortchanged in spite the myriad of contributions that they have made to mankind and civilization down through the millenniums.

Photos: Bild (Lumpi and Susi and Edgar) and Aachener-Zeitung (evacuees from Bendstrasse and vicinity).