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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

Friday, July 30, 2010

Harley Suffers Severe Burns to His Tongue and Mouth as Well as Lung Damage after He Is Deliberately Dunked in Turpentine

"It (the C$18,000 vet bill) was totally worth it. He is family after all."
-- Jennifer Szoke

In one of the most despicable cases of feline cruelty on record, two cats from New Westminster, nineteen kilometers southeast of Vancouver, were deliberately dipped in turpentine on July 2nd. One of the cats was soon thereafter discovered by his guardians who were able to wash him clean before he had suffered any significant damage.

Jennifer Szoke's orange cat, Harley, was not nearly so fortunate, however. Dipped in the toxic chemical up to his waist, he was not discovered by Szoke until several hours after the incident.

By that time Harley already had sustained severe burns to both his mouth and tongue as the result of his futile attempt to lick the turpentine off of his fur. He additionally suffered unspecified lung damage from inhaling the multipurpose chemical.

Rushed to Canada West Veterinary Specialist and Critical Care Hospital in Vancouver, a breathing and feeding tube was inserted and he was fitted with protective eye patches as well as an Elizabethan collar. Initially, the vets treating him were not certain that he was going to live. (See photo above.)

Over the course of the past three weeks Harley rallied and made so much progress that he was able to go home with Szoke and her eight-year-old son, Nate Milanov, on July 24th. (See photo below of Harley in an Elizabethan collar.)

"Nate's quite excited. He kept asking me everyday, 'Is Harley coming home tonight'?" she told the Montreal Gazette on July 25th. (See "Eight Lives to Go: Cat Recovers from Paint-Thinner Dipping.") "I don't think he believed me when I finally said he was."

In spite of the extensive damage done to his tongue, mouth, and lungs, Harley stands a good chance of making a full recovery. Damage to his kidneys and central nervous system as the result of ingesting and inhaling the chemical are possibilities but hopefully the vets treating him are closely monitoring him for any complications of that nature.

"He is starting to walk around and purr. His meow is still coarse and gravelly and we've got a cone around his head, so that he doesn't groom himself," attending veterinarian Trevor Enberg told the Montreal Gazette in the article cited supra. "He almost looks normal except for the fact that he has a feeding tube."

The New Westminster Police claim to be investigating this horrific act of animal cruelty but that most likely is a lie. In fact, the police are far better known for killing cats than protecting them. (See Cat Defender posts of March 31, 2008, September 16, 2009, and July 8, 2010 entitled, respectively, "Cecil, Pennsylvania, Police Officer Summarily Executes Family's Beloved Ten-Year-Old Persian, Elmo," "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," and "North Carolina State Trooper Who Illegally Trapped and Shot His Next-Door Neighbor's Cat, Rowdy, Is Now Crying for His Job Back.")

Even when the cops are not indulging in their per usual outrageous acts of criminality, many of them are doubling as Animal Control officers. Moreover, in jurisdictions where the two departments are kept separate a close working relationship nonetheless exists between them.

For example, whenever a resident complains to them about a cat their first and only response is to call in Animal Control to trap and kill the cat. With that type of blind hatred for the species, the police are not about to investigate crimes committed against them.

Rescue groups are almost as bad in that, like the police and Animal Control, they are primarily feline exterminators. Whenever cats like Harley are horribly abused they unleash a torrent of self-serving moral indignation and offer up minuscule rewards that they know they never will have to make good on but that is about the extent of their commitment toward ending feline abuse.

Like the police, they seldom lift so much as a solitary finger in order to track down and arrest the abusers. (See Cat Defender posts of July 6, 2010, June 1, 2010, and January 6, 2010 entitled, respectively, "Grace Is Out of the Hospital and Has a New Home but Her Nail Gun Assailant Remains as Free as a Bird Thanks to the Authorities' Dereliction of Duty," "Grace Survives Being Shot Point-Blank Between the Eyes by a Monster with a Nail Gun but Sioux City Authorities Refuse to Even Investigate the Attack," and "Large Reward Fails to Lead to the Capture of the Archer Who Shot an Arrow Through Brownie's Head.")

Harley's veterinary tab now stands at a staggering C$18,000 but Szoke is doing anything but complaining. "It was totally worth it," she told the Montreal Gazette. "He is family after all."

So far, this wonderfully generous woman has been able to raise only C$6,000 for her brave and long-suffering cat. Donations can be made to Canada West Veterinary Specialist and Critical Care Hospital at 1988 Kootenay Street, Vancouver V5M 4Y3. It is imperative, however, that all checks be made out to Szoke because not all veterinarians and rescue groups are honest.

Photos: CBC (Harley in the hospital) and Ian Lindsay of the Montreal Gazette (Harley in an Elizabethan collar).

Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Benicia Vallejo Humane Society Is Outsourcing the Mass Killing of Kittens and Cats All the While Masquerading as a No-Kill Shelter

"I was told by two employees that theirs is a no-kill facility and that foster homes would be found for the kittens. If I had thought they'd be sent somewhere else to be killed, I would never have given them those babies."
-- Kimberley Marshall

Given the disturbing fact that the much ballyhooed no-kill movement is largely comprised of slick double-talkers and scam artists, it is easy for even knowledgeable individuals to be deceived. That was the painful, not to mention nearly catastrophic, lesson that recently was foisted upon kindhearted Kimberley Marshall of San Luis Obispo.

A couple of weeks ago she was visiting her mother in Vallejo when she stumbled upon a litter of eight abandoned kittens in a yard. She then telephoned the Benicia Vallejo Humane Society (BVHS) which came and took possession of them.

She shortly thereafter discovered a second litter of kittens in the same yard and this time around she contacted Cat Tales of Vacaville. That was when the organization's Lisa Hart disabused her of everything that she thought she knew about BVHS by informing her that the so-called no-kill shelter likely had fobbed off the kittens on Solano County Animal Control (SCAC) in Fairfield to be exterminated.

Horrified that she had been duped, Marshall raced to SCAC in order to reclaim the kittens only to be told upon arrival that doing so was going to cost her $25 apiece or a cool $200. Determined to make amends for her earlier inadvertent mistake, Marshall was not about to be dissuaded.

"I cried and screamed until the supervisor there said I could have the kittens back," she related to the Vallejo Times-Herald on July 19th. (See "Kittens Rescued Twice from Death.") "I was there for four hours in the blazing sun."

At last report, Marshall was caring for the eight kittens at her home. (See photo above of her with one of them.)

Quite understandably, she was outraged at BVHS's deceitfulness. "I was told by two employees that theirs was a no-kill facility and that foster homes would be found for the kittens," she told the Vallejo Times-Herald in the article cited supra. "If I had thought they'd be sent somewhere else to be killed I would never have given them those babies."

The bigwigs at BVHS quickly circled the wagons and in doing so wasted little time in exposing themselves to be every bit the equals of Mr. Samuel Pickwick's opposing counsel whom Charles Dickens described as "the slickest of the slick and the sharpest of the sharp." To slightly update the analogy, it is as if the honchos at BVHS had studied rhetoric from such skilled prevaricators as Bill Clinton, Tony Blair, and Barack Obama.

"We do our best to handle what we can at our facility. We are a small facility subsisting on donations," shelter director Peter Wilson told the Vallejo Times-Herald. "We have about ninety fosters (temporary homes) now and our facility is full." (See photo of him on the left below.)

It should be noted first of all that although Wilson declares that his shelter is full, that is not necessarily the case with his foster homes. In fact, it is BVHS's policy to dispatch kittens to SCAC to be killed even when foster families are available and willing to take them.

Unfortunately, the killing of cats and dogs when both permanent and temporary homes are readily available is a common practice all across the country. (See Cat Defender post of June 15, 2010 entitled "Bay City Shelter Murders a Six-Week-Old Kitten with a Cold Despite Several Individuals Having Offered to Give It a Permanent Home.")

BVHS board member Roberta Grubbe also joined the fray and in doing so soon demonstrated that she is every bit as deceptive a speaker as Wilson. "This is a no-kill facility for adoptable animals," she told the Vallejo Times-Herald in the article cited supra. "We don't have the space to isolate an infinite number of kittens. (See photo of her on the left below.)

At long last something remotely resembling the truth is finally told. BVHS is a no-kill shelter but only for so-called adoptable animals as opposed to the strictly no-kill facility that is advertises itself to be. It accordingly merely classifies some animals as adoptable and has the remainder killed without the public's knowledge.

Moreover, it is a sure bet that the ones it decides to save are those that it strongly believes it can sell back to the public for a handsome profit. In particular, it sells cats for $125 and dogs for $200. Plus, it no doubt rakes in a pretty penny from gullible individuals who falsely believe that their donations are saving lives. The organization therefore should change its name to Murder for Profit Incorporated.

More of the same leger de main can be found in droves on BVHS's web site. For instance, when it comes to killing cats and dogs it states that "we do not euthanize at our facility."

Technically speaking, that is a true statement. It is only when it is revealed that BVHS outsources the killings of animals to SCAC and possibly other killing factories that the true extent of its crimes and lies comes into focus.

A little further along on its web site more talk of adoptable animals is to be found. For example, "...our adoptable animals remain at the shelter until adopted or sent home with a foster family." Also, "our facility is limited to holding a certain number of adoptable animals."

Compounding matters further, it is difficult to believe that BHVS saves very many of the animals that it designates as being adoptable in that it is only open for business from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays and those limited days and hours are hardly sufficient for any bona fide rescue group serious about placing animals in new homes. It is even conceivable that it is too cheap to hire anyone to watch over the animals when the shelter is closed to the public.

The well-being and care of the animals at BVHS also is called into question by the facility's unwillingness to employ a veterinarian. From that it only can be assumed that it allows sick and injured animals to either waste away on their own or farms them out to SCAC to be killed.

Nevertheless, on its web site it has the audacity to declare that its raison d'etre is to "offer refuge, medical care, nourishment, and an opportunity for a second chance for life to unwanted animals." In light of such glaring hypocrisy and lies it would be interesting to know exactly how many of the animals that it takes in ever make it out alive.

SCAC likewise does not have any business killing cats and kittens under any circumstances. Moreover, it should not be doing BVHS's dirty work for it.

It also would be interesting to know if female inmates at the Solano County Sheriff's Claybank Sentenced Detention Center in Fairfield are still fostering kittens. If so, homeless kittens could be given to the inmates to nurture instead of being unconscionably killed. (See Cat Defender post of October 27, 2005 entitled "Inmates at Women's Prisons in California Save Lives by Fostering Feral Kittens.")

BVHS's unscrupulous and ruthless killing of kittens and cats is a logical extension of the ingrained hatred of the species that its harbors in its malignant bosom. On its web site it falsely accuses them of, inter alia, smelling bad, making too much noise, killing wildlife, spreading diseases to other animals, driving off domestic cats, and of harboring fleas and other parasites.

Because of all the cats that it has had systematically murdered and for its fleecing of the public under false pretenses, BVHS should be immediately padlocked and its principals arrested. Since that is not about to happen, the best that individuals who love cats can do is to stop funding these fraudsters and cat killers.

As for the cats now at the shelter, they either should be immediately released into managed colonies or placed in permanent homes. Dogs and other animals either should be found permanent homes or sent to sanctuaries.

It is well established that conventional shelters murder approximately ninety-nine per cent of all cats that pass through their portals. That, however, is far from being the entire story.

In Atlantic County, New Jersey, and elsewhere, many cats never even make it to shelters because Animal Control officers trap and shoot them at point-blank range in the field. Accordingly, the number of cats killed each year actually is far greater than statistics would tend to indicate.

Most shelters likewise are overcrowded and filthy and whenever a cat catches so much as a case of the sniffles that provides it gaoler with yet still another excuse to snuff out its fragile life. Still others die from injuries that shelters categorically refuse to treat.

The farming out of the killing of cats is not the only ruse that so-called no-kill shelters employ. Others, such as Kitty City in La Luz, New Mexico, vociferously support bans on the feeding of homeless cats.

They therefore cruelly starve to death thousands of needy and hungry cats just so that they can take in a handful of others and proclaim to the world that they are no-kill. (See Alamogordo Daily News, July 23, 2010, "Kitty City Encourages People Not to Feed Feral Cats.")

Kitty City additionally plays BVHS's deceitful adoptive cat game albeit with a decidedly wicked Evelyn Waugh twist. Whereas BVHS takes in cats from the public and then slyly passes them on to SCAC to kill, City Kitty's owner and operator, Ed Denton, visits Animal Control in Alamogordo and asks the killers to set aside for him the so-called adoptable cats. As far as he is concerned, unadoptable or unprofitable cats can go to Hell.

"I take a look at all the cats because Animal Control does euthanize, so I put names on the cats that I can find good homes for," he confessed to the Alamogordo Daily News on November 7, 2009. (See "Kitty City Near La Luz Provides Haven for Felines Facing Euthanasia.") "I tell them to call me before they euthanize so I can go and pick them up."

While Kitty City charges only $45 for its cats, it stipulates that they must be cruelly imprisoned indoors for the remainder of their brief sojourns on this earth. C'est-a dire, those cats that it gets its hands on are to have no other existence than that dictated by Kitty City.

It therefore is clear that Kitty City, like BVHS, has its own agenda and that feral and stray cats, those that it chooses to arbitrarily classify as unadoptable, and outdoor cats are not part of its business model.

Recently, Delaware passed a law that outlaws the killing of companion animals whenever there is either a rescue group or a foster family willing to take possession of them. The law also bans the killing of animals when either cage space is available or two animals can share the same quarters.

In a July 23rd press release, Nathan J. Winograd of the No Kill (sic) Advocacy Center called the act "the most sweeping, progressive companion animal protection legislation in the United States." (See "Delaware Passes Landmark Legislation.")

While the statute is undeniably a big step forward in some ways, Winograd's exuberance is misplaced in that it will not stop the wholesale slaughter of cats and dogs in Delaware. Shelters, for instance, still will be able to murder to their black hearts' content after the legally-mandated holding period expires and no one or group steps forward and ransoms those animals left on death row.

It is even doubtful that rescue groups will be willing to save very many companion animals. It also is a sure bet that, like BVHS and Kitty City, those that they do save will be the ones that they find profitable.

That is all terribly wrong and morally indefensible. The decision as to which animals are to live and which are to die should not be based upon either pulchritude or profitability. Any orphanage that operated on such principles soon would be shuttered and its proprietors jailed.

Furthermore, shelters in Delaware still will retain the prerogative to kill upon arrival any animals that they deem to be either sick or a threat to the staff and other animals because of either disease or aggression. As in the case of all exterminations, the decision as to which animals to kill is left exclusively in the hands of veterinarians and shelter officials with absolutely no outside oversight whatsoever. Such an arrangement is tantamount to placing the care of young women in the hands of Jack the Ripper.

After thoughtful consideration, it thus appears that Winograd and his no-kill movement are largely a fraud. He makes considerable money from his books, conferences, and lectures and is able to travel the world preaching the gospel of no-kill but that is about all that he ever has accomplished.

Just about all shelters that pass themselves off as being no-kill are frauds. Moreover, although Winograd is alleged to have transformed the shelter in San Francisco into a no-kill facility, it reverted to its old killing ways almost as soon as he was out the door.

That is not to say that some good may yet come out of the no-kill movement but even that is not about to occur until Winograd and other apostles in the movement learn to tell the truth and stop lying to the public. Above all, no-kill should mean exactly what the name implies.

In the final analysis, no one or group involved in the no-kill movement can be taken at face value. As far as it is known, all of them kill cats and kittens right and left and lie about doing so. Worst still, they make money off of their despicable crimes and blatant lies.

Kimberley Marshall, however, is the real deal. Thanks to her compassion, dedication, and fighting spirit, eight kittens are alive today. She went to the mat in order to save them and in doing so became a real-life hero.

There are not many people like her in this crooked and inhumane world but it is precisely individuals of her caliber who believe in the sanctity of all feline life that the animal rights movement so desperately needs. Phony-baloney frauds, such as BVHS, Kitty City, and Winograd, are cancers that are eroding the movement's credibility.

Photos: Mike Jory of the Vallejo Times-Herald (Marshall and kitten) and BVHS (Wilson and Grubbe).

Monday, July 19, 2010

Molly Loses an Eye to an Assailant with a Ball Bearing Gun Only Later to Be Victimized by an Incompetent Veterinarian

"Molly was lying on the sofa and the lump had completely gone. There was now just the hole where her eye had been, but next to her on the sofa was a massive ball bearing."
-- Denise Traynor

For some ailurophobes merely killing cats is not enough; instead, they have to maim them for life. More often than not their preferred method of maiming is to put out an eye.

Scarcely an hour in the day goes by without some cat being blinded by gunshot wounds, air guns, crossbows, nail guns, and acid. Shooting a cat in the eye with a ball bearing is, however, comparatively rare.

Nevertheless, that is precisely what happened recently to a seven-month-old brown cat with sparkling green eyes named Molly from Lyttleton Avenue in the village of Charford in Bromsgrove, Worcester. (See photo above of the horrific damage done to her left eye.)

The string of tragic events that culminated in her losing her eye began on June 30th when Molly disappeared from home. When she returned two days later it was with an ugly swelling in her left eye.

Her guardian, Denise Traynor, immediately took her to an unidentified veterinarian who incompetently misdiagnosed Molly to be suffering from an eye infection. The vet prescribed painkillers and antibiotics and then sent Molly home. Later that same day, Traynor brought Molly back to the same vet in order to have what little remained of her left eye surgically removed.

It was not until 5 a.m. on July 3rd when a large ball bearing either fell out or was clawed out of her injured eye that Traynor accidentally found out what actually had happened to Molly. (See photo below of the ball bearing alongside a coin.)

"Molly was lying on the sofa and the lump had completely gone," Traynor told the Bromsgrove Advertiser on July 6th. (See "Kitten Loses Eye after Being Shot with Ball Bearing in Bromsgrove.") "There was now just the hole where her eye had been, but next to her on the sofa was a massive ball bearing."

The belated realization that Molly had been victimized by an horrific act of animal cruelty sickened Traynor and left her groping for an explanation. "I can't believe someone could do this to a tiny defenseless animal. It's sickening," she told the Bromsgrove Advertiser in the article cited supra. "I hope these people see what has happened to Molly and feel some kind of remorse at their totally inhumane behavior."

On that last point Traynor is awfully naive if she believes that Molly's attacker is capable of feeling anything remotely approaching contrition. On the contrary, such individuals derive immense pleasure from abusing cats and take infinite pride in the commission of their evil deeds.

The police have been notified and, predictably, have decided not to even investigate the matter. Instead, they have put out a lame call to the public requesting that any and all tips be forwarded to them.

It likewise is a sure bet that the RSPCA will sit this one out just like it twiddles its thumbs at all other cases of feline abuse. The long and the short of the matter is that horrific attacks of this sort are destined to continue until the public forces humane groups and the law enforcement community into taking feline cruelty seriously.

Compounding an already tragic situation, Molly later was victimized by yet another astounding case of veterinary malpractice. Clearly, any veterinarian incapable of detecting the presence of a ball bearing after two examinations and the surgical removal of a damaged eye does not have any business practicing veterinary medicine.

As it is painfully obvious, a common eye infection is in no way comparable to the damage inflicted by ball bearings and other assorted air gun pellets. Besides, any veterinarian incapable of immediately recognizing the difference at the very least should have the bon sens to order an x-ray.

The veterinarian's gross negligence is all the more reprehensible in light of the fact that attacks upon cats by individuals armed with air guns and similar devices have reached epidemic proportions all across England. Consequently, deadly projectiles of one sort or another should be the first thing that any halfway competent vet looks for when examining cats with eye injuries. (See Cat Defender post of May 7, 2007 entitled "British Punks Are Having a Field Day Maiming Cats with Air Guns but the Peelers Continue to Look the Other Way.")

As the evidence continues to mount it becomes clearer with each passing day that competent and trustworthy veterinarians are as rare and hens' teeth. (See Cat Defender posts of June 17, 2010, July 2, 2010, and July 16, 2010 entitled, respectively, "Veterinarian Gets Away with Almost Killing Felix but Is Nailed by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons for Not Paying Her Dues," "Lexi Was By No Means the First Cat to Be Lost by Woosehill Vets Any More Than Angel Was Their Last Victim of a Botched Sterilization," and "Tossed Out the Window of a Car Like an Empty Beer Can, Injured Chattanooga Kitten Is Left to Die after at Least Two Veterinarians Refused to Treat It.")

Whereas it is widely known that cops are as thick as thieves and therefore rarely, if ever, report crimes committed by their colleagues, a recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association strongly suggests that practicing physicians also cover up the mistakes made by their incompetent colleagues. (See "Physicians' Perceptions, Preparedness for Reporting, and Experiences Related to Impaired and Incompetent Colleagues," July 14, 2010, volume 304, pages 187-193.)

Since the level of oversight exercised over the veterinary establishment is considerably less than that which pertains to the medical profession, it is a good bet that incompetent veterinarians are rarely singled out for even public censure let alone disciplinary action. Accordingly, the number of cats and other animals that they misdiagnose and subsequently kill each year must be astronomical.

Considering the extent of the damage done to Molly's eye it is unclear if prompt and competent veterinary intervention would have been sufficient in order to have saved it. Nevertheless, there can be little doubt that early removal of the ball bearing would have eased her suffering and greatly reduced not only the inflammation but the risk of infection and disease as well.

Although cats are capable of functioning with only one orb, horrific head injuries often are accompanied by not only infections but permanent neurological damage as well. Hopefully, Molly has lost only her left eye and not suffered any further damage.

Finally, it is long overdue that the authorities in Angleterre either banned outright or severely restricted the sale of air guns and crossbows, especially to minors. Such a proscription would not, however, deter individuals from cobbling together crude ball bearing guns out of, inter alia, empty toilet paper dispensers and balloons.

Photos: Bromsgrove Advertiser.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Tossed Out the Window of a Car Like an Empty Beer Can, an Injured Chattanooga Kitten Is Left to Die after at Least Two Veterinarians Refused to Treat It

"It's life! It's a life! Anything alive is worth saving."
-- David Livesay

Thrown out the window of a speeding automobile on busy Interstate 24 in Chattanooga on July 8th, a five-week-old orange and white kitten which will remain forever nameless was allowed to die after it was denied life-saving emergency veterinary treatment by at least two local practitioners. (See photo above.)

David Livesay was traveling on I-24 around noon when he saw someone toss the tiny kitten out the window of a black four-door car. The kitten, which bounced off a retaining wall and received a glancing blow from another motorist too heartless and selfish to brake and maneuver around it, miraculously was still alive but bleeding from both its neck and mouth when Livesay pulled over and rescued it from the oncoming traffic.

He then, to his frustration, spend the next four hours trying unsuccessfully to secure medical help for it. During that time he was turned down flat by at least two local veterinarians.

"It's a life! It's a life!" he told WTVC-TV of Chattanooga on July 8th in a video. (See "Kitten Thrown from Car.") "Anything alive is worth saving."

Quite obviously that is not the creed followed by veterinarians in Chattanooga. As far as they are concerned, it is either cash on the barrel or the hell with injured and sick cats.

Reading between the lines, it also is clear that Livesay either was unable or unwilling for whatever reason to be responsible for the kitten's bill. In desperation, he turned to the local shelter, McKamey Animal Care and Adoption Center, which came and took the kitten off of his hands at 4 p.m.

Later in the day the shelter's Karen Walsh announced that the kitten had died of internal injuries. (See WTVC-TV, July 8, 2010, "Update: Man Saves Kitten Thrown from Car.")

In all probability Walsh is lying and the shelter killed the kitten immediately upon arrival. Like the heartless, moneygrubbing veterinarians contacted earlier in the day by Livesay, it was far too cheap to treat it. Besides, Livesay already had informed McKamey that he had no intention of providing the kitten with a permanent home.

Such patently inhumane behavior is standard operating procedure with shelters and Animal Control officers all across the country who routinely allow injured and sick cats to go untreated because they plan on killing them anyway just as soon as the legally-mandated holding period expires. Furthermore, that is precisely how abysmally they treat about ninety-nine per cent of the cats that they either trap or their owners surrender. (See Cat Defender posts of September 14, 2006 and May 11, 2006 entitled, respectively, "Cat Killing Season Is in Full Swing All Across America as Shelters Ramp Up Their Mass Extermination Pogroms" and "Mass Murderers at SPCA Are Operating an Auschwitz for Cats and Dogs in Lakeland, Florida.")

Even more alarmingly, they quite often kill cats that have homes waiting for them. (See Cat Defender post of June 15, 2010 entitled "Bay City Shelter Murders a Six-Week-Old Kitten with a Common Cold Despite Several Individuals Having Offered to Give It a Permanent Home.")

Although McKamey is far from being the worst shelter in the land, it is nonetheless a cat killing factory. For example, in June it killed two-hundred-fifty-four of the three-hundred-sixty cats that passed through its portals. In May, it killed two-hundred-sixteen of the three-hundred-fifty-one cats that it corralled.

It is a foregone conclusion that any facility with that much blood on its hands would not even think twice about snuffing out the life of an injured kitten. McKamey obviously does not spend either any money or effort on finding homes for cats; its specialty is killing. (See photo above of the killing factory.)

That line of reasoning is further buttressed by the fact that the kitten appears to have been alert and not in any obvious excruciating pain in both the video and the photo released to the public by WTVC-TV. If McKamey did not kill it outright, the kitten's health most definitely took a mysterious turn for the worst after it entered the shelter.

If McKamey disagrees with that analysis, it should commission an independent necropsy and then release the results to the public. Only then will everyone knows exactly how this kitten died.

Even if McKamey is being truthful, there is an excellent chance that the kitten would have lived if it had received the prompt and competent medical care that it needed and deserved. Accordingly, those vets who refused to treat it should be reported to the Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners in Nashville which in turn should pull their licenses.

Whereas it is generally acknowledged that veterinary supervisory boards exist only to protect their members and to collect their cut of the action, Livesay nonetheless should file a complaint because there is always a small chance that one member could be shamed into doing what is right. (See Cat Defender posts of July 2, 2010 and June 17, 2010 entitled, respectively, "Lexi Was By No Means the First Cat to Be Lost by Woosehill Vets Any More Than Angel Was Their Last Victim of a Botched Sterilization" and "Veterinarian Gets Away with Almost Killing Felix but Is Nailed by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons for Not Paying Her Dues.")

McKamey likewise should be investigated in order to determine if it did indeed take the cheap and easy way out by deliberately killing this kitten as opposed to treating it. Should that be proven to be the case, Walsh and her subalterns should be indicted for murder.

The city of Chattanooga also is culpable for failing to provide twenty-four-hour emergency care for cats and other animals who do not have rich guardians. This is not only a direly needed service but one that is long overdue as well.

If confirmed, McKamey's actions are all the more reprehensible because it has at its disposal numerous unpaid interns who are studying to become veterinary technicians at Chattanooga State Community College. (See photo above of student Lori Moore examining an unidentified kitten at McKamey on June 9th.)

If the highly-paid, big-shot veterinarians who strut around the shelter like King Kong are too bone-lazy to perform any pro bono work, they could have given the kitten to one of the students to have treated. (See Chattanooga Times Free Press, June 13, 2010, "McKamey Cats Teaching Vet Techs.")

As Livesay would no doubt agree, any treatment is better than none at all. Furthermore, if the shelter was too cheap to spare the drugs and food that the kitten needed in order to live, it is a good bet that an area resident would have been more than willing to have paid for them.

Beyond monetary considerations, this society suffers from the ingrained belief that feline life does not have any intrinsic value and therefore it is morally permissible for shelters, Animal Control officers, veterinarians, and phony-baloney animal welfare groups, such as PETA and the Humane Society of the United States, to dispose of cats in any way that they see fit. It therefore is that jaundiced moral perspective that must be changed.

In all likelihood, the kitten's horrific treatment by all concerned already has been forgotten. Its corpse most likely was either burned or tossed out with the trash at the end of the day.

As per usual in cases of this sort, no arrests have been made and none are expected. Moreover, it is extremely doubtful that either the police or McKamey are even looking for the person who dumped the kitten on I-24.

It is, admittedly, nearly impossible to apprehend individuals who commit these types of dastardly crimes without the motoring public's help. In the one known case in recent memory where an arrest was made it was due to the prompt action of a concerned citizen who witnessed a motorist throwing three kittens out the window of his 2000 Toyota Tundra while driving down U.S. 301 in Riverview, sixteen kilometers south of Tampa, on June 2nd.

Whether intentionally or inadvertently, he even ran over one of the kittens. None of them survived.

The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office shortly thereafter arrested fifty-four-year-old local resident Michael Major and charged him with felony animal cruelty. He was later released after posting a $2,000 bond. (See photo of him below.)

Despite eyewitness testimony to the contrary, Major claims that the kittens were hiding underneath his truck and merely fell off while he was motoring down the road. "Why would I throw a kitten? That don't make no sense," he told WTSP-TV of Tampa on June 3rd. (See "Man Accused of Tossing Kittens from Truck Says It Was a Misunderstanding.") "I think they (his accusers) just didn't realize what happened."

The authorities, however, are not buying his story. "It blows your mind. It's shocking to me after thirty years of law enforcement," Hillsborough Deputy Sheriff Larry McKinnon told WTSP-TV on June 2nd. (See "Witness: Man Throws Three Kittens from Truck.") "Incomprehensible, that anyone could do this to an animal."

Marti Ryan of Hillsborough County Animal Services echoed McKinnon's outrage. "Inexcusable, despicable, unconscionable," Ryan told WTSP-TV in the June 3rd article cited supra. "This is a defenseless being. It is a life."

The incidents in Chattanooga and Riverview once again have demonstrated just how morally depraved some individuals are but, perhaps more importantly, that the so-called animal protection network is broken. This is demonstrated writ large in the conduct of individuals who do not recognize any qualitative difference between tossing a cat out the window of a speeding automobile and doing likewise to an empty beer bottle.

Much the same thing can be said for those motorists who refuse to stop for cats and those attempting to rescue them. (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.")

This roll call of shame also includes all police departments and humane groups that categorically refuse to commit the resources and manpower that are needed in order to arrest and lock up those individuals who insist upon committing these types of horrific crimes. Equally blameworthy are veterinarians and shelters who refuse to treat the victims of these crimes.

Finally, the media's refusal to name those veterinarians who refused to treat this kitten is inexcusable. The media's uninformed and uncaring attitude is perhaps nowhere better demonstrated than in WTVC-TV news anchor Calvin Sneed's labeling of what happened to this kitten as "a strange case of animal cruelty."

Au contraire, there is nothing at all strange about what happened on I-24 on July 8th. Cats and kittens are tossed out of cars to die on busy thoroughfares every day of the week. The only thing that might remotely be called strange is Americans' indifference to such blatant acts of animal cruelty.

It is too late to save the Chattanooga kitten but there might still be a smidgen of hope for millions of cats like it if people of conscience would demand strongly enough that drastic changes be made in the way that this society treats cats. The impetus for genuine change must come from true friends of the species because the system itself is far too corrupt and too entrenched with vested interests of all sorts for it to be reformed from the inside.

Photos: WTVC-TV (kitten), McKamey Animal Care and Adoption Center (shelter), Jake Daniels of the Chattanooga Times Free Press (Moore), and WTSP-TV (Major).

Thursday, July 15, 2010

In a Major Victory for Cats, George Harrison's Widow Changes Her Mind and Decides Not to Install More Razor-Wire Fencing at Friar Park

"I am very pleased. The fence is up, without the razor wire, and it looks rather lovely. I am very grateful to Mrs. Harrison for her decision."
-- Rodney Bewes

In a gigantic victory for cats and their owners living on West Street and Hope Gardens in Henley-on-Thames, George Harrison's widow, Olivia Trinidad Arias, decided late last month against installing more razor-wire fencing around her $32 million, one-hundred-twenty-room Victorian and neo-Gothic mansion known as Friar Park. (See photo above.)

The long-running controversy arose after Arias installed nine-hundred-eighty-five meters of razor-wire fencing on top of a six-foot-high wooden fence back in 1999. That decision came shortly after her late husband was stabbed multiple times by an intruder. Already suffering from incurable throat cancer, the attack hastened the former Beatle's demise two years later in 2001. (See photo below of the razor wire.)

Whereas Arias and her family may have felt more secure living behind the razor wire, it did not take long for the fence to begin to take its toll on cats from the neighborhood. In particular, a six-year-old moggy named Maurice belonging to actor Rodney Bewes became impaled on the wire several times. (See photo below of Maurice and Bewes.)

"Is the razor wire really necessary?" Bewes asked last year. "Our cat has been caught three times, once severing an artery (and nearly losing his tail on another occasion), and we know of three other cats who have been injured." (See Cat Defender post of January 11, 2010 entitled "Razor-Wire Fencing Surrounding George Harrison's Mansion, Friar Park, Is Taking a Heavy Toll on Cats from the Neighborhood.")

With the wire aging and the wood rotting, Arias sought permission from the Henley Town Council to replace it with new razor wire but was turned down thanks to a spirited campaign mounted by Bewes and other cat-lovers from the neighborhood. She then appealed the ruling to the South Oxfordshire District Council where she prevailed.

It thus appeared that more razor-wire fencing around Friar Park was a fait accompli. (See diagram below.)

Then, like a coup de foudre, Arias announced in late June that although she was going ahead with installing new fencing it would not be topped off with razor wire. Although she has not publicly stated the reason behind this about-face, it seems obvious that the negative publicity that she received played a major role in her change of heart.

Bewes, for his part, gives considerable credit to the press. "I think the way we went about matters last year had a lot to do with Mrs. Harrison's decision not to put the razor wire back," he told the Henley Standard on June 21st. (See "Beatles' Widow Backs Down over Fence.") "The Standard was first with the story and soon afterwards I had the national press on my doorstep and Maurice was all over the papers."

Not one to gloat, the former star of the BBC sitcom, The Likely Lads, does not really care what convinced Arias to change her mind; he is simply glad that Maurice is now safe. "I am very pleased. The fence is up, without the razor wire, and it looks rather lovely," he added in the interview with the Henley Standard. "I am very grateful to Mrs. Harrison for her decision."

Although Harrison is believed to have penned "It's All Too Much" for his first wife, Pattie Boyd, in this instance parts of it seem to be perhaps more a propos to Arias. Take, for example, the following verse which is included in the longer version of the song:

"It's all too much for me to take
There's plenty for everybody
The more you give, the more you get
The more it is and it's too much."

For those who doubt what razor wire can do to a cat, seeing is believing. For example, on June 21st a twelve-week-old kitten named Bridget in Cypress, California, tumbled into a strand of it irresponsibly strung between two buildings.

When rescued Bridget was bleeding from head to tail as the result of several deep wounds to her paws, abdomen, and back. She eventually will recover but the road ahead is going to be long, painful, and expensive. (See Cat Defender post of July 12, 2010 entitled "Bridget Sustains Horrific Injuries after She Slips and Tumbles into a Strand of Razor-Wire Fencing Inhumanely Strung Between Two Buildings.")

Cat-lovers from around the world are indebted to Bewes and his fellow supporters for having the moxie to take on Arias and the local political establishment. In doing so they have set a standard of dedication and achievement that is going to be difficult to equal.

Nevertheless, an attempt should be made to do so because razor-wire fencing is not only deadly to cats but a superfluous security precaution as well. The life-threatening and horrific injuries suffered by Bridget and Maurice should be sufficient motivation for friends of the species to dedicate themselves to work for its eradication from all neighborhoods.

Photos: Henley Standard (Friar Park) and the Daily Mail (razor wire, Maurice and Bewes, and diagram).

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Bridget Sustains Horrific Injuries after She Slips and Tumbles into a Strand of Razor-Wire Fencing Inhumanely Strung Between Two Buildings

"The vet bills will be quite extensive. It's (Bridget's injuries) pretty gruesome."
-- Sheila Choi of Fuzzy Dog and Cat Rescue

A twelve-week-old kitten named Bridget had the misfortune to discover firsthand just how dangerous razor-wire fencing can be to members of her species when on June 21st she became impaled upon a strand of it inhumanely strung between two buildings in Cypress, California. Although it is unclear exactly what happened, her rescuers theorize that she accidentally slipped and fell into the wire while crossing between the two buildings. (See photo above of her after surgery.)

More than likely the deadly wire would have become her tomb if it had not been for twenty-one-year-old Randi Custodio of the 9100 block of Julie Beth Street who heard her plaintive cries for help and summoned the Orange County Fire Authority. Drenched in blood from head to tail as the result of multiple deep wounds to her paws, abdomen, back, and elsewhere, Bridget was rushed to VCA Lakewood Animal Hospital in Cerritos. (See photo below of the damage done to her abdomen.)

Surgeons at the facility shaved away most of her fur and sutured her gaping wounds before fitting her with an Elizabethan collar in order to prevent her from gnawing at the incisions. (See bottom photo.)

It is going to take considerable time for her wounds to heal and fur to grow back but the good news is that she is expected to make a full recovery. At last report, however, she was still in intensive care at the hospital.

Fuzzy Dog and Cat Rescue of Santa Monica generously has agreed to be responsible for both Bridget's steadily increasing $1,300 medical tab as well as her future placement. "The vet bills will be quite extensive," Sheila Choi of Fuzzy told The Orange County Register on June 21st. (See "Kitten Rescued from Razor Wire, Seeks Home.") "It's (Bridget's injuries) pretty gruesome."

Anyone able to spare a few dollars in order to help Bridget recover and to find a new home is encouraged to contact Fuzzy Rescue either by telephone at (310) 883-5681 or by e-mail at info@fuzzyrescue.org.

Since statistics of this sort are not compiled, it is impossible to say how many cats and other animals are injured and killed by razor-wire fencing each year. What little information that exists is, consequently, anecdotal. For example, actor Rodney Bewes's six-year-old cat, Maurice, has been impaled several times in recent years on razor wire strung around George Harrison's mansion, Friar Park, in Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire.

In addition to nearly killing Maurice, the deadly wire has cost Bewes thousands of pounds in veterinary bills and forced him to alter both his work and travel plans. Also, at least three other cats from the tony neighborhood have been injured by the razor wire. (See Cat Defender post of January 11, 2010 entitled "Razor-Wire Fencing Surrounding George Harrison's Mansion, Friar Park, Is Taking a Heavy Toll on Cats from the Neighborhood.")

Contrary to whatever the owner of the buildings on Julie Beth Street and Harrison's widow, Olivia Trinidad Arias, may believe, neither Cypress nor Henley-on-Thames are located in war zones and as a consequence razor-wire fencing is totally inappropriate. Besides injuring and killing cats, these types of fences are public eyesores that bring disrepute on both neighborhoods.

After a protracted political and public relations battle, Arias finally saw the light and recently removed the razor wire from around Friar Park. (See Daily Mail, June 27, 2010, "Ex-Likely Lad Rodney Bewes Wins War with Beatles' Widow over Razor-Wire Fence That 'Nearly Killed' His Cat.")

It is unclear why the landlord in Cypress felt the need to string razor wire between the two buildings unless Julie Beth Street is located in an especially high-crime area. Regardless of the rationale, the landlord should follow Arias's example and remove the dangerous wire.

If either he or she is not amenable to reason, animal cruelty charges should be brought against either him or her for what was done to Bridget. The landlord additionally should be held liable for Bridget's veterinary bill.

In order to avoid such life-threatening injuries in the future, politicians in Cypress for once in their lives should demonstrate some compassion for cats by outlawing the installation of razor-wire fencing. It is superfluous in that there are so many humane alternatives available.

For example, regular fencing could be made taller and fashioned in such a way as to make scaling it impossible. Besides, alarms, security cameras, dogs, and private guards are a far better method of securing valuable property than razor wire.

Photos: KTLA-TV of Los Angeles.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

A North Carolina State Trooper Who Illegally Trapped and Shot His Next-Door Neighbor's Cat, Rowdy, Is Now Crying for His Job Back

"He was really very sweet. He was never aggressive, even at the vet."
-- Andrea Evans

America is chock-full of criminals and some of the very worst of them wear badges and carry guns. Former North Carolina state trooper Shawn C. Houston of 2851 Icard Ridge Road in Granite Falls, two-hundred-fifty-two kilometers west of Raleigh, is one such latet anguis in herba.

Last October he illegally trapped and shot next-door neighbor Andrea Evans's five-month-old orange and white kitten, Rowdy, allegedly because he had been climbing on his vehicles. (See photo above of Houston.)

As soon as Evans found out what Houston had done she reported him to the Alexander County Sheriff's Department which, predictably, refused to take any action against a fellow member of the law enforcement community. Since Granite Falls is located in Caldwell County, it is unclear why she did not contact the Caldwell County Sheriff's Office unless she had done so previously and found it equally unresponsive.

Although the odds were stacked against her, she did not throw in the towel. Instead she went and contacted a magistrate who issued a criminal summons against Houston charging him with one count of misdemeanor cruelty to an animal and one count of misdemeanor injury to real property.

In this instance the so-called real property was Rowdy whom the magistrate determined to be worth less than $200. That in itself was an insult in that Evans had given Rowdy to her son as a birthday present and she most definitely considered him to be an intimate member her family. Moreover, it is doubtful that any court official would have had the chutzpah to place such a low monetary value on a dead son or daughter.

Evans testified against Houston at his trial in December before Judge B. Carlton Terry Jr. of the Twenty-Second Judicial District Court, Part B, in Lexington but it was a total waste of time because the fix already was in place just as it had been with the Alexander County Sheriff's Department. It therefore did not come as any surprise when Terry granted Houston's request for a prayer for judgment continued (PJC).

Unique to courts in the Carolinas, a PJC is a plea by a defendant whereby he neither admits guilt nor innocence and in that sense it is similar to a plea of nolo contendere. Judges granting such decrees may impose conditions, such as requiring that a defendant remain law-abiding for a certain period of time, but there is nothing in the record to indicate that Terry imposed any such restrictions on Houston.

Basically, a PJC is legal double-talk for an outright acquittal and the only thing that the trip to court cost Houston was $125 in court costs. There can be little doubt that Terry, in his great love for the police, would have stuck Evans with that bill if it were not for the fact that he is up for reelection this fall. That, by the way, is something that cat-lovers in his district should remember when they go to the polls.

On January 22nd the Highway Patrol fired the thirty-nine-year-old Houston who had worked for the department for about three years. On May 10th, he filed an appeal claiming that he was unjustly terminated and his case is expected to be heard next month.

Both at trial and in court documents filed in support of his appeal, Houston has concocted various tall tales in order to justify his murder of Rowdy. He first of all claims that he mistook him for a dangerous stray that possibly had rabies and therefore posed an imminent threat to his three young sons. If he truly felt that way it is odd that he willingly allowed them to play with Rowdy.

Evans also vociferously disputes Houston's claim that he did not recognize Rowdy as being her cat. "We played with him out in the yard every day," she told Raleigh's News and Observer on May 29th. (See "Trooper Kills a Kitten and Loses His Job.") "I don't know how he could have missed it."

Houston also ludicrously maintains that the four-pound kitten that he illegally trapped with ham magically transformed itself into a ferocious hissing and growling beast that bit him. That is another claim that Evans contests.

"He was really very sweet," she told the News and Observer. "He was never aggressive, even at the vet." (See photo above of Rowdy.)

Even if Rowdy did bite him, that was not a valid excuse for shooting him. Rowdy obviously was terrified of both the trap and Houston and instinctively knew, as all cats know under such circumstances, that his assailant was going to kill him.

The petit fait that Houston has not stated what he planned on doing with Rowdy after he trapped him is a strong indication that he intended to kill him from the outset. Once he had him in the cage it would have been a simple matter for him to have returned him to either Evans or to a local humane group.

Houston's cold-blooded murder of Rowdy is identical to what George A. Seymour Jr. of the Bentivar subdivision outside of Charlottesville did to Klaus and Vanessa Wintersteiger's three-year-old black cat, Carmen, on April 24, 2006. Alleging that she had climbed on top of one of his old jalopies, he shot her in the neck with a rifle. (See Cat Defender post of June 22, 2006 entitled "Used Car Dealer in Virginia Murders Sweet Three-Year-Old Cat Named Carmen with Rifle Shot to the Neck.")

During cross-examination at his trial on August 22, 2006, Seymour finally came clean and admitted that he had never seen Carmen on any of his cars. Nevertheless, District Court Judge Steven Helvin sentenced him to only ten days in jail and an unspecified amount of community service.

The pain occasioned by Carmen's unprovoked and brutal murder is something that the Wintersteigers' children, Nicholas and Isabella, are going to carry with them for as long as they live. (See photo on the left of them kneeling at Carmen's grave and the one below of Isabella and Carmen in happier days.)

Like his soul mate and fellow villain Seymour, Houston clearly is an inveterate cat-hater and in all likelihood concocted the entire story about Rowdy being on top of his vehicles just so that he would have an excuse in order to justify his criminal behavior. On those rare occasions when cats do jump on top of parked cars it is either to soak up the evaporating heat given off by a cooling engine or when they are in search of higher ground in order to avoid both human and animal predators.

Besides, exterior paint jobs are made to withstand flying gravel, sand, mud, hail, and other harmful particles. If that were not the case, every vehicle on the road would look like it had been bombarded by meteorites. Consequently, the absolute worst that a cat can do to the paint on an automobile is to leave behind harmless paw prints that are easily expunged with a dry cloth.

Since Houston resides in a rural area, it is more likely than not that if he did discover smudges on his vehicles that they were put there by wildlife instead of Rowdy. Nevertheless, unsubstantiated, bogus charges of this sort are a common occurrence that cost countless cats their lives each year.

For example, a Singaporean woman last year demanded that all the cats in her neighborhood be rounded up and killed by the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority after she detected smudges on the exterior of her precious new jalopy. (See Asia One, June 6, 2009, "Why Kill a Cat Over Scratches on Car?")

Houston is by no means the first law enforcement officer to believe that he has a God-given right to kill cats. For example, on March 22, 2008 a police officer in Cecil, Pennsylvania, executed Roger Oldaker's Persian cat, Elmo. (See Cat Defender post of March 31, 2008 entitled "Cecil, Pennsylvania, Police Officer Summarily Executes Family's Beloved Ten-Year-Old Persian, Elmo.")

On Labor Day of last year, officers in Raymore, Missouri, likewise killed Kelly Wesner's cat, Tobey. (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.")

In both cases, the officers falsely claimed that their victims were either strays or ferals. Plus, in Tobey's case, they claimed that the declawed cat had his claws extended. Anyone who ever has had the misfortune to deal with the members of the law enforcement community knows that they seldom tell the truth about anything.

In 2008, members of the Orange County Sheriff's Department even were accused of killing a cat with a Taser. (See Cat Defender post of April 29, 2008 entitled "Orange County Sheriff's Department Is Accused of Killing a Cat with a Taser at Theo Lacy Jail.")

The fact that Houston was able to get away scot-free with killing Rowdy is outrageous but it would be almost as deplorable if he were given his old job back. He has proven himself to be a cat killer and a criminal and as such does not have any business wearing a badge and carrying a gun.

Those who care about cats and justice are therefore encouraged to contact the North Carolina state Highway Patrol and voice their opposition to Houston's reinstatement. The force's commander, Colonel William Randy Glover, can be reached by telephone at (919) 733-4030 or by mail at 4701 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC 27699-4701. He also can be contacted via e-mail at www.nccrimecontrol.org.

It probably will not do any good in that the members of the law enforcement community are as thick as thieves but it is worth a try. Besides, North Carolina's Highway Patrol is rotten to the core with more than just cat killers.

For example, in recent memory a sergeant has been fired for abusing his canine partner while other officers have been forced to resign for perjuring themselves. A major was forced to resign for sending sexually explicit text messages while another officer is being investigated for sexually assaulting a motorist. Furthermore, a captain was fired for drunk driving and a master trooper was forced to resign after being charged in a felony hit-and-run while drunk.

The picture is thus crystal clear. The Highway Patrol is comprised of cat killers, dog abusers, sexual predators, drunks, perjurers, and God only know what else.

Since the iron rule of oligarchy holds sway in all groups and organizations, it is difficult to believe that there are any decent, law-abiding officers within the department. How could they possibly survive? Like fish out of water, they would be ostracized.

Despite all of that and more, North Carolina Governor Bev Perdue continues to deny the obvious. "Although I continue to believe that 99.9 per cent of the men and women of the North Carolina Highway Patrol are doing tremendous work for the people of North Carolina, that small percentage that we read about or hear about every day are killing the image of the patrol," she told the News and Observer on July 8th. (See "Perdue: A Few Troopers Are 'Killing' Highway Patrol's Image.")

Therefore, to hear Perdue tell it, the systemic problems of corruption and criminal misconduct plaguing the Highway Patrol amount to only a public relations problem. Glover, on the other hand, blames his department's troubles on the press. (See photo of him below.)

"I'm taking care of business on a daily basis. I go to the east and I talk to people. I go to the west and I talk to people," Glover told the News and Observer in the July 8th article cited supra. "I don't hear a lot about this. It's when I'm in the Piedmont that I hear this. And I always ask, 'Where did you hear that?' And it always comes back to the media."

Perdue's maladroit attempt to whitewash the issue and Glover's attack upon both the press and central North Carolina's better-educated residents produced a swift response from Joe Sinsheimer of the Democratic Party. "I think all North Carolina was hoping the governor would show some real leadership, which would mean replacing the commander of the Highway Patrol," he told the News and Observer on July 8th. "And instead all we got today were words and no action. It's pretty clear the Highway Patrol needs a cultural change and that change has to come from the top."

It is not any small wonder that Glover is so tolerant of his subordinates' misconduct in that earlier in his career he received a disciplinary transfer because of an extramarital affair that he had with a dispatcher in an unidentified sheriff's department. Additionally, it is believed by some that he got his present post solely because he is one of Perdue's cronies from New Bern.

Despite the harsh reality of the situation, opposing Houston's reinstatement would at least be one way of demonstrating support for Evans and her distraught family. They are all alone in a small rural community with a cat-killer for a next-door neighbor. Worst of all, they have been denied the protection of the law and the courts.

Their world has been turned upside down and it is doubtful that any of them have had much repose during the past nine or so months. "It's been rough on us; it really has been," Evans told the News and Observer on May 29th.

After retrieving what little was left of Rowdy after Houston had pumped a nine-millimeter slug into his tiny body, Evans buried him on her property following a memorial service. For his part, Houston never has so much as apologized to Evans for either killing Rowdy or what he has done to her, her husband, and children.

A civil suit against Houston is one possibility but since the courts in North Carolina have demonstrated time and time again their utter contempt for cats and other animals that also would be a long shot. (See Cat Defender posts of January 29, 2007 and February 9, 2007 entitled, respectively, "PETA's Long History of Killing Cats and Dogs Is Finally Exposed in North Carolina Courtroom" and " Verdict in PETA Trial: Littering Is a Crime but Not the Mass Slaughter of Innocent Cats and Dogs.")

What Houston fully deserves is a measure of what he gave Rowdy. The only drawback with that is the courts surely would lock up Evans for the remainder of her life if she took the law into her own hands. Nonetheless, that is bound to happen sooner or later if this society does not start to better protect cats and other animals.

In the final analysis, Evans has little choice in the matter other than to vacate Granite Falls regardless of how difficult that may be. Houston is behaving as if had a letter of marquis and is sure to become even more emboldened with the corresponding success of each of his stratagems.

Should Evans acquire another cat, he is likely to kill it also. It even is conceivable that he might attempt to harm either her or her children in some way.

Her sad and scary situation is totally untenable unless she wants to live behind a barricade and to carry a gun at all times. Moreover, Houston is not about to pull up stakes on his own volition and even the four horsemen of the Apocalypse would be hard pressed to get rid of his kind.

Sadly, Rowdy is dead and will not be coming back but Evans still has her life ahead of her and her family to consider. If she has learned anything worthwhile from this tragic experience it is that in the United States the good guys only win in the movies.

Photos: Gather.com (Houston), Andrea Evans (Rowdy), The Hook of Charlottesville (the Wintersteiger children at Carmen's grave and Isabella with Carmen), and WRAL-TV of Raleigh (Glover).

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Grace Is Out of the Hospital and Has a New Home but Her Nail Gun Assailant Remains as Free as a Bird Thanks to the Authorities' Dereliction of Duty

The Attack Has Left Grace Blind in Her Left Eye

"She's adapted really well. She's spoiled. She's real playful and she's alive and she's just a ball of love."
-- James Symons

Amazing Grace, who was intentionally shot between the eyes with a nail gun back in May, is out of the hospital and has a new home.

Sadly, she is now blind in her left eye. Neurological damage, infections, seizures, and problems with balance, which are so common with these types of horrific injuries, remain a concern but hopefully none of them will manifest themselves and her recovery will be complete and she will be able to go on and have a full and happy life.

Her new guardian is Sioux City, Iowa, resident James Symons who was so touched by her plight that he came forward and generously offered to give her a home. "She's adapted really well," he told KTIV-TV of Sioux City on June 25th. (See "Update: Cat Shot with Nail Gun Improving, Adopted.") "She's spoiled. She's real playful and she's alive and she's just a ball of love."

Symons also has established a page for her on Facebook where her many supporters from around the world can follow her progress. More recently, she and Symons are believed to have relocated to Homer, twenty-three kilometers south of Sioux City, in the neighboring state of Nebraska.

Grace was discovered cowering underneath a parked truck on the 500 block of Center Street in Sioux City sometime in mid-May by an unidentified woman who in turn contacted Animal Control. She then was taken to Siouxland Animal Hospital where two days later surgeons removed a three-inch nail from between her eyes. 

Since she had been living underneath the truck for at least three days, it is likely that she was shot several days prior to that time. It therefore truly is a miracle that she was able to have held on for as long as she did before help arrived.

The Siouxland Humane Society, the Humane Society of the United States, and an anonymous donor are offering a $3,500 reward for information leading to the arrest of the person who shot Grace. Predictably, no arrests have been made and none are expected. (See Cat Defender post of June 1, 2010 entitled "Grace Survives Being Shot Point-Blank Between the Eyes by a Monster with a Nail Gun but Sioux City Authorities Refuse to Even Investigate the Attack.")

Rewards of this sort are offered by humane officials as a public relations stunt designed to absolve them from the arduous task of actually conducting a criminal investigation and apprehending the individuals who commit these dastardly crimes. Accordingly, it is highly unlikely that humane officials in Sioux City have lifted so much as a little finger in order to bring this scumbag to the altar of justice.

Secondly, humane officials make a fair amount of moola off of the suffering of cats like Grace. Donations pour in from concerned citizens while, due to their calculated inaction, there is little danger that they ever will be forced to part with any reward money.

They thus win all the way around at the expense of cats. Instead of championing the cause of cats and other abused animals, humane officials actually are aiding and abetting their abusers in the commission of their crimes.

That in itself puts the lie to all of their morally indignant rhetoric and fraudulent claims about loving cats. Any true ailurophile would be willing to move heaven and earth in order to put the perpetrator of this despicable crime behind bars. In addition to securing a measure of justice for Grace, doing so also would deter some, but not all, individuals from committing similar crimes.

More to the point, it is utterly preposterous for anyone to believe that the offer of a minuscule reward is going to bring cat abusers to justice. There hardly ever are any eyewitnesses to these attacks and the perpetrators are not the sort of individuals who are likely to suffer from pangs of conscience and thus come forward and confess.

Grace with the Nail in Her Brain

Au contraire, it is only the expenditure of resources and manpower on sound detective work that is going to produce results. In America, however, that is precisely what humane groups and the law enforcement community are committed to not doing.

For example, in late August of 2009 a four-year-old orange and white cat named Brownie was shot through the head with a thirteen-inch arrow in Bloomington, Indiana, and despite the offer of a reward of $2,920 and an appearance on NBC's Today Show his assailant remains at large. (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.")

The police are even far worse rotters in the woodpile when it comes to investigating animal cruelty. Their principal function in any society is to serve as the hired guns of the capitalists and the bourgeoisie. Whatever time and resources that they have left are in turn devoted to lining their own pockets with graft and abusing the poor.

Given such a mindset, the police are never going to take animal cruelty seriously. In fact, they kill their own fair share of cats, both big and small.

For example, the police in Cecil, Pennsylvania, murdered Roger Oldaker's ten-year-old Persian, Elmo, on March 22, 2008. Their counterparts in Raymore, Missouri, did likewise to Kelly Wesner's nineteen-year-old cat, Tobey, on Labor Day of last year.

Acting solely upon the uncorroborated testimony of cat-haters, the police in both instances appointed themselves as judge, jury, and executioners. (See Cat Defender posts of March 31, 2008 and September 16, 2009 entitled, respectively, "Cecil, Pennsylvania, Police Officer Summarily Executes Family's Beloved Ten-Year-Old Persian, Elmo" and "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.")

In Granite Falls, North Carolina, one-hundred-seventy miles west of the Research Triangle, state trooper Shawn C. Houston illegally trapped and shot next-door neighbor Andrea Evans's five month-old kitten, Rowdy, in 2009. For that heinous crime, District Court Judge Carlton Terry Jr. let him off with the payment of $125 in court costs.

He was fired by the Highway Patrol in January of this year but his appeal of that decision is scheduled to be heard next month. (See News and Observer of Raleigh, May 29, 2010, "Trooper Kills a Kitten and Loses His Job.")

When it comes to big cats, just about all cops behave as if they were Jim Corbett on safari in India. For instance, the San Francisco Police murdered an Amur tigress named Tatiana on Christmas Day of 2007 while the Chicago Police did likewise to a cougar in April of 2008. (See Cat Defender posts of January 28, 2008 and May 5, 2008 entitled, respectively, "Hopped Up on Vodka and Pot, Trio Taunted Tatiana Prior to Attacks That Led to Her Being Killed by Police" and "Chicago's Rambo-Style Cops Corner and Execute a Cougar to the Delight of the Hoi Polloi and Capitalist Media.")

Any police department that categorically refused to investigate homicides and rapes would not be in business for very long unless, that is, they were headquartered in sleazy New Jersey. The same rationale accordingly should be applied to violations of the animal cruelty statutes.

Being politically ambitious with bigger fish to fry, prosecutors seldom can be induced to try cat abuse cases. Even on those rare occasions when they do step up to the plate they usually deliver lackluster, half-hearted efforts that end in failure and humiliation.

The obstacles standing in the way of bringing cat abusers to justice are thus many and formidable. Worst of all, even when convictions are secured judges invariably turn the abusers and killers loose with probation and inconsequential fines. Rarely if ever do any of them go to jail. (See Cat Defender posts of August 17, 2009, November 24, 2008, and January 17, 2006 entitled, respectively, "America's Insane Love Affair with Criminals Continues as Drunkard Who Sliced Open Scatt with a Box Cutter Gets Off with Time on the Water Wagon," "Kilo's Killer Walks in a Lark but the Joke Is on the Disgraceful English Judicial System," and "Loony Virginia Judge Lets Career Criminal Go Free After He Stomps to Death a Fourteen-Year-Old Arthritic Cat.")

The truly regrettable aspect of all of this is that with those who comprise the animal protection network being so feckless, disingenuous, and corrupt, cats are destined to continue to suffer and die needlessly. Worst still, the system is too far gone to be reformed in any meaningful fashion.

Photos: KTIV-TV (Grace) and Sioux City Animal Control (Grace with a nail in her head).

Friday, July 02, 2010

Lexi Was By No Means the First Cat to Be Lost by Woosehill Vets Any More Than Angel Was Their Last Victim of a Botched Sterilization

"But I don't think she (Brown) should question our competence because we have been performing this kind of surgery for many years and never had any problems. We are trying to run a successful and first-class clinic and people are happy to use us."
-- manager of Woosehill Vets

For individuals who dearly love their cats Woosehill Vets in Emmview Close, Woosehill, Berkshire, is an establishment to be avoided like the plague. Within just the past year, for example, it has allowed at least two cats to escape through open windows in addition to badly botching at least two routine sterilizations.

The unbelievably slipshod practices and intolerably poor level of care dispensed by the practitioners at Woosehill recently came to light when twenty-four-year-old Maria Brown of nearby Woodley dropped off her two-year-old cat, Lexi, to be neutered and his sibling, Angel, to be spayed on June 2nd. (See photo above of Lexi.)

For starters, the vets inexplicably allowed Lexi to escape through an open window and, although there have been several recent sightings of him, he to this day remains among the missing. Adding insult to injury, Woosehill had the bloody cheek to attempt to fob off on Brown a rabbit in place of Lexi when she returned the next day in order to collect him.

Since Brown has been too distraught to speak to the press, her friend, Julie Bobb, has been serving as her spokesperson. "Maria is very upset," she told the Daily Telegraph on June 7th. (See "Cat Flees from Surgery to Avoid the Snip.") "To be honest, the vet was very vague and we were there about three hours. They were dithering around and didn't realize that the cat was missing."

The vets also neglected to fit Angel with an Elizabethan collar and as the result she removed one of the sutures and began to hemorrhage. That forced Brown to rush her to another surgery in order to have the wound properly closed.

Despite losing Lexi and nearly killing Angel, the unidentified head honcho of Woosehill has remained unbowed and unrepentant. "But I don't think she (Brown) should question our competence because we have been performing this kind of surgery for many years and never had any problems," he swore with a straight face to the Wokingham Times on June 3rd. (See "Cat Owner Left Distraught after Vet Loses Pet.") "We are trying to run a successful and first-class clinic and people are happy to use us."

If subsequent revelations are any indication of the level of care that cats receive at Woosehill, the only venue that their owners are going to want to meet these vets in is a court of law where they are standing in the dock! For her part, Brown already has reported these two incidents to both the RSPCA and the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS).

Malheureusement, if Blaydon Burn resident Heather Irwin's ordeal with the RCVS is representative of the lax oversight that body exercises Brown most likely is wasting both her time and money. In that horrific case, Silke Birgitt Lindridge of Consett Veterinary Center in Consett, County Durham, nearly killed Irwin's seven-year-old cat, Felix, by improperly setting his broken left leg.

Yet when Irwin complained to the RCVS it suspended Lindridge for only three months and that was for neglecting to pay her dues! (See Cat Defender post of June 17, 2010 entitled "Veterinarian Gets Away with Almost Killing Felix but Is Nailed by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons for Not Paying Her Dues.")

As far as it is known, Angel survived her close call with the Grim Reaper and since has recovered. Sadly, the same cannot be said for one-year-old Oscar from Crowthorne in Bracknell Forest.

On June 21st, his owner, Kathryn Ryan, dropped him off at Woosehill Vets in order to be neutered. A few hours later she received a telephone call from the surgery informing her that he had died on the operating table.

"I did not find them competent -- when asking how this had happened, looking for an explanation..." she told the Wokingham Times on June 24th. (See "Pet Owner's Fury after Another Cat Escapes.") "'I don't know' was all that was repeated over and over."

The good-hearted vets did offer, however, to give her another cat. Apparently they were fresh out of rabbits that day.

Whereas the air outside generally is purer than that indoors, the vets at Woosehill apparently place a higher premium on fresh air than they do on feline safety because Lexi was by no means the first cat that they carelessly have allowed to scamper through an open window. Par exemple, an identical fate befell six-year-old Buffy in July of last year.

After she was bitten by another animal, her owner, seventy-five-year-old Muriel Horsnell of Heelas Road in Wokingham, took Buffy to Woosehill for treatment and that was the last that she ever saw of her beloved companion. She did extensive fly-posting and searched high and low but her efforts were all in vain.

"She was there for a couple of nights," Horsnell told the Wokingham Times in the June 24th article cited supra. "Early morning we received a phone call from the vet to say he was very sorry. He was cleaning out the cage and our cat escaped through an open window."

Fiona Brackley of Twyford, also in Berkshire, is another dissatisfied former client of Woosehill Vets. In December of last year, she took Samba to the surgery for treatment of dehydration and kidney trouble.

Although it is unclear what transpired during those visits, Brackley soon became disenchanted with Woosehill and took him to another vet in Woodley who later killed him. (See photo above of her holding a picture of Samba.)

"I was deeply distressed about what happened to him," she told the Wokingham Times on June 24th. "I had Samba for thirteen years."

If the regulators were doing their jobs, Woosehill either would have been shuttered long ago or placed under close supervision. As far as it could be determined, the only action ever taken against the surgery occurred on February 25th of last year when the RCVS struck off Janos Nemeth for forging a Certificate of Good Standing from the Hungarian Veterinary Chamber in order to be allowed to practice veterinary medicine in England.

In the RCVS's press release announcing his suspension, Nemeth's place of employment is identified as the Woosehill Hospital for Pets in Emmview Close, so it is conceivable that is an altogether different establishment from Woosehill Vets. Nevertheless, that is unlikely in that Woosehill Vets appears to be the only veterinary surgery located in Emmview Close. (See PR Newswire, March 2, 2009, "Berkshire Vet Struck Off for Fraudulent Registration.")

So, perhaps there is some glimmer of hope that Brown yet may receive a tiny measure of satisfaction from the RCVS after all. Still, it must be borne in mind that most regulatory bodies function as pimps and whores for those that they are supposed to be monitoring and as a consequence can seldom be counted upon to do the right thing.

As the Lindridge and Nemeth cases have more than amply demonstrated, the RCVS is primarily concerned with ensuring that all practitioners pay their membership dues and have their paperwork in order. Consequently, it could care less how many cats veterinarians misdiagnose, kill, and lose.

Responsibility for doing something about Woosehill consequently falls by default to cat owners who should avoid that practice at all costs. If other pet owners wish to continue availing themselves of the surgery's services that is their business. After all, it must be remembered that there are not any dog and rabbit owners on record as having complained about the quality of treatment that their companions received.

That raises the specter that the vets at Woosehill dispense a level of care to cats that is grossly inferior to what they mete out to other animals. That glaring level of discriminatory treatment could be attributable to the fact that because there are so many of them that the vets feel that their owners care less about them than dog owners do about their companions. Woosehill's offer to give Ryan another cat in place of her beloved Oscar is an example of such thinking.

It also could be the case that most veterinarians simply hate cats. After all, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) is on record as proclaiming to the world its virulent hatred of the species. (See "Free Roaming Abandoned and Feral Cats" at www.avma.org.)

Apologists for the veterinary establishment, such as the American Humane Association (AHA) and Tribune Media Services' columnist Steve Dale, like to spread the sophistry that cat owners care less about their companions than do dog owners and that is why they take them to the vet less frequently. A more plausible explanation is that they are put off by the poor quality of care that their cats receive and the antipathy that some vets display toward their companions.

It also is well established that in addition to losing cats and botching sterilizations that veterinarians administer unnecessary vaccinations that sometimes lead to sarcomas. Others, such as Sophia Yin of San Francisco, dope up cats with mood-altering drugs just as if they were treating neurotic teenagers.

Veterinarians also rake in a pretty penny surgically implanting microchips in spite of the fact they they have been linked to cancer and provide cats with absolutely no protection against the machinations of ailurophobes, poisoners, motorists, and others intent upon doing them harm. (See Cat Defender posts of September 21, 2007 and May 25, 2006 entitled, respectively, "FDA Is Suppressing Research That Shows Implanted Microchips Cause Cancer in Mice, Rats, and Dogs" and "Plato's Misadventures Expose the Pitfalls of RFID Technology as Applied to Cats.")

It accordingly would not be unfair to characterize the practice of veterinary medicine as it pertains to cats to be principally concerned with whacking off their private parts and pumping them full of drugs (vaccinations included) and electronics. Moreover, some veterinarians cannot be trusted to successfully perform even routine procedures.

It thus seems clear that it is precisely the veterinary profession that is responsible for the poor level and quality of treatment that cats receive and not their owners as Dale and the AHA falsely allege. Of course, sucking up to the Establishment for financial gain is every bit as ancient as the demonization of cats and their owners.

Finally, the astute readers of the Wokingham Times are to be commended for bringing the abuses at Woosehill Vets to the attention of the public. The paper likewise is to be thanked for having the courage to publicize these outrages as opposed to sweeping them underneath the rug as most other publications have done in the past.

Photos: Daily Telegraph and INS (Lexi) and Wokingham Times (Brackley and Samba).

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Bigga Is Reunited with His Owner after an Eight-Year Absence but Life on the Street Has Left Him in Poor Health and Put Her in a Quandary

"We are really happy to have him back but I know when we do let him out in a week or so we will probably never see him again."
-- Lorna Fothergill

Au premier coup d'oeil, cats appear to be rather simple creatures with few needs and that is exactly what some individuals find so appealing about them. Appearances, as everyone knows, are deceiving and it simply is mind-boggling how complicated, exasperating, and heartwrenching caring for a cat sometimes can become.

Take Bigga for example. He first turned up unannounced in Lorna Fothergill's yard on Micklefield Road in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, in 2001. A year or so later he walked out of her life every bit as mysteriously as he had entered it. (See photo above.)

Since several of her neighbors' cats had been murdered around that time, Fothergill assumed that Bigga, too, had met with foul play and that she had seen the last of him. She continued on with her career as the lead singer of the popular funk and blues band Northsyde and changed addresses several times before settling into her current abode in the parish town of Newport Pagnell in the borough of Milton Keynes, also in Buckinghamshire.

Unbeknownst to her, Julie Britnell of the Peterborough RSPCA picked up Bigga in High Wycombe on March 25th and, thanks to an implanted microchip and some pretty sound detective work, eventually was able to trace Fothergill's perambulations to Newport Pagnell. A couple of weeks later Fothergill was reunited with Bigga at the RSPCA's Blackberry Farm Animal Center in Aylesbury. (See photo below.)

"He got on his back and got a belly rub, like he always did," Fothergill told the Bucks Free Press of High Wycombe on April 12th. (See "Missing High Wycombe Cat Reunited with Owner after Eight Years.") "He's still the same and has got the same appetite."

"It's almost like he never went," she added to the Daily Mail on April 12th. (See "The Wanderer's Returned: Cat Reunited with Owner Eight Years after Running Away.") "He follows me everywhere, when I go to the loo, when I walk into the kitchen..."

From all of that, she is convinced that Bigga recognizes her. While little is known concerning the retentive power of cats, Ingrid Kerger of Winnipeg likewise insists that her cat, Tiger Lily, immediately recognized her after a separation of fourteen years. (See Cat Defender post of March 31, 2010 entitled "Winnipeg Family Is Astounded by Tiger Lily's Miraculous Return after Having Been Believed Dead for Fourteen Years.")

Although the forty-year-old songstress was delighted to see him again, Bigga's return certainly has complicated her life and, much more importantly, presented her with a moral dilemma. Most distressing of all, the intervening years have not been particularly kind to him and his health is not good.

For instance, he has been diagnosed with arthritis, liver problems, and the Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV). Fothergill, to her credit, has shelled out four-hundred-fifty pounds on veterinary care but Bigga's long-term prognosis is uncertain.

The major concern is his liver but since press reports fail to reveal the extent of the damage it is impossible to speculate on that issue. Although painful, arthritis is not any big deal and many FIV-positive cats live for years.

Since FIV is transmitted through bite wounds, most veterinarians recommend that cats suffering from the ailment be sterilized in order to curtail both their aggressiveness and tendency to roam. That is a particularly important consideration in Fothergill's case since she has other cats at home.

Sterilizing Bigga might be sufficient in order to protect her other cats since FIV is not transmitted through either casual or sexual contact. If she is loath to go that route, it would be best if Bigga were segregated from her other cats.

Whereas Bigga's medical woes can be managed, his love of the great outdoors is an altogether different matter. "We love him and he recognizes me but he's been a feral cat for a very long time," she told the Daily Mail in the article cited supra. "He's scratching the house down just trying to get out."

In that respect Bigga is reminiscent of Booth Tarkington's fictional Gipsy. Here is what he had to say about him in his 1916 novel, Penrod and Sam:

"This cat was, for a cat, needlessly tall, powerful, independent and masculine. Once, long ago, he had been a roly-poly pepper-and-salt kitten; he had a home in those days, and a name, "Gipsy," which he abundantly justified. He was precocious in dissipation. Long before his adolescence, his lack of domesticity was ominous, and he had formed bad companionships. Meanwhile, he grew so rangy, and developed such length and power of leg and such traits of character, that the father of the little girl who owned him was almost convincing when he declared that the young cat was half bronco and half Malay pirate -- though, in the light of Gipsy's later career, this seems bitterly unfair to even the lowest orders of broncos and Malay pirates.

"No; Gipsy was not the pet for a little girl. The rosy hearthstone and sheltered rug were too circumspect for him. Surrounded by the comforts of middle-class respectability, and profoundly oppressed, even in his youth, by the Puritan ideals of the household, he sometimes experienced a sense of suffocation. He wanted free air and he wanted free life; he wanted the lights, the lights and the music. He abandoned the bourgeoisie irrevocably. He went forth in a May twilight, carrying the evening beefsteak with him, and joined the underworld.

"His extraordinary size, his daring and his utter lack of sympathy soon made him the leader -- and, at the same time, the terror -- of all the loose-lived cats in a wide neighborhood. He contracted no friendships and had no confidants. He seldom slept in the same place twice in succession, and though he was wanted by the police, he was not found. In appearance he did not lack distinction of an ominous sort; the slow, rhythmic, perfectly controlled mechanism of his tail, as he impressively walked abroad, was incomparably sinister. This stately and dangerous walk of his, his long, vibrant whiskers, his scars, his yellow eye, so ice-cold, so fire-hot, haughty as the eye of Satan, gave him the deadly air of a mousquetaire duelist. His soul was in that walk and in that eye; it could be read -- the soul of a bravo of fortune, living on his wits and his velour, asking no favors and granting no quarter. Intolerant, proud, sullen, yet watchful and constantly planning -- purely a militarist, believing in slaughter as in a religion, and confident that art, science, poetry and the good of the world were happily advanced thereby -- Gipsy had become, though technically not a wildcat, undoubtedly the most untamed cat at large in the civilized world."

Just as no human ever would want to be locked up indoors for life, it is cruel and inhumane to imprison cats inside and those individuals and groups that are advocating for such a perverse agenda are either inveterate cat-haters, such as the American Bird Conservancy (ABC), the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), and all wildlife biologists, or twenty-four karat frauds such as the American Humane Association (AHA), Neighborhood Cats, and the Humane Society of the United States. On the opposite side of the issue, Cats Protection of Chelwood Gate in Sussex will not allow individuals without at least yards to adopt its cats.

In addition to cruelly robbing them of their freedom, indoor environments are lethal to cats. (See Cat Defender posts of August 22, 2007 and October 19, 2007 entitled, respectively, "Indoor Cats Are Dying from Diabetes, Hyperthyroidism, and Various Toxins in the Home" and "Smokers Are Killing Their Cats, Dogs, Birds, and Infants by Continuing to Light Up in Their Presence.")

Worst still, all apostles of the ABC's Cats Indoor agenda dishonestly refuse to even acknowledge that indoor pollution exists. (See "Free Roaming Abandoned and Feral Cats" at www.avma.org and the AHA's online publication "CATegorical Care: An Owner's Guide to America's Number One Companion.")

It therefore is not at all surprising that these cat-haters equally refuse to admit that it is precisely their insatiable thirst for petrol that at this very moment is dooming tens of thousands of birds, dolphins, turtles, fish, and other animals as well as microorganisms to horrific deaths in the Gulf of Mexico. In their warped and demented gourds, however, it is cats that are responsible for all the evil that exists in creation.

Depending upon circumstances and the level of care that they receive, a good argument could be made that outdoor cats are in fact healthier than those that are cruelly locked up inside. That is, for example, the opinion of retired financial editor Fred Hampton who for more than a decade has cared for a colony of homeless cats in the Riverdale section of the Bronx.

"On average, outdoor cats are healthier than indoor. And they live longer, too," he told The Riverdale Press on June 10th. (See "They Care for Cats That Others Don't Care For.")

Veterinarian Sheila Dobson, who has worked extensively with outdoor cats through her affiliation with No More Homeless Pets Kansas City, is on record as stating that most of them are healthy. Furthermore, she has not found any greater incidence of either feline leukemia (FeLV) or FIV in homeless cats than in domesticated ones. Consequently, they are no more likely to spread diseases to other cats than those that are locked up indoors. (See Cat Defender post of May 16, 2006 entitled "Kansas City Vets Break Ranks with AVMA to Defend Cats Against Bird Advocates, Wildlife Proponents, and Exterminators.")

In spite of all of that, extraordinary circumstances do arise from time to time when cats either must be confined inside or allowed out only under tightly-controlled circumstances. Because of his age and poor health, the time has come for Fothergill to consider curtailing Bigga's roaming. This is especially important if she wants to hang on to him and to extend his life.

The difficulties involved in transforming an outdoor cat into an indoor dweller cannot in any way be underestimated. Moreover, the problems are magnified tenfold in the case of cats like Bigga who have grown accustomed to coming and going as they please.

Consequently, Fothergill is bracing for the worst. "We are really happy to have him back but I know when we do let him out in a week or so we will probably never see him again," she glumly predicted to the Daily Mail.

That is not necessarily the case. Cats are territorial by nature and seldom leave their home turf. After all, it was Fothergill who abandoned High Wycombe, not Bigga.

His disappearance from her home on Micklefield Road most likely was the result of him being imprisoned indoors for an unspecified period of time by one of her neighbors. That is not an uncommon occurrence with outdoor cats. (See Cat Defender post of July 9, 2007 entitled "Hungry and Disheveled Cat Named Slim Is Picked Up Off the Streets of Ottawa by Rescuer Who Refuses to Return Him to His Owners.")

Furthermore, it is a good bet that if she were to show his photograph around her old neighborhood someone would not only recognize Bigga but also be able to enlighten her as to how he spent the last eight years. After all, someone must have been feeding and sheltering him for at least part of that time.

It also is conceivable that he either became injured or incapacitated in some way. Another possibility is that he was picked up by either the RSPCA or some other rescue group that did not scan him for a microchip.

Being natural gourmands, cats often dine at several addresses but they seldom willingly abandon a permanent source of food and shelter. Since there is absolutely nothing in the public record to suggest that Fothergill in any way neglected or mistreated him, Bigga in all probability was waylaid somewhere and by the time that he had regained his freedom she had changed addresses.

The main concern at the moment is that Newport Pagnell is not High Wycombe and as a consequence Bigga may attempt to return to his old haunt as soon as he is let out again. If Fothergill could keep him inside for between four and six weeks he then might be less inclined to attempt a return to High Wycombe.

Although there are similarities, all cats have their own personalities and memories and that makes predicting exactly what they are going to do almost impossible. In other words, one size does not fit all and, more importantly, owners cannot live their lives for them.

Fothergill already has taught him to walk on a leash and that at least gets him out of the house now and again. He also may understand by now that he is no longer in High Wycombe but it is difficult to say how he will react to that realization.

In that Newport Pagnell has only 15,020 residents as opposed High Wycombe's 92,300, it actually might be a safer location for him but only Fothergill can make that determination. Besides, every neighborhood, regardless of its size, has its fair share of cat-haters, motorists, and wild animals.

Although cats certainly are capable of adjusting to new environments, there is a learning curve involved and they are extremely vulnerable while they connaitre les ficelles. That is why a five-year-old black and white cat named Domino was returned to Poynette, Wisconsin, last year after she unwittingly became trapped inside one of Mike and Ann Hirz's shipping crates and wound up in Green Valley, Arizona.

"It (Domino) knows its safety area. It knows its sources of food and shelter," Patti Hogan of Paws Patrol in Green Valley said at that time. "This is Domino's best chance of survival. We always try to get ferals back to where they came from." (See Cat Defender post of May 8, 2009 entitled "Domino, Feral and All Alone, Faces an Uncertain Future in Wisconsin Following an Unplanned Trip to Arizona.")

As a consequence, Domino was driven back to Poynette and released to fend for herself. It therefore is not known how she fared this past winter or, for that matter, even if she is still alive.

Hogan's logic is severely flawed in two crucial respects, however. First of all, with the Hirzes' departure, Domino lost her primary source of food and shelter. Secondly, their abandonment of her was every bit as morally reprehensible as their initial unconscionable decision to run off and leave her behind.

With Bigga the situation is slightly different in that he has Fothergill to care for him in Newport Pagnell and presumably someone else to do likewise in High Wycombe. The acute danger is that he will attempt to walk to High Wycombe.

Far from being overpowered by outrageous circumstances and events, Fothergill has the smarts and resources in order to protect Bigga. She could begin by making the inside of her house more appealing to him.

Since she lives in a multistory dwelling, there already are stairs for him to climb and that is a big plus. Window perches, other climbing devices, scratching posts, and multiple litter boxes would be steps in the right direction.

It also is important that she spoil him rotten with plenty of meat and fresh cream. She additionally needs to spend as much time with him as possible even though that may be difficult since she is an entertainer who works nights and is often on the road.

Fencing in her yard also would be worth a try. Finally, if she really cares about him she could go out roaming with him.

Individuals walk dogs day and night and accordingly there is not any valid reason why cat owners should not roam with their companions. By doing so they would not only be able to serve as their guardian angels, but also to ascertain where they go and the dangers that they encounter. Sacrificing a night's repose once or twice a week would be a small price to pay in order to ensure the safety of a beloved cat as well as to put one's mind to rest.

Properly understood, such an undertaking not only could be exhilarating but also serve as a happy reminder as well of younger days spent dragging home after a long night of cavorting just in time to hear the cock crow and to witness Old Sol making his triumphant return. After all, the pleasures of the night are sometimes best experienced without their customary embarrassing and debilitating side effects.

It even is conceivable that Bigga eventually will find domestic life with Fothergill to be so appealing that he gladly will spend evenings at home. After all, he is getting on and the English weather seldom is ideal for outdoor activities.

Ultimately, it is up to Fothergill to decide what is best for Bigga. In that light, it is conceivable that she ultimately may decide that he would be happier remaining an outdoor, intact tomcat.

In that case, he might actually be better off if she returned him to High Wycombe and attempted to track down those individuals who have been caring for him during the past eight years. Such a sad denouement would not necessarily mean the end of her relationship with him in that she still could visit him and even financially provide for his continued care.

Although the complications and contradictions involved in caring for cats are manifold, the transformative power of these exquisite creatures cannot be denied. As Anatole France once observed: "Until one has loved an animal a part of one's soul remains unawakened."

By sharing one's life with a cat an individual also learns a good deal about either himself or herself as well as the world in general. "These intelligent, peace-loving, four-footed friends -- who are without prejudice, without hate, without greed -- may someday teach us something," Lilian Jackson Braun once opined.

Finally, Bigga's travails highlight another glaring limitation of both microchips and tattoos as identification tools. It therefore is essential that cat owners update their contact information every time that they change addresses no matter how long their cats have been missing.

Both Fothergill and Kerger were reunited with Bigga and Tiger Lily, respectively, because local rescue groups pulled out all the stops in order to track them down but it is difficult to believe that such dedication to duty is the norm within a profession so overwhelmingly comprised of cat killers. Even in cases where rescue groups are serious about returning lost cats to their owners they sometimes are unsuccessful in their efforts. Individuals die, others move away and do not leave forwarding addresses, and some seemingly vanish into thin air.

The road ahead is going to be trying and morally vexing but hopefully Fothergill and Bigga will be able to make the correct decisions that will allow their improbable, albeit happy, reunion to be a long-running engagement as opposed to a show that is forced to close early.

Photos: Daily Mail and INS (Bigga) and Bucks Free Press (Fothergill and Bigga).