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).