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
"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).