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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

Monday, September 27, 2010

Caged, Shot Thirty Times with an Air Gun, and Then Tossed into a Bay to Drown, Lovey Is Rescued in the Middle of the Night by a Good Samaritan

"This was torture. It's remarkable she (Lovey) survived the many times she was shot in that cage and kicked in McKay Bay."
-- Pam Perry of Hillsborough County Animal Services

When it comes to the commission of horrible and despicable crimes against cats the Tampa area continues to have the disgraceful distinction of being in the vanguard. In the latest such horrific offense, a black and white cat named Lovey was caged and then shot in the abdomen and chest at least thirty times with an air gun before being tossed into McKay Bay in the Ybor City section of Tampa. (See photo above.)

Thanks to the intervention of an unidentified Good Samaritan who heard her plaintive cries of help, she was pulled from the water at 3 a.m. on September 1st and rushed to Brandon Veterinary Specialists where she was given pain medication and placed on antibiotics. It is not known how deep the water was or how long she was in it. Needless to say, she would not be here today if it had not been for the intervention of the Good Samaritan.

The attending veterinarians later added to her miseries by divesting her of just about all of her fur in spite of the fact that they ultimately decided against removing the pellets. (See photo below.)

In hindsight it seems like they should have been capable of making that determination beforehand and thus sparing her the agony of going unclothed for months. Besides, the pellets very well could be toxic and perhaps some of them at least could have been safely removed.

Reaching a consensus on exactly how to treat her was without a doubt difficult and the veterinarians initially were not even sure that she was going to live. "We are hopeful," Marti Ryan of Hillsborough County Animal Services (HCAS) told The Tampa Tribune on September 1st. (See "Cat in Carrier Rescued after Being Dumped in McKay Bay.) "I've heard the cat has had some ups and downs."

Against all odds, Lovey has proven Ryan and other naysayers wrong. She was recently adopted and all of her supporters are keeping their fingers crossed that she will be all right. (See photo below of her in an Elizabethan collar.)

Crudely scrawled labels on the outside of the pet carrier in which she was found left little doubt that she had been repeatedly tortured. For example, "Kitty Penitentiary," "Est. 2010," "Cell 666," and "Jailer Missy" are clearly discernible. (See photo below.)

The word "Warden" also is present but name of the individual holding that post has been defaced and as a consequence remained a mystery for another fortnight. A running tally maintained on the outside of the carrier indicates that Lovey was placed inside and tortured on at least twenty separate occasions.

In a rare victory for cats, nineteen-year-old Giovanni Estrada of 10266 Parsons Street in Town 'n' Country, five miles northwest of Tampa, was arrested on September 16th and charged with two counts of felony animal cruelty. He posted bail the next day and already is back out on the street. No trial date has been announced. (See mug shot of him below.)

"He confessed to the crime," Pam Perry of HCAS told WTVT-TV of Tampa on September 17th. (See "Arrest in Cat Abuse Case.") "He was charged with felony animal cruelty for shooting the cat. He was also charged with felony animal cruelty for the attempted drowning of the cat."

Estrada's girlfriend, Mildred Marie "Missy" Krack, so far has not been charged and the authorities have not given any reason for not doing so. After all, she quite obviously is the jailer referred to on the front of the pet taxi.

In spite of all of that, Maria Pimentel is stoutly proclaiming to the world her stepson's innocence. "He and his girlfriend used to have a cat, but their cat died," she told The Tampa Tribune on September 18th. (See "Nineteen-Year-Old Arrested in 'Lovey' the Cat Torture Case.") "They went and took everything -- the cage and the food they had left -- and threw it out. He did not abuse the cat. There was a cage and someone else took it."

Perry strenuously disagrees. "This was torture," she told The Tampa Tribune in the September 18th article cited supra. "It's remarkable that she (Lovey) survived the many times she was shot in that cage and kicked in McKay Bay."

As the "666" stenciled on the carrier would tend to indicate, Estrada appears to be a devil worshiper. For example, on his MySpace web page entitled "In the Shadow of Death," the salutation "Welcome to Hell" greets visitors. He also states that he is a wiccan and would like to met Jesus so that he could "kick his ass."

Having been falsely branded by the Roman Catholic Church during the Middle Ages as being the familiars of witches, millions of cats have been abused and exterminated since then as the result. Modern-day celebrants of Halloween and the producers of horror movies, television shows, and novels keep alive the absurd notion that cats are in some yet unexplained fashion in league with the devil.

There also is big money to be made from mutilating cats in order to make them appealing to devotees of the occult. That was what Holly Crawford of Sweet Valley, Pennsylvania, was up to before she was arrested in late 2008 and, at least, temporarily put out of business. (See Cat Defender posts of January 9, 2009, February 26, 2009, February 27, 2010, and April 24, 2010 entitled, respectively, "Pennsylvania Pet Groomer Is Caught Piercing the Ears, Necks, and Tails of Cats and Dogs and Then Illegally Peddling Them on eBay," "Dog Groomer Who Sold Mutilated Gothic Kittens on the Internet Is Finally Identified and Ordered to Stand Trial," "Sweet Valley Mutilator Is Convicted of Piercing the Ears, Necks, and Tails of Tiny Kittens That She Later Sold on eBay," and "Holly Crawford Hits the Jackpot by Drawing a Judge Who Simply Adores Kitten Mutilators and Dope Addicts.")

Thus, with both devil worshipers and Christians defaming and abusing them, cats cannot win no matter what they do. That also is another glaring example of just how much Christians and followers of Satan have in common. (See Cat Defender posts of July 30, 2009 and May 1, 2010 entitled, respectively, "Ferals Living at a Baltimore Church Find Out the Hard Way That Hatred of Cats Is Every Bit as Christian as Unleavened Bread and Cheap Wine" and "When It Comes to Cats, Acts of Faith Count for Absolutely Nothing with the Good Christians at Northside Baptist.")

If Estrada and Krack were not torturing Lovey out of pure devilry, they could have been attempting to discipline her with a BB gun. Should that be proven to have been the case, they certainly would not by any means be the first cretins to have used outrageous cruelty as a means of making a cat conform to their deviant way of thinking.

For example, on March 1, 2009 the Lancaster County Sheriff's Office arrested twenty-year-old Acea Schomaker and his twenty-two-year-old girlfriend, Marissa Vieux, in Lincoln, Nebraska, and charged them with animal cruelty for stuffing a six-month-old kitten named Shadow into a large homemade bong and then flooding her tiny lungs with marijuana smoke. (See mug shot of him below.)

Following his arrest, Schomaker readily admitted that he had placed Shadow in the bong in order to discipline her because she allegedly had been biting and scratching him. In making such a patently absurd statement Schomaker obviously has his causality all mixed up in that cats rarely bite and scratch unless they first have been mistreated in some way. Nonetheless, he also proudly admitted that the pot did the trick.

"Every time we took her out she would pretty much just lay down and proceed to clean herself and act like a stoned person," he told Sky News of London on March 4, 2009. (See "Caution over Kitten Stuffed in Drug Bong.")

Because of her tender years and small lungs, Shadow easily could have suffered irreversible lung damage or even been killed if these torture sessions had gone on much longer. That is especially true in light of the fact that she was held prisoner in a twelve-inch by six-inch box with a polymethyl methacrylate top that was connected to a foot-long section of garden hose through which Schomaker smoked his dope. (See photo of bong below.)

These ten-minute sessions usually were held either once or twice a week and had been going on for at least a month. As an example of how stressful they were, Shadow was shaking like a leaf in a hurricane as well as being covered in urine and feces when she was freed by arresting officers.

Taken under the protective wing of the Capital Humane Society (CHS) in Omaha, Shadow soon recovered and was placed in a new home in July of last year. Hopefully, she did not suffer any permanent damage and is going to mature into a healthy adult cat. (See photo of her below.)

Totally lacking in both compassion and remorse, Schomaker's defense consisted of whining that he was being unfairly picked on by the authorities. "I know for sure this isn't the first time someone has done this," he proclaimed to Sky News in the article cited supra. "I'm just the first one to get caught."

On September 23, 2009, Lancaster County Judge Gale Pokorny sentenced Schomaker to ninety days in jail and fined him $1,171.30 which was to go to CHS for its treatment and care of Shadow. Vieux was given fifteen days in the can and fined $450.

"It's so ridiculous they're calling me an animal abuser," he later complained to his probation officer according to the September 23, 2009 edition of the Journal Star of Lincoln. (See "Judge Sends 'Cat Bong' Man to Jail.") "(If I were) I would not be wasting pot on it."

Animals never should be either disciplined or caged and that is especially true of cats who are always well-behaved unless they have been provoked in some fashion. Individuals such as Estrada, Krack, Schomaker, and Vieux do not have any business owning cats under any circumstances.

The possession and use of pot and other illicit drugs is proscribed under most circumstances and further restrictions on their cultivation and sale are unlikely to have much of a positive impact on the kind of abuse inflicted upon Shadow and other cats. (See Cat Defender posts of January 28, 2008 and May 10, 2010 entitled, respectively, "Hopped Up on Vodka and Pot, Trio Taunted Tatiana Prior to Attacks That Led to Her Being Killed by the Police" and "Lunatic Rulings in Cats With No Name Cruelty Cases Prove Once Again That Pennsylvania Is a Safe Haven for Cat Killers and Junkies.")

Air guns are an entirely different matter and it is simply mind-boggling, not to mention politically irresponsible, that the manufacture and sale of these heinous weapons ever was allowed in the first place. Furthermore, everyone knows that it is precisely juvenile miscreants that are attracted to them and, more importantly, that it is cats and other animals that they stalk with them. (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.")

In Scotland, attacks upon cats by assailants using air guns are steadily increasing. For example, in 2007 there were fifteen such attacks reported to the Scottish SPCA. The number rose to sixteen in 2008 and twenty-three in 2009. Through August of this year there had been eighteen. (See Scottish SPCA Press Release of September 15, 2010 entitled "Cat Cruelty Rising in Scotland" at www.scottishspca.org.)

Likewise, paint guns, crossbows, nail guns, and firecrackers placed in the hands of juveniles are bad news for cats and other animals. Even juveniles armed with slingshots and water pistols take a heavy toll on animals.

The horrendous abuse and suffering inflicted upon Lovey proves once again that the Tampa area, like Treasure Valley in Idaho, is a precarious place for cats to live. When it comes to maiming and killing them the weapon of choice for area residents more often than not is a crossbow. (See Cat Defender posts of November 1, 2009, May 13, 2008, and August 25, 2005 entitled, respectively, "Robin Hood, Who Survived a Near Fatal Bow and Arrow Wounding, Is Sent to a Sanctuary in Order to Live Out the Remainder of His Life," "Just When It Appeared That She Was Going to Make It, Arwen Dies Suddenly after Being Shot in the Abdomen with a Barbed Arrow," and "Nine-Week-Old Kitten Nicknamed Archer Recovering after Being Shot with Crossbow Near Tampa.")

On June 2nd of this year, Michael Major was arrested for tossing three kittens out of his vehicle and into traffic in Riverview, sixteen kilometers south of Tampa. None of them survived. (See Cat Defender post of July 16, 2010 entitled "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.")

Even kindhearted Jeanne Ambler of Temple Terrace, twelve kilometers outside of Tampa, has been hounded by the authorities like a convicted felon on the lam for feeding homeless cats. (See Cat Defender post of August 2, 2010 entitled "Old, Sickly, and Poor, Jeanne Ambler Is Facing Eviction for Feeding a Trio of Hungry Cats.")

The message is clear for all of those who have eyes to see and ears to hear: locales that steadfastly refuse to protect cats and their caretakers as well as to enforce the anti-cruelty statutes should be viewed warily by both visitors and those looking to relocate. Animal abuse is bad enough itself but it also carries with it far wider societal implications.

Finally, it is unclear why any sane person would be out strolling Maple Avenue in the small hours but Lovey owes her life to that unidentified individual. Whereas countless commuters at the Hamburger Hauptbahnhof turned a deaf ear to the plaintive cries of a Norwegian Forest cat that had been abandoned in a Schließfach, this individual did not turn away but instead took decisive action and saved Lovey from a watery grave. (See Cat Defender post of September 3, 2010 entitled "Pretty Norwegian Forest Cat, Already Suffering from Kidney Trouble, Is Abandoned to Die of Thirst in a Schließfach at the Hamburger Hauptbahnhof.")

Photos: Hillsborough County Animal Services (Lovey shortly after her rescue and Kitty Penitentiary), Katy Kuehner of The Tampa Tribune (Lovey on the mend), Stephen J. Coddington of the St. Petersburg Times (Lovey in an Elizabethan collar), WTSP-TV of Tampa (Estrada), and Lancaster County Sheriff's Office (Schomaker, bong, and shadow).

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Lätzchen Is Deliberately Set on Fire and Burned Within an Inch of Her Life in Karsdorf

"Warum tun Menschen so etwas Böses, Mama?"
-- David Bach, age 8

More than half of her fur is gone and she has been left blind. Her ears have been reduced to shriveled-up stumps and she has deep flesh wounds on her tiny nose.

Her name is Lätzchen (Bib) and sometime during the last week of August she was doused with an accelerant and set on fire. When she returned to her home in tiny Karsdorf in Burgenlandkreis, Sachsen-Anhalt, her owner, Ulrike Bach, was able to get her to a veterinarian in time to save her life but the damage already had been done.

Sadly, she not only has been scarred and maimed for life but her prognosis is uncertain. (See photo above.)

Before this despicable attack, Lätzchen was a beautiful black cat with a bright future ahead of her. (See photo below.)

Since she had been AWOL for about a week, it is unclear exactly either when she was set on fire or how long it took her to find her way back home. The police supposedly are searching for the individual responsible for this horrendous crime and PETA is offering a reward of €500 but no arrests have been made so far.

"Die Täter haben vorsätzlich gehandelt," a spokesman for the local police told Bild on September 7th. (See "Ein Tierhasser hat dieses Kätzchen angezündet.") "Sie wollten, dass die Katze einen qualvollen Feuertod stirbt."

Lätzchen's mistreatment has left Bach's eight-year-old son, David, devastated and disillusioned. "Warum tun Menschen so etwas Böses, Mama?" he reportedly asked his mother. (See bottom photo of him with Lätzchen.)

"David ist vernarrt in seine Katze," Bach told Bild. "Lätzchen' kam bei uns zur Welt."

It is an often overlooked fact but cruelty to cats also is a form of child abuse. Injuring and killing children's cats is not altogether different from physically assaulting them. In fact, the psychological scars engendered by crimes of this sort may very well be longer lasting than physical ones.

For example, earlier this summer in the Vancouver suburb of New Westminster Jennifer Szoke's eight-year-old son, Nate, was left brokenhearted after an assailant killed his cat, Harley, by dunking him up to his waist in turpentine. (See Cat Defender posts of July 30, 2010 and August 30, 2010 entitled, respectively, "Harley Suffers Severe Burns to His Tongue and Mouth as Well as Lung Damage after He Is Deliberately Dunked in Turpentine" and "Hope, Prayer, and Veterinary Intervention Ultimately Prove to Be Insufficient in Order to Save Harley after He Is Deliberately Dunked in Turpentine.")

A similar traumatic sequence of events was visited upon the children of Andrea Evans of Granite Falls, North Carolina, last October when Highway Patrolman Shawn C. Houston trapped and subsequently shot their cat, Rowdy. (See Cat Defender post of July 8, 2010 entitled "North Carolina State Trooper Who Illegally Trapped and Shot His Next-Door Neighbor's Cat, Rowdy, Is Now Crying for His Job Back.")

Although not nearly as prolific as either assaults by assailants using air guns and crossbows or deliberate poisonings, the torching of cats is not uncommon. For example, on June 20, 2007 a two-month-old black kitten named Adam was set ablaze by a pair of giggling teenage girls in Santa Rosa, California.

Adam, who suffered second and third degree burns over seventy-five per cent of his body, lost his tail, a large patch of fur and skin from his back, and was left with shriveled-up ears. Although apparently not burned quite as severely as Lätzchen, he also survived thanks to the excellent care that he received from Forgotten Felines of Sonoma County and the Animal Hospital of Cotati.

The multiple skin grafts that he required caused his skin to tingle, however, and he started to gnaw at it. He first was placed in an Elizabethan collar but when he did not cotton to it acupuncture was substituted and at last report the thin needles were working considerably better.

Three years later on he still is not out of the woods yet and could conceivably face a lifetime of pain and misery because of what the teens did to him. Thankfully, Tina Wright of the Animal Hospital chose to open up her heart and to provide him with a permanent home.

The girls who laughed their evil heads off at what they had done to Adam were arrested on July 6, 2007 but because they are minors the record of the judicial proceedings against them has been sealed and no additional information has been disclosed to the public. It is a foregone conclusion, however, that they were let off with nothing more severe than a tongue-lashing. (See Cat Defender posts of July 12, 2007 and June 8, 2009 entitled, respectively, "Burned Nearly to Death by Laughing Teenage Girls, Two-Month-Old Kitten Named Adam Is Fighting for His Life in Santa Rosa" and "Adam Is Persevering Throughout All the Pain Two years after Having Been Torched by Giggling Teenage Girls in Santa Rosa.")

In the Auckland suburb of Huntly, Wirimu Karena, a seventeen-year-old homeless student, and Sahn Papa, an eighteen-year-old sawmill employee, doused a trio of caged cats with glue and then set them on fire in April of 2005. In order to relive their devilry over and over again, they also videotaped their heinous exploits.

In court, Karena was given two-years in jail whereas Papa escaped with a nine-month sentence. Bereft of even the tiniest degree of either remorse or shame, both defendants repeatedly gave the bird to both court officials and their detractors throughout the proceedings. (See Cat Defender post of September 22, 2005 entitled "Two New Zealand Teens Douse Three Caged Cats with Glue and Burn Them to Death.")

The road ahead for both Lätzchen and the Bach family is going to be especially trying. Like Adam, Lätzchen is going to require skin grafts and other specialized care for an indefinite period of time.

The cost of her care is going to be astronomical. Hopefully, there is a local charity, such as the Sid Fund for Animal Crime Victims in Golden, Colorado, that will be able to assist the family in that regard. (See Cat Defender post of December 15, 2008 entitled "Vicious Attack on Sid Leads to the Creation of a Fund to Aid Four-Legged Victims of Domestic Violence.")

Actually, the entire community of Karsdorf is responsible for what happened to Lätzchen just as Raisin's death can be laid at the feet of all residents of Treasure Valley. Consequently, the community should be willing to help defray the cost of her veterinary care. (See Cat Defender post of September 18, 2010 entitled "Another Kitten, Raisin, Is Horribly Killed in Treasure Valley but It Is Unclear Whether Yobs or Incompetent Veterinarians Are to Blame for Her Death.")

In difficult cases such as this one there always is the nagging fear that the Bach family ultimately will elect to take the easy way out and kill off Lätzchen. Such an expedient must be strenuously resisted at all costs.

In light of all that she has been through, how much she means to David and, above all, out of respect for the sanctity of feline life, she must be allowed to live. Moreover, a decision to prematurely end her life would be tantamount to handing her attacker the victory that the flames and inflammable liquid have so far denied either him or her.

Photos: Steffen Schellhorn of Bild (a badly burned Lätzchen and her with David) and Bach family (Lätzchen before the attack).

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Another Kitten, Raisin, Is Horribly Killed in Treasure Valley but It Is Unclear Whether Yobs or Incompetent Veterinarians Are to Blame for Her Death

"(Three teenage boys) were basically playing catch with her."
-- Eileen DeShazo of Northwest Animal Companions

Initially, it had all the trappings of just another story of horrific feline abuse to come out of Treasure Valley in Idaho. Subsequent developments have demonstrated that the presocratic philosopher Heraclitus was on the right track when he asserted that the truth is buried in a pit.

The important thing to bear in mind amidst all of the conflicting stories that are circulating is that a two-month-old black kitten named Raisin is dead. She reportedly died in her sleep at 6 p.m. on September 6th at Northwest Animal Companions (NAC) in Boise. Exactly how she met her end remains a hotly contested topic.

She reportedly was rescued from the clutches of a trio of teenage males who were tossing and kicking her around like a football near Meridian High School on September 2nd. Her savior, Danielle Stem, then brought her to NAC.

"(Three teenage boys) were basically playing catch with her," the organization's Eileen DeShazo told KLEW-TV of Lewistown on September 6th. (See "Kitten Target of Chemical Attack Opens Eyes.")

As if all of that were not terrible enough, the attending veterinarians at NAC concluded that someone also had poured either bleach or some other deadly chemical down her throat and into her eyes resulting in severe damage not only to her eyes but to her throat and esophagus as well. (See photos above and below.)

Although Raisin's prognosis was grim from the outset, she rallied in foster care by opening her eyes, sitting up on her own, and by taking nourishment from a syringe. Ultimately, however, her injuries proved to be too much for her to overcome. (See bottom photo of her in an Elizabethan collar.)

Unfortunately, neither she nor NAC have found peace in her passing. Au contraire, her death has unleashed a firestorm of criticism directed at NAC over its handling of her care.

First of all, her corpse was taken to Washington State University where a preliminary necropsy failed to detect not only any evidence of chemical poisoning but also any broken bones, abrasions, or other telltale signs of severe trauma. Instead the pathologists concluded that Raisin had succumbed to an upper respiratory infection (URI).

"The veterinarian determined this kitten was suffering from an upper respiratory infection, which is common among stray kittens and is consistent with the goopy eyes and possible ulcerations," Meridian Deputy Police Chief Tracy Basterrechea said in a press release quoted by KLEW-TV on September 8th. (See "Police Challenge Animal Group's Kitty Abuse Claims.")

Basterrechea did not stop there, however, but instead went on to accuse NAC of having ulterior motives. "It does not appear that there is any foundation for those allegations (of abuse) which have created a fear in the community, which was irresponsible and unwarranted," he added.

NAC's initial response to Basterrechea's salvos was to stand by its original story. "There is completely inaccurate information in that release," the organization's Troy Jackson told KLEW-TV in the September 8th article cited supra. "At least five doctors looked at this cat and determined it wasn't an upper respiratory infection, and that it had to be some kind of chemical or foreign substance."

Six days later on September 14th Jackson did an abrupt about-face and admitted in a long mea culpa letter posted on NAC's web site that "information about Raisin is not what was first thought." (See "Letter from NAC's Executive Director" at www.nacrescue.org.) "It is now known that the kitten, Raisin, was not subjected to chemicals but rather was suffering from critical illness at the time she was allegedly abused."

If NAC is being honest, it needs to hire new veterinarians because any vet unable to tell the difference between URI and bleach poisoning does not have any business practicing veterinary medicine. Unfortunately, malpractice and misdiagnoses are rampant in a profession that places shekel accumulation ahead of saving lives. (See Cat Defender posts of June 17, 2010 and July 2, 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" and "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.")

NAC also has vociferously refuted allegations that it concocted the entire story of Raisin's abuse as a fundraising gimmick. "At no time did we solicit this funding, rather we responded to the public requests to help increase the reward fund," Jackson wrote in the letter cited supra. "Moreover, we did not collect a penny of those donations to pay for Raisin's care...the reward funding has and will continue to remain set aside in the event of a conviction."

Even if that allegation ultimately should turn out to be true, NAC hardly would be the first animal protection group to capitalize on the suffering of cats and dogs while simultaneously refusing to lift so much as a solitary finger in order to bring the perpetrators of these despicable crimes to justice. In fact, just about all of them engage in this sort of deceitful conduct.

Whenever an animal is abused these groups hit on the public for donations in order to both pay for the treatment of the victim and to supposedly bring the abuser to justice. There is absolutely nothing wrong with the former but the latter amounts to little more than beau geste because offers of rewards seldom produce positive results.

Only sound police work has been proven effective in bringing animal abusers to the altar of justice but both animal protection groups and the police have demonstrated time and time again that they have absolutely zero interest in committing the funds and manpower necessary in order to achieve that lofty objective. As a consequence, animal abuse continues to skyrocket.

Apparently having learned its lesson the hard way, NAC is now vowing to abandon the playing field entirely as far as animal cruelty cases are concerned. "Through this journey with Raisin, we have learned that in the future, the best path forward will be to remain silent, rather than involve the community," Jackson pledges in the letter cited supra.

Like a rudderless ship adrift on the high seas, NAC now has gone from one extreme to the other. It should continue to speak out against animal cruelty but it also must put its money where its mouth is and make a sincere effort to apprehend and punish animal abusers. Most importantly, in order to have any credibility it must be completely truthful and honest.

For whatever it is worth, the Meridian Police supposedly are still looking into the claim that Raisin was tossed and kicked around by the teens but, as per usual in cases of this sort, no arrests have been made so far. Even if the miscreants should be apprehended, not much in the way of retribution is going to be exacted from them. That is due first of all to the fact that they are minors and, secondly, because animal cruelty, no matter how horrific, is ludicrously treated only as a misdemeanor in backward Idaho.

The investigation is further complicated by the fact that Stem apparently has done a runner and as a consequence is nowhere to be found. Since most veterinarians categorically refuse to treat sick and injured cats unless they first receive their thirty pieces of silver up front, it is remotely conceivable that Stem, quite understandably, concocted the abuse story in order to procure badly needed veterinary assistance for Raisin. (See Cat Defender post of July 16, 2010 entitled "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.")

Of course, the area in and around Boise certainly is not any stranger to horrific attacks upon cats. On the contrary, it is one of the deadliest and most abusive places in the country for cats to live.

For example, on January 20, 2009 a two-year-old gray and white cat named Valentine from nearby Caldwell was either held down or tied down and then shot in the eye with an arrow by a fourteen-year-old boy. Air gun pellets also were found in her stomach.

Valentine was left blind and deaf on her left side as the result of this heinous attack and was forced to spend the next thirteen months at Simply Cats's shelter in Boise before anyone from cat-hating Treasure Valley would even adopt her. By way of punishment, her attacker was let off with the insultingly lenient punishment that he pen letters of apology to Simply Cats and WestVet Emergency and Specialty Care Center in Meridian.

"It makes you want to cry, it's so disturbing. It says a lot about society; it's heartbreaking," Sheri L. Schneider of Simply Cats said shortly after the attack. "This cat was used for target practice and some people think it's okay." (See Cat Defender posts of June 1, 2009 and March 5, 2010 entitled, respectively, "Blind and Deaf on Her Left Side as the Result of a Bow and Arrow Attack by a Juvenile Miscreant, Valentine Is Still Looking for a Permanent Home" and "Struck Down by an Archer and Shunned by an Uncaring Public for More Than a Year, Valentine Finally Finds a Home.")

Compounding an already bad situation, the rot in southern Idaho is by no means limited to teenage scumbags and a law enforcement establishment that turns a blind eye to crimes committed against cats. Rather, it extends to those groups that are charged with protecting them.

For example, at least sixteen cats were killed in March of 2006 when the Double D Feed and Seed store at 614 North Main Street in Meridian was pulled down on top of their tiny heads. Worst still, this totally inexcusable slaughter of defenseless cats was wholeheartedly supported by Jeff Rosenthal of the Idaho Humane Society in Boise.

"It would be nice to give people more time to catch the cats, but it's kitten season so every day that goes by there's likely to be more kittens," he said at that time in an apparent endorsement of demolition and violent death as an acceptable alternative to rescue and adoption. (See Cat Defender post of March 31, 2006 entitled "Idaho Humane Society Lends Its Support to the Demolition of a Derelict Seed Store That Claims the Lives of Dozens of Cats.")

Now, all these years later, it is precisely the same hypocritical, phony-baloney Rosenthal who, along with Basterrechea, is leading the lynch mob that is attacking NAC. (See KTVB of Denver, September 14, 2010, "Humane Society: Kitten Did Not Endure Chemical Abuse.")

Furthermore, it was only last week that the Canyon County Animal Shelter, west of Meridian, announced that beginning October 1st it no longer will be accepting either the receipt of or offering for adoption cats. Not surprisingly, it will continue to murder domestic cats upon request by their owners for $20 a pop. (See Idaho Press Tribune of Nampa, September 8, 2010 "Canyon County Animal Shelter Stops Services for Cats.")

Lost in the hullabaloo over exactly what happened to Raisin on the street and NAC's misdiagnosis of her condition is the petit fait that a kitten as sick as she was never should have been fobbed off into foster care so soon. She needed and deserved around-the-clock top-notch veterinary care and because it failed to provide it NAC is guilty of gross veterinary malpractice. If she had been properly treated and cared for there is a good chance that she still might be alive today.

Far from being an isolated case, shelters and veterinarians kill many cats each year by scrimping on their care. For example, Yellowstone Valley Animal Shelter in Billings committed the same fatal mistake when a ten-year-old Snowshoe Siamese named Ally arrived in the back of one of Albertsons' delivery trucks on March 3rd of this year. In spite of having sustained an unspecified injury to her back and possibly a broken hip on top of being famished and dehydrated she was immediately placed in foster care.

Two days later on March 5th she became anemic and was discovered to have contracted an unspecified parasite. By March 9th she was dead. (See Cat Defender post of April 18, 2010 entitled "Ally's Last Ride Lands Her in a Death Trap Set by an Uncaring and Irresponsible Supermarket Chain and a Bargain Basement Shelter.")

The Cleveland Animal Protective League likewise signed Malli's death warrant by prematurely releasing her into foster care after she arrived from Malaysia trapped in a shipping crate in 2008. (See Cat Defender posts of March 21, 2008 and April 25, 2008 entitled, respectively, "Malli Survives a Thirty-Two-Day Voyage from Johor Bahru to Cleveland Trapped Inside a Shipping Crate" and "After Surviving a Lengthy and Hellish Confinement at Sea, Malli Dies Unexpectedly in Foster Care.")

Any hospital that merely administered first-aid to the critically injured and sick and then released them would be padlocked and sued for malpractice but when it comes to cats shelters and veterinarians repeatedly are allowed to get away with providing minimalist care. By behaving in such an uncaring and slipshod manner they are guilty of merely going through the motions of providing emergency veterinary care.

The picture that emerges from this and other recent cases of cruelty to cats to come out of southern Idaho is not a pretty one. The Boise area likes to market itself to the world as Treasure Valley but for cats it is a living Hell on earth.

It is inhabited by far too many juvenile monsters who have grown up without a scintilla of either morality or respect for animals. Moreover, they have learned their aberrant behavior from their equally worthless parents.

Local animal protection groups, with the notable exception of Simply Cats, have shown themselves to be hypocrites, liars, and frauds. The police, like their colleagues everywhere else, are at best worthless and at worst evil.

To put it succinctly, Treasure Valley is a dump that should be avoided like the plague. Sadly, the cats presently residing there do not have the option of simply pulling up stakes and leaving.

It is just too bad that this country does not have a cat-lover in the Oval Office who would be willing to dispatch the National Guard to Boise in order to protect cats. Bereft of the even the tiniest familiarity with the difference between right and wrong, the rotters who run the show in Treasure Valley are not about to mend their evil, cat-killing ways. They are, in a nutshell, a disgrace to both themselves and the remainder of the country.

There are not any heroes in this story. The residents of Treasure Valley, the police and courts, NAC and other animal rescue groups, and those veterinarians who supposedly treated Raisin all have blood on their hands.

Photos: KLEW-TV (Raisin underneath a white blanket), KOMO-TV of Seattle (Raisin with a red feeding tube), and NWCN of Seattle (Raisin in an Elizabethan collar).

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Shy and Huli Buli Go into Convulsions and Wind Up in the Hospital for Four Days after They Are Doused with a Topical Flea Insecticide

"I got a call from my daughter who told me that the cats had gone into fits and were having convulsions. They were in a terrible state and although I tried using water to wash off the treatment that is applied to the neck it was no good."
-- Jennifer Leyton-Purrier

During the summertime and in locales that experience year-round warm temperatures, fleas, ticks, mosquitoes, and other pesky parasites abound. As a consequence, many individuals unwisely douse their cats and dogs with over-the-counter insecticides.

Little do they realize that these chemicals often are far more lethal than the parasites that they are intent upon eradicating. Jennifer Leyton-Purrier of Ashford Carbonel in Shropshire recently made that mistake and it nearly killed her two fifteen-month-old Bengal cats, Shy and Huli Buli.

Shortly after the application of an over-the-counter flea retardant to both cats they became violently ill. "I got a call from my daughter who told me that the cats had gone into fits and were having convulsions," Leyton-Purrier told the Ludlow and Tenbury Wells Advertiser on August 25th. (See "Ludlow Cat Owner's Scare Following Flea Treatment.") "They were in a terrible state and although I tried using water to wash off the treatment that is applied to the neck it was no good."

Rushed to Teme Vets in nearby Ludlow, Shy and Huli Buli hovered between life and death for the next four days as they were placed in medically-induced comas and kept alive intravenously. They since have recovered and now are back at home but it is too early to tell if they have suffered any permanent damage.

Leyton-Purrier so far has shelled out £500 for their treatment and that conceivably could be only the beginning. (See photo above of her with Shy and Huli Buli.)

Leyton-Purrier readily admits to committing the grievous error of not reading the instructions on the label beforehand. That mistake coupled with the fact that the product is not specified by name precludes a more thorough analysis of this unfortunate incident.

All that can be said for certain is that hopefully she will pay closer attention to her duties as a newly-elected member of the Ludlow Town Council than she did to Shy's and Huli Buli's welfare. If she fails to do so, the citizens of Ludlow could be in for some difficult days ahead.

None of that in any way alters the disturbing fact that so-called spot-on flea and tick insecticides kill thousands of cats and dogs as well as injure tens of thousands more each year. According to data compiled by the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Office of Prevention, Pesticides, and Toxic Substances, there were 44,263 reported harmful reactions to these products in 2008 as opposed to 28,895 during the previous year. If that many pet owners took the time to either write or telephone the EPA with their concerns it is a good bet that the actual number of cats and dogs that experienced adverse reactions to these products was at least ten times greater.

In addition to the fits and convulsions experienced by Shy and Huli Buli, other common reactions include, inter alia, skin irritations, neurological damage, vomiting, burns and welts on the skin, excessive drooling, uncontrollable shaking, a loss of control in the legs, and death. Cats and small dogs, such as chihuahuas, Shih Tzus, miniature poodles, Pomeranians, and dachshunds, are especially susceptible to the harmful effects of insecticides that are intended to be used only on larger animals.

"These are poisons," the EPA's Steve Owens stated the obvious in an interview with the Associated Press on March 17th. (See "EPA: More Pets Injured by Flea and Tick Products.") "These products are designed to kill fleas and ticks and they do their jobs."

They also quite obviously kill cats and dogs as well and that is why the EPA is promising stricter regulation of the multimillion-dollar flea and tick prophylactic industry. In particular, it is contemplating requiring clearer labels, unspecified changes in product formulas, and stricter testing and evaluation standards.

If it is at all serious about the latter proposal, a good place for it to start would be at Professional Laboratory and Research Services (PLRS) in Corapeake, North Carolina, which tests these deadly pollutants on defenseless and unconsenting cats and rabbits. For example, an undercover investigator for PETA recently reported that at least fifty cats interned at that hellhole suffered burns to their skin and were temporarily blinded by an experimental flea control product. Although PETA does not name the company which sponsored that research, it is known that both Sergeant's of Omaha, Nebraska, and Merial of Duluth, Georgia, the maker of Frontline flea and ticks products, use PLRS to test their products.

In a video released on September 8th and entitled "PLRS: Undercover at a Product Testing Laboratory," a brown cat is seen shaking uncontrollably in its cage following one of these dastardly and useless experiments. (The video is available online at http://bit.ly/cCi2GW.)

The lab also cultivates ticks on the bodies of helpless rabbits. That is in addition to workers who drag them around the facility by their delicate ears.

The investigator also witnessed wholesale abuse that included cats being violently thrown into their cages as well as having their claws ripped out without the benefit of either anesthesia or surgical intervention. Dogs were filmed being dropped to the floor, shoved around by employees using only their shoes, and being grabbed by their necks. One canine even was forced to undergo a painful tooth extraction while partially awake because the lab employee had administered a sedative whose expiration date was two years past its prime.

In addition to those despicable abuses, lab animals were forced to wallow in their own excrement and to go without adequate veterinary care. Most all of these abuses are routine occurrences at all governmental and collegiate laboratories, such as the ones operated by the University of Wisconsin at Madison. (See The Capital Times of Madison, June 17, 2010, "USDA Inspectors Again Find Violations at UW-Madison Animal Research Labs.")

"Violence seems to be the guiding principle at this laboratory," PETA's Kathy Guillermo said of PLRS in an interview with the Associated Press on September 9th. (See "PETA Says Video Shows Cat, Dog Abuse at North Carolina Lab.") "The only time the animals get some attention is when something painful or invasive is done to them."

Nearly all of the truly great individuals who ever have lived were uniformly opposed to vivisection. It was, however, Mark Twain who stated the opposition's case most succinctly when he penned a letter to the London Anti-Vivisection Society on May 26, 1899.

"I believe I am not interested to know whether vivisection produces results that are profitable to the human race or doesn't. To know that the results are profitable to the race would not remove my hostility to it," he began. "The pains which it inflicts upon unconsenting animals is the basis of my enmity without looking further."

Vivisection therefore only will be justifiable when the animals of this world line up outside research laboratories and voluntarily consent to be tortured and killed by the monsters who masquerade as scientists. Until that day dawns, all animal experimentation will remain, as it is today, torture and murder of the vilest and most inhumane kind.

Topical flea and tick preventatives therefore not only kill thousands of household pets each year but untold numbers of lab animals as well. The EPA accordingly has it all wrong. These deadly products should not be regulated but rather banned altogether.

Daily brushing, bathing, and shampooing of cats and dogs will remove a majority of the parasites that not only make their lives miserable but endanger their health as well. Frequent laundering of their bedding as well as keeping both their indoor and outdoor environments as clean as possible also greatly will help to keep parasites under control.

Furthermore, there are dozens of non-toxic, natural products on the market that can be used as repellents. They may have to be applied more frequently because some of them have a tendency to evaporate but that is a small price to pay for an animal's health.

The avoidance of all chemicals and pollutants is especially important as far as cats are concerned. Because of their incessant grooming, chemicals never should be applied to their fur under any circumstances.

A good rule of thumb to follow is that if the product cannot be safely ingested by a cat it should not be applied topically. (See Cat Defender posts of July 30, 2010 and August 30, 2010 entitled, respectively, "Harley Suffers Severe Burns to His Tongue and Mouth as Well as Lung Damage after He Is Deliberately Dunked in Turpentine" and "Hope, Prayer, and Veterinary Intervention Ultimately Prove to Be Insufficient in Order to Save Harley after He Is Deliberately Dunked in Turpentine.")

The same admonition equally applies to tobacco smoke, drugs that are smoked, PBDEs, and all other pollutants that have a tendency to settle in a cat's fur. (See Cat Defender posts of August 22, 2007 and October 19, 2007 entitled, respectively, "Indoor Cats Are Dying of 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.")

Photo: Ludlow and Tenbury Wells Advertiser.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Swedish Couple Out Gathering Mushrooms Unearths a Trio of Four-Week-Old Kittens Buried Alive in the Woods

"Kvinnan var helt uppriven när hon ringde och berättade vad som hänt. Som tur var hade den som grävt gjort graven så grund att den ena katten lyckades få upp sitt huvud."
-- Tina Karlsson of Kattstugan

The outright killing, maiming, and torturing of cats has become old hat as far as some ailurophobes are concerned. Nowadays they require a more macabre means of doing in members of the world's most abused species.

That was the shocking reality foisted upon an unidentified couple out picking mushrooms in the woods near Hindås, thirty-four kilometers east of Göteborg, in southwestern Sweden on the evening of August 26th. Behind a tree stump they unexpectedly spotted a tiny kitten who through sheer determination and an indomitable will to live had been able to poke its head out of a would-be grave.

Being kindhearted and caring individuals, they began frantically digging and soon freed not only that kitten but also two of its four-week-old littermates. They next contacted Tina Karlsson of Kattstugan (Cat Cottage) in nearby Horred who came and took possession of them.

"Kvinnan var helt uppriven när hon ringde och berättade vad som hänt," she later told Borås Tidning on August 28th. (See "Katter begravdes levande i skogen.") "Som tur var hade den som grävt gjort graven så grund att den ena katten lyckades få upp sitt huvud." ("The woman was totally distraught when she called and told me what had happened. Luckily, one of the kittens was able to dig its head out of the grave.")

It is not exactly clear what condition the two females and one male are in or if any of them have suffered any lasting damage as the result of being taken away from their mother at such a tender age and then being nearly suffocated to death in the ground. For her part, Karlsson is committed to seeing to it that they receive every chance to recuperate and, most importantly, to live.

"Men jag ger inte upp på dessa små som precis har startat sina liv," she vowed to Borås Tidning. ("I will not give up on these small ones who have just begun to live.")

She therefore plans on bottle-feeding them until they become twelve-weeks-old. They then will be dewormed, sterilized, and put up for adoption. (See photo above of her and the kittens.)

At last report, no arrests have been made in this case and none are expected. In fact, it is doubtful that either humane officials or the police are even bothering to look into the matter.

"Det år så vidrigt gjort, djurplågeri av värsta slaget," Karlsson told Borås Tidning in the article cited supra. "Finge jag tag i den som gjort detta vet jag inte vad jag skulle göra." ("It is so disgusting, cruelty of the worst kind. If I got hold of whoever did this I don't know what I'd do.")

She then proceeds to commit the faux pas of allowing her moral indignation to get the better of her bon sens. "Mitt hjärta blöder för dessa små och så får de ingen chans på grund av att det finns idioter utan hjärta eller hjärna," she told Borås Tidning. ("My heart bleeds for these small creatures who don't get a chance because of idiots without either a heart or a brain.")

Actually, individuals and groups who kill and abuse cats have plenty of brains. The National Audubon Society, the American Bird Conservancy, practically all branches of the United States government but especially the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, shelters and Animal Control officers, vivisectors, and phony-baloney animal protection groups such as PETA and the Humane Society of the United States systematically slaughter millions of cats each year with impunity and no one ever has accused any of them of being mentally deficient.

Sensational, randomized attacks upon cats, while every bit as detestable, pale in comparison with the wholesale abuse and slaughters carried out by these groups and agencies. Another thing that both groups have in common is that almost none of them are ever apprehended and punished for their crimes.

Along about the same time that the mushroom pickers were digging out the Hindås kittens, a trio of lasses were doing likewise for a nameless seven-month-old male black and white kitten from the Glen Top section of Stacksteads in the borough of Rossendale in Lancashire. Specifically, he had been stuffed in a basket, dumped in a hole alive, and then covered up with dirt and a pile of bricks.

That most likely would have been the end of him if thirteen-year-old twins Elle and Beth Hardman along with their friend, Lucy Pilkington, had not heard his frantic cries for help. "The kids were on their way out and heard this racket. They found the buried basket and got the cat," Elle and Beth's mother, Gilly, later explained to the Lancashire Telegraph on August 27th. (See "Buried Alive Kitten Saved by Rossendale Teenagers.") "It was absolutely soaked and terrified."

The Hardmans gave the kitten a bath and something to eat and he soon was his old self again. "He is a friendly little thing and just wanted to be cuddled," Hardman added.

Since the kitten was neither tagged nor microchipped, an appeal has gone out to his owner to come forward and reclaim him. In the meantime, he has been transferred to the RSPCA in Oldham, Greater Manchester, which will attempt to find him a new home if no one claims him.

"He was very dirty, but other than that he was fine," the RSPCA's Catherine Hamblin told the Lancashire Telegraph in the article cited supra. "It looks like whoever did this was trying to kill him. This was a very cruel incident and was very distressing for the animal." (See photo above of her with the kitten.)

Yobs are suspected of being responsible for this heinous crime and since the cat was found on property owned by the Hardmans it is likely that they have a pretty good idea of who the culprits are and where they live. Instead of pursuing that obvious lead, the RSPCA is inexplicably calling for eyewitnesses to come forward.

That is both a dereliction of duty and a total waste of time. Very few cat abusers, including yobs, are bold enough in order to commit their despicable crimes in the presence of eyewitnesses.

Consequently, good old-fashioned detective work is the only way in which to bring the assailants in this case, as well as those in Hindås, to justice. That, of course, would require a substantial expenditure of both money and manpower and the RSPCA has demonstrated time and time again that it is totally unwilling to part with very much of either in order to apprehend feline abusers.

Most notably, it is yet to charge forty-five-year-old Bank of Scotland employee Mary Bale of Stoke in Coventry who on August 21st was caught on a surveillance camera picking up Darryl Mann's four-year-old cat, Lola, outside her residence on Brays Lane and stuffing her into a trash can. (See photo montage below.)

Lola was found and rescued fifteen-hours later by Mann after he had reviewed the surveillance tapes. If it had not been for the tapes, she likely would have been crushed to death at either a recycling plant or the city dump. (See Cat Defender posts of May 4, 2010 and August 23, 2007 entitled, respectively, "Picked Up by a Garbage Truck Driver and Dumped with the Remainder of the Trash, Alfie Narrowly Misses Being Recycled" and "An Alert Scrap Metal Worker Discovers a Pretty 'Penny' Hidden in a Mound of Rubble.")

Despite incontrovertible evidence of Bale's guilt, the good-for-nothing RSPCA steadfastly refuses to indict her. Given such intransigence, it is not the least bit surprising that crimes against cats continue to skyrocket. (See Coventry Telegraph, September 2, 2010, "RSPCA Still Debating Whether to Punish Wheelie Bin Cat Woman" and the Daily Mail, August 26, 2010, "Gray-Haired Bank Worker Who Dumped Cat in Wheelie Bin Could Face Court as RSPCA Prosecutors Review Case.")

"The RSPCA has a responsibility to charge Mary Bale with animal cruelty," the editor of Moggies wrote on the organization's web site on September 5th. "To not do so would put the RSPCA to shame."

Sadly, not all cats that are buried alive survive. For example, on May 6th a five-year-old one named Spud was hit over the head with a shovel and then buried alive in a garden that he frequented in Maxton Court on the Lansbury Park estate in Caerphilly, twelve kilometers outside of Cardiff.

Despite the blow to his tiny head, Spud was able to dig himself out of the ground and was lying in the mud when a fireman came and took him to Valley Vets. His herculean effort proved to be in vain, however, as the vets elected to kill him off anyway.

"It was in a fetal position and squirming and opening and closing its mouth and struggling to breathe," Emma Smith of the RSPCA told the South Wales Echo of Cardiff on May 27th. (See "Cat Died after It Was Buried Alive.") "He would have to have been down there for a good few hours. The fact that grit and mud was (sic) in his airways suggests he was down there for quite a while. He was absolutely exhausted."

Although Smith has vowed to track down the killer, as far as it is known no arrests have been made in this case. As with the Stacksteads' kitten, the RSPCA pretty much has limited its involvement to begging the public to do its job for it.

"What the poor cat went through was horrendous and it's vital that the public help us find the perpetrators," she gassed to the Caerphilly News on May 27th. (See "RSPCA Investigate Cat Buried Alive in Caerphilly Garden.")

The RSPCA is taking that absurd position in spite of the perfectly obvious fact that the owner of the garden and shovel have considerable explaining to do. At the very least the handle of the murder weapon should have been dusted immediately for fingerprints.

Seeing as how how some gardeners hate cats with a passion, it is likely that Spud was killed simply for being in the garden. (See Cat Defender posts of August 26, 2010, August 19, 2010, June 10, 2010, and June 5, 2007 entitled, respectively, "In Stark Contrast to Ailurophobic America, Ziegelchen's Illegal Trapping by a Gardener in Altstädten-Burbach Is Roundly Condemned in Deutschland," "Music Lessons and Buggsey Are Murdered by a Cat-Hating Gardener and an Extermination Factory Posing as an Animal Shelter in Saginaw," "Cat-Hating Gardener in Nordrhein Westfalen Is Told by the Local Authorities to Remove a Board of Nails from His Yard," and "RSPCA's Unlawful Seizure and Senseless Killing of Mork Leaves His Sister, Mindy, Brokenhearted and His Caretakers Devastated.")

"I had him for about five years. He used to like to eat potato peelings, that's why I called him Spud," the cat's heartbroken fifty-three-year-old owner, Ellen John of Trevelyan Court, told the South Wales Echo in the article cited supra. "He used to sit on the side of the draining board doing that. I've not seen any other cats like that. It was a bit odd. But cats are odd things."

Spud also was a very friendly and gentle cat that John sometimes would wrap up in blankets and carry around the house like a baby. "To do something like that (kill Spud) is just mindless cruelty," she added.

In conclusion, about the only thing positive that can be said about the incidents in both Hindås and Stacksteads is that all four kittens are alive. It would have been so easy for their assailants to first have killed them and afterwards buried them. If both Karlsson and the RSPCA do what they are supposed to do each of them should be able to look forward to a long and happy life.

The Swedish couple, Hardman twins, and Pilkington are to be commended for both their compassion and for saving these four precious young lives. Each of them are genuine heroes who through their actions have made this miserable old world just a little bit more livable for both cats and humans alike.

Photos: Magnus Larsson of Borås Tidning (Karlsson and kittens), Lancashire Telegraph (Stacksteads' kitten and Hamblin), and Darryl Mann (Bale stuffing Lola in a trash can).

N.B. All Swedish translations are, at best, rough approximations.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Mandarin Survives a Long and Harrowing Sea Voyage from China to Canada Only to Wind Up in Hock to the Calgary Humane Society

"We had to empty the entire container before being able to reach the cat because (she) jumped and hid in a corner that was unreachable."
-- Amy Bindman of ICON Stone and Tile

In spite of a thousand admonitions to the contrary, cats and kittens from China continue to turn up in England, Canada, the United States, and elsewhere trapped inside shipping crates and half-starved to death following long sea voyages. The latest such waif to land in the new world is a six-months-old tortoiseshell named Mandarin. (See photos above and below.)

Sandwiched in between granite slabs and wood dividers in a steel container, she arrived at ICON Stone and Tile in Calgary on July 8th. Since shipments from China usually take between thirty and forty-five days in order to reach Calgary, Mandarin was without any visible means of sustenance during that extended period.

"There may have been mice or things running around the enclosure," Desiree Arsenault of the Calgary Humane Society (CHS) speculated to the Calgary Herald on July 9th. (See "Cat Survives Month in Shipping Crate, Lands in Calgary.") "I can only guess."

She also no doubt was able to lick up condensation that formed inside the container. Moreover, if she had had any significant amount of either food or water she would have left behind the telltale evidence in the container.

Despite her weakened condition, the spunky kitten amazingly still had enough strength left in her in order to initially flee her rescuers. "We had to empty the entire container before being able to reach the cat because (she) jumped and hid in a corner that was unreachable," Amy Bindman of ICON Stone and Tile told the Calgary Herald.

Handed over to the CHS shorty after her arrival, it was determined that Mandarin's weight had plummeted to slightly less than two pounds during her grueling ordeal. She additionally was close to being hoarse from crying for help that never arrived until her journey's end.

Initially, she was fed intravenously in order to avoid any potential stomach problems. Her electrolytes and blood count were, as expected, a trifle low but otherwise she was in pretty good shape and, best of all, not suffering from any major diseases.

Despite her near-death experience, Mandarin remains a very affectionate kitten. "Mandarin is super cuddly and very interactive with people who she's speaking with," Arsenault told Calgary's Metro on July 14th. (See "Stowaway Feline Recovering: Society.") "She's a cuddle-up bug that's for sure."

Mandarin was expected to spend several weeks at CHS recuperating and being vaccinated against rabies, which is required by Canadian law for all imported cats over three-months of age, before being put up for adoption. Unlike Angleterre, which insanely requires that all cats arriving from foreign countries be quarantined for six months, Canada thankfully does not have any such stipulation.

Once she is well enough to leave CHS, Mandarin already has a home waiting for her with ICON Stone and Tile employee, Angela Izzo. "I almost broke into tears (when I first saw her)," she told the Calgary Herald in the article cited supra. "She looked very fragile and just traumatized."

Out of the frying pan and into the fire, so to speak, she is now being hounded by the CHS for money. Donations are being solicited from the public in order to cover the cost of her care but they may not be sufficient in order to get Mandarin out of debt.

Ideally, ICON Stone and Tile and the unidentified Chinese exporter should be held liable for Mandarin's veterinary tab. After all, it is primarily Chinese exporters who continue to allow these tragic events to occur by being too uncaring, selfish, and greedy to check their outward bound cargoes for stowaways. ICON and other importers around the world are equally liable for failing to insist that their Chinese suppliers adopt humane shipping practices.

Some importers are, however, considerably more forthcoming and compassionate when it comes to stowaways than others. For example, Toray Textiles of Nottinghamshire paid $2,800 of Ginger's $3,200 quarantine fee after she arrived in a consignment from Xiamon (Amoy) in Fujian Province, China, during the summer of 2008.

The trip itself took five weeks and on top of that Ginger was forced to endure six-months in quarantine. At the end of it all, she was given a home by Toray's Deborah Ford. (See Cat Defender post of August 11, 2008 entitled "Trapped Inside a Crate, Ginger Licks Up Condensation in Order to Survive a Nightmarish Sea Voyage from China to Nottinghamshire.")

Along about that same time, Matalan, a clothing retailer, also paid all of Ronaldo's $3,200 quarantine fee after he arrived in Corby, Northamptonshire, by truck from Portugal. (See Cat Defender post of August 18, 2008 entitled "Ronaldo Escapes Death after Retailer Coughs Up the Exorbitant Bounty That Quarantine Officials Had Placed on His Head.")

The staff and management of Raflatac in Nancy did likewise for a domestic cat named Emily from Appleton, Wisconsin, after she unwittingly wound up in one of its imports. Continental Airlines magnanimously flew her home for free. (See Cat Defender post of December 9, 2005 entitled "Adventurous Wisconsin Cat Named Emily Makes Unscheduled Trip to France in Hold of Cargo Ship.")

Neither Toray, Matalan, Raflactac, nor Continental were forced to come to Ginger's Ronaldo's, and Emily's aid but to their credit they opened up their hearts and wallets and showed compassion. It therefore would not kill ICON and CHS to do likewise for Mandarin.

Considering all the hell that she has been put through, she deserves no less. Oscar Wilde once defined a cynic as someone "who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing" and that reasoning just as easily could be applied to those who look upon all creation in terms of dollars and cents.

Sadly, that is what most things come down to nowadays. The air, mountains, streams, animals, and individuals are no longer deemed to have much in the way of intrinsic value. Money even determines which animals and individuals receive medical care and thus are permitted to go on living.

Mandarin, however, is one of the lucky cats who have survived long enforced sea voyages without either food or water. Most such cats die en route and their stories never make the news.

Malli was a notable exception to that rule only in that her story made the headlines. (See Cat Defender posts of March 21, 2008 and April 25, 2008 entitled, respectively, "Malli Survives a Thirty-Two-Day Voyage from Johor Bahru to Cleveland Trapped Inside a Shipping Crate" and "After Surviving a Lengthy and Hellish Confinement at Sea, Malli Dies Unexpectedly in Foster Care.")

All of these deaths and unnecessary suffering could have been so easily avoided if both exporters and importers alike had behaved in a halfway humane fashion. Most of them, unfortunately, think only about money.

Hopefully, things will work out for Mandarin in Calgary and she will go on to have a long and happy life. Her health, however, should be monitored closely because, like Malli, it is possible that she could have sustained internal organ damage that is not apparent at the moment.

Photos: Amy Bindman of ICON Stone and Tile (Mandarin in a cage) and Metro (Mandarin eating.)

Friday, September 03, 2010

Pretty Norwegian Forest Cat, Already Suffering from Kidney Trouble, Is Abandoned to Die of Thirst in a Schließfach at the Hamburger Hauptbahnhof

Die Katze in dem Schließfach "erheblich gelitten" haben muss. Sie sei "infolge der Grunderkrankung, verbunden mit dem Flüssigkeitsentzug, verdurstet."
-- preliminary necropsy from the Institut für Hygiene und Unwelt

In addition to one torrid heat wave after another, the summer of 2010 will be remembered as a season of death by cat-lovers. Scarcely a day has gone by without there being at least one report in the news concerning some defenseless cat that either has been horribly abused or murdered.

The latest installment in this seemingly never-ending saga of violence and death comes from the St. Georg section of Hamburg where at 11:50 p.m. on August 21st Deutschen Bahn riders passing through the city's Hauptbahnhof heard a cat crying for help inside Schließfach number 457. The railroad's police were summoned and a beautiful mixed-breed Norwegian Forest cat was freed alive.

She was taken to a veterinarian where she either died shortly thereafter or was deliberately killed off. Since the authorities are not saying, the public probably never will know for certain if her life could have been saved. (See photo of her above.)

Since the lockers are only opened and emptied once every day by the staff at the depot, the unfortunate cat could have been cruelly imprisoned in the forty-two centimeter high by twenty-five centimeter wide and seventy-eight centimeter long Schließfach for up to twenty-four hours. Confined in total darkness, she was without food, water, and an adequate supply of air. (See photo below of a policeman examining an adjoining locker.)

A preliminary necropsy conducted by the Institut für Hygiene und Unwelt revealed that the cat had died of thirst. That is not surprising in light of the fact that she already suffered from kidney woes and as a consequence required more fluids than a healthy cat.

Die Katze in dem Schließfach "erheblich gelitten" haben muss," the pathologists reiterated the obvious. Sie sei "infolge der Grunderkrankung, verbunden mit dem Flüssigkeitsentzug, verdurstet."

She also had an abrasion on her left hip but it is unclear how this injury was sustained. She either could have been previously abused or somehow incurred the bruise in her frantic attempt to free herself from the Schließfach.

The authorities in Hamburg have opened a criminal investigation into this horrifying act of feline cruelty but they have their work cut out for themselves. For starters, since the cat was neither tagged, tattooed, nor microchipped they do not have any way of tracking down its owner.

Since press reports are mum on the subject, it appears that the architect of this heinous crime did not even leave behind the carrier which he used in order to transport the cat into the rail depot. Forensic experts might be able to pick up some clues by combing the cat's fur and examining the Schließfach for fingerprints but that is about all they have to go on at the present time.

As hard as it is to believe in this post-September 11th world, there are not any video surveillance cameras in this section of the Hauptbahnhof! Accordingly, any terrorist could check a bomb into any one of the lockers and blow the depot to kingdom come and no one would be any the wiser.

In Manhattan, for example, the Port Authority bus terminal removed all of its lockers in the late 1970s or thereabouts. An attended parcel check service was instituted in its stead and continued to operate well into the 1980s but even it was fraught with all sorts of problems.

During that era, long-haired and bearded Daniel Rakowitz was a familiar figure on both the Bowery and at St. Mark's Place. As a Jesus and numerology freak, he would tell everyone that he encountered that he was the messiah.

In spite of all of that, most people nonetheless were shocked when he murdered twenty-six-year-old Monica Beerle, a dance student from Switzerland, cooked her corpse, and fed it to the homeless at St. Mark's Place. He then ladled the leftovers into a bucket and stored them at the bus station's parcel check service.

Nowadays lockers are about as scarce as hens' teeth at rail depots, bus stations, and airports across America. Although it is refreshing to see that the Hamburger Hauptbahnhof still retains this essential amenity for travelers, it is the epitome of stupidity for it to allow bags that have not been inspected to be stored in lockers.

Even video cameras are insufficient to thwart mischief. There should be an attendant on duty personally inspecting all checked bags. Unwilling to spring for that added expense and headache, the depot probably will respond to this tragedy by removing all of its lockers.

Despite the formidable difficulties involved, the authorities should begin their inquiry into this cat's death by reviewing all video footage taken in other parts of the terminal on August 20th and August 21st. There is a small chance that the tapes will show the culprit with a pet carrier.

It also is conceivable that there exists a registry that contains the names and addresses of all owners of Norwegian Forest cats in Hamburg. That is, admittedly, a long shot but almost any angle is worth pursuing in order to bring this cat's murderer to justice.

Always johnny-on-the-spot whenever there is any free publicity to be gobbled up, the serial cat killers at phony-baloney PETA are offering an inconsequential reward of €500 for information leading to the arrest of the cat's owner. "Die Katze wurde wie ein alter Koffer zurückgelassen und ist unter größten Qualen gestorben," the organization's hypocritical Nadja Kutscher rocked on her moral high horse for the benefit of the Hamburger Abendblatt on August 26th. (See "Katze im Schließfach: PETA setzt Belohnung aus.")

That certainly is big talk coming as it does from an organization that annually exterminates an astounding ninety-eight per cent of all cats and dogs that arrive at its shelter in Norfolk, Virginia. Even more telling, if PETA had its way, all homeless and abandoned cats, such as the one who died in the Schließfach, would be promptly rounded up and killed on the spot.

In fact, its murder rate would be even higher if the thousands of cats and dogs that its employees kill in the field and then secretly dispose of their corpses in private Dumpsters were included in the total. (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.")

Next, Kutscher and her colleagues likely will be dropping their dingy drawers and exposing their worn-out cracks and droopy teats for all the world to see outside the Hauptbahnhof. The long and the short of the matter is that PETA cares absolutely nothing for animals and as a consequence will commit almost any crime in order to get free publicity and the money and power that goes along with it. (See photo of the depot directly above.)

Abandoned, imprisoned in a box, her kidneys failing, and dying of thirst, this cat suffered horribly the last day of her life. Also, she must have cried out for help until she was hoarse.

The fact that no one came to her aid until it was much too late is a black mark against both Deutschen Bahn and those commuters and travelers who use the depot. Surely, numerous passengers must have heard her plaintive cries and noticed her banging against the door of the locker in a futile effort to free herself. Yet, it took almost twenty-four-hours for the cavalry to arrive.

This cat likely still would be alive today if just one commuter had taken the time to intervene on her behalf. Unfortunately for her, that was too much to ask.

Feigning ignorance is not a valid excuse either. Everyone knows that cats and other animals do not belong in storage lockers.

Sadly, she is destined to find neither peace nor dignity even in death. The Institut für Hygiene und Unwelt already has carved up her corpse like a Christmas turkey and her remains likely will be put on ice until the authorities give up on solving this case. After that, her remains in all likelihood will be burned.

Such morally inexcusable conduct is every bit as reprehensible as condemning her to die of thirst in a Schließfach. The pathologists at the Institut should put her back together and provide her with a proper burial and a tombstone.

She deserves no less. That she once lived and, perhaps more importantly, how she died must never be forgotten.

Photos: Hamburger Polizei (Norwegian Forest cat) and Marco Zitzow of Bild (Schließfach and Hamburger Hauptbahnhof.)

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Only Eight-Weeks-Old, Harrison Is Maimed for Life When an Assailant Cuts Off Both of His Ears with a Pair of Scissors

"He can get debris in there, and if it rains, it can be a disaster. So he's definitely going to be an indoor kitty. If there's any more further issues with it, definitely because he does have his claws, if he scratches or tries to clean it, he probably won't be the best at it."
-- Stephanie Miller

It has happened again. Some cretin has used a pair of scissors in order to cut off the ears of another defenseless kitten. This time around the victim was an eight-week-old kitten named Harrison. (See photo above.)

Found by a good Samaritan in Harrisonburg, sixty-three miles north of Charlottesville, during the early days of July, he was rushed to the nearby Shenandoah Valley Spay and Neuter Clinic where the attendants were able to stanch the bleeding and treat his wounds.

It is not clear how badly his hearing has been impaired but since cats rotate their ears in order to better pinpoint the location of sounds some diminishment is likely. Just as importantly, his inner ear no longer has any external protection from the elements, insects, and sharp objects.

After recuperating in foster care provided by the Cat's Cradle in Harrisonburg, he was adopted on July 14th by Stephanie Miller of Valley Veterinarian Hospital in Harrisonburg. While his health problems stemming from this horrific act of animal cruelty are going to be with him for the remainder of his life, the fact that Miller works in a veterinary hospital will ensure that he continues to receive the top-notch care that he so richly deserves and needs.

Miller equally understands that she is going to have to help him to clean and take care of his ears. "He can get debris in there, and if it rains, it can be a disaster. So he's definitely going to be an indoor kitty," she told WHSV-TV of Harrisonburg on July 14th. (See "Abused Kitten Adopted by Vet Employee.") "If there's any more further issues with it, definitely because he does have his claws, if he scratches or tries to clean it, he probably won't be the best at it."

Harrisonburg Animal Control supposedly is investigating this attack but that is highly unlikely. Animal protection groups and the police seldom, if ever, investigate attacks upon cats. On those extremely rare occasions when arrests are made they are the result of the intervention of concerned citizens.

This steadfast refusal to take animal cruelty seriously persists in the face of its wider societal implications. "This is very serious and it's significant not only because of what happened to this little kitty, Harrison, but also because we know that evidence has shown that there is a link between animal cruelty and other forms of interpersonal violence," Cate Mansfield of Shenandoah Valley Spay and Neuter told WHSV-TV earlier on July 13th. (See "Abused Kitten Had Ears Cut Off.")

On that point she is supported by Christoph Paulus of the Universität Saarland who estimates that between eighty and eighty-nine per cent of all violent offenders began their careers by abusing animals. (See Hamburger Abendblatt, August 26, 2010, "Katze im Schließfach: PETA setzt Belohnung aus.")

Mansfield therefore is definitely on the right track but she carelessly fails to carry her argument to its logical conclusion. In particular, if there is a causal link between randomized, individual acts of feline cruelty and violence toward humans, there is an even stronger relationship between that kind of violence and the institutionalized and organized slaughter of cats carried out every day by shelters and Animal Control officers, vivisectors, birders, wildlife biologists, and the United States government.

Although political compacts ostensibly are entered into in order to secure the common good, that is rarely ever the case, at least not for very long. The police, politicians, bureaucrats, financial interests, and bigoted clans and tribes soon corrupt the social and political order for their own selfish ends. Once that happens, societies become even far worse hellholes than Thomas Hobbes's state of nature where life was said to be "nasty, brutish, and short."

Societies may continue to punish some individual miscreants, but the really big offenders become institutionalized and continue to commit their heinous crimes with impunity. It therefore really is not any mystery why crimes against cats, other animals, Mother Earth, and the downtrodden go unpunished.

In America, for instance, it is doubtful that there is a halfway honest politician at any level of government. Public service exists, as Ambrose Bierce pointed out in his Devil's Dictionary, for private gain. Moreover, that is the way most Americans like to be governed.

Harrison is by no means the first kitten to have had his ears cut off with scissors. In September of 2006, a kitten named Zoe in Kingsville, Texas, suffered the same fate. Afterwards she was deposited in a Dumpster and left to bleed to death.

Fortunately, she was rescued by a good Samaritan and later adopted by Melissa Webb and her young daughter, Lexy. At last report, her ears were still functioning although it takes her a moment in order to locate the direction of sounds. (See photo of her above.)

In addition to making a miraculous recovery from a cruel fate, she has gone on to become the heroine of a series of children's books written and self-published by the Webbs. The first of which is entitled Zoe the Earless Kitten, The Adoption. (See Cat Defender posts of October 27, 2006 and September 2, 2008 entitled, respectively, "Tiny Kitten Named Zoe Has Her Ears Cut Off by Fiends but Texas Police Do Not Seem to Care," and "Zoe Rebounds from Having Her Ears Cut Off in a Savage Attack to Become the Heroine of a New Series of Children's Books.")

Perhaps Harrison will follow in Zoe's footsteps. That would be one way at least for the public to follow his recovery and progress.

Earlier this spring, a beautiful and friendly brown and white nameless cat without ears turned up at the Gasthof Linde in Löffingen, Baden Württemberg, where she stayed for two months before being cruelly and inexcusably handed over to the Löffinger Tierheim. (See photo directly above.)

Local veterinarians speculate that her ears were surgically removed when she underwent neck surgery. They further believe that they were removed because of sunburn.

Whereas white-haired cats are more prone to sunburn than others, this cat's ears appear to be brown which casts considerable doubt on that hypothesis. Besides, the proper way to protect such cats is to either keep them out of the sun or to equip them with special headgear and sun blockers. More to the point, it is difficult to conceive of any circumstances where it would be advantageous for a cat to have its ears removed.

It is difficult to say with any certainty given the few facts provided, but a far more logical explanation would be that she had both of her ears cut off and her neck injured in a vicious assault. Veterinarians then repaired the damage done to her neck but were unable to do anything about her ears.

Unlike most cats, she is not the least bit afraid of riding in cars which suggests that she has done a fair amount of traveling. "Sie fährt liebend gerne Auto," Ingrid Messmer of Gasthof Linde told the Schwarzwälder-Bote of Oberndorf am Neckar on July 29th. (See "Katze ohne Ohren sucht Besitzer.")

Unfortunately, it has not been possible to find out what happened to her once she arrived at the Löffinger Tierheim. Considering all the pain and suffering that she has been put through, she certainly is deserving of a permanent and loving home and for this shelter to harm her in any way would be every bit as egregious as the monster who cut off her ears.

In addition to an ingrained hatred of cats, individuals also mutilate their ears for profit. That was the cruel and sadistic business that Holly Crawford of Sweet Valley, Pennsylvania, had going until she was busted by the authorities in late 2008.

In particular, she was piercing the ears of tiny black kittens and then threading heavy jewelry through them. Throughout the long-drawn-out judicial proceeding against her, she maintained to the bitter end that it was "neat" to abuse kittens in such a manner. Obviously, neat and profitable are synonymous as far as she is concerned. (See Cat Defender post of April 24, 2010 entitled "Holly Crawford Hits the Jackpot by Drawing a Judge Who Simply Adores Kitten Mutilators and Dope Addicts.")

All of these horrible mutilations are simply revolting. With the notable exception of blinding cats with air guns, crossbows, ball bearings, nail guns, and firecrackers, it is difficult to think of a crueler form of abuse than to cut off their ears. If there were an ounce of justice in this world the culprits would be apprehended and their ears cut off in retaliation.

Photos: WHSV-TV (Harrison), KRIS-TV of Corpus Christi (Zoe), and Schwarzwälder-Bote (cat from Gasthof Linde).