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).