Drunken Bum Is Foiled in a Macabre Plot to Make a Meal Out of Kittens, Nirvana and Karma, That He Allegedly Ran Down Earlier with His Truck
"I ran over them with my truck so I could eat them for dinner."
-- Francis McGinley
The United States suffers from many deficiencies, most notably an utter disdain for anything remotely either moral or intellectual, but a scarcity of food certainly is not one of them. In fact, obesity is at epidemic proportions even amongst the poor.
Nevertheless, some individuals have joined the ranks of the Chinese, Australians, Costa Ricans, Peruvians, and Swiss and now are feasting on cats. (See Cat Defender posts of February 8, 2006, September 7, 2007, September 13, 2007, and December 11, 2008 entitled, respectively, "Stray Cats Rounded Up in Shanghai, Butchered, and Sold as Mutton in Restaurants and on the Street," "Australians Renounce Civilization and Revert to Savages with the Introduction of a Grotesque Plan to Get Rid of Cats by Eating Them," "Costa Rican Bull Rider Bites Off the Heads of Live Cats, Dogs, and Other Animals, Drinks Their Blood, and Then Eats Their Flesh," and "Peruvians Ludicrously Claim That as the Descendants of Slaves They Are Entitled to Massacre and Eat Cats with Impunity.")
The latest connoisseur of feline flesh to be exposed and apprehended is a forty-four-year-old habitual drunkard and troublemaker from Chester, Pennsylvania, named Francis McGinley. (See photo of him above.)
At around 8:20 p.m. on October 17th, he brought home two blood-drenched four-week-old kittens to the Edwards Street rooming house that he shares with, inter alia, Bridget Spicer, Holly Faulkner, and Francela Jackson and deposited them in the bathtub. "I ran them over with my truck so I could eat them for dinner," he then proudly announced according to the October 19th edition of The Delaware County Daily Times of Primos. (See "Chester Resident Arrested for Allegedly Harming Kittens.")
"I don't know if the intent was to clean them up so he could eat them, but at this point his roommate (sic) called the police," Justina Calgiano of the Delaware County SPCA told the Philadelphia Daily News on October 19th. (See "Chester Man Hurt Kittens, Planned to Eat Them.")
Even McGinley's claim that he ran down the kittens has been called into question. For example, Chester Animal Control officer Dave Schlott believes that McGinley attempted to squeeze the life out of them.
If that indeed was his intent, his plan almost succeeded. Although the black male, Karma, was not injured too badly, his sister, Nirvana, had blood in her mouth and her lower lip was torn. In fact, she was in such bad shape that the cops erroneously pronounced her dead upon their arrival arrival on the scene.
"When I picked them up, they were both cold. The black one was moving, but the white one was very still," Schott, who rushed the kittens to Keystone Veterinary Emergency and Specialty Center in Haverton, told the Daily Times in the article cited supra. "She was breathing once every forty seconds and had a very faint heartbeat."
Nirvana initially was placed in an incubator but it now appears that she is going to live. "She's very vocal," Calgiano told the Daily Times. "We think they'll be okay. They're being monitored and we're hoping for the best."
Nirvana and Karma were scheduled to have been placed in foster care on October 19th and if everything goes according to plan they should be available for adoption in less than three weeks. (See photo of them above.)
Considering its history of despicable crimes against cats, it is refreshing that the Delaware County SPCA ever once in a while is willing to save one or two of them. (See Cat Defender post of March 19, 2010 entitled "Trapped and Killed by the Delaware County SPCA, Keecha's Life Is Valued at Only $1 by a Pennsylvania Arbitration Panel.")
"Since when was it a crime to get drunk, officers?" was McGinley's initial response to arresting officers according to the Daily Times. That question was primarily rhetorical, however, since he has been arrested numerous times in the past for, inter alia, public drunkenness, drunk driving, disorderly conduct, and harassment.
He therefore should not have been surprised when the Chester Police subsequently charged him with animal cruelty, public drunkenness, recklessly endangering the life of another person, disorderly conduct, and harassment. He was released from jail on October 18th after posting ten per cent of his $20,000 bail and was scheduled to have had a preliminary hearing before Magisterial District Court Judge Spencer B. Seaton on October 27th.
After a night in the can had sobered him up considerably, McGinley soon was singing an entirely different tune. In particular, he now is claiming that he brought the kittens home in order to feed them after someone else had run them down.
He further swears that he does not either own a truck or for that matter even drive and that his fellow lodgers concocted the entire story in order to get him thrown out of the rooming house. Living in cramped quarters with a stewbum certainly is not any picnic and his fellow tenants sans doute would be overjoyed to see the last of him but that does not mean that they are lying. (See Washington Post, October 20, 2010, "Pennsylvania Man Denies He'd Eat Injured Kittens.")
"I love animals and I would never, ever hurt animals," he swore to WCAU-TV of Philadelphia on October 21st. (See "Man Runs Over Kittens, Says He Wants to Eat Them: Cops.")
Regardless of how he fares in court, McGinley's name is now Mudd in Chester thanks in no small part to the Daily Times' coverage of his alleged crime. (See photo directly above.)
At around 7:45 p.m. on August 8th, Buffalo police officers stopped fifty-one-year-old Gary L. Korkuc of Cheektowaga in the 1100 block of Broadway for running a stop sign and failing to signal. While they were issuing him a pair of citations they heard a cat meowing from inside the trunk of his vehicle. (See photo of him on the right below.)
Upon investigation, they discovered a four-year-old black and white male cat named Navarro trapped in a cage. Although there is nothing at all unusual about that, they were astounded to discover upon closer observation that the cat was marinating in a mixture of crushed red peppers, chili peppers, salt, and oil.
"From what we understand from the Buffalo Police, the person who owned this kitty was marinating him in order to cook him," Gina Browning of the Erie County SPCA told WGRZ-TV of Buffalo on August 11th. (See "Gary Korkuc of Suburban Buffalo Charged with Animal Cruelty, Accused of Marinating Cat.")
Navarro immediately was taken to the SPCA's shelter in Tonawanda, north of Buffalo, where several baths were required in order to remove the peppers and oil from his fur. (See photo of him farther down the page.)
Korkuc was charged with one count of aggravated animal cruelty and given a desk appearance ticket. After his arrest he made several contradictory, off-the-wall assertions aimed at justifying his aberrant behavior.
He first of all vociferously denied that he was planning on eating the cat. "No, no that's conjecture and that's an assumption," he swore to WGRZ-TV in the article cited supra.
Instead he claims that the cat, which he insists in the face of all evidence to the contrary is a female named Kinsey, was "mean" to him, "possessive, greedy, and wasteful." He also claims that the male cat was pregnant and had miscarried. "That was its blood and feces, and I was taking it back over to the SPCA when they (the police) stopped me," he added.
It is an open question as to whether Korkuc is either off his rocker or merely rehearsing an insanity defense. Despite all of his non sequiturs, he steadfastly maintains that he is not insane. "They can make it out any way they want to, but I'm not crazy," he told WGRZ-TV.
Browning is far from being convinced, however. "We've heard some really bizarre stories, but nothing like this," she told the Buffalo News on August 11th. (See "Cat Moves Off Menu, into Home.") "It's (sic) clearly not someone who was in his right mind."
In the final analysis it should not make any difference whether Korkuc is mentally competent or not. He abused Navarro and in all likelihood would have killed and eaten him if the police had not intervened. After all, mental illness is not any more of a valid excuse to abuse cats than drunkenness.
Hopefully, the bad times now are a thing of the past for Navarro in that he was adopted on August 10th by Cheektowaga resident Vickie Dankowski. (See bottom photo of her and Navarro.)
"I got him home now, and he's just looking and exploring like crazy. He's really passive and not aggressive at all," she told the Buffalo News in the article cited supra. "He's absolutely beautiful."
Dankowski has renamed him Oliver and given him a bed and a litter box. For a playmate, he has her six-year-old female, Anna Belle.
Although it has come under criticism for giving Oliver to Korkuc on May 11th, the SPCA's Barbara Carr nevertheless defends the organization's adoption procedures. "During our screening process this person presented themselves (sic) as a normal human being," she told WGRZ-TV in the article cited supra.
Therein lies the rub, as Hamlet would argue. Individuals that are obviously crazy are easy to weed out but it is the ones that appear to be normal that do the most damage.
For instance, when former Republican Majority Leader Bill Frist of Tennessee was studying medicine at Harvard he adopted cats from shelters under the guise of giving them a good home but instead took them back to his laboratory and experimented on them. Accordingly, no adoption procedures are foolproof.
Korkuc will not, however, be getting any more cats from the Erie County SPCA. "Do not under any circumstances adopt to this man ever again," a new memo mandates. (See Buffalo News, August 10, 2010, "Traffic Stop Saves Cat from Owner's Plate.") "...This man is a danger to animals...was soaking cat in marinade to 'cook'."
In Suffolk County on Long Island, legislators voted on October 12th to establish what is believed to be the nation's first animal abuser registry. Modeled after the various Megan's laws that have been in existence in all fifty states for roughly the past fifteen years, the ordinance will require that all convicted animal abusers over eighteen-years of age register with the Suffolk County SPCA.
Those who fail to do so will be subject to either a year in jail or a $1,000 fine. The registry will be financed by levying an annual $50 fee on abusers.
County Executive Steve Levy is expected to sign the bill and a companion piece of legislation which would require pet stores, breeders, and shelters to consult the registry before either selling or adopting out animals is expected to be voted upon by the lawmakers next month.
"Animal abuser registries are practical crime-reducing and cost-saving tools which, owing to the strong correlation between those who abuse animals and those who are violent toward humans, benefit communities by helping to reduce the risk of new animal and human victims at the hands of repeat offenders," Stephen Otto of the Animal Legal Defense Fund told the Long Island Press of Syosset on October 13th. (See "Suffolk Creates First Ever Animal Abuser Registry.")
Despite Otto's highfalutin rhetoric, the law is primarily hortatory and of limited utility. After all, there is not any shortage of either homeless or roaming cats and dogs for repeat offenders to surreptitiously get their hands on and abuse.
It also is doubtful that those unscrupulous individuals who traffic in cats and dogs at a time when this society is systematically exterminating millions of them each year are going to turn away customers who are known to them to be abusers. After all, they are by definition abusers and exploiters themselves.
Most glaringly, the registry does absolutely nothing to thwart either first-time abusers or serial criminals who are able, for one reason or another, to successfully evade the law. What is needed is a nationwide law which bans the killing and abusing of cats, dogs, and other animals under all circumstances and regardless of their socio-economic status.
Equally important, humane groups, the police, prosecutors, judges, juries, and legislators need to not only strengthen but to vigorously enforce existing anti-cruelty statutes and anyone with so much as half a brain knows that is not about to happen anytime soon. It is axiomatic that if society paid the same lip service to assaults, robberies, and murders that it does to animal cruelty no person's life or property would be safe for a minute.
Although the United States Supreme Court in 2003 upheld the constitutionality of Megan's laws in Smith v Doe, not only has the efficacy of such registries been called into question but their fundamental fairness as well. In particular, individuals who commit crimes and serve their sentences have fulfilled their debt to society and should not be relentlessly hounded for the remainder of their days.
If the penalties for abusing animals are too lenient, they should be strengthened. Likewise, serial animal abusers should not be allowed to walk the streets any more than child molesters.
The halfway house proposed by measures of this sort places the responsibility for monitoring criminals in the hands of the public and therefore is an abdication of the job governmental officials are paid to perform. Moreover, under Megan's laws some vigilantes have assaulted innocent individuals solely because they had similar sounding names to those of convicted felons. Other individuals who have served their time have been unjustly fired from their jobs and evicted from their homes because of these registries.
The law in Suffolk therefore is small potatoes at a time when bold initiatives are needed. That is not to imply, however, that it will not save some lives.
In Switzerland, which like the United States has one of the highest per capita incomes in the world, numerous individuals consume cats and dogs as well as traffic in their pelts. Their barbaric behavior therefore cannot be attributed to hunger any more than that of McGinley and Korkuc.
Either ailurophobia or a perverted taste for the usual therefore must be the motivation for slaughtering and eating cats. In either case, such a backward step into the abyss of savagery should be strenuously combated.
Finally, it is indeed ironic that at a time when activists in China are working to stamp out the trafficking in feline flesh that some Americans are embracing the very same odious practice.
Photos: WCAU-TV of Philadelphia (McGinley and Karma and Nirvana), The Delaware County Daily Times (news story), WGRZ-TV (Korkuc and Dankowski), and the Erie County SPCA (Oliver).