Another Cat, Vincent, Is Dunked in Turpentine in New Westminster as the Police and Animal Control Continue to Laugh Up Their Dirty Sleeves
"I don't know if they're even bothering. Nobody has even contacted me, and they haven't contacted the neighbor who saw the cats running in afterward either."
-- Jennifer Szoke
It is open season on cats in the Vancouver suburb of New Westminster thanks to the dereliction of duty of both the police and Animal Control. For example, on December 8th a two-year-old black cat named Vincent became the third one to be deliberately dunked in turpentine in less than six months.
Fortunately, he was discovered shortly after the attack and that gave his owner, Rob Stainton, time to rush him to a local veterinarian who, nonetheless, was forced to bathe him three times in order to remove the corrosive from his fur. Even after all of that it was necessary to shave away most of the fur from around Vincent's neck and part of his face. (See photo above.)
"We're hoping for a full recovery, but we can't really be sure because whatever long-term damage there is would be to his liver and lungs from inhaling it, so it could be a couple of years down the road," Stainton told the Vancouver Sun on December 15th. (See "Third New Westminster Cat Dipped in Paint Thinner.") "He's been in for a couple of checkups, and I'm happy to say he seems to be doing better."
In addition to being extremely harmful to the miniature lungs, kidneys, livers, and eyes of cats, turpentine also can irrevocably damage their tongues and esophagi if they attempt to remove it from their fur. The good news is that Vincent apparently was rescued before he was able to ingest very much of the deadly substance.
As things now stand, Stainton, who is on sabbatical at Simon Fraser University in nearby Burnaby from his regular post at the University of Western Ontario in London, has shelled out C$1,000 in veterinary bills and the incident has unnerved his daughters, Moonisah and Saima. (See photo below of the family with Vincent.)
From all indications, Vincent was not illegally trapped and then dunked in the turpentine, but rather was victimized by his domestication. Homeless cats generally speaking do not have a great deal going for them with the notable exception of their healthy fear of the mega-predator man and that is, in many respects, a real blessing.
"He's very gentle," Stainton told the New Westminster News Leader on December 14th. (See "New West Man Believes His Cat Was Dipped in Solvent.") "It's only someone that hates cats who would hurt him."
That is true enough in that there certainly is not any shortage of ailurophobes in this world. For instance, a number of gardeners as well as subscribers to the diabolical American Bird Conservancy's cruel and inhumane cats indoors agenda have been gloating online over Vincent's horrible injuries. (See Cat Defender posts of August 19, 2010 and June 15, 2009 entitled, respectively, "Music Lessons and Buggsey Are Murdered by a Cat-Hating Gardener and an Extermination Factory Posing as an Animal Shelter in Saginaw" and "American Bird Conservancy, The New York Times, and the Humane Society Unite to Form an Achse des Bösen Against Cats.")
Although Stainton dutifully reported the attack to the police he promptly was told to go and drop dead. In fact, Sergeant Gary Weishaar told the Vancouver Sun in the article cited supra that his department would not touch an animal abuse case with a ten-foot pole and instead referred Stainton to Animal Control and the SPCA in Vancouver.
Inexcusably, Animal Control does not want any part of such an investigation either. The agency's James Short, for example, even went so far as to cavalierly dismiss the attack as an isolated incident. "The first time it happened this summer, it was in a different area completely, so it is very hard to pinpoint or trace anything," he jawboned to the Vancouver Sun. "As of now, nothing has come to life from it."
His colleague, Dave Cole, was in wholehearted agreement with him and his total abdication of duty. "This one is in a different part of the city and appears the cat was splashed," he blowed to the New Westminster News Leader in the article cited supra.
That is hardly the case. While it is true that Vincent lives near Eighth Avenue and McBride Boulevard whereas the two incidents in July took place at the intersection of Queens Avenue and Tenth Street, they are separated by only three kilometers and seven minutes of driving time. "I wonder if maybe the person is driving around in a car or van," the philosophy professor astutely pointed out to the Vancouver Sun.
He also disputes Cole's unfounded assertion that Vincent was splashed with turpentine as opposed to having been deliberately dunked in it. "It looked like someone picked him up and dunked him in it," he told the New Westminster News Leader.
The picture therefore is perfectly clear. Animal Control, whose primary function is to operate a removal and extermination service, has absolutely no intention of investigating this case and is simply concocting ludicrous excuses in order to discredit Stainton.
Such ruses are common practice not only with Animal Control and the police but with most so-called humane groups as well. (See Cat Defender post of December 23, 2010 entitled "Tavia's Desperate Pleas for Help Fall Upon the Deaf Ears of the Evangelical Who Abandoned Her and the Heartless Officials and Citizens of Kissimmee.")
Back on July 2nd, a cat named Harley belonging to Jennifer Szoke and her eight-year-old son, Nate, was dunked up to his waist in turpentine by an unknown assailant who is still at large. After a valiant, roller coaster attempt to live, he died on August 14th as the result of severe burns suffered to both his tongue and esophagus as well as a collapsed lung. (See photo below of Szoke and Nate at his bedside in the hospital.)
On that same occasion, a yellow and white cat named Linden belonging to Szoke's neighbor, Corrine Ritchie, also was dunked in turpentine. Luckily, he was discovered before he was able to lick off very much of the chemical and, as far as it is known, is still alive today.
Just as they are now doing with Vincent, both the police and Animal Control categorically refused to open an investigation into the attacks on Harley and Linden. "I don't know if they're even bothering," Szoke said at that time. "Nobody has even contacted me, and they haven't contacted the neighbor who saw the cats running in afterward either." (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.")
As the horrific damage done to Harley clearly demonstrates, poisoning a cat with turpentine is an especially cruel and hideous form of abuse. Furthermore, the intransigence exhibited by both the police and Animal Control is a warning sign that something is terribly wrong with both agencies because any halfway responsible and decent public servant would be willing to move mountains in order to get the perpetrator of these despicable attacks off the street and into a jail cell.
Under these trying circumstances the only option left open to cat owners in New Westminster is to band together so as to be able to look out after each other's companions. They also might want to install surveillance cameras outside their residences.
It was precisely one such device that spared the life of Darryl and Stephanie Andrews-Mann's four-year-old moggy, Lola, back in August after she was abducted and deliberately stuffed in a trash can outside her home on Bray Lane in Coventry. Not only did a review of the surveillance tape reveal where she had been for the past fifteen hours, but it also identified her assailant to be a forty-five-year-old employee of the Royal Bank of Scotland named Mary Bale.
Even armed with that damning bit of incontrovertible evidence, it took the almost worthless RSPCA a month to indict Bale. More than likely it was too busy rounding up and killing cats itself to be bothered. (See Cat Defender posts of October 23, 2010 and June 5, 2007 entitled, respectively, "RSPCA Steals and Executes Nightshift Who Was His Elderly Caretaker's Last Surviving Link to Her Dead Husband" and "RSPCA's Unlawful Seizure and Senseless Killing of Mork Leaves His Sister, Mindy, Brokenhearted and His Caretakers Devastated.")
When Bale finally was forced to face the music in a Coventry court on October 19th she heard nothing but sweet notes in that she was let off with a measly £250 fine plus £1,171 in court costs. (See The Sun of London, October 20, 2010, "Cat Chucker's Claim Trashed.")
Due to the fact that cat abusers are seldom arrested and even then rarely punished, owners need to arm themselves with digital cameras and tape recorders. The photographs and words of the killers and abusers then can be distributed throughout the neighborhood and even posted on the Peephole to the World. At least under that scenario they would know who to be on the lookout for and accordingly could take suitable precautions.
Mercifully, Stainton's stay in the feline hellhole known as the Royal City is destined to be a brief one, but even permanent residents, such as Szoke and Ritchie, should consider pulling up stakes and relocating elsewhere. After all, it is insane to continue to live in a city where there not only is a serial cat killer on the loose but one who enjoys the protection of the legal and political establishment as well.
That is, admittedly, a sad commentary upon conditions in New Westminster but it only underscores the necessity for cat owners to be self-reliant and to make the tough decisions that will ensure the well-being of their companions. They, like their cats, are truly on their own.
Photos: Stainton (Vincent), Les Baszo of the Vancouver Sun (Vincent with the Staintons) and Gerry Kahrmann of Global Toronto (Harley with Szoke and Nate).