Bird Lover in München Illegally Traps Rocco and Then Methodically Tortures Him to Death with Water and Pepper Spray over an Eleven-Day Period
"Ich konnte Rocco nicht helfen. In zehn Jahres als Tierärztin habe ich nie zuvor etwas Schrecklicheres gesehen. Das war purer Sadismus."
-- Birgit Schwarzmann
Egged on by the hate-filled rants of the American Bird Conservancy (ABC), the various chapters of the National Audubon Society, and others, bird advocates all over the world kill and injure with impunity scores of cats each year. They are aided and abetted in the commission of their cold-blooded crimes by, inter alia, The New York Times, Washington Post, The Washington Times, various branches of the United States government but especially the disreputable United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), and wildlife biologists. (See Cat Defender post of December 8, 2007 entitled "All the Lies That Fit: Scheming New York Times Hires a Bird Lover to Render His 'Unbiased' Support for James M. Stevenson.")
That certainly is not anything new and it is not about to stop. It is reasonable to assume, however, that if they are so willing to endorse violence and lawlessness as the centerpieces of their public policy that they and their minions are committing even far worse atrocities against cats, such as torture, in the course of their private lives.
Only rarely are any of these degenerate scumbags ever apprehended but on Christmas Eve seventy-three-year-old Ernst K.¹ from the Moosach section of northwest München was witnessed torturing to death a three and one-half year old Norwegian Forest Cat named Rocco. (See photo of him above.)
Rocco's demise began on December 13th when Ernst K. baited a trap with fish and illegally abducted him. His owner, fifty-year-old insurance broker Andreas O., put up two-hundred Lost Cat posters, offered a reward of €100 for his return, and contacted Tasso of Hattersheim am Main in Hesse which specializes in locating lost animals. All of his efforts were, sadly, in vain.
The days crept agonizingly by and still there was not any trace of Rocco until finally on Christmas Eve Andreas O. and his family received a shocking telephone call from Tierrettung München informing them that it had found Rocco but that he was dead. The identification was made from an implanted microchip.
As the details of exactly what Rocco was put through during his last eleven days on this earth slowly began to emerge, Andreas O. and his distraught family were subjected to a cram course in not only just how much evil lurks in the black hearts of birders but the diabolical lengths that they are prepared to go in order to harm cats. The police investigation that ensued also set in motion a chain of events that were destined to catapult Ernst K. from an obscure Rentner into the new poster boy for the ABC, NAS, and other groups dedicated to torturing and killing cats. (See photo of him directly below.)
The final chapter in the macabre plot that Ernst K. had so finely crafted began to unfold at around 9:40 a.m. on Heilig Abend when his seventy-one-year-old neighbor Erika S. witnessed him shove the still caged Rocco into a trash can and then take turns alternately bombarding him at point-blank range with powerful bursts of water from sort of hose and dousing him with pepper spray. The temperature of the water used has not been disclosed.
"Verschwinde, das hier geht dich nichts an!" he reportedly barked at her according to the December 29th edition of the Abendzeitung of München. (See "Grausam: Dreiundsiebzig-Jähriger quält Kater zu Tode.")
Undeterred, Erika S. promptly telephoned the police but by then it was too late in order to save Rocco whom Ernst K. had deposited in a garbage bag and secreted away in his garage. The cat, who was barely alive when veterinarian Birgit Schwarzmann of Tierrettung München arrived on the scene, died shortly thereafter.
"Ich konnte Rocco nicht helfen," she told the Abendzeitung in the article cited supra. "In zehn Jahren als Tierärztin habe ich nie zuvor etwas Schrecklicheres gesehen. Das war purer Sadismus."
Since Erika S. had been hearing a cat crying from inside Ernst K.'s garage for more than a week, it is highly likely that Rocco had been caged since his disappearance on December 13th. Furthermore, it is doubtful that Ernst K. either fed or watered him during that interval.
If he did, it was only in order to keep him alive so that he could continue to torture him with water, pepper spray, and whatever other means he had at his disposal. As soon as the details of the necropsy are released a clearer picture should emerge as to the extent of Rocco's abuse.
For the time being all that can be said is that he could have died of drowning, burns from the pepper spray, suffocation, dehydration, starvation, or a combination of all five. It also is highly likely that Ernst K. was planning on continuing to abuse Rocco for an indefinite period of time and only killed him off when Erika S. inadvertently stumbled upon what he was doing.
With his death, Rocco became the second Norwegian Forest Cat to die a horrible death in Deutschland within the past six months. On August 21st, a nameless cat of the same breed was stuffed into a locker and left to die at the Hamburger Hauptbahnhof. (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.")
In his defense, Ernst K. has stated that he was justified in torturing Rocco to death for eleven days because cats from the neighborhood had been preying upon the blackbirds, chaffinch, and titmice that live in eight bird houses that he has erected in his yard. "Hier laufen ständig Katzen durch mein Grundstück (und) die fressen meine Vögel," he told Bild of Berlin on December 30th. (See "Er hat Nachbars Kater mit dem Wasserschlauch tot gespritzt.")
Later, however, he freely admitted that he was not even sure that Rocco was one of the offenders. Even more shocking, Andreas O. was blindsided by Ernst K.'s criminal behavior in that, as far as it is known, the two men had never met before and there had not been any prior conflicts between them.
Ernst K.'s actions prove once again that birders do not have any interest in either peacefully resolving disputes or respecting the law. They simply want to torture and kill cats.
Such an attitude is all the more reprehensible because in Deutschland, unlike America, there are mediators who specialize in resolving these types of disputes. (See Cat Defender post of June 10, 2010 entitled "Cat-Hating Gardener in Nordrhein Westfalen Is Told by the Local Authorities to Remove a Board of Nails from His Yard.")
Even more revealing, when Andreas O. asked him why he had killed Rocco Ernst K. simply grinned back at him with devilish delight. As Aristotle once observed, the worst criminals are those who derive infinite pleasure from the commission of their evil deeds and that description certainly fits Ernst K. to a tee.
"Ich würde es weider tun," he later declared to the police according to the December 29th article in the Abendzeitung cited supra. To reinforce his point, he has festooned his house and garage with placards accusing his detractors of hating birds. (See photo above.)
Furthermore, either he or some of his supporters have put up several posters in the neighborhood threatening to torture and kill additional cats. "Bitte riskieren Sie nicht, dass auch Ihre Katze einen ebenso grausamen Tod wie Rocco erleiden muss," one of them reads according to the January 4th edition of the Abendzeitung. (See "Hat er noch mehr Tiere getötet? Katzen-Krieg in Moosach.")
It goes almost without saying that the loss of the cat that he had loved and cared for ever since it was eight weeks old has been nothing short of devastating for Andreas, his wife, and their small children. "Wir vermissen Rocco sehr, er war wie ein Familienmitglied," he told the Abendzeitung on January 4th.
To have lost Rocco at Christmastime has not helped either. "Unser Weihnachtsfest war gelaufen," he added to the Dorfener Anzeiger on December 29th. (See "Rentner quält Katze zu Tode.") "Wir haben alles abgesagt."
The police, to their credit, have charged Ernst K. with animal cruelty but it is extremely doubtful that he has spent so much as a minute in jail. Worst still, even if convicted the severest sentence that he could receive would be three years in the clink.
Andreas O. has pledged to hold him accountable in a civil court but such an undertaking will be lengthy and cost him considerable money. Even more disheartening, the outcome of such a proceeding is far from being guaranteed.
German jurists are old hands when it comes to adjudicating disputes between cat owners on the one hand and birders and gardeners on the other hand. Generally speaking, it is illegal for the latter to either trap or harm a cat in any way and they can be fined and imprisoned for doing so.
Likewise, the owners of cats are liable for any damage that their companions do to their neighbors' property and, presumably, that includes killing birds. (See Cat Defender post of August 26, 2010 entitled "In Stark Contrast to Ailurophobic America, Ziegelchen's Illegal Trapping by a Gardener in Altstädten-Burbach Is Roundly Condemned in Deutschland.")
The strongest reprimand that Ernst K. is likely to receive already has come from his enraged neighbors. To begin with, his name, ugly mug, and address have been plastered all over lampposts, garden fences, and parking lots in Moosach. (See photo above of his image accompanied by a page torn from the Abendzeitung.)
Even more telling, two-hundred-sixty supporters of Rocco marched in the cold and snow through Moosach on January 8th. "Tiere sind Lebenwesen, keine Sache!" they chanted. (See photos above and below.)
"Höchststrafe für den Katzenmörder! Drei Jahren Haft ohne Bewährung," one placard read. Another one labeled Ernst K. as a "Bestie."
"Heute Tiermord! Was morgen?" another sign poignantly asked. A large banner carried aloft by a man and a woman read: "Tierquäler in den Knast." (See photo below.)
The Tischaufsatz was, however, a touching memorial consisting of photographs of the deceased, wooden crosses, flowers, and lighted candles that was erected at the corner of Magdalena and Bräu Weg. (See photo below.)
As soon as Ernst K. got wind of what was foot he showed his true colors by hightailing it out of town. He is a brave man when it comes to torturing a caged cat but when it comes to facing his neighbors he is far too cowardly to even show his face.
Ten police officers were deployed in order to protect his house and the demonstrators were not allowed any closer than one-hundred-twenty meters. He can run and hide but he never will be able to escape public censure because Tierschutzverein München, which organized the rally, plans to stage further demonstrations, inter alia, in the street, at the courthouse when he is tried, and even outside the state parliament.
The organization's Eveline Kosenbach was not the least bit put off by the fact that he had done a runner. (See photo below of her with a megaphone.)
"Das wird ihm nichts nutzen, wir lassen das hier nicht einschlafen," she told TZ-Online of München on January 9th. (See "Zweihundertsechzig Münchner fordern Höchststrafe für Tierquäler.")
In addition to the brutal torture and murder of Rocco, Ernst K. is suspected in the disappearance of at least eight other cats from the neighborhood. "Mein Romeo wurde vergiftet, das hat die Tierärztin bestätigt," area resident Renate Schwarz told the Abendzeitung on January 9th. (See "Demo gegen Katzen-Hasser: 'Wir klagen den Mörder an'.")
Dogs, such as Ronja owned by Patricia Kussinger, also have been poisoned in and around Ernst K.'s residence. Fortunately, Ronja recovered.
Appropriately enough, he was on hand January 8th in order to lend his support for the apprehension and punishment of Ernst K. The sign draped across his slim body recants both his sad story and the reason for his activism: "Ich wurde Opfer eines feigen Giftköderanschlags. Nein zu Tierquälerei." (See photo of him below.)
Although Rocco is now beyond all mortal assistance, it is encouraging to see how the residents of Moosach and, especially, Tierschutzverein München have rallied to his cause. The situation was totally different last summer in Saginaw, Michigan, when cat-hating gardener Mark Oberschmidt illegally trapped Tammie Tilot's cat, Music Lessons, and Teresa J. Jurden's cat, Buggsey, and in turn gave them to the Saginaw County Animal Care Center to liquidate.
On that occasion there were neither any demonstrations in support of Music Lessons and Buggsey nor any assistance offered by local animal protection groups. Most staggering of all, the local rag, The Saginaw News, published a scurrilous editorial in praise of Oberschmidt's patently criminal behavior. (See Cat Defender post of August 19, 2010 entitled "Music Lessons and Buggsey Are Murdered by a Cat-Hating Gardener and an Extermination Factory Posing as an Animal Shelter in Saginaw.")
Oberschmidt is far from being the only cat-hater to illegally trap his neighbors' companions and then give them to a shelter to exterminate. In West Islip on Long Island, Richard DeSantis was doing the same thing until he was apprehended, but never punished, in 2006. (See Cat Defender posts of June 15, 2006 and March 9, 2007 entitled, respectively, "Serial Killer on Long Island Traps Neighbors' Cats and Then Gives Them to Shelter to Exterminate" and "Long Island Serial Cat Killer Guilty of Only Disorderly Conduct, Corrupt Court Rules.")
Also in 2006, bird lovers Robert and Debbie McCallum from the Seattle suburb of Edmonds were caught illegally trapping neighbor Laura Martin's two-year-old cat Turbo and then handing him over to a shelter to be killed. Fortunately, Martin was able to ransom him in the nick of time. (See Cat Defender post of October 30, 2006 entitled "Collar Saves Cat Named Turbo from Extermination After He Is Illegally Trapped by Bird-Loving Psychopaths.")
Earlier this month an unidentified bird lover from the 3200 block of Elmhurst Drive in Indianapolis trapped a gray cat named Maestro because it allegedly was hanging out near a bird feeder. The property owner then telephoned the knackers at Animal Care and Control in order to have the cat picked up and killed.
Luckily, Animal Control failed to show up and eventually IndyFeral took possession of Maestro on January 6th and it plans on either releasing him into a managed colony or putting him up for adoption. (See Indianapolis Star, January 7, 2011, "IndyFeral to the Rescue of Stray Trapped Cat.")
None of that in any way mitigates the fact that the bird lover left the caged cat outside in the cold for four days and nights. Secretly hoping that Maestro would freeze to death, it is doubtful that the property owner either fed or watered him.
Given Maestro's friendly demeanor, he likely is someone's beloved companion. (See photo of him at the bottom of the page.)
Another favorite tactic of bird lovers is to trap and abduct their neighbors' cats and then dump them at faraway, undisclosed locations. A kindred spirit of Ernst K. who was operating out of the Bramley Crescent section of Southampton even went so far as to send letters to the owners of the cats that he had stolen boasting of the success of his fiendish plot. (See Cat Defender posts of October 30, 2007 and November 16, 2007 entitled, respectively, "Crafty Bird Lover Claims Responsibility for Stealing Six Cats from a Southampton Neighborhood and Concealing Their Whereabouts" and "Fletcher, One of the Cats Abducted from Bramley Crescent, Is Killed by a Motorist in Corhampton.")
Still other birders prefer to use guns. The most infamous of all is James Munn Stevenson of Galveston who claims to have gunned down more than two-hundred cats.
When John Newland, a toll collector at the San Luis Pass Bridge, spotted him shooting cats he, like Ernst K., ran like a coward before he finally was arrested. (See Cat Defender posts of November 22, 2006, May 1, 2007, November 20, 2007, and August 7, 2008 entitled, respectively, "Evil Galveston Bird Lover Is Finally Arrested After Having Gunned Down Hundreds of Cats," "Houston Chronicle Launches a Propaganda Offensive on Behalf of Serial Cat Killer Jim Stevenson," "Bird Lovers All Over the World Rejoice as Serial Killer James M. Stevenson Is Rewarded by Galveston Court for Gunning Down Hundreds of Cats," and "Crime Pays! Having Made Fools Out of Galveston Prosecutors, Serial Cat Killer James Munn Stevenson Is Now a Hero and Laughing All the Way to the Bank.")
In November of last year when Aaron M. Hildreth, Stephen M. Vantassel, and Scott E. Hygnstrom, exterminators working for the now thoroughly discredited University of Nebraska in Lincoln (UNL), published an anti-cat screed entitled "Feral Cats and Their Management" it immediately was lauded to the high heavens by both the ABC and NAS even though it advocated that cats be either shot in the head or crushed to death with body-gripping traps. (See Audubon Magazine, December 3, 2010, "Feral Cat Predation on Birds Costs Billions of Dollars a Year" and the Associated Press via the Huffington Post, December 2, 2010, "Feral Cats Should Be Killed with 'a Gunshot to the Head' to Control Population: UNL Undergraduates Report.")
No one was more thrilled by the exterminators' conclusions than disgraced bottom-of-the-barrel rocker Theodore Anthony Nugent who operates a canned hunting ranch known as Sunrize Acres near Jackson, Michigan. "Always has been, always will be on the Nugent farm, where I have instructed my family, friends, hunting buddies and casual passer-by to blast every cat they see," he wrote in The Washington Times on December 3, 2010. (See "Nugent: The Time for Kitty Killing Has Come.")
Since it is illegal to shoot cats, Nugent should be in jail. Moreover, the fact that he is still walking the street is proof positive that humane officials in Michigan are not doing their jobs.
PETA's head of feline liquidation, Teresa Chagrin, was quick to endorse Nugent's proposal that all cats should be removed from the streets, fields, and woods with the caveat that they should be handed over to shelters to kill. (See The Washington Times, December 8, 2010, "Wild Cats Deserve Care Rather Than Cruelty.")
It is not surprising that the Moonies who own The Washington Times would be in the sack with the likes of PETA and Nugent. After all, birds of a feather do flock together. Nevertheless, the banding together of this terrible threesome is tantamount to Jim Jones, Joseph Goebbels, and Son of Sam pooling their resources and purchasing Dignitas.
Likewise, it is only fitting that a so-called animal rescue group that kills an astounding ninety-eight per cent of the cats and dogs that it annually takes in at its Norfolk, Virginia, shelter would so wholeheartedly support the roundup and en masse extermination of all cats. That is because it is far too cheap, lazy, and bloodthirsty to feed, shelter, medicate, and find homes for any of them.
In addition to its in-house crimes, it also indiscriminately kills cats and dogs in its vans and then dumps their corpses in private Dumpsters. (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.")
Later on December 13th, Chagrin sent an e-mail letter to Chuck Svokas of Hancock County in West Virginia bellyaching about the local shelter's decision not to take in any more cats trapped in the town of Weirton. She proceeded to sing the praises of how a two-hundred-fifty milliliter bottle of sodium pentobarbital was more than sufficient to do away with eighty-three cats.
This twenty-four-karat creep added that the cost of the deadly drug was "extremely minimal" when compared to the cost of rabies vaccinations, property damage, and wildlife predation by cats. Leaving aside for the time being her blatant lies about cats being harmful to property and wildlife, it is sufficient to point out that based upon her warped logic all that America needs to do in order to solve its health care crisis would be to roundup and exterminate a significant portion of its citizens.
Besides, as shelter director Lorrie Byo pointed out, trapping and killing cats involves considerably more money than the cost of sodium pentobarbital, not to mention the staggering moral and emotional toll exacted. (See Wheeling News-Register, December 16, 2010, "PETA Peeved at Hancock County's Feral Cat Problem.")
The truth of the matter is that PETA cannot abide the sight of a live cat and kills as many of them as it can. For a while it had put a damper on its anti-cat rhetoric in the United States and instead directed its venom overseas but now, emboldened by the successes of the ABC, NAS, and UNL, it has reverted to its true form.
It is paramount that neither birders, wildlife biologists, nor PETA be underestimated. They and their colleagues already have exterminated cats on more than one-hundred islands around the world. Their most recent successes include, inter alia, San Nicolas, Robben, Macquarie, and Tory. (See Cat Defender posts of June 27, 2008, March 23, 2007, September 21, 2006, and January 5, 2010 entitled, respectively, "United States Fish and Wildlife Service and the Navy Hatch a Diabolical Plan to Gun Down Two-Hundred Cats on San Nicolas Island," "Bird Lovers in South Africa Break Out the Champagne to Celebrate the Merciless Gunning Down of the Last of Robben Island's Cats," "Aussies' Mass Extermination of Cats Opens the Door for Mice and Rabbits to Wreak Havoc on Macquarie," and "Tourists and Consumers Alike Should Boycott Ireland and Its Exports in Response to Its Extermination of the Homeless Cats on Tory Island.")
Back in 2007, USFWS attempted to eradicate all cats from federal property in the Florida Keys and now it is back to finish the job with another mass slaughter scheduled to begin as early as March 1st. (See Cat Defender post of May 24, 2007 entitled "USDA and Fish and Wildlife Service Commence Trapping and Killing Cats on Florida's Big Pine Key" and The Miami Herald, January 2, 2011, "Feds Hope to Rid Keys' Refuges of Exotic Predators, Including Feral Cats.")
Birders, gardeners, and others who hate cats with a passion have numerous nonlethal methods, such as sound, fences, and natural repellents, in order to dissuade them from entering their yards and therefore do not have a valid excuse for either trapping or injuring them under any circumstances. Furthermore, that is precisely what wildlife biologists tell cat owners whenever they complain about coyotes, fishers, raccoons, and birds preying upon their companions. (See Cat Defender posts of October 2, 2006, July 19, 2007, August 28, 2006, and July 31, 2006 entitled, respectively, "Coyotes, Cheered on by Wildlife Officials, Join Raccoons in Killing Cats and Dogs in Washington State," "Up to Their Old Tricks, Wildlife Officials Reintroduce Fishers to the Northeast to Prey Upon Cats and to Provide Income for Fur Traffickers," "Marauding Pack of Vicious Raccoons Rip Ten House Cats to Shreds and Terrorize Residents but Wildlife Officials Refuse to Intervene," and "Fifteen-Year-Old Cat Named Bamboo Miraculously Survives Being Abducted and Mauled by a Hoot Owl in British Columbia.")
Furthermore, many coyotes and fishers have invaded residential areas after they were driven out of their natural habitats by wildlife biologists pimping and whoring for various financial interests. (See Cat Defender post of August 28, 2007 entitled "TNR Programs, Domestic Cats, Dogs, and Humans Imperiled by Wildlife Proponents' Use and Abuse of Coyotes and Fishers.")
Most knowledgeable cat owners are fully acquainted with the agenda being advocated by birders, wildlife biologists, and PETA and as a consequence those hate-filled criminals can be neutralized to a certain extent. The real danger to cats lies in the backroom deals being engineered with their sworn enemies by the Humane Society of the United States, Neighborhood Cats in Manhattan, the American Humane Association, and others.
Those groups preach compromise and capitulation when the events in Moosach and elsewhere prove over and over again that no entente is possible with cat-haters. (See Cat Defender post of June 15, 2009 entitled "American Bird Conservancy, The New York Times, and the Humane Society Unite to Form an Achse des Bösen Against Cats.")
In fact, no animal is safe in that their agenda extends far beyond the eradication of all cats. (See Cat Defender post of March 15, 2007 entitled "Connecticut Audubon Society Shows Its True Colors by Calling for the Slaughter of Feral Cats, Mute Swans, Mallards, Canada Geese, and Deer.")
In conclusion, it is sincerely hoped that the residents of Moosach will not give in to the threats of bird lovers and cruelly take away their cats' freedom. Cats not only have a right to be outside but such a concession would hand the criminals a victory that they certainly have not earned and do not deserve.
Cat owners in Moosach and elsewhere must be vigilant, however, because birders are not only ruthless but capable of almost any devilry. They first of all should attempt to learn the identity of all cat-haters who live in their neighborhoods as well as be wary of both strangers and new arrivals.
If it is at all feasible, they should know where their cats are at all times. Toward the realization of that objective, they should band together so as to be able to watch out for each other's companions. The installation of surveillance cameras is another idea worth exploring.
The establishment of neighborhood-based cat advocacy groups also is worth a try. For example, no cat lover should either vote for or donate money to any politician that will not pledge to safeguard the lives and liberties of cats.
Above all, cat owners in Moosach and Tierschutzverein München must keep the heat on both the local prosecutor and courts in order to ensure that Ernst K. does not escape justice. That is the very least that they can do for Rocco.
Photos: Dorfener Anzeiger (Rocco), Bild (Ernst K.), Daniel von Loeper of the Abendzeitung (Vogelhasser and Ernst K. posters), Petra Schramek of the Abendzeitung (Kosenbach, and Ronja), Bodmer and Westermann of TZ-Online (demonstrators, Tierquäler in den Knast, and memorial), and Indianapolis Star (Maestro).
¹Since the German media usually do not publicly identify either the accused or witnesses in criminal investigations, some of the names used in this post are either fictitious or abbreviations. For example, although both Bild and TZ-Online refer to Rocco's killer as Ernst K., the Abendzeitung refers to him as Werner H.; the Dorfener Anzeiger refers to him simply as a Rentner. Also, the face of the accused is intentionally blurred in all photographs.