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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

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Self-Defense Is Against the Law in Australia after a Woman Who Attacked a Cat Gets Away with Her Crime Whereas Her Victim Is Trapped and Executed

Tigger and Sandy Williams

"When I saw it out there I caught it by hand. It sank its teeth into my wrist bone, causing thirty fissures."
-- Sandy Williams

A forever nameless cat from South Yunderup, a southern suburb of Perth in the state of Western Australia, was murdered by an unidentified veterinarian near the end of July all because he had defended himself after he had been attacked by resident Sandy Williams who idiotically intervened in a scrap between it and her cat, Tigger.

"In the past six months a feral cat kept coming on to my property and bullying my cat Tigger," she declared to the Mandurah Coastal Times of Perth on August 10th. (See "Feral Cat Attack Leaves Woman with Severely Infected Arm.") "When I saw it out there I caught it by hand. It sank its teeth into my wrist bone, causing thirty fissures."

Ever since then Williams has been exulting in her rôle as the helpless victim of an unprovoked attack by a homeless cat when in fact it was she who was the instigator. Contrary to her outlandish claims of being seriously injured, all she received in return was a slight infection that easily was treated with antibiotics.

As for the victim, it soon thereafter was trapped, declared to be diseased, and promptly liquidated. Predictably, the cat-hating buffoons who call the shots in the land down under have not disclosed what diagnostic tests, if any, were conducted and what disease the cat may have been carrying in its system.

More than likely it simply was killed because it had bitten Williams. Cats can carry all sorts of bacteria in their mouths and underneath their claws that in turn can cause mild infections in humans but that certainly does not mean that they are diseased and therefore must be killed.

"I feel sorry for it, but I had to stop my cat from getting hurt," Williams explained to the Mandurah Coastal Times. Her crocodile tears make it all the more the pity that the cat did not claw out her eyeballs.

Patti Talbot and Paul Taylor

It also is conceivable that this dispute could have been settled without the loss of a life if only she had not been so cheap. Since was was unwilling to pony up the A$30 a day that it would have cost her in order to have rented a trap, she simply should have purchased one instead.

A far better alternative would have been to let the cats work things out themselves. That usually is the best alternative, unless blood is being spilled and there is absolutely nothing in press reports to even remotely suggest that was the case.

Since the sexes of the cats have not been disclosed it is difficult to say with any degree of certainty what may have triggered this long-running confrontation. If they were of opposing sexes, it is a good bet that the great god Eros was to blame.

A tom can smell a female in estrus for miles and although their wooing, foreplay, and frolicking can sound at times like all Hell has broken loose it is harmless. "No matter how much the cats fight, there always seems to be plenty of kittens," Abraham Lincoln once observed.

If unwanted kittens are a source of concern, sterilization is the best preventative but that costs a pretty penny. If, on the other hand, the conflict was territorial in nature, Williams either could have confined Tigger inside for a while until the tom lost interest in her or erected cat fencing around her yard.

"Cats do not understand backyard boundaries," Michael Gibbs of Pinjarra Veterinary Hospital told the Mandurah Coastal Times in the article cited supra. He therefore counsels individuals not to interfere in territorial disputes between cats. That is sound advice although he would be guilty of grotesque hypocrisy if it indeed was his surgery that murdered the cat.
Karen Costa

Williams now has compounded her initial mistake of taking matters into her own hands by blaming the authorities as well. "If there were dogs lurking around people would act on it; if it was a dog attack things would be different," she groused to the Mandurah Coastal Times.

The obvious problem with such thinking is that a cat is not a dog. Vicious dogs sometimes kill individuals but, as far as it is known, no one ever has died from either a cat scratch or a bite. Besides, people are supposed to have more intelligence than to grab a strange cat with their hands and the law cannot be expected to protect idiots from their delusions and rashness.

"But no one was interested," she whined. "I felt I had no alternatives and I should not have had to suffer the consequences."

Still wallowing in denial, she is unwilling to admit that she unjustly killed that cat just the same as if she had taken a gun and shot it in the head. Her injured arm has healed by now and she will continue on with her miserable life but for her totally innocent victim there will not be any tomorrows.

In light of the Australians' poisoning campaigns, mass exterminations, and trafficking in both feline flesh and fur, concerted international action is desperately needed in order to protect all of their resident felines from both the authorities and individuals like Williams. (See Cat Defender posts of August 11, 2005, September 21, 2006, September 7, 2007, and July 14, 2008 entitled, respectively, "Barbaric Australians Come Up with an Ingenious New Poison in Order to Exterminate Cats," "Aussies' Mass Extermination of Cats Opens the Door for Mice and Rabbits to Wreak Havoc on Macquarie," "Australians Renounce Civilization and Revert to Savages with the Introduction of a Grotesque Plan to Get Rid of Cats by Eating Them," and "Australian Park Ranger and a Seamstress Team Up to Go into Business as Cat-Killers and Fur Traffickers.")

The same applies to the millions of animals that the imperialists have imported, exploited, and abandoned over the years and now are targeting for extermination. Their hit list includes, inter alia, half a million camels, three-hundred-thousand horses, five million donkeys, twenty-three million pigs, plus scores of cane toads, red foxes, goats, and rabbits. (See Agence France Presse, September 25, 2005, "Millions of Animals Face Death Sentence in Australia.")

An almost identical confrontation occurred January 27th in the tiny village of Kennington in Oxfordshire when seamstress and part-time nanny Patti Talbot claims to have been bitten on her right thigh by an unidentified tom. She was treated with antibiotics at John Radcliffe Hospital in nearby Oxford and sent home but was forced to return the following week for a three-night stay because the wound became infected.

Barbara Pinchbeck

Just as was the case in South Yunderup, the attraction seems to have been two cats, Max and Eevee, owned by her common law husband, Paul Taylor. Once again, the slaphappy media fails to disclose whether this case involved either eros or territory.

Like Williams, she got what she deserved when she elected to blast the tom with a water pistol and to chase it off of her property. Since she is willing to admit that much, there is no telling what other abuse she may have directed at the cat.

"I went to the door to shoo it away, but it just stood there. Then I went up the steps, but it still would not go," she swore to the Oxford Mail on March 14th. (See "Woman Claims She Is Being Terrorized by Feral (sic) Cat.") "The next thing I knew it lunged at me and grabbed hold of my leg. The wound was so deep it bled for twenty-four hours."

If she is being truthful and that is all that she did, the tom, quite justifiably, interpreted her actions to be another personal attack upon him. Although she never will admit it, it is conceivable that she may have attacked him again with water and possibly other objects just before he bit her.

Now, like Williams, she is acting out the part of being the totally innocent victim as well as begging for help and the public's sympathy. "I don't want to go outside at all, and when I come home at night I'm absolutely petrified in case it is hanging around my car," she told the Oxford Mail with a straight face. "I see it at least once a day. It arches its back, makes a growling noise and looks ready to attack. I have shot it with a water pistol but it just stands there as if to say 'put that down, I am going to get you'."

She quite obviously is either an outrageous liar or a nut case. For a grown woman to be so afraid of a cat that she dreads to even go outside is such an irrational response that it borders upon a severe mental disorder.

Anyone that disturbed would be well advised to put away her squirt gun and instead to bring the cat a peace offering in the form of a bowl of treats. Contrary to the nonsense that Talbot is espousing, cats are not vindictive animals who hold grudges; they will, however, sometimes defend themselves when attacked.

Cats like cats and by visiting Max and Eevee the tom is not in his own mind doing anything wrong. Just as Talbot would not appreciate a cat telling her what humans she could associate with, the tom obviously does not like being told that he cannot visit Taylor's cats.

A little bit of understanding goes a long way in preventing these types of disputes from getting out of hand. Like Williams, Talbot has at her disposal the options necessary in order to resolve this misunderstanding in a manner whereby nobody gets hurt.

That does not appear to be the solution that she favors in that she already has had Taylor contact the RSPCA, the police, and the Vale of White Horse District Council. Possessed of such pigheaded, uninformed, and inhumane attitudes concerning strange cats, a thoughtful person cannot help but cringe at the thought of how individuals like Talbot, Taylor, and Williams treat their own companions.

Whereas the allegations made by Williams and Talbot present one set of difficulties, individuals who claim to have been assaulted by cats that they brought home from adoption agencies present another set of problems that, additionally, have opened up the floodgates for ambulance chasers. Take, for instance, the case of twenty-eight-year-old Karen Costa of Astoria who on May 10, 2010 filed a lawsuit in Queens Supreme Court against Petco and KittyKind of Union Square in Manhattan.

In her suit, she claims that on May 30, 2007 a cat named Harry that she had adopted from the duo bit her on her right bird finger necessitating that she spend three nights in the hospital. She further claims that the attack left her unable to work for six months and that to this day she is unable to ride a bicycle and to jet ski.

According to her, Harry actually was a feral cat who hid underneath her bed for weeks before finally emerging to attack her. Right off the bat that explanation does not hold water because Harry surely must have left his hideaway periodically in order to eat and to use the litter box.

Much more importantly, there must have been something in the way that Costa and her then unidentified common law husband treated Harry that forced him into hiding for such an extended period of time. Besides, all adoption agencies allow individuals to get acquainted with cats before taking them home and if Harry had been a feral that surely would have been noticeable at that time.

The Old East Village Landmark Is Still Going Strong Today

It also is odd that she waited three years before filing her lawsuit. Also, since she works in marketing, it strains credulity that she was unable to work for six months.

Neither Petco nor KittyKind have officially commented on Costa's suit but an unidentified female volunteer at the latter termed the case "ridiculous." (See the New York Daily News, May 11, 2010, "Queens Woman Karen Costa Sues Petco after Cat with Lion-Sized Temper Takes Bite Out of Her Finger.")

One possible explanation could be that Costa is attempting to exploit the damage done to KittyKind's reputation after its former director, Marlene Kess, was arrested for hoarding back in 2005. (See Cat Defender posts of May 26, 2005 and March 29, 2007 entitled, respectively, "Cat Hoarder Masquerading as Cat Savior Kills More Than Two-Hundred Cats" and "Famed Manhattan Cat Hoarder Marlene Kess Gets Off with a Fine and Community Service.")

For the Love of Animals in Elmsford, Westchester County in upstate New York, is in an almost identical predicament to that of Petco and KittyKind after seventy-one-year-old retired waitress Barbara Pinchbeck of Mahopac in Putnam County to the north filed a $2 million lawsuit against it last November.

The case centers around a black cat named Wheezer that Pinchbeck adopted from the shelter in April of last year. On his first night in his new home, Pinchbeck alleges that Wheezer out of the blue bit two of her fingers that in turn resulted in her being forced to spend a week in the hospital to the tune of several thousand dollars.

"It was snarling, hissing and baring its fangs," she told the New York Daily News on November 21, 2010. (See "Woman Sues Shelter for $2 Million after She Says 'Crazed' Hellcat Attacks Her.") "It leaped six feet in the air and landed on my hand. It bit through my two fingers."
Cheryl Sibley

It is impossible to know exactly what transpired without having been there, but based upon Pinchbeck's own version of events it would appear that the cat was frightened of her and bit her either out of fear or by accident.  Pinchbeck, however, insists that the cat simply went berserk.

"I've never seen a cat like that in my whole life," she swore to the Daily News. "That cat was crazed."

Pinchbeck's case is strengthened by the fact that when she telephoned fifty-four-year-old Jamie Turell of the shelter to come and collect Wheezer she was too afraid to even show up. "She needed her friend to get the cat," Pinchbeck told the Daily News. "She was afraid of her own cat."

Considering how strongly she feels about For the Love of Animals it is indeed puzzling that Pinchbeck turned right around and adopted another cat from it. As for Wheezer, he reportedly has been placed in another home but both Turell and Pinchbeck are feigning ignorance of his whereabouts which in turn casts considerable doubt on his well-being.

Turell's attorney, Thomas Gorton, is not having any of the Pinchbeck's palaver. "It was a nice pussycat," he told the Daily News in the November 21, 2010 article cited supra. "The plaintiff is the only one who's talking because the cat's not saying a word."

Therein lies the rub, as Shakespeare would say, in all of these cases of alleged, unprovoked cat attacks. It therefore is just too bad that Wheezer cannot speak up for himself like Saki's Tobermory.

Cats, as opposed to humans, are known for their easy-going, balanced personalities and Pinchbeck's claims are at odds with that assessment. Although theoretically possible, it would be simply astounding if Wheezer did indeed have a Jekyll and Hyde personality.

On a much more mundane level, individuals who choose to share their lives with cats would do well to bear in mind Miguel de Cervantes's admonition that "those who play with cats must expect to be scratched."

Matthew Maher
Even famed Manhattan watering hole McSorley's Old Ale House, situated one block removed from bohemian St. Mark's Place in the East Village since 1854, is not immune to civil suits stemming from its century-old tradition of keeping cats.

In November of last year, fifty-four-year-old Cheryl Sibley of Hasbrouck Heights in New Jersey filed a lawsuit in Manhattan Supreme Court alleging that she was mauled by the bar's resident feline, Minnie II, in October of 2009. She has not specified the extent of her injuries, only that they necessitated her having to go to the hospital for treatment.

The court challenge has come as a total shock to the bar's longtime owner, Matthew Maher. "I have no recollection of any attack," he told the New York Post on December 5, 2010. (See "Is This the Face of a Killer?") "If I would have known, I would have been the first to call her and say 'Are you okay? Can I do anything for you'?"

Sibley's lawsuit is the latest in a series of tragic events that have befallen McSorley's cats during the past two years. Their string of bad luck began in the summer of 2009 when Minnie I died of an undisclosed cause.

A few months later her companion, Stinky, died of, reportedly, a broken heart. To top it all off, the city's Health Department fined McSorley's $1,000 in August of 2009 for allowing Minnie to walk on the bar.

Since then Minnie has been cruelly confined to the non-public areas of the establishment during business hours which in itself casts considerable doubt on Sibley's suit. That petit fait has prompted Maher to speculate that Sibley must have been in the bar after-hours if the confrontation did in fact take place.

Unlike so many businessmen who sour on the species once the going gets tough, Maher has proven himself to be a true, uncompromising, stubborn-as-a-mule Irishman by his decision to stick by his feline friends. "There have always been cats at McSorley's, and there always will," he declared to the Daily Mail on December 6, 2010. (See "Cat Suit: Woman Sues Historic New York Bar after Claim of 'Vicious Attack' by House Cat.")

Minnie II

The veracity of that claim is attested to by John French Sloan's world famous 1929 painting entitled "McSorley's Cats."

As commendable as all of that may be, things never will be quite the same at the neighborhood drinking emporium as they were when its resident felines were free to rub whiskers with such notable barflies as Babe Ruth, Harry Houdini, and Woody Guthrie. To this very day the legend persists that whenever there is a cat asleep in the window the spirit of the great escape artist is loose in the house.

In 2006, a longhaired, black and white polydactyl named Lewis from Fairfield, Connecticut, got into trouble with the authorities after he became involved in a series of scrapes with women. Although it later was shown that he had been the victim, that did not prevent the presiding judge from placing him under house arrest for the remainder of his days on this earth.

Specifically, bird advocates doused him water and threw eggs at him. Other cat-haters stepped on his tail, closed car doors on him, and one neighbor even went so far as to illegally trap and take him to a shelter. (See Cat Defender posts of April 3, 2006 and June 26, 2006 entitled, respectively, "Free Lewis Now! Connecticut Tomcat, Victimized by a Bum Rap, Is Placed Under House Arrest" and "Lewis the Cat Cheats the Hangman but Is Placed Under House Arrest for the Remainder of His Life.")

A similarly unjust fate was visited upon a thirteen-year-old black cat named Bingo from Luzern in 2009 after he, too, was placed under house arrest for biting a woman who had intervened in a squabble between him and her cat. (See Cat Defender post of October 17, 2009 entitled "Bingo Is Placed Under House Arrest for Defending Himself Against a Neighbor Who Foolishly Intervened in a Cat Fight.")

In addition to standoffs with other cats, disputes with dogs and their owners often land felines in trouble. For instance, nineteen-year-old Hoppy was placed under a death threat by Minneapolis Animal Care and Control in 2009 because he dared to defend himself against dogs. (See Cat Defender post of October 18, 2009 entitled "Minneapolis Is Working Overtime Trying to Kill an Octogenarian's Cat Named Hoppy for Defending His Turf Against Canine Intruders.")

McSorley's and Its Cats as They Appeared to John French Sloan in 1929

Attacks perpetrated against homeless cats by dogs and their owners are far more numerous but seldom reported. Some dog owners even consider it to be great fun to sic their charges on cats.

For example, John Randall of Pitsea in Essex not only allowed his Jack Russell Terrier, Scrappy, to attack a colony of homeless cats but he gladly joined in the fun by giving them a few good whacks with his cane. (See Cat Defender post of October 23, 2009 entitled "Essex Welfare Bum Who Sicced His Dog on Cats and Beat Them with His Cane Is Now Pretending to Be the Victim of an Assault.")

In just about all of these cases the alleged victims either have admitted or were observed attacking cats. Like any other creature, cats have a right to defend themselves and those who attack them have no one to blame for their injuries except themselves.

After all, "a baited cat may grown as fierce as a lion," Samuel Palmer wrote in his 1710 tome entitled Moral Essays on Some of the Most Curious and Significant English, Scotch, and Foreign Proverbs.

None of that rules out the possibility that some cats, especially intact toms not accustomed to being around strangers, can exhibit aggression if either sex or violations of their turfs are involved. For example, a twelve-year-old, twenty-one-pound tom named Blackie from Ramsgate in Kent has been accused over the years of attacking letter carriers, paper boys, construction workers, fastfood delivery personnel, and even a bobby. (See Cat Defender post of March 8, 2007 entitled "Blackie the Cat Has Postmen, Bobbies, and Deliverymen Looking over Their Shoulders in Ramsgate, Kent.")

Given that cats are diminutive, non-aggressive, peace-loving animals, the burden of proof should rest with those individuals who claim the opposite. That is especially the case not only because they are unable to speak for themselves but owing to the fact that the consequences of their being adjudicated guilty are often either the gallows or incarceration.

Photos: Mandurah Coastal Times (Tigger and Williams), Oxford Mail (Talbot and Taylor), New York Daily News (Costa, Pinchbeck, and Wheezer), Daily Mail via Flickr (McSorley's facade and Minnie II), New York Post (Sibley and Maher), and Susan Danly Walther, The Virginia Steele Scott Gallery of the Henry E. Huntington Library and Art Gallery in San Marino, California ("McSorley's Cats.")

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Ernst K. Walks Away Smelling Like a Rose as Both the Prosecutor and Judge Turn His Trial for Killing Rocco into a Lovefest for a Sadistic Cat Killer

"Das Urteil entsprach in keiner Weise dem was tatsächlich am Weihnachtstag des Jahres 2010 in dem Garten des Einfamilienhauses des Rentners geschehen ist."
-- Judith Brettmeister of Aktion Tier

When press reports first began to filter out of München in late December of last year detailing how amateur ornithologist Ernst Bernhard K. had kidnapped Rocco and tortured him to death with water and pepper spray it already was foregone conclusion that this tale of horrific feline abuse never could have anything remotely resembling a happy ending. (See photos of Ernst K. above and below.)

Thanks to the perseverance of his aggrieved owner, Andreas O., and the hard work of the dedicated professionals at Tierschutzverein (TSV) München, it nevertheless was hoped that even in death Rocco might yet still receive a small measure of justice through the conviction and incarceration of his murderer. All of those hopes went up in smoke in a München courtroom on August 9th when state prosecutor Beate Miksch and presiding judge Gerhard Simon sided wholeheartedly with Ernst K. and set him as free as the blackbirds and finches that frolic in his yard in the Moosach section of town.

The particulars, boiled down to what little they are worth, amounted to a ten-month suspended sentence and three years of probation. He additionally was fined an insignificant €1,500 which is to be paid to TSV München.

Simon's thoroughly ludicrous verdict was received with indignation and disbelief by the more than one-hundred supporters of Rocco who had packed the courtroom. Shouts of "Morder" and "Falsch" rang out from the gallery.

Since Miksch only had originally asked for a year's suspended sentence and a fine of €1,500, it is quite obvious that the fix was in from the outset. In fact, since Ernst K. already had pleaded guilty it now appears in hindsight that the two-day public spectacle was staged by Miksch and Simon merely as a show trial with a wicked Evelyn Waugh twist thrown in at the end. Whereas show trials usually are staged in order to unjustly convict the innocent, in this case the objective was to exonerate a cold-blooded cat killer.

A secondary motivation no doubt was to further torment Andreas O., his family, and all cat owners in München. After all, there can be little doubt that the defendant gladly would have relinquished his right to a public trial in exchange for such a sweetheart deal.

As if turning this diabolical monster scot-free were not outrageous enough in its own right, Miksch and Simon did not even have the bons sens to stop there. Rather, they joined forces in order to stage what can only can be labeled as a carefully choreographed lovefest for Ernst K. whereby they doused him with buckets of sympathy because he allegedly is ill and has an invalid spouse. (See Der Spiegel, August 9, 2011, "Bewährungsstrafe für den Katzenhasser.")

First of all, although Ernst K. may indeed be old, he appears to be robust and as healthy as a horse. More importantly, he certainly was healthy enough to trap Rocco and to systematically torture him to death over an extended eleven-day period. (See Cat Defender posts of January 19, 2011 and June 20, 2011 entitled, respectively, "Bird Lover in München Illegally Traps Rocco and Then Methodically Tortures Him to Death with Water and Pepper Spray over an Eleven-Day Period" and "Rocco's Abduction, Systematic Torture, and Cold-Blooded Murder by a Bird Lover in München Was the Number One Cat Story of 2010.")

Secondly, if his wife was living at home in December she sans doute must have heard Rocco's anguished screams just as her neighbors did who live down the street. In that case, she was complicit in her husband's crimes and should have been indicted and forced to stand trial alongside him.

Besides, all legal defenses based upon old age, youth, poor health, and mental incompetence are spurious. The victims of such offenders, whether they be animals or humans, are every bit just as dead as if they had been attacked by physically and mentally competent individuals of medium age.

Miksch and Simon also made much ado about how poor, old Ernst K. had been subjected to a hate campaign since killing Rocco and the defendant himself even claimed to have received a letter threatening his life during the two-day trial. Miksch, for example, labeled the verbal barbs "unerträglich" and a "Hetzkampagne" whereas Simon admitted that they had worked "zu Gunsten des Angeklagten."

Ernst K.'s high-powered shyster, Boris Kampf, even got in on the act by whining to the München Abendzeiting on August 10th that his client had been forced to live "in Angst um sich und seine Familie." (See "Bewährung für Katzenhasser: Mildes Urteil für den Katzenhasser.")

Leaving aside for the time being the petit fait that prosecutors and judges are supposed to rely upon the facts of a case and not the clamoring of the public, it thus would appear to be the considered opinion of both Miksch and Simon that Andreas O. and his supporters either should have been grateful to Ernst K. for killing Rocco or not to have given a hang one way or the other. Also, it is nothing short of amazing that neither of them seem to realize that there are significant differences between the Bundesrepublik and the Third Reich and that chiefly among them are the rights to free speech, peaceable assembly, and to petition the government for the redress of grievances.

More pertinently, both of them have conveniently forgotten that it was Ernst K. who festooned his property with placards accusing Rocco's supports of hating birds. Plus, either he or one of his supporters posted signs throughout the neighborhood threatening to torture and kill additional cats in the same manner as Rocco.

To top it all off, Simon opened his big trap once again in order to declare that he did not believe that Ernst K. would kill another cat. That is in direct contradiction to what the defendant vowed to arresting officers.

Eight additional cats have mysteriously disappeared from in and around Ernst K.'s house and he is the number one suspect in each case. Dogs also have been poisoned and shot with air guns.

The job of any state prosecutor is to advocate for both the law and the victims of crime, not to side with murderers. Likewise, any judge that is fit to serve on the bench must rely upon the facts and not his own ingrained prejudices when dispensing justice. Since Miksch and Simon have failed miserably to carry out their duties they therefore have disgraced both themselves and their offices.

In this case, Miksch and Simon have inexcusably transformed sadistic cat killer Ernst K. into the victim and cast his owner and supporters as the villains. In their carefully scripted black comedy there is, as planned, no place for either Rocco or justice. (See photo of him directly below.)

"Tut mir leid, das Ganze," Ernst K. told the München Abendzeitung in the article cited supra. No one in town believed a syllable of his insincere apology according the newspaper's court reporter John Schneider.

Other courtroom observers have pointed out that Ernst K. was hard pressed to refrain from grinning during expert testimony detailing how horribly he had abused Rocco. In fact, the sunglasses that he wore throughout the trial were so inadequate that he was forced to cover his face with his hands in order to conceal his mirth.

If that is so, the old boy must be really whooping it up now in the aftermath of his stunning victory. Perhaps even Miksch and Simon are sharing a stein or two of München's fine bier with him in celebration.

Most startling of all, there is absolutely nothing in press reports to indicate that either Miksch or Simon uttered so much as a word of sympathy for either Rocco or Andreas O. and his family. If fact, the prosecution and adjudication of this case from the outset was so biased and one-sided that both the judge and prosecutor should have been sporting campaign buttons on their robes and lapels that declared "All the Way with Ernst K!" As it was, the only thing that they neglected to do was to pass the hat for the accused.

Miksch's and Simon's outrageous conduct is tantamount to the legal establishment treating a convicted rapist as a conquering hero all the while simultaneously turning a blind eye to the suffering of his victim. It also is a pretty good indication that both of them are inveterate cat haters and possibly even bird enthusiasts.

That is because even remotely fair-minded prosecutors and jurists who care absolutely nothing about cats are yet still able to tell the difference between right and wrong and thus to apply the law accordingly. On a more basic level, it is simply reprehensible that they have condoned the theft, torture, and murder of a totally innocent cat.

By way of contrast, fifty-five-year-old Hannelore Schmedes of Mahlum in Bockenem, thirty kilometers southeast of Hannover in Niedersachsen, was sentenced late last year to serve thirty-five days in jail for shoplifting less than €100 of food in order to feed her twelve starving cats. (See Cat Defender post of February 12, 2011 entitled "Disabled Former Casino Worker Is Sent to Jail for Shoplifting Food in Order to Feed Her Twelve Cats.")

It thus would appear that in Deutschland stealing to feed starving cats will get an individual locked up whereas stealing and murdering one is perfectly acceptable behavior that is lauded to the high heavens by prosecutors and judges. With the legal establishment operating upon such an abhorrent and totally inhumane jurisprudence, no cat any longer can count on either its next breath or meal.

The only recourse left open to Andreas O. and other cat lovers in München would be to look into having both Miksch and Simon removed from office. Depending upon existing local law, impeachment, voter recall, and removal via the ballot box at the next election are possible options. If it is at all humanly possible, no-good, rotten scoundrels like Miksch and Simon should not be allowed to get away with sanctioning the torture and killing of a cat by an amateur ornithologist.

As for Andreas O., his wife Nicole, their daughter, and dog, they received absolutely nothing from Landgericht München except humiliation and the pungent aftertaste of injustice. Worst of all, Simon has cruelly denied them their last remaining opportunity for some sort of closure.

The only satisfaction that they have received came on July 11th when an unidentified civil court judge ordered Ernst K. to pay Andreas O. €500 for killing Rocco. The judge additionally issued a cease and desist order prohibiting Ernst K. from trapping and killing any more of Andreas's animals. (See Cat Defender post of August 8, 2011, entitled "Ernst K.'s Trial for Kidnapping, Torturing, and Murdering Rocco Nears Its Climax in a München Courtroom.")

The civil and criminal wrangling may have concluded, but this sorry and disturbing affair is anything but forgotten history. In particular, since Andreas and his family reside only one-hundred-fifty meters from Ernst K. they are going to be forced to deal with him until he either croaks or they decide to relocate elsewhere.

Seeing him every day happily feeding his birds and going on with his miserable existence while Rocco is rotting in his grave will become a festering sore within their already badly mutilated psyches and for which there cannot be any cure. That is the living Hell that Andrea Evans and her family in Granite Falls, North Carolina, have been put through ever since their next-door neighbor, State Trooper Shawn C. Houston, illegally trapped and shot to death their five-month-old kitten, Rowdy, in October of 2009.

At trial, Houston escaped conviction and was forced to pay only $125 in court costs. (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.")

In marked distinction to Miksch's and Simon's appalling misconduct, San Diego County Prosecutor Katharine Flaherty and Superior Court Judge K. Michael Kirkman put forty-seven-year-old Robert Eugene Brunner of nearby Vista in jail for three years on September 17, 2007 after he earlier had shot and killed Janeen Bubien's cat, Bill, with a bow and arrow. In that case, poor Bill was not accused of killing birds but rather of pissing in Brunner's precious little yard.

In an earlier civil suit, Bubien was awarded $2,500 in damages plus $5,000 in order to help her relocate elsewhere and away from Brunner. (See Cat Defender posts of August 14, 2007 and September 24, 2007 entitled, respectively, "Grieving Owner Seeks Justice for Orange Tabby Named Bill That Was Hunted Down and Savagely Killed with a Bow and Arrow" and "California Man Who Slew His Neighbor's Cat with a Bow and Arrow Is Sentenced to Three Years in Jail.")

In addition to their grotesque failure to provide a measure of justice to Rocco and Andreas O., Miksch and Simon also are guilty of not only failing to address the consequences of turning loose a convicted cat killer amongst his victims but of steadfastly refusing to act in order to protect all other cats as well. Simon's irresponsible, unjust, and totally brainless ruling can only be read as a blueprint for additional trouble and suffering that in all likelihood will wind up costing the lives of additional cats.

Although TSV München conspicuously has not commented on Miksch's and Simon's dirty work, reaction from other animal rights groups in Deutschland has been for the most part predictably favorable. "Wichtig ist dass hier ein deutliches Zeichen gesetzt wurde: Tierquälerei ist kein Kavaliersdelikt," Katharina Schulze of Grüne München ludicrously postulated August 9th on the organization's web site. (See "Münchner Grüne begrüßen Urteil im Tierquäler Prozess.") "Wir begrüßen, dass die Ahndung des Verbrechens vor einem ordentlichen Gericht stattgefunden hat, denn Selbstjustiz ist kein sinnvoller Weg."

She, quite obviously, either has been sipping on the same sour grape as Miksch and Simon or has a grotesquely stunted sense of justice. Contrary to her sottise, this case demonstrates conclusively that, at least in München, birders can steal, torture, and kill cats not only with impunity but the blessings of both the state prosecutor and presiding judge. (See photo of her above on the left.)

Furthermore, unless prosecutors and judges in München do an abrupt about-face and for once start taking crimes committed against cats seriously, cat owners are going to be forced into responding one way or another. She also has her causality all wrong in that it is precisely the legal establishment's dereliction of duty that forces aggrieved individuals to take to the street in protest.

Like Miksch and Simon, she has the audacity to label Rocco's peaceful supporters as vigilantes. Nothing could be further from the truth in that none of them have broken any laws, unless Schulze considers the exercise of free speech to be a crime. Moreover, her wholehearted support for Simon's insane ruling coupled with her condemnation of what she calls vigilanteism amounts to little more than a blanket endorsement of Ernst K.'s criminality so long as it is blessed with the judiciary's stamp of approval.

In this particular case, the only real punishment meted out to Ernst K. came in the form of the public censure that he received from his enraged neighbors. If at anytime he felt threatened that was due entirely to the fact that he is a criminal who perpetrated a despicable act of animal cruelty.

As per usual, phony-baloney PETA was jolly on hand to put in its two cents' worth. "Eine Bewährungsstrafe ist natürlich auf den ersten Blick viel zu milde, bedenkt man, dass es hier um ein Tierleben ging, welches auf grausame Art und Weise und vorsätzlich beendet wurde," Edmund Haferbeck conceded August 9th on the organization's web site. (See "Statement von PETA zur Verurteiling des Katzenmörders Ernst K. aus Moosach.") "Jedoch ist die Strafe im Vergleich zu ähnlichen Tierqualerei-Vergehen hoch ausgefallen."

If the victim had been any other animal except a cat it is extremely doubtful that PETA would have been nearly so equivocal. Nonetheless, for an organization that systematically exterminates ninety-eight per cent of the cats and dogs that it impounds at its Norfolk, Virginia, shelter and fervently advocates for the en masse slaughter of all homeless cats, Haferbeck's comments are merely par for the course. (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 a North Carolina Courtroom" and "Verdict in PETA Trial: Littering Is a Crime but Not the Mass Slaughter of Innocent Cats and Dogs.")

Haferbeck concludes by endorsing Schulze's zany viewpoint that the decision in this case demonstrates that animal cruelty is no longer a "Kavaliersdelikt" in Deutschland. He does, however, point out that a three-year prison term for animal cruelty never has been imposed by German jurists.

The only animal rights activist in Deutschland to come forward so far who has not been bamboozled by Simon's and Miksch's sophistry is Judith Brettmeister of Aktion Tier who correctly has labeled the verdict as a mockery and a horror for all animals. (See photo of her directly above.)

"Das Urteil entsprach in keiner Weise dem was tatsächlich am Weihnachtstag des Jahres 2010 in dem Garten des Einfamilienhauses des Rentners geschehen ist," she stated August 9th on her organization's web site. (See "Aktion Tier entsetzt über Urteil für den Katzenquäler.")

"Dort wurde ein Tier eingesperrt und qualvoll zu Tode gequält -- und dies über die entsetzliche lange Zeit von fünfzehn Minuten," she continued. "Was muss eigentlich noch an Qualen einem Tier, an erheblichen Schmerzen oder fruchtbaren Leiden zugefügt werden, damit ein Gericht das im Tierschutzgesetz vorgesehene Strafmaß in Gänze ausschöpft."

She also is acutely aware of Ernst K.'s total lack of contrition and the injustice of setting him free after what he did to Rocco. "Der Rentner zeigte während der zwei Prozesstage weder Reue noch Einsicht obwohl seine Tat an Rohheit und Grausamkeit kaum zu überbieten war," she noted. "Jetzt geht es für den Rentner nur noch darum in den nächsten Jahren strafrechtlich nicht mehr aufzufallen. Er kann sich beruhigt in seinem Einfamilienhaus zürucklehnen und weiter seine Vögel beobachten."

Not only that but Ernst K. will be able to relive over and over again in his diseased mind the infinite pleasure that he derived from torturing Rocco to death. If he had been a few years younger he no doubt would have videotaped his evil deed for future enjoyment.

It will not be nearly as easy for Andreas O. to put behind him the brutal murder of the beloved cat that he bought at the tender age of eight-weeks-old as a wedding present for Nicole. On top of that colossal loss, he and his family now must learn to live with the gross injustice visited upon them last week by Simon and Miksch.

That is going to be extremely difficult if not entirely impossible. Moreover, he has to be vigilant so as to ensure than Ernst K. does not harm either his dog or any new cats that he may be tempted to bring home. Ernst K. has killed before and gotten away with doing so and it therefore is highly unlikely that the €250,000 penalty hanging over him as the result of a civil court mandated cease and desist order will be much of a deterrent to such an inveterate cat-hater.

(The day will come when) "all the forms of life...will stand before the court -- the pileated woodpecker as well as the coyotes and bear, the lemmings as well as the trout in the stream," former United States Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas once predicted. The events in München last week have shown that his dream remains as elusive as ever.

Photos: Nürnberger Nachrichten via Deutsche Presse-Agentur (Ernst K. with hands over his face), Focus Magazin (Ernst K. in sunglasses), Dorfener Anzeiger (Rocco), Grüne München (Schulze), and Tierportal München (Brettmeister).

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Gracie's Life Is Placed in Grave Danger after the Snug Harbor Cultural Center Attempts to Drown Her and Steals Her Food Bowls

"She (Gracie) needs to stay where she is. You can't just take a cat like that and make her a house cat; she'd flip out."
-- Diane Figur

The Snug Harbor Cultural Center and Botanical Garden, located on the North Shore of Staten Island, may be renown for its museums, gardens, performance spaces, and artists' studios, but the shabby and utterly disgraceful manner in which it is treating its oldest and most beloved resident, a sixteen-year-old gray cat named Gracie, has shattered its carefully crafted public facade and exposed one of its dirtiest secrets. (See photos of her above and below.)

In human terms, Gracie is the equivalent of eighty years old and she has spent her entire life on the grounds of the eighty-three acre cultural hideaway. Now, the mean-spirited arty-farty bigwigs who run the show have decreed that she must go.

"We would like to make an appeal to the no-kill animal rescue and adoption organizations to help Gracie find a loving home, rather than keeping her in the unprotected outdoors," the institution's Lynn Kelly told the Staten Island Advance on July 21st. (See "Snug Harbor Wrestles with a Problem (feline) Named Gracie.")

There even has been some reckless talk that "smelly" Kelly plans on having Gracie trapped and handed over to the knackers at Animal Care and Control (ACC) where in all likelihood she would be killed off shortly after arrival. (See photo of Kelly at the bottom of the page.)

For example, in 2009 ACC exterminated 9,097 cats and 4,523 dogs out of the 41,712 that it impounded. It fobbed off another 17,641 on obliging rescue groups and shelters while it secured homes for only 8,192 of its inmates.

The killing thus continues unabated despite blowhard Mayor Mike "Dirty Bloomers" Bloomberg's decade-old pledge to transform the richest city in the world into a no-kill haven for cats and dogs. (See the New York Times, April 12, 2010, "Percentage of Animals Put to Death in Shelters Reaches Low.")

Since usually two to three times as many cats are impounded as dogs, it is a pretty safe bet to assume that ACC kills at least sixty per cent of all cats that it impounds. Moreover, it is not even certain that its sketchy statistics include the thousands of cats who die each year due to unsanitary conditions at the city's overcrowded death camps in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Staten Island.

Shelters are not necessarily a good thing, but the city nonetheless is too bloody cheap to even provide the boroughs of Queens and the Bronx with holding facilities. New Yorkers may be famous for their deep pockets but, if the turth dare be told, their arms are even shorter.

Although Gracie has persevered at Snug Harbor over the years, it has not been any bed of roses. Local residents had her sterilized and vaccinated upon arrival and continue to provide her with food and water.

Despite the readily observable fact that the weather in the northeast is either rotten or downright horrible eight months out of the year, her caretakers inexplicably have left her out in the elements for all of these years. It also would appear that they have spent virtually no time with her because she is still rather skittish around humans.

It is a mundane point but individuals who care about homeless cats need to realize that caring for them involves considerably more than just simply dropping off food and water each day and then hurriedly scampering back to their comfortable and secure bourgeois existences. If they truly believe in their hearts that roughing it in blizzards and sub-freezing temperatures is such great fun they should try it themselves!

In addition to being forced into living like a refugee in the only home that she ever has known, officials at Snug Harbor reportedly have made prior attempts over the years in order to get rid of her. Exactly what those ouster proceedings have entailed never has been disclosed.

It has been revealed, however, that earlier this year Snug Harbor resorted to violence when an unidentified employee flooded Gracie's sleeping quarters near a heat vent underneath the stairs of Building G, which houses the Newhouse Center for Contemporary Art and the Box Office. Along about the same time her food and water bowls also were stolen.

Once her precarious situation became known, an online petition in support of allowing her to remain garnered more than six-hundred signatures in the space of four days last month. That, along with the negative publicity that Snug Harbor has received, seems to have, at least for the time being, put the kibosh on the organization's evil designs.

"I have confirmation that Gracie will be allowed to stay at Snug Harbor," Lila Levey of the Staten Island Council for Animal Welfare (SICAW) stated July 31st on the group's Facebook page in an addendum to her original entry of July 13th. (See "Gracie a Sixteen-Year-Old Feral Cat Being Forced from the Only Home She Has Known Needs Your Help. Be a Voice for the Voiceless.") "Please know that Gracie is being closely monitored and any change will not be acceptable and we'll be sure to let you all know."

SICAW does not spell out precisely what measures it has put in place in order to ensure Gracie's safety. After all, it is very easy to kill a cat. Snug Harbor could poison her, shoot her, or trap and give her to ACC without her benefactors being any the wiser until it was too late.

That is particularly worrisome in that Snug Harbor is an affiliate museum of the Smithsonian Institution which operates the National Zoo in Washington. More importantly, that is where Nico Dauphiné toils away at her dirty deeds. (See Cat Defender post of July 12, 2011 entitled "The Arrest of Nico Dauphiné for Attempting to Poison a Colony of Homeless Cats Unmasks the National Zoo as a Hideout for Ailurophobes and Criminals.")

It is not widely known but the federal government hates cats with a passion. That is true not only of the Smithsonian, but the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, the USDA's Wildlife Services and Animal Plant Health Inspection Service, the Pentagon, United States Army Corps of Engineers, the United States Forest Service, and the National Park Service, just to mention a few of its cat-hating divisions. C'est-à-dire, any entity with any remote connection to the feds is a bad omen for cats.

It additionally is interesting to note that in none of its public pronouncements has Snug Harbor ever accused Gracie of any wrongdoing; on the contrary, the institution acknowledges that she avoids people and stays out of the way. Obviously, the staff has let her know in no uncertain terms that her presence is not welcome.

In order to mask its virulent ailurophobia, Snug Harbor instead is relying upon the pretext that feeding animals is strictly verboten in New York City's one-hundred-sixty-five or so parks. It is making that ludicrous claim in spite of the fact that birds, fish, guinea pigs, and insects are fed daily and with much fanfare at the Staten Island Children's Museum, which is located within its complex.

The same holds true for the thousands of animals unjustly incarcerated at the Central Park Zoo, the Bronx Zoo, Prospect Park Zoo in Brooklyn, and Queens Park at Flushing Meadows-Corona Park. It also is extremely doubtful that the authorities ticket the hundreds of denizens and tourists alike who every day feed the birds, squirrels, and other animals that live in the city's parks.

Only recently the Unsinkable Molly Brown made the headlines when she took up residence on Governors Island. Presumably, she is being fed and watered and, if not, local humane groups should be investigating. (See Cat Defender post of July 25, 2011 entitled "The Unsinkable Molly Brown Rides the Waves of Outrageous Fortune to a Safe Harbor on Governors Island but It Is Uncertain What Has Happened to Her.")

It therefore seems perfectly clear that in New York City it is only illegal to feed cats in parks and, especially, one named Gracie at Snug Harbor. It is even more remarkable that it took "smelly" Kelly and her henchmen sixteen years to conjure up that bit of prejudicial nonsense.

Appealing to Snug Harbor to have a heart and thus to show some compassion and decency is therefore a total waste of time. Time and time again it has demonstrated through its gross neglect and horrendous abuse of Gracie that it has none of either to offer.

It additionally is so blinded by its irrational hatred of cats that it fails to realize what a truly valuable asset Gracie is and that it should be feeding, sheltering, and protecting her if for no other reason than out of what Count Alexis de Tocqueville once called self-interest rightly understood. "She is like an icon there," Diane Figur of nearby Randall Manor told the Staten Island Advance in the article cited supra. "Think of all the children and people that have passed by her; there really is something special about that cat."

None of that in any way helps Gracie who is living on borrowed time in a perilous environment. It therefore is incumbent upon her guardians to take whatever steps that they deem appropriate in order to ensure her safety and continued well-being.

"She needs to stay where she is," Figur added to the Staten Island Advance. "You can't just take a cat like that and make her a house cat; she'd flip out."

That also is the considered opinion of SICAW. "She is a much loved golden gal, and will enjoy her little porch because we gave her a voice when she so desperately needed one," the organization declared in the Facebook entry cited supra.

That is, of course, their decision to make but it is difficult to see how that they can ensure her continued safety without legal assistance. One possible option would be to have an attorney slap a cease and desist order on Snug Harbor.

Even if they ultimately decide to keep her at Snug Harbor, it is the very epitome of cruel and inhumane behavior for them not to provide her with a winterized shelter that is safe and warm. No cat, especially a senior citizen, should be sentenced to spend winters outdoors in the snowbelt.

It would take some doing but cats are far more adaptable than Figur and others are willing to admit and Grace just might be able to adjust to domesticated life provided that she were placed in a home that had a large yard. A stable supply of good quality meat, milk, love, and a warm spot beside the fireplace during the wintertime mean an awful lot to a cat.

Her new guardian would need to be someone that she either already knows and trusts or a person who is experienced in socializing cats. In the latter case, it would be best to give Gracie plenty of space and freedom and not to force her into anything. Cats, after all, like to take their own sweet time and tend to make up minds as it suits them.

One possibility would be to provide her with a private room that no one else would enter except to feed her and to change the litter box. The room ideally would be connected to a large fenced-in yard by a cat flap.

Such an arrangement would not only preclude her from attempting a perilous trip back to Snug Harbor but it would provide her with a measure of freedom and independence. In time, she might discover that she would like some companionship and therefore venture into other parts of the house.

If not, that would be fine as well. The important thing is that she be given a safe and warm place to live.

Since her caretakers have cruelly left her to the mercy of both the elements and her enemies at Snug Harbor for so long it is unlikely that they are going to have an epiphany anytime soon and do right by Gracie. It is a monumental failure of human nature but even when many ailurophiles look at a cat they see it only through the prism of their own needs; the individual cat and its needs and desires remains as foreign to them as the stars in a distant galaxy.

Sadly, the world is chock-full of cats like Gracie who are treated as vermin by their detractors and as second-class citizens by those who claim to have their best interests at heart. Not surprisingly, that is exactly how the poor and downtrodden are treated by such infamous poverty pimps as social workers, the Christians, and Jews.

For example, a cat named Olivia has been forced to subsist in a parking lot in Modesto, California, for the past eleven years. Although the machinations of motorists, auto emissions, and the elements bedevil her fragile existence she, unlike Gracie, at least has the support and protection of the lawyers, clerks, and district attorney who work nearby. (See Cat Defender post of January 29, 2011 entitled "After Scrimping by in a Polluted Parking Lot for Eleven Years, Olivia Is Ready for a Loving and Permanent Home.")

Photos: Jay Somma-Hammel of the Staten Island Advance (Gracie) and Next Left Notes (Kelly).

Monday, August 08, 2011

Ernst K.'s Trial for Kidnapping, Torturing, and Murdering Rocco Nears Its Climax in a München Courtroom

"Die Katze verirrte sich von allein in meinen Keller. Sie wollte nicht raus, da hab ich sie in der Marderfalle gefangen und in einer Regentonne voll Wasser ertränkt."
-- Ernst Bernhard K.
The long awaited trial of seventy-four-year-old amateur ornithologist Ernst Bernhard K. for kidnapping and torturing to death a handsome black Norwegian Forest Cat named Rocco last December finally got under way July 28th in Landgericht München. In addition to the opening statements by state prosecutor Beate Miksch and the defense, the accused, Tierrettung München, and Ernst K.'s neighbor, Erika S., also testified. (See photos of the defendant lost in thought above and apparently sleeping below.)

On December 13th of last year, Rocco mysteriously disappeared from the home of fifty-year-old insurance broker Andreas O. and his wife Nicole in the Moosach section of München. It was not until Heilig Abend that they found out what had happened to the beloved three and one-half year old cat that they had cared for ever since he was eight weeks old.

That was when Tierrettung München telephoned to inform them that they had located Rocco but that he was dead. Positive identification was made from an implanted microchip.

As it eventually was revealed, Ernst K., who lives only one-hundred-fifty meters away, had baited a trap with fish and illegally snared Rocco on December 13th and thereafter systematically tortured him with pepper spray and water over the course of the following eleven days. When his neighbor, seventy-one-year-old Erika S., finally caught him flagrante delicto on Christmas Eve he hurriedly finished off the job by drowning the caged cat in either a rain barrel or a garbage can.

Either Erika S. or another neighbor then contacted the police and Ernst K. promptly was arrested and charged with animal cruelty. As far as it could be determined, he so far never has spent so much as a minute in jail and has been walking the streets of München as free as a bird ever since without having to even post a cent of bail money.

Rocco's brutal and totally uncalled for systematic torture and murder so enraged Ernst K.'s neighbors that two-hundred-sixty of them responded to a plea from Tierschutzverein (TSV) München and marched in protest through the cold and snow to his residence on January 8th. (See Cat Defender posts of January 19, 2011 and June 20, 2011 entitled, respectively, "Bird Lover in München Illegally Traps Rocco and Then Systematically Tortures Him to Death with Water and Pepper Spray over an Eleven-Day Period" and "Rocco's Abduction, Systematic Torture, and Cold-Blooded Murder by a Bird Lover in München Was the Number One Cat Story of 2010.")

Ernst K.'s guilt never has been in question. The soaking wet and near death cat was found stuffed in a blue trash bag inside his garage by arresting officers. Without the intervention of Erika S., he no doubt had intentions of continuing to torture Rocco from here to eternity.

He eventually would have killed him and disposed of his body in the trash and no one would have been any the wiser. Rocco simply would have vanished into this air without a trace just as tens of thousands of cats do each year.

Of course, knowledgeable individuals realize that cats simply do not disappear. In most cases, they end up as the uncounted, unmourned, and uninvestigated murder victims of Animal Control officers, shelters, private exterminators, ornithologists, both professional and amateur, wildlife biologists, and other rabid ailurophobes.

Ernst K. was in fact so proud of his dirty deed that he declared to the arresting officers, "Ich wurde es wieder tun." Even after they had confiscated his trap he remained equally defiant. "Dann kauf ich mir halt eine andere," he promised them.

As things eventually turned out, those declarations of defiance and hubris were destined to come back and haunt him later in a civil lawsuit filed against him by Andreas. It remains to be seen what impact they will have on his criminal prosecution.

To top it all off, when a bereft Andreas later confronted him demanding an explanation he simply grinned back at him with devilish delight. He, quite obviously, is a blighter who derives almost as much pleasure out of inflicting pain upon aggrieved owners and their children as he does torturing and murdering cats. (See photo of Rocco below.)

Since he already has confessed and pled guilty, the current proceedings have absolutely nothing to do with establishing the facts of the case. Rather, Ernst K. is relying upon that old, tired, and worn-out spurious defense employed by bird-lovers all across the world that they are entitled to take the law into their own hands and kill cats because the latter sometimes kill birds.

Since birds also kill kittens and cats, their owners and advocates would be equally justified in doing likewise should Ernst K.'s reasoning prevail in court. (See Cat Defender posts of July 31, 2006, August 14, 2008, and August 1, 2011 entitled, respectively, "Fifteen-Year-Old Cat Named Bamboo Miraculously Survives Being Abducted and Mauled by a Hoot Owl in British Columbia," "Birds Killing Cats: Blackie Is Abducted by a Sea Gull and Then Dropped but Her Fall Is Broken by a Barbed-Wire Fence," and "Eddie Is Saved by an Outdoor Umbrella after He Is Abducted from the Balcony of His Manhattan Apartment and Then Dropped by a Redtailed Hawk.")

At trial, Ernst K. has accused Rocco of killing three blackbirds that frequented the bird feeders and houses that he has erected in his yard. Earlier, however, he had stated that he was not even sure that Rocco was the culprit. As is the case with wildlife biologists, ornithologists fervently believe that the only good cat is a dead one regardless of whether it kills birds of simply has the audacity to exist.

As difficult as it may be for any halfway sane person to comprehend, there is legal precedent for such an absurd defense. Back in 2007, serial cat killer James Munn Stevenson of Galveston, Texas, employed such an argument in order not only to escape punishment for gunning down hundreds of cats but to later go on and achieve fame, fortune, and cult status. (See Cat Defender posts of November 20, 2007 and August 7, 2008 entitled, respectively, "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.")

At last month's hearing, Ernst K. even went so far as to allege that Rocco had broken into his basement workshop and categorically refused all entreaties to leave. "Die Katze verirrte sich von allein in meinen Keller," he told the court from behind sunglasses according to a July 28th article in Bild of Berlin. (See "Tumulte um den irren Katzen-Killer (74).") "Sie wollte nicht raus, da hab ich sie in der Marderfalle gefangen und in einer Regentonne voll Wasser ertränkt."

If Rocco did stray into his cellar -- and that is a big if, it only was because Ernst K. had deliberately left the door open so that he would be sure to get a whiff of the fish in the baited trap. Besides, it would have been easy enough for him to either have chased Rocco out or telephoned TSV München to come and collect him.

It also is entirely conceivable that Ernst K. used the birds as pawns in a diabolical game designed to lure and kill cats. It is, after all, highly suspicious that he, an experienced birder, erected his bird feeders and houses so close to the ground. (See photo below of him alongside one of them.)

Knowledgeable bird enthusiasts erect their feeders and houses on tall, slender poles that are impossible for cats and other animals to climb. The feeders then can be either lowered or accessed via stepladders for restocking.

Secondly, if he had been the least bit serious about deterring cats from entering his yard he could have taken any number of nonlethal preventative measures. For example, he could have erected a tall fence, scattered organic deterrents around his Grundstück, and invested in either ultrasound, motion detectors, or a sprinkler system.

Ernst K. is not really all that different from the millions of like-minded cat-haters around the world who masquerade as ornithologists and wildlife biologists. Once their lies and pretenses are stripped away, all that remains is a rogue band of ruthless criminals.

When questioned in court by presiding judge Gerhard Simon as to why he had "so ausflippte," Ernst K. came closer to admitting the truth. Wegen der drei toten Vögel "und die Gelegenheit war auch da," he answered according to the July 28th edition of Die Welt of Berlin. (See "Rentner spritzt schreiende Katze mit Wasserstrahl tot.")

That is precisely how criminals think and behave. Having zero regard for either morality or the law, they strike like thieves in the night whenever the right Gelegenheit presents itself.

The petit fait that the judge phrased his question in such a fashion is, unfortunately, not a good omen for the prosecution. Despite what Simon has assumed, there was absolutely nothing either flippant or spur-of-the-moment about Ernst K.'s aberrant behavior; au contraire, it was calculated and devious and as such designed to inflict as much pain and suffering on Rocco as possible.

To put it another way, there is not anything either temporarily or permanently amiss with Ernst K.'s mind; he is simply evil. Furthermore, he should not be allowed to escape incarceration because of his age.

In a feeble and totally unconvincing last-ditch effort to avoid jail, Ernst K. for the first time uttered so much as a syllable of contrition. "Es tut mir ja leid um die Katze," he told the court according to the account in Bild.

No sooner had the words escaped from his forked tongue than he negated their import by adding, "Aber sie hat drei Amseln gefressen." Bild correctly characterized Ernst K.'s crocodile tears as "unfaßbar."

Erika S. testified that she and other neighbors had overheard Rocco's loud anguished wailings of distress emanating from Ernst K.'s property for more than a week. "Seit Tagen hatte ich dieses schreckliche Gejammer gehört," she told the court according to Bild.

In that case, she and the others behaved irresponsibly by failing to immediately notify the police. If they had acted upon their suspicions, Rocco might very well still be alive today. Their inaction is all the more inexcusable in light of the fact that Andreas O. claims not only to have blanketed the neighborhood with Lost Cat posters but also to have called in an organization that specializes in locating lost cats.

Furthermore, it is odd that neither Andreas, his wife, daughter, nor their dog heard Rocco's desperate screams for help in that they live such a short distance from Ernst K. It is difficult to criticize in a situation like this, but perhaps if they had spent more time canvassing the neighborhood they, too, either would have heard what was so audible to their neighbors or, at the very least, learned something of their suspicions.

Nevertheless, the difficulties involved in locating a lost cat can in no way be underestimated. Aside from the initial shock, there is the perplexing dilemma of where to look and what to do. All the while the cat could be sick, injured, or dying at the hands of a monster like Ernst K.

A necropsy performed on the deceased revealed that drowning was the cause of his death. Rocco's front claws also were completely worn down as the result of his futile attempt to escape Ernst K.'s incessant bombardment of him with pepper spray and water.

"An der vorderpfoten waren krallen abgerissen," an unidentified official from Tierrettung München testified according to Die Welt. "Man sah, dass sich die Katze aus der Falle zu befreien versuchte."

Numerous other questions remain unanswered, however. For example, were there burns to Rocco's eyes, mouth, face, and lungs as the result of being repeatedly pelted with pepper spray?

Secondly, what was the temperature of the water in both the garden hose and rain barrel? If it were extremely hot, there might have been evidence of scalding. Finally, were there any signs of either malnutrition or dehydration?

It is highly unlikely that Ernst K. either fed or watered him during the eleven days that he had him at his mercy, unless it was just enough in order to keep him alive so that he could continue to get his jollies by torturing him. Any halfway serious post-mortem would have answered these vitally important questions.

When Tierrettung München arrived on the scene Rocco was not moving and his breathing was labored. He died shortly thereafter.

"Ich konnte Rocco nicht helfen," the organization's Birgit Schwarzmann, who examined him, later said. "In zehn Jahres als Tierärztin habe ich nie zuvor etwas Schrecklicheres gesehen. Das war purer Sadismus."

The case has been adjourned until 13:30 Uhr (CET) August 9th because an unidentified policeman was unable to testify. It he does not show up tomorrow he will be subject to a €150 fine.

Under the law, the severest sentence that Ernst K. is eligible for is three years in the stir and a minuscule fine. On that latter point, Miksch already is on record as appraising Rocco's life to be worth only an insulting €150.

Although German jurists tend to treat cruelty to cats far more seriously than do their American counterparts, it nevertheless would be surprising if Simon gave Ernst K. more than eighteen months in jail which in turn would mean that he could be back out on the streets within six to nine months. With the eyes and ears of all Deutschland riveted on his courtroom, Simon nonetheless has good reason to think twice before turning this cretin loose.

Despite the gross inadequacy of a three measly years in jail for kidnapping, torturing, and killing a cat, Monika von Tettenborn of TSV München inexplicably believes that Deustschland's existing anti-cruelty statutes are sufficient if only the courts would rigorously enforce them. "Die Gesetze wären eigentlich ausreichend, aber sie müssen eben auch ungewendet werden," she told the München Abendzeitung on July 27th. (See "Kater zu Tode gequält: Katzenhasser von Gericht.")

Despite badly missing the boat on that last point, TSV München honored a pledge that it had made back in January by organizing a spirited protest outside the Justizgebäude. (See photo immediately below.)

Acutely aware of what is at stake in this case, one protester carried aloft a placard which read: "Rocco steht auch Stellvertretend für alle anderen gequälten Tiere! Er ist leider kein Einzelschicksal!"

Another demonstrator sported a sign that poignantly reminded one and all that "Tiere sind Lebenwesen und keine Sache! Was ist ein Lebenwesen wert?"

Another conscientious citizen with a sense of justice demanded "Höchststrafe für den brutalen Tierschänder."

Calls also went out to Simon to do the right thing. "Appell an die Richter: Setzen Sie ein Zeichen zum Schutz der Tiere," another protester pleaded.

Inside the courthouse other outraged cat-lovers booed, hissed, and shouted such unflattering epithets at the accused as "Pfui, du Schwein!" and "Schämdich, du Meuchelmörder!" All remained peaceful, however; cat advocates after all are neither ornithologists nor wildlife biologists who are not the least bit hesitant to resort to both violence and lawlessness in order to achieve their perverse objectives.

It is small potatoes in light of all that Andreas and his family have lost and been put through, but on July 11th a civil court judge in München ordered Ernst K. to pay him €500 in compensation for killing Rocco. He has announced plans to donate that money to TSV München so as to enable it to continue its advocacy on behalf of abused cats and other animals.

He was not satisfied with that, however, and demanded further assurances from both Ernst K. and the judiciary. "Mir geht es vor allem darum, dass dieser Mann, nie wieder ein Tier unserer Familie enfangen, quälen und töten darf," he demanded of the court according to the July 12the edition of the Sueddeutsche Zeitung of München. (See "Katzenquäler muss Schmerzengeld zahlen.")

In particular, he is concerned about the safety of his dog who to this very day is still not only grieving over the loss of his playmate but waiting patiently for him to return home.

This "perfide Fall von Tierquälerei" not only has irremediably destroyed the harmony that existed in Andreas's family, but it also ruined their holiday season, his attorney, Johannes Falch, told the court. Earlier Andreas had declared, "Wir vermissen Rocco sehr, er war ein Familienmitglied."

Following a telephone conversation with his client, Ernst K's unidentified attorney agreed to accept a strafbewehrte Unterlassungsklärung (a cease and desist order) whereby his client is legally bound to refrain from trapping and injuring any animals belonging to Andreas. Should he violate this order he is subject to a fine of up to €250,000.

In addition to Ernst K.'s vows to the police to continue killing cats, at least eight other cats have mysteriously disappeared in recent years from the vicinity around his house. Dogs also have been poisoned and shot with air guns. (See München Abendzeitung, May 11, 2011, "Tierfreunde in Angst.")

Immediately after Rocco's murder, an unidentified resident of the neighborhood threatened to kill additional cats. "Bitte riskieren Sie nicht, dass auch Ihre Katze einen ebenso grausamen Tod wie Rocco erleiden muss," one anonymous poster declared.

Ernst K. is suspected in the disappearance of those cats and possibly could be responsible for the attacks on the dogs as well. There are, of course, others in Moosach who share his hatred of cats as well as plenty of individuals who do not like dogs.

In order to make the punishment fit the crime, Simon should bear in mind the simple but yet poignant message contained in one of the protester's placards: "Er kannte keine gnade mit Rocco! Kein mildes Urteil für Ernst K."

He therefore should sentence Ernst K. to three years in jail without the possibility of either early release or time off for good behavior. Even after he is released he should be placed on probation for the remainder of his life and his actions closely monitored.

Jurists all over the world have a thoroughly repugnant habit of winking at cruelty to cats, especially whenever ornithologists and wildlife biologists are the guilty parties. This case involves far more than run-of-the-mill animal cruelty and if Simon is unwilling to come down hard on such a blatant act of "purer Sadismus," then the anti-cruelty statutes might as well be stricken from Deutschland's judicial code.

Photos: Focus Magazin of München (a comtemplative Ernst K.), Deutscher Auslands-Depeschendienst (Ernst K. asleep and demonstrators), Dorfener Anzeiger (Rocco), and Bild (Ernst K. feeding the birds).

Monday, August 01, 2011

Eddie Is Saved by an Outdoor Umbrella after He Is Abducted from the Balcony of His Manhattan Apartment and Then Dropped by a Redtailed Hawk

"The tenant was awakened by a huge thud in his garden. He ran out and found his garden umbrella toppled over, and a cat in the corner meowing."
-- Eddie's unidentified owner

Eddie was stretched out on a bench on the fifth floor terrace of his West Side Manhattan apartment one day in either June or July when a redtailed hawk swooped down and carried him away. When his devoted owner, an unidentified micro brewer, went to look for him all she found were bits and pieces of his white fur, broken claws, and scattered feathers.

Assuming the worst, she scoured nearby Riverside Park for his corpse without an inkling of success. She visited the birds' known nesting sites, believed to be at least a dozen or so and located on the ledges of high-rise apartment buildings and in nearby Central Park, and also came up empty-handed.

She also blanketed her neighborhood with Lost Cat posters and that did the trick. More people read these notices than it is generally assumed and when a neighbor from down the street saw hers he promptly called and spoke the four little words that she was dying to hear. "I have your cat!" he declared.

As it eventually became known, the four-pound hawk had deposited the fifteen-pound cat with light-green eyes in the neighbor's garden a mere fifty feet from his home. He may have been too heavy for the bird to have lugged home, Eddie could have dug his claws into it and forced it to let go of him, or the hawk simply could have lost its grip. (See photos of Eddie above and below.)

"The tenant was awakened by a huge thud in his garden. He ran out and found his garden umbrella toppled over, and a cat in the corner meowing," the craft brewer told the New York Daily News on July 16th. (See "Fat Eddie Gets Snatched Up by Hawk, But Dropped in Neighbor's Garden Due to Weight.") "I can only imagine Eddie bounced off the umbrella like in the cartoons."

That is nothing to be joking about because in all likelihood it was precisely that outdoor umbrella that broke Eddie's fall and saved his life. Otherwise, he could have suffered serious, if not indeed fatal, injuries had he bounced off the unyielding ground or, worst still, pavement.

There is, after all, some anecdotal evidence to suggest that cats have a significantly better chance of surviving falls from higher altitudes than lower venues. Generally speaking, the chances of a cat having sufficient time in order to right itself during the course of a short plunge from only five stories are not considered to be good.

Thanks to the umbrella's breaking of his fall, Eddie escaped with only minor cuts, scrapes, and bruises. Hopefully, he did not sustain either any internal or neurological injuries that will come back to haunt him later in life.

The attending veterinarian should have checked for such damage but nothing can be taken for granted when dealing with a profession that is so rife with moneygrubbing, incompetent charlatans. (See Cat Defender posts of July 28, 2011 and July 2, 2010 entitled, respectively, "Tammy and Maddy Are Forced to Pay the Ultimate Price after Their Owner and an Incompetent Veterinarian Elect to Play Russian Roulette with Their Lives" 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.")

Since he was adopted from the ASPCA a few years back and is overweight, Eddie more than likely has been sterilized. Contrary to both common sense and all medical knowledge, his owner not only looks upon his obesity favorably but credits it, not the umbrella, with saving his life.

"The moral of this story is essentially (that) your flaws can be an asset," she proclaimed to the Daily News. "In Eddie's case, his chubbiness saved him."

That may or may not have been the case but in general obesity kills far more cats than it saves. Besides becoming fat, sterilized cats tend to be lazy and that makes them easy targets for hawks and other predators.

"But it has become the general custom, except for those who keep kings for breeding purposes, to alter these toms, so that they grow into large, affectionate, and lazy animals, who sleep a good deal, eat a good deal, and are generally picturesque but not very active," Carl Van Vechten observed way back in 1922 in his book, The Tiger in the House. "Personally I am more interested in cats who retain their natural fervor."

Applied to this case, it could be argued that if Eddie had been more active the hawk never would have gotten its talons into him in the first place. Testosterone has its pluses and minuses but few would question its indispensability in a fight.

More broadly speaking, it is difficult to understand how sterilizing cats, cruelly imprisoning them inside, and feeding them load after load of cheap kibble each day ever could be good for their long-term health. Sterilization is not an end in itself; on the contrary, owners who elect to go that route are still responsible for making sure that their denatured cats get plenty of exercise, eat real meat, and maintain a healthy body weight.

The brazen attack upon Eddie in densely populated Manhattan was not an isolated incident. Although it is not known how many cats are eaten each year by hawks in the city, the National Audubon Society reported in 2007 that pairs of hawks were spotted nesting at thirty-two different locations throughout the city. Gotham's most famous hawk is one named Pale Male who has lived at 927 Fifth Avenue at the corner of East 74th Street since 1990.

In addition to cats, small dogs are sometimes attacked by hawks. For instance, a chihuahua was mauled by one in 2003 behind the Central Library on West Forty-Second Street.

Nor is the problem of predatory birds killing cats confined to Manhattan. For example, during the summer of 2006 a great horned owl snatched a fifteen-year-old cat named Bamboo from her back porch on Oliver Street in Oak Bay, British Columbia. Unlike numerous cats who have been eaten by owls at nearby Swan Lake, Bamboo escaped with her life when the owl dropped her to the ground.

Nevertheless, she sustained three broken legs, several puncture wounds, and lost a large piece of flesh from her right front paw. (See Cat Defender post of July 31, 2006 entitled "Fifteen-Year-Old Cat Named Bamboo Miraculously Survives Being Abducted and Mauled by a Hoot Owl in British Columbia.")

The situation is even grimmer in tiny Newell, South Dakota, where at least two great horned owls are killing both homeless and domestic cats with impunity. As is the case in Manhattan, even small dogs are at risk. (See Rapid City Journal, October 26, 2010, "Who Who Who Dunnit? Authorities Identify Newell Catnapper.")

Gulls are another concern. At Her Majesty's Naval Base Clyde in Faslane, outside of Glasgow, a black-backed gull kidnapped a five-week-old kitten named Blackie in July of 2008.

The kitten escaped with her life when the gull dropped her on a barbed-wire fence although she did sustain deep cuts to her paws. Three of her littermates as well as numerous ducklings were not nearly so fortunate and are believed to have been killed by the gulls. (See Cat Defender post of August 14, 2008 entitled "Birds Killing Cats: Blackie Is Abducted by a Sea Gull and Then Dropped but Her Fall Is Broken by a Barbed-Wire Fence.")

Raccoons also are killing cats. For example, on July 20th a pair of them killed Wendy and Nicole Thibeault's seventeen-year-old siamese, Kokanee, outside his home on Springthorne Crescent in Richmond, British Columbia.

"She (Wendy) sprayed the raccoons with water from the hose, but they just took the cat and ran off," daughter Nicole told the Vancouver Sun on July 20th. (See "Pair of Raccoons Attack, Then Drag Away Family Cat.") "Now, we can't even find his body. We're all devastated. He's been with us through everything."

In recent years, cats also have been killed by raccoons in Olympia and attacked by them in Seattle. (See Cat Defender posts of August 28, 2006 and September 25, 2008 entitled, respectively, "Marauding Packs of Vicious Raccoons Rip Ten House Cats to Shreds and Terrorize Residents but Wildlife Officials Refuse to Intervene" and "Seattle Resident Beats Off a Voracious Raccoon with a Broom in Order to Save the Life of His Cat, Jewel.")

Coyotes and fishers likewise are taking a heavy toll on both homeless and domestic cats. Not only are they allowed to trespass on private property in order to kill cats, but a few years back a fisher in Rutland, Vermont, snatched and cat through an open window. (See Cat Defender posts of October 2, 2006 and July 19, 2007 entitled, respectively, "Coyotes, Cheered on by Wildlife Officials, Join Raccoons in Killing Cats and Dogs in Washington State" and "Up to Their Old Tricks, Wildlife Officials Reintroduce Fishers to the Northeast to Prey Upon Cats and to Provide Income for Fur Traffickers.")

In some instances, individuals are to blame for placing the lives of their cats in jeopardy by relocating to habitats that previously were exclusively occupied by wildlife. In most cases, however, wildlife biologists are responsible for driving wild animals out of rural areas and into the cities.

They accomplish this léger de main by doing the dirty work of various commercial concerns in the countryside while simultaneously championing the wanton killing of cats and dogs by wildlife in the cities. In Golden Gate Park in San Francisco and Bluffers Park in Toronto, cat-haters even have been accused of baiting coyotes into killing cats.

These crimes are not hidden and both ornithologists and wildlife biologists seldom are able to resist shouting their delight from the rooftops every time either a cat or a dog is killed by a bird of prey, coyote, or fisher. For example, when a fisher savaged two dogs a few years back University of Rhode Island wildlife professor Thomas B. Husband could not help but exclaim, "That's neat." (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.")

Although a healthy respect for the right of all animals to live is the only morally justifiable position to take, such a philosophy certainly has its obvious disadvantages. For example, if cat advocates played by the same rules as the unprincipled scoundrels who comprise the ranks of ornithologists and wildlife biologists they would be entitled to retaliate by not only demonizing wildlife but by taking the law into their hands.

Unfortunately, bigots, haters, liars, thieves, and murderers always have ruled the roost in human affairs. What has changed is man's ignoble acquiescence in the face of such patented criminality.

"We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the vitriolic words and actions of bad people, but for the appalling silence of the good people," Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once boldly predicted in words that echo those voiced a few centuries before him by Edmund Burke.

Photos: Joanna Molloy of the New York Daily News.