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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

Monday, November 28, 2011

Larry Is Persevering as Best He Can Despite Being Constantly Maligned by Both Fleet Street and the Prime Minister's Duplicitous Staff

"The two (Larry and Maisy) appear to be content with each other's company, sometimes enjoying meals together. An occasional mouse has been left on the doorstep, perhaps as a thank you."
-- a Royal Parks spokeswoman

Larry can scarcely get a moment's peace! In fact, the long knives have been out for him ever since his celebrated arrival at 10 Downing Street on February 16th and the drumbeat of disparaging remarks directed at him only has grown louder over the course of the summer and autumn. (See photo above of him looking forlornly out the window.)

The four-year-old brown and white castrated tom's tribulations began right off the bat when Prime Minister David Cameron, instead of giving him time to adjust to his new rôle and surroundings, immediately threw him to the wolves who howl both day and night on Fleet Street. Specifically, when ITV news reporter Lucy Manning tried to force him to pose for her he, predictably, scratched her arm. (See Cat Defender post of July 21, 2011 entitled "Larry Faces Many Challenges and Dangers in His New Rôle as 10 Downing Street's Resident Feline.")

Although her wounds were superficial, she afterwards carried on as if she had been hit over the head and robbed of her maidenhood. If she had read Carl Van Vechten's 1922 classic, The Tiger in the House, she would have known from the outset that "no self-respecting cat has any leanings toward a career as an artist's (or photographer's) model."

Shortly thereafter Larry was unceremoniously kicked in the posterior by a bobby posted outside the prime minister's residence. Instead of coming to his defense as any devoted cat owner would have done, Cameron shrugged off the blatant abuse as a nonevent.

"Someone showed me the picture of that, but I'm reliably informed that it was a nudge, not anything firmer," he insouciantly told the Daily Mail on June 12th. (See "Larry the Cat Makes First Kill at Downing Street...So at Least One of Cameron's Policies Is Working.")

Of late, Larry has been accused of sleeping on the job and thus allowing the mice to run amuck. (See photo below of him catching a few winks.)

Even on those occasions when he has thrown himself whole hog into the task at hand the Fleet Street crowd has belittled his prowess. "The mouse got away and was bouncing around trying to escape," an unidentified photographer, who recorded for posterity one such encounter, told the Daily Mail on September 9th. (See "Larry the Number Ten Cat Fails His First Test as Prime Mouser.") "The cat was jumping around too, trying to catch it. It kept leaping out of Larry's claws and managed to get down into a little gully."

That should not have come as any surprise to anyone even remotely familiar with the subject. Catching mice is a difficult task even for an animal as nimble and agile as a cat.

In fact, most mice escape. The value of cats lies in their ability not only to occasionally catch a few of them but to scare off an even greater number of them.

"Larry took a swipe and missed," the photographer continued. "Then the mouse ran into a bush and got away. The cat did follow but he didn't come out again with a mouse between his teeth." À bon chat, bon rat.

Since rodents spend the majority of their time below ground, it is virtually impossible for cats to even locate them let alone catch all of them. Even when they venture out of hiding they must be nabbed in the open otherwise they will scurry into tiny holes, drains, and other tight quarters where cats cannot venture. (See photo below of Larry and the mouse.)

Conditions at Number Ten apparently have deteriorated to the point that Cameron now has resorted to throwing silverware at the intruders. At least that is what Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith claims to have witnessed firsthand earlier this month at a dinner held for cabinet ministers. "Where is Larry when you need him?" he screeched afterwards to the Daily Mail on November 16th. (See "Where's Larry When You Need Him? Prime Minister Throws Cutlery at Downing Street Mice as Moggy Boycotts Rat-Catching Duties.")

Smith's verbal salvo is not only a classic example of piling on but completely unjustified as well. If he and Cameron expect Larry to keep the dining room free of rodents the very least that they could do would be to invite him to break bread with them.

The incident nonetheless demonstrates that Cameron has graduated from being a passive observer to a man of action. "I actually took a picture of one in my flat on my mobile phone, because it was looking at me," he confessed to the Daily Mail in the June 12th article cited supra. "Rats, I'm frightened of, but I haven't seen any of those."

What he has seen, if tattlers and malicious gossips at Ten Downing Street are to be believed, is cat hairs on his expensive suits. Furthermore, staffers are said to be peeved at Larry for scratching them after they have sat down on top of him.

Petty inanities of that caliber should prompt the English public to question the compos mentis of those calling the shots. First of all, most all cats shed and therefore are destined to leave behind cat hairs.

Secondly, anyone so thoughtless as to sit down on top of a cat is richly deserving of whatever they receive in return. Under such circumstances cats do not use their claws in a vindictive manner, but rather their response is more of a reflexive and defensive action.

Larry also has been accused of shirking his duties at Ten Downing Street so as to enable him to round around Westminster with a temptress named Maisy who lives in nearby St. James's Park with its manager Mark Wasilewski. (See photo of her at the bottom of the page.)

A hypocritical allegation such as that recalls to mind a scene from Hector H. Munro's short story, "Tobermory," wherein Major Barfield and others considered it great fun to call attention to Toby's amorous liaisons but responded with malice aforethought when he turned the tables on them and pointed out theirs. Besides, all work and no play would make Larry a dull cat just as it makes Jack a dull boy.

"The two appear to be content with each other's company, sometimes enjoying meals together," an unidentified spokeswoman for the Royal Parks told The Sun on September 8th. (See "When Larry Met Maisy.") "An occasional mouse has been left on the doorstep, perhaps as a thank you."

Therein lies a possible explanation as to Larry's lack of alleged productivity at Cameron's residence. Perhaps he is too busy keeping the mice at bay in St. James's Park in order to have much energy left for dealing with those at home.

It does seem odd, however, that Ten Downing Street always seems to be as overrun with mice as Three Skeleton Key was in a classic episode of "Escape" from the golden age of radio. Since mice do not live on thin air, the only logical conclusion is that there must be plenty of food left unattended for them to eat.

The Palace of Westminster has an identical problem but at least Lord Brabazon is forthright enough to place the blame squarely where it belongs. "If you were a mouse, you would rather eat the crumbs of a smoked salmon sandwich than poisonous bait," he testified to the Daily Mail on March 5, 2010. (See "More Parliamentary Fat Cats Needed Fast.")

C'est-à-dire, Cameron, his family, and cabinet ministers could very well be every bit as sloppy in their bowls and cups as their counterparts in parliament. After all, the rich and powerful never have been known for either their fastidiousness or frugality.

Just as importantly, custodians at Ten Downing Street need to be doing a far better job of cleaning up after the self-important slobs as opposed to packing off all the blame on Larry. As everyone surely knows by now, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

In Manhattan, for example, the problem is not so much mice as it is cockroaches and conscientious apartment dwellers soon learn never to leave so much as a crumb lying around and to promptly remove all unwanted leftovers to the curb outside before retiring for the evening. That is the only way that those pests can be kept under reasonable control.

Perhaps most revolting of all, Ten Downing Street is continuing to behave as if it begrudges Larry his daily rations of kibble, tuna, and milk. For instance, the prime minister's staff never seems to waste an opportunity in order to inform the public that not so much as one pence of its hard-earned money is being spent on his upkeep.

The only thing that rather obvious public relations ploy accomplishes is to make the prime minister and his subalterns look cheap and silly. That is especially the case in light of how all governments piss the lion's share of their citizens' money against the wall without so much as a second thought. Doubtless to say, many English citizens would much rather pay to feed a cat than to pony up for some of their government's numskull spending extravagances.

Most shocking of all, however, is Cameron's notorious cheapness. Anybody with his money easily could afford to feed, shelter, and medicate a hundred cats without feeling so much as a twinge of financial uneasiness.

Since neither Cameron nor the Exchequer have shown any willingness to foot the bill for Larry's minimalist needs, that deplorable impasse has necessitated the tapping of other resources. According to the November 16th edition of the Daily Mail cited supra, it is actually the prime minister's staff that has been saddled with the job of purchasing Larry's food. If that is true, they then would have an ulterior motive for conspiring to undermine his credibility with both Cameron and the public.

The Daily Mail may have gotten it all wrong in that a fundraiser held on September 7th reportedly took in enough money in order to satisfy Larry's nutritional needs for a year. The event also raised an additional £300 for the Battersea Dogs and Cats Home in south London which back in January rescued Larry from the streets. (See The Independent, September 7, 2011, "Diary: May's XXX-Rated Problem.")

Costumier Angels of Shaftesbury Avenue also has volunteered to donate an unspecified portion of the proceeds from the rental of its feline outfits toward Larry's upkeep. It additionally is planning on honoring Maisy with a costume that resembles her.

It probably is not worth very much but at least for the time being Cameron is standing by Larry. "I'm a big Larry fan," he proclaimed to the Daily Mail in the June 12th article cited supra. "We have got a big mouse infestation in Downing Street and Larry has caught some mice."

Even if the rodent problem ultimately proves to be too much for him to handle, it always is possible that Larry's value as a political prop may save his job. "I'm sure he will be a great addition to Downing Street and will charm our many visitors," Cameron predicted to the Daily Mail on February 17th. (See "Don't Mess with Me! Downing Street Ratcatcher Takes over Cabinet after Seeing Off ITV Reporter.")

Nevertheless, it is disconcerting that neither Cameron nor his staff view Larry as anything other than a ratcatcher and a bargain basement public relations prop. All cats are sentient beings with their own individualized personalities and lives. They accordingly deserve to be treated as such and not as objects to be disposed of as soon as they have outlived their usefulness to their owners.

Perhaps Larry will be able to not only continue to swim with the sharks but, more importantly, to win over Cameron and his family. Historically speaking, however, prime ministers have not always been kind to cats.

The legendary Humphrey, who found favor with both Maggie Thatcher and John Major, was unceremoniously given the sack by Cherie Blair. (See Cat Defender post of April 6, 2006 entitled "Humphrey, the Cat from 10 Downing Street Who Once 'Read' His Own Obituary, Passes Away at 18.")

Due to Gordon Brown's alleged antipathy toward all animals, a cat named Sybil, owned by Chancellor of the Exchequer Alistair Darling, was treated even more shabbily. (See Cat Defender posts of September 19, 2007 and August 13, 2009 entitled, respectively, "After a Dreary Ten-Year Absence, Number 10 Downing Street Has a New Resident Feline and Her Name Is Sybil" and "Sybil, 10 Downing Street's Former First Feline, Dies Unexpectedly from an Undisclosed Illness.")

Another thing that Larry has going for himself is Cameron's political affiliation. Generally speaking, conservative prime ministers have tended to be more predisposed toward cats than their counterparts in the Labor Party.

It is precisely their utter disdain for both the animals and Mother Earth that exposes the so-called more liberal members of the ruling classes around the world to be utter frauds. After all, it was the communist Mao Zedong who declared the South China Tiger to be an enemy of the people.

Photos: Daily Mail via the Press Association (Larry at the window), Daily Mail via the Associated Press (Larry sleeping), Daily Mail (Larry hunting a mouse), and Politics Home (Maisy).

Friday, November 18, 2011

Nico Dauphiné, Ph.D., Is Convicted of Attempting to Poison a Colony of Homeless Cats but Questions Remain Concerning the Smithsonian's Role

"Wild animals are just as important as companion animals. This case shows that whether or not an animal is in someone's lap or in the alley, they (sic) are entitled to the same protections."
-- Scott Giacoppo of the Washington Humane Society

Cat-hating ornithologist Nico Dauphiné of the Smithsonian Institution's National Zoo hired a big-shot Washington shyster in order to defend her and, once in the dock, lied her ugly little face off but in the end none of that saved her. Judge Truman Morrison of the District of Columbia Superior Court did not fall for her blatant denials and instead convicted her on October 31st of attempting to poison a colony of homeless cats living in Meridian Hill Park with antifreeze and rat poison. (See photo of her above.)

"Absolutely not!" the thirty-eight-year-old Dauphiné, defiant to the very end, swore from the witness box when asked if she indeed had committed the foul act. When confronted with a surveillance video shot by the Washington Humane Society (WHS) wherein she clearly can be seen removing an object from her purse and depositing it in the cats' food fishes she countered by ludicrously claiming that she instead was stealing the cats' food so as to starve them to death.

Since ornithologists and wildlife biologists justifiably can lay claim to the title of being some of the biggest liars on the planet, it is by no means surprising that Dauphiné perjured herself on the stand. It is odd, however, that she opted for a bench trial as opposed to one by jury.

If she had chosen the latter option, she surely would have walked because it is virtually impossible to impanel a jury that is totally devoid of rabid cat haters. That is precisely how amateur ornithologist and serial cat killer James Munn Stevenson was able to get away scot-free with his heinous crimes. (See Cat Defender posts of November 22, 2006 and November 20, 2007 entitled, respectively, "Evil Galveston Bird Lover Is Finally Arrested After Having Gunned Down Hundreds of Cats" and "Bird Lovers All Over the World Rejoice as Serial Killer James M. Stevenson Is Rewarded by Galveston Court for Gunning Down Hundreds of Cats.")

Her decision is all the more puzzling in that she was represented by William R. "Billy" Martin of the high-powered Washington law firm of Dorsey and Whitney. (See photo of him on the right below.)

Martin, it might be recalled, is infamous for defending footballer Michael Vick against charges of operating a dog fighting ring. It accordingly perhaps would not be unfair to deduce that since birds of a feather flock together, that dog killers, cat poisoners, and their shysters stick together like a rich man and his money.

Since Martin formerly worked for Sutherland Asbill and Brennan in Atlanta, it is conceivable that Dauphiné already knew him from her days at the University of Georgia (UGA) where she distinguished herself as an avid opponent of cats in general and TNR in particular. Perhaps she even was involved in poisoning cats back then but somehow managed to escape apprehension. Although very few of them ever are caught flagrante delicto, those ornithologists and wildlife biologists that are arrested usually turn out to be serial offenders.

Martin, who is married to reporter Michel Martin of National Public Radio, also has represented basketball player Jayson Williams who shotgunned to death his chauffeur as some sort of a party prank and public toilet toe tapper Larry Craig of the United States Senate. All that therefore is lacking in his portfolio is a pederastic priest, a mass murderer, and Junior Gotti in order for him to cement his reputation as counsel of last resort to every low-life and scumbag in the country.

The WHS began its investigation of Dauphiné in March after the cats' conscientious caretakers discovered that poison had been placed in their food dishes. For a month, the organization not only electronically monitored the cats' feeding station but also Dauphiné's comings and goings from her nearby apartment on Fifteenth Street in the northwest quadrant of the city.

That in turn led to her arrest on May 11th. (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.")

Sentencing is scheduled for this coming Monday and although Dauphiné could be fined as much as $1,000 and sentenced to serve one-hundred-eighty days in jail, it is a foregone conclusion that is not about to happen. In fact, it would come as a tremendous shock if she is given so much as one night behind bars and fined a solitary sou.

A suspended sentence, community service, perhaps court costs, and a tongue lashing tacked on at the end as a public relations gimmick is about all that she is likely to receive. She then will prance out of court dancing a merry little jig all the while laughing up her sleeve a la Stevenson. (See Cat Defender post of August 7, 2008 entitled "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 the unlikely event that she should receive any jail time, she surely will turn around and appeal her conviction and the matter could drag on for years. Besides, with a sharp operator like Martin in her corner she undoubtedly has plenty more legal cards to play.

"Wild animals are just as important as companion animals," Scott Giacoppo of the WHS told the Athens Banner-Herald on November 3rd. (See "Former University of Georgia Researcher Convicted in District of Columbia for Lacing Cat Food with Poison.") "This case shows that whether or not an animal is in someone's lap or in the alley, they (sic) are entitled to the same protections."

His colleague, Lisa LaFontaine, jumped the gun a bit, however, by declaring victory. "Our Humane Law Enforcement Department works hard to bring justice to abused animals in our city, and we can say with confidence that justice was served today," she told the DCist on October 31st. (See "Zoo Researcher Found Guilty in Feral Cat Poisoning Case.")

That is hardly the case since she has not been sentenced yet and, much more importantly, many questions remain unaddressed. Only when she is locked up and these outstanding issues are dealt with can it ever be so much as intimated that a semblance of justice has been meted out.

All is not lost, however, in that she has resigned her position as a postdoctoral researcher at the zoo's Migratory Bird Center although she did not even have the professionalism to do that until after she was convicted. Like all inveterate cat-haters, she quite obviously is so far gone in both the morality and decency departments that she is beyond salvage.

She is by no means alone in her depravity in that her employer had repeatedly brushed aside calls to fire her ever since her arrest. "We know what she's doing would in no way jeopardize our animal collection at the National Zoo or jeopardize wildlife, so we feel perfectly comfortable that she continue her research," Pamela Baker-Masson, who serves as zoo director Dennis Kelly's mouthpiece, declared with a straight face immediately after Dauphiné's arrest.

Even after her conviction the zoo still was standing firmly behind that lamebrained decision. "She did not work with any of the Smithsonian's animals, and we do not feel that she posed any threat to the animals in the Smithsonian's collection," Jen Zoon, another gasbag employed by the zoo, told the Los Angeles Times on November 1st. (See "Smithsonian Bird Researcher Is Convicted of Trying to Poison Cats.")

The very best that can be said for mesdames Baker-Masson and Zoon is that they surely have missed their calling and perhaps should try their dirty hands in the political arena. At least in politics their forte for evading and obfuscating the truth would, sans doute, find a considerably more appreciative audience.

As both of these highly paid professional four-flushers understand only too well, this case never has had anything to do with Dauphiné's treatment of the hundreds of animals that the zoo has incarcerated. Furthermore, as recent revelations have demonstrated, her colleagues are so proficient in abusing and killing the inmates that her participation would be superfluous.

On the contrary, it concerns a entity of the national government maintaining an employee on its payroll that has been indicted for attempting to poison cats. That is a criminal offense and by virtue of its continued support of her has implicated the Smithsonian in her dastardly deeds.

Much more importantly, there is the safety of all cats in Washington to be taken into account. As far as it is known, no dead cats have turned up in Meridian Hill Park but that in itself does not mean that Dauphiné has not poisoned cats there and elsewhere around the city. That is because poisoned cats often crawl off to die in remote places and for that reason their bodies seldom are discovered and even when they are necropsies rarely are performed on them.

Regardless of who is responsible, cats are continuing to be poisoned around the city. For example, the Washington Post reported on October 20th that two homeless cats were found dead on October 11th in the 1000 block of Hamilton Street in the northeast section of the city and that several more are missing. (See "DC Animal Watch.")

"If she did do this, then we naturally would be concerned about her being around all animals," Giacoppo told ABC-TV on May 24th. (See "District of Columbia Zoo Employee Denies Charge She Tried to Poison Feral Cats.") "Whoever would do such a thing is a threat to all animals. It is a slow and painful death. It was callous and complete disregard for animals' well-being."

Becky Robinson of Alley Cat Allies (ACA) summed up the deplorable situation in even blunter terms in a letter sent to Kelly on May 25th. "In standing by Dr. Dauphiné and her alleged acts of animal cruelty the National Zoo and the Smithsonian are sending a message to the Washington, DC, community and all of America that the lives of cats have no value," she wrote.

That without a doubt is exactly how "smelly" Kelly and his gang of inveterate cat-haters at the National Zoo feel. In the final analysis, it is totally irrelevant what ornithologists and wildlife biologists think about cats. They are welcome to think anything that they bloody well please but once they cross the line that separates thought from action and take the law into their hands they promptly should be arrested and thrown in jail for a very long time.

Although the high-muck-a-mucks at the Smithsonian categorically rejected its earlier demand that it dismiss Dauphiné, that has not deterred ACA from pressuring it to both discontinue her research and to never hire her again in any capacity. "Any research Nico Dauphiné was involved in should be considered tainted and biased," Robinson stated in a November 2nd press release. (See "Alley Cat Allies Calls on Smithsonian to Halt Accused Cat Poisoner's Research.") "We know one of her research projects studied the behavior of cats by 'mounting small cameras on domestic cats that roam outdoors to see how they affect wild bird populations.' Given this conviction, that research should not be allowed to continue. In fact, it should be dismissed entirely."

There is little chance of that ever occurring. If the Smithsonian does not pull a fast one and rehire Dauphiné on the sly, it surely will go out and get another ornithologist in order to continue her work.

In even saying that much Robinson is grossly understating the crimes committed against cats by both Dauphiné and the Smithsonian. First of all, where did Dauphiné obtain the cats that she so horribly abused? Secondly, under what conditions were they kept at the zoo?

Thirdly, and most important of all, what became of them once Dauphiné and the Smithsonian had finished with them? Based upon her behavior in Meridian Hill Park, there can be little doubt that she killed every one of them.

Consequently, although the WHS did a tremendous job in apprehending and prosecuting Dauphiné, now certainly is not the time for it to rest on its laurels because there is still much more work for it to do. It first of all should procure a search warrant and raid the zoo unannounced in a belated effort to save the lives of any cats being held there and to secure evidence relating to past abuse.

Secondly, it should ask for a grand jury investigation into feline abuse at the Smithsonian. Toward that objective, Dauphiné, Kelly, and others should be subpoenaed and forced to provide testimony under oath.

"A person convicted of attempted animal cruelty should never be allowed to work at an organization whose stated mission includes 'demonstrating leadership in animal care'," Robinson continued in the press release cited supra.

Palaver such as that is a complete waste of time in that Robinson knows as well as other knowledgeable individuals that the only use that the Smithsonian has for animals of any species is to exploit them. Instead of attempting to appeal to the better natures of the phonies in the organization's hierarchy, ACA needs to be using its considerable political clout in order to persuade Congress to reconsider the nearly one-billion dollars that it annually doles out to these cat-hating fiends.

Ideally, it should be stripped of all public funding and ordered to release the animals that are wasting away in its cages. Failing that, at the very least it should be precluded from using taxpayer dollars in order to shanghai, abuse, and kill cats in flagrant violation of every anti-cruelty statute on the books.

That is, admittedly, a tall order considering that seemingly every agency within the national government has a budget dedicated to defaming and killing cats. The most egregious offender of all is the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) which in recent years has extirpated cats, inter alia, on San Nicolas Island and in the Florida Keys.

It also gallivants around the country denouncing TNR. For instance, on November 5th it treated itself to a late autumn holiday in Hawaii in order to stage an anti-TNR workshop entitled "Influencing Local Scale Feral Cat Trap-Neuter-Release Decisions." Not surprisingly, the workshop was the pièce de résistance of the ultra-ailurophobic Wildlife Society's annual convention in Waikoloa. (See Care2.com, November 3, 2011, "USFWS to Hold Anti-TNR Workshop.")

In addition to the Smithsonian and the USFWS, the USDA, Pentagon, United States Army Corps of Engineers, the National Park Service, the United States Forest Service, and governmental research laboratories all abuse and kill cats with impunity. Not about to be left out of the cat killing craze, all fifty states likewise have their own wildlife departments who share the feds' prejudices.

Furthermore, the anti-cat indoctrination process begins at an early age in the classrooms presided over by ornithologists and wildlife biologists at public universities. (See Cat Defender post of July 18, 2011 entitled "Evil Professors Have Transformed College Campuses into Hotbeds of Hatred Where Cats Routinely Are Vilified, Horribly Abused, and Systematically Killed.")

That segues into the matter of Dauphiné's not inconsiderable legal bill. It is a good bet that the Smithsonian is footing either part or all of it. Should that not be the case, it is a distinct possibility that the American Bird Conservancy, the National Audubon Society, and any number of wildlife groups are assisting her in meeting her financial obligations.

In a November 1st entry to his blog, Science 2.0, Hank Campbell raised several thought provoking issues. "How did Dauphiné, in the world of well-documented science publishing culture (well, her field is not science, it is advocacy) get a job, when a 2009 paper that she co-wrote incredulously claimed that cats killed a billion birds a year?" (See "When Postdocs Attack.")

First of all, although so-called scientific research may be accompanied by copious footnotes and lengthy bibliographies that does not mean that it necessarily is any less biased, contrived, and polemical than, say, either talk radio or the New York Post. In fact, all research and policy statements issued by ornithologists and wildlife biologists amount to little more than anti-cat screeds.

Speaking more fundamentally, bias never can be completely eliminated even by honest scholars but ornithologists and wildlife biologists are so dishonest that they do not make even a token effort to overcome their prejudices. That is quite remarkable given that even third-rate scholars are adept at camouflaging their ulterior motives.

"...I am not sure philosophers are so different from the lay public (that relies upon intuition), it's just that the former are trained to cover their tracks with an impressive edifice of arguments and logic," Tom Shakespeare, a geneticist and sociologist with the World Health Organization, told the New Scientist on July 23, 2008. (See "A World Based on Reason.") "It is hard to be truly objective, to eliminate our history and culture and psychology from thinking."

As far as Dauphiné is concerned, the Smithsonian probably hired her precisely because she had established a track record at UGA as a cat-hater. Not only did she vociferously oppose TNR when it was proposed in Athens and surrounding Clarke County in 2009 but her polemical, "Apocalypse Meow: Free-Roaming Cats and the Destruction of American Wildlife," is every bit as contrived and fanciful as Stanley Temple' rantings of a few years earlier.

Dauphiné also carved out a reputation for herself while at UGA as being an apostle of death. "There's very little or, arguably, no evidence at all that it's (TNR) effective," she howled to the Athens Banner-Herald in 2009 but referenced in the article cited supra. "To me, it's just a lot about people's discomfort with death and people not wanting to deal with it."

C'est-à-dire, homeless cats and, by extension, their caretakers do not have any right to live and she has anointed herself as their executioner. The only species therefore that are entitled to flourish are songbirds; even certain unprofitable avian species must perish.

She certainly is not alone in feeling that way. For example, both the Connecticut and New Jersey chapters of the National Audubon Society have gone on record in recent years as favoring such a Hitler-inspired agenda. (See Cat Defender posts of March 15, 2007 and May 6, 2008 entitled, respectively, "Connecticut Audubon Society Shows Its True Colors by Calling for the Slaughter of Feral Cats, Mute Swans, Mallards, Canada Geese, and Deer" and "National Audubon Society Wins the Right for Invasive Species of Shorebirds to Prey Upon Unborn Horseshoe Crabs.")

Since Dauphiné is so enamored with death it would be interesting to see how she would fare if, against all odds, she is forced to spend some time in the clink with a few of Washington's hardened criminals. The first thing that this puffed-up Ph.D., who has spent her entire life bumming around universities and the Smithsonian, would soon realize is that her fellow inmates are not defenseless cats; they have both the means and savior-faire to not only take care of themselves but a cowardly little Scheißkopf like her to boot.

Photos: Examiner.com (Dauphiné) and Law Crossing (Martin.)

Saturday, November 12, 2011

The Multiple Attempts Made Upon Andrea's Life Graphically Demonstrate the Urgent Need for an Immediate Ban on the Killing of All Shelter Animals

"While this story about an animal's tremendous will to live is extraordinary, the practice of euthanizing animals in a gas chamber is all too ordinary. It is very disturbing to realize how many other animals have survived the gas chamber, only to be gassed again or, worse, placed in a plastic bag alive and left to suffocate in a cold cooler."
-- Community Animal Welfare Society

Pretty little Andrea with her luxuriant black fur and dainty white paws was minding her own business one day in September when she was set upon and abducted off the mean streets of West Valley City, Utah. She then cruelly was incarcerated without either trial or legal representation for the next thirty days at the West Valley City Animal Shelter (WVCAS).

Since she was house trained and especially friendly, it was obvious from the outset that she at one time had been someone's companion. Most likely she either had been abandoned or became separated from her guardian for some unknown reason.

Totally unwilling to even consider either her past history or her inalienable right to live, WVCAS decided on October 13th to do away with her in its carbon monoxide gas chamber. After all, a little gas is considerably easier on the wallet than feeding, housing, and medicating a cat. Moreover, procuring a new home for her was totally out of the question because that would have required time and work as well as money.

Without either further ado or so much as an inkling of compassion, WVCAS locked her inside its death house along with several other cats and turned on the gas. When against all odds she somehow survived that attempt on her life, the diabolical monsters who operate WVCAS turned around and gave her another dousing. Satisfied that she now finally was dead, an unidentified employee wrapped her up tight in a black plastic trash bag and stowed her corpse in a 37° Fahrenheit freezer.

Andrea had proven to be harder to kill than the vast majority of the tens of millions of cats that routinely are exterminated each year in the United States but the staff at WVCAS was able to take satisfaction in knowing that she finally was done for and that her corpse soon would be reduced to ashes. Since out of sight is equivalent to being out of mind, it would be as if she never had existed.

Besides, she meant absolutely nothing to her cold-blooded killers who think no more of gassing a cat than they do of passing gas. Killing and abusing defenseless animals is, after all, how they earn their daily bread and, in some cases, get their perverted kicks.

Imagine then the shock when her killer, returning to the freezer forty-five minutes later in order to deposit the corpse of a fourteen-year-old dog, heard a meow. Tearing open the plastic bag, the employee found Andrea trembling and covered in vomit and poop but very much alive. As Charles Dickens said of Dr. Alexandre Manette in his novel A Tale of Two Cities, she had been recalled to life.(See photo of her above shortly after being gassed and the one below of her later in foster care.)

While it is extremely rare for an animal to survive even one gassing, it is almost unheard of for one to survive two such attempts. In most cases, survival depends upon there being a leak in the chamber which allows some of the gas to escape.

Other factors impacting survival rates include, inter alia, the number of animals being gassed, the concentration of the carbon monoxide, and the health of the animals. Generally speaking, young and healthy animals stand a significantly better chance of surviving than do their opposites and since carbon monoxide is heavier than air it tends to sink to the floor thus favoring tall dogs and those animals able to climb on top of their doomed companions.

For its part, WVCAS insists that there was nothing awry with its gas chamber . "The chamber was working properly," the organization's Aaron Crim told The Salt Lake City Tribune on October 17th. (See "Death Can't Catch This West Valley City Cat.") "In fact, several other cats were euthanized at the same time, and this cat is the only one that survived."

Perhaps then Andrea survived by either avoiding the higher concentrations of gas at the bottom of the chamber or by somehow not inhaling very much of it. Even if that were the case, it does not explain either how she was able to survive in an airtight trash bag for almost an hour or to ward off the numbing effects of hypothermia.

In defense of WVCAS's unconscionable and abhorrent behavior, Crim claims that gassing is an effective way of exterminating animals. "This is actually a recommended method by the American Veterinarian Association (sic) and we follow all the procedural guidelines that they give us," he blew long and hard to WPTV of West Palm Beach on October 17th. (See "Andrea the Cat Survives Multiple Euthanization Attempts at Utah Shelter.") "We've never had an instance like this since we started using this method so it does work."

To rely upon the cruel and inhumane pronouncements of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) in regard to killing animals is tantamount to sanctioning almost any kind of barbarism. For example, the AVMA not only sanctions the use of almost any drug but also wholeheartedly approves of, inter alia, gunshots, electrocution, decapitation, maceration, blows to the head, cervical dislocation, microwave irradiation, thoracic compression, kill traps, exsanguination, stunning, pithing, and captive bolts as acceptable means of killing animals.

The AVMA's inveterate hatred of homeless cats is well documented but its abhorrent killing policies reveal it to be a thoroughly reprehensible moneygrubbing fraud. That is not even taking into consideration its naked collaboration with factory farmers, slaughterhouses, vivisectors, and sportsmen and entertainers who exploit and abuse animals. In short, anyone who would rely upon it for guidance on how shelter animals should be treated also no doubt would find the minimalist protections afforded laboratory animals under the feeble Animal Welfare Act as worthy of praise.

Crim is such a no-good rotter that he did not even have the bon sens to stop there, but instead went on to ludicrously claim that gassing animals is humane. "It's actually very humane and it's very quick," he declared to WPTV. "This is just an anomaly."

He also apparently believes in resurrections. "There were no vital signs and for whatever reason as time went on the cat came back to life," he told The Salt Lake Tribune in the article cited supra. That puts him in the same class as evangelist Oral Roberts who during his lifetime claims to have raised the dead.

Unfortunately, there is not any way of verifying Crim's claim as to the efficacy of his killing chamber but, generally speaking, killing animals with carbon monoxide is far from being foolproof. That is why some shelters are on record as admitting to wringing the necks of cats and dogs that have survived gassing attempts as well as drowning others in buckets of water.

In Andrea's case, WVCAS actually made four separate attempts on her life. Besides gassing her twice, it not only attempted to suffocate her in a plastic bag but also to freeze her to death in an icebox.

After that, the shelter finally gave up and threw in the towel. "It was just one of those things where they (sic) thought this cat obviously wants to live," Crim told the Daily Mail on October 19th. (See "The Cat That Wouldn't Die!") "Let's give it a chance to find a permanent home."

A statement such as that is difficult to believe because if Crim and WVCAS were serious about placing Andrea in a new home they would have done so weeks ago instead of electing to take the cheap and easy route by snuffing out her life.

Secondly, anyone so callous as to nonchalantly refer to the taking of an innocent life as "just one of those things" quite obviously would not have felt ill at ease at either Treblinka or Buchenwald. More than likely, WVCAS ultimately spared Andrea's life simply because it was too cheap and miserly to spend any more time and money killing her.

Crim's comments expose WVCAS as fervently believing the en masse eradication of cats, dogs, and other helpless animals to be little more than a sadistic game designed for its own amusement and livelihood. Such behavior is reminiscent of drunken louts who, while beating their spouses to a bloody pulp, never stop out of compassion but rather only once their arms grow too tired to inflict any more damage.

Andrea may have survived WVCAS's multiple attempts on her life but she did not come away unscathed. The double exposure to the deadly carbon monoxide has left her with undetermined neurological damage that is reflected in an unsteady gait.

It additionally is feared that she may have suffered serious liver and kidney damage. She initially was taken to Orchard Animal Clinic in Centerville for emergency treatment and later transferred to the Community Animal Welfare Society's (CAWS) no-kill shelter in Clearfield.

She since has been placed in foster care with CAWS' volunteer Janita Coombs of Syracuse. (See photo above of Andrea treating Coombs to a game of catch the string.)

At last report, she is said to be eating and drinking but having some difficulties using the litter box. Blood and urine samples taken from her are said to be mostly normal. Nevertheless, attending veterinarians have recommended to Coombs and CAWS that she remain in foster care for a few more weeks before being spayed and placed with another family.

In the meantime, her caretakers and well-wishers from around the world remain on tenterhooks hoping against hope that she did not suffer any significant damage from the carbon monoxide. Nevertheless, she certainly is faring considerably better than she was at WVCAS.

"When we first got her, she had some difficulty walking. When they found her hypothermic in the freezer she had vomited and defecated on herself, but she has since seemed to recover quite well," Coombs told The Salt Lake Tribune in the article cited supra. "If you just look at her she looks perfectly healthy."

Like everyone else, Coombs has been impressed with Andrea's will to live. "She's pretty tough, obviously," she marveled to the Daily Mail in the article cited supra. "She's definitely got some will to live."

Since carbon monoxide gas chambers are perfectly legal in Utah, it is going to be difficult for CAWS to hold WVCAS accountable. Undeterred nonetheless, it is planning on putting in a request under the Government Records Access Management Act (GRAMA) for Andrea's shelter file and it may also file a complaint against the shelter. At the very least, WVCAS should be held liable for Andrea's veterinary treatment for as long as she lives.

More generally speaking, CAWS has placed itself in the untenable position of advocating on the one hand for the abolition of gas chambers while simultaneously continuing to support traditional shelters on the other hand. It is, however, its wrongheaded policy of blaming the public for the hideous crimes that shelters and Animal Control officers voluntarily choose to commit that is the most revolting. After all, no society exterminates orphans and abandoned children just because their parents have failed to fulfill their obligations to them.

"But it must be recognized that the animal shelters have a very difficult task of dealing with the unwanted animals in our communities," the organization complained October 18th on its web site. (See "Andrea's Story.") "Ultimately, the practice of euthanizing animals is a tragic result of pet overpopulation caused in general by people who do not spay or neuter their pets or abandon them."

That is pure baloney! Shelters and Animal Control officers kill cats and dogs because, first of all, they get paid for doing so and, secondly, that is how they get their perverted kicks. These monsters should not be pitied; au contraire, they belong in jail!

Even though CAWS blows considerable smoke about sterilization, its does not give any indication on its web site that it provides this valuable service to the community. More to the point, organizations that are serious about reducing the number of unwanted cats and dogs, such as PetSmart and the Toby Project in New York City, offer this service gratis.

CAWS also is remiss in limiting its advocacy to the abolition of gas chambers. "While this story about an animal's tremendous will to live is extraordinary, the practice of euthanizing animals in a gas chamber is all too ordinary," the organization stated on its web site in the October 18th article cited supra. "It's very disturbing to realize how many other animals have survived the gas chamber, only to be gassed again or, worse, placed in a plastic bag alive and left to suffocate in a cold cooler."

Gassing, suffocation, and hypothermia are sans doute horrible ways for an animal to die, but so too are sodium pentobarbital, gunshot wounds to the head, and electrocution. CAWS and other organizations should be advocating for the inalienable right of all animals to live and for the abolition of traditional shelters instead of sucking up to them.

Since shelters are not about to disclose how many animals survive trips to the gas chamber, they likewise are not about to reveal how many of them later either suffocate in trash bags or freeze to death in refrigeration facilities. The little information that exists on this taboo subject is therefore anecdotal.

For example, a few years back a puppy named Davie was found alive in a Dumpster after having been gassed at a shelter in North Carolina. (See Mooresville Tribune, February 3, 2009, "Animal Gassing May Be Stopped.")

Ten days prior to WVCAS's pulling out all of the stops in its failed attempt to kill Andrea, a five-year-old, twenty-pound beagle-mix named Daniel underwent an almost identical ordeal at Animal Control's killing factory in Florence, Alabama. (See photo of him stretched out on a rug above.)

Cruelly abandoned outside the pound, he was gassed along with eighteen other dogs on October 3rd but amazingly not only survived but, unlike Andrea, escaped without incurring any permanent damage. Although frightened and malnourished, he still was able to wag his tail after being freed from the gas chamber.

"It may be that his breathing was shallow because of a cold or something," Phil Stevenson, a spokesman for the city, theorized to the New York Daily News on October 29th. (See "Lucky Dog Survives Gas Chamber, Up for Adoption.")

Sure enough, Daniel had contracted an upper respiratory infection as the result of being confined in the cramped and unsanitary shelter. He also sustained a minor skin infection.

Not completely satisfied with that explanation, Stevenson next turned to the Almighty in a belated effort to make sense of how any good could possibly come out of such a heinous act. "Maybe God just had a better plan for this one," he blowed to the Daily News.

It does seem odd, however, that Stevenson's god would elect to intervene in order to spare Daniel's life while simultaneously standing idly by while millions of other totally innocent animals are vanquished each year by shelters. In fact, only two other dogs have survived Florence's gas chamber in the past dozen years.

Thanks to the timely and compassionate intervention of Eleventh Hour Rescue (EHR) in Rockaway, New Jersey, Daniel was flown out of Florence on October 26th and immediately placed in foster care with the charity's Jill Pavlik. "He's absolutely fabulous!" the northern New Jersey hairdresser gushed to the Daily News in the article cited supra. "He walked in the house like he had always lived there. He's very sweet, happy and outgoing."

Even though EHR has received inquiries from several hundred individuals wanting to give Daniel a home, Pavlik is not in any hurry to make a decision on that point just yet. "We're going to be very careful," she confided to the Daily News. "He's a dog; he's a lucky dog, but he's a dog. And there are a lot of nutty people out there."

That undoubtedly is true to a certain extent but the real monsters are those who kill cats and dogs as a livelihood. That certainly is the case with unrepentant Vinny Grosso who operates Florence's pound.

"It's just very, very rare," is how he calmly described Daniel's amazing survival to the Daily News. "It (Daniel's relocation to Rockaway) was a great ending to a kind of bizarre story."

Something is terribly wrong whenever a dog's salvation is termed as bizarre whereas mass exterminations simply are accepted as the norm. Nonetheless, that is the kind of thinking that prevails not only in shelters but throughout societies everywhere.

"It is criminal that wonderful, loving animals just like Daniel are killed every day in this country," EHR stated recently on its web site in an undated article. (See "From the President.") "If we refuse to use euthanasia as a tool to manage our pet problem then we will be forced to find a different and hopefully more humane way to deal with this problem."

Daniel's plight has prompted Andy Dinniman, who represents Pennsylvania's nineteenth senatorial district, to introduce a bill that would ban the use of gas chambers in the Keystone State. The law, appropriately enough, will be called Daniel's Law.

A rally in support of the proposed legislation will be held tomorrow between 2:00 and 3:00 p.m. at the Thorncroft Equestrian Center at 190 Line Road in Malvern, thirty-one kilometers outside of Philadelphia in Chester County. Best of all, Daniel will be on hand in order to lend his support to the legislation. (See notice advertising the rally above.)

Pavlik has since handed over custody of Daniel to Linda Schiller and he is said to be getting on famously with two other dogs that are under her care. (See photo above of him with his new playmates.)

No matter who ultimately adopts him, Daniel never will have to enter another gas chamber so long as he remains in the Garden State because those barbaric killing devices wisely and humanely have been banned there as well as in fourteen other states. He will, however, be divested of his manhood before he is put up for adoption.

While a ban on the gassing of cats and dogs by the authorities would be a step in the right direction it would not completely eliminate the menace. That is because private exterminators also round up and gas animals.

That was the terrible tragedy visited upon Patrick Boland and Shelley Bolek of League City, Texas, in March of 2007 when ABC Pest and Lawn of Houston trapped and gassed their cat, Butty. (See Cat Defender post of August 30, 2007 entitled "Texas Couple Files Lawsuit Against Pest Control Company for Trapping and Gassing Their Cat, Butty.")

In June of 2008, Fox-35 of 1925 Westmoreland Road in Richmond, Virginia, hired thirty-seven-year-old Keith Copi of Critter Control to trap and remove several dozen cats from its property. In the process, he gassed at least three of them in his truck and later disposed of their corpses in a Dumpster.

Convicted on August 14, 2008 in Henrico County District Court on three charges of misdemeanor animal cruelty, he escaped with a paltry $750 fine. Since he received $409 from Fox for killing the cats, in the end he was out of pocket only $341.

Based upon that, the court equated the lives of his victims to be worth only $113.66 apiece. (See Cat Defender posts of July 7, 2008 and August 21, 2008 entitled, respectively, "Fox Affiliate in Richmond Murders at Least Three Cats and Then Sends in the Bulldozers to Destroy Their Homes" and "Justice Denied: Exterminator Who Gassed Three Cats at the Behest of Fox-35 in Richmond Gets Off with a Minuscule Fine.")

Although it never has been disclosed what method PETA uses in order to kill cats and dogs, its death vans very well could be equipped with carbon monoxide gas chambers. (See Cat Defender posts of January 29, 2007 and February 9, 2007 entitled, respectively, "PETA's Long History of Killing Cats and Dogs Finally Is 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.")

The ludicrous assertion made by Crim and others that gassing an animal is painless, quick, and humane is refuted by knowledgeable individuals outside the extermination racket. "I will never forget what I saw," Alice Singh of the North Carolina Coalition for Humane Euthanasia told the Mooresville Tribune in the article cited supra after watching a group of dogs gassed at a shelter in Yadkin County. "The dogs were trying to jump out of the large metal box, only to fail with many other dogs in the chamber with them. The screams from the box will never escape my memory, nor will the many scratches inside of the box, or the blood in the bottom left after removing the dogs." (See photo above of a gas chamber.)

Her colleague at the Coalition, Michele King, also has heard the harrowing cries emitted by doomed animals and seen the scratches that they leave behind on the walls in their futile attempts to save themselves. "It doesn't appear to be a peaceful death," she declared to the Star News of Wilmington on February 6, 2009. (See "Bills Aim to Shut Down Animal Gas Chambers.") "We can do better for these animals."

Animal rights activist Barbara Mansfield of Pasquotank County in North Carolina has witnessed fights between animals that were being gassed en masse. "Gassing is not a pretty way to die," she told the Daily Advance of Elizabeth City on January 28, 2009. (See "Bill to Be Introduced Would Stop Gassings.") "The animals aren't always separated when they're put in and they can end up fighting each other before the gas kills them."

Gassed animals also suffer convulsions, seizures, and innumerable other horrors during their final minutes on this earth. In fact, their lives are nothing short of a living Hell even before they are gassed in that some shelters have their own death rows in the form of constraint containers where large numbers of cats are lumped together in order to wait their turns to be killed. (See photo above of one such box used at the Tri-County Animal Shelter in Tyner, North Carolina.)

In addition to being anything but painless, gassing an animal to death takes considerable time. "Having them gasping for breath for five or ten minutes seems a particularly cruel method of euthanizing an animal," South Carolina state politician Jeff Kessler told the Charleston Daily Mail on March 10, 2009. (See "Bill Would Ban Gas Chambers for Animal Euthanasia.")

Kessler actually is understating the case according to a November 2nd posting on Dinniman's web site that claims it can take twenty-five minutes or longer for carbon monoxide to kill an animal. (See "Rally to Ban Animal Gassing Set for November 13th.")

Even more outrageously, a few shelters still rely upon the exhaust fumes from idling motor vehicles in order to gas animals. They simply run a hose from the tailpipe to either the box or cage where the animals are incarcerated.

In particular, the Humane Society of the United States has been accused of using this method in order to extirpate hundreds of fighting cocks that were seized during a raid in Tennessee. On that occasion, the already horribly abused birds were stuffed into a barrel that had a hose leading from it to the exhaust pipe of a truck.

The gassing of animals is an equally controversial subject north of the border where compressed carbon dioxide often is used instead of carbon monoxide. "It's graphic. The animals struggle inside their cages," Michael O'Sullivan of the Humane Society of Canada told The Province of Vancouver on September 9, 2009. (See "Groups Protest Gassing Stray Cats in Duncan, North Cowichan.") "There's a lot of saliva, banging around."

Cat activist Jean Ballard also flatly rejects the often repeated notion that if gassing were painful an animal would exhibit distress. "If it was a wild cat, it's possible it was malnourished and too weak to fight," she told The Province.

In particular, she went on to point out that when carbon dioxide mixes with the mucus in a cat's respiratory system it generates carbonic acid which in turn causes the cat intense pain. Even more staggering, if any penal institution ever so much as contemplated using either carbon dioxide or carbon monoxide in order to execute condemned prisoners there would be widespread outrage but when it comes to totally innocent animals such barbarism is merely accepted.

The only time that voices are raised against it is when the system fails and animals, such as Andrea, Davie, and Daniel somehow survive. The same holds true for other extermination methods, none of which work one-hundred per cent of the time.

Even much ballyhooed jabs of sodium pentobarbital are not always effective. For example, in October of 2010 Matt Olivarez of Redford Township in Michigan took his ailing eleven-year-old Rottweiler, Mia, to Westcott Veterinary Care Center in Detroit to be killed.

Afterwards, he collected her corpse and took it home. The following day when he went to bury her he was shocked to discover that she had revived and was standing on all four legs. (See photo above of them together in happier days.)

No explanation ever was presented as to what went wrong and Mia since has been adopted by a family in Hillsdale. Originally, Olivarez had elected to have her killed off because he was too miserly and uncaring to pay for her upkeep and veterinary needs. (See The Detroit News, November 9, 2010, "Euthanized Dog Who Wouldn't Die Will Be Going to New Home.")

Even gunshot wounds to the head, endorsed by the AVMA and favored by law enforcement personnel, have their limitations. For instance, on April 15, 2003 an unidentified police officer in Clearlake, California, shot a ten-month-old pit bull-mix named Dosha in the head after she was run down and injured by a motorist. (See photo of her directly above.)

She next was taken to Animal Control and deposited in a freezer. Two hours later, the morgue attendant was startled to learn that she had regained consciousness.

The bullet was removed but, like Andrea, she had to be treated for hypothermia. (See People Magazine, May 12, 2003, "Dosha the Wonder Dog.")

Recent medical research has revealed that it takes some individuals up to three hours in order to die. Therefore, the old Victorian fear of being buried alive is every bit as much of a concern for individuals as it is for animals.

It thus follows that all of this consternation over gas chambers not only is selective but totally misses the point as well. That is because it is morally reprehensible to kill any animal except in extreme cases of self-defense. An animal's inalienable right to live is in no way diminished by the method of execution employed.

No method is either humane or painless and those who claim the contrary are being dishonest. Much more poignantly, there never can be any justice in vanquishing the innocent and powerless regardless of whether they are animals or individuals. Such aberrant behavior stinks and it tarnishes all individuals and societies who engage in it.

It is way past time that societies stopped shillyshallying around and wallowing in the minutiae of extermination methodology and for once took the bull by the horns and outlawed without exception the killing of all shelter animals. Since both shelter personnel and veterinarians alike have proven themselves to be unwilling to respect life, no discretion should be permitted under any circumstances.

The sickly should receive treatment and hospice care, the unsocialized should either be released into the wild or tamed, and the vicious placed in secure sanctuaries. Above all, the emphasis should be away from warehousing and killing and directed instead on adoption and sterilization.

Contrary to the lies spread by critics, this is preeminently an achievable objective. It will require, however, the closing of all traditional shelters, the abolition of Animal Control officers, and a revocation of the right of veterinarians and policemen to kill animals.

In order to achieve that lofty goal, people of good conscience who not only recognize a difference between right and wrong but are willing to speak up on behalf of the innocent are desperately needed. Suck-ups are of absolutely no use and individuals and groups who falsely claim that they can reform the current moribund regime and make it more humane are out of their skulls.

Photos: WPTV (Andrea), CAWS (Andrea), Djamila Grossman of The Salt Lake Tribune (Andrea and Coombs), ABC-TV via the New York Daily News (Daniel), Andy Dinniman (Daniel with his new playmates and rally notice), Mooresville Tribune (gas chamber), Justin Falls of The Daily Advance (cat constraint container), David Guralnick of The Detroit News (Mia and Olivarez), and People Magazine (Dosha).

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Sheriff Matt Lutz Settles an Old Score by Staging a Great Safari Hunt That Claims the Lives of Eighteen Tigers and Seventeen Lions in Zanesville

"I've been out there and walked past the pens and had those cats become aggressive. I knew if those animals were running loose, they were out of control."
-- Muskingum County Sheriff Matt Lutz

The cold-blooded and senseless massacre of forty-nine large carnivores, most of them rare and endangered, by officers of the Muskingum County Sheriff's Office (MCSO) in Zanesville, Ohio, on October 18th and 19th will, in due time, be regarded as one of the most egregious crimes than man ever has committed against animals. (See photos above and below of some of the victims.)

Once the shooting finally stopped, no less than eighteen Bengal tigers, seventeen lions, six black bears, two brown bears, three cougars, two gray wolves, and a baboon lay dead. Ambushed initially in the twilight and later in the darkness by deputies armed with night vision glasses, assault rifles, and automatic pistols, the defenseless animals never had a chance. (See chart below tallying up the horrific slaughter.)

Thanks once again to the capitalist media's sworn duty to always serve as the propagandists for the authorities, no one in the general public ever will know exactly what transpired on that fatal evening which dragged into the early hours of the following day. As best the story can be pieced together from sketchy press reports, sixty-two-year-old Terry Thompson, owner of the Muskingum County Animal Farm (MCAF), turned the forty-nine animals loose earlier that afternoon before shooting himself to death.

Four deputies armed with assault rifles initially were dispatched to 270 Kopchak Road in Falls Township where they promptly gunned down twenty-five of the animals right off the bat. The great safari hunt continued throughout the night as the MCSO, determined that no animal be left alive, was joined by the Licking County Sheriff's Office, the Ohio State Highway Patrol, the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, the Ohio Division of Wildlife, the Muskingum County Emergency Management Agency, and several nearby fire brigades. It is by no means certain, but it appears that just about all the killing was done by the MCSO.

The often repeated justification for this massacre is that the animals posed an imminent threat to the public. That rationale has been bandied about as if it were manna from heaven despite the fact that no credible evidence has been produced that any of them either came within so much as a country mile of any citizen or, for that matter, even made it off of Thompson's seventy-three acre spread.

One big cat reportedly did come close to escaping but it was hit by a motorist and then promptly dispatched to the devil by the MCSO. The reckless manner in which most motorists operate their vehicles in this country precludes the notion that any of the animals would have lasted for very long even if they had made it off the grounds. Furthermore, with Thompson dead there apparently were not any other individuals on the property and thus in harm's way at the time of the safari hunt.

That assessment of the situation is vouched for not only by the fact that all of the animals later were buried on the farm but also because it is highly improbable that the lazy and cheap MCSO would have gone to the trouble of transporting their bodies back to the farm for burial if they had been killed elsewhere. (See photo below of some of the animals lined up outside the barn.)

The quick burials also precluded necropsies being performed on the vanquished. Such an inquiry would have revealed not only how many times each victim was shot but also at what range and the type of slug used.

Such an inquiry just as importantly would have provided some indication as to the physical and, perhaps, mental state of the victims. That is particularly important in light of unconfirmed allegations that they lived in filth and were malnourished.

It additionally would have been interesting to know if any of them had been either defanged or declawed. In the end, lawmen, like physicians and veterinarians, cover up the evidence of their despicable crimes underneath six feet of earth.

Even if the animals had strayed it would not have been the end of the world in that the private zoo is located in a rural area with neighboring houses some distance away and spread out over an extended area. The largest nearby city is Columbus and it is fifty-five miles in the distance.

Moreover, only the tigers and lions posed any real threat to humans. In many parts of the country residents have learned to live in peace with bears, wolves, and cougars. Baboons and other primates normally are not considered to present much of a danger to humans although Charla Nash of Connecticut did lose her eyesight, hands, and face back in 2009 as the result of an altercation with a chimp named Travis. (See New York Post, October 28, 2011, "'Chimp' Gal: I'm Beautiful.")

If any of the animals belatedly did exhibit any aggression it was because they were being systematically stalked and mercilessly exterminated one by one by the MCSO. That is a fact that even loudmouthed, bloodthirsty Sheriff Matt Lutz candidly admits.

"These animals were on the move and showing aggressive behavior," he neatly turned the truth on its head in an interview with ABC-TV on October 19th. (See "Zanesville Animal Massacre Included Eighteen Rare Bengal Tigers.") "There were some very close calls" and at times it was "almost hand-to-hand" combat with the animals. (See photo further down the page of him putting on a show for the benefit of his apologists in the media.)

According to Lutz and all those who think like him, man has an unqualified right to slaughter animals with impunity but they on the other hand are not even entitled to the right of self-defense. (See Cat Defender post of August 24, 2011 entitled "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.")

Lutz furthermore maintains that the lions and bears were charging at horses kept at the preserve. If that indeed were the case, the MCSO should have rounded them up along with all farm and companion animals and temporarily secured them in the cages vacated by the carnivores. Instead, Lutz has used that as another excuse in order to justify the killing spree.

Although it is unclear exactly how long Thompson and his estranged wife, Vivian, had operated MCAF, Lutz and other public officials had made dozens of trips to the farm since 2004 in order to investigate, inter alia, alleged animal cruelty, unsanitary conditions, and insecure cages and fences. In hindsight it thus seems clear that Lutz had developed a grudge against the Bengals and lions and was just lying in wait like a viper in the grass in order to strike when the right opportunity presented itself.

"I've been out there and walked past the pens and had those cats become aggressive," he confessed to the Zanesville Times Recorder on October 23rd. (See "Sheriff Matt Lutz Reacts to Rumors, the Spotlight and Those Second-Guessing the Choice He Was Forced to Make.") "I knew if those animals were running loose, they were out of control."

That thought provoking admission raises the possibility that Lutz may have been threatening and menacing either the tigers and lions or Thompson in some manner during those visits. Another possibility is that the cats sensed the hatred and fear that emanated from his person and instinctively knew that he was out to get them. Animals are not nearly as stupid as some individuals believe them to be.

The butcher of Zanesville additionally makes no bones about wanting the animals dead. "Public safety was my number one concern," Lutz proclaimed to The Columbus Dispatch on October 19th. (See "Sheriff: Fifty-Six Exotic Animals Escaped from Farm Near Zanesville; Forty-Nine Killed by Authorities.") "I gave the order that if the animals looked like they were going to get out, they were going down."

C'est-à-dire, the thought of saving their lives never entered into his malignant, cat-hating gourd. "When I gave that order, I wasn't thinking about animals," he told the Zanesville Times Recorder in the article cited supra. "I was thinking about the public and their safety."

An assertion such as that is more laughable than anything else, especially coming as it does from someone in dog-eat-dog America where scarcely a soul can be found who gives so much as a rat's ass about the welfare of his fellow citizens. That is even more so the case with public officials who divide their time between being welfare bums, liars, and thieves on the one hand and stooging for the money men on the other hand.

If any public official really cared about people and wanted to make this society just a little bit more livable he or she would, at the minimum, make the highways safe for pedestrians, animals, bicyclists, and law-abiding motorists, lock up all violent offenders, protect the environment and the animals, promote the establishment of a fair and equitable economic system that actually worked, provide affordable health and veterinary care to all individuals and animals, and get the money out of both politics and the media. To pass off the cold-blooded murder of these defenseless animals as a crude substitute for public service not only rings hollow but exposes Lutz and his supporters to be not only outrageous liars but delusional as well.

In typically American fashion, Lutz is especially proud of his diabolical crimes. "If I had to do it over, I'd do the same thing," he pledged to the Zanesville Times Recorder in the article cited supra.

That brings to mind what comedian Stephen Colbert said of Bush II at the White House Correspondents' Dinner back in 2005. "When the president decides something on Monday he still believes it on Wednesday -- no matter what happened on Tuesday," he declared to those assembled.

The task for both individuals and societies alike is to learn from their mistakes and to strive to do better in the future, not to wallow in lawlessness and prejudice. As Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel once observed, "History leads the wise man and drags the fool."

Much more importantly, the behavior and words of this latter-day Bungalow Bill display an appalling indifference to all morality and the sacredness of animal life. If John Lennon were alive today, he instantly would recognize Lutz as a carbon copy of Richard A. Cooke III whom he immortalized with these choice words:

"Hey, Bungalow Bill
What did you kill,
Bungalow Bill?

He went out tiger hunting with his elephant and gun.
In case of accidents he always took his mom.
He's the all-American bullet-headed Saxon mother's son...

Deep in the jungle where the mighty tiger lies
Bill and his elephants were taken by surprise.
So Captain Marvel zapped him right between the eyes...

The children asked him if to kill was not a sin.
"Not when he looked so fierce," his mommy butted in.
"If looks could kill it would have been us instead of him."

As was the case with White and his mom, all it took was one cross-eyed look from the cats coupled with the right opportunity to unleash all the pent-up hatred and savagery that lay hidden in Lutz's black heart. After all, it is not often that a lawman is given the opportunity to engage in what he has been trained to do with impunity.

After having conveniently exonerated both himself and his subalterns Lutz turned around and, once again in typically American fashion, placed all the blame for the massacre on Thompson. "It didn't have to happen, but that was a decision Mr. Thompson made," Lutz swore with a straight face to the Zanesville Times Recorder in the article cited supra. "There was no reason for these animals to have to be killed or my deputies put in the positions they were put in. But that was his decision, and I had to do what I had to do to protect my people and this community."

Such silliness always has had a substantial following in the land of the dollar bill but it really became en vogue during the reign of Americans' beloved four-flusher, Ronald Wilson Reagan. In brief, it maintains that the poor and unsuccessful are degenerates whereas the rich and successful, no matter how predatory and criminal, are the salt of the earth and therefore can do no wrong.

It is precisely that sort of thinking that has led to trillion-dollar bailouts of Wall Street crooks, the automakers, and others while simultaneously abandoning the masses to freeze to death in the streets and to die from a lack of affordable health care. The one constant running throughout all of these policies is that the malignant and corrupt-as-hell establishment is never to blame in any way, shape, form, or fashion for any of society's ills; au contraire, it is all the fault of individuals.

Thompson, quite obviously, was a troubled man. The former Vietnam veteran, who once owned a Harley Davidson franchise, had just gotten out of the slammer on September 30th after having served a year for possession of a machine gun and short firearms with filed-off serial numbers. In fact, when the mass murderers of Ruby Ridge and Waco, the notorious Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), raided his farm in June of 2008 they seized more than one-hundred weapons.

Adding insult to injury, his wife recently had left him and he reportedly owed $68,000 in federal and state taxes. It does not take any genius to realize that the residual effects of Vietnam, the ATF, jail, money woes, marital difficulties, a trigger-happy sheriff, and exotic animals all formed a volatile mix that was apt to explode at any given time.

"I think people don't fully understand the situation," Thompson told the Zanesville Times Recorder in 2008 according to its October 21st edition. (See "Exotic Animal Tragedy: Search Ends Near Zanesville, Questions Remain.") "People are quick to scrutinize me when they really have no idea of what I'm about or why I have chosen to have these animals." (See photo of him on the right below.)

Considering the conflicting opinions of him that have emerged since his death, that does indeed appear to have been the case. He was "a guy who kind of kept to himself, was always willing to push the envelope a little bit," is how Lutz characterized him to ABC-TV in the article cited supra.

As far as his neighbor Fred Polk was concerned, Thompson simply loved animals. "He liked animals more than he did people," he testified to the Philadelphia Inquirer on October 21st. (See "A Sad Acceptance on Lost Animals.") "He really did."

As far as Kenny Hetrick, who keeps tigers at a preserve outside of Toledo, is concerned, Thompson simply bit off more than he could chew. "He really had more there than what he could do," he told the Daily Mail on October 22nd. (See "Did Wild Animal Owner 'Bait' Himself Before Committing Suicide?") "I don't know what his deal was, but he was in over his head."

It is not clear where Thompson acquired the animals. Apparently some of them were given to him by owners who had purchased them as infants but no longer wanted to care for them once they reached adulthood.

He also bought and sold them at so-called exotic animal auctions. It is even conceivable that he may have been a breeder and possibly even an importer in violation of the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).

All of that buggers the question of how he was able to remain afloat financially. After all, it can cost as much as $10,00 per annum in order to feed and medicate some large animals.

In addition to whatever he raked in through trafficking in wild animals, he also occasionally hired himself out as a wildlife expert. For example, he once took a trio of lion cubs to New York City for a fashion shoot with German supermodel Heidi Klum. In 2008, he served as an animal handler for a zoologist who was appearing on the Rachel Ray Show.

He also relied, in part, on dead cows that he got from neighbor Kate Riley in order to feed his animals. MCAF therefore looks to have been operated on a shoestring.

"I don't let my animals run loose," Thompson once told the Zanesville Times Recorder according to the October 21st article cited supra. "I'm not going to put anyone else, including myself and my wife, in danger or put my animals at risk."

Unfortunately, that is precisely what he turned around and did on October 18th and that calls into question his alleged love of them. It is one thing for him to have taken his own life but to have condemned these beautiful animals to die in a hail of bullets was totally unconscionable. Anyone about to check out of this vale of tears and who truly loved animals would have made provisions for their continued care instead of initialing their death warrants.

In the final analysis perhaps neighbor Angie McElfresh came the closest to the truth when she suggested that Thompson released the animals in order to get back at his detractors. It "could have been a 'fuck you' to everyone around him," she theorized to London's Independent on October 21st. (See "Scandal of the Private Zoo That Ended in Slaughter.")

As egregious as Thompson's conduct was, it nevertheless pales in comparison with Lutz's barbarism and crocodile tears. "None of us were happy about what we had to do out there," he vowed to the Zanesville Times Recorder in the October 23rd article cited supra. "None of us."

If by any chance that sounds familiar it is because that is exactly what Dori Stone received from the police and politicians in Lebanon, Ohio, a couple of months earlier after a still unidentified police officer executed her cat, Haze. (See Cat Defender post of September 22, 2011 entitled "Neanderthaloid Politicians in Lebanon, Ohio, Wholeheartedly Sanction the Illegal and Cold-Blooded Murder of Haze by a Trigger-Happy Cop.")

In addition to gunning down cats, both big and small ones alike, Ohioans have, inter alia, evicted domestic ones from the statehouse in Columbus, threatened to shoot them with Tasers, and killed them with crossbows. (See Cat Defender posts of October 20, 2005, April 8, 2008, and August 2, 2007 entitled, respectively, "After Ridding Ohio Statehouse of Rats, Cats Now Find Themselves Facing Eviction," "Ohio Politician Proposes Adding Cats to the Growing List of Pigs, Other Animals, and Humans Killed by Tasers," and "Ohio Cat Shot in the Leg with an Arrow Is Forced to Endure a Long-Drawn-Out and Excruciating Death.")

It likewise never must be forgotten that although the Vietnam War spawned demonstrations on college campuses all across the nation, it was only at Kent State University in Kent that members of the Ohio National Guard trained their rifles on students and shot four of them to death and wounded nine others on May 4, 1970. It very well may be a new millennium but when it comes to respecting the rights of animals Ohioans of the twenty-first century are every bit as backward and barbaric as their predecessors of the last century were when it came to respecting human rights and free expression.

Representatives of the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium belatedly showed up on the scene armed with either four or five tranquilizer guns. As far as it has been reported, only one attempt was made to tranquilize any of the animals and that half-hearted effort was undertaken by veterinarian Barb Wolfe who shot a tiger. Instead of allowing the sedative time to work its magic, the MSCO promptly gunned it down when it attempted to flee.

"What a tragedy!" Wolfe later exclaimed to the Philadelphia Inquirer in the October 21st article cited supra. "We knew that...there were so many dangerous animals at this place that eventually something bad would happen, but I don't think anybody really knew it would be this bad."

Included in Wolfe's entourage was veteran zookeeper Jack Hanna who wasted no time in lending his unqualified support to the slaughter. "Human life has to come first but that's what we have to look out for," he declared to ABC-TV in the article cited supra. He then gratuitously added, "We have to take care of our animal life."

He even went so far as to defend MCSO's decision not to tranquilize the animals. "You can't tranquilize at night. It upsets them. It's like if you get popped with a shot," he declared to WKYC-TV of Cleveland on October 19th. (See "Jack Hanna: Human Life Comes First in Search for Escaped Animals.") "They settle in, hunker down, go to sleep. We can't find them in the dark. What had to be done had to be done."

That is pure baloney. The MCSO, Columbus Zoo, and their affiliated services had more than enough lighting capacity at their disposal in order to transform the darkest night into the brightest day. Plus, they were equipped with night vision glasses.

Accordingly, locating the animals, whether they were on the move or lying sedated on the ground, would not have posed an insurmountable obstacle. Nevertheless, Hanna would have the world to believe that although there was sufficient lighting in order to gun down the animals there was neither enough to tranquilize them nor to locate them once they were on the ground. Anyone who finds that contorted logic compelling is welcome to it.

Even if they had gotten too close for comfort before those manning the tranquilizer guns were in position, traditional means of controlling crowds and animals could have been resorted to in order to have frightened them away. These include, inter alia, the firing of warning shots in the air, the use of tear gas, bean bags, and water cannons, and non-lethal explosives which currently are being used to unjustly prevent migrating sea lions from eating salmon and steelhead on the Columbia and Willamette rivers in Oregon.

Once the animals had been tranquilized, nets, cages, and shackles could have been rushed in to have secured them. The humane recapture of these animals would have required patience, time, money, and some risk of human life but it would have been far preferable to the orgy of senseless killing that ensued. Besides, officers of the law are supposed to occasionally put their lives on the line in order to save other lives, but chicken-hearted, maniacal killers do not have any business carrying guns and wearing badges.

It is not surprising that Hanna supported the extirpation in light of the fact that he has been exploiting and abusing animals all of his life. In addition to serving as head zookeeper at the Columbus Zoo for more than twenty years, he over the years has lent his support to Sea World's flagrant abuse of orcas, defended Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey's Circus, and lauded whale abusers. (See photo of the big phony directly above on the right.)

Lions, chimpanzees, foxes, and cougars that he has schlepped all across the country in order to make public appearances have retaliated by biting bystanders. Even an organization as thoroughly hypocritical as PETA has labeled him as a "professional wildlife pimp." (See PETA.org, March 1, 2010, "You Don't Know Jack (Hanna).")

Not surprisingly, he is one of the capitalist media's darlings and appeared, inter alia, on "Good Morning America" and "Late Night with David Letterman" in order to defend the massacre. Calling upon an unrepentant zookeeper to speak up for wild animals is tantamount to the media asking David Duke of the Ku Klux Klan to put in a good word for black-Americans.

As an added incentive, Lutz may have wanted to prevent area residents from joining in the fun and therefore instructed his deputies to promptly liquidate all of the animals. Even with the expeditiousness with which the mass killing was carried out, some residents were caught trying to make off with the carcasses. (See photo below of a dead lion.)

As difficult as it is to believe, lions are raised for slaughter on a farm outside of Chicago and their flesh is then butchered and distributed from coast to coast for retail sale by Czimer's Game and Seafood of the Windy City. Most astonishing of all, this odious practice is perfectly legal and not regulated by either the United States Department of Agriculture, the Food and Drug Administration, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), or CITES. (See Living on Earth, May 20, 2011, "Lion Meat, Anyone?")

It therefore is likely that the scavengers were intent upon selling not only the flesh of the lions and tigers but also their other valuable parts which can fetch a fortune from the purveyors of traditional Chinese medicines. Reports that some residents even went so far as to enter the compound and attempt to unearth the corpses have been denied by Lutz.

Since Lutz, Hanna, Wolfe, Thompson's neighbors, and seemingly everyone else in Ohio had known about the myriad of problems affecting MCAF in general and Thompson in particular for considerable time it simply is mind-boggling that contingency plans were not put in place long ago that would have safely remedied just the type of catastrophe that occurred on October 18th. There are only two conceivable explanations for that glaring oversight: either nobody cared what happened to the animals or Lutz's massacre was premeditated. As things eventually turned out, he was able to get rid of both Thompson and his animals in one fell swoop on October 18th.

"There were plenty of warning signs in this case, but they were ignored by those who had the authority to prevent this tragedy," Lynn Culver of the Feline Conservation Federation (FCF) of Myrtle Beach wrote in the San Francisco Chronicle on October 20th. (See "Feline Conservation Federation Outraged over Ohio Man' Release of Lions, Pumas, and Tigers.")

Even more damning, the FCF was rebuffed when it contacted Lutz and other unidentified wildlife officials in the area in a futile effort to get the animals moved out of MCAF. That is in spite of the fact that FCC even offered to relocate them free of charge to one of its facilities.

FCF member Tim Stark also refutes Polk's assertion that Thompson was an animal lover. "Terry was a hoarder," he is quoted as alleging in the Chronicle. "His animals were emaciated, and the place reeked from dead and rotting carcasses."

Others, such as Patty Finch of the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries (GFAS) in Washington, an accrediting body, flatly contradict Culver's assertion that there always is plenty of space available at the inn for large cats. "If you want to place a big cat, I would tell you that every reputable sanctuary is full and more than full," she averred to The Press of Atlantic City on October 23rd. (See "Ohio Case Highlights Issues Around Keeping Exotic Pets.")

Obviously someone is either lying or GFAS does not consider FCF to be a reputable sanctuary. About all that can be said for certain is that the Wild Animal Orphanage in San Antonio closed its doors last year due to having too many animals to care for and not enough moola. Meanwhile, East Coast Exotic Animal Rescue in Fairfield, Pennsylvania, has been forced to scale back its operation due to financial constraints.

The glaring failure of any major animal rights group to either condemn the killings or to defend the animals' inalienable right to live demonstrated once again that the mainstream animal rights movement is every bit as phony and corrupt as the environmental movement. (See The Independent, May 21, 2010, "Polluted for Profit: Johann Hari on the Real Climategate.")

As per usual, PETA played it nice and safe by continuing to suck up to those in power without having the guts to condemn the slaughter. "For years, PETA has called upon Ohio officials to ban the private ownership of exotic and wild animals, but those calls have gone unheeded," the organization groused on its web site in an undated post. (See "Tragedy in Ohio -- Forty-Eight Wild Animals Shot and Killed. Urge Officials to Ban Private Ownership Now.")

The organization's Jennifer O'Connor offered up more of the same gibberish in an op-ed piece for the Philadelphia Inquirer on October 26th. (See "Massacre Supports a Ban on Exotic 'Pets'.")

The best that the inveterate moneygrubbers at the Humane Society of the United States could come up with was to parrot PETA. "These animals should not be kept in people's backyards, their basements, or bedrooms," the organization's Wayne Pacelle told the Philadelphia Inquirer on October 21st. (See "Pennsylvania Is Not Ohio on Exotic Pet Laws.")

Choosing instead to selectively ignore the plight of thousands of animals unjustly incarcerated at zoos and captive breeding facilities as well as those nakedly exploited by circuses and the entertainment industry, Pacelle saved all of his venom for private zoos. "There's an epidemic of private ownership of dangerous exotic animals in the United States," he complained to The Independent in the October 21st article cited supra. "There are thousands of exotic animal menageries across the nation."

Even Will Travers, head of Born Free USA, came out wholeheartedly in support of the mass extermination. "It's a tragedy for these particular animals, for no fault of their own they've been shot, and I can see how difficult that decision was for the police," he opined to the Philadelphia Inquirer in the October 21st article cited supra.

A statement such as that exposes him as either a fool, a liar, or someone who does not care one way or the other. After all, by his own admission, Lutz did not agonize a single second over his shoot to kill order; on the contrary, his mind had been made up a long time ago.

Travers' subaltern, Adam Roberts, was a good deal more forthcoming. "What we saw this week should never, ever happen again. It is our job to stop this madness, protect animals, and to keep the public safe," he wrote October 21st on the organization's web site. (See "Born Free USA Ready to Work with Ohio Governor, Offers Model Legislation on Exotic Pet Ownership Following Today's Executive Order.") "Wild animals belong in the wild. This was a recipe for disaster -- and a disaster it was. These animals were innocent victims and we must move forward to protect others."

Those sentiments mirror the ones that he expressed to Salon on January 5, 2008 although his organization does not appear to be making much headway, except in isolated cases, of either protecting big cats in the wild or securing the release of the thousands unjustly incarcerated. (See "Tigers Don't Belong in Zoos.")

The World Wildlife Fund joined FCF, PETA, HSUS, and Born Free USA in crying its eyes out for the MCSO and the public in addition to calling for a ban on individuals owning tigers. "The tragedy in Ohio was a public safety nightmare and highlights the need for a ban on privately owned tigers in this country," the organization's Leigh Henry stated October 20th on its web site. (See "WWF Calls for Ban on Pet Tigers.") "We have a responsibility to close these loopholes, protect the public and save one of the most magnificent species on the planet."

She also drew a causal connection between the practice of keeping captive tigers and poaching in the wild. "In addition to safety issues, captive tiger populations can have a direct effect on demand for illegal tiger parts around the world, resulting in increased poaching," she added.

By that obscure reference she no doubt has places like the Xiongshen Tiger and Bear Mountain Village in Guilin, China, in mind. Owned and operated by multimillionaire Zhou Weisen, the wildlife park incarcerates fifteen-hundred, mostly Amur, tigers.

The animals are bred for their bones which are used in the making of tiger wine that retails for between £185 and £600 per bottle and is alleged to cure rheumatism, arthritis, and to prolong life. Since it is technically illegal to kill tigers in China, Weisen simply allows them to either starve to death or to die from unattended ailments and wounds. (See photo above of one emaciated bag of bones.)

"It is inevitable that wild tiger parts will get drawn into a market created by farmed tiger parts," Steve Broad of TRAFFIC, a wildlife monitoring network, echoed Henry's concerns in an interview with the Daily Mail on February 20, 2010. (See "Exposed: Dark Secrets of the Farm Where Tigers' Bodies Are Plundered to Make £185 Wine.") "These business people are creating a market that could be catastrophic for the wild tiger population."

Being an unscrupulous, cutthroat capitalist, Weisen is not about to limit his trafficking in tigers to their valuable bones. The animals' eyeballs are used to treat epilepsy, their bile to stop convulsions, their whiskers to assuage toothaches, and their joy sticks to make aphrodisiacs.

Broad certainly talks a good game of conservation but when confronted with the awful massacre in Zanesville neither he nor his organization had anything worthwhile to say. "Four years ago, following the publication of (our report) "Paper Tigers," we alerted United States officials to the dangers posed through unregulated ownership of tigers," the organization's Crawford Allan bellyached October 25th on its web site. (See "Tigers and Lions on the Loose in Ohio: An Inevitable Tragedy That Should Have Been Avoided.") "The authorities explained that a lack of resources meant they could not implement the report's recommendations at a national level. We hope they are reviewing that decision now."

Other than calling attention to the connection between the naked exploitation of captive tigers and the poaching of their few remaining cousins in the wild, the WWF has not offered up any concrete plan to save either of them. Equally disturbing, its omission of any reference to leopards, lions, wolves, bears, and primates can only be construed as an indication that it does not feel that they are worth saving. Even more outrageously, the WWF kills countless wild animals each year by relentlessly hounding them down over and over again so that it can affix satellite tracking devices around their necks and steal tissue samples from them while they are sedated.

Rounding out the roll call of shame, Michael "Ph.D." Hutchins (he insists upon being identified as a savant) of The Wildlife Society, the USFWS, the Center for Biological Diversity, the National Resources Defense Council, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, the National Wildlife Federation, and the American Humane Society have not posted any notices on their web sites either supporting or condemning the massacre. Apparently, none of them have been able to figure out any financial advantage to be derived in taking a stand one way or the other on this issue.

David Cantor of Responsible Policies for Animals in Glenside, Pennsylvania, broke from the pack in order to defend the animals. "Undesirable as it is, the recent Ohio 'exotic animal' slaughter does not indicate the need for stricter laws, but for unalienable equal autonomy, ecology, and dignity rights of all animals," he wrote October 26th in a letter to the editors of the Philadelphia Inquirer (See "Accept Basic Rights for Animals.") "The human-supremacist endeavor of recent millennia must end. Long-term well-being will include all -- or it will exclude 'us'."

A considerably more forceful and poignant condemnation of the massacre came from Glen Hurowitz of the Center for International Policy. "Lutz's ignorant savagery and Hanna's defense of it is the reflexive attitude of too many police and public officials in this country, and not just when it comes to exotic animals," he wrote October 19th in the Huffington Post. (See "Jack Hanna Defends Wildlife Slaughter.") "Police too often respond to one complaint with a hail of bullets -- even when it's native wildlife like black bears, wolves or mountain lions."

A recent example of such patently criminal and barbaric behavior on the part of the law enforcement community occurred on Christmas Day of 2007 when the San Francisco Police shot and killed an Amur tigress named Tatiana after she had been assaulted by a trio of doped and boozed up young men. (See Cat Defender post of January 28, 2008 entitled "Hopped Up on Vodka and Pot, Trio Taunted Tatiana Prior to Attacks That Led to Her Being Killed by Police.")

A few months later on April 14, 2008 Chicago Police pumped between eighteen and sixty bullets into a two-year-old forever nameless male cougar who had the temerity to stray into the city's North Side. (See Cat Defender post of May 5, 2008 entitled "Chicago's Rambo-Style Cops Corner and Execute a Cougar to the Delight of the Hoi Polloi and Capitalist Media.")

In both instances the police had plenty of time in order to have tranquilized the animals but they instead consciously chose to snuff out their lives. That is exactly what occurred in Zanesville but only on a significantly larger scale.

"Even when it comes to exotics, the reality is that this kind of slaughter is unnecessary -- a little patience and the occasional tranquilizer gun can usually get animals back together," Hurowitz continued. "Lethal measures should only be used as a last resort -- and especially in cases like this, where police are dealing with highly endangered animals like tigers (3,000 left in the wild) and lions (23,000). We need to do everything we can to keep these animals alive and reintroduce them into the wild where possible to bolster wild populations."

Wild animals, especially big cats, belong in protected habitats that have been wiped clean of capitalists, poachers, and phony-baloney wildlife biologists with their snares, camera traps, and radio collars. Sadly, that goal remains as elusive as ever.

"If you are not going to set aside habitat where there are no humans you cannot have tigers," noted Indian conservationist Valmik Thapar told The Independent on November 2, 2007. (See "The Face of a Doomed Species.")

Even by saying that much he knew full well that the deck is stacked against tigers and other species. "But all the (Indian) government cares about now is call centers, shopping malls, and apartments. That leaves the tiger situation in a miserable mess," he told The Independent a few weeks earlier on October 16, 2007. (See "Poaching and Population Threaten India's Tigers.") "So why save the tigers? Because saving the tigers means saving every insect in the forest, and the forest itself, and that's important not to just India, but to the world."

That is a fair enough statement but the tragic reality is that few governmental officials and conservationists can be trusted to do the right thing by tigers and other animals. That by default places the burden of saving not only endangered species but all animals as well squarely on the shoulders of private citizens. Some of them will in turn take their sacred obligations to heart while others, such as Weisen and Thompson, never will amount to anything other than abusers and exploiters.

There is not any easy solution to this dilemma but more and more it is beginning to look like that the choice is going to come down to either captive wild animals or none at all. Should that ever come to pass, it truly will be a shame because the animals are the one thing in all of creation that is noble, beautiful, and worth saving.

Instead of divesting them of their land, food sources, and lives, man should be cherishing and protecting them with all of his might. No price is too high to pay if doing so will both save their lives and ensure their freedom and dignity.

In order for that to occur, man for once must place the animals and Mother Earth first. In that respect, it is nothing short of revolting that no major animal rights group is willing to do even that much.

As long as man and his needs remain paramount, the animals do not stand a chance of surviving. In his poem, "Two Tramps in Mud Time," Robert Frost demonstrated considerable insight into the breadth of this dilemma when he wrote:

"...Out of the wood two hulking tramps
(From sleeping God knows where last night
But not long since the lumber camps).
They thought all chopping was theirs of right.
Men of the woods and lumberjacks,
They judged me by their appropriate tool.
Except as a fellow handed an ax
They had no way of knowing a fool.

Nothing on either side was said.
They knew they had but to stay their stay
And all their logic would fill my head:
As I had no right to play
With what was another man's work for gain.
My right might be love but theirs was need.
And when the two exist in twain
Theirs was the better right -- agreed.

But yield who will to their separation,
My object in living is to unite
My avocation and my vocation.
As my two eyes make one in sight.
Only where love and need are one.
And the work is play for mortal stakes,
Is the deed ever really done
For Heaven and the future's sakes."

For whatever reason, Thompson spared three leopards, a pair of monkeys, and a brown bear by allowing them to remain in their cages. (See photo directly above of a spotted leopard that survived.)

They immediately were relocated to the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium although Vivian is advocating for their eventual return to MCAF. "We are happy to report they all seem to be doing well," Patti Peters of the zoo told the Daily Mail in the October 22nd article cited supra.

The fifty-sixth animal, a macaque suffering from Herpes B, never has been accounted for and is presumed to have been eaten by one of the cats.

The future of MCAF remains in doubt and its huge tax liability remains unsatisfied. Lutz meanwhile has graduated from slaughtering rare and endangered species to going after Polk and others who recorded his handiwork for posterity and then sold the photographs to the media.

That, however, is small potatoes as far as he is concerned. Most of his time nowadays is devoted instead to basking in the glory of the carnage that he inflicted upon these forty-nine beautiful animals. "I have to give a huge thank you to this community who supported us in so many ways," he averred to the Zanesville Times Recorder in the October 23rd article cited supra. "I just can't tell you how that makes me feel when there's that support for you and your office. It's good."

Photos: Daily Mail (dead tigers, chart, and Thompson), Fred Polk (slain animals and dead lion), Associated Press (carcasses near barn and spotted leopard), Zanesville Times Recorder (Lutz), Phil Konstantin of Wikipedia (Hanna), and Sinopix and Daily Mail (tiger in Guilin).