A Deadly Intrigue Concocted by a Thief, a Shelter, and a Veterinary Chain Costs Ginger the Continued Enjoyment of His Golden Years
"Ginger was put down without consent, without giving us a chance to find him. We should have been given at least twenty-four hours to find him. We believe our rights have been taken away by the vets."
-- Beverley Hume
James Bond is far from being the only person with a license to kill. Veterinarians also enjoy the same privilege and, so long as they are handsomely rewarded for their services, it is one that they seldom pass up an opportunity to exercise.
The latest defenseless cat to fall prey to these miserable, unprincipled, moneygrubbing scoundrels was a twenty-five-year-old one named Ginger who lived with his fifty-six-year-old owner, Beverley Hume, at Kent Court in the Kingston Park section of Newcastle-upon-Tyne. (See photo of him above.)
The events that culminated in his untimely demise are straightforward enough and not in dispute. Hume, as was her custom, allowed him out into her garden to play on the morning of October 13th.
An unidentified local resident shortly thereafter abducted him from the street and delivered him up to the Newcastle Dog and Cat Shelter (NDCS) on Benton Road. The shelter in turn fobbed him off to Blythman and Partners in the Gosforth section of the city who promptly killed him. The entire affair, beginning when he exited Hume's residence and ending with his death on a cold slab at Blythman, barely took three hours.
As per usual, the veterinarians claim that Ginger was suffering way too much in order to be allowed to go on living for so much as another minute. "We were presented with a very thin, elderly cat crying in pain and having difficulty standing," senior partner Heather Morton told the Daily Mail on October 20th. (See "Furious Cat Owner Slams Vets after Pet Was Put Down Three Hours after It Went Missing.") "He was examined by two veterinary surgeons and was screaming in pain due to a tooth root abscess penetrating his jaw and tracking into the eye socket."
First of all and contrary to what Morton and many others believe, being old should not be a capital offense for either a cat or a man. In human terms, Ginger was the equivalent of one-hundred-sixteen-years-old and it certainly would not have been anything out of the ordinary for him to have been thin and, perhaps, a little unsteady on his feet. The fact that he had lost his right eye years ago no doubt contributed to his looking old and frail.
Hume, who runs a dress shop in the nearby village of Ponteland, ardently contradicts all of Blythman and Partners' conclusions. While readily acknowledging that Ginger was suffering from an abscess, she points out that he was receiving antibiotic injections from her vet and was doing fine.
She furthermore disputes the claim that Ginger was experiencing difficulties walking. "He had a new lease on life recently and was taking his walks and enjoying himself," she told the Evening Chronicle of Newcastle on October 18th. (See "Missing Pet in Newcastle Put Down by Vet.") "His own vet treating him in Ponteland said he was a remarkable cat."
She additionally vociferously denies that he was in any kind of pain. "If I thought for a second that my cat was suffering I would have done something about it," she added to the Daily Mail in the article cited supra.
Sans doute Hume is a dedicated cat owner because she graciously accepted custody of the then fifteen-year-old, one-eyed cat way back in 2001 when her parents, Gwen and George Clay, died and left him homeless. After all, there are not too many individuals in this world who are willing to take on the moral and financial responsibilities of caring for an aged cat. She, accordingly, is deserving of nothing but praise for her magnanimity and compassion.
A cat's health can, however, rapidly deteriorate and tooth abscesses not only can be excruciatingly painful but debilitating as well and that applies to animals as well as to humans. It also is probable that Ginger became traumatized as the result of being bandied about by his abductor, shelter personnel, and his executioners.
He therefore could have been howling as much in fear as he was in pain. Even if his tooth had taken a turn for the worst that was not any reason for the vets to have killed him.
This is only conjecture but more than likely NDCS has an arrangement with Blythman to do its dirty work for it and the latter quickly decided to kill off Ginger so that it could collect another hefty fee. After all, veterinarians seldom say so much as hello unless they get paid for doing so.
Blythman also attempts to justify its cold-blooded murder of Ginger on the grounds that he neither was microchipped nor wearing a collar. Being practicing veterinarians, Morton and her colleagues most assuredly are aware that most cats do not carry identification.
That is because implanted microchips, in addition to offering absolutely no protection against the machinations of ailurophobes, have been demonstrated to cause cancer. (See Cat Defender posts of November 6, 2010 and September 21, 2007 entitled, respectively, "Bulkin Contracts Cancer from an Implanted Microchip and Now It Is Time for Digital Angel and Merck to Answer for Their Crimes in a Court of Law" and "FDA Is Suppressing Research That Shows Implanted Microchips Cause Cancer in Mice, Rats, and Dogs.")
Collars, on the other hand, can come off and, elastic ones in particular, are easily transformed into killing devices. (See Cat Defender posts of June 22, 2010 and May 28, 2008 entitled, respectively, "Hobson Is Forced to Wander Around Yorkshire for Months Trapped in an Elastic Collar That Steadily Was Eating Away at His Shoulder and Leg" and "Collars Turn into Death Traps for Trooper and Que but Both Are Rescued at the Eleventh Hour.")
If Blythman's conduct in this regard was totally inexcusable, that is doubly true for NDCS because it candidly admits to being cognizant of these problems. "If you have lost your cat please ensure that you come to Newcastle Dog and Cat Shelter on a regular basis to view our stray cats, a telephone call to us is not enough as collars and tags can fall off, descriptions may vary and occasionally a microchip cannot be found," it declares on its web site. (See "Lost Cats" at www.dogandcatshelter.com)
Of course, all of that palaver is useless since NDCS quite obviously fobs off some cats to Blythman to be executed. Once again, a shelter has been caught publicly advocating one thing and doing something entirely different when no one is watching. (See Cat Defender post of July 29, 2010 entitled "Benicia Vallejo Humane Society Is Outsourcing the Mass Killing of Kittens and Cats All the While Masquerading as a No Kill Shelter.")
On a much more fundamental level, the veterinarians surely were aware that cats do not live as long as Ginger without having someone to feed, shelter, and medicate them. "It must have been obvious that he belonged to someone," Hume pointed out to the Daily Mail.
Blinded by greed and disdainful of the sanctity of feline life, it is doubtful that Blythman would have spared Ginger's life if he had been tethered to a hot air balloon that announced in bold lettering that he was owned by Hume.
Hume is, justifiably, every bit as infuriated with Ginger's unidentified abductor as she is with Blythman. "Some do-gooder lifts him from near his home and takes him to a shelter and three hours later he's dead. It's disgusting!" she railed to the Daily Mail. "Cats have the right by law to roam around and by snatching him away they took away his rights."
Since nearly everyone alive is aware of the petit fait that shelters are nothing more than thinly disguised killing factories, the individual who stole Ginger off the street was anything but a Good Samaritan. He or she very well could be a cat-hater who delivered Ginger to the knackers at NDCS with the explicit purpose of having him killed. (See Cat Defender posts of June 15, 2006 and August 19, 2010 entitled, respectively, "Serial Cat Killer on Long Island Traps Neighbors' Cats and Then Gives Them to Shelter to Exterminate" and "Music Lessons and Buggsey Are Murdered by a Cat-Hating Gardener and an Extermination Factory Posing as an Animal Shelter in Saginaw.")
Considering how lethal shelters are to cats, none of them, neither domestics nor rough-sleepers, belong within a mile of any of them. Moreover, as recent events in New York City have demonstrated, veterinarians are every bit as deadly for cats as shelters. (See Cat Defender post of December 22, 2011 entitled "Rogue TNR Practitioner and Three Unscrupulous Veterinarians Kill at Least Sixty-Two Cats with the Complicity of the Mayor's Alliance for NYC's Animals.")
To her credit, Hume is not about to sit idly by and allow Ginger's murder to go unavenged. She has, for example, initiated a Justice for Ginger campaign as well as filing a formal complaint against Blythman with the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS).
If Blaydon Burn resident Heather Irwin's dealings with those slackers is in any way indicative of how they discipline their colleagues, Hume is wasting both her time and money. Although Silke Birgitt Lindridge of Consett Veterinary Center nearly killed Irwin's seven-year-old cat, Felix, back in 2007 by grotesquely incorrectly setting his broken left leg, the RCVS pulled her license for only three months.
Most outrageous of all, that was not in retaliation for what she had done to Felix but rather for failing to pay her dues. It thus would appear that the RCVS cares only about getting its cut of the action and absolutely nothing about the welfare of animals. (See Cat Defender post of June 17, 2010 entitled "Veterinarian Gets Away with Almost Killing Felix but Is Nailed by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons for Not Paying Her Dues.")
Hume's task is further complicated by Blythman's chummy relationship with the RCVS. "As one of a limited number of recognized Veterinary Nurse Training Centers approved by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, Blythman and Partners offers the best in animal care," the surgery boasts on its web site.
Although veterinary chains, such as Blythman which has eight offices scattered around Tyne and Wear, are not known to be any more bloodthirsty, greedy, and incompetent than independent operations, this case once again has rekindled the debate over the advisability of retailing the practice of veterinary medicine along the same lines that Kmart and Walmart sell general merchandise. Most notably, the growth of such operations certainly has not led to any discernible amelioration in the exorbitant prices that they and all veterinarians demand.
Just as importantly, there is some anecdotal evidence to suggest that chain surgeries actually scrimp on personnel and pay lower wages than their competitors so as to even further enhance their bottom lines. At least that was one of the alarming discoveries made by the BBC during an investigation of Medivets in 2009 and 2010.
The BBC hired Alex Lee to work undercover for nine months at one of Medivets' seventy surgeries around the country and even though she had received only three weeks of training she was asked to insert catheters and to administer injections. She also observed patients being beaten and abused as well as their owners being charged out the wazoo for services that never were rendered.
"What I discovered will send a shudder of disquiet through the hearts of pet owners who believe they are entrusting the sick animals they love to the exclusive care of qualified practitioners," she told the Daily Mail on July 23, 2010. (See "Undercover at One of Britain's Largest Vets Where Sick Animals Are Abused, Pet Owners Ripped Off and Trainees Carry Out Life-or-Death Procedures.") "While I concede that many of the vets employed by Medivet are, indeed, diligent, skilled and scrupulous, others I have observed are guilty of malpractice, dishonesty and delegating critical tasks to unqualified nurses such as myself."
For its part, Medivet immediately cut its losses by apologizing and promising that remedial action would be taken. "We are shocked and appalled at the behavior of a few of our staff, and wish to apologize unreservedly for this," the chain told the BBC on July 23, 2010. (See "Medivet Responds to Panorama.") "We have immediately suspended a number of staff shown in the program to have behaved unacceptably, and disciplinary procedures will follow. This will include reporting possible professional misconduct to the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons."
The obvious problem with all such inquiries, whether they be undertaken by either the BBC or the RCVS, is that few individuals either inside or outside the veterinary medical profession have any regard for the sanctity of animal life. As a result, veterinarians are at liberty to not only kill cats like Ginger with impunity but to withhold treatment from the impecunious. (See Cat Defender post of July 16, 2010 entitled "Tossed Out the Window of a Car Like an Empty Beer Can, Injured Chattanooga Kitten Is Left to Die after at Least Two Veterinarians Refused to Treat It.")
Besides, it is not in their financial interest to provide expert veterinary care. In Medivet's case, doing so would substantially cut into the £20 million that it rakes in annually.
Although the odds are against her, Hume knows that her cause is just. "Ginger was put down without consent, without giving us a chance to find him," she told the Daily Mail in the October 20th article cited supra. "We should have been given at least twenty-four-hours to find him. We believe our rights have been taken away by the vets."
That is putting it rather mildly! The individual who abducted Ginger should be jailed for theft and both the NDCS and Blythman indicted for murder. What they did was not only criminal but morally reprehensible.
Unfortunately, snuffing out the lives of innocent cats is so ingrained in western culture that none of them did anything that the RSPCA and other so-called animal protection groups do not do every day of the week. (See Cat Defender posts of June 5, 2007 and October 23, 2010 entitled, respectively, "RSPCA's Unlawful Seizure and Senseless Killing of Mork Leaves His Sister, Mindy, Brokenhearted and His Caretakers Devastated" and "RSPCA Steals and Executes Nightshift Who Was His Elderly Caretaker's Last Surviving Link to Her Dead Husband.")
"We're all mortified. Ginger was a member of our family," Hume added to the Daily Mail. "When the vets told me I thought 'how dare you'?"
The answer to that rhetorical question is the same as it is in regard to the behavior of shelters, Animal Control officers, rescue groups, police officers, and all others who kill cats. In short, it is because there is absolutely nothing to stop them from committing their heinous crimes.
The only way that these senseless killings can be stopped is to outlaw the killing of cats by all individuals and groups under all circumstances. No discretion can be allowed because these groups have demonstrated time and time again that they have very little regard for the sanctity of feline life and ruthlessly will exploit any leeway that is given to them.
For the time being, Hume has been left with her grief and outrage. Even children living at Kent Court have been touched by Ginger's murder because, as according to Hume, "he was such a little character."
Of course, Ginger has lost the most. With topnotch veterinary care and Hume looking out for him at every turn, he conceivably could have lived for as long as another five or ten years.
Instead, his wonderfully long life ended horribly at the hands of no-good, rotten strangers who have nothing in their black souls except an overpowering love of money and an utter contempt for cats. Ginger deserved far better than that and, at the very least, should have been allowed to die at home of natural causes.
The final disposition of his remains is unknown. Hopefully, they were returned to Hume so that she not only could provide him with a proper interment but also receive a measure of closure as well.
Photo: Beverley Hume.