Officials at Plymouth College of Art Should Be Charged with Gross Negligence and Animal Cruelty in the Tragic Death of the School's Longtime Resident Feline, PCAT
|The Lovely PCAT in Happier Days|
"She was a real asset to the college and had always been completely spoiled."
-- steward Angie Davies
Another sad and disturbing chapter in the annals of cats and colleges was written last month at Plymouth College of Art (PCA) in Devon when its resident reline of more than ten years, PCAT, was run down and killed by a hit-and-run motorist on Ebrington Street. An unidentified veterinarian who examined her remains later declared, for whatever it is worth, that she had died instantaneously in the brutal attack which occurred approximately one block south of the metropolitan campus.
As per usual in killings of this sort, no arrest has been made and it would be nothing short of shocking if either the local police or humane groups had lifted so much as a lousy finger in order to bring the assailant to justice. That is all the more the shame because there possibly could have been eyewitnesses but without an investigation they never will be able to report what they observed.
Not much is known about the attractive brown and white female's prior life. She simply wandered onto campus one day and never left.
"Everyone loved PCAT," college steward Angie Davies told the Plymouth Herald on October 24th. (See "Staff and Students Say Farewell to Cat Who Had More Than One-Thousand Facebook Fans.") "She was a help to some students that were stressed. She calmed them down with a stroke."
That undeniably is true in that a cat's presence alone exudes a calming influence on those who are favorably disposed toward the species. Their nonjudgmental attitude, absolute honesty, and the unconditional love that they bestow on those who befriend them are priceless.
Unfortunately, in PCAT's case it appears that the vast majority of the benefits from the relationship accrued to the staff and students of PCA. According to the account rendered in the Plymouth Herald, for example, the only thing worthwhile that the school ever did for her was to build her what has been described as a "little kennel."
More than likely even it was unheated which is not a minor issue considering Plymouth's cold and rainy climate. For instance, overnight lows average around 38°F during the wintertime with daytime highs struggling to reach 48°F.
The city is, in fact, cold all the time with the thermometer dipping down at night to around 46°F throughout the year and climbing to only around 57°F during the daytime. That makes Plymouth about ten degrees colder than San Francisco whose summers Mark Twain once described as the coldest winters he had ever experienced.
The city also receives an average of thirty-nine inches of rain annually with an occasional snowstorm thrown in for good measure. A hardy outdoor cat is unlikely to die from exposure under such circumstances but her life would not be all that pleasant either.
From all accounts, the school was too cheap to even provide her with food and water. That in turn necessitated that she scrounge around for her next meal and cadge food from the school's two-thousand students.
"She used to hang about and now and then you'd do something like hand her a cheeky bit of ham from your sandwich," sophomore photography student Dan Richards told the Plymouth Herald in the article cited supra. "She was really chilled out and laid back -- pretty cool for a cat."
Additionally, there is nothing in the record that would tend to indicate that anyone connected with the school ever provided her with any form of veterinary care. With that being the case, it is pretty much a foregone conclusion that no one ever bothered to either groom her, remove the parasites from her fur, or to attend to minor injuries.
Presumably, she was spayed long before she arrived at PCA. If not, the school has considerable explaining to do regarding the disposition of her kittens.
Perhaps most telling of all, the thought of adopting this lovely cat and thus providing her with a secure, warm, and loving home apparently never once entered into the overly-inflated gourds of the tens of thousands of students, hundreds of teachers and staffers, and untold visitors who frequented the campus over the course of the past decade. England once was known as a nation of animal lovers but those lofty sentiments would appear to have been supplanted by callous indifference.
All of those gross derelictions of duty and abdication of moral responsibility pale in comparison, however, with the school's abject failure to provide for PCAT's personal safety. PCA is headquartered in a congested area and under no circumstances should she have been allowed to venture out into traffic.
No halfway sane person would allow a small child to cross a busy intersection unattended and the same rationale applies to cats as well. Surely the big brains at PCA have at least that much natural intelligence.
Furthermore, with an annual operating budget of £8 million the school cannot plead penury as a valid excuse for its failure to provide for and to protect PCAT. The same logic likewise applies to its students in that if they are capable of shelling out £1,385 per year in tuition they certainly were more than capable of doing far better than occasionally tossing her a crumb or two.
Most important of all, the college cannot plead being ignorant as to the dangers involved in allowing PCAT out into traffic because it was only four miles to the north on Poole Park Road in the Barne Barton section of St. Budeaux that a handsome twelve-year-old longhaired tuxedo named Casper was run down and killed by a hit-and-run motorist on January 14, 2010. He was killed while crossing the road in order to catch a bus that his owner, Susan Finden, foolishly allowed him to ride every day all by his lonesome.
After shedding a few perfunctory crocodile tears, Finden inked a book deal and Casper is now just a tragic memory. (See Cat Defender posts of August 27, 2009 and January 30, 2010 entitled, respectively, "Casper Treats Himself to an Unescorted Tour Around Plymouth Each Morning Courtesy of the Number Three Bus" and "Casper Is Run Down and Killed by a Hit-and-Run Taxi Driver While Crossing the Street in Order to Get to the Bus Stop.")
The problem of irresponsible individuals allowing cats to venture out into busy thoroughfares is by no means confined to Plymouth but rather is a nationwide concern. (See Cat Defender posts of January 25, 2012, December 5, 2006, April 19, 2007, and November 14, 2009 entitled, respectively, "The Innocence of Lambs: Unaware of the Dangers That Threaten His Very Existence, Dodger Charms Commuters on the Bridport to Charmouth Line," "Milo, Who Visits the Vet by Her Lonesome, Is Named Old Blighty's 'Most Adventurous Cat'," "Bus-Hopping Macavity Earns High Praise from His Fellow Commuters for Being the 'Perfect Passenger'," and "Percy Takes the Train All by Himself in Order to Visit the Penguins at an Aquarium in Scarborough.")
Cats most assuredly have a right to be outdoors but that does not entail being allowed out into vehicular traffic. Since students, teachers, and staffers at PCA were so acutely aware of the perils that lurk in the busy streets in and around campus their failure to have taken steps in order to have safeguarded PCAT's fragile life is not only inexcusable but criminal as well.
If it were feasible, the entire rotten lot of them should be indicted and charged with both gross negligence and animal cruelty. At the very least the school's administrators should be brought before the altar of justice and made to atone for their omissions and crimes. That is because they initialed PCAT's death warrant just as surely as if they had put a gun to her tiny head and pulled the trigger.
Even their tepid reaction to her death reveals not only how little they actually cared about her but also the depth of their moral depravity and runaway egotism. "She was a real asset to the college and had always been completely spoiled," Davies ludicrously chirruped in the face of all facts to the Plymouth Herald.
Quite obviously, as far as she is concerned an unheated kennel and an occasional bite from a ham sandwich constitute the very epitomes of generosity and compassion. She and the remainder of the eggheads at PCA are to be commended for not ratting out PCAT to the knackers at either the disreputable RSPCA or some other phony-baloney humane group in order to be liquidated but that is about the extent of anything positive that they ever did for her.
|A Motorist Hurries Past Plymouth College of Art|
"Everyone is talking about her," young Richards chimed in to the Plymouth Herald in the article cited supra. "It's felt weird in the college now she's gone."
Perhaps that is merely his inarticulate way of expressing himself, but the emotions of anyone who even cared one tiny bit about PCAT more fittingly would have run the gamut from profound sadness on the one hand to raging anger on the other hand at those responsible for her untimely death. With that being the case, it is difficult to comprehend the weirdness felt by Richards. Perhaps one day in the distant future those who knew him will return the favor by limiting their obsequies to expressions of weirdness at his passing.
An unidentified spokesperson for the administration added insult to injury by being so unfamiliar with PCAT as to be ignorant of even her gender. "The cat had visited the campus on a daily basis for over ten years and seemed to adopt the college as its home," the mouthpiece told the Plymouth Herald.
Students at the school did pony up £100 in order to have PCAT's corpse burned and her ashes placed in a miniature oak coffin with her name engraved on the lid. The inveterate cheapskates sans doute figured that by having her remains burned they could save a few bob on a smaller coffin as well as a measure of sweat and elbow grease by scratching out a smaller burial plot.
It has not been disclosed either where PCAT's remains have been buried or whether her grave even has a marker. Given the school's simply abhorrent mistreatment of her while she was alive coupled with its complicity in her death, it likely has opted for an out of sight, out of mind solution as the best means of covering up its crimes as quickly as possible.
While she was alive PCAT's page on Facebook attracted more than thirteen-hundred followers and approximately one-hundred of them have posted their condolences. Even the school's naked exploitation of her in cyberspace, as opposed to dutifully attending to her daily needs, is another outrageous example of its selfish and uncaring attitude.
Overall, everyone connected with PCA is guilty of failing to treat PCAT as a moral equal. Instead, they looked down their long, dirty schnozes at her and merely tolerated her presence on campus because she titillated their egos.
Far from being an isolated case, PCA's condescending attitude toward PCAT is merely par for the course as far as how the so-called intelligentsia treats cats. Students, for example, abandon them in droves on college campuses without so much as a second thought. Others either are dumped there or wander in on their own.
The point is moot, however, because no matter how they arrive college administrators still have a solemn moral responsibility to treat them humanely. The worst rotters in the woodpile quickly wash their hands of the matter by having them systematically rounded up and exterminated. (See Cat Defender posts of September 11, 2006, February 12, 2007, and July 31, 2008 entitled, respectively, "Selfish and Brutal Eggheads at Central Michigan University Target Colony of Feral Cats for Defamation and Eradication," "God-Fearing Baptists at Eastern University Kill Off Their Feral Cats on the Sly while Students Are Away on Christmas Break," and "Cal State Long Beach Is Using the Presence of Coyotes as a Pretext in Order to Get Rid of Its Feral Cats.")
The TNR policies in situ at Texas A&M, Stanford, and on other campuses are a huge improvement over trap and kill but they should not be viewed as ends within themselves. Rather, they need to be supplemented by adoption programs as well as measures that provide for the cats' physical safety. (See Cat Defender post of October 15, 2012 entitled "Texas A&M Ushers In a New Academic Year but Things Are Not Just Quite the Same Without Its Beloved Bisbee.")
Vivisectors at innumerable universities torture, carve up, and kill countless cats each year in the pursuit of their totally worthless and bogus research. That is in addition to the abuse and exploitation meted out to the species at the University of Georgia, the University of Illinois, Harvard, the Smithsonian, and other colleges and institutions by cat-hating ornithologists and wildlife biologists who shanghai countless numbers of them into becoming guinea pigs so that they can fabricate data later to be used in order to justify en masse eradication schemes. (See Cat Defender posts of July 18, 2011 and July 12, 2011 entitled, respectively, "Evil Professors Have Transformed College Campuses into Hotbeds of Hatred Where Cats Routinely Are Vilified, Horribly Abused, and Systematically Killed" and "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.")
|Tom and Emily Hunt with Their Petition|
Although the leaders at some colleges are beginning to deal with cats in a more humane manner, the overwhelming majority of them are an incorrigible lot who are only concerned with counting their coins, burnishing their plaques, and strutting. Accordingly, when it comes to treating cats humanely they are deserving of nothing but failing marks on their report cards. The same likewise applies to their naked abuse and exploitation of farm animals, wildlife, and other animals.
In spite of the intransigence and uncaring attitude of the universities, some steps, albeit baby ones, are being taken in order to better protect cats from the evil designs of motorists. For instance, New Start Cat Rescue Centre in Newent, near Gloucester, is lobbying the Transportation Department to make it compulsory for all motorists to report every cat that they run down.
Under the Road Traffic Act of 1988, section 170, they already are obliged to report all dogs, horses, sheep, cows, pigs, goats, asses, and mules that they hit but for some inexplicable reason cats were omitted from the strictures of the act when it was drafted. Earlier this year a petition on the charity's web site calling for the inclusion of cats collected eight-thousand-one-hundred-forty-five signatures.
In the Woodseats section of Sheffield in South Yorkshire, Tom and Emily Hunt are petitioning the local authorities to establish a twenty-mile-an-hour speed limit on Hackthorn Road where they live and in surrounding communities. They initiated this action after their cat, Rascal, was killed by a speeding motorist in October of 2011.
"I had adopted her as a rescue kitten eight years ago, when living in Shropshire, so her death hit us quite hard," he confided to the Sheffield Telegraph on April 17th. (See "'Speeding Motorist Killed Our Pet Cat' Says Sheffield Man.") "She was killed by a driver who was speeding on our roads."
Similar campaigns are currently being undertaken in Berlin and in other cities across Deutschland although roadside memorials in honor of feline traffic victims are still strictly verboten in Möhnesse, Nordrhein Westfalen. (See Cat Defender post of October 9, 2010 entitled "Feline Traffic Fatalities Are Unworthy of Commemoration According to a Möhnesse Bureaucrat Who Orders the Destruction of a Roadside Memorial to Jule.")
Cat Crossing signs, such as those erected in Milford, Connecticut and on the remote Japanese island of Iriomote, definitely are worth a try. (See Cat Defender posts of January 26, 2007 and November 27, 2006 entitled, respectively, "Cat Activists Succeed in Getting Connecticut Town to Erect a Cat Crossing Sign" and "After Surviving on Its Own for at Least Two Million Years, Rare Japanese Wildcat Faces Toughest Battle Yet.")
Another good idea would be to permanently close exclusively residential streets to through traffic. This would put an end once and for all to speeding motorists terrorizing animals, children, and adults in an effort to get around main arteries that often are congested.
Contrary to the propaganda so profusely disseminated by the capitalist media, cars do not kill cats; rather, it is motorists and they do so deliberately. Much too craven to fight in Iraq and Afghanistan, they instead get their jollies by running down cats and other defenseless animals.
Such aberrant behavior furnishes them with an adrenaline rush and gives them a feeling of power and superiority. For that reason and others, it is imperative that pressure be brought to bear on lawmakers so as to force them to take substantive measures in order to make streets and roads safer for all animals.
None of that in any way helps PCAT who still would be alive today if so much as a solitary soul at PCA had cared enough about her to have safeguarded her life. Her violent death is a tragedy that could and should have been prevented.
No matter how hard all those connected with PCA may attempt to divert blame, there can be no denying that PCAT's blood is all over their hands. Yet despite that, none of them has shown any willingness to either accept responsibility for their negligent behavior or even to utter so much as a syllable of contrition.
Accordingly, none of the them have learned anything as the result of her death and that is perhaps the most damning indictment of all. It is, after all, the hallmark of any halfway intelligent individual to learn from mistakes and to strive to do better in the future.
Photos: Facebook (PCAT), Creative Torbay (college), and Sheffield Telegraph (the Hunts with their petition).