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Cat Defender

Exposing the Lies and Crimes of Bird Advocates, Wildlife Biologists, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, PETA, the Humane Society of the United States, Exterminators, Vivisectors, the Scientific Community, Fur Traffickers, Cloners, Breeders, Designer Pet Purveyors, Hoarders, Motorists, the United States Military, and Other Ailurophobes

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Innocence of Lambs: Unaware of the Dangers That Threaten His Very Existence, Dodger Charms Commuters on the Bridport to Charmouth Line

Dodger Waits Patiently at the Bus Stop

"We moved here nineteen months ago and our house backs on to the bus station. He is an old boy and is very friendly. Sometimes he just sits in the middle of the road and waits for the bus to turn up before he gets on."
-- Fee Jeanes

Unperturbed by the myriad of glaring dangers involved, both the English public and media once again are celebrating the exploits of yet still another footloose and fancy-free feline with a dangerous case of Wanderlust burning in his soul. The 2011 version is a fifteen-year-old ginger and white tom named Dodger who hails from West Street in Bridport, Dorset, and has developed a penchant for riding mass transit by his lonesome.

Named in honor of the accomplished pickpocket artist, the Artful Dodger, from out of the pages of Charles Dickens's novel, Oliver Twist, he of late has been making ten-mile roundtrips between his home and Charmouth aboard First Bus. He also reportedly has been sighted treating himself to excursions along the Jurassic Coast on the number fifty-three bus which runs between Exeter in Devonshire and Poole in Dorset.

Dodger usually begins his day by hanging out at the bus station in Bridport where he sometimes helps himself to sandwiches, pork pies, and other edibles left behind by the commuters. Once on board, he often is able to find an obliging lap on which on rest his tired bones and even when one is not immediately available either a friendly pat on the head or a gentle stroking of his fur will do almost as well. As an added bonus, some of the drivers have taken to treating him to tins of tuna.

Dodger Gingerly Boards the Bus

The buses' main attraction is believed by some to be the warm laps provided by the commuters but that does not seem likely in that the has plenty of those at home. A far more plausible explanation is the availability of plenty of free food. A sense of adventure, boredom, and loneliness all likely factor somewhere into the equation.

Press reports fail to disclose either how often Dodger rides the buses or how long he has been engaging in this activity. Anecdotal evidence, however, tends to suggest that hopping on board is a fairly new diversion as far as he is concerned.

"We moved here nineteen months ago and our house backs on to the bus station. He is an old boy and is very friendly," his forty-four-year-old owner, Fee Jeanes, told The Bridport News on December 14th. (See "Meet Dodger, the Bus Traveling Cat.") "Sometimes he just sits in the middle of the road and waits for the bus to turn up before he gets on."

That frank admission simply is mind-boggling because no halfway decent and responsible human being ever would knowingly allow a cat to venture out into traffic. It often is said that cats and dogs have the maturity of a four-year-old child and no parent ever would allow one of them out in traffic without accompaniment and the same is doubly true for cats because whereas most motorists will brake for a child they cannot be counted upon to do likewise for a cat.

Dodger Bides His Time at the Bus Station

Every bit as outrageous, Jeanes does not even know Dodger's whereabouts most of the time. "He's down there (at the bus station) all day and I have to go out in the night to make sure he is okay," she confessed to the Dorset Echo of Weymouth on December 14th. (See "Dodger the Cat Hops on Bridport Buses.")

Instead, she is forced to rely upon surveillance reports supplied by family members, commuters, and bus drivers. "I hadn't seen him all morning until my daughter Emily told me one of her friends had just seen him on the bus at Charmouth. I couldn't believe it and panicked," she told The Bridport News in the article cited supra. "I got into my car to go off and look for him and then at that moment the bus pulled up near our house and lo and behold he got off."

Even that scare failed to prompt her to mend her irresponsible and uncaring ways and thus keep a closer eye on her cat. "That afternoon I saw Dodger climb on board another bus and I rushed to tell the driver," she told The Bridport News. "I was shocked when she told me Dodger was always on there and liked to sit on the seats because they are warm from where people have been sitting."

To hear her tell it, playing Russian roulette with the life of a cat is the most natural and morally acceptable thing in the world. "He's absolutely fine," she declared in the face of all logic to the Dorset Echo. "He comes home and sleeps at the end of my bed and spends the rest of the day at the bus station."

Dodger Is Caressed by a Sympathetic Commuter

Luckily for Dodger, First Bus is an unusually feline friendly carrier. "The drivers have been asked not to feed it because we recognize that cat has an owner and we do not want to discourage it from returning home for food and shelter," a spokesman for the company told The Bridport News in the article cited supra. "But in principle we do not have a problem with it being around the station."

Even Dodger's failure to feed the farebox is not a problem. "Given this cat is elderly we suspect it would be eligible for free travel, perhaps a bus puss, if such a thing existed," the spokesman added tongue-in-cheek.

In another poignant example of First Bus's caring attitude, on February 10, 2009 driver Peter Whiting rescued a black cat that had been run down and left for dead by a motorist on Fakenham Road in the Taverham section of Norwich. Although the cat suffered a broken jaw, a concussion, and possibly even brain damage, it nevertheless was expected to live.

Moreover, the compassion shown by Whiting must have been contagious because once the cat was safely on board his kindhearted passengers not only attended to it but one of them, Jo Laker, even was so gracious as to procure emergency veterinary care for it. Such altruism is almost unheard of in the United States where motorists make a sport out of running down cats and other animals and most individuals are too cheap and selfish to spend so much as a lousy penny on any animal.

Dodger and Fee Jeanes

Soon after The Bridport News published its exposé describing Dodger's rambles, the story was picked up by most of London's dailies, television stations, and even by media outlets in cat-hating Australia. As a consequence, both Dodger and Jeanes now are world famous.

"It's been amazing. It has gone mad," she exclaimed to The Bridport News on December 21st. (See "National Newshounds on the Trail of Dodger the Bus Puss.") "We didn't expect so much attention. Dodger is worn-out."

Whether or not Jeanes expected that type of a media feeding frenzy is a debatable point in that it was precisely she who contacted The Bridport News in the first place. It accordingly would be a tragic shame if she is needlessly endangering Dodger's life in order to garner acclaim and financial gain for herself.

As it is perfectly obvious, the perils confronting Dodger can in no way be underestimated. First of all, he could be either accidentally or intentionally poisoned by scaveging for food at the bus station.

Secondly, he easily could get lost. That is of special concern whenever he is on board the Jurassic Coast line which traverses a distance of one-hundred-fifty-three kilometers with many stops along the way. Regardless of which bus he rides, there are from time to time substitute and new drivers at the wheel who might elect to put him off at just about anywhere and that very well could spell the last that either Jeanes or anyone else ever saw of him.

The Handsome and Intrepid but Ill-Fated Casper

He also could be stolen for either nefarious or humane purposes. Back in 2007, for example, a cat-lover abducted Slim from the streets of Ottawa and refused to return him to his owners out of a sincere belief that they were neglecting him. (See Cat Defender post of July 9, 2007 entitled "Hungry and Disheveled Cat Named Slim Is Picked Up Off the Streets of Ottawa by a Rescuer Who Refuses to Return Him to His Owners.")

Considering Jeanes's abysmal failure to protect and keep Dodger out of harm's way, he definitely would be far better off in the home of another owner. Sometimes even outright thievery is preferable to sitting idly by and allowing a cat to be abused and, possibly, even killed.

The endless machinations of ailurophobes are another concern but the greatest threat to Dodger's well-being comes from motorists. No cat belongs in any busy street, let alone an elderly one who is the equivalent of seventy-six-years-old in human terms.

Back in 2009, a twelve-year-old tuxedo named Casper from the Barne Barton section of St. Budeaux in Plymouth, Devonshire, shot to international notoriety when it was revealed that he had been riding First Bus's number three line for four years. During that time it is estimated that he traveled twenty-thousand miles by his lonesome.

His adventures made for a charming story but his all-too-brief sojourn on this earth ended tragically on January 14, 2010 when he was run down and killed by a hit-and-run taxi driver while crossing Poole Park Road in order to get to the bus stop on the opposite side. (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.")

Casper Lives on in Print

"I never dreamt I'd miss an animal as much as I miss him," his owner, sixty-seven-year-old health care worker Susan Finden, said shortly after his death. "He was lovely and loved people so much. He was such a different character." She since has published a book entitled Casper the Commuting Cat with the proceeds from which supposedly going to animal charities.

"What would I give to have one last cuddle? There are so many little things that I miss about you, Casper. I miss you sitting on the worktop watching me cook; I miss the closeness as we sat on the sofa together in the evening," she wrote in an excerpt published in the Daily Mail on July 23, 2010. (See "Tickets Purr-lease! Hopping on the Bus Every Day Turned Casper the Cat into a Star, a New Book Recalls His Exploits.") "But most of all, I miss looking out the bedroom window and spotting you there at the bus stop, waiting patiently with the other passengers for the number three bus as if it was the most natural thing in the world."

She, quite obviously, is either a liar or so slow on the uptake that she never learns a blessed thing from her colossal mistakes. After all, she had known for some time that she was placing Casper's life in grave jeopardy by allowing him to venture out into traffic by himself. In fact, even before his untimely death he had had several narrow escapes.

"We think he's about twelve-years-old but he has no road sense whatsoever," she candidly admitted shortly before his death. "He just runs across the road to the bus stop."

Congested West Street Is Far too Dangerous for Footloose Cats

In Dodger's case, he does not have to cross the street in order to board the bus but that advantage is negated by his proclivity to wait for it in the street as opposed to on the curb. On top of that, West Street is very busy and congested on weekdays despite there being only thirteen-thousand residents in Bridport.

It therefore is a foregone conclusion that unless Jeanes and First Bus do a far better job of safeguarding Dodger's fragile life than Finden and the company did with Casper, he is destined to suffer a similar fate. Under such depressing circumstances, it might not be too soon to initiate a death watch for him.

At the bare minimum, either Jeanes or another member of her family should put Dodger on the bus in the morning and be on hand to collect him when he returns later in the day. During the interval, his safety should be the responsibility of First Bus.

Cats have a legitimate right to their freedom but Jeanes's callous treatment of Dodger and Finden's failure to protect Casper are tantamount to cold-blooded, calculated acts of animal cruelty. Additionally, the deafening silence emanating from both the English media and animal rights groups regarding the safety and well-being of both Dodger and Casper speaks volumes for them but it is not a script that either of them would be flattered to have read back to them.

Much the same is true for the hundreds of commuters who ride the Bridport to Charmouth line every day. Unlike Thomas Harris's fictional character Clarice Starling, they never allow the terrified bleatings of innocent lambs to disturb their repose.

Photos: BNPS and the Daily Mail (Dodger), The Sun (Casper), Amazon (book jacket), and D1169254 of Wikipedia (West Street).

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Veterinary Watchdog Group Not Only Allows an Incompetent Substitute Practitioner to Get Away With Killing Junior but Scolds His Owner for Complaining


"J' ai eu l'impression que ce vétérinaire ne pensait qu' à l'argent et que l'état de santé de mon chat le laissait complètement indifférent. Les vétérinaires font ce qu'ils veulent sur les animaux."
-- Graziella Croisé


When seven-year-old Junior developed a fever and stopped eating in June of 2010 his devoted owner, Graziella Croisé, took him to see an unidentified veterinarian doing business on l'avenue Charles-de-Gaule in Laon, approximately one-hundred-twenty kilometers north of Paris. Because he also was underweight and had a weak pulse, the practitioner initially diagnosed him to be suffering from either the Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) or Feline Leukemia (FeLV). Despite the fact that Junior was listless and had pale gums, it apparently never occurred to him that he also might be suffering from anemia.

He therefore gave Junior an injection of antibiotics. He also gave Croisé a week's supply of pills to give him plus a prescription to be filled. She returned to the surgery two days later at which time a blood sample was taken at the tune of €63.95.

Croisé made a third visit to the veterinarian two days later and that was when he informed her that Junior had tested positive for FIV and was going to die. He gave him another injection and relieved her of an additional €160.

At that same time she also learned to her horror that not only had Junior been anesthetized when the blood sample was taken but that the veterinarian also had extracted a tooth and cleaned the remaining teeth. Since both the administration of general anesthesia and the removal of the tooth were undertaken before the blood sample had been analyzed and, more importantly, without her knowledge and consent, she believes that they contributed to Junior's unnecessary suffering and premature death exactly four days after his initial visit to the surgery.

The utterly deplorable situation is further complicated by the fact that Junior was treated by a substitute veterinarian. It is unclear from the record, however, exactly when Croisé learned of that.

Croisé, who also cares for four other cats and a dog, accordingly filed an official complaint against the veterinarian with the Conseil régional de l'ordre des vétérinaires Picardie (CROV) in Amiens. (See photo above of her with her poodle.)

On all counts she has just cause to complain. First of all, anesthetizing a cat is dangerous business that never should be undertaken except in emergencies. It is so dangerous in fact that some veterinarians require owners to sign consent forms beforehand.

In this regard it is important to remember that even sedating a cat in order to either transport it on an airplane or to untangle its fur can have deadly consequences and the administration of general anesthesia is far more dangerous than that. (See Cat Defender posts of April 7, 2009 and December 23, 2010 entitled, respectively, "Pregnant Minskin Arrives in Oregon Frozen as Solid as a Block of Ice Following a Fatal Cross-Country Flight in the Cargo Hold of an Airliner" and "Tavia's Desperate Pleas for Help Fall Upon the Deaf Ears of the Evangelical Who Abandoned Her and the Heartless Officials and Citizens of Kissimmee.")

Besides being potentially lethal, anesthesia is superfluous when it comes to taking blood and urine samples. Even in the case of a frightened cat veterinarians have muzzles, bags, gloves, towels, and various stereotactic devices at their disposal which preclude the need for intubating and knocking out a cat as cold as a stone.

Much more importantly, a pre-anesthetic blood screening would have detected Junior's anemia and warned the veterinarian against administering general anesthesia and extracting the tooth. In hindsight, it now appears that what he desperately needed was either oral medication or an emergency blood transfusion.

Although it has not been disclosed how the substitute veterinarian arrived at his diagnosis that Junior was FIV-positive, the Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA) test is the usual tool even though it is far from being one-hundred per cent accurate. As a consequence, it usually is supplemented by the Western Blot test.

In particular, kittens born to FIV-positive mothers will test positive for the disease under the ELISA regimen. Conscientious veterinarians therefore usually wait three to six months before testing them again with the Western Blot protocol. By that time the inherited antibodies usually have disappeared.

"Mon chat était certainement condamné mais ce qui lui a été fait par ce vétérinaire l' a achevé de façon inhumaine," Croisé told L'Union of Reims on June 17, 2010. (See "Son chat est mort du syndrome d'immunodéficience acquise, elle accuse le vétérinaire.")

In that regard the facts tend to indicate that she is only partially correct. In particular, FIV rarely is the death sentence that she and her veterinarian allege. Au contraire, most cats suffering from the malady live long, healthy, and relatively normal lives without any symptoms at all. (See The Orange County Register, August 24, 2008, "A New Look at FIV" and the Grand Traverse Herald of Traverse City, Michigan, September 2, 2008, "'Un-touchable' Cats Get New Lease on Life.")

Although there is not any per se treatment for FIV, infected cats should be fed good quality food and have their health closely monitored because any infection could be potentially life-threatening. Nevertheless, since the disease is transmitted by bites, it is not always necessary to even segregate these cats from their non-infected playmates.

Since it therefore seems unlikely that FIV was the cause of Junior's untimely death, suspicion falls upon the veterinarian's failure to diagnose and treat his anemia as the most likely culprit. Unless diagnosed and aggressively treated in a timely manner, anemia can be fatal. (See Cat Defender post of April 18, 2010 entitled "Ally's Last Ride Lands Her in a Death Trap Set by an Uncaring and Irresponsible Supermarket Chain and a Bargain Basement Shelter.")

In spite of all of that, the CROV sided wholeheartedly with the veterinarian and curtly dismissed Croisé's complaint in either late December of 2010 or in early January of 2011. It did not stop there, however, but availed itself of the opportunity presented to it in order to rake Croisé over the coals for having the temerity to even complain.

"Les actions thérapeutiques et de diagnostic du vétérinaire se sont inscrites dans la continuité et que la préocédure n'atablit aucune faute déontologique crédible à la charge du vétérinaire, lequel a rapporté avoir subi des injures et dénigrements non justifiés de la part de la plaignante qui a attaqué la profession dans son ensemble par voie de presse," the CROV ruled according to the January 5, 2011 edition of L'Union. (See "Chat mort du syndrome d'immunodéficience acquise: la vétérinaire hors de cause.")

If that simply absurd example of a professional whitewash sounds familiar it is because Croisé received even less satisfaction from the CROV than did Blaydon Burn resident Heather Irwin when she complained to the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) about an incompetent veterinarian who nearly killed her cat, Felix. (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.")

So, in the end, Croisé was left with only the satisfaction that she did not elect to have Junior's life snuffed out like so many other unconscionable cat owners do but instead stood faithfully by his side until the bitter end. "Je voyais qu'il était en train de mourir," she told L'Union in the June 17, 2010 article cited supra. "Je peux vous assurer qu'il a énormément souffert car je suis restée à ses côtés jusqu' à son dernier souffle."

Like so many other cat and dog owners all over the world, Croisé learned much too late that the vast majority of veterinarians care only about money. "J'ai eu l'impression que ce vétérinaire ne pensait qu' à l'argent et que l'état de santé de mon chat le laisait complètement indifférent," she averred to L'Union in the June 17, 2010 article cited supra. "Les vétérinaires font ce qu'ils veulent sur les animaux. Ils sont formatés pour vendre. C'est ça qui me dégoûte."

As far as Croisé's complaint about being overcharged is concerned, that is merely par for the course in that most veterinarians, and MDs as well, seldom pass up an opportunity in order to gouge the public. That is what Brian Burgess of Sandyford in Staffordshire found out firsthand on December 16th when his sixteen-year-old cat suffered what he claims to have been a stroke.

When he first telephoned a local veterinarian he was told that it would cost him £119 to have his stricken cat dispatched to the devil. After the dirty deed was done, however, the veterinarian turned around and hit him up for £141.59.

"Once again, another institution has jumped on the bandwagon to screw the general public out of money," he complained January 16th in a letter to the editors of The Sentinel of Stoke-on-Trent. (See "£141 Put My Pet Cat to Sleep.") "The vets that I knew as a child were dedicated to the welfare of any animal and they were moderate with their fees according to your standard of living. But the new generation of vets is pay up or your animal can suffer, and if you have not got insurance, tough luck."

While it sans doute is true that neither the veterinary nor medical professions any longer have much in the way of compassion for the impecunious, cat owners such as Burgess certainly have not changed their way of thinking. Specifically, when it comes to medicating and attending to the needs of their elderly and sick companions they are every bit as cheap and lazy as their ancestors.

Based solely upon his own words, Burgess apparently contemplated taking even far more drastic measures in order to rid himself of his moral responsibilities to his stricken cat. "Do I take her home and watch her die in agony, take her down to the canal with a brick around her neck, or simply belt her across the head with a hammer?" he asked the readers of The Sentinel.

Individuals like Burgess are so uncaring and such cheapskates that the mere thought of procuring competent veterinary care for their ailing cats is as alien to them as cutting off their own hands. Au fond, they fail to recognize any discernible moral difference between a sick cat and a broken alarm clock; consequently, they view them both simply as objects to be chucked out in the trash once that they have outlived their usefulness.

It also would be interesting to know exactly how Burgess determined that his cat had suffered a Feline Ischemic Encephalopathy (FIE) in that even blood samples, urinalysis, and radiography are not always capable of making that type of sophisticated diagnosis; instead, usually either an MRI or a computed tomography (CT) is required.

Much more importantly, if an FIE is diagnosed early and localized, a full recovery is possible. In such cases, cats usually start to show signs of improvement within seventy-two hours and most return to normal within two to three weeks. Therefore, if Burgess had cared anything about his cat he would have put his precious bob to far better use by procuring treatment for her instead of cruelly and heartlessly having her killed.

None of that in any way obviates the pressing need for legitimate veterinary care that is affordable. As things now stand, many loving but impoverished cat owners are left without any alternative other than to sit idly by and watch their beloved companions die due to a lack of moola.

The odious practice of veterinarians maiming and killing cats, dogs, and other animals while simultaneously cleaning out their owners' pockets is by no means confined to France, Angleterre, and the United States; on the contrary, the practice of veterinary medicine is a racket that does not recognize any boundaries and extends worldwide. Of particular concern are veterinary chains, such as Medivets in England, which employ unqualified assistants at slave wages to perform procedures that should be left to licensed veterinarians. (See Cat Defender post of January 11, 2012 entitled "A Deadly Intrigue Concocted by a Thief, a Shelter, and a Veterinary Chain Costs Ginger the Continued Enjoyment of His Golden Years.")

For instance, in March of 2010 public relations consultant Wendy Leow took her beloved three-month-old Shih Tzu, Precious, to a veterinarian in Petaling Jaya in the Malaysian state of Selangor to be treated for a skin problem. Without even performing so much as a skin swab, which is customary in such cases, the practitioner diagnosed Precious to be suffering from the mange.

Dissatisfied with the treatment that Precious was receiving, Yeow took him to another veterinarian in Bricksfield, outside of Kuala Lumpur, who correctly diagnosed him to be suffering only from a common yeast infection and not the mange. Yeow accordingly was advised to put him on a fish diet and to add a teaspoon of yogurt to his food dish.

Unfortunately by that time the damage had been done and it was necessary for the second veterinarian to perform emergency surgery on Precious's ulcerated right eye. Afterwards the eye had to be sutured shut for forty days in order to give it a chance to heal. Despite that effort, his vision has been irreparably damaged due to scarring.

As Yeow was to later learn, the veterinarian who so grotesquely misdiagnosed Precious's condition was not a real veterinarian but only an unqualified assistant. (See photo above of Precious and his damaged eye.)

Even more outrageously, the same surgery killed a one-year-old Pekingese earlier in March of 2009 at its Kuala Lumpur office by botching a routine sterilization. The veterinarian not only punctured the female's intestines but was so careless as to leave behind fur in the wound.

After somehow enduring all of that, the poor dog was left unattended in a deserted clinic to suffer alone. (See photo immediately above.)

The dog's owner who is known only by the nom de guerre of Elsie took the dog to another veterinarian who performed emergency surgery on her but, tragically, was unable to save her life. Adding insult to injury, Elsie was threatened when she had the cheek to complain to the first veterinarian about killing her dog.

"I'm so sad about losing my dog," she told The Star of Kuala Lumpur on September 27, 2010. (See "Beware Bogus Vets.") "I hope someone can do something and stop more animals from dying because of this horrible vet."

It additionally is not uncommon in Malaysia for veterinarians to allow their spouses to treat sick animals. Pet shop owners who practice veterinary medicine without being licensed to do so are another huge problem.

"They not only vaccinate, they do spaying surgery, castration, and so on. And they are cheap," Paul Chelliah of the Malaysian Small Animal Veterinary Association told The Star in the article cited supra. "Some of them are former DVS (Department of Veterinary Services) staff who are not qualified, just assistants previously. Some of them operate from their houses or go house to house. I have confronted some of them but they laughed and challenged me to do something."

Even the United States has its share of bogus and incompetent veterinarians. (See Cat Defender posts of February 14, 2006 and February 26, 2008 entitled, respectively, "Special Agent Fred the Cat Goes Undercover to Help Nab a Quack Vet in Brooklyn Sting Operation" and "The Dark Side of Spay and Neuter: Veterinarian Botched Surgeries and Back Alley Castrations Claim the Lives of Numerous Cats.")

As far greater problem in the land of guns and dollar bills are veterinarians who, although more or less competent, do not have an ounce of respect for the sanctity of feline life. (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.")

The portrait of the veterinary profession that emerges from all of these cases is not a very pretty one. On the one hand, pet owners who take their companions to surgeries are often unwittingly handing them over to be treated by substitutes recruited from parts unknown and with dubious qualifications, unqualified assistants, relatives of licensed practitioners, and outright quacks. On the other hand, there is not any guarantee that even when a licensed practitioner can be secured that either he or she will behave in a competent and professional manner.

Worst of all is the marked disdain that the profession harbors in its malignant bosom for treating and saving animals. Watchdog groups such as the RCVS, CROV, and the despicable American Veterinary Medical Association do not any more police their colleagues than the Better Business Bureau regulates the conduct of its greedy, unscrupulous members.

Caveat emptor therefore is the rule whenever selecting a veterinarian. Moreover, locating an honest, sincere, and competent practitioner is only half the battle; a wheelbarrow chock-full of cash also is needed.

If at all possible, no owner ever should allow a cat to be left alone with a veterinarian. That is the faux pas that Croisé committed and it ended up costing Junior his life.

Photos: L'Union (Croisé), The Star (Precious and the Pekingese).

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

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.

Friday, January 06, 2012

Nico Dauphiné Is Let Off with an Insultingly Lenient $100 Fine in a Show Trial That Was Fixed from the Very Beginning


"I plan to go back to the community (of fellow cat abusers and killers) and work to repair all the damage that has been done."
-- Nico Dauphiné


Dr. Nico Dauphiné strutted out of Superior Court in Washington on December 14th as a free woman and no doubt laughing up her sleeve all the while at the corruption and utter imbecility of the American judicial system. Thanks to the mindless generosity of Judge Truman A. Morrison III, all that her attempted poisoning of a colony of homeless cats in Meridian Hill Park last spring cost her was a measly $100, or the equivalent of a local parking ticket. (See photo of her above grinning like the devil.)

If she is like most cheap-ass, penny-pinching academics, she will squeal from here until she is interred about being forced to part with her precious shekels but other than that she could not have many complaints. After all, under District of Columbia law she could have been fined up to $1,000 and sentenced to serve as much as one-hundred-eighty days in jail.

Even though her fine has been earmarked for the Crime Victims Compensation Fund, it is highly unlikely that the cats' caretakers, who first discovered the rat poison and antifreeze in their feeding dishes, will see so much as a red cent of it. In addition to receiving a one-hundred-eighty-day suspended sentence, Dauphiné was ordered to perform one-hundred-twenty-hours of unspecified community service and placed on probation for a year. During that period she has been ordered to stay away from cats.

Dauphiné, who proclaimed her innocence throughout the proceedings that culminated in her conviction for misdemeanor animal cruelty on October 31st, did not utter either a syllable of contrition or accept any responsibility for her heinous conduct. Rather, she put the time allotted her by Morrison to good use by groveling on the carpet for a new sinecure that will enable her to finance another feline killing spree.

"I plan to go back to the community and work to repair all the damage that has been done," she is quoted as telling the court in the December 14th edition of the Washington Post. (See "Former National Zoo Employee Placed on Probation, Ordered to Stay Away from All Cats for a Year.")

By community she sans doute is referring to that closely-knit gang of inveterate cat-haters and killers known as ornithologists and wildlife biologists. She also only refers to the damage that has been done to the cat killing movement as opposed to the damage that she has done to it.

She additionally told the court that she was "very ashamed" to have disappointed her supporters and colleagues and that she knew that she faced an "enormous task ahead" in regaining their esteem," CNN reported on December 15th. (See "Ex-National Zoo Employee Sentenced in Attempted Feral Cat Poisoning.")

Translated into plain and simple English, Dauphiné is not the least bit ashamed of attempting to poison the cats; au contraire, she is immensely proud of that. What she is embarrassed about is finally getting caught flagrante delicto and losing her job at the Smithsonian's National Zoo and the myriad of opportunities that it presented her to abuse and kill cats.

On that point even the loony Morrison is in agreement with her. "This is a serious offense, more serious than many misdemeanors," he gassed to the Washington Post in the article cited supra. "Her career is now in grave jeopardy and will never be what it was before she was prosecuted and convicted."

By blowing it out both ends like that Morrison was not only attempting to hoodwink the public but to excuse his irresponsible decision to let off Dauphiné scot-free. In fact, he has freely admitted that simply being convicted was punishment enough for her.

Much more importantly, both he and Dauphiné know only too well that her time in the unemployment line is destined to be exceedingly brief in that ornithologists and wildlife biologists comprise a criminal fraternity where cat killers are always welcomed with opened arms. It therefore would not be surprising if she has not already been flooded with job offers from universities and various other cat-hating groups.

After all, seemingly every university in the the country is chock-full of not only feline defamers, but professors who kill, cut up, and use cats as guinea pigs in order to collect data that they in turn employ in order to justify mass slaughters of them. Their specialty, however, lies in brainwashing feeble-minded cretins like Dauphiné into committing the criminal acts that they are too cowardly to commit themselves. (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.")

Back during the 1980's, a conviction on an applicant's curriculum vitae was sufficient in order to secure a position as a vice president at the Wall Street investment bank of Drexel Burnham Lambert and ornithologists and wildlife biologists, being every bit as thick and totally unscrupulous as those inveterate thieves, look after their own in pretty much the same fashion. Only recently, serial cat killer James Munn Stevenson parlayed his atrocities into both fame and fortune. (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.")

That rosy assessment of Dauphiné's prospects is further buttressed by the many letters that her friends, colleagues, and supporters sent to Morrison arguing in favor of, not leniency, but rather her complete innocence. The Smithsonian, which employed, trained, and protected her right up until her conviction, may even eventually rehire her once the uproar generated by her criminal activities dies down.

It even is conceivable that it, which receives almost a billion dollars annually from the taxpayers, is footing the bill for her defense. If not, there certainly is not any shortage of bird and wildlife advocacy groups who would be more than willing to assume that responsibility.

If Morrison truly were concerned about the state of Dauphiné's finances, the proper thing for him to have done was to open up his silk purse and spot her a couple of hundred grand in order to tide her over this rough patch in her career. If, on the other hand, he was too cheap to have done that, he should have passed the hat for her.

On a much more fundamental level, Morrison's grave concern for the middle-class Dauphiné's financial well-being stands in stark contrast with how jurists treat the poor and working class. Instead of suspended sentences, kind words, and compassion, they are brusquely hustled off to the hoosegow and their families are left to fend for themselves as best they are able.

Once they are returned to society their jobs are long gone and sometimes their abodes and families as well. It is totally inconceivable that any jurist would cry out his peepers for them like Morrison has done for Dauphiné.

Added to that, Dauphiné's crimes are far more egregious than those of the average offender. Besides, she has enjoyed every advantage in life that most of them have been denied.

If Morrison were worth a hill of beans as a judge instead of behaving like the stench of the bench he would reserve his compassion for those offenders who truly are worthy of it instead of squandering it on a hate-filled cat killer. There is a place in sound jurisprudence for compassion and leniency but for one middle-class elite from the federal bureaucracy to bestow it on another as an act of professional courtesy is definitely not it.

Morrison also dishonestly argued that Dauphiné did not belong in jail because she did not have a prior criminal record. Although that is technically true, he surely was well aware that while she was a graduate student at the University of Georgia (UGA) she made quite a name for herself by illegally trapping dozens, if not indeed hundreds, of cats at apartment complexes in Athens and then handing them over to shelters to be killed. Furthermore, since UGA supplied her with the traps that makes it and, by extension, the state of Georgia complicit in her crimes.

She therefore has a long history of killing cats. The only thing that changed when she came north to Washington was her tactics and even that is problematic. For example, Assistant United States Prosecuting Attorney Kevin Chambers told the court that Dauphiné had pressured apartment managers in Washington to ban the feeding of cats on their grounds. It therefore is highly likely that in addition to poisoning cats in Meridian Hill Park she also may have reprised the tactics that she employed so successfully in Athens.

"She attempted to take a life," Chambers' colleague, Clare Pozos, told the court in arguing that Dauphiné should receive counseling as opposed to time in the clink. Morrison also vetoed that suggestion by, once again, arguing that her conviction alone was sufficient.

On that point he, uncustomarily, made the correct decision but for the wrong reason. Specifically, a career criminal such as Dauphiné is beyond any help that the field of psychology can provide. In dealing with low-life scumbags like her society can either lock her up permanently or idiotically turn her loose so that she can continue to kill cats with impunity; there is not any middle ground.

In one of those rare moments where they actually indulged in telling the truth, Pozos and Chambers admitted as much themselves. "Instead, the defendant has advocated for the elimination of feral cat populations through euthanasia," they wrote in court pleadings cited by CNN. "The government is concerned that by attempting to poison cats, the defendant intended to effectuate the message her public works and advocacy were unable to achieve."

The sentencing, which originally had been scheduled for November 21st, was pushed back to December 14 because on November 14th Dauphiné unceremoniously fired her attorneys, William R. "Billy" Martin and Kerry Brainard Verdi, from the high-powered Washington law firm of Dorsett and Whitney. In their stead she has retained Molly Cannon of O'Toole, Rothwell, Wassau and Steinbach.

In court pleadings posted online, Cannon has indicated that she plans to either seek a new trial or to appeal Dauphiné's conviction. So, in the end, Dauphiné may ultimately get to hold on to her beloved $100 and even be allowed to forgo performing the community service ordered by the court.

Despite the absurdity of Dauphine's sentence, the Washington Humane Society (WHS) has been salivating all over itself like the village idiot in the throes of an epileptic fit. "Justice was served today," the organization's Lisa LaFontaine chirruped in a December 14th press release. (See "Nico Dauphiné Sentenced to One-Hundred-Eighty Day Suspended Sentence, One-Hundred-Twenty Hours of Community Service.") "Every animal regardless of breed, age, condition or any other factor, deserves protection from cruelty and abuse."

After the poison was found in the cats' food dishes, the WHS, to its credit, used footage taken from surveillance cameras in Meridian Hill Park and outside Dauphiné's swanky digs on Fifteenth Street in the city's northwest quadrant in order to arrest her and it was that evidence which ultimately led to her conviction. (See photo above of her returning home after poisoning the cats' food.)

In hindsight it now appears clear that the WHS never would have arrested Dauphiné if it had known beforehand that she was a big shot Ph.D. working for the highfalutin Smithsonian. That is attested to by not only LaFontaine's sottise but the WHS's unwillingness to demand that Dauphiné be jailed and banned from ever going near another cat for so long as she continues to breathe and pollute the air all around her.

The WHS's categorical refusal to investigate the Smithsonian's systematic abuse and killing of cats also makes a barefaced liar out of both it and LaFontaine. That is because while she was employed there Dauphiné was fitting cats with surveillance cameras in order to study how they interact with birds.

Such systematic abuse raises a myriad of anti-cruelty issues that the WHS is too craven to touch even with a twenty-foot pole. First of all, where does the Smithsonian get its cats? Secondly, under what conditions are they kept? And, most important of all, what happens to them once the Smithsonian is finished with them? (See Cat Defender posts of November 18, 2011 and July 12, 2011 entitled, respectively, "Nico Dauphiné, Ph.D., Is Convicted of Attempting to Poison a Colony of Homeless Cats but Questions Remain Concerning the Smithsonian's Role" 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.")

Given Dauphiné's record in both Athens and Washington, there can be little doubt that she systematically killed every single cat that she got her slimy, blood-soaked tentacles on and that her crimes had the full support of the welfare bums at the Smithsonian. Yet, LaFontaine and the WHS, charged with upholding the anti-cruelty statues, have turned a blind eye to this continuing wholesale slaughter of totally innocent and defenseless cats.

"Without a doubt there is more work to be done to bring the District of Columbia's feral cat population under control, and we will continue that work in conjunction with District of Columbia law in a safe, responsible and humane manner," LaFontaine pontificated in the press release cited supra.

That is big talk to be sure but it has very little correlation with the actual work of the WHS. Not only is it too craven to go after the Smithsonian, but it completely ignores the dastardly deeds committed against cats and other animals every hour of the day by vivisectors at governmental and private research laboratories in and around the nation's capital.

It also stands idly by running off at the mouth while the National Zoo mistreats its inmates with impunity and it will not lift so much as a finger in order to protect circus and farm animals. Worst of all, it operates two notorious killing factories in Washington that systematically exterminate thousands of cats each year. Like PETA, it is so morally warped that it actually considers its mass slaughter of innocent cats to be humane.

Much more importantly, cats and their caretakers in Washington are playing against a stacked deck because the president of the United States appoints all judges and prosecutors, both local and federal, that serve in the District of Columbia. Since the Smithsonian is part of the federal government, the government actually was serving as both defendant and prosecutor in this case.

Under such a perverted arrangement there was not any way that the cats and their caretakers could have received anything remotely resembling a fair hearing. The situation is analogous to a rugby team being allowed to bring its own officiating crew to a match.

If the legal doctrine of standing still carried any weight, such a glaring conflict of interest never would have been permitted. Dauphiné instead would have been tried either in a state court or by a special prosecutor appointed from outside the federal bureaucracy.

Moreover, the litmus test for prosecutors in all animal cruelty cases is that they seek substantial jail time for those accused; otherwise, such efforts are merely for show. In this case, the meager outcome hardly justifies the time and money devoted to apprehending and trying Dauphiné.

Nor does the legal establishment's whitewashing of her crimes contribute anything positive toward curbing similar conduct in the future by either Dauphiné in particular or ornithologists and wildlife biologists in general. If Morrison had so much as a single brain in his gourd he, at the bare minimum, would have given Dauphiné a lifetime ban on coming within so much as a hundred yards of any cat.

Morrison's inexcusable conduct is further compounded by the fact that the United States Government, led by the thoroughly despicable United States Fish and Wildlife Service, commits a myriad of crimes against cats each year and therefore no representative of it can hardly be said to be a disinterested party in cases such as this one.

If the collusion of the WHS, prosecutors, and Morrison to spare Dauphiné any jail time sounds like a familiar refrain from a very old song it is because that is essentially what München prosecutor Beate Miksch and presiding judge Gerhard Simon did back in August in order to set free amateur ornithologist Ernst Bernhard K. after he tortured to death a cat named Rocco with pepper spray and water in December of 2010. (See Cat Defender posts of August 17, 2011, August 8, 2011, and January 19, 2011 entitled, respectively, "Ernst K. Walks Away Smelling Like a Rose as Both the Prosecutor and Judge Turn His Trial for Killing Rocco into a Lovefest for a Sadistic Killer," "Ernst K.'s Trial for Kidnapping, Torturing, and Murdering Rocco Nears Its Climax in a München Courtroom," and "Bird Lover in München Illegally Traps Rocco and Then Methodically Tortures Him to Death with Water and Pepper Spray over an Eleven-Day Period.")

Despite the severity of the crime and Ernst K.'s guilty plea, Simon fined him an outrageously paltry €1500, which was to be paid to Tierschutzverein München, and placed him on probation for three years. Like Chambers and Pozos, Miksch did not ask for any jail time.

Another thing that the two cases have in common is the misplaced sympathies and priorities of the judges and prosecutors who tried them. In Ernst K.', case, both Miksch and Simon lavished all of their concern on him because he was old, allegedly ailing, has a sick wife, and had received, as well as distributed, hate materials. Never once did either of them utter so much as a syllable of compassion for either Rocco or his aggrieved owners.

The same perverted morality was the order of the day in Morrison's courtroom as he and prosecutors were too preoccupied with salvaging Dauphiné's precious little career as a cat killer to dispense either a modicum of justice or to protect cats living in Washington and elsewhere.

In both cases, neither the prosecutors nor the judges had any intention of punishing the abusers. Instead, both trials were carefully choreographed charades designed to deceive the public into falsely believing that a semblance of justice had been meted out when instead a green light had been given to ornithologists and wildlife biologists to continue killing cats.

The one difference that distinguishes the cases in that Tierschutzverein München took its campaign to secure justice for Rocco to the streets and right up to the courthouse door; by contrast, WHS sold out to the feds and then ran away and hid.

The conclusion is every bit as unmistakable as it is undeniable. Simply put, judges and prosecutors in Washington and München place zero value on the lives of cats. Moreover, they could care less about the rights and sentiments of their owners and caretakers.

Since neither humane groups, prosecutors, nor judges are willing to protect the lives and rights of cats, that job falls by default to their caretakers. In particular, Dauphiné's activities must be closely monitored from here on by private citizens because it is a foregone conclusion that she will kill again in the near future.

Her lenient sentence is doubly tragic in that not only has another cat-killing ornithologist escaped justice but Morrison has passed up a golden opportunity to engage in a little worthwhile social science research. In particular, since Dauphiné so glories in shanghaiing cats into becoming her personal guinea pigs, Morrison could have repaid her in kind by for once turning the tables on her.

"We'll get a better grade of prisons when we get a better grade of prisoners," is how former governor of Georgia Lester G. Maddox responded to federal criticism about the abominable conditions that prevailed in his state's prisons back during the 1970's. Most critics scoffed at that idea but he possibly could have been on to something.

In particular, it would have been interesting to see if having a Ph.D. incarcerated in one of Washington's hellhole jails led to any measurable improvement in conditions there. Also, since Dauphiné attended school in the Peach State it would be almost as if she were doing the old segregationist a favor by putting one of his theories to the test.

Photos: Cornell (Dauphiné) and CNN (Dauphiné on the prowl).

Monday, January 02, 2012

With No Reason Left to Go on Living, Tredworth Resident Takes His Own Life after His Beloved Cat Disappears


"Photographs and memories
All the love you gave to me
Somehow it just can't be true
That's all I've left of you."
-- Jim Croce


Although cats bring immeasurable joy to their human admirers, they also cause them considerable heartache. This is principally due to their brief life expectancies. For kittens, it is even a worse scenario since their tenures on this earth often are measured in days, weeks, and months.

Cats also have innumerable detractors who do not hesitate to kill tens of millions of them each year with impunity. That, too, is a constant source of considerable grief, not to mention outrage, for fans of the species.

Occasionally the loss of a beloved cat is enough to push an individual over the edge and that is precisely what happened to fifty-eight-year-old Alan Jordan of Daventry Terrace in Tredworth, Gloucester, who killed himself last March after his cat mysteriously disappeared. (See photo above of Daventry Terrace.)

The grisly discovery was made on March 28th by Graham Nicholson and his colleagues from the mental health crisis team of the 2gether National Health Service Foundation Trust. "I got around to the back of the house, and could see the shape of a body against a window upstairs and I realized it might be Alan hanging," he told The Citizen of Gloucester on June 17th. (See "Devastated Cat Owner Took His Own Life When Pet Went Missing -- Inquest.")

Having been made redundant three years earlier, Jordan lived alone and had been suffering from depression for some time. In fact, he previously had made multiple attempts on his life. "He had taken Paracetamol (acetaminophen) tablets, cut his wrists and tried to hang himself," his personal physician, Jonathan Unwin, confided to The Citizen.

As a consequence, the crisis team began paying daily visits to his home. For some unexplained reason, those life-saving visits were of short duration and the last contact that the mental health professionals had with him was on March 26th and even that was via the telephone.

Nicholson claims to have visited Jordan's house three times on March 27th but was unable to get an answer at the door. Instead of telephoning right then and there for emergency assistance, he inexplicably took no further action.

There is a good chance that Jordan already was dead by then but that in no way exonerates 2gether Trust's irresponsible behavior. It employs twenty-three-hundred professionals to serve the 761,000 residents of Gloucestershire and Herefordshire and although that averages out to a three-hundred-thirty to one ratio, it still should have been able to find some additional time for Jordan. If it had continued the daily visits, or perhaps even institutionalized him for a while, he very well still might be alive today.

Quite obviously the mental health crisis team dramatically underestimated the detrimental effect that losing his cat was going to have on him. Despite mounting evidence of the therapeutic value of living with and caring for animals, many health professionals still do not take these mutually dependent, close and loving relationships seriously. (See Cat Defender posts of April 18, 2009 and May 18, 2009 entitled, respectively, "Blackie Stays Up Nights Monitoring His Guardian's Breathing for Emphysema Attacks" and "Elijah Teaches Himself How to Detect Low Blood Sugar Levels in His Guardians and Others.")

Still other cat owners credit their beloved companions with saving their lives by detecting cancerous growths. (See Cat Defender posts of April 11, 2009 and March 27, 2010 entitled, respectively, "Tiger Saves His Owner's Life by Alerting Him to a Cancerous Growth on His Left Lung" and "Taken In Off the Street by a Compassionate Woman, Sumo Returns the Favor by Alerting Her to a Cancerous Growth on Her Bosom.")

At Steere House Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Providence, Rhode Island, a cat named Oscar not only has taken it upon himself to comfort the dying but has astounded the medical profession by being able to far more accurately predict when a patient is going to die than modern science. (See Cat Defender posts of July 30, 2007 and May 27, 2010 entitled, respectively, "A Visit from Oscar the Cat Means the Grim Reaper Cannot Be Far Behind for the Terminally Ill at Rhode Island Nursing Home" and "When Lovers, Friends, Health, and All Hope Have Vanished, Oscar Is There for Those Who Have No One and Nothing Left.")

Mark Twain, who arguably was the greatest talent ever produced by this country, readily would have comprehended what Jordan's cat meant to him. "For where women and children are not, men of kindly impulses take up with pets, for they must love something," he sagely observed in Roughing It.

Unwin also was acutely aware of how deeply Jordan cared for his cat. "He was severely depressed, a problem which had come to a head three weeks before when he lost his cat," he told an inquest held in Cheltenham according to the June 16th edition of the Daily Mail. (See "Man, Fifty-Eight, Hangs Himself after His Cat Goes Missing...") "I contacted the mental health crisis team, who arranged to see him at home, and started him on antidepressant tablets."

In a modern retelling of O. Henry's famous short story, "The Gift of the Magi," Jordan's cat was found near his home a fortnight after his unfortunate suicide. Although disheveled, the cat is believed to have been otherwise unharmed.

Since no additional information has been made public, it is impossible to say what has become of it. Hopefully, its life has been spared and it has been placed in another loving home because it would be doubly tragic if society failed it the way 2gether Trust so obviously failed its distraught owner.

It is easy to understand why cats and other animals make such wonderful companions. "Animals are such agreeable friends," novelist George Eliot (née Mary Ann Evans) once said. "They ask no questions; they pass no criticisms."

Cats, unlike women, could care less whether a bloke is as rich as Croesus or as poor as a beggar in the street. Likewise, whether an individual is as handsome as Adonis or as ugly as a mud fence daubed with misery means absolutely nothing to them.

They furthermore are unconcerned about what position a person occupies in society's perverted pecking order. All that matters is how they are treated.

As an added bonus for sheltering, feeding, and medicating cats, individuals often discover previously unknown insights into themselves and the world around them. "Jusqu' à qu'on a aimé un amimal, une partie de son âme reste non-éveillé," Antatole France once observed.

Carl Van Vechten put the matter in even more forceful terms. "There is, indeed, no single quality of the cat that man could not emulate to his advantage," he wrote in The Tiger in the House. Poet Christopher Smart even postulated that simply "staring at one's cat will fertilize the mind."

The late celebrated cat writer Lilian Jackson Braun also was well aware of the edifying potential of cats. "These intelligent, peace-loving, four-footed friends -- who are without hate, without greed -- may someday teach us something," she once predicted. (See photo of her above on the right.)

For all these reasons and more, it is easy to understand how the disappearance of his beloved cat led Jordan to take his own life. Even for those individuals who are more mentally resilient losing a cat is never easy.

In such cases, little remains except the pain and memories. Songwriter and performer Jim Croce summed up the poverty of losing a loved one with the following lyrics:

"Photographs and memories
All the love you gave to me
Somehow it just can't be true
That's all I've left of you."


Sometimes cats leave behind a few other traces of their lives, such as paw prints and the telltale signs of cat typing indelibly etched into the fabric of old yellowed and unpublished manuscripts. Broken-down toys, bite marks on a favorite pen, and scratches on the wall from fighting with shadows are a few other precious mementos that only appreciate in value as the years slip away.

The big easy chair in the corner is, for the first time in years, now vacant but strangely enough one does not have any desire to sit in it. Then there is the half-empty bottle of fish oil capsules tucked away in a corner of the medicine cabinet. A mere rattling of it used to drive the beloved wild but now such behavior evokes only a deathly silence.

Whenever any of these sacred relics are stumbled upon time stops for a brief moment, the eyes mist up, and the sutured-up soul of a cat lover once again is torn asunder by the enormity of what has been lost and, tant pis, can never be reclaimed. If there is any consolation it lies in the grudging acceptance of the harsh reality that true love cannot exist without excruciating pain just as there cannot be May flowers without April showers.

Still, to have known the love of one or more cats during a lifetime is, despite all the sorrow, something pretty spectacular and more than sufficient a reward for having lived. That is no doubt what Charles Dickens had in mind when he once poignantly asked, "What greater gift than the love of a cat?"

Photos: Google (Daventry Terrace) and Fantastic Fiction (Braun).