Alley Cat Allies Demonstrates Its Utter Contempt for the Sanctity of Life by Unconscionably Killing Off Its Office Cat, Jared
"After nearly fourteen years together, they (Robinson and Wilcox) were by his side as he slipped away."
-- Alley Cat Allies
Handsome and irrepressible Jared gave Alley Cat Allies (ACA) the last thirteen and one-half years of the fourteen that he spent on this earth but once the chips were down all that he received in return from his caretakers was a deadly jab of sodium pentobarbital. His death warrant was initialed by the organization's top dogs, Becky Robinson and Donna Wilcox, and his murder carried out sometime over the long Thanksgiving weekend by an unidentified veterinarian.
ACA alleges that its longtime office tom was suffering from cancer, kidney disease, and amemia but it has not disclosed any particulars. Although lymphoma is the most common form of feline cancer, he could have been afflicted with any one of a myriad of manifestations of the deadly disease, such as urinary-bladder, bone, lung, abdominal, oral, thyroid, mammary, and even a vaccine associated sarcoma (VAS). Since he spent almost his entire life cooped up indoors, that likely rules out skin cancer
Anemia can be treated and so, too, can kidney disease if it is not too far advanced. All that ACA has revealed is that emergency surgery was considered to be risky with the chances of a full recovery being rather slim.
In making even that measured disclosure ACA is admitting to not only betraying Jared's love and affection but, much more importantly, of committing the unpardonable sin of killing off a treatable cat. That is because, first of all, killing cats under any circumstances is patently immoral.
Secondly, Jared was entitled to absolute very best veterinary care that money can buy so long as there was any chance whatsoever, no matter how infinitesimal, of prolonging his life. ACA's refusal to continue treatment is all the more inexcusable in that it is as rich as Croesus and accordingly has money to burn although no one ever would know it considering its incessant online begging.
Thirdly, even if he was beyond the help of veterinary medicine he should have been allowed to make his exodus on his own terms. His condition could have stabilized and even improved if he had been permitted to go on living.
Miracles still happen ever now and again. Aegroto dum anima est, spes est. Jared never quit on life and ACA did not have any right to throw in the towel on him.
Cats are, arguably, the best friends that anyone can have in this world and as such they are entitled to live for as long as possible. To abbreviate their already all-too-brief existences by so much as a single second is a crime of epic proportions.
As is the case with all organizations and individuals who voluntarily choose to kill cats as opposed to treating and caring for them, ACA lamely has attempted to excuse its abhorrent crime by wallowing in denial and double-talk. "After nearly fourteen years together, they (Robinson and Wilcox) were by his side as he slipped away," the organization stated November 26th on its web site. (See "Alley Cat Allies Remembers Office Cat Jared.")
That is not only pathetic but dishonest as well because Jared simply did not slip away but rather he was coldbloodedly shoved aside in the name of expediency by ACA and its handsomely compensated, albeit thoroughly unscrupulous, handpicked executioner. Try as it may, ACA cannot sanitize murder and barefaced lies never will stand the test of time.
When Nico Dauphiné finally was exposed as a serial cat poisoner, Robinson was singing an entirely different tune. "In standing behind Dr. Dauphiné and her alleged acts of animal cruelty, the National Zoo and the Smithsonian are sending a message to the Washington, D.C., community and all of America that the lives of cats have no value," she wrote in a letter to the zoo's director, Dennis W. Kelly, on May 25, 2011. (See Cat Defender post of July 12, 2011 entitled "The Arrest of Nico Dauphiné for Attempting to Poison a Colony of Homeless Cats Unmasks the National Zoo as a Hideout for Ailurophobes and Criminals.")
By betraying and killing Jared, Robinson likewise is sending an unmistakable message to the world that the lives of ailing cats do not have any value. Neither she nor her organization ever could get away with ruthlessly killing another human being, no matter how sick, and they should not be allowed to snuff out the lives of innocent cats with impunity.
The lives of cats are no less precious than those of humans. In fact, it could be argued with considerable force that their lives, as well as those of all other animals, are far more valuable simply because they are nobler, rarer, more beauteous, and qualitatively better citizens of this planet.
Almost as bad, by killing off Jared ACA has sunk perilously close to the level of PETA and the only thing lower in this world than that gaggle of cat-killing fiends is whale excrement and that is found at the bottom of the ocean. It even could be argued that its inexcusable crime transcends even those committed by PETA because it had enjoyed such a long and trusting relationship with Jared. (See Cat Defender post of October 7, 2011 entitled "PETA Traps and Kills a Cat and Then Shamelessly Goes Online in Order to Brag About Its Criminal and Foul Deed.")
Since ACA has not announced the final disposition of his remains it is a good bet that they either were burned or tossed out with the trash. It accordingly is unlikely that he received either a memorial service, a proper burial, or even so much as a tombstone.
"We are grateful that Jared spent so many wonderful years with us," is how the organization eulogized him in the article cited supra. "He touched so many lives and he will be fondly remembered and deeply missed by all."
That seems highly unlikely, especially when viewed against the backdrop of how eager ACA was to get rid of him. Quite obviously, the organization never viewed him as a moral equal endowed with certain inviolable rights; au contraire, it looked down upon him as a source of amusement and diversion all the while it was busily exploiting him as an unpaid, animated office prop.
"...This pure white cat was truly one of the most colorful characters any of us have ever met," the organization declared in the article cited supra. It therefore has chosen to remember him for his big personality, fondness for potato chips, lying in the middle of conference tables, cadging food, and tapping staffers on the shoulder in order to gain their attention.
As a consequence of such selfish and perverted thinking, Jared became expendable once he had become more of a burden that an asset to his owners. After all, the last thing that any organization with pretensions of protecting cats wants is a sick one lounging around its office its plain view.
|Alley Cat Allies' Surviving Office Cats|
ACA further maintains that it had Jared killed in order to put an end to his suffering but that, as always, is a lie; he was liquidated because it was too lazy to care for him in his twilight years and too cheap to medicate him. Even the lives of terminally ill cats can be indefinitely prolonged through the application of, inter alia, pills, fluids, injections, and syringe feedings.
Such treatment does not come cheap, however, and it requires at least one dedicated caretaker in order to be successful. Obviously, no one affiliated with ACA cared enough about him in order to provide him with a home and around-the-clock care for as long as he lived. After all that he did for the organization during his lifetime he deserved that much.
Its absolutely abhorrent mistreatment of Jared raises serious questions about how ACA's has treated its other office cats in the past. In particular, how many of them has it dispatched to the devil with jabs of sodium pentobarbital once they had outlived their usefulness to it?
Of more immediate concern is the welfare of Diana, Fergie, Oliver, Charles, and Jazzy who currently reside at its office in Bethesda, Maryland. In light of what the organization did to Jared, there can be little doubt that a similar fate awaits each of them a little bit farther down the road.
The mere fact that ACA even has office cats stands in stark juxtaposition to its championing of an outdoor lifestyle for other cats. The import of such blatant hypocrisy would seem to be that the outdoor life is just fine for other cats but not nearly good enough for its own.
Such duplicity is on a par with the behavior of Christians who hand out peanut butter and jelly sandwiches along with thimbles of Kool-Aid to the poor but never would touch such hog slop themselves even with a ten-foot pole. Like ACA and its cats, they view the down-and-out as inferior beings to be exploited and abused at will.
The organization is not saying one way or another but in addition to depriving them of their freedom and fresh air, it presumably leaves them all alone in its office nights, weekends, and on holidays. At the very least staffers could take them home with them for overnight stays.
That is what Borough Administrator Jane Fontana in tiny Carlstadt, New Jersey, does for her office cat, Caloo, on weekends. (See Cat Defender post of September 22, 2008 entitled "New Jersey at Long Last Has at Least One Honest Public Servant and Her Name Is Caloo from Carlstadt.")
Better still, if ACA really cared about the happiness of its office cats it would, if possible, place them in homes with caretakers who are willing to make a lifetime commitment to them. Even that, however, must be done properly because private individuals, as well as organizations, abuse, abandon, and ultimately doom their cats by turning them over to shelters and veterinarians to kill.
It additionally is well documented that indoor environments are, in most instances, far more polluted than the great outdoors. That is especially the case with modern offices that are located in self-contained buildings where the same old toxic and germ-ridden air is continuously circulated.
These airtight, never ventilated, pollution repositories are especially hazardous to the health of cats due to not only to their substantially smaller organs but their incessant grooming as well. It is even doubtful that either air conditioning or the type of heat provided in these buildings could be beneficial for cats since they are forced to inhale them twenty-four hours a day.
Secondhand and thirdhand tobacco smoke are huge concerns because they often lead to cancer and respiratory difficulties in cats. (See Cat Defender post of October 19, 2007 entitled "Smokers Are Killing Their Cats, Dogs, Birds, and Infants by Continuing to Light Up in Their Presence.")
Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), which are used as fire retardants in electronics, carpeting, and furniture, likewise have been linked to thyroid cancer. (See Cat Defender post of August 22, 2007 entitled "Indoor Cats Are Dying from Diabetes, Hyperthyroidism, and Various Toxins in the Home" and Newswire Press Release of June 27, 2011, "Dust on Office Surfaces Can Be a Source of Exposure to PBDEs.")
Cats, and even humans, also have been killed by toxic furniture. (See Telegraph, December 4, 2008, "Toxic Leather Armchair Kills Father, Son, and Cat, Family Claims," The Times of London, April 27, 2010, "Hundreds Burnt by Toxic Sofas to Share £20 Million Compensation," and People's Pharmacy, November 28, 2012, "Is Your Couch Toxic?")
Even such mundane pollutants as dust, mold, and cleaning fluids can be lethal for cats. Persistent loud noises can damage their delicate hearing and it is doubtful that all the germs so indiscriminately spread by humans either working in or visiting offices could in any way be good for them. In older buildings, asbestos and lead paint are two additional concerns.
Anyone who chooses to confine a cat indoors has a responsibility to remove these toxins from the environment. Although there is not much that can be done about self-contained buildings, wherever possible all houses and offices should be ventilated at least twice daily.
ACA's neglect, mistreatment, and abject failure to respect the sanctity of all feline life is by no means limited to its office cats but rather extends to its mismanaged colonies as well. For instance, in August of 2011 it left the Boardwalk cats in Atlantic City all alone to face the wrath of Hurricane Irene.
That act of gross negligence and rank cowardice very well could have contributed in some way to Snowball's death. (See Cat Defender post of December 10, 2011 entitled "Snowball Succumbs to the Inevitable after Toughing It Out for Two Decades at Atlantic City's Dangerous Underwood Hotel.")
The organization turned in a repeat performance this past October when Hurricane Sandy roared through town. "If possible, move shelters and feeding stations to slightly higher, protected ground nearby," it counseled TNR practitioners in an October 26th web posting prior to Sandy's arrival. (See "Are You in the Path of Hurricane Sandy? Be Prepared!") "Fill multiple food and water bowls in case you can't return immediately."
Despite that bit of gratuitous advice, nothing has come to light that would so much as suggest that ACA took any of those precautions in Atlantic City. Instead, it left more than one-hundred cats from thirteen colonies to fend for themselves during the deluge.
If that were not bad enough, once the storm had passed ACA wasted no time in attempting to capitalize on the cats' hardiness. "The cats at the Boardwalk fended for themselves during superstorm Sandy, as all animals who call the outdoors home will do," the organization crowed in a November 2nd web posting. (See "End of the Week Update on Atlantic City Effort.") "Feral cats can live healthy, long lives outside -- and these cats were front and center proving it to the world."
That is only part of the story because these cats were driven out of their homes by the incoming mountains of water, left with nothing to either eat or drink, and sans doute frightened out of their minds. Much more to the point, ACA never has disclosed how many of them either were killed, injured, or simply disappeared without a trace during hurricanes Irene and Sandy.
Only once such a public accounting is made can its stewardship of the Boardwalk cats be properly evaluated. Even then its desertion of them in those emergencies never can be either defended or forgiven.
In its October newsletter, ACA at long last finally got off die Schneide and took the capitalist media to task for willfully spreading lies about cats. "More than one-hundred news organizations in the last six weeks have chosen ratings over facts, calling cats 'murderers' and 'killing machines'," it stated. (See "Stop the Lies -- Sign Our Petition.") "These reports are not only unscientific and incorrect, they're also dangerous, leading to more cats being rounded up and taken to shelters where they'll be killed. We have to stop it -- before the threat elevates and cats are killed."
Just a few months earlier, however, the charity was bending over backwards in order to protect Ted Greenberg of NBC Philadelphia who personally called in a private exterminator in order to have six newborn kittens trapped and killed at Aloe Village Senior Complex in Egg Harbor City, just north of Atlantic City. Specifically, in its June newsletter ACA defended Greenberg and NBC Philadelphia for "thinking they were doing the right thing." (See "TNR Saves the Day for a New Jersey Colony.")
The organization's Aileen Walden simultaneously was doing likewise for management and residents of Aloe Village by ludicrously claiming that neither of them ever had so much as either heard of TNR or had a clue as to what happens to cats that are taken to shelters. (See Care2.com, June 13, 2012, "Death of Six Kittens Brings Community Together" and Cat Defender post of July 7, 2012 entitled "NBC Philadelphia Conspires with a Virulent Cat-Hater and an Exterminator in Order to Have Six Newborn and Totally Innocent Kittens Killed in South Jersey.")
On the positive side of the ledger, ACA has stepped up its interventions in recent years and as a result the lives of countless doomed cats around the country have been spared. That is highly commendable and hopefully the organization will continue its activism.
Nevertheless, its killing of Jared and mistreatment of both its office and Boardwalk cats reveals an altogether different side of the organization. Just as no self-proclaimed advocate for children ever would be taken seriously if it were revealed that she abused her sons and daughters, the same logic is equally applicable to ACA and its treatment of its cats. Actions, after all, speak considerably louder than words.
More broadly speaking, the practice of killing cats should be outlawed across the board. For groups, such as ACA, and veterinarians to extinguish feline lives is not any different from the en masse slaughters perpetrated by shelters, Animal Control officers, PETA, wildlife biologists, ornithologists, the United States Government, and others.
In this particular case, a good place to start would be with the prompt arrests of Robinson and her veterinarian. Perhaps ten-year stretches of hard labor behind bars for the both of them not only would sweat out some of the wickedness from their old, callous hides but deter others like them from killing aged, sickly, and injured cats who deserve, like all living creatures, to be treated and given an opportunity to go on playing the wonderful, albeit at times disconcerting, game of life.
If against all odds civilization should somehow manage to survive for a few additional centuries, the misnomered practice of euthanasia is destined to one day be looked upon in very much the same vein as slavery and genocide are now viewed. Moreover, instead of living high on the hog as the result of their crimes, practitioners will be jailed and condemned as enemies of animals.
In the meantime, the world continues to cry out for the emergence of its first legitimate feline advocacy group. A no-nonsense proscription on the killing, abuse, and exploitation of all cats coupled with an unstinting commitment to always be truthful and forthright are all that are required. That does not seem to be too much to ask but quite obviously that is not the case.
ACA most definitely is not that champion of felines. On the contrary, in its present form it is a study in contradictions, inconsistencies, and half-truths as it staggers from one issue to another much like a Bowery wino bouncing off the lampposts in a half-blind search for his next swallow of rotgut.
With his premature death, Jared thus has joined the ranks of Marvin of Half Moon Bay, California, Sally of Marblehead, Massachusetts, and countless other cats who were sold down the river by their caretakers, shelters, and veterinarians. (See Cat Defender posts of September 28, 2011 and October 23, 2012 entitled, respectively, "Marvin Is Betrayed, Abducted, and Murdered by a Journalist and a Shelter Who Preposterously Maintain That They Were Doing Him a Favor" and "A Supposedly No-Kill Operation in Marblehead Betrays Sally and Snuffs Out Her Life Instead of Providing Her with a Home and Veterinary Care.")
Private individuals are every bit as heartless and morally bankrupt as shelters and animal protection groups and that has been demonstrated writ large by the coldblooded murders of Scarlett, Socks, and millions of other either aged or sickly cats. (See Cat Defender posts of October 27, 2008 and March 12, 2009 entitled, respectively, "Loved and Admired All Over the World, Feline Heroine Scarlett Is Killed Off by Her Owner after She Becomes Ill" and "Too Cheap and Lazy to Care for Him During His Final Days, Betty Currie Has Socks Killed Off and His Corpse Burned.")
Jared first came to the attention of ACA back in 1998 when his previous caretaker ran afoul of the law for feeding him and several other cats. Hungry and desperate, the plucky cat distinguished himself early on by stealing a loaf of bread from her shopping bag.
That trivial bit of larceny was not of any consequence because bread is plentiful and additional loaves always can be baked if needed. The same never can be said, however, for what ACA stole from him.
Photos: Alley Cat Allies.