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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

Friday, January 31, 2014

A Northumbrian Shrink Lays Claim to the Title of Being the World's Most Irresponsible Cat Owner by Turning Loose Jasper to Roam the Perilous Tyne and Wear Metro for Weeks on End

Jasper Aboard the Tyne and Wear Metro

"He's avoided a lot of scrapes so far so there's no need to worry about him."
-- Steph Keenan

The abject callousness of some cat owners continues to boggle the mind. Every bit as appalling, such grossly negligent behavior is simply winked at by both those individuals and groups within society who are charged with enforcing the anti-cruelty statutes.

Although she is by no means an isolated case, forty-two-year-old psychotherapist Steph Keenan of Waterville Terrace in tiny North Shields, thirteen kilometers east of Newcastle-upon-Tyne in Northumberland, is more than worthy to wear the crown of being the world's most irresponsible cat owner. She has earned that moniker not only by her decision to turn loose her eighteen-month-old ginger-colored tom, Jasper, to ride the Tyne and Wear Metro all by his lonesome but also because of her devil-may-care callousness about his safety.

The case against her is every bit as hard to believe as it is shocking. Although she lives across the street from the train station, she has done absolutely nothing in order to deter Jasper from either venturing onto the perilous tracks or from boarding the Yellow Line to parts unknown. She is in fact such a rotten guardian that it is nothing short of astonishing that Jasper has managed to stay alive for this long.

That is especially true in that his forays onto the rails are both frequent and of long duration. For instance, on Guy Fawkes Day he disappeared and was not located until six weeks and one day later.

For his deliverance on that memorable occasion he has an unidentified woman from Jesmond, eleven kilometers away, to thank. She found him and took him to a veterinarian in Heaton, a residential suburb in the east end of Newcastle, where he eventually was reunited with Keenan compliments of an implanted microchip.

That allowed Jasper, no thanks to Keenan, to make it home just in time for Christmas. (See Cat Defender posts of February 1, 2013 and December 18, 2013 entitled, respectively, "Precious Little Hattie Returns Home for Her Sixth Consecutive, But Hopefully Not Last, Christmas" and "Unforgettable Hattie, Who Annually Returns Home for Christmas, Is Crowned as Cat of the Year for 2012.")

Before that he had traveled to the Meadow Well train station, three kilometers from home in North Shields, and was gone for a week. He also is known to have ridden to Four Land Ends in Longbenton, which is located ten kilometers from home.

To date, he has been blessed with the exceedingly good fortune to have avoided both disaster and falling into the wrong hands. That is due principally to the fact that he always has been rescued by conscientious individuals who have handed him over to shelters and veterinarians. For their part, these institutions and practitioners have done their due diligence by locating and deciphering his implanted microchip and that in turn has made possible his reunion with Keenan.

Sadly, all of the professionalism demonstrated by those individuals and institutions has been wasted on coldhearted and grasping Keenan. "People have actually gone to great lengths to pick him up and take him to a vet or shelter which can be a real inconvenience," she groused to The Chronicle of Newcastle on January 5th. (See "Jasper the Cat from North Shields Takes Trips on the Tyne and Wear Metro System.") "I was quite annoyed when I had to go pick him up the last time."

Since she quite obviously could care less whether Jasper lives or dies, it is not surprising that she would begrudge ransoming his life from the veterinarians and shelters who, by the way, must always receive their blood money. Although she did turn to Facebook in an effort to locate him the first time that he ventured to Meadow Well, it would appear that she has totally given up even bothering to look for him at all nowadays whenever he does not come home.

Her simply abominable attitude stands in stark juxtaposition to that of all halfway caring cat owners who would be thrilled to death to learn that their missing companions had been found and were alive and well. For such devoted individuals, no inconvenience, cost, or burden ever could be too high of a price to pay for the return of their beloved cats.

Equally reprehensible, she is guilty of treating his misadventures as if they were a laughing matter. "He's a real monkey," she joshed to The Chronicle in the article cited supra. "Obviously I can only presume some of it what he gets up to but the places he's ended up can only mean he's been on the Metro."

She also appears to be busy licking her lips in eager anticipation of cashing in on Jasper's growing notoriety. "He's a lovely cat," she told The Chronicle. "There are a few cats on the TV adverts at the moment that bear a striking resemblance to Jasper and we're wondering if he's taken up an acting career in London on one of his trips away."

Consequently, instead of taking prompt remedial steps in order to guarantee his safety, Keenan seems intent upon encouraging his perilous rambles. "I am considering buying him an annual ticket for the Metro so that he avoids fines, prosecution or being in trouble for trespassing," she told The Chronicle.

It is a sad commentary upon human nature but profiting from the abject neglect, misfortune, and even cold-blooded murder of cats is, after all, every bit as old and commonplace as homemade sin. (See Cat Defender posts of January 30, 2010 and May 10, 2007 entitled, respectively, "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" and "Iowa Librarian Vicki Myron Inks Million-Dollar Deal for Memoir About Dewey Readmore Books.")

Considering her appalling attitude and dereliction of duty in respect to Jasper, it is difficult to understand what she wanted with a cat in the first place. That is an especially pertinent question in that her neglect of him began almost as soon as he arrived at her house.

For example, during his first six weeks of kittenhood, she irresponsibly allowed him to, inter alia, get stuck up the family's chimney, trapped inside a neighbor's house, and stranded inside an abandoned garage. It thus would appear that she only adopted Jasper so that she could purposefully neglect him.

Even though she is an educated person, she nonetheless seems to be totally unwilling to either profit from her past mistakes or, more importantly, to recognize the moral imperative that Jasper's personal safety and well-being is her responsibility. Au contraire, she is about as intellectually and morally brain dead as an individual can be without actually being in a coma and on life-support.

To put the matter succinctly, she knows that she is placing Jasper's life in mortal peril but she simply does not care. "He has wandered far and wide and has very few of his 'nine lives' remaining," she acknowledged to The Chronicle in one of her saner moments before illogically dismissing such concerns as being unfounded. "He's avoided a lot of scrapes so far so there's no need to worry about him."

Of all of her thoughtless gruntings, that is the most asinine and dishonest of the entire lot. First and foremost, cats and trains are, generally speaking, a bad mix. (See Cat Defender posts of June 7, 2007, March 7, 2008, and November 15, 2009 entitled, respectively, "Rascal Hops Freight Train in South Bend and Unwittingly Winds Up in Chattanooga," "Georgia Is Found Safe and Sound After Spending a Harrowing Twenty-Five Days Lost in the Bowels of the New York Subway System." and "Diesel Amazingly Survives a Harrowing Nine-Hundred-Mile Train Ride by Precariously Clinging to the Undercarriage of a Speeding Locomotive.")

Jasper with Steph and Eight-Year-Old Freya Keenan

Secondly, in addition to either permanently disappearing without so much as a trace or being crushed to death underneath the wheels of a train, he must cross the street in order to get to the boarding platform in North Shields and that act alone makes him an easy prey for motorists who get their perverted kicks out of running down and killing cats. Thirdly, given the simply horrendous past track record of most shelters and veterinarians, Keenan cannot continue to indefinitely rely upon them to respect Jasper's inalienable right to live.

Also, depending upon an implanted microchip as a substitute for being a responsible guardian can only be described as a prime example of stupidity working overtime. (See Cat Defender post of May 25, 2006 entitled "Plato's Misadventures Expose the Pitfalls of RFID Technology as Applied to Cats.")

Thirdly, evildoers, such as ornithologists, wildlife biologists, and PETA, hate cats with such a passion that they will stop at absolutely nothing in order to harm them. (See Cat Defender posts of May 18, 2013 and October 7, 2011 entitled, respectively, "Ted Williams and the National Audubon Society Issue a Call for Cats to Be Poisoned with Tylenol® and Then Try to Lie Out of It" and "PETA Traps and Kills a Cat and Then Shamelessly Goes Online in Order to Brag About Its Criminal and Foul Deed.")

Fourthly, yobs and other teens armed with air guns and firecrackers are another huge concern. That is especially the case in regard to the Meadow Well train station which, although spanking brand new, is nonetheless still situated in a ghetto plagued by an alarmingly high crime rate. The area additionally was home to the Meadow Well Riots of 1991.

Besides Tylenol®, the presence of antifreeze, chemicals used to melt snow and ice during the wintertime, and other poisons make it hazardous for cats to venture onto unfamiliar turf without the accompaniment of their guardians. Dogs and other non-human predators also attack and often kill them.

Amazingly, Jasper has yet to be stolen and, considering Keenan's irresponsible guardianship, that might very well be the best thing that could ever happen to him, provided that his abductor were a devoted cat-lover. (See Cat Defender posts of July 9, 2007 and June 26, 2012 entitled, respectively, "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" and "A Family in Wiltshire Turns to Social Media and Leaflets in Order to Shame a Veterinary Chain and a Foster Parent into Returning Tazzy.")

The silence and inaction on the part of animal rescue groups in and around Newcastle is inexcusable. Thanks to the article in The Chronicle, they certainly are well aware of the dangers that Keenan is exposing Jasper to but yet they steadfastly have refused to intervene. At the very least they should instruct her to do a far better job of safeguarding his well-being.

The same criticism is applicable to the staff and management of the Tyne and Wear Metro. Most obviously, the railroad's willingness to allow Jasper onto its trains and platforms carries with it the corresponding responsibility for his safety. Accordingly, the railroad should see to it not only that he is unharmed while on board but that he is returned home safely each night.

The Chronicle along with just about all English newspapers are guilty of capitalizing on the exploits of cats like Jasper who venture onto trains and buses while simultaneously remaining inexcusably silent about the multitude of dangers that they face. That alone makes them complicit every time any of these intrepid moggies are either injured or killed.

Cats most assuredly are entitled to their freedom but that does not entail turning them loose in either busy streets or on the tracks. A cat's life should be worth considerably more than selling newspapers but that obviously is not the case all across England.

Egregiously overlooked in this discussion has been the motivation behind Jasper's rambles. Quite obviously, he is searching for something that he is not getting at home.

The report in The Chronicle does not indicate one way or the other whether he has been sterilized and it really does not make all that much of a difference anyway because even intact males eventually return home once they get hungry. They no doubt occasionally enjoy a good roll in the hay but their lust for food is even stronger.

It thus would appear that he is looking for the attention that he is denied at home. Even Keenan has inadvertently admitted that is the case. "Jasper starts sitting on their knees (commuters on the station platform) and making friends but he doesn't know these people," she told The Chronicle.

Presumably she at least has the decency to feed and water him. With someone as unreliable as her, however, nothing can be taken for granted.

With four children and a thirty-seven-year-old live-in lover named Liz to look after on top of her job, she obviously is an extremely busy individual. That does not constitute a valid excuse, however, for neglecting Jasper.

The life of this gregarious cat is precious and definitely worth saving. Since she is so unwilling to provide him with the love, respect, and security that he so desperately needs, she should endeavor to place him in another home. There simply is nothing worse in this big, wide world than sacrificing the life of a cat upon the altar of callous indifference.

Jasper accordingly deserves far better than being exiled to unfamiliar places populated by all sorts of strange and dangerous people. He also is entitled to a secure and warm bed each night instead of being frightened out of his wits most of the time and forced to rough it in all sorts of inclement weather.

Worst of all, unless drastic action is immediately taken his days on this earth are surely numbered and once he is gone his blood is going to be all over those who could have saved him but instead did absolutely nothing. Such callous indifference to the life and well-being of any animal should be a criminal offense.

Photos: The Chronicle (Jasper by himself and with Keenan) and R. Schwandl of Urban Rail Net (Map of the Tyne and Wear Metro system).

Friday, January 10, 2014

A Texas Judge Idiotically Allows Pastor Rick Bartlett to Get Away with Stealing and Killing Moody but a Civil Court May Yet Hold Him Accountable


"It's not that they lost their kitty, it was in the manner in which it happened and by a man who purported to be a man of God."
-- Bill Aleshire, attorney for Eddy and Sarah Bell

"We have no creed but Christ, no book but the Bible, no name but the name Christian," the Bastrop Christian Church at 1104 Church Street in Bastrop, Texas, proudly declares on its web site. Besides the obvious narrow-mindedness, abject will to ignorance, and overt bigotry contained in such a mindlessly self-serving and egotistical statement, it conveniently omits what is destined to become the church's most enduring sobriquet: that of a cat thief and a murderer.

That is principally due to the criminal behavior of its former spiritual leader, fifty-seven-year-old Rick Bartlett, who on January 15, 2012 stole a twelve-year-old brown and white cat named Moody who lived three doors down from him with his owners Eddy and Sarah Bell.

He then cruelly and inhumanely kept Moody caged in the back of his pickup truck without the benefit of either food, water, or heat for three days before allegedly throwing him off of the Loop 150 Bridge at around 4:30 p.m. on January 17th.

At around 8 p.m. on that same day a jogger accidentally discovered Moody lying motionless and near death in Fisherman's Park on the banks of the Colorado River. Notified of his dire condition, the Bells instructed Grey Maynard of Crossroads Animal Hospital to spare no expense in an all-out effort to save the life of the cat who had been an intimate and valued member of their family for the past eleven years. Sadly, veterinary intervention came much too late in order to save the life of this wonderful cat.

"(Moody was) just laid out like a sack of potatoes," Maynard told KVUE-TV of nearby Austin on January 23, 2012. (See "Bastrop Pastor Charged with Animal Cruelty over Death of Neighbor's Cat.") "No obvious signs of trauma externally. No blood or nothing broke."

The estimated sixty-foot plunge had left him, however, with severe internal injuries that included a ruptured lung. "The vet explained he was in shock, open-mouth breathing and determined he had a ruptured lung," Eddy Bell later informed KEYE-TV of Austin on January 23, 2012. (See "Bastrop Pastor Arrested for Animal Cruelty Following Cat's Death.")

Moody's penis also was bleeding and the pads were torn from his paws. It never has been publicly disclosed whether these ancillary injuries were sustained during his fall or if they were the result of some sort of diabolical torture meted out to him by Bartlett.

In addition to his job as pastor of Bastrop Christian Church, Bartlett also served as the chaplain for the Bastrop Police Department and considering the gargantuan lengths that law enforcement officers go to in order to cover up the crimes of their colleagues Bartlett under most circumstances likely would have gotten away scot-free with his crime. Unfortunately for him, the Bastrop Police Department has at least one honest cop in the person of Animal Control Officer Susan Keys.

Pastor Rick Bartlett

Just before he allegedly threw Moody off of the Loop 150 Bridge, Bartlett stopped by headquarters for unspecified reasons and while he was there Keys noticed that Moody was wearing a collar with a name tag containing the Bells' telephone number. She in turn offered to return the cat to its rightful owners but Bartlett's overwhelming lust for feline blood was not about to be denied.

"I just said I'd be taking the cat back to its owners because it had a tag and he said if that was the case, he would take it back to the neighborhood," Keys later told the Austin American-Statesman on May 17, 2013. (See "Pastor Is Guilty.")

After Moody was found below the Loop 150 Bridge Keys was called in to investigate the matter and she immediately recognized the cat. She accordingly took Bartlett to task about the incident on January 19th but he denied having killed Moody.

At that point she became suspicious about his honesty and turned the investigation over to detective Sarah Moore. A few days later Bartlett was arrested and charged with animal cruelty but he immediately was released after posting a $5,000 bond.

The wheels of justice grind slowly in Texas and it was not until May 13th of last year that the case finally came before Judge Terry Flenniken in Bastrop County Court of Law. "The bottom line is this man was the last one to have our cat, and then he was found dying under a bridge," Bell told KEYE-TV in the article cited supra. "We all want answers and want him prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law."

As it almost always turns out to be the case when it comes to cruelty to cats, Bell and his wife were destined to receive neither the answers nor the satisfaction that they had expected from the criminal court system even though prosecutor James Rhodes, from all outward indications, went after Bartlett both tooth and nail. "At the end of this trial, you're going to hear, you're going to learn, the defendant unreasonably abandoned this cat -- this domestic feline -- and when you go back to the jury room, you will find him guilty of exactly that," he told the five men and one woman impaneled in order to hear the case according to the Austin American-Statesman's May 14th edition. (See "Pastor's Trial Begins.")

Maynard, Keys, and Moore testified for the prosecution but Bartlett declined to take the stand in his own defense and his attorney, Chris Dillon, did not call any witnesses. It nonetheless is known that the man of God has maintained from the outset that he believed Moody to be feral despite his collar and tag.

A cat's socio-economic status should not make any difference in either law or how society in general treats it but Bartlett obviously feels that he is empowered by his god to liquidate all homeless cats. Much more importantly, there is absolutely no moral difference whatsoever between killing a homeless cat and doing likewise to a domesticated one.

The Loop 150 Bridge

In that same vein it would be interesting to know if Old Bartlett Bird and his fellow Bible thumpers believe that their god grants them the right to abuse and kill the poor and powerless. Considering the shameful manner in which just about all Christians denigrate, exploit, and abuse the underclasses, especially the homeless, a good argument could be made that they gladly would do to them exactly what they do to cats and other animals if they felt for one moment that they could get away with their hideous crimes.

"Nicht ihre Menschenliebe, sondern die Ohnmacht ihrer Menschenliebe hindert die Christen von heute, uns -- zu verbrennen," is how Friedrich Nietzsche unriddled these colossal phonies and hypocrites in his 1886 BuchJenseits von Gut und Böse. (Aphorismus hundertvier).

Bartlett also has lamely attempted to excuse his decision to deprive Moody of food, water, and heat on the ground that the matter simply slipped his mind. That most assuredly is a barefaced lie even though it would be totally in keeping with the perverted brand of spirituality practiced by the Bastrop Christian Church.

"The 'now' time of salvation passes from our controlling (sic) when it moves into the past; 'now' being the only time and part of our lives over which we have any control and authority," the church proclaims on its web site. "So the 'now' of today must not be controlled by a threatening future, or a condemning past. Jesus came to save us from both."

Christianity is chock-full of all sorts of inanities but perhaps none of them are quite as absurd as the belief that a lifelong sinner can merely repent and a thousand diabolical crimes are automatically absolved. If any civil society were founded upon such sottise it scarcely would endure for so long as a week because the success of such an arrangement is predicated upon the acceptance of and adherence to shared responsibilities and moralities that have long tendrils that stretch into both the past as well as the future.

To top it all off, Bartlett has strenuously denied that he threw Moody off the bridge. Rather, he ludicrously claims that he merely unlocked his cage and that the cat bided his time until he was at mid-span and then plunged to his death of his own volition.

The Bible often has been described as a book of fairy tales and while there is nothing per se wrong with a good yarn, evidence, logic, morality, and vision are the pillars upon which all sound jurisprudence must ultimately rest. Bartlett perhaps then would have been better served if he had argued that, as a Christian, he had lived a life so hopelessly chock-full of all sorts of outrageous lies that he no longer was capable of recognizing the truth even if he per chance were to stumble over it.

When it finally came time for the jury to decide his fate it took only forty minutes on May 17th to find him guilty of misdemeanor animal cruelty. "I think justice was definitely served," animal rights activist Amy Pavone crowed to The Digital Texan of Austin on that date. (See "Justice for Moody -- Bastrop Pastor Rick Bartlett Guilty of Animal Cruelty in Death of Cat.") "There was justice for Moody."

The Man Who Loves Cat Killers, Judge Terry Flenniken

It did not take long, however, for Flenniken to make a liar out of her. That occurred on June 24th when he nullified both Rhodes' spirited prosecution and the jury's fine work by letting Bartlett off the hook with the customary six-month suspended jail sentence that seemingly all cat killers receive, that is, if they are punished at all.

Bartlett also was placed on probation for a year, ordered to perform a measly fifty hours of community service, and to pay an unspecified amount in court costs. Under Texas law, he could have received a year in jail and a $4,000 fine.

In spite of flimflam Flenniken's last-minute hijacking of justice, Keys, the Bastrop Police, and Rhodes are to be commended for investigating, charging, and prosecuting Bartlett. Millions upon millions of cats are abused and killed each year and only once in a blue moon can either the police or animal protection groups be prevailed upon to even investigate their deaths. (See Cat Defender post of January 6, 2010 entitled "Large Reward Fails to Lead to the Capture of the Archer Who Shot an Arrow Through Brownie's Head.")

At other times, ornithologists, wildlife biologists, and other avowed ailurophobes, inveigle their way onto juries and thus thwart the best efforts of prosecutors. (See Cat Defender post of November 20, 2007 entitled "Bird Lovers All Over the World Rejoice as Serial Killer James M. Stevenson Is Rewarded by a Galveston Court for Gunning Down Hundreds of Cats.")

It is, however, the blighters in black, such as Flenniken, who are the biggest Stolperstein standing in the way of holding cat abusers and killers accountable. (See Cat Defender posts of August 23, 2012, January 17, 2006, August 17, 2009, and November 24, 2008 entitled, respectively,"Cat-Killing Cop Jonathan N. Snoddy Struts Out of Court as Free as a Bird Thanks to a Carefully Choreographed Charade Concocted by Virginia's Despicable and Dishonest Legal System," "Loony Virginia Judge Lets Career Criminal Go Free After He Stomps to Death a Fourteen-Year-Old Arthritic Cat," "America's Insane Love Affair with Criminals Continues as Drunkard Who Sliced Open Scatt with a Box Cutter Gets Off with Time on the Water Wagon," and "Kilo's Killer Walks in a Lark but the Joke Is on the Disgraceful English Judicial System.")

In anticipation of perhaps such a dismal outcome, the Bells on March 14, 2012 filed a civil lawsuit in the District Court of Bastrop, three-hundred-thirty-fifth Judicial District, against Bartlett and his wife, Tina. The Bells are being represented by Bill Aleshire of Riggs, Aleshire and Ray of Austin whereas the Bartletts have retained Sheryl Gray Rasmus, also Austin, as their attorney.

Although the case, Bell v Bartlett, number 28467, has yet to come to trial, the verbal jousting began a long time ago. "If you were a cat and you'd been in that cage the whole time, and someone opened that cage, how long do you think you'd stay in that cage?" Aleshire astutely asked the readers of the Huffington Post to ponder on March 16, 2012. (See "Pastor Rick Bartlett, Accused of Throwing Cat Off Bridge, Faces Civil Suit.") "Would you stay long enough for the truck to start and cross the bridge, and then jump out? The story is a little hard to believe."

Furthermore, studies have shown that a cat's chances of surviving a fall are inversely related to the height of the plunge. In this case, the distance was far too short in order to allow Moody sufficient time in order to right himself. The velocity with which Bartlett allegedly hurled him from the span no doubt also contributed to the extent of his horrific injuries.

Rick Bartlett in Court

Even if the Bells should ultimately prevail in civil court it is unclear how much they would receive in compensation. That is because in April of last year the Texas Supreme Court ruled in Carla Strickland v Kathryn and Jeremy Medlen that a Fort Worth couple could sue only for the fair market value of their eight-year-old Labrador-mix, Avery, after he was stolen by an Animal Control officer and then mistakenly killed by a shelter.

In doing so, the court unanimously overturned an enlightened 2011 opinion by the state's Second Circuit Court of Appeals in Fort Worth which had held that the Medlens were entitled to sue for the sentimental value of their dog. "Today, we interpret timeworn Supreme Court law in light of subsequent Supreme Court law to acknowledge that the special value of 'man's best friend' should be protected," Justice Lee Gabriel wrote for the court in Medlen v Strickland, number 02-11-00105-CV. "Because an owner may be awarded damages based on the sentimental value of lost property, and because dogs are personal property, the trial court erred in dismissing the Medlens' action against Strickland."

Writing for the Supreme Court, Justice Don Willett readily accepted the central role that dogs play in their owners' lives but nevertheless rejected Gabriel's argument concerning sentimental compensation. "We acknowledge the grief of those whose companions are negligently killed," he ruled according to an April 5, 2013 account of the proceedings contained in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. (See "Texas Supreme Court Rules Against Fort Worth Family Whose Dog Accidentally Euthanized.") "Relational attachment is unquestionable. But it is also uncompensable."

Consequently, any monetary award that the Bells' might receive could indeed be meager. It always is possible, however, that the courts in Texas might look more favorably upon their suit because it is directed against a private individual as opposed to either a shelter, veterinarian, or kennel.

It is nothing short of ridiculous but Strickland's attorney argued, apparently persuasively, that if Gabriel's ruling were allowed to stand it would lead to an increase not only in veterinary bills but legal action as well against kennels, shelters, and others who are negligent in the care of animals entrusted to them. In other words, those professionals and others are free to neglect, abuse, and even kill animals with impunity.

Occasionally aggrieved cat owners are able to obtain from the civil courts a measure of justice that has been denied to them in the criminal courts. For example, back in 2007 Janeen Bubien of Vista, California, was awarded $2,500 in damages plus an additional $5,000 in order to relocate elsewhere after her next-door neighbor, Robert Eugene Brunner, shot and killed her cat, Bill, with a bow and arrow.

On that truly rare occasion, Brunner also was sentenced to three years in jail but it is doubtful that he served so much as half of that term. (See Cat Defender posts of August 14, 2007 and September 24, 2007 entitled, respectively, "Grieving Owner Seeks Justice for Orange Tabby Named Bill That Was Hunted Down and Savagely Killed with a Bow and Arrow" and "California Man Who Slew His Neighbor's Cat with a Bow and Arrow Is Sentenced to Three Years in Jail.")

On July 11, 2011, a civil court in München awarded Andreas O. €500 in damages after Ernst Bernhard K. stole and tortured to death his cat, Rocco. The court also issued a cease and desist order against Ernst Bernhard K. ordering him to either stay away from Andreas O's other cats or face the threat of a €250,000 fine.
Bill Aleshire

It is a good thing that Andreas O. won that battle because a month later Judge Gerhard Simon granted Ernst Bernhard K. a clean bill of health in a criminal proceeding that made a complete mockery of justice. (See Cat Defender posts of January 19, 2011, August 8, 2011, and August 17, 2011 entitled, respectively, "Bird Lover in München Illegally Traps Rocco and Then Methodically Tortures Him to Death with Water and Pepper Spray over an Eleven-Day Period," "Ernst K.'s Trial for Kidnapping, Torturing, and Murdering Rocco Nears Its Climax in a München Courtroom," and "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 Cat Killer.")

Sometimes just the threat of a civil suit is sufficient in order to force a cat killer into settling out of court. That is precisely what Jeffrey Lee Eiras of Winnacunnet Road in Hampton, New Hampshire, did after Susan McGee threatened to sue him or shotgunning to death her beloved cat, Molly.

Although she received only $3,000 in compensation, that was a far stiffer penalty than Eiras earlier had received in criminal court. (See Cat Defender post of June 30, 2011 entitled "No Cat Is Safe Any Longer in New Hampshire Resort Town after a Local Court Sets Free Molly's Shotgun Murderer with a Trivial $200 Fine.")

As far as Bartlett is concerned, he no longer serves as pastor of Bastrop Christian Church but it is unclear whether he was fired or simply resigned on his own accord. Equally disturbing, there is absolutely nothing in the public domain that would tend to indicate that the church ever has so much as condemned his theft and cold-blooded murder of Moody.

Likewise, it has not been possible to ascertain if he is still ministering to the spiritual needs of the Bastrop Police Department. Even if he has lost that gig also no one should be shedding any tears regarding his impecunity.

He obviously is a resourceful chap as well as a polished liar. Plus, the Christian Church from its very inception always has welcomed cat defamers and killers with open arms. Consequently, it would not be anything out of the ordinary if he had not already secured a new flock of sheep in order to lead down the well-trodden path of ailurophobia.

Most alarming of all, Moody was by no means his first victim and most assuredly is unlikely to have been his last. For example, Dillon even admitted in court that his client has been trapping cats for years.

Rhodes therefore was grotesquely derelict in his duties for not subpoenaing the Bastrop Police Department in order to determine the exact number of cats that Keys and her cohorts have liquidated at Bartlett's behest. At the same time Rhodes should have launched a thorough investigation into the number of cats that he has stolen and subsequently tortured and killed with his own hands.

Just about all cat killers are serial offenders and Bartlett's modus operandi is anything but novel. For example, when she was a graduate student at the University of Georgia in Athens Nico Dauphiné trapped an undetermined number of her neighbors' cats and in turn gave them to shelters in order to exterminate.

Once she went to work for the Smithsonian Institution in Washington she graduated to poisoning managed TNR colonies. (See Cat Defender posts of July 12, 2011, November 18, 2011, and January 6, 2012 entitled, respectively, "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," "Nico Dauphiné, Ph.D., Is Convicted of Attempting to Poison a Colony of Homeless Cats but Questions Remain Concerning the Smithsonian's Role," and "Nico Dauphiné Is Let Off with an Insultingly Lenient $100 Fine in a Show Trial That Was Fixed from the Very Beginning.")

Sarah Bell with Her Heartbroken Daughter

Not about to be left out of the cat-killing craze, amateur ornithologists such as Richard DeSantis of West Islip on Long Island and Robert and Debbie McCallum of Edmonds, Washington, also have been caught behaving exactly like Bartlett and Dauphiné. (See Cat Defender posts of June 15, 2006, March 9, 2007, and October 30, 2006 entitled, respectively, "Serial Cat Killer on Long Island Traps Neighbors' Cats and Then Gives Them to Shelter to Exterminate," "Long Island Serial Cat Killer Guilty of Only Disorderly Conduct, Corrupt Court Rules," and "Collar Saves a Cat Named Turbo from Extermination After He Is Illegally Trapped by Bird-Loving Psychopaths.")

Gardeners also make liberal use of the same tactic. (See Cat Defender posts of October 30, 2007, November 16, 2007, August 19, 2010, and August 26, 2010 entitled, respectively, "Crafty Bird Lover Claims Responsibility for Stealing Six Cats from a Southampton Neighborhood and Concealing Their Whereabouts," "Fletcher, One of the Cats Abducted from Bramley Crescent, Is Killed by a Motorist in Corhampton," "Music Lessons and Buggsey Are Murdered by a Cat-Hating Gardener and an Extermination Factory Posing as an Animal Shelter in Saginaw," and "In Stark Contrast to Ailurophobic America, Ziegelchen's Illegal Trapping by a Gardener in Altstädten-Burbach Is Roundly Condemned in Deutschland.")

So-called phony-baloney animal protection groups, cops, and private exterminators are equally guilty of committing the same egregious offense. (See Cat Defender posts of October 7, 2011, September 22, 2011, and August 30, 2007 entitled, respectively, "PETA Traps and Kills a Cat and Then Shamelessly Goes Online in Order to Brag about Its Criminal and Foul Deed," "Neaderthaloid Politicians in Lebanon, Ohio, Wholeheartedly Sanction the Illegal and Cold-Blooded Murder of Haze by a Trigger-Happy Cop," and "Texas Couple Files Lawsuit Against Pest Control Company for Trapping and Gassing Their Cat, Butty.")

The whole point of this long digression is to demonstrate that the practice of stealing cats and then handing them over to shelters and others to liquidate is widespread. All of those involved in it accordingly should be vigorously investigated, charged, prosecuted, and then sentenced to lengthy jail terms. It also shows up not only the injustice but also the profound idiocy that permeates both Flenniken's and Willett's rulings.

Contrary to what this pair of robed bums believe, the lives of cats, dogs, and other animals are no less precious than those of humans. Secondly, since they are unable to protect themselves against the machinations of devils like Bartlett and Strickland the courts should be vigilant on their behalves.

Thirdly, it is simply outrageous that jurists like Flenniken and Willett have chosen to come down on the side of criminals. Such rulings are not only a disgrace to the eternal and unchanging dictates of justice but, worst still, they serve as a green light for both individuals and institutions to continue to steal and kill animals with impunity. As such they are deserving of anything but the judicial stamp of approval.

Although there are not any statistics available on this matter, the number of domestic cats so victimized annually in the United States surely must be in the tens of thousands. For homeless felines, the number doubtlessly is in the millions.

Not only is such a practice morally indefensible but it also exacts a terrible emotional toll on both the owners of domestic cats as well as those who manage TNR colonies. In this particular case, the contentment and security that the Bell family once enjoyed has been all but obliterated by Bartlett's theft and murder of their beloved Moody.

Specifically, Moody's death has had an especially adverse affect upon their now seven-year-old daughter. "She also asked me where Moody is now and I said, 'Baby, he's in heaven'," Sarah related to KVUE-TV in the article cited supra. "She knows the man who did this is a pastor at the Bastrop Christian Church and she said, 'I don't believe in heaven anymore, Moody's just dead'." Kinder und Narren sagen die Wahrheit.

As far as it is known, Bartlett still resides on the same block as the Bells and just the act of occasionally seeing his ugly mug strutting around town is destined to forever deny them the closure that they so desperately need. It is a real long shot but hopefully the jurist chosen to hear their civil suit will do what Judge K. Michael Kirkman of the Superior Court of San Diego County did for Bubien and order Bartlett to pay them enough money so that they can relocate elsewhere.

So far, however, the only solace that the Bells have received has come from an online petition entitled "Justice for Murdered Pet Cat Moody" at www.care2.com. At last check, twenty-four-thousand, eight-hundred-eighty-two conscientious individuals had demonstrated their solidarity with the aggrieved family by initialing the appeal.

"It's not just that they lost their kitty, it was the manner in which it happened and by a man who purported to be a man of God," Aleshire pointed out to the Austin American Statesman in the May 14, 2013 article cited supra.

If that statement in any way reflects the extent of Aleshire's understanding of the age-old contentious relationship between cats and Christians he certainly has a considerable amount to learn. Specifically, Christianity and rabid ailurophobia always have gone hand-in-hand in much the same fashion as soup beans and flatulence.

Long ago and before the Christians had vomited all over creation, cats were worshiped by the ancient Egyptians and revered by the Germanic tribes of northern Europe. That, of course, made them easy targets for the evil designs of the Catholic Church.

For example, in 1233 Pope Gregory IX issued a papal bull entitled Vox in Rama which, inter alia, condemned all black cats as the incarnation of Satan. As a result, cats of all colors were slaughtered in droves by Christians up until the early nineteenth century. (See Donald W. Engels, Classical Cats: The Rise and Fall of the Sacred Cat, Abbington, Oxford: Routledge Press, 2001.)

In 1484, Pope Innocent VIII issued his infamous witches' decree, Bull Summis desiderantes, which not only accelerated the liquidation of cats but also led to the burning of untold numbers of totally innocent women as witches. In medieval London, the church even stooped so low as to have run the whorehouses for four-hundred years. Based solely upon its crimes perpetrated against cats and women, the Catholic Church can proudly lay claim to the prestigious title of being the world's oldest, sleaziest, vilest, and most murderous institution.

Every bit as contagious as a lethal dose of gonorrhea, it did not take long for hatred of cats to find sanctuary within the Protestant churches where it continues to flourish even to this day.  (See Cat Defender posts of February 12, 2007, August 8, 2012, July 30, 2009, and May 1, 2010 entitled, respectively, "God-Fearing Baptists at Eastern University Kill Off Their Feral Cats on the Sly while Students Are Away on Christmas Break," "Polygamists Condemn Thomas to a Long and Excruciatingly Painful Death by Burying Him Up to His Tiny Neck Inside a Steel Post Filled with Wet Concrete," "Ferals Living at a Baltimore Church Find Out the Hard Way That Hatred of Cats Is Every Bit as Christian as Unleavened Bread and Cheap Wine," and "When It Comes to Cats, Acts of Faith Count for Absolutely Nothing with the Good Christians at Northside Baptist.")

Christianity, properly understood, may have some appeal as an ascetic alternative to militarism, materialism, and hedonism. It also no doubt offers a modicum of hope, no matter how disingenuous, to the downtrodden.

Not surprisingly, it is precisely those who are most attracted to its siren call that organized Christianity exploits and abuses the worst. "...Christianity, with its emphasis on humility and the hope of a happier afterlife, was clearly a religion for slaves and poor people," Edward Rutherfurd wrote in his panoramic 1998 historical novel, London.

Its merits and demerits for humanity aside, there can be little doubt that as it is written and practiced, Christianity is virulently antagonistic toward the animals and Mother Earth. Many examples of the former could be cited but Genesis I:26 and Acts X:10-16 will suffice whereas the criminal behavior of Bartlett and his fellow Christians more than amply demonstrate the latter.

Bartlett, the Vatican, and all Christians are entitled to think whatever they please about cats but once they cross the line that separates free expression from action they should be held fully accountable under the anti-cruelty statutes. Moreover, it is difficult to understand how that anyone who loves animals and Mother Earth ever could so much as even countenance becoming a Christian.

Christianity's naked abuse and exploitation of the animals and earth always has been the movement's Achilles' heel. Instead of demonstrating the existence of a superior intellect and morality, its teachings on those paramount issues exposes it to be little more than a ragbag of human-all-too-human prejudices and interests conjured up by a small band of disgruntled Jews and then foisted upon a gullible world by a succession of supremely evil popes and Roman emperors.

No one can speculate with any certainty as to how western civilization ultimately would have turned out if it had not been for the arrival of Jesus Christ, but as far as the animals, especially cats, and Mother Earth are concerned the movement that bears his name has been an unmitigated disaster.

Photos: The Digital Texan (Moody and the Loop 150 Bridge), Bastrop County Sheriff's Department (Bartlett), Bastrop County (Flenniken), KVUE-TV  (Bartlett in court), Riggs, Aleshire and Ray (Aleshire), KHOU-TV (Sarah Bell with her daughter), and Facebook (Justice for Moody).