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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

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Falsely Branded as Being Rabid by a Cat-Hater, an Animal Control Officer, and the Gorham Police Department, Clark Is Hounded Down and Blasted with a Shotgun

The Magnificent Clark

"I had a hard time wrapping my brain around why this happened and how it happened. I just feel really sad that this innocent, sweet animal was hunted down and shot in a yard where he felt safe."
-- Deb Webb

No one seems to either know or, for that matter, care very much about Clark's past. Based upon his friendly demeanor and total lack of fear of humans, however, it is rather safe to conclude that he at one time enjoyed the comforts and security of a permanent home.

That was a long time ago in that it is known that the five-to-eight-year-old black and white tom with long, elegant white whiskers and pale-green eyes had been forced for much of his adult life to eke out an existence on the violent and forbidding streets of the small Maine town of Gorham, eighteen kilometers west of Portland. As far as it has been revealed, the only material assistance that he received during that time came from Deb Webb of Maple Ridge Road who had fed him for the past three years.

Even that act of kindness still forced him to rely upon his own resources when it came to weathering Gorham's long, cold, and snowy winters, eluding both human and animal predators, and persevering through injuries and sicknesses without the benefit of competent veterinary care. Plus, he had to cope on a daily basis with the psychological loneliness and social isolation that accompanies being homeless and penniless and that is an especially difficult row to hoe for any cat that lives in such a cold-hearted and violent capitalist dystopia as the United States.

Despite having all the stars aligned against him, Clark nevertheless somehow persevered and even to a certain extent thrived on adversity. Malheureusement, neither courage, nobility of soul, nor the ability to withstand profound suffering are any match for either the malicious lies of an inveterate cat-hater or the murderous desires of a bloodthirsty cop.

That terrifying fact of life in present-day, police state America was brought home to Clark with a vengeance on the evening of August 20th after he allegedly became involved in some sort of a physical altercation with an unidentified seven-year-old girl. The girl's father, whose identity likewise has been shielded from public scrutiny by the obliging capitalist media, in turn telephoned the Gorham Police Department (GPD) complaining that Clark either had scratched or bitten his daughter.

That in itself was a highly dubious charge to levy against Clark in the first place in that scratch and bite wounds usually are readily distinguishable. Secondly, a far more likely scenario is that it was precisely the child who either had attacked or molested Clark in some fashion because homeless cats are not in the habit of approaching strangers, let alone assaulting them.

Thirdly, the man should have been doing a far better job of minding his young daughter. If he had been willing from the outset to have devoted so much as a fraction of the time that he since has invested in falsely maligning Clark to fulfilling that solemn responsibility this tragic episode never would have transpired in the first place.

As malicious and patently unfair as his initial accusation was, the man did not stop there but instead outdid himself by telling the police that Clark not only was limping but rabid as well. The first allegation is easily disposed of in that Clark most likely was victimized sometime in the past by a hit-and-run motorist and that accounts for his limp.

It is not, after all, anything out of the ordinary for outdoor cats to have some sort of mobility impairment. Moreover, there is not any correlation whatsoever between a limp and rabies and absolutely no one except either an inveterate cat-hater or a bloody fool ever would make such an asinine connection.

Much more to the point, neither civilians, cops, nor even veterinarians are capable of making an on-the-spot, in-the-field diagnosis of rabies. That can only be accomplished through either trapping and quarantining an animal so that it can be observed over an extended period of time for any outward symptoms of the malady or by killing it and analyzing tissues cut out of its brain.

An x-ray Details the Damage Done to Clark's Front Legs

Regrettably, Clark could not speak up for himself and as a consequence the Animal Control officer who arrived on the scene at 7 p.m. took the blatant lies of Clark's accusers to be the gospel truth. Although the thoroughly dishonest capitalist media have refused to publicly divulge his name, he is identified on the GPD's web site as its very own Paul Dubay who also doubles as a traffic cop.

With it rapidly growing dark outside, Dubay quickly abandoned his half-hearted effort to trap Clark and instead radioed Lieutenant Christopher Sanborn, who serves as second in command to outgoing Chief of Police Ronald Shepard, in order to request that a death squad be dispatched to hunt down and execute on the spot the totally innocent cat. In support of his case, Dubay not only alleged that Clark also had attempted to bite him but he even topped the father and daughter team when it comes to telling whoppers by furthermore claiming that he also was staggering, weeping, and vomiting.

Two unidentified police officers promptly arrived at the killing field and one of them wasted no time by assaulting Clark with one or more blasts from a sixteen-gauge shotgun that was loaded with pellets. Assuming that the triggerman was not either any of the GPD's four sergeants, three detectives, or pair of school crossing guards, he surely was one of the following nine officers: Robert Henckel, Brent Frank, Todd Gagnon, David Bruni, Dean Hannon, Ted Hatch, Michael Brown, Stephen Hinkley, and Steven Rappold. It seems highly unlikely that the department's tenth uniformed officer, Chelsea Emmons, did the shooting.

"After some discussion, they (Dubay and his unidentified supervisor) had some concern there was a rabid cat in the neighborhood that they were unable to capture," Sanborn told the Portland Press Herald on September 4th. (See "Stray Cat Recovering from Shooting by Officer Who Suspected Rabies.") "They decided the best way to deal with it so no one else was harmed was to shoot the cat."

Although the blast had broken bones in both of Clark's front legs, he nonetheless was able to somehow make it to the safety of a nearby wooded area and that doubtlessly saved his life because his attackers were hellbent upon eradicating him from the face of the earth. Toward that end, they pursued him for "an extended period of time" that night and the following day according to Sanborn.

"It leaped up in the air and took off," Sanborn later told the American Journal of Westbrook on September 11th. (See "'Super-Cat' Saga Touching Hearts.")

The not only unjust and barbaric but asininely stupid behavior exhibited by both Dubay and the GPD in this utterly outrageous example of animal cruelty raises a myriad of vitally important questions that need to be addressed. First of all, although police officers are allowed under Maine law to execute animals that they suspect of having rabies that is far from being a desirable policy.

Rather, such animals should be humanely trapped and taken to a veterinarian for examination. That is the only way that such a determination can be made without unjustly killing totally innocent animals.

Secondly, an Animal Control officer should not be a police officer as well. Simply put, most policemen have neither the prerequisite intelligence, training, temperament, patience, nor compassion required in order to properly attend to cats and other animals in a humane and just fashion.

In this particular case, Dubay's gross incompetence is nothing short of criminal. "This may be the first time I've ever heard of a police officer responding to help an Animal Control officer with a cat," Eric Sakach of the Humane Society of the United States told the Portland Press Herald. "Animal Control officers should be trained and have the equipment to properly trap a cat."

Clark and Jeana Roth

Apparently, Dubay was not only bone-lazy but so mindlessly stupid that he attempted to grab Clark with his bare hands as opposed to using a trap. Otherwise, he is simply lying about Clark attacking him.

As any fool knows, a humane trap, the proper bait, and unlimited amounts of both patience and time are required in order to successfully apprehend a cat. Animal Control personnel and police officers are, on the other hand, by training and personality quick workers in that it only takes them a second or two in order to reduce and eliminate complex, vexing, and time-consuming problems to their lowest common denominator by emptying their revolvers in the direction of cats, dogs, and individuals.

Such a mindset additionally spares them the onerous tasks of either doing any thinking or breaking so much as a sweat. Many of them in fact talk and behave as if they have the intelligence quotient of a fifteen-year-old juvenile delinquent.

By contrast, earlier in August it took Toni Gramiak and the volunteers from Brandon Area Lost Animals (BALA) in Manitoba eighteen days in order to successfully corral a cat named Butterscotch who had gotten his head trapped in a bug trap. (See Cat Defender post of September 6, 2014 entitled "Butterscotch Is Finally Freed from a Bug Trap but His Deliverance Has Come at an Awfully High Price That He Will Be Repaying for the Remainder of His Days.")

On that occasion, she and her colleagues used various baits, electronic and human monitors of the traps, and tons of patience. Above all, neither she nor the volunteers were foolish enough to attempt to grab Butterscotch with their hands.

"To the people who thought they could catch him by hand, be thankful you didn't get the chance," BALA wrote August 25th in an untitled article posted on its Facebook page. "For the first week in foster care, this traumatized kitty was frozen in fear. He would lash out at anything that startled him, had an intense fear of hands and growled if any human got dangerously close to him."

The avowed willingness of both the girl and Dubay to get so close to Clark also calls into question the veracity of their assertions that he not only was feral but, more importantly, that he had rabies. First of all, the vast majority of homeless cats are unapproachable. Secondly, no one ever would go near a cat that they honestly suspected of having rabies.

Also, by electing to gun down Clark in Webb's yard, the GPD placed in jeopardy the lives of other cats and residents living in the area as well. "I mean, you (sic) could've done a little bit better, extensive job of searching for it, or put a trap out to search for it the next day, or something," Stephanie Roberts, who lives near where Clark was shot, astutely pointed out to WMTV of Portland on September 5th. (See "Cat Thought to Be Rabid Shot by Police, Survives.")

As for Clark's accuser, she never was treated for exposure to the rabies virus and that further undermines both her and her father's stories because normally in cases of this sort post-exposure prophylaxis is immediately commenced and continues over an extended fourteen-day period. The cops and Dubay likewise never believed so much as an iota of their own propaganda and lies because less than twenty-four hours later they gave up attempting to both trap and kill Clark.

As for Clark, he somehow managed to survive the cop's shotgun blast and subsequently was successfully trapped by Webb four days later on August 24th. He then was bandied about first to the Animal Refuge League for Greater Portland (ARLGP) in Westbrook, seven kilometers removed from Gorham, and then to an unidentified veterinarian fifty-six kilometers away in Lewiston before finally being returned to the former where he remains to this day.

Clark Rests in His Cage at ARLGP

It never has been explained where Clark spent the intervening days but more than likely he was with Webb. That assumption is based upon her own admission that she feared he would be killed if she immediately turned him over to ARLGP. Presumably, his deteriorating state of health prompted her to have a change of heart and to take a chance upon the shelter.

It additionally is unclear if she was at home at the time of the shooting. If not, she surely learned of it shortly thereafter and likely was on the lookout for Clark, even if she initially might have feared that he had been killed.

There can be little doubt, however, that the evil machinations of all those involved in this sordid affair have left her badly shaken. "I had a really hard time wrapping my brain around why this happened and how it happened," she explained to the Portland Press Herald in the article cited supra. "I just feel really sad that this innocent, sweet animal was hunted down and shot in a yard where he felt safe."

The first order of business at ARLGP was to quarantine Clark in a cage for ten days so that he could be observed for any symptoms of rabies. To the surprise of absolutely no one with so much as a scintilla of intelligence, that proved not to be the case otherwise he would have been liquidated on the spot.

Au contraire, rabies is extremely rare in cats and, according to statistics compiled by the Portland Press Herald, only eight such cases have been confirmed in Maine since January of 2010. Moreover, the last person in Maine to have been infected with rabies transmitted by any animal occurred way back in 1937.

That has not deterred the sworn enemies of the species, such as ornithologists, wildlife biologists, and the federal government, from falsely branding cats as the number one public menace when it comes to spreading rabies. For example, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta published a scurrilous report in the July 17, 2013 online edition of Zoonoses and Public Health (volume sixty-one, issue four, pages 290-296) entitled "Rabies Prevention and Management of Cats in the Context of Trap-Neuter-Vaccinate-Release Programmes" (sic) wherein the authors called for not only the outlawing of TNR but the roundup and en masse extermination of all homeless cats.

"We didn't think it was okay to have (homeless) dogs, but we think it's okay to create artificial cat colonies where they're exposed to wildlife that can transmit rabies," Charles E. Rupprecht of the CDC groused indignantly to USA Today on August 18, 2013. (See "Feral Cat Colonies Could Pose Rabies Risk, CDC Says.")

Rupprecht's colleague at the CDC, Jesse D. Blanton, furthermore claimed that three-hundred cats are reported to be rabid each year in the United States and that they accordingly are to blame for sixteen per cent of all individuals that require treatment after being suspected of having been exposed to the virus.

First of all and as the simply horrific abuse meted out to Clark has amply demonstrated, there is a huge difference between being suspected of having rabies and actually being infected with the virus. Secondly, individuals who come into contact with cats are inadvertently scratched and bitten all the time. As a result, they may sometimes even undergo rabies treatment as a precautionary measure but that certainly does not mean that the cats were in fact rabid.

On the contrary, there has not been a confirmed cat-to-human transmission of rabies in nearly forty years. In fact, if there were so much as an iota of truth to the CDC's outrageous claims the country would be overrun with a rabies epidemic.


The veracity of the study is further called into question by not only the overt biases of the authors themselves but also by the CDC's lies about who actually conducted the research and authored the report. For instance, in addition to Rupprecht and Blanton, the consortium of authors allegedly also included M. Levin, Allison D. Roebling, and D. Johnson of the CDC. Besides them, D. Slate, who works for both the USDA's Animal Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) as well as its designated death squad, Wildlife Services, and none other than George Fenwick of the ultra cat-hating American Bird Conservancy (ABC) also put in their two cents' worth.

It afterwards was revealed, however, that the study actually was prepared and written by Roebling and Johnson, a pair of unpaid college students and not CDC staffers. In addition to being biased and dishonest, that shows up the CDC to be both cheap as well as a naked exploiter of students. (See District of Columbia Health Examiner, November 5, 2013, "'CDC Study' on Cats Actually Done by Students.")

Even more important than that it reveals that the CDC now has joined the ranks of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), Wildlife Services, APHIS, the National Park Service, the United States Forest Service, the United States Army Corps of Engineers, the Pentagon, and other agencies in the feds' all-out war on cats. (See Cat Defender post of August 7, 2014 entitled "The National Park Service Racks Up a Major Victory by Expelling the Plum Beach Cats but It Is Thwarted in Its Burning Desire to Dance a Merry Little Jig on Their Graves.")

"This is fearmongering, and it can have disastrous consequences for cats," Becky Robinson of Alley Cat Allies pointed out in an August 15, 2013 press release. (See "Alley Cat Allies Denounces Biased Rabies Review that Calls for Eradicating Cats.") "Frankly, I am flummoxed that the American Bird Conservancy is included on a rabies prevention study. It also makes no sense that the review includes a totally unrelated section on feral cats and wildlife."

Whereas it is difficult to establish a direct causal connection between the CDC's and the ABC's blatant lies on the one hand and the GPD's gunning down of Clark on the other hand, there can be do disputing that the mere mentioning of rabies frightens some otherwise rational individuals out of their skulls. "It was alarming to think we had a rabid animal in the neighborhood," uninformed and clueless Gail Platts of Maple Ridge Road told the American Journal in the article cited supra.

ARLGP eventually got around to looking after Clark's gunshot wounds and that could not have come a minute too soon. "He was in rough shape, could barely walk," the charity's Patsy Murphy informed WGME-TV of Portland on September 4th. (See "Stray Cat Suffers in Woods after Being Shot by Police.")

"He was outside for four days after he was shot before he was brought to us," Murphy's colleague, Jeana Roth, added to the Portland Press Herald. "Who knows what kind of pain he was in?"

At last report, ARLGP was closely monitoring his condition in the hope that the shattered bones in his legs will heal on their own. If not, he will require surgery.

Surgery might also be called for in order to not only repair his limp but also to remove the lead pellets. If not removed in a timely fashion they ultimately could prove to be not only toxic but possibly even fatal.

For example, on August 29th an unknown and still at large assailant shot Constance Große's nine-year-old white cat, Cindy, in the stomach with an air rifle as she lay stretched out on the terrace of her mother-in-law's house in the Dütekamp development in the Himbergen section of Uelzen in Niedersachsen, ninety-two kilometers south of Hamburg. In yet still another utterly revolting example of veterinary malpractice, the unidentified practitioner incorrectly diagnosed Cindy to be suffering from a bite wound.


When her condition did not improve, she was forced to undergo emergency surgery on September 2nd and on that occasion the projectile finally was found and removed. Tragically, by that time it already was too late and she did not survive.

Although the surgery and the anesthesia doubtlessly contributed to her death, it also is believed that the lead pellet poisoned her system. If she had been properly diagnosed and the projectile removed in a timely manner she in all likelihood still would be alive today.

The senseless murder of her beloved cat has not only deeply disturbed Große and her children but prompted her to demand that the police apprehend the assailant. "Wer tut so etwas und schießt in unserem Siedlungsgebiet mit einem Luftgewehr auf Katzen?" she asked readers of the Allgemeine Zeitung Uelzen on September 6th. (See "Tödlicher Schuss auf Cindy.") "Damit möchte ich erreichen, dass derjenige, der geschossen und damit gegen das Tierschutzgesetz verstoßen hat, ermittelt wird."

For the time being, however, Clark is persevering as well as could be expected under the circumstances. "Clark's doing well. He's receiving vet care and treatment. He's resting comfortably and certainly recuperating," Roth related to the Bangor Daily News on September 4th. (See "Stray Cat Survives Shotgun Blast from Gorham Officer Who Thought Feline Was Rabid.") "Animals are certainly resilient, and Clark certainly is a strong boy."

Although it is not known what Webb calls him, ARLGP has temporarily named him in honor of Superman's alter ego, Clark Kent. It also is rather revealing that the charity's description of his personality is on all fours with that of Webb and therefore totally at odds with the outrageous lies spread about him by the father and daughter team, Dubay, and the GPD.

"He's a lovebug. Everyone here has definitely rallied around him," Murphy declared to WMTV in the article cited supra. "We love his name, Clark, it really speaks to his Superman capabilities. And as you can see, he's a dream boy."

Depending upon how his health progresses, Clark is scheduled to be put up for adoption almost any day now and Webb has announced her intention to be first in line for that honor. The competition is expected to be steep, however, in that at least a dozen or so other individuals have expressed a similar interest in adding him to their homes. The petit fait that she demurred from doing so for so very long also could adversely affect her suit.

Regardless of where he ultimately winds up, Clark's rapid transformation from a rough sleeper and an outlaw into a domiciled and beloved cat has been nothing short of breathtaking. It nevertheless is appalling that it nearly cost him his life before both friends and foes alike belatedly realized not only that he was innocent of the accusations levied against him but, much more importantly, that he was entitled to be allowed to go on living.

That is about the only positive development to have come out of all of the naked abuse and profound suffering heaped upon Clark's tiny head in that none of those involved have seemingly learned a blessed thing from their colossal mistakes. First of all, there is the GPD which claims to have opened an internal investigation into the conduct of both Dubay and the triggerman. "We want to leave no stone unturned," Sanborn swore with, presumably, a straight face to the American Journal.

By that he undoubtedly means that his department is going to pull out all the stops in order to whitewash the conduct of all those involved. Quite obviously, since the GPD has categorically refused to even publicly identify either Dubay or those officers involved in this lawless and unprovoked assassination attempt upon Clark's life, there is absolutely no chance that any of them ever will be disciplined.

Barry Accorti

Besides, the shooting took place more than a month ago and it certainly does not take that length of time in order to conduct an internal investigation. A cover-up and a whitewash, on the other hand, require a good deal more time and effort.

If truth, justice, and public accountability mattered in Gorham, Dubay, the two uniformed officers, their supervisor, and Sanborn as well would be not only immediately fired but prosecuted under the anti-cruelty statutes as well.  Neither of those recourses are about to be followed, however, in that the cover-up is so extensive that it extends to the seven officials who make up the Town Council as well as to city manager David Cole, none of whom have had the decency and compassion to utter so much as a peep in protest.

Sanborn, who is being groomed to assume Shepard's duties in November, has behaved throughout this affair much like a piece of dingy laundry flapping in the breeze. "We're currently looking into the situation and obviously want to ensure the proper procedures were followed," he vacuously gassed to WGME-TV in the article cited supra.

On that same date he is quoted in the Portland Press Herald as candidly acknowledging his abysmal ignorance as to the protocol to be followed in dealing with animals suspected of being rabid but who cannot be immediately apprehended. Consequently, there is not any conceivable way that either he or his officers could possibly follow the dictates of the law if they do not even know what they are in the first place.

As moronic as that may sound to the uninitiated, it is simply the way that all cops operate. Absolutely none of them give so much as a rat's ass about the law, issues of right and wrong, and saving lives. Acting in their self-anointed roles as arresting officers, judges, jurymen, and street corner executioners, they recognize no higher authority and will not under any circumstances accept any constraints placed upon their exercise of power and that applies to how they deal with individuals as well as cats and other animals.

To make matters worse, the GPD's anti-feline agenda enjoys widespread support outside of Gorham. For example, Sheila Pinette of the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention in Augusta has endorsed Sanborn's clarion call for all Maine residents to not only rat out all homeless cats to the police but to refrain from both feeding and handling them.

That draconian policy also has been wholeheartedly endorsed by none other than the ARLGP. "We hope that the message here is that if you have a stray animal in your neighborhood, use your shelter as a resource," Roth pontificated to the Bangor Daily News in the article cited supra.

Her supervisor, Murphy, is even more of a brownnoser and a suck-up to authority. "We're happy to work with the Animal Control officer and community to get strays into shelters," she pledged to WGME-TV. "We can get them spayed and neutered, and we can get them current on vaccinations."

Her bonhomie also extends to the GPD. "We had a meeting with the Gorham Police Department and we talked about communications and working together," she disclosed to WGME-TV.

Most outrageous of all, to withhold food, water, shelter, veterinary care, and simple acts of compassion and kindness from homeless cats is nothing short of barbaric and anyone who advocates for such a perverse agenda should be stripped naked and publicly horsewhipped. Secondly, Dubay has so amply demonstrated his complete incompetence as an Animal Control officer that anyone who cares so much as one whit about cats would have to be a complete idiot to rat out any of them to him.

Thirdly, as far as Sanborn and his highly-paid and trigger-happy goons are concerned, dealing with cats even remotely suspected of being homeless begins and ends with blasts from a shotgun. Accordingly, just as it would be utterly foolish to subject a blind man to a test of colors, it is ridiculous to allow the GPD within a mile of a cat.

Fourthly, the inveterate liars, fraudsters, and buttlickers at ARLPG know as well as everyone else that just about all cats that enter the front doors of shelters leave by the back doors in black plastic trash bags. That is not only true of all those that are suspected of being homeless, but the vast majority of domesticated and preeminently adoptable cats as well.


"This is not a typical way for a cat to be brought to us," Roth told the Portland Press Herald in regard to Clark's gunshot wounds. "We never want to see a situation like this again."

Unless she is joshing, that can only be interpreted as meaning that she prefers to have cats delivered to her upon silver platters. That way she and her colleagues can whack them with jabs of sodium pentobarbital all the while maintaining that they are doing both them and the community a valuable public service.

"The mission of the Animal Refuge League of Greater Portland is to provide temporary care and shelter for stray, abandoned, and relinquished animals, and to place as many as possible into responsible and caring homes," the organization declares on its web site. "Each animal is given the time it needs to find a home regardless of its age, color or medical condition until the time it is reunited with its family or adopted into a loving and responsible family."

Specifically, the organization claims that it takes in more than four-thousand animals each year and that more than half of them are homeless. Conspicuously omitted from its highfalutin rhetoric is any mention of its kill-rate and without that vitally important piece of information intake data are not only meaningless but patently dishonest.

It additionally is not anywhere sufficient for ARLGP to merely declare that it provides its inmates with veterinary care. It must go further and reveal exactly how many animals that it successfully treats as well as the number that it either intentionally kills or allows to die through malpractice and niggardliness. In that respect, Webb's fear that the shelter would kill off Clark is perhaps the most damning piece of evidence against it.

It also is more  than a bit troubling that the shelter, located at 449 Stroudwater Street, is only eight-tenths of a mile removed from Westbrook High School (WHS) at 125 Stroudwater Street which serves as the home away from home for its elderly ginger-colored mascot, Simba. In particular, the shelter's close proximity to it makes it all too convenient should either WHS or Simba's owner, Eileen Shutts, decide to employ it in order to prematurely snuff out his life.

Even as things now stand, he never has been fully appreciated. (See Cat Defender post of May 19, 2014 entitled "Even after Fourteen Years of Faithful Companionship and Exemplary Service, Teachers, Students, and Administrators at Westbrook High School Remain Clueless as to Simba's Intrinsic Value.")

On its web site the organization also fails to make any mention of either TNR or sanctuaries. It apparently does place some barn cats with farmers through its Country Kitties Program but the exact number is not specified. It therefore is difficult to see how that it possibly could be operating anything other than a mass extermination factory without making use of these other alternatives. It is, after all, a foregone conclusion that it is not about to invest the time and resources required in order to socialize for adoption every homeless cat that passes through its portals.

Fifthly, all of Gorham's simply outrageous polices for dealing with cats are not only inhumane but at odds with TNR. There are sans doute drawbacks to such an approach but until something better and more humane comes along it is an acceptable compromise.

Trumping all of those concerns is the simply grotesque lie spread by ARLGP, the GPD, and others that there is a discernible difference between homeless and domesticated cats. "Many people draw a distinction between their pet cats and cats that live outside, but they are really the same," Elizabeth Putsche, who along with her husband, Jason, has spent five years photographing homeless cats, told This Dish Is Vegan on September 11th. (See "Husband and Wife Team Document Feral Cat Colonies Across the Country.") "The care and compassion we give our animals at home should be extended to these cats, even if we can't pet them. Each has a personality and individuality and each has a story to tell."

Snuffy with Her Roommate Pebbles

Applied to the human race, the draconian policies advocated by ARLGP, the GPD, Dubay, and Pinette would sanction the gunning down in the street of not only the impecunious but orphans as well. As is the case with all forms of abuse, the starting point always is the lies spread by the elites who either control or have access to the communications channels.

"There are a lot of misconceptions about community cats," Putsche goes on to say. "We want people to see them as they truly are: independent, healthy, loved, and thriving outdoors."

That is the absolute last thing that their publicly declared enemies in Gorham and Westbrook ever want the hoi polloi to see. As far as they are concerned, the only good cat is either a dead one or one that has been denatured and brought to heel like a dog. C'est-à-dire, the entire so-called animal protection establishment is, for the most part, a huge racket that is run by and for the benefit of its members and the political elites that they serve. Consequently, it is only by either accident or as a fundraising ploy that the pressing needs of the animals ever are served.

Animal Control officers are by far the worst of a bad lot in that the manner in which Dubay treated Clark was merely par for the course when it comes to how they deal with cats. Whether their modus operandi is to either kill them in the field with lethal injections and bullets to the head or to deliver them to shelters and veterinarians to liquidate, Animal Control officers operate in a shadowy world where both their hideous crimes as well as the bodies of their victims remain hidden from public view.

There is a discernible pattern to their crimes, however, in that most of them originate with private citizens who lodge complaints with them against cats. All of these individuals are inveterate cat-haters and a good percentage of them are either ornithologists, wildlife biologists, the brainwashed dupes of PETA, or members of the federal bureaucracy. Moreover, they are seldom, if ever, publicly identified and held liable in any way for their actions. Worst still, Animal Control officers take their malicious and totally unfounded lies at face value.

For example, on July 6th of last year, Debbie Patsos's ten-year-old black cat Peggy escaped from her residence in the Tampa suburb of Land O'Lakes and took up refuge in Casey McCarthy's garage, four doors down the street. When he discovered Peggy's presence he promptly ratted her out to Pasco County Animal Services which dispatched an unidentified Animal Control officer with eight years of experience on the job who in turn killed her on the spot with, presumably, a jab of sodium pentobarbital.

When asked by the dispatcher if the cat was in imminent danger of dying, McCarthy replied, "Yeah...it probably won't make it until tomorrow as far as I'm concerned," according to a July 12th broadcast on WTSP-TV of Tampa. (See "Pasco Investigates Lethal Injection of Family Cat.") "It's probably going to go into shock and die."

Actually, Peggy was in perfect health save for the fact that she had been born with only three paws. "She was our family member. She had a handicap which gave her character to us," Patsos told WTSP-TV earlier on July 10th. (See "Pasco County Kills Family Cat Before It Arrives at Shelter.") "It did not mean she was unadoptable or unlovable. It made her more lovable to us."

In a feeble ploy designed to excuse his own culpability, McCarthy later pleaded ignorance as to how both Animal Control officers and shelters operate. "I'm beyond mad," he told WTSP-TV in the July 10th article. "First off, if anyone said, 'If the shelter takes it, they're going to euthanize it,' I would have said, 'Never mind'."

Even more telling the Animal Control officer informed McCarthy that Peggy might be killed; he simply did not mention that he was planning on doing the dirty deed that very moment and inside his garage. Moreover, McCarthy's story has been further undermined by the fact that he has been identified elsewhere on the web as an animal lover who in the past has rescued cats. He therefore does not have a valid excuse for ratting out Peggy to the knackers.


"I'm angry now, and I want justice for her," Patsos stormed to WTSP-TV in the July 12th article cited supra. "I don't want this to happen to someone else's cat."

She is justifiably furious at Animal Control but McCarthy is even more at fault. "I'm blown away. I made the call, I tracked them down in an effort to get an injured cat help," he admitted to WTSP-TV on July 12th. "I didn't get help. I sent it to its death."

On June 10th of last year an unidentified woman residing on Vista Lake Way in North Ridgeville, Ohio, telephoned Animal Control in order to grouse about a family of homeless cats that had taken up residence in a woodpile on her property. In support of her complaint, she argued that the cats had fleas, were creating a stink, and killing wildlife.

Animal Control officer Barry Accorti arrived on the scene twenty minutes later and after informing the complainant that the shelters were full and that the cats would be going to "kitty heaven," he promptly pumped bullets into the tiny heads of a quintuplet of eight to ten-week-old kittens. All of that was just peachy keen to the homeowner until her children, who had witnessed the massacre, started screaming their heads off in horror. Like McCarthy, she had assumed that the killings would have been done out of sight and out of mind.

"It's heartbreaking," Teresa Landon of the Ohio SPCA later told The Plain Dealer of Cleveland on June 11, 2013. (See "North Ridgeville Clears Humane Officer of Wrongdoing for Killing Feral Kittens, but Animal Groups Want Action.") "There is no excuse for it. It's absolutely shameful that someone with the title of humane officer would do this."

Almost in the same breath the hypocritical Landon turned right around and defended the killing of vicious dogs and animals that are in great pain. Not surprisingly, her campaign to get the former thirty-one-year veteran of the North Ridgeville Police Department (NRPD) and a SWAT team commander as well fired for his actions fell upon the deaf ears of Chief of Police Mike Freeman.

"After visiting the scene, talking with the responding officer and re-interviewing the complainant, I have decided his actions were appropriate and have decided not to impose any disciplinary measures for the incident," Freeman pontificated to The Plain Dealer. "The North Ridgeville Police Department recognizes the concern of those who believe feral cats should not be killed for simply trying to survive but also acknowledges other research that recognizes the risks associated with these animals and the need to manage feral cats. Research and other organizations accept shooting as an acceptable means of euthanasia."

By other organizations he undoubtedly has the ABC, the National Audubon Society, and the feds, particularly the USFWS, in mind. His thinking in that regard coincides with Accorti's who, as a bird lover, had gone to great lengths two months earlier in order to save the life of a baby great horned owl that had fallen out of its nest.

To hear Freeman tell it, the eradication of innocent cats is nothing more than a matter of public service and the patented immorality of such aberrant behavior is, consequently, of no concern. "To walk away and leave a safety issue unresolved is irresponsible," he gassed to The Plain Dealer. "At no time does this agency condone or allow the indiscriminate killing of animals, but we will continue to assist residents when there is a safety or nuisance condition."

Since he and Accorti are so obliging, denizens of North Ridgeville have little or nothing to worry about on that score; it is an altogether different matter for cats and other animals residing in the city. Nevertheless, just because Accorti and Freeman have appropriated for themselves an exclusive right to kill animals with impunity that does not in any way legitimize either their thinking or behavior.

So, in the end, Accorti was able to not only get away unscathed with his crimes but to hold onto his job as well. The world, however, had not by a long shot heard the last of either him or his savagery.

On June 9th of this year he was at it again and this time around it was a baby raccoon that he shot dead in front of three children on Root Road. Just as was the case with the unidentified woman who had orchestrated the rubout of "The Woodpile Five," neighbor Tim Sherill did not have the least little problem with Accorti's killing of the raccoon; he simply wished that the execution had been carried out elsewhere.

"I own a gun myself," he proudly declared to The Chronicle-Telegram of Elyria on June 10th. (See "Parent Alleges Humane Officer Killed Raccoon in Front of Kids.") "I can understand this up to a point...that they have to put animals down, but you don't do it in front of kids. I'm an adult, and I don't want to see it."

Just as before, old reliable Freeman was johnny-on-the-spot in order to defend North Ridgeville's number one animal killer. "This is a highly-trained individual who can make deductions as to whether this can be done safely or not," he declared to The Chronicle-Telegram. "He is a certified officer. Not somebody we just hire off the street, give them (sic) a gun, and tell them (sic) to go do it."

It is precisely that type of moronic thinking and naked disregard for the rights of animals that has earned Ohio the prestigious title of being the most backward and inhumane state in the union. (See Cat Defender posts of October 20, 2005, February 26, 2007, August 2, 2007, and April 8, 2008 entitled, respectively, "After Ridding the Ohio Statehouse of Rats, Cats Now Find Themselves Facing Eviction," "Charged with Feeding a Feral Cat Named Fluffy, Retired Ohio English Teacher Beats the Rap," "Ohio Cat Shot in the Leg with an Arrow Is Forced to Endure a Long-Drawn-Out and Excruciating Death," and "Ohio Politician Proposes Adding Cats to the Growing List of Pigs, Other Animals, and Humans Killed by Tasers.")

Sometimes the deliberate lies of private citizens are superfluous when it comes to dooming cats in that Animal Control officers and shelters are quite capable of doing the foul deeds from start to finish all by themselves. For instance, in late February of 2012, an unidentified Animal Control officer in Port St. Lucie trapped Shannon Johnson's elderly orange and white cat Pumpkin during a massive one-day roundup and subsequent extermination of more than fifty cats suspected of being homeless. Pumpkin, too, was taken to the St. Lucie County Humane Society and soon thereafter liquidated.

"He was senselessly killed. He shouldn't have been treated this way. He really shouldn't have," his heartbroken owner sobbed to WPEC-TV of West Palm Beach on March 6, 2012. (See "Port St. Lucie Family Pet Caught in Feral Cat Roundup, Euthanized.") "He was a special little guy."

The shelter's David Robertson defended his agency's cold-blooded murder of Pumpkin on the grounds that he was neither licensed, tagged, nor microchipped. He also claims that he failed a temperament test. "This cat unfortunately was very aggressive," he swore to WPEC-TV.

Although a cat's socio-economic status should not have any bearing whatsoever on whether it is allowed to live, absolutely no one can differentiate with any measurable degree of expertise between homeless and domiciled cats. Secondly, so-called temperament tests are a hoax in that almost any cat that is kidnapped by strangers and taken to a shelter where it is confined to a cage is apt to exhibit signs of aggression. The same would hold true for most individuals subjected to the same set of circumstances.

Robertson is furthermore exposed as a barefaced liar by the Animal Control officer who noted on the impound report that Pumpkin was wearing a flea collar and appeared to have an owner. Under those circumstances, it is nothing short of criminal that the officer did not immediately release Pumpkin in the neighborhood where he was trapped instead of initialing his death warrant by stubbornly proceeding on with him to the shelter.

Suspected of being homeless is, however, only one of the many justifications that Animal Control officers and shelters make use of in order to steal and kill cats. Why, even suffering from so much as a minor, preeminently treatable, condition is quite often sufficient in order to get an otherwise healthy cat killed.

For instance, at 9 a.m. on September 1st of last year six-year-old gray-colored and deaf Snuffy ran out the back door of Anna Latimer's house on Ellengale Road in Burlington, Ontario. An hour and forty-seven minutes later she was picked up by an unidentified Animal Control officer and immediately killed because she had a common cold.

"It appeared very sick to us," David Lake of Burlington Animal Control (BAC) told Metro Canada of Toronto on September 6, 2013. (See "Runaway Cat Euthanized Without Owner's Consent over Cold-Like Symptoms.") "Bringing it into our shelter would basically infect our cats."

It did not take long, however, for veterinarian Scott Mathison of Queen West Animal Hospital in Toronto to expose Lake as a liar by pointing out that neither the herpes virus nor an upper respiratory infection were valid reasons for killing a cat. "Definitely not," he told Metro Canada.

In addition to BAC's lies about Snuffy's health, it even refused to acknowledge that it knew anything about the cat when Latimer contacted it on September 3rd. It was not until the following day that it finally came clean and admitted to having stolen and killed her.


"I never even got the opportunity to try and go there and claim her or do anything to get her back," Latiner told Metro Canada. "She survived lots of things and some hardships. I just feel it was a really bad way to go."

Police officers operate pretty much along the same lines as Animal Control officers when it comes to cats with the notable exception that they dispense with all the procedural niceties and instead settle matters with their guns. For example, on March 22, 2008 an unidentified individual in Cecil, Pennsylvania, telephoned the police in order to complain about a group of cats loitering on either his or her property. The complainant also alleged that one of them was rabid.

An unidentified twenty-five-year veteran of the force was dispatched to the scene where he trapped and shot Roger Oldaker's ten-year-old Persian, Elmo. Not only was Elmo falsely accused of having rabies, but his murder was a crime of opportunity made possible by his friendliness and lack of fear of humans.

"He was not injured. He just didn't know where to run," Oldaker later revealed. "Another cat ran away, and the policeman said if my cat would have run, he would have let him go."  Sadly, he was destined to prematurely join Elmo in the great void on May 11, 2013 at the age of forty-nine. (See Cat Defender post of March 31, 2008 entitled "Cecil, Pennsylvania, Police Officer Summarily Executes Family's Beloved Ten-Year-Old Persian, Elmo.")

In another simply outrageous case that is eerily similar to what happened to Clark, on Labor Day of 2009 Kelly Wesner's nineteen-year-old cat Tobey went out for a stroll in Raymore, Missouri, and somehow wound up either near or inside an unidentified neighbor's garage. The cat-hater first turned a garden hose on him before telephoning the police in order to report that a "large, vicious feral cat with rabies" had scratched a girl.

Accepting the cat-hater's accusations without reservation, the police snared Tobey with a catch pole and then pumped two shotgun blasts into his head. They then nonchalantly deposited his ensanguinated corpse in a Dumpster.

In the wake of the public outrage that followed, the cops enlarged considerably upon the original lies spread by the cat-hater. Specifically, they maintained that Tobey had his claws extended and that he was so vicious that it took a trio of them in order to get him, scratching and clawing, into the killing box.

As it later came to light, Tobey not only was deaf but declawed as well. Furthermore, he not only was not rabid but since he suffered from Feline Hyperthyroidism his weight had plummeted to only six pounds.

"He was our family member," a badly shaken Wesner later said. "He was the sweetest animal (and he) was always there to be your friend. He didn't know a stranger." (See Cat Defender post of September 16, 2009 entitled "Acting Solely Upon the Lies of a Cat-Hater, Raymore Police Pump Two Shotgun Blasts into the Head of Nineteen-Year-Old Declawed and Deaf Tobey.")


History repeated itself again on August 20, 2011 when an unidentified officer with the Lebanon Police Department shot Dori Stone's obese cat, Haze, in the head and then deposited his corpse in a trash can. Just as was the case with Clark, Elmo, and Tobey, the killer accepted at face value the unsubstantiated allegations of an unidentified neighbor that Haze was rabid.

"We love our cats. Do you know what it was like to pull your pet out of the garbage can and then pull him out of the garbage bag and his head is bloody with a bullet hole in it?" she later related. "It's so violent that they did this to our animal and made no effort to call the humane society to find his owners."

Furthermore, it is impossible to even begin to calculate the emotional toll that Haze's cold-blooded murder has taken on Stone and her husband, Randall. "My husband and I have not eaten since Sunday morning (August 21st). We are just sick," she said afterwards. "We close our eyes at night and see his little face and to think as good of care we took of him for almost seven years, those were his last moments and that was the way he had to die; it's unbearable." (See Cat Defender post of September 22, 2011 entitled "Neanderthaloid Politicians in Lebanon, Ohio, Wholeheartedly Sanction the Illegal and Cold-Blooded Murder of Haze by a Trigger-Happy Cop.")

On January 13th of this year, a two-year-old male named Larry that was owned by John and Teresa Kauth was trapped and shot to death by Wally Holz, a fifteen-year veteran of the Bloomfield Police Department in Nebraska. He then dumped Larry's body behind a maintenance shed downtown.

In a storyline that has become nauseatingly familiar, Holz was acting at the behest of residents who hate homeless cats. One of them even complained that they were getting into his garbage.

On February 3rd, the Bloomfield City Council voted to give Holz a written reprimand but that is all. Quite understandably, that did not sit well with the Kauths' veterinarian daughter, Lisa Kilgore.

"Larry is finally at peace and I will do everything in my power to make sure this never happens to another animal again," she vowed to the Norfolk Daily News on February 8th. (See "Bloomfield Officer Disciplined for Killing Cat.")

Even requesting police assistance for an injured cat can be a fatal mistake as Wayne Meadows of Settlers Lane in Harrisonburg, Virginia, found out firsthand on November 11, 2011. On that tragic occasion he telephoned the Harrisonburg Police Department (HPD) for help with a forever nameless cat that had been run down and injured by a hit-and-run motorist.

What he and the cat received in return was something altogether different. Specifically, although veterinary assistance was only thirty minutes away, officer Jonathan N. Snoddy elected to finish off the cat right then and now with his night stick which he promptly did with up to as many as twenty savage blows to the head. Although he eventually was forced to face the music in court, in the end he was acquitted of animal cruelty charges and allowed to keep his job. (See Cat Defender posts of March 22, 2012, April 26, 2012, and August 23, 2012 entitled, respectively, "In Another Outrageous Miscarriage of Justice, Rogue Cop Jonathan N. Snoddy Is Let Off with a $50 Fine for Savagely Bludgeoning to Death an Injured Cat," "Virginia's Disreputable Legal and Political Establishment Is All Set to Acquit Jonathan N. Snoddy at His Retrial for Brutally Beating to Death an Injured Cat," and "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.")

Bobby and His Injuries

As bad as small cats are treated by the police, the situation is even more deplorable for large ones who enjoy absolutely no protections against the evil designs of officers who slaughter them in droves and with impunity on a regular basis. (See Cat Defender posts of November 3, 2011, May 5, 2008, and January 28, 2008 entitled, respectively, "Sheriff Matt Lutz Settles an Old Score by Staging a Great Safari Hunt That Claims the Lives of Eighteen Tigers and Seventeen Lions in Zanesville," "Chicago's Rambo-Style Cops Corner and Execute a Cougar to the Delight of the Hoi Polloi and Capitalist Media," and "Hopped Up on Vodka and Pot, Trio Taunted Tatiana Prior to Attacks That Led to Her Being Killed by the Police.")

As far as it is known, the only times that cops have even so much as lost their jobs for killing and injuring cats has been for crimes that they have committed while off-duty. For example, North Carolina State Trooper Shawn C. Houston of Granite Falls was fired on January 22, 2010 after he was convicted of trapping and shooting to death a five-month-old orange and white kitten named Rowdy that belonged to his next-door neighbor, Andrea Evans. It allegedly was Rowdy's pussyfooting on his vehicles that precipitated Houston's murderous behavior.

At trial, he escaped punishment by paying only $125 in court costs and at last word he was still trying to get back his old job. (See Cat Defender post of July 8, 2010 entitled "North Carolina State Trooper Who Illegally Trapped and Shot His Next-Door Neighbor's Cat, Rowdy, Is Now Crying for His Job Back.")

On May 21, 2013, Lance DeLeon of the Boerne Police Department shot Natalie Brunner's two-year-old brown cat Bobby with a crossbow and an arrow after he strayed into his garden. The projectile punctured a lung and broke Bobby's right leg but he, mercifully, survived.

The attack underscores the propensity of cops to ignore procedures, both legal and otherwise, and to take the law into their own hands in that DeLeon's assault on Bobby came out of the blue and without any prior warning whatsoever having been voiced to Brunner. "He could have come and easily said, 'Do you own a little brown cat? He comes into my yard and I don't like it'," she related to the Daily Mail on May 24, 2013. (See "Off-Duty Texas Police Officer Arrested after Shooting Neighbor's Cat with Arrow.") "Turn a water hose on him, call Animal Control. Being a policeman, he had every resource at his fingertips."

DeLeon was arrested and charged with animal cruelty but a Kendall County Grand Jury refused to indict him on June 3, 2013 thanks in no small part to the shameful, lackluster prosecution of Kendall County District Attorney Bruce Curry who went after him with all the ferocity of a doting parent. Chief of Police Jim Kohler belatedly did the right thing, however, when he gave DeLeon his walking papers a day later. (See the Houston Press, June 6, 2013, "Lance DeLeon: Cop Fired after Shooting Neighbor's Cat with Arrow" and KSAT-TV of San Antonio, June 5, 2013, "Boerne Police Officer Terminated after Allegedly Shooting Cat with Arrow.")

Cops additionally gun down dogs with impunity as Snoddy's colleague with the HPD, Sergeant Russell Metcalf, did to an eight-month-old collie-mix named Sadie owned by Bryan Ware on April 3, 2012. On that occasion, the only offense that Sadie committed in order to warrant her on-the-spot execution was to approach Metcalf as he rode his bicycle through her neighborhood.

He subsequently was indicted and stood trial twice but in the end his buddies within the judicial branch let him off with a measly $800 fine. (See Cat Defender posts of July 18, 2012 and September 7, 2012 entitled, respectively, "The Bloodthirsty and Lawless Harrisonburg Police Follow Up Their Bludgeoning to Death of an Injured Cat by Gunning Down a Collie named Sadie" and "Peripatetic Helvin Rides to the Rescue of Harrisonburg Police Sergeant Russell Metcalf and in Doing So Puts the Judicial Stamp of Approval on His Gunning Down of Sadie.")

During the interim between his two court appearances, Metcalf gave up the struggle to hold onto his job and resigned on October 1, 2012. (See the Daily News Record of Harrisonburg, January 10, 2013, "Ex-City Officer Fined.")

Metcalf's behavior was not as isolated incident in that it is common practice for cop all across the country to gun down dogs that so much as bark at them. Such conduct is not only lawless and morally abhorrent, but it stands in stark juxtaposition to that demonstrated by letter carriers, traveling salesmen, deliverymen, bicyclists, pedestrians, and others who must deal with aggressive dogs all the time and yet none of them pull out guns and shoot them.

Lance DeLeon
Policemen also deliberately kill service dogs by knowingly sending them out to confront armed gunmen that they are too cowardly to arrest themselves. The same is true of their unconscionable use and abuse of them as cadaver dogs at toxic sites, such as Ground Zero in Manhattan.

Numerous police dogs additionally have died from cancerous growths that most likely were caused by secondhand smoke that they were subjected to while being cooped up inside patrol cars all day with officers who smoke like chimneys. Yet, despite the litany of unspeakable abuse that they are subjected to, no animal rights group is willing to either speak up for these dogs or to demand that mankind address the evils that it has created instead of fobbing off that hazardous job on unsuspecting canines.

Given that it is so rare for any of the myriad of despicable crimes perpetrated against defenseless cats, dogs, and other animals by Animal Control officers and policemen to even so much as see the light of day, the full scope of not only their atrocities but the lies and ruses that they employ in carrying them out remains unknown. Nevertheless, it is safe to assume that the former, aided and abetted by shelters and veterinarians, liquidate millions of them each year in the United States. As for cops, the annual tally of just their feline victims alone is surely in the hundreds if not indeed thousands.

As go the animals, so goes man. Consequently, it is not surprising that a New York City police officer recently choked to death Eric Garner of Staten Island for, of all things, selling "loosies." Countless unarmed individuals, such as Michael Brown of Ferguson, Missouri, likewise have been gunned down by the police.

It is not merely those suspected of doing something illegal but innocent bystanders as well, such as twenty-one-year-old Hofstra University student Andrea Rebello and eighty-nine-year-old Marie Zienkewicz of the Philadelphia suburb of Warminster, that trigger-happy cops armed with dangerous automatic weapons are killing with impunity. (See the Huffington Post, May 19, 2013, "Andrea Rebello Killed: Hofstra Student Shot by Police During 'Crime of Opportunity' " and the Courier Times of Levittown, March 8, 2013, "DA: Warminster Officer Accidentally Shot Eighty-Nine-Year-Old During Standoff.")

No surprisingly homeless men, already half-dead, vulnerable, and shamelessly forgotten by society, continue to be favorite targets of the police. For instance, in July of 2011 Fullerton police officers Manuel Ramos and Jay Cicinelli beat to death thirty-seven-year-old Kelly Thomas at a bus station.

Even though a word-by-word and blow-by-blow account of the attack was captured on a thirty-three-minute surveillance camera as well as audio recorders worn by the officers themselves, a jury comprised of suck-ups to authority in Santa Ana deliberated for less than eight hours on January 13th of this year before acquitting both officers. The Justice Department in Washington is supposedly looking into the matter but no one should expect anything positive to come of that crass public relations ploy in that it is designed only to quiet protesters and to pull the wool over the eyes of a gullible public.

"All of us need to be very afraid now, Thomas' father Ron, a former deputy sheriff himself no less, told The Guardian on January 14th. (See "Verdict Clearing Ex-California Cops of Killing Homeless Man Sparks Protests.") "Police officers everywhere can beat us, kill us, whatever they want, but it has been proven right here today they'll get away with it."

That always has been the case as far as cats are concerned and in that regard it is a foregone conclusion that the officer who shot and nearly killed Clark never will be held accountable under the law. Clark survived by the skin of his teeth but that does not in any material way alter the terrifying reality that in doing so he became only one cat in a million to have been so fortunate.

What most individuals fail to realize is that there is an indelible link between a disregard for the sanctity of animal life on the one hand and a disrespect for human rights on the other hand. That line of reasoning can even be extended to include the environment.

Broadly speaking, respect for the sanctity of life is indivisible; either every cat, human, and tree counts or, sooner or later, nothing and no one is going to count.

Photos: Amelia Kunhardt of the Portland Press Herald (Clark, x-ray, and Clark with Roth), Seth Koenig of the Bangor Daily News (Clark in his cage), Constance Große (Cindy), WTSP-TV (Peggy), Daily Mail and WKYC-TV of Cleveland (Accorti), WPEC-TV of West Palm Beach (Pumpkin), Shannon Johnson (Snuffy and Pebbles), Roger Oldaker (Elmo), Kelly Wesner (Tobey), Dori Stone (Haze), Life with Cats (Larry), South Texas Veterinary Specialists of San Antonio (Bobby), and WOAI-TV of San Antonio and the Daily Mail (DeLeon).

Saturday, September 06, 2014

Butterscotch Is Finally Freed from a Bug Trap but His Deliverance Has Come at an Awfully High Price that He Will Be Repaying for the Remainder of His Days

Butterscotch, His Head Still Stuck in a Bug Trap,  Pauses on a Fence

"Eighteen days to capture a cat was...ridiculous. The challenges and threats we faced were beyond bizarre. The nightmare (yes, nightmare) is over."
-- Brandon Area Lost Animals

Some cats cannot seem to win no matter how hard they try. As a consequence, misfortune is the only traveling companion that they ever are destined to know and although they occasionally may be able to break free from its merciless shackles it is always waiting patiently for them just around the next corner like their shadows on a sunny day.

That pretty much sums up the rotten hand of cards that The Fates have doled out to a dashing orange and white tom about town named Butterscotch from Brandon, two-hundred-fourteen kilometers west of Winnipeg, in Manitoba. His first stroke of miserable luck occurred when he was cruelly abandoned to fend for himself in the street.

No one seems to know either where he came from or how long he had been homeless. Press reports likewise have not even ventured to so much as hazard a guess as to his age.

His second piece of rotten luck occurred when he accidentally got his head stuck inside a green and red plastic bug trap that was thirty centimeters in length and between ten and fifteen centimeters wide. It is not even known exactly when he became ensnared in the device.

All that has been revealed so far is that he first was spotted in the south end of town on July 23rd with the contraption on his head by a woman identified only as Colleen. Because of the color of his fur, she christened him Butterscotch and then notified Brandon Area Lost Animals (BALA).

What then followed was an eighteen-day race against the clock jointly undertaken by BALA and Brandon Animal Control in order to trap the cat and remove the device before he came to harm. Unlike so many unfortunate cats who become trapped in glue traps, jars, and discarded cans, Butterscotch apparently never was in any real danger of succumbing to either starvation or dehydration because he at least was able to both eat and drink even with the trap on his head.

It did however significantly impair his vision and, possibly, even his sense of smell and that in turn left him vulnerable to any human and animal predators intent upon doing him harm. The trap itself also was breaking apart and that presented other dangers as well.

"The problem was the plastic ring," veterinarian Jennifer Beckwith of the Grand Valley Animal Clinic (GVAC) in Brandon later explained to the Winnipeg Free Press in the second of two articles dated August 9th. (See "Butterscotch the Cat Rescued after Two and a Half Weeks, 'Recovering Well'.") "He'd stuck his head through the top of it and had managed to basically break it apart, but the ring was still hanging off his neck. Our big concern was he could have been hung up on something and strangled himself."

Without knowing how badly the trap itself had deteriorated, it is impossible to speculate on the likelihood of that happening. It is known, however, that cats who snag both conventional and elastic collars on foreign objects can suffer simply horrific injuries.

Even getting so much as a paw entangled in one of those old-fashioned identification devices can lead to disastrous consequences. (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 Turns into Death Traps for Trooper and Que but Both Are Rescued at the Eleventh Hour.")

Equipped with humane traps that were camouflaged with leaves, grass, and twigs, night vision cameras, and electronic monitors that were set up outside the traps, Toni Gramiak of BALA and about a dozen dedicated volunteers then organized a campaign to trap Butterscotch. The use of tranquilizers and nets was ruled out from the very outset as being far too dangerous.

The trappers relied upon both electronic surveillance data and sightings reported by the general public in order to determine where best to place their camouflaged traps. "We're interested in his path of travel, his behavior," Gramiak explained to the Winnipeg Free Press in the first of two articles dated August 9th. (See "To Catch a Cat: Inside the Bizarre Search for Brandon's Butterscotch.") "We need to find a spot where he's calm."

Normally, corralling Butterscotch would not have posed much of a challenge to an experienced trapper like Gramiak but it did not take long for an unidentified saboteur to throw a monkey wrench into her meticulously laid plans. Described only as a south Brandon male in either his late forties or early fifties, the subversive began his obstructionist activities by damaging and overturning her traps. He followed that up by spreading lawn clippings in front of the traps, presumably to negate the aromatic smell of the tuna juice, catnip, and pheromones that she had laid down as bait.

He additionally attempted to disrupt the trapping exercise by, inter alia, banging on his fence, churning up a ruckus with a pressurized water hose, turning on his outside lights and cameras, and focusing a floodlight on Gramiak's vehicle. "He started blatantly sabotaging right in front of me," she futilely complained to the Winnipeg Free Press in the first article dated August 9th.

Toni Gramiak and Volunteer Sandy Brown with a Camouflaged Trap

Although the Brandon Police Service was called in on numerous occasions, it inexplicably never took any action against the culprit. If the venue had been England, he in all likelihood would have been issued an Anti-Social Behavior Order and then jailed if he had failed to comply with its stipulations.

The mere fact that he was able to get away scot-free with his obstructionist activities reveals just how little the authorities in Brandon value the lives of  cats. By contrast, if he had been engaged in actively sabotaging the efforts of emergency personnel to save the life of either an adult or a child there can be little doubt that the police would have arrested him on the spot.

Although it is by no means one-hundred per cent clear, it does not appear that the individual was acting out of anything even remotely approaching a genuine concern for Butterscotch's well-being. If, for example, he had had reason to believe that BALA and Animal Control were planning on harming him in any way his actions would have been completely justified because saving an innocent life trumps all political and legal concerns to the contrary.

That critical assessment of his motivations is based upon the conspicuous absence of anything in press reports that would tend to indicate that he ever attempted to come to Butterscotch's aid by either befriending him in any manner or leaving out food for him. Additionally, he has racked up quite a reputation over the years as being a prototypical neighbor from Hell.

For example, he has been accused of attacking residents' automobiles with air gun pellets, eggs, and canine excrement. He even has been accused of scattering nails in their driveways so as to puncture their tires.

Unlike the unidentified miscreant in Elsdorf, Nordrhein Westfalen, who back in 2009 was caught flagrante delicto putting out a Nagelbrett in order to intentionally injure Manuela Lisken's cat, this is apparently the first time that he has been caught venting his spleen on a cat. It therefore is difficult to say if he is an ailurophobe as well as a sociopath. (See Cat Defender post of June 10, 2010 entitled "Cat-Hating Gardener in Nordrhein Westfalen Is Told by the Authorities to Remove a Board of Nails from His Yard.")

"It goes on and on," is how one of his unidentified neighbors characterized his aberrant behavior to the Winnipeg Free Press in the first August 9th article cited supra.

"Nobody will look at him," another neighbor who also elected to hide behind the cloak of anonymity added in the same article. "Who wants all that (presumably, trouble)?"

The man quite obviously has his neighbors buffaloed and that in turn is likely to only embolden him to commit even more egregious affronts against them and their properties. Even Gramiak and her assistants were caught off guard by his obstructionist activities.

"Little did we know that our biggest challenge wasn't just going to be that he (Butterscotch)  had his face covered affecting his sense of smell and sight," she confessed to the Winnipeg Free Press in the second article dated August 9th.

She soon got over her initial consternation, however, and if his behavior accomplished anything it served only to strengthen her resolve. "When I have to catch an animal, it's a job I have to do," she declared to the Winnipeg Free Press in the first article dated August 9th. "It's something you can't walk away from. Not a cat that's in distress like this one. The cat has to be captured."

So, in spite of all the daunting challenges, Gramiak and her team of volunteers persevered. "It's frustrating. It's heartbreaking. It's a challenge," volunteer Laurie Unruh admitted to the Winnipeg Free Press in the first August 9th article. "All you want to do is to do the best for this cat."

Although BALA did receive widespread support from the community for its efforts on behalf of Butterscotch, that did not deter some residents from maligning both it and the volunteers. "Some people say we're nuts. It's just a cat," kindhearted volunteer and mental health worker Jo-ann (sic) Pasklivich-Holder told the Winnipeg Free Press in the first article dated August 9th. "To each his own. Everybody has a right to choose a cause. I'd Help anybody in distress, people or animals."

The doggedness of their sworn enemy did, however, force Gramiak and the volunteers to not only amend their strategies but, above all, to proceed with extreme caution at all times. "A lot of the info we had we weren't putting out there because we do believe he was monitoring the (news) sites," Gramiak later told the Winnipeg Free Press in the second August 9th article. "He was following, he was finding us, there were mysterious things going on."

Sandy Brown Monitoring the Traps Electronically

In particular, although Gramiak knew early on that Butterscotch was able to eat and drink, she did not divulge that information to the public out of a fear that either the saboteur or someone else would attempt to poison him. That information also could have been used in order to have lured him into a private snare for all sorts of other nefarious purposes.

The tug-of-war that developed between BALA and the saboteur was the third misfortune to befall Butterscotch. Although he had been doing the very best that he could in order to survive on his own and under extremely trying circumstances, he now found himself branded as an outlaw and hounded both night and day on two different fronts.

Caught in the crossfire, he was only a heartbeat away from disaster and it arrived with a vengeance on the evening of August 7th when he came within an eyelash of being crushed to death underneath the wheels of a trucker while crossing the street. Although it is difficult to say if Gramiak's aggressive trapping regimen was in any way to blame for the incident, that  is a distinct possibility.

Although to her credit she did attempt in vain to get the trucker to stop, the incident not only left her badly shaken but it also vividly drove home to her just how dangerous a game she was playing. "To watch and know I can do nothing for him...it's hard," she afterwards admitted to the Winnipeg Free Press in the first August 9th article. "If he got hit by a car right in front of me..."

Working as she does in the animal protection movement, Gramiak of all people should be acutely aware that motor vehicles do not kill cats and other animals. Au contraire, it is precisely motorists that are to blame and they commit their dastardly deeds intentionally and with impunity.

All the sleepless nights spent by Gramiak and the volunteers finally paid off at 7 a.m. on August 9th when Butterscotch unwittingly strolled into one of their camouflaged traps. The winning combination of various lures that had been tried throughout this exercise turned out to be tuna, two kinds of cat food, and catnip. A trail of tuna juice that led up the path to the trap also proved to be simply too enticing for him to ignore.

With the successful denouement of their trapping campaign, everyone associated with the effort finally was able to breathe a collective sigh of relief. "Eighteen days to capture a cat was...ridiculous," BALA stated August 10th in an untitled article posted on its Facebook page. "The challenges and threats we faced were beyond bizarre. The nightmare (yes, nightmare) is over."

While that doubtlessly was true as far as BALA and Animal Control were concerned, Butterscotch's latest nightmare was just beginning and that constituted his fourth stroke of misfortune. This latest installment of misery began when he was taken into custody by Animal Control and transported to GVAC where he was anesthetized by Beckwith and the trap removed. While she was at it, she vaccinated him for rabies, distemper, and leukemia and gave him a good dousing for fleas, worms, and mites.

Despite being severely handicapped by the presence of the bug trap, he was neither emaciated nor dehydrated. Best of all, he tested negative for both FIV and FeLV.

"He's recovering well from the ordeal," the practitioner told the Winnipeg Free Press in the second article dated August 9th. "He's of course a little bit lighter now that he doesn't have a bug trap on his head."

As soon as he had recovered from the anesthesia, Butterscotch was remanded to the city pound for three days. That was necessitated by the twin realities that no one ever came forward to reclaim him and he was neither wearing a collar, tattooed, nor carrying around inside of him an implanted microchip.

Following that terrifying ordeal, he next was sloughed off onto Funds for Furry Friends where he was placed in foster care so that he could be socialized for eventual adoption. Not surprisingly after have been cruelly robbed of his freedom and bandied about like a Flying Dutchman, Butterscotch initially found the confinement to be a harrowing experience.

"For the first week in foster care, this traumatized kitty was frozen in fear," BALA stated August 25th in an untitled article posted on its Facebook page. "He would lash out at anything that startled him, and had an intense fear of hands and growled if any human got dangerously close to him."

Butterscotch Tried to Run but He Could Not Get Rid of the Bug Trap

Through the judicious use of treats, patience, and chemicals such as Feliway Diffuser, Feliway Spray, and Pet Naturals Calming Formula for Cats, Butterscotch's foster mother finally was able to wear down his resistance. BALA described the process as follows in the August 25th article:
"With time, his safe distance was down to inches. His need for affection and his fear of hands created a dilemma. To get that needed first human contact, treats and kibble were placed under the human's leg. Butterscotch pushed his head in for the food and he melted. He collapsed and purred, rubbing his body against his foster mom's."
As wonderful as all of that may appear au premier coup d'oeil, it does not in any way alter the sobering reality that it, like everything else heretofore in Butterscotch's short life, is destined to be transitory. That is because it is unlikely that his foster mother is going to adopt him and that in turns means that he is going to be not only uprooted again but, far more importantly, deprived of the care of the one person that he has come to trust.

Even placing him in the right home is not going to be an easy task. "It's got to be the perfect family because a lot of people might want him just because he's Butterscotch," Gramiak told the Winnipeg Free Press in the second August 9th article.

"Obviously, he's become famous," she candidly acknowledged earlier in the first Winnipeg Free Press article dated August 9th. "A cat wearing a hat."

To hear BALA tell it, however, Butterscotch's socialization is a done deal and his future as a pet cat is assured. In the August 25th Facebook article the organization gushed:
"Two weeks after coming into care, Butterscotch revealed his true self. He is a playful big kitten who loves to play fetch for treats. He loves human affection, rolls around on his trusted human's lap and he gives a lot of purrful head bumps."
That possibly could be the case but a far more likely scenario is that he has succumbed to the Stockholm Syndrome. After all, he is in jail and has to not only sing for his supper but his survival as well.

Much more importantly, it quite obviously was not necessary to anesthetize him in order to either cut off the plastic bug trap or to vaccinate him. Both BALA and Beckwith had a far more sinister motive in mind when they chose that course of action.

In particular, they were unable to resist the overpowering temptation to sterilize him and that was the fifth stroke of bad luck to befall him. Although Gramiak simply could be a sterilization fanatic, it would appear that her marked disdain for his philandering played a role in her decision to have Beckwith put an abrupt end to his love life.

"It's quite the relationship. But I think he has other girlfriends she doesn't know about," she said of his courtship of one female in the first Winnipeg Free Press article dated August 9th. "He's such a Casanova."

If there is any validity to that assumption, that would put her thinking on a par with that of Debbie Schultz, a former vice president of the Key West SPCA, who nearly succeeded in sterilizing the world famous polydactyls at the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum out of existence. In her case, it was a tom named Ivan whose street corner romantic escapades drove her over the edge and launched her on her ruinous ball-whacking campaign.

"I saw Ivan many times loose. Ivan is a very unneutered, very macho male cat, and in each case, he had one of the street cats pinned down," she indignantly complained back in December of 2006. "We have an ordinance that says a nuisance cat can be removed." (See Cat Defender post of January 9, 2007 entitled "Papa Hemingway's Polydactyl Cats Face New Threats from Both the USDA and Their Caretakers.")

Simply put, some individuals cannot abide the sight of any cat deriving so much as a moment of pleasure out of this vale of tears called life. The same blatant hypocrisy abounds in Anglo-American politics in that it is perfectly acceptable for various religious, ethnic, and racial groups to behave like the royal families of Europe by intermarrying for both profit and power but any randy old bugger who gets caught doing any unauthorized dipping in what is deemed to be an inappropriate honeypot is immediately pilloried.

That is not meant to imply that Butterscotch may not go on to have a longer, healthier, and even happier life as a castrated and domesticated tom than he would have had living on the mean streets of Brandon but that is far from being guaranteed. Just because a homeless cat is able to adjust to one situation does not necessarily mean that it will accept being uprooted and transferred to an entirely different living arrangement.

Butterscotch's Fate Is Now Sealed

That was the hard lesson that Joan Wiley of St. Catharines in Ontario learned firsthand earlier this spring when she unsuccessfully attempted to fob off on a friend a black and white tom with yellow eyes named Merlin that she had somewhat domesticated. For various reasons but principally owing to the bullying of another cat, the experiment turned out to be an unmitigated disaster and Merlin had to be returned to Wiley.

"My good intentions to find Merlin a loving permanent home had robbed him of the joy of life," she wrote in a guest column for The Globe and Mail of Toronto on July 6th. (See "For Merlin the Feral Cat, a Spell Indoors Was Hell.") "My main concern had been for his physical safety, but I badly miscued on his emotional needs."

At last report, Merlin had resumed his happy-go-lucky existence as a combination indoor and outdoor cat but primarily the latter. As for Wiley, her misadventures with him were not a total loss in that she apparently has learned a valuable lesson from her mistakes.

"My experience with Merlin reminded me again of the folly of making assumptions about the needs and lives of humans and non-humans alike, especially those who can't speak for themselves," she stated in The Globe and Mail article. "In this diverse world, we should proceed with extreme caution when we try to cram the proverbial square peg into the highly overrated and one-size-fits-all round hole."

It is nothing short of appalling that individuals such as Gramiak, Schultz, and others like them who work with cats are so blinded by ambition and besotted by dogma that they are totally incapable of recognizing the existence of individual circumstances, unique histories, different personalities, and varying needs. Such pigheadedness is, in and of itself, arguably the most egregious form of ailurophobia imaginable in that it serves only to perpetuate the naked abuse and exploitation of the species.

Furthermore, along with domestication and sterilization also come a myriad of additional concerns and responsibilities that whomever ultimately gains custody of Butterscotch is going to have to sooner or later address. In particular, such cats are prone to obesity, diabetes mellitus, and bone cancer.

If they are cooped up exclusively indoors, they never receive the exercise and mental stimulation that they require in order to stay both physically and psychologically fit. Plus, indoor environments are hazardous to their health. (See Cat Defender posts of August 22, 2007 and October 19, 2007 entitled, respectively, "Indoor Cats Are Dying from Diabetes, Hyperthyroidism, and Various Toxins in the Home" and "Smokers Are Killing Their Cats, Dogs, Birds, and Infants by Continuing to Light Up in Their Presence.")

For Gramiak and others to ignore these concerns is nothing short of dishonest. Moreover, their attitude demonstrates an appalling disrespect for the nature, health, and happiness of cats.

In his 1922 seminal work, The Tiger in the House, Carl Van Vechten unriddled the sterilization conundrum as follows:
"But it has become the general custom, except for those who keep kings for breeding purposes, to alter these toms, so that they grow into large, affectionate, and lazy animals, who sleep a good deal, and are generally picturesque but not very active. These altered toms are generally the favorites as pets. Personally, I am more interested in cats who retain their natural fervor."
Even in saying that much he misses the boat by a mile when he implies that unaltered toms cannot be gentle, loving, and extremely well mannered toward their owners. Also, some of them exhibit little or no interest in either the opposite sex or in roaming and as a consequence it is senseless to castrate them.

For better or worse, Butterscotch's fate was sealed the moment that he wandered into Gramiak's cleverly disguised trap and there is not anything that anyone from the general public can do for him now. Hopefully, he will be able to find a measure of contentment and happiness somewhere down the road but even that depends in large part upon what type of guardian that Funds for Furry Friends foists upon him.

The sad reality of the situation is that his life no longer belongs to him and that is the sixth and by far worst coup du sort to have befallen him. Given what is known about those diabolical monsters who strut around on two legs with their long noses poked high in the air and running off at the mouth, being forced to live down at heel, under the thumb, and according to their whims is the scariest fate that ever could happen to anyone, cat or individual.

Photos: Moggies (Butterscotch on a fence), Randy Turner of the Winnipeg Free Press (Gramiak and Brown with trap, Brown watching the monitors, and Butterscotch on the run), and BALA (Butterscotch in a trap).