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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

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

The Federal Government's Resounding Court Victory in Its Long-Running War Against Ernest Hemingway's Polydactyls Was the Biggest Cat Story of 2012

The calendar year 2012 has long since come and gone but it is never too late in order to take a look back at some of its top stories. The thing that readily stands out about it is the cavalier manner in which cats, their owners, and caretakers continued to be victimized by both criminals and the courts around the world.

In the United States, the feds were handed a major victory over Ernest Hemingway's polydactyls in Key West by their buddies who sit on the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit in Atlanta while Virginia's utterly disgraceful excuse for a judicial system went overboard in order to shield a rogue cop from punishment after he savagely bludgeoned to death an already severely injured cat. In Angleterre, the courts continued to put their stamp of approval upon the killing of cats by both bird lovers and gardeners.

Christians also continued to perpetrate their age-old crimes against cats but they were joined in 2012 by a reporter from NBC Philadelphia who went out of his way in order to have the lives of six newborn kittens extinguished in southern New Jersey. A shelter in Massachusetts killed off Sally while still publicly professing to be a no-kill operation while veterinarians continued to kill cats, such as Hartley, through their gross incompetence and to literally steal others, such as Tazzy, from their owners.

Cats were murdered, frozen in ice, and then exhibited to the public in British Columbia and a thief in Washington State cost a homeless man the continued companionship of his beloved cat, Herman. Finally, not satisfied with merely eradicating the cats on San Nicolas Island, the utterly diabolical United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), and their subalterns held a party in order to both gloat about their hideous crimes as well as to plan additional ones.

For previous year-end reviews, see Cat Defender posts of January 4, 2007, January 11, 2008, February 2, 2009, March 16, 2010, June 20, 2011, and December 20, 2012 entitled, respectively, "The Continuing Mass Extermination of Millions of Cats at Shelters Across the World Heads the List of Top Ten Cat Stories of 2006," "Serial Cat Killer James Munn Stevenson's Victory in a Galveston Courtroom Heads the List of the Top Stories of 2007," "The Creation of Clones That Glow in the Dark for Vivisectors to Torture and Kill with Impunity Was the Most Disturbing Cat Story to Come Out of 2008," "The Humane Society's Sellout of San Nicolas's Felines to the Assassins at the United States Fish and Wildlife Service Was the Biggest Cat Story of 2009," "Rocco's Abduction, Systematic Torture, and Cold-Blooded Murder by a Bird-Lover in München Was the Number One Cat Story of 2010," and "The Inexcusable Refusal of Washington's Derelict Legal Establishment to Punish Nico Dauphiné and the Smithsonian for Their Despicable Crimes Was the Most Momentous Cat Story to Come Out of 2011.")

1.)  The Feds Win a Decisive Court Victory Against Hemingway's Polydactyls.

Ernest Hemingway's Former Home in Key West 

"We (the museum and its cats) are now at the whim of the agency (APHIS). It's silliness; it's just got insane. This is what your tax dollars are paying for. The agents (of APHIS) are coming down here on vacation, going to bars and taking pictures of cats."
-- Cara Higgins, attorney for the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum

In what can only be described as an utterly outrageous and insane assault upon the liberties of all cats, the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, sitting in Atlanta, ruled on December 7th that the federal government has the authority to regulate the intimate details of their daily existence. Although numerous federal bodies, most notably the USFWS, have appropriated for themselves an unqualified right to exterminate en masse all homeless cats, the court's holding extends that mandate to include purely domestic felines residing in private home and businesses.

The case also marked the denouement in the USDA's Animal Plant Health Inspection Service's (APHIS) decade-long war against the world-famous polydactyls who, along with their antecedents, have resided at the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum in Key West since the 1930's. To make a long story short, the protracted legal wrangling boiled down to a heated debate over the interpretation of such nebulous terms as "distribution" and "exhibitor" contained within the ghoulishly misnomered Animal Welfare Act (AWA) of 1966.

Writing for a unanimous three-member panel, Chief Judge Joel Fredrick Dubina handed the feds their long sought after victory in a brief thirteen-page exposé in contorted logic that made a mockery of both justice and common sense. "The statute is ambiguous on the question whether 'distribution' includes the display of animals by a fixed-site commercial enterprise," he briefly conceded before lowering the boom on the cats. "And, given Congress's intent to regulate zoos, which are notably stationery and which could potentially exhibit animals that are neither purchased nor transported in commerce, we cannot see how the Secretary's (of the USDA) interpretation of 'exhibitor' is unreasonable."

In arriving at that totally absurd conclusion, Dubina argued, inter alia, that since the museum features images of the cats in its promotional materials it was in fact "distributing" them. Secondly, since the museum charges visitors an admission fee, that in turn made it an "exhibitor" of cats within the meaning of the AWA.

In doing so the court rejected out of hand the museum's perfectly sane argument that the cats merely reside on its premises and are not being exhibited to either the public or anyone else for that matter. Secondly, it contended that since they never roam outside the state of Florida they could not possibly be involved in interstate commerce. Thirdly, the museum argued that the AWA did not authorize federal preemption of a field already regulated by state and local animal welfare groups.

None of those arguments were sufficient, however, to dissuade Dubina and his colleagues from doing somersaults around both the law and logic in order to suck up to authority. "We conclude that the museum's exhibition of cats substantially affects interstate commerce," he summed up with a flourish and, presumably, a straight face to boot. Ergo, the feds now have a legal precedent for intruding into the private lives of domesticated cats based upon the authority granted them under the commerce clause which provided the constitutional backing for passage of the AWA.

Judge Joel Dubina

"Notwithstanding our holding, we appreciate the museum's somewhat unique situation, and we sympathize with its frustration," Dubina tossed out as an afterthought in an insultingly disingenuous act of beau geste. "Nevertheless, it is not the court's role to evaluate the wisdom of federal regulations implemented according to the powers constitutionally vested in Congress."

A year earlier on August 12, 2011, he was not nearly so deferential to congressional authority when in State of Florida et al. v United States Department of Health and Human Services, he and his brethren struck down the individual mandate of Obamacare. He accordingly has his jurisprudence all wrong because the flagrant abuse of federal power sanctioned in 907 Whitehead Street, doing business as the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum v USDA, Dr. Charles A. Gipson, deputy administrator of APHIS, clearly dwarfs anything even remotely contemplated in the Affordable Care Act.

For example, the museum now must, inter alia, purchase exhibitor licenses for each of its forty-four or so resident felines. It also is required to tag and individually cage them each night and to provide them with elevated resting areas inside their cages. All of that is in addition to the $200,000 that it already has ponied up in a futile effort to appease APHIS.

For instance, it has spent $15,000 on a sprinkler system and installed a net on top of the wall that surrounds the one-acre estate in an effort to prevent the cats from roaming. APHIS additionally has ordered it to purchase bowls in which to drown bugs.

The agency also wants it to hire a nightwatchman in order to keep an eye on the felines as well as to either extend or string an electrified wire across the top of the perimeter wall. It is unclear what other draconian measures the agency has up its sleeve but given its past track record it is unlikely to be magnanimous in victory.

"We are now at the whim of the agency," Cara Higgins, the museum's longtime attorney, said in defeat. "It's silliness; it's just got insane. This is what your tax dollars are paying for. The agents are coming down here on vacation, going to bars and taking pictures of cats."

That is not all. Besides spying on the cats, APHIS has threatened in the past to steal and, presumably, kill them and the museum has been subjected to numerous surprise and warrantless searches.

Worst of all, Dubina's interpretation of both the AWA and the feds' authority under the commerce clause has far reaching implications that extend well beyond the polydactyls and the museum. For instance, any blogger, author, breeder, groomer, and veterinarian who uses images of cats in their promotional materials and receives compensation from such activities could be subjected to surprise visits and regulation by APHIS. The same also could hold true for libraries that keep cats and street performers who use them and other animals in their acts.

Patches Contemplates Doing a Little Writing

Although the museum's position is indeed dire, it still has at least three arrows left in its quiver. First of all, it could request an en banc rehearing by the appellate court.

Secondly, it could appeal the adverse ruling to the United States Supreme Court. The danger therein lies in the fact that should it lose Dubina's ruling then would be the law of the land as opposed to currently being applicable in only the states of Florida, Georgia, and Alabama which make up the Eleventh Circuit.

Its third option would be to somehow try to convince Congress to rein in APHIS and that appears to be the direction in which it is leaning. "We're better off investing our money back into the business and employees," museum president Michael A. Marowski stated after the verdict. "So I think we're probably dealing with a legislative issue now."

As he surely is destined to find out for himself, getting Congress to do his bidding will be neither easy nor cheap. Also, given his previous monumental errors in judgment, Marowski needs to proceed with caution.

After all, it was his idiotic decision back in 2003 to employ Debbie Schultz, formerly of the Key West SPCA, to sterilize the polydactyls that precipitated this debacle in the first place. Being a mindless sterilization fanatic, she nearly succeeded in spaying and neutering the entire line out of existence and that in turn forced Marowski into firing her.

In retaliation, she not only ratted out the museum to APHIS but somehow succeeded in convincing it to go after the polydactyls with a vengeance. This entire legal imbroglio from start to finish therefore furnishes yet still another poignant example of how personality differences, prejudice, malice, and rank opportunism so often masquerade as rational and legal discourse. (See Cat Defender posts of January 24, 2013, August 3, 2006, January 9, 2007, and July 23, 2007 entitled, respectively, "The Feds Now Have Cats and Their Owners Exactly Where They Want Them Thanks to an Outrageous Court Ruling Targeting the Hemingway Home and Museum in Key West," "USDA Fines Hemingway Memorial in Key West $200 a Day for Exhibiting Papa's Polydactyl Cats Without a License," "Papa Hemingway's Polydactyl Cats Face New Threats from Both the USDA and Their Caretakers," and "Cat Behaviorist Is Summoned to Key West in Order to Help Determine the Fate of Hemingway's Polydactyls.")

2.)  Harrisonburg Cop Gets Away with Bludgeoning to Death an Injured Cat.

Wayne Meadows Sits on the Steps at the Scene of the Cat's Murder

"It is difficult for a judge to second-guess law enforcement. I think the way he killed the cat was in violation. The way he killed the cat was unnecessary."
-- Judge Steven H. Helvin

Bloodthirsty policemen kill cats with impunity every day of the week but seldom has this world witnessed the degree of savagery that was meted out by one of them to an injured cat on November 11, 2011 on Settlers Lane in Harrisonburg, Virginia. The chain of patently criminal events that led to the forever nameless cat's murder began when it was run down and severely injured by a hit-and-run motorist who remains at large to this very day.

The cat was discovered lying beside the road by kindhearted area resident Wayne Meadows who tried unsuccessfully to secure veterinary assistance for it. In particular, he contacted the Harrisonburg SPCA, Animal Control, and several unnamed veterinarians who, in a portent of events to come, refused to give him so much as the time of day.

At his wit's end, he committed the fatal faux pas of telephoning the Harrisonburg Police Department (HPD) which in turn dispatched twenty-five-year-old hotshot cop Jonathan N. Snoddy to the scene. Instead of compassionately taking the cat to the nearest veterinary office, which was only thirty minutes away, he elected to take matters into his own hands.

Specifically, he proceeded to bash out the cat's brains with his nightstick. Although he was indoors at the time and therefore did not actually witness Snoddy's brutality, Meadows nonetheless did overhear the report of at least twenty blows having been administered. In his defense, Snoddy later swore that he only struck the cat four times and that the other sounds that Meadows overheard had come from him attempting to close his collapsible baton.

The damage done to the siding and woodwork of Meadows' town house also makes it highly probable that Snoddy swung the cat's head against the building in order to make doubly certain that he had bashed out whatever lingering vestiges of life remained in its already battered body. The bloodstains left on the porch bear additional witness to the savagery of Snoddy's handiwork.

When the HPD, the mayor, city council, and local prosecutors all turned blind eyes to this simply outrageous act of premeditated animal cruelty, the Virginia State Police belatedly intervened on January 12, 2012 and charged  Snoddy with one count of misdemeanor animal cruelty. On March 8th, he was found guilty in a bench trial presided over by Judge Steven H. Helvin in Rockingham County General District Court but fined only a paltry $50.

Considering Helvin's long and checkered history of shortchanging both cats and their owners, even that small victory came as somewhat of a surprise. Plus, he also is overtly biased in favor of cops.

"It is difficult for a judge to second-guess law enforcement," this supposedly impartial trier of facts candidly admitted. "I think the way he killed the cat was in violation. The way he killed the cat was unnecessary."

Nevertheless, good old reliable Helvin was not about to allow Snoddy to spend any time behind bars. "He doesn't deserve to go to jail," he declared.

Not satisfied with merely escaping justice and being allowed to hold on to his job, Snoddy immediately appealed his conviction to the Rockingham County Circuit Court and that was when the already burlesque nature of the proceedings against him quickly morphed into a full-blown circus. The opening event consisted of Judge James V. Lane being chosen to serve as ringmaster and that was followed by his appointment of Page County district attorney Kenneth Leo Alger II to serve as his and Virginia's thoroughly corrupt judicial system's designated stooge.

After deliberately wasting several months of valuable time in order to allow public outrage to abate somewhat, Alger ultimately gave up all pretense of trying the case when he announced nolle prosequi in court on July 30th. In a ridiculously lame attempt designed to excuse his miserable abdication of duty, he then turned around and blamed Snoddy's detractors for spreading what he called "misinformation and sensationalism."

If the four-eyed cattle rancher and part-time law professor at James Madison University had had the bon sens to have stopped there that would have been outrageous enough in its own right, but he went on to express his wholehearted approval of Snoddy's heinous crime. "I think that putting the cat out of his (sic) misery immediately was the most humane thing to do as a result of the animal's broken spine and other internal injuries. As such, I do not feel that his actions rise to the level of criminal conviction of animal cruelty," he blowed long and hard. "It is my belief that under the urgency of the situation and a lack of specific guidelines and training, Officer Snoddy was acting to the best of his abilities."

Some of the Damage Done to Meadows' Town House

The very best that can be said for Alger's absurd reconstruction of events is that in spitting out such utter sottise he made all pathological liars extremely proud. First of all, there was absolutely nothing humane about what Snoddy did to the cat and consequently Alger should be dipped in hot oil for claiming otherwise.

Secondly, as far as it is known a necropsy never was performed on the cat and even if it did have a broken spine that was more likely the result of what Snoddy did to it rather than the motorist. Thirdly, Snoddy was charged with misdemeanor, not criminal, animal cruelty. Fourthly, the only urgency was to have gotten the cat to a veterinarian as soon as possible and certainly not to have bashed out its brains in such a cruel and inhumane fashion.

So, in the end, Snoddy not only walked out of court as a free man but he was able to even hold on to his precious $50 in the process. As far as Alger is concerned, he disgraced both himself and his profession by his unprincipled conduct but in doing so he also sans doute endeared himself to Virginia's political elites as a man who, like Helvin, can be counted on through thick and thin to protect their vested interests.

Much the same thing can be said for Cristobal Opp who prosecuted Snoddy the first time around with all the ferocity of a paper tiger. Old hacks Helvin and Lane also are to be commended for vividly demonstrating that it is utterly impossible for any cat to ever receive a fair hearing in the Old Dominion State. (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.")

While those legal shenanigans were going on, Snoddy's colleague within the HPD, Sergeant Russell Metcalf, shot to death a black, eight-month-old collie-mix named Sadie when she had the temerity to cross his path on April 3rd while he was out riding his bicycle on Robinson Road in the Clover Hill section of town. Metcalf not only failed to report the shooting to headquarters but he also did a runner. Fortunately, he was tracked down by an unidentified neighbor whose description of him later led to his arrest.

Even with that valuable piece of evidence having been delivered to the authorities on a silver platter, it nonetheless took the appointment of Shenandoah County district attorney Amanda Wiseley to even determine that an actual crime had been committed. Once she had made that belated determination, Metcalf finally was arrested six weeks after the fact on May 18th, not by the HPD, but rather the Rockingham County Sheriff's Office.

Indicted on one count of misdemeanor animal cruelty and one count of the reckless handling of a firearm, Metcalf was convicted on both charges in Rockingham County District Court on August 23rd but he was given only a sixty-day suspended jail sentence. For that, he also had Helvin to thank who once again came out of semi-retirement in order to shield another obviously guilty cop from getting his just desserts.

As was the case with Snoddy, Metcalf did not have the prerequisite intelligence in order to leave well enough alone but instead appealed his conviction to the Rockingham County Circuit Court where on January 9, 2013 presiding judge Dennis Hupp convicted him once again of animal cruelty but exonerated him on the weapons violation. Even then he escaped with only an $800 fine.

"It appears he did it (in) a cavalier fashion," Hupp is quoted as stating in the January 10th edition of the Daily News-Record of Harrisonburg. (See "Ex-City Officer Fined.") "He would have had to have known it was someone's pet. It was pretty callous."

Sadly, nothing ever will bring back Sadie but her owner, forty-six-year-old Bryan Ware, did receive a measure of satisfaction from Metcalf's conviction. "It was such a senseless act. We feel like we got some justice for Sadie," he said after the first trial. "I don't think he should be a police officer or carry a gun."

Ultimately, Ware's latter wish did come true when Metcalf unexpectedly resigned from the HPD in September of 2012. (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.")

Regrettably, all the public outrage churned up by Snoddy's and Metcalf 's outrageous acts of animal cruelty has contributed absolutely nothing toward ending the law enforcement community's senseless attacks on cats and dogs. (See Cat Defender post of September 27, 2014 entitled "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.")

3.)  Polygamists Kill Thomas by Burying Him Up to His Neck in Concrete.

Thomas Trapped in the Concrete That Became His Death Shroud

"Dead cats have been found in our place for years. This is the first time they've done it with a live animal."
-- Issac Wyler
In yet still another damning indictment of the practice of Christianity, a gray kitten named Thomas of undetermined age was buried alive up to his neck in wet concrete inside a cylindrical seven-foot-high steel post on a horse ranch in Colorado City, Arizona, on May 31st. Sadly, his desperate plight was not discovered until the following day when the owner of the property, Issac Wyler, and his assistant, Andrew Chatwin, returned to work on what was destined to be a shed for horses.

The pair was able to extricate Thomas by cutting away the steel post but that still left huge chunks of hardened concrete embedded in his fur. They then tried unsuccessfully to chip away the concrete before finally giving up and telephoning Best Friends Animal Sanctuary forty kilometers away in Kanab, Utah. The charity came and collected him but he died on June 4th as the result of his massive injuries.

Since the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS) owns practically every inch of both Colorado City and its sister town Hildale, located across the border in Utah, there can be little doubt that Thomas was murdered by one of the polygamists. That is especially the case in that both Wyler and Chatwin were declared personae non gratae by the sect's now imprisoned spiritual leader, Warren Steed Jeffs, back in 2004.

In an all-out effort designed to force them out of the insular community, Jeffs' confederates have subjected Wyler and Chatwin to a torrent of abuse, harassment, and discrimination. As part of that campaign, their enemies have killed up to a dozen cats and left them on Wyler's ranch in recent years.

"Dead cats have been found in our place for years," Wyler testified in the wake of Thomas's killing. "This is the first time they've done it with a live animal."

The FLDS was quick however to deny any involvement. "It's really inappropriate to try to extend that the FLDS church on the basis of nothing at all, except a dead cat," the sect's lawyer, Rodney Parker, retorted. "They don't even have evidence it was a church member, let alone the church."

A Rabbi Prepares to Dispatch a Rooster to the Devil That He Serves

It is difficult to imagine that the perpetrator of this heinous act could have been anyone else given that no one other than FLDS members are allowed to reside in Colorado City. Plus, the sect's secret police, God's Squad, keep both church members and visitors alike under constant surveillance.

Since concrete hardens quickly in hot weather, "someone had to have been watching us work on this project the whole time," Chatwin added. "Someone had to have done it quickly after I left."

Cats are far from being the only animals to feel the Mormons' wrath. For example, in 2001 Jeffs banned dogs from both Colorado City and Hildale and as a result all of them were rounded up, shot, and buried in a mass grave. Horses and other livestock also have been periodically abused.

Since all city officials as well as the officers of the Colorado City-Hildale Marshal's Office belong to the FLDS, it was a foregone conclusion from the outset that Thomas's premeditated murder never would be investigated. "Throw dirt on it (Thomas)," an unidentified marshal reportedly told Chatwin.

The situation in Colorado City is made all the more perilous due to the glaring absence of not only any animal protection groups but also any practicing veterinarians. Cats, dogs, and other animals thus have been left to the mercy of these morally repugnant Christians.

Doomed Chickens Outside Skware Mosdos shul in Boro Park, Brooklyn

Furthermore, their incestuous breeding of girls as young as eleven years old to old men not only has doomed them to lives as brood mares and sex slaves but also to a form of mental retardation known as Fumarase Deficiency or alternatively as polygamist Down's. Being so incapacitated, they thus are forced to thus spend their entire lives on welfare. (See Cat Defender post of August 8, 2012 entitled "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.")

The hideous abuse and killing of animals in the name of religion is by no means limited to either cats or the Mormons. Rather, it also extends to ultra-Orthodox Jews and their totally their inexcusable killing of thousands of innocent redemption roosters during Yom Kippur each autumn.

In an expiation ritual known as Kaparot, celebrants swing the roosters high above their heads three times before slitting their throats. The birds afterwards are allegedly donated to the poor but that is another of the Jews's blatant lies in that their corpses actually are deposited in the trash.

Thousands more of them die from heat exhaustion and other causes as the result of being left outside in the street in small plastic crates without either food or water for days. Even some of the birds that make it inside the synagogues in order to be sacrificed are instead suffocated to death inside plastic bags if they appear to be ailing.

Although United Poultry Concerns has been attempting since 1994 to get this ancient and bloodthirsty practice abolished, it has not made an iota of headway. Like the FLDS, the Jews are so powerful that everyone is scared to death to hold them accountable for their utterly despicable crimes. (See the New York Daily News' print edition, September 30, 2014, "Fowl Brawl. Activists Blast Chicken-Slaughtering Rite.")

That is all the more the pity because chickens, like all other animals, are richly deserving of both man's respect and compassion. Above all, they have an inalienable right to both live and to be free of abuse.

Far from being inanimate, unfeeling, and dumb animals, all of them are individuals with their own personalities, interests, and desires. They even recognize their individual names and come when called.

Furthermore, Christine Nicol of the University of Bristol claims that they outperform not only cats and dogs but four-year-old toddlers as well on a whole host of cognitive and behavioral tests. (See the New York Daily News, August 16, 2013, "Chickens: Smarter Than a Four-Year-Old.")

4.)  Ted Greenberg of NBC Philadelphia Orders the Murders of Six Kittens in Southern New Jersey.

A Pair of Kittens That Were Rescued from Aloe Village

"I just really appreciate the fact that Channel 10 (NBC Philadelphia) helped me and really helped all the neighbors. We couldn't do anything about it but you did and we thank you."
-- Evelyn Koegler

Even on their best of days, the members of the American capitalist media are sorry excuses for journalists. Whenever a television reporter stops merely covering the news, no matter how biased he may be in the first place, and instead not only starts choosing sides but taking an active role in shaping the outcome of events, he most often degenerates into something far worse, such as the cold-blooded murderer of six newborn kittens.

That was the dastardly and utterly unforgivable deed that Ted Greenberg of NBC Philadelphia committed on June 5th when he took it upon himself to call in a private exterminator named Raymond Lane of Animal Capture Control Services at 302 North Leipzig Avenue in Egg Harbor City in order to trap and remove an unspecified number of cats and kittens from the grounds of the nearby Aloe Village Senior Complex at 1311 West Aloe Street. In doing so he was acting at the behest of his fellow tribal member and inveterate cat-hater, Evelyn Koegler.

"It stinks back here," she complained to him and NBC Philadelphia on June 6th. (See "Animal Control Helps Capture Feral Cats.") "You can't open the door because of the smell."

In the same televised interview she even went so far as to ludicrously claim that the cats had attacked her when in fact it was she who had assaulted them. "I was shooing them and one grabbed a hold of my fingers," she bellyached in a pitiful effort designed not only to doom the cats but also to garner sympathy for herself.

She came a good deal closer to the truth earlier when she candidly blamed her cruel and inexcusable behavior on her advanced years. "They need to go. It's too much for old people," she declared to Greenberg and NBC Philadelphia on June 5th. (See "Senior Community Overrun with Feral Cats.") "I can't even get out here when they're here."

Always willing to snuff out innocent lives so long as he is handsomely paid for doing so, Lane hustled on over to Aloe Village where he wasted no time in trapping six kittens. "That's another six cats that aren't going to be breeding," he proudly crowed to Greenberg and NBC Philadelphia in the June 6th article cited supra.

True to his word, he then fobbed them off onto the Atlantic County Animal Shelter (ACAS) on Old Turnpike Road in nearby Pleasantville where their lives promptly were extinguished shortly after their arrival. "Any kitten under the age of three to four weeks is in danger of starvation if they (sic) do not have the means to feed every two or three hours. Unfortunately the shelter is inundated with young kittens," is how the death house's commandant, Andrea Ceremele,  feebly attempted to justify killing them in an interview with Care2.com on June 13th. (See "Death (sic) of Six Kittens Brings Community Together.") "In the shelter setting we do our best to find alternatives to euthanasia. The amount of kittens we see typically outweighs our resources and so we are left with the only humane solution to prevent starvation."

The cold-blooded murders of the six kittens pleased old Koegler no end. "I really appreciate the fact that Channel 10 (NBC Philadelphia) helped me and helped all the neighbors," she cooed to NBC Philadelphia and Greenberg on June 6th. "We couldn't do anything about it but you did and we thank you."

Kitten Killer Ted Greenberg of NBC Philadelphia

For his part, Lane vowed to return the next day and to trap the remainder of the estimated fifty to one-hundred cats and undoubtedly would have done just that if it had not been for the timely intervention of Alley Cat Allies (ACA). "Six newborn kittens have been ripped from their mothers and euthanized at the shelter," the organization's Becky Robinson told Care2.com in the article cited supra. "This cruel approach is not humane and it is not a solution."

Representatives from  the charity then visited the estate where they were able to persuade management to call off Lane and instead to adopt TNR. Almost immediately thereafter twenty-four cats were sterilized, vaccinated, and returned to the grounds. Ten kittens also were spared the hangman by being placed in foster care.

Even then ACA's intervention came way too late in order to save the lives of the dozens of cats and kittens that Lane and the ACAS had trapped and liquidated over the course of the previous three years. As deplorable as all of that was, it is merely the norm as to how cats are mistreated throughout Atlantic County.

For example, a stunning sixty-five per cent of the three-thousand-one-hundred-seventy-nine felines impounded at county shelters during 2012 were killed. (See The Press of Pleasantville, November 23, 2013, "Region's Cats Put Down by the Thousands.")

Almost as alarming, there is not any free sterilization service to be found anywhere in the county. Even the Atlantic County Humane Society, located next-door to the Borgata's gambling den in Atlantic City, charges close to $100 in order to sterilize a cat once all of its mandatory inoculations and other hidden costs are factored into the final price tag. It is in fact so hungry for shekels that it even charges for the disposal of the excised genitalia!

Furthermore, there are not any known cat sanctuaries in the county and those few TNR colonies that do exist are privately financed. Overall, it is difficult to imagine that there possibly could be a worse place for a cat to live in the United States than in Atlantic County.

Quite naturally, Greenberg purposefully neglected to inform his viewers about any of these distressing realities. Au contraire, he deliberately lied to them when he reported that the kittens would be evaluated by ACAS for adoption.

In a staggering indictment of the level of moral depravity and lawlessness that exists in both Atlantic County and the City of Brotherly Love, to this very day neither Greenberg nor his employer have been compelled to answer for their outrageous crimes in so much as the court of public opinion let alone a court of law . (See Cat Defender post of July 7, 2012 entitled "NBC Philadelphia Conspires with a Virulent Cat-Hater and an Exterminator in Order to Have Six Newborn and Totally Innocent Kittens Killed in Southern New Jersey.")

5.)  Sally Is Betrayed and Killed by a Supposedly No-Kill Shelter.

Animal Control Officer Betsy Cruger Visits Sally's Memorial

There is not very much positive that can be said about Homo sapiens to begin with, but their total lack of both appreciation and gratitude for cats that have provided them with unlimited amounts of unconditional love and faithful companionship over the course of many years is, arguably, their most repulsive character trait. Instead of reciprocating by providing them with the top-notch veterinary intervention and the around-the-clock care that they so richly deserve once they become either sickly or aged, their owners instead unconscionably have them killed off and, in most cases, their remains burned.

That was the cruel fate that befell a sixteen-year-old gray cat named Sally from Marblehead, twenty-six kilometers north of Boston, on April 30th after she had suffered a stroke. Although feline seizures are preeminently treatable, her de facto caretakers at the Friends of Marblehead's Abandoned Animals (FMAA) shelter at 44 Village Street and the Marblehead Animal Control Department elected instead to have her killed and her corpse cremated.

As far as it is known, Sally lived her entire life on the grounds of the shelter but rather than providing her with heated accommodations FMAA and Animal Control forced her to hole up in a pile of rocks out back. Considering Massachusetts' long cold and snowy winters, it is nothing short of amazing that she lasted for as long as she did under such inhumane conditions.

Although she apparently was provided with food and water on a daily basis, the shelter did absolutely nothing in order to protect her from the diabolical machinations of motorists on busy Village Street. Even more lamentable, it never attempted to either socialize her or to place her in a loving home. It therefore is safe to say that FMAA's attitude toward her was one of benign neglect.

As disgraceful and uncaring as all of that was, it nevertheless pales in comparison with the shelter and Animal Control 's shameful betrayed of her in her hour of greatest need. In particular, shortly before she suffered the stroke FMAA began to allow her into its basement where she was able to recline on a blanket.

Instead of exploiting her deteriorating health in order to finally do right by her by supplying her with permanent shelter and veterinary care, FMAA and Animal Control did the exact opposite and got rid of her for good. Only those monsters who strut around on two legs with their dirty schnozes poked high in the air are capable of such treachery and moral depravity.

FMAA's betrayal and murder of Sally was made all the more reprehensible by the fact that it likes to pass itself off as a no-kill operation. Whereas no cat ever should be killed under any circumstances, the so-called no-kill movement is not so much of a step in the right direction as it is a grotesque fraud that is rife with more double-talk, ruses, and just plain scams than those ever perpetrated by the protagonist in Herman Melville's 1857 novel, The Confidence Man.

To put the matter rather bluntly, to have any credibility at all no-kill should mean exactly what that connotation implies and nothing less. (See Cat Defender post of July 29, 2010 entitled "Benicia Vallejo Humane Society (now known as the Humane Society of North Bay) Is Outsourcing the Mass Killing of Kittens and Cats All the While Masquerading as a No-Kill Shelter.")

Sally's executioners did erect a small memorial in her honor in back of the shelter that consisted of her ashes and food dish as well as a photograph of her but all of that is a rather shabby substitute for the presence of the genuine article herself. (See Cat Defender post of October 23, 2012 entitled "A Supposedly No-Kill Operation in Marblehead Betrays Sally and Snuffs Out Her Life Instead of Providing Her with a Home and Veterinary Care.")

A lack of respect for the sanctity of feline life is by no means limited to no-kill impostors, such as FMAA, but it is a malignancy that extends to just about all feline advocacy groups as well. For example, ACA killed off its longtime office cat, Jared, in November.

Later on January 22, 2013, another of its office cats, Jazzy, either was killed off or died on her own. (See Cat Defender post of January 2, 2013 entitled "Alley Cat Allies Demonstrates Its Utter Contempt for the Sanctity of Life by Unconscionably Killing Off Its Office Cat, Jared" and ACA press release of January 23, 2013 entitled "Alley Cat Allies Remembers Office Cat Jazzy.")

As it readily should be apparent, it is extremely difficult to elevate the status of cats when those groups and individuals in the vanguard of the feline protection movement have so little respect for the sanctity of life. Moreover, their dismal conduct and public pronouncements set simply horrendous examples for everyone else to follow.

6.)  Bird Lover in Norfolk Murders Hartley with an Air Rifle.

"...the defendant explained he feeds wild birds that come into his garden and after seeing a cat chasing the birds he just lost it and didn't realize it was his neighbor's cat."
-- Jonathan Eales of the RSPCA

Ornithologists, both professional and amateurs, kill cats all the time but one of their most outrageous crimes in recent memory occurred on August 8, 2011 when sixty-eight-year-old retired construction worker Eric Reeves of Bradenham Hill Cottages in Bradenham, near Dereham, in Norfolk used an air rifle in order to mortally wound a handsome five-month-old brown and white cat named Hartley. The killing was especially hard on his owner, Nicholas Townley, in that he had only adopted him a few weeks earlier back in July.

At Reeves' trial in King's Lynn Magistrates' Court on October 26th, his attorney, Ian Graham, pulled out all the old familiar dodges in his client's defense. "He accepts he had the air rifle, that he fired the shot and that only he was responsible for the animal's death," he told the court. "He has shown a lot of remorse and is horrified by the pain the cat suffered."

In addition to confessing his guilt and feigning remorse, Reeves also claimed that he is not a cat-hater. "He used to have a cat himself," Graham told the court. "He has no bad attitude toward animals or cats and offered to pay for the vet bills but that offer was rejected."

All of Reeves' groveling and dissembling worked like a good luck charm on the judges who let him off with one-hundred hours of community service and £400 in court costs. Every bit as shocking, Reeves' de facto acquittal was just peachy keen with the RSPCA which had brought and prosecuted the case.

"This sends a clear message that it is unacceptable to go around shooting animals," the charity's Dave Padmore exclaimed in the face of all reason and experience to the contrary. "The RSPCA will continue to investigate incidents of this nature and where possible will always seek to bring a prosecution."

Even the organization's lead prosecutor, Jonathan Eales, seems to have accepted Reeves' ridiculous claim that the murder of Hartley was a one-time, spur-of-the-moment mistake in judgment. "...the defendant explained he feeds wild birds that come into his garden and after seeing a cat chasing the birds he just lost it and didn't realize it was his neighbor's cat," he told the court.

Eric Reeves

All of that is pure baloney! First of all, since he lives in a residential community Reeves most assuredly knew that Hartley had an owner. Homeless cats, on the other hand, most often are found in isolated area, near the waterfront, and in the industrial sections of towns.

Secondly, the only reason that an old fart like Reeves would have an air rifle in his possession would be to shoot cats. Consequently, it is a good bet that he has either wounded or killed numerous cats in the past. Moreover, instead of patting itself on the back the RSPCA should be ashamed of itself for allowing a serial cat abuser to escape justice.

In spite of being wounded in his right side, Hartley nonetheless was able to make it home on his own strength and very likely would have lived if it had not been for the utterly appalling incompetence shown by the veterinarian who treated him. Mistakenly believing that he had been injured in some sort of a fall, the unidentified practitioner not only neglected to x-ray Hartley but instead simply placed him on antibiotics and sent him home.

Tragically, he died at 7:45 a.m. the following day and a post-mortem x-ray later revealed that he had been shot in his intestines. Since he at that time was unaware of the evil that birders are capable of, Townley can be forgiven for not insisting that an x-ray be performed but the veterinarian certainly should have known better. After all, a bullet wound is clearly distinguishable even to the naked eye from an injury sustained in a fall.

The grotesque incompetence demonstrated by the attending veterinarian in this case bears a striking resemblance to that shown by a fellow colleague in Charford in Bromsgrove, Worcester, who back in 2010 cost Molly her left eye by idiotically misdiagnosing the presence of a ball bearing as a common eye infection. (See Cat Defender post of July 19, 2010 entitled "Molly Loses an Eye to an Assailant with a Ball Bearing Gun Only Later to Be Victimized by an Incompetent Veterinarian.")

Given that prosecutors are unwilling to go after cat killers with anything other than wet noodles and the adamant refusal of judges to punish even those few that eventually are convicted, wrongful death civil suits are about the only recourse open to aggrieved cat owners. In this particular instance, however, Townley was so disgusted with Reeves, King's Lynn Magistrates's Court, and the attending veterinarian that he chose instead to pull up stakes and to relocate elsewhere. (See Cat Defender post of March 9, 2012 entitled "Amateur Ornithologist Guns Down Hartley with an Air Rifle, Feigns Remorse, and Then Cheats Justice by Begging and Lying.")

7.)  Gardener Escapes Justice after Trapping and Then Shooting a Caged Cat.

Cowardly Patrick Doyle Hides His Ugly Mug
"You don't understand he's been digging up my flowers."
-- Patrick Doyle
Gardeners hate cats every bit as much as ornithologists and wildlife biologists and they can be just as ruthless and lawlessness as well. The patently criminal behavior exhibited by seventy-one-year-old monster Patrick Doyle of Fields Road in the village of Wootten in southwest Bedford, Bedfordshire, more than amply substantiates that claim.

Putting to use a trap that he had purchased at an antiques fair with the sole purpose in mind of catching what he called "vermin mucking all over the garden," he baited it with smelly fish on June 16, 2011 and then cleverly camouflaged it in his garden. Shortly thereafter a forever nameless black cat stumbled into the trap and that afforded Doyle the golden opportunity that he had long awaited in order to indulge in some feline bloodletting.

He accordingly grabbed his air rifle and shot the defenseless cats at point-blank range from two feet away. It is not known how many rounds that he pumped into the cat but there can be little doubt that he would have killed it on the spot if his neighbor, Caroline Benbow-Hunt, had not witnessed what he was doing and intervened.

"You don't understand he's been digging up my flowers," he howled in protest. Undeterred by his bluster, she eventually was able to convince him to remove the trap to her yard whereupon she, instead of promptly procuring veterinary treatment for the cat, thoughtlessly released it. Doyle subsequently was arrested and forced to face the music in Bedford Magistrates' Court on February 29, 2012.

On that occasion his lawyer, Nicky Daily, improvised many of the same arguments that had worked so well for Reeves at his trial earlier. "He is sorry...this was a moment of foolishness borne out of frustration," he told the court.

The Doomed Cat Trapped and Subsequently Shot by Doyle

English jurists quite obviously have a decided preference for lies and fantasies at the expense of both the truth and facts because the court fell head over heels for Daily's nonsense. The clincher, however, was Doyle's outlandish claim that he should not be jailed because he had a sick wife at home that needed him to care for her.

It therefore was anything but surprising that the robed buffoons that dispense justice in Bedford let him off with a suspended twelve-week jail sentence and £1,311.64 in court costs. He also was banned from owning any animals for five years and placed under a 9 p.m. to 7 a.m. curfew for two months but those additional sanctions are so inconsequential that they hardly are worth mentioning.

As was the case with its prosecution of Reeves, the RSPCA was contented that Doyle that gotten off scot-free. "This was a deliberate act of cruelty against an innocent animal and we are satisfied with the sentence handed out today," the organization's Dave Braybroke said afterwards. "We hope that this case acts as a deterrent and sends a message that acts of cruelty like this will not be accepted and the RSPCA will investigate and prosecute offenders."

Au contraire, the only thing that the decisions in both this and the Reeves case demonstrate is that gardeners and bird lovers have little or nothing to fear from either the RSPCA or the courts whenever they elect to take the law into their own hands and attack cats. The mere fact that these types of horrendous attacks continue to occur unabated makes a liar out of both Braybroke and the RSPCA.

For example in December of 2010, bird lover Ernst Bernhard K. of the Moosach section of München illegally trapped his neighbor's cat, Rocco, and then over the course of the following eleven days repeatedly attacked the caged male with both pepper spray and a high-powered water hose before finally killing him. Like Doyle and Reeves, he was let off scot-free by the courts. (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.")

Trumping all of those concerns is the fact that neither the RSPCA nor anyone else for that matter made an effort in order to locate the cat who, since it never was seen again in the neighborhood, is presumed to have died from its wounds. (See Cat Defender post of March 13, 2012 entitled "The Sick Wife Defense Works Like a Charm for Cunning Patrick Doyle after Her Traps a Cat and Then Shoots It with an Air Rifle while Still in Its Cage.")

8.)  A Cat Is Killed, Frozen in Ice, and Then Exhibited to the Public in British Columbia.

 Murdered Cat Frozen in Ice

"It is absolutely appalling that a cruel incident like this would occur once, but to have it happen again in the same neighborhood is extremely upsetting."
-- Marcie Moriarty of the BCSPCA

On March 13th, a dead cat was found on the lawn of the Mile Zero Trailer Park at 9117 Seventh Street in Dawson Creek, British Columbia. That would have been bad enough in its own right but this forever nameless feline also was frozen in a big block of ice.

Since the ice contained a considerable amount of blood, it seems likely that it died a simply horrific death. It may even have been tortured.

On January 15th of the previous year, a medium-sized black dog likewise was found entombed in another block of ice a stone's throw away from where the cat was found. It thus would appear that the perpetrator of these despicable acts of animal cruelty does not have any regard for either cats or dogs.

Since the victims were left in locations where they were in full view of the public, the culprit quite obviously was not only immensely proud of his crimes but wanted to send a message as well to the residents of the trailer park. In that last regard, he certainly more than succeeded.

"Realistically, in my seven years in this position, I haven't seen anything like this," Marcie Moriarty of the BCSPCA later declared. "You see some sick things but this is definitely concerning."

It is theorized that the culprit first kills his victims and then places their corpses inside large rubber trash cans. Water is then added and the corpses are next either left outdoors overnight in order to harden or frozen in a freezer before being dropped off the following morning at the trailer park.

"It is absolutely appalling that a cruel incident like this would occur once, but to have it happen again in the same neighborhood is extremely upsetting," Moriarty added. Besides her moral indignation, the BCSPCA did offer a reward for information leading to the arrest of the perpetrator of these crimes but that was about the extent of its commitment to the enforcement of the anti-cruelty statutes.

Instead, it contented itself with appealing to the public to intervene and do its job for it even though it already knew from past experience the futility of such a course of action. "Unfortunately, no one came forward with info regarding last year's case but we are hoping that someone in Dawson Creek knows something that will help us identify the individual responsible in this new incident so that we can seek justice and ensure that a sickening crime like this does not happen again," Moriarty admitted.

It is not only cats and dogs that have to fear for their lives in Dawson Creek but deer as well. For example, in either late May or early June of 2013 a motorist ran down a deer and then burned it before posting a video of his hideous crime on Facebook. It is unclear from press reports whether the animal was killed upon impact or was still alive at the time that it was torched. (See the CBC, June 5, 2013, "'Deer Burning' Video in Dawson Creek, British Columbia, Stirs Outrage.")

As far as it is known, no arrests have been made in any of those cases. The killers therefore are still on the loose and as long as that remains the case all cats, dogs, deer, and other animals residing in Dawson Creek are in imminent danger. (See Cat Defender post of April 13, 2012 entitled "Serial Killer Who Freezes the Corpses of Cats and Dogs in Blocks of Ice and Then Exhibits Them on His Neighbors' Lawns Is on the Loose in Dawson Creek.")

9.)  Wiltshire Family Prevails over a Veterinary Chain and a Foster Parent in a Tug-of-War over Tazzy.


"What I didn't like was that the vets seemed to wash their hands of it very, very quickly and that aggravated the situation."
-- Richard Smith
Given that there are so many homeless cats in this world it is a little surprising that feline custody battles are so common. Be that as it may, in the spring of 2012 a family in Melksham, Wiltshire, found itself in a tug-of-war with both a veterinary chain and a foster caregiver over its beloved seventeen-year-old oriental-spotted tabby, Tazzy.

The long-drawn-out saga began on March 28th when Tazzy mysteriously disappeared from Richard Smith's house on Primrose Drive. He was found shortly thereafter by an unidentified Good Samaritan alongside Clackers Brook, a scant one-hundred-fifty yards from home.

Injured, unconscious, and shivering, he immediately was taken to Chapel Surgery on Forest Road in Melksham which in turn fobbed off his care onto the shoulders of its parent company, Bath Veterinary Group (BVG). He quickly recovered from his undisclosed injuries and was placed in foster care with Joe Fenton of Ashley Avenue in Bath.

Smith eventually found out what had become of Tazzy and contacted BVG. The surgery at first agreed to return the cat but Fenton, not believing Smith to be a fit guardian, strenuously objected.

"He accused us of abusing the cat," Smith later related. "Basically, he said we're not getting the cat back."

That in turn prompted BVG to have a change of heart. "Vets are not in a position to decide on a matter of ownership," the chain's Alasdair Moore stated in a letter addressed to Smith. "We therefore cannot offer any more help in resolving the situation and suggest you seek your own legal advice."

Fenton readily concurred in that assessment of the impasse. "If Mr. Smith believes there has been any wrongdoing, he should report it to the police and go down proper sources," he defiantly declared.

Quite understandably, that served only to further incense Smith. "What I didn't like was that the vets seemed to wash their hands of it very, very quickly and that aggravated the situation," he said.

Being unable to get any satisfaction from either BVG or Fenton, Smith next turned to the RSPCA for assistance but that, too, proved to be a total waste of time. He then took his case to the online community via Facebook and Twitter as well as to the general public by fly-posting Bath.

The bad publicity generated by his action coupled with the justness of his cause eventually forced both BVG and Fenton to relent and belatedly return Tazzy to him. "I'm so pleased he's back with us," Smith said afterwards. "We're much happier."

For its part, BVG is still defending its actions. "We acted in the best interests of the cat and always put its welfare as a priority," Moore added. "We provided all the necessary treatment and, after a reasonable time, with no owner coming forward, we arranged to rehome the cat. (See Cat Defender post of June 26, 2012 entitled "A Family in Wiltshire Turns to Social Media and Leaflets in Order to Shame a Veterinary Chain and a Foster Parent into Returning Tazzy.")

10.)  Homeless Man Loses His Cat, Herman, During a Carjacking.

Jeff Young Reacts to Losing Herman
"It's stupid people that say it sounds stupid, but I'd rather have my cat back than the truck."
-- Jeff Young
For those truly unfortunate individuals who have lost their homes, the companionship of a beloved cat is often the only worthwhile thing that they have left in this world. Under those circumstances, the cat becomes a lifeline in much the same fashion as a man drowning at sea clings to a life raft.

It therefore is anything but surprising that the loss of a cat can have devastating consequences for a homeless individual. That was the harsh reality foisted upon Jeff Young on February 9th when he lost his beloved gray, brown, and black cat, Herman.

Being in significantly better financial shape than the average down-and-out bloke, Young at least had a 1989 silver Toyota truck in which to hang his hat and therefore he was not tied to the concrete in any particular urban hellhole. Unfortunately, having a set of wheels underneath him was insufficient in order to protect Herman and himself from the machinations of America's criminal element.

On the night in question, he and Herman were sacked out underneath a canopy in the bed of his truck in a parking lot at the Capital Medical Center in Olympia, Washington, when disaster struck. Specifically, a thief broke into the cab during the middle of the night and made off with the truck.

Rudely awakened by the unfolding events, Young telephoned the police on his mobile telephone but they were unable to catch up to the fleeing carjacker because their pursuit had been blocked by one of his accomplices. The thief belatedly became aware of Young's presence and pulled over  as soon as he had turned off of Highway 101.

"The guy steps around the vehicle and he has a huge knife," Young later recalled. "I bolt out the back and he bolts back up to the front and takes off with my vehicle with my cat Herman in it."

Young's truck was recovered by the authorities a few days later but by that time Herman was long gone. "I'd rather have the cat back than the truck," Young declared. "It's stupid people that say it sounds stupid, but I'd rather have my cat back than the truck."

As best it could be determined, Herman was believed to be on the loose in the vicinity of the Little Creek Casino in Shelton, west of Olympia. Nothing further has appeared in the press so it is not known if Herman and Young ever were reunited.

Holding on to a cat is never easy for even domiciled individuals but the dangers increase exponentially for those without permanent abodes. Despite all the difficulties involved in holding together their fragile relationships, homeless cats and their human counterparts are not only fellow travelers on the same rocky road but belong to the same fraternity of outcasts. (See Cat Defender post of March 2, 2012 entitled "Homeless Man in Washington State Pauses in Order to Take a Snooze and It Ends Up Costing Him His Beloved Cat, Herman.")

11.)  The USFWS and the HSUS Celebrate the Extermination of the Cats on San Nicolas Island.

A Pair of Cats That Were Rescued from San Nicolas Island

"This is a great conservation story. The size and scope of the project set the bar for similar ones."
-- David K. Garcelon

Merely slaughtering cats en masse is not sufficient as far as wildlife biologists and ornithologists are concerned; rather, their hideous crimes are a cause for endless celebrations. That is why the USFWS, the HSUS, the United States Navy, the Institute for Wildlife Studies of Arcata, and their fellow criminals convened on February 15th in order to celebrate their successful eradication of the cats on San Nicolas Island.

Using assassins armed with shotguns, lethal injections, dogs, and leghold traps, the USFWS killed approximately one-hundred-fifty cats during 2009 and 2010. (See Cat Defender posts of June 27, 2008 and July 10, 2008 entitled, respectively, "United States Fish and Wildlife Service and the Navy Hatch a Diabolical Plan to Gun Down Two-Hundred Cats on San Nicolas Island" and "The Ventura County Star Races to the Defense of the Cat-Killers on San Nicolas Island.")

Although initially opposed to the slaughter, the HSUS quickly changed its mind and actually endorsed it so long as it was allowed to safely remove fifty-two cats and kittens from the island, located off the coast of southern California. Even by entering into that Faustian bargain, it was forced to accede to the USFWS's demand that those cats rescued be cruelly and unjustly imprisoned indoors for the remainder of their natural lives. (See Cat Defender posts of April 28, 2009 and November 20, 2009 entitled, respectively, "Quislings at the Humane Society Sell Out San Nicolas' Cats to the Assassins at the Diabolical United States Fish and Wildlife Service" and "Memo to the Humane Society: Tell the World Exactly How Many Cats You and Your Honeys at the USFWS Have Murdered on San Nicolas Island.")

Rather than being ashamed of the central role that it played in dooming the cats on San Nicolas, the HSUS actually was rather proud of its aberrant behavior. "This project is a testament to the commitment of multiple agencies to find common ground and develop solutions for feral cats in areas with threatened or endangered species," the agency's Betsy McFarland rejoiced in a November of 2009 press release. "The cats from San Nicolas deserve the opportunity to live a full and happy life (sic), and we're proud to provide that at our sanctuary."

Buoyed by the whopping success of the cat-killing exercise on San Nicolas, David K. Garcelon of the Institute for Wildlife Studies in Arcata is already drooling at the mouth in eager anticipation of being part of additional feline extirpations. "This is a great conservation story," he crowed at the February 15th celebration. "The size and scope of the project set the bar for similar ones."

By that last reference he no doubt has in mind the USFWS's ongoing feline eradication efforts in the Florida Keys and elsewhere. (See Cat Defender post of February 24, 2012 entitled "United States Fish and Wildlife Service and the Humane Society Hoist a Glass in Celebration of Their Extermination of the Cats on San Nicolas Island.")

The killers of the San Nicolas' cats are far from being the only members of the feline extirpation fraternity who are unable to stay away from the scenes of their crimes. For instance, in March of 2011 some of those responsible for the utterly barbaric eradication of more than thirty-four-hundred cats on Marion Island paid a return visit to the scene of the carnage in order to wallow in their diabolical cruelty and unjustness.

David K. Garcelon

Between 1977 and 1991, at least twelve-hundred of the cats were infected with the Feline Panleukopenia Virus (FPV), also known as the feline distemper, which destroys both their immune systems as well as their intestinal tracts. In particular, the virus causes diarrhea, severe dehydration, malnutrition, anemia, depression, lethargy, fever, vomiting, and incessant biting of the tail, legs, and back.

Also, the kittens of mothers exposed to the virus are sometimes born with cerebellar hypoplasia. All things considered, it is difficult to think of a more painful way for a cat to die than from FPV.

Thousands more were either shotgunned to death, killed by dogs, or poisoned with sodium monofluoroacetate (1080). "That's the price we paid, and we thought it was reasonable," Marthán Niewoudt Bester of the University of Pretoria, who spearheaded the eradication project, boasted to his chief propagandist and lackey, John Yeld, of the Cape Argus of Cape Town on March 29, 2011. (See "Marion's Slow Recovery from Feral Felines.")

To this very day, Bester delights no end in his diabolical crimes on Marion and could care less that the killing of the cats has allowed the mice population to grow exponentially. Also, man-made climate change may yet doom the sub-antarctic island located in the Indian Ocean. (See the Cape Argus, August 17, 2013, "Marion Island's Plague of Mice.")

A similar disastrous outcome occurred after the cats were eliminated from New Zealand's Little Barrier Island in 1980. In that instance, their extirpation led to a marked increase in predation of Cook's petrel by Pacific rats. (See The New York Times, December 11, 2007, "When Removing One Predator Harms the Prey.")

Just as he pimped and whored for Bester and his accomplices on Marion, Yeld did likewise for Les Underhill of the University of Cape Town when he eradicated the cats on Robben Island. (See Cat Defender post of March 23, 2007 entitled "Bird Lovers in South Africa Break Out the Champagne to Celebrate the Merciless Gunning Down of the Last of Robben Island's Cats.")

In a replay of what happened on Macquarie when the bloodthirsty and utterly barbaric Australians eradicated the cats living there, Robben Island was soon thereafter overrun with rabbits. (See Cat Defender post of September 21, 2006 entitled "Aussies' Mass Extermination of Cats Opens the Door for Mice and Rabbits to Wreak Havoc on Macquarie," The Guardian, October 2, 2009, "Mandela's Island Threatened by...Rabbits," and The New York Times, February 1, 2010, "Men Defend Historic Mandela Site...from Rabbits.")

Marthán Niewoudt Bester Killed 3,400 Cats on Marion

Clearly, all of these maniacal cat killers knew well beforehand of the adverse consequences of their crimes. They simply killed the cats in order to establish a rationale for exterminating other animals.

Like the National Audubon Society, their ultimate objective is to systematically liquidate any species that they either simply do not like or are able to obtain the funding to attack. All of their palaver about saving endangered species and the environment is merely a subterfuge for the commission of their horrific crimes. (See Cat Defender post of March 15, 2007 entitled "Connecticut Audubon Society Shows Its True Colors by Calling for the Slaughter of Feral Cats, Mute Swans, Mallards, Canada Geese, and Deer.")

In addition to providing ornithologists, wildlife biologists, and other ailurophobes with unlimited opportunities in order to line their pockets, pad their curricula vitae, slake their thirsts for feline flood, and to celebrate their evil deeds, the selection of remote islands as the venues for their extirpation campaigns allows them to perfect their extermination methodologies far from the prying eyes of the public. Their ultimate goal, however, is to apply the same technologies and lies toward the systematic eradication of cats everywhere.

For example, after years of eliminating cats on Macquarie, Tasman, and other islands, Australia is now posed to kill up to as many as twenty million of them on the mainland. In doing so it not only intends to employ some of the same techniques employed by Bester on Marion, such as the use of the FPV and 1080, but it has come up with some of its own that are every bit as sinister. (See Sydney Morning Herald articles of  July 1, 2014 and November 7, 2014 entitled, respectively, "'Curiosity': The Cat-Killing Bait to Protect Native Species" and "Dying to Be Clean: The New Technique for Controlling Feral Cats.")

Even if these feline extirpation campaigns were run on the level and served some valid conservation causes, which is most definitely not the case, they never would be either just or morally acceptable. First of all, the cats that are being so maliciously maligned and horrifically slaughtered with a vengeance were cruelly uprooted from their native lands and then subjected to long, grueling, and often fatal voyages to distant lands in the holds of cargo ships.

Once they had outlived their usefulness to their imperialist overlords they were cruelly and irresponsibly abandoned without food, water, shelter, and veterinary care. Now that there are megabucks to be made from their elimination, they are being hounded down like convicted felons and hideously killed. To condense a long and sordid story to its bare essentials, they are the victims and their killers are guilty of worse crimes than those ever perpetrated by the Hitlers and Pol Pots of this world.

If there were so much as an ounce of justice in this wicked old world, those individuals responsible for these mass murders would be arrested, tried and convicted, and then shot. In Bester's case, however, a bullet in his warped noggin would be far too charitable; instead, he should be administered, in measured increments, a dose of everything that he gave the cats on Marion. It is imperative that his punishment be protracted, excruciating, and hideous.

He is such a thoroughly evil son of a bitch that he has forfeited his right to remain above ground where he poisons the very air that he breathes. His demise also would put an end once and for all to his incessant preening like a peacock and bragging about how many cats that he has killed.

In memoriam:

Jonathan Frid, Television's Barnabas Collins, Dies at Eighty-Seven.

Jonathan Frid and His Cat

Anyone who was lucky enough to have grown up during the rollicking, frolicking 1960's sans doute recalls hurrying home from school each afternoon in order to catch the latest installment in a gothic soap opera entitled Dark Shadows. The star of the show was a two-hundred-year-old vampire named Barnabas Collins who was portrayed to perfection by Jonathan Frid.

Jonathan Frid as Barnabas Collins

After the show ended in 1971, he returned to the stage and in the early 1990's delivered a series of dramatic public readings in Manhattan. For the most part, however, he contented himself in later life by appearing at cast reunions of Dark Shadows and at memorabilia shows.

Little is known about his private life but it is believed that he was a devoted cat lover. Sadly, he died in his hometown of Hamilton, Ontario, on April 14th as the result of injuries sustained in a fall. (See The Philadelphia Inquirer, April 20, 2012, "Jonathan Frid, Eighty-Seven, TV Vampire" and the New York Post, April 20, 2012, "Dark Shadows' Star Dead.")

Davy Jones of the Monkees Dies at Sixty-Six.
Davy Jones

The Monkees were the American equivalent of the Beatles back in the 1960's and that transformed the band's Davy Jones into an overnight teenage hearttrob. Many of the band's signature tunes, such as "Daydream Believer," "Last Train to Clarksville," "Pleasant Valley Sunday," and "I'm a Believer," can still be heard on radio stations that cater to music from that fabulous era.

Although perhaps better known for his love of horses, Jones also kept four cats -- Big Red, Fluffy, Momma, and Liekey -- at his summer residence in the tiny Pennsylvania village of Beavertown, two-hundred-fifty-seven kilometers northwest of Philadelphia. Although he spent his winters in Florida, he hired his neighbor, Carol Wickard, to look after his cats during his absence.

Two of them lived under heat lamps in his barn while the remaining pair resided in his yellow clapboard house where he spent $4,000 annually on heat alone in order to keep them warm during the wintertime. He died in Stuart on February 29th but, sadly, it is not known what became of his cats. (See The Philadelphia Inquirer, March 9, 2012, "Hey, Hey, Monkee Hideaway.")

Both he and Frid will be sorely missed in that not only is this world a far poorer place without their artistry, personalities, and compassion, but because cats need all of their supporters and admirers alive, healthy and, above all, ready to do battle on their behalves. They also dearly need advocates who have not only razor-sharp fangs and claws but the savoir-faire and willingness to use them.

Photos: Trip Advisor (Hemingway's house), Alabama State Bar (Dubina), Roberto Rodriguez of the Associated Press (Patches), WHSV-TV of Harrisonburg (Meadows and his damaged town house), Andrew Chatwin (Thomas), the New York Daily News (rabbi with a rooster), Tanay Warerkar of the New York Daily News (chickens outside shul), Care2.com (kittens rescued at Aloe Village), Facebook (Greenberg), Terry Date of the Marblehead Patch (Cruger at Sally's memorial), Daily Mail and Albanpix (Hartley), Matthew Usher of the Dereham Times (Reeves), Daily Mail and Masons (Doyle), Bedfordshire on Sunday (cat trapped by Doyle), BCSPCA (cat frozen in ice), the Wiltshire Times (Tazzy), KIRO-TV of Seattle (Young), Hayne Palmour IV of the North County Times of Escondido (cats rescued from San Nicolas), Institute for Wildlife Studies (Garcelon), University of Pretoria (Bester), Confessions of a Pop Culture Addict (Frid with a cat), ABC-TV (Frid as Barnabas Collins), and the cover from Davy Jones's 1971 eponymous album (Jones).

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Uprooted from Home and Left Stranded Thousands of Miles Away, Spice Discovers to Her Horror That Not All the Ghouls and Goblins in This World Are Necessarily to Be Found on Halloween


“I saw something move in the bag. I didn’t know what it could have been. Out popped the cat’s head. It was pretty cool.”
-- Bob Watterson

Spice is a little kitten with three big secrets. Not the least of which is how did the pretty six-month-old gray and white female ever make it all the way from Albuquerque to Portland in less than five days?

Her second secret is the identity of the person who cruelly and irresponsibly zipped her up in a duffel bag on November 5th and then abandoned her on the doorstep of Threads of Hope, a Catholic thrift shop located at 244 St. John’s Street. From that point forward, her story has been meticulously documented but her past remains shrouded in both mystery and intrigue.

Local handyman Bob Watterson was the first to notice the bag and, mistakenly thinking that it contained a donation, he picked it up and carried it inside the old rag shop. His first inclination turned out to be correct in that it did contain a donation but it was not the type that the historically money-mad Catholics easily could convert into the hard currency that they so desperately crave.

“I saw something move in the bag. I didn’t know what it could have been,” he later told the Albuquerque Journal on November 21st. (See “Albuquerque Kitty Turns Up in Gym Bag in Maine.”) “Out popped the cat’s head. It was pretty cool.”

As far as it is known, neither anyone working inside the store nor passing by on the street outside saw who it was that left behind the bag. Regardless of whatever else that can be said about the dirty deed it certainly was a rather bold undertaking coming as it did not only in broad daylight but during business hours as well.

It also was planned well in advance in that the bag contained both cat litter and canned food. It is far from clear, however, if the choice of the shop was intentional or mere happenstance.

Under the former scenario its selection possibly could indicate that the culprit is a Catholic in that it is difficult to comprehend anyone else being willing to entrust the care of any cat to an institution that for millenniums has meted out nothing but diabolic abuse to members of the species. On the other hand, religion may not have played any role whatsoever in Spice’s plight in that individuals abandon cats all the time, in all sorts of places, and under all types of circumstances.

For instance, some individuals even deposit them both inside and outside of bins that are used in order to collect old clothes and, in Angleterre, bottles and cans. Nevertheless, since so many of these abandonments take place on Boxing Day that suggests that Christmas holds some sort of significance in the lives of the perpetrators of these outrageous acts.

Regardless of the motivation behind abandonments of this type, it seems clear that the culprits look upon unwanted cats in much the same fashion as they do old clothes. Even if their heartfelt desire is to spare their victims trips to the killing fields that masquerade as shelters, that ploy most often backfires.

In a case that bears a striking resemblance to the cruel fate that befell Spice, a seven-week-old calico kitten named Sleepy was sealed up in a brown box on June 24, 2009 and deposited in the heat and humidity on the doorstep of a mattress store at 2555 Grand Army of the Republic Highway in Swansea, seventy-seven kilometers south of Boston. Without either water, ventilation, or food, save for a few morsels of kibble, she surely would not have survived for long without the intervention of store employee Michael Medeiros.

Sleepy. Where Is She Now?

“When I tossed the box on my desk, I heard a meow,” he later recalled. Even after she had dodged that bullet, she nonetheless was incarcerated at the Ernest W. Bell Animal Shelter on Stevens Road and that was the last ever to be heard of her. (See Cat Defender post of July 3, 2009 entitled “Pretty Little Sleepy Survives a Suffocation and Starvation Attempt on Her Life Thanks to the Timely Intervention of a Mattress Store Employee.”)

For ever so briefly it at first appeared that Spice had side-stepped Sleepy’s fate when Watterson took her home to live with him, his wife, teenage daughter, dog, and resident feline. Once she had committed the faux pas of pissing in his bed he however quickly dropped her like a hot potato on November 11th at the Animal Refuge League of Greater Portland (ARLGP) in nearby Westbrook.

As part of the shelter’s routine intake procedure, Spice was scanned upon arrival for an implanted microchip and that is how that it belatedly was learned that she hails from Albuquerque. Her owner, who was contacted three days later by ARLGP, revealed at that time that she had adopted the cat earlier this year from a shelter in Albuquerque and that is likely where the chip was implanted.

The woman, who has chosen to remain anonymous, was unable however to shine much light on Spice’s cross-county misadventures. All that is known is that she resides in a “large apartment complex” and that Spice vanished sometime during the evening of October 31st while she was handing out candy and other goodies to children on Halloween.

With that being the case, what happened to her on that fatal evening constitutes Spice’s third secret. For her part, her owner claims to be every bit as surprised as everyone else that she wound up so far away from home.

“She was floored, absolutely stunned. She doesn’t know anyone in Maine and has never been here, so she had no idea how the cat got here,” Patsy Murphy of ARLGP told the Today Show on November 21st. (See “Lost Cat Trying to Go Home for Holidays after Mysterious Twenty-Three-Hundred Mile Trip.”) “English is not her first language, and she is very shy, but she desperately wants the cat back.”

That may or may not be true but she does not want Spice back badly enough in order to foot the bill for her return. “She does want her cat back,” Murphy’s sidekick, Jeana Roth, affirmed to the Bangor Daily News on November 22nd. (See “Kitten That Went Missing from New Mexico Found in Portland.”) “Unfortunately she doesn’t have the financial means to send Spice across the country home.”

In that regard she is far from being alone because ARLGP also answers the roll call for all those blessed with deep pockets but, regrettably, short arms. Specifically, the charity claims that it does not have so much as a lousy sou to spare in order to transport Spice back home. It thus would appear that a few drops of errant piss are not the only constraint upon the amount of compassion that both guardians and rescue groups alike have to offer a kitten in extremis.

As difficult as it may be for some contemporaries to comprehend, a lack of money was not always the deal breaker that it is today. Veterinarians, physicians, and other professionals used to be more than willing to work with the impecunious and that in turn gave birth to such venerable old practices as paying on time, lay-away plans, and payment in kind.

There even used to be old-fashioned virtues such as generosity, compassion, and liberality. For the most part, however, all of them have gone with the wind; today, the only tie that binds is cold, hard cash.

Spice Incarcerated at ARLGP in Westbrook

Sandwiched in between a representative from the anti-pissing brigade on the one hand and a pair of confirmed tightwads on the other hand, it sure looked like little Spice’s fate had been sealed. No one, however, should ever underestimate the resourcefulness of a group as well-connected as ARLGP.

It accordingly did what it does best and went begging on bended knee to one of its sugar daddies, Jonathan W. Ayers of IDEXX Laboratories, a multinational headquartered in Westbrook that develops and manufactures diagnostic, detection, and information systems for use by both small and large animal veterinarians. Always on the lookout for opportunities in order to burnish both his and his company's public image, he readily agreed to help return Spice home to her owner.

“It really touched my heart,” he told the Portland Press Herald on November 21st. (See “Wayward Kitten Will Fly Home to New Mexico from Maine.”) “She’s a miracle cat, and I felt like I could do something to complete the miracle.”

All of that would have been more than sufficient but Ayers did not stop there, however. “It just immediately struck me that there was a very strong bond between this pet owner and Spice,” he declared to the Albuquerque Journal in the article cited supra without disclosing how that he had arrived at that conclusion. “When I read Spice’s story, I realized she really wanted to go home.”

Initial plans called for Ayers to not only pay for Spice's transportation but also to pony up for a staffer from ARLGP to accompany her. "We don't want Spice to incur any more stress than she already has," he vowed to the Albuquerque Journal.

A quick turnaround also was promised. "We're hoping to get her on a plane within the next two weeks at most, and we know Thanksgiving is next week and it would be wonderful to get her home for the holidays (sic)," Roth told the Portland Press Herald in the article cited supra.

That is not the way things eventually worked out in that it was not until December 4th that Spice actually was put on a homeward bound plane. A lingering common cold that she had been battling has been cited in press reports as the reason for the delay but that may not be the entire story.

After arriving in Albuquerque Spice, who was accompanied by Murphy, was taken by ground transportation to the Animal Welfare Department's eastside shelter at 8920 Lomas Boulevard where she received a homecoming welcome worthy of a conquering hero. The media was on hand in order to record the event for the sake of posterity and the facility was festooned with "Welcome Home" balloons and a Christmas stocking with her name on it was pinned to a poster.

Her mysterious owner, however, was conspicuously absent. She was scheduled to have taken custody of Spice later in the day but that is a rather questionable outcome in that if she truly loved Spice she would not have missed her homecoming for anything in the world.

"She was a big little deal," Murphy told the Albuquerque Journal on December 5th. (See "Well-Traveled Cat Welcomed Home in Albuquerque.") "We got calls from all over from people who wanted to pay to reunite the cat and her family. Calls came from New York, California, Texas, New Mexico, Canada, the United Kingdom, China, and Germany."

Spice and Jonathan W. Ayers

It remains unclear, however, who actually paid for what and how many staffers from ARLGP were in Spice's party. The Portland Press Herald reported on December 3rd that it actually was Southwest Airlines and not Ayers who had paid for Spice's flight. Also, Spice was scheduled to have been accompanied by both Murphy and Roth with Ayers footing the bill for their overnight stay in an Albuquerque hotel. (See "Cat from New Mexico That Was Found in Maine Will Fly Home Thursday.")

The Albuquerque Journal, however, claims in the December 5th article cited supra that it actually was Ayers who paid for Spice's airfare and that only Murphy accompanied her. Of course, it is always conceivable that while Murphy was occupied with dropping off  Spice that Roth was living it up back at the hotel with a daiquiri in one hand and a dog-eared copy of Portnoy's Complaint in the other. The paper further claims that the only thing that Southwest contributed was a crate for Spice to ride in but that, even if true, seems to be rather superfluous in that ARLGP surely has plenty of spare pet carriers.

Regardless of what actually transpired, Spice quite obviously did not either need or require two chaperones and that gives rise to speculation that a donnybrook broke out between Murphy and Roth as to which of them was going to get the free trip to Albuquerque. On the other hand, perhaps they simply put their opportunistic noggins together and decided to stick it to both Southwest and Ayres.

That is not nitpicking considering that multitudes of cats are either dying or being systematically exterminated every day of the week because of a lack of guardians, shelter, food, and veterinary care. All the money that both Southwest and Ayres conceivably squandered on flying, housing, and feeding the superfluous staffer could have been much better spent on cats in need. Moreover, such crass, self-serving behavior exposes the true values and priorities of all those involved.

Back in the autumn of 2005 when a thirteen-month-old brown and gray female named Emily from Appleton, Wisconsin, accidentally became trapped inside a shipping container and wound up in Nancy her return was handled much differently. For starters, Raflatac, the laminating and labeling company that had unwittingly imported her, not only tracked down her owners from information contained on her identification tag but also paid her mandatory quarantine fee of $210.

Continental Airlines then magnanimously flew her home in a $6,000 business class seat. Furthermore, the airline certainly did not provide her with any superfluous chaperones.

Rather, George Chiladze accompanied her on the first leg of her flight from Charles de Gaulle Airport, outside of Paris, to Newark. From there on to General Mitchell Airport in Milwaukee she was in the care of Gaylia McLeod.

"I know it is close to the holidays," McLeod acknowledged at that time. "I'm happy to be a part of reuniting Emily with her family." Chiladze felt the same way. "I will make somebody really happy to deliver this poor traveler back home," he said sincerely.

The differences in how Emily and Spice were treated are illuminating. In the former's case, both Raflatac and Continental acted out of compassion and without either any grandstanding or overt self-interest. The same most definitely cannot be said for ARLGP, Ayers, and Southwest who have milked Spice's misfortune for all that it is worth.

Most impressive of all, Emily's eternally loving and grateful owners, Donny and Lesley McElhiney and their then nine-year-old son, Nicky, did not flinch at having to drive one-hundred-seventy-three kilometers to the airport in order to be on hand to throw their arms around her as soon as she was taken off the plane. (See Cat Defender post of December 9, 2005 entitled "Adventurous Wisconsin Cat Named Emily Makes Unscheduled Trip to France in the Hold of a Cargo Ship.")

Spice and Patsy Murphy Meet the Press in Albuquerque

Attempting to make sense out of Spice's biggest secret is not an easy task. Be that as it may, the same rules apply in this instance as they do in solving all riddles and puzzles.

Most important of all, nothing can be taken at face value. In this case, Spice's owner simply could be lying.

For example, Spice could have urinated in her bed and as a result she either abandoned her or gave her away to an acquaintance. In that light it would be interesting to know if she reported Spice's disappearance to either the Animal Welfare Department or the police. Also, did she make either any inquiries in her apartment building or put up any Lost Cat posters?

If she did not deliberately choose to get rid of Spice, it then follows that she either was stolen, accidentally picked up by a cat-lover who thought that she was homeless, or she accidentally, like Emily, became trapped inside some kind of movable object. Although cats have been known to walk tremendous distances in order to return to their homes, Spice most definitely did not walk all the way to Portland in less than five days. (See Cat Defender post of April 27, 2007 entitled "French Chat Named Mimine Walks Eight-Hundred Kilometers to Track Down Family That Abandoned Her.")

She therefore most assuredly transversed the twenty-three-hundred-mile distance using some type of modern conveyance. Considering how quickly that she arrived in Portland, it would seem that par avion would be most logical choice.

Unless she was either transported aboard a private plane or smuggled onto a commercial airliner, that could be easily checked because all major carriers maintain records pertaining to all cats and other animals that fly with them. It is doubtful, however, that the lazy rotters at ARLGP even bothered to look into the matter; on the contrary, they were far too busy plotting how best to exploit Spice's misfortune for their own benefit in order to waste time doing any serious detective work.

With the notable exceptions of service animals and an ongoing pilot project for pets in Illinois, Amtrak does not normally allow animals on board its trains. Its eastbound Southwest Chief does make one daily stop in Albuquerque but that train terminates in Chicago.

Therefore, even if  Spice had been smuggled aboard she and her handler would have been forced to change trains and then to continue on from there to Portland. Even under that scenario it is unlikely that they could have completed such an arduous trek in five days.

BNSF Railway also stops in Albuquerque on its way to Chicago and although cats have been known to hop freight trains by their lonesome, that seems unlikely in this instance due to Spice's tender years. (See Cat Defender post of June 7, 2007 entitled "Rascal Hops on a Freight Train in South Bend and Unwittingly Winds Up in Chattanooga.")

Greyhound operates between Albuquerque and Portland and it is remotely conceivable that Spice could have been smuggled aboard one of its buses. Individuals smuggle cats and small dogs aboard them all the time but that activity is usually confined to its much shorter runs, such as between Manhattan and Atlantic City.

Emily and George Chiladze Aboard Continental Airlines

Since traveling by boat is totally out of the question, that leaves only trucks and automobiles at Spice's disposal. Given that innumerable cats have been known to unwittingly crawl into either commercial trucks or to be carried aboard them after secreting themselves away in packages and furniture, that is a real possibility in Spice's case. (See Cat Defender posts of November 6, 2006 and August 18, 2008 entitled, respectively, "Trapped in a Moving Van for Five Days, Texas Cat Named Neo Is Finally Freed in Colorado" and "Ronaldo Escapes Death after Retailer Coughs Up the Exorbitant Bounty That Quarantine Officials Had Placed on His Head.")

It is even conceivable that she was sent through the mail. (See Cat Defender post of July 21, 2008 entitled "Janosch Survives Being Sent Through the Post from Bayern to the Rhineland.")

If Spice did not travel by truck, the next most likely explanation is that she was transported by car. That assumption is based not only upon the short amount of time that her journey took, but also the circumstances surrounding her abandonment in Portland.

It thus would appear that she was acquired, either legitimately or by nefarious means, by someone in Albuquerque, driven to Portland, and then dumped at Threads of Hope. (See Cat Defender post of July 25, 2014 entitled "Poussey Overcomes a Surprise Boat Ride to Dover, a Stint on Death Row, and Being Bandied About Like a Flying Dutchman in Order to Finally Make It Home to La Havre.")

In the final analysis, it is highly unlikely that the truth ever will be known. Spice's abductor, who could be either a permanent resident of the Portland area or someone merely passing through town, is not about to come forward and make a public confession, her guardian is not talking to the media, and Spice does not speak any language that her human counterparts are able to comprehend.

In spite of the volumes of laudatory media coverage that all of those involved in this affair have received, a closer examination of both the facts and circumstances reveals that none of them are heroes. On the contrary, by their words and deeds they have unwittingly exposed much of what is dreadfully wrong with both cat ownership as well as those individuals and groups who are responsible for their safety, well-being, and health.

In addition to her owner's carelessness, cheapness and, above all, unwillingness to collect her at the airport, Watterson's callous mistreatment and abandonment of Spice is totally inexcusable. First of all, since he blew his stack over a little bit of urine it is frightening to think what he might have done to her if she had either pooped or vomited in his house.

Secondly, by abandoning her at ARLGP he very easily could have initialed her death warrant. No one connected with the organization has been willing to publicly speculate as to what it would have done with Spice if the implanted microchip had not been detected and deciphered, but the possibilities are anything but pleasant to contemplate.

Once it was learned that she was Albuquerque, however, the shelter immediately recognized that it had a proverbial gold mine in both free publicity and donations on its hands and that is the principal reason that it went to such extravagant lengths in order to reunite her with her owner as opposed to getting out the sodium pentobarbital. The free, all expenses paid, late autumn vacation to sunny Albuquerque that Murphy, and possibly Roth, so adroitly finagled for herself was icing on the cake.

Emily Is Reunited with the McElhineys at the Airport  

Just how perilously close Watterson came to dooming Spice is perhaps best illustrated by what happened on December 23, 2010 to a gray cat named Jack-in-the-Box from Troy, New York. Because he, like Spice, was urinating outside of his litter box his owner, Robin Becker, fobbed him off onto then forty-eight-year-old Michael T. Walsh of 10 Woodbridge Avenue who in turn had pledged to dump him at a shelter.

Apparently too cheap to even purchase a pet carrier, either Becker or Walsh sealed up Jack in a cardboard box but when he, justifiably terrified to death, let go with another burst of hot, smelly piss that was the end of the line. Instead of proceeding on to the shelter as agreed upon, Walsh promptly deposited him at the curb of One-Hundred-Ninth and One-Hundred-Tenth streets at the junction of Third and Fourth avenues in the Lansingburgh section of town to be collected by the garbageman.

Jack surely would have been either crushed to death by a trash compactor or dumped in a landfill if his plight had not accidentally come to the attention of Melissa Lombardo who was out walking a pit bull named Phoebe that she was fostering. "I was shocked and sad. I felt bad for the cat," she later told WXAA-TV of Albany on December 23, 2010. (See "Abandoned Cat Found 'Miracle on One-Hundred-Tenth Street'.") "It was obviously scared. It was crying."

Lombardo contacted the Troy Police who took Jack to the Troy Veterinary Hospital where he was treated for exposure to the bitter cold that grips upstate New York during that time of the year. Becker later saw a story about him on television and contacted the authorities who subsequently arrested Walsh on December 30th and charged him with three counts of misdemeanor animal cruelty.

As for Jack, he was scheduled to have gone to a new home sometime during the first week of January of 2011. (See Cat Defender post of October 14, 2011 entitled "Chucked Out in the Trash, Tabitha Winds Up in an Oxygen Chamber with Four Broken Ribs, an Injured Lung, and Pneumonia.")

In addition to being cruel and heartless, Watterson also is guilty of being terribly shortsighted in that if he lives long enough he, like just about all men, is almost certain to come down with an enlarged prostate and the incontinence that accompanies the malady. Once that happens he is once again going to be relegated to wearing diapers, pissing all over himself, and stinking up someone else's house.

Unlike Spice, however, his condition is not going to be either temporary or one that he is going to be able to outgrow. In comparison, occasionally being forced to clean up a little cat urine and feces is of no consequence, especially if doing so saves a life.

The case against Ayers and IDEXX is a good deal more sordid. First of all, the company employs nearly six-thousand workers at forty locations around the world and in 2013 it had revenues of $1.38 billion.

Ayers himself knocked down almost four-million dollars last year in salary, stocks, and other assorted perks. Even though he does own four cats, the only thing known for certain that he did for Spice was to pick up her veterinary tab; the largess that he squandered on Murphy and Roth does not count.

Emily and Nicky. Is That Not Worth More Than Money?

His cheapness even extends to fundraisers held by ARLGP. For instance, at an open house held on December 6th IDEXX raffled off a measly $300 Visa gift card and a paid adoption fee for the lucky winner. (See the American Journal of Westbrook, December 4, 2014, "Westbrook Notes, December 4th.")

That is merely the tip of the proverbial iceberg, however, as far as Ayers and his colleagues at IDEXX are concerned in that they are god-rotten, scum-of-the-earth vivisectors! Quite obviously, all of the tests, procedures, and instruments that the company develops and manufactures for veterinarians and others must first be tested on cats, dogs, and other animals.

In that light it is imperative that the company be investigated in order to determine where it gets its cats and other animals, the conditions under which they are housed, the tests performed on them, and what ultimately becomes of them. Needless to say, giving a few quid to ARLGP pales in comparison with the innumerable cats that are tortured and killed in IDEXX's laboratories.

The atrocities that take place in its Livestock and Poultry Diagnostics Division surely must trump even those committed by its Companion Animal Group. For example, it is estimated that seven-trillion terrestrial animals are slaughtered each year in the United States alone for consumption and that does not even begin to include the unspeakable abuse meted out to dairy cows and laying hens.

On a more fundamental level, veterinary medicine as it is practiced today is nothing less than a fraud and a disgrace. For instance, small animal practitioners normally will not treat either cats that belong to the impecunious or those that are homeless. (See Cat Defender post of March 19, 2014 entitled "Cheap and Greedy Moral Degenerates at PennVet Extend Their Warmest Christmas Greetings to an Impecunious, but Preeminently Treatable, Cat Via a Jab of Sodium Pentobarbital.")

At the same time they are more than willing to kill off, for a fee, cats that simply have grown either old or incontinent. (See Cat Defender posts of October 18, 2014 and August 27, 2014 entitled, respectively, "Hamish McHamish's Derelict Owner Reenters His Life after Fourteen Years of Abject Neglect Only to Have Him Killed Off after He Contracts a Preeminently Treatable Common Cold" and "After Traveling for So Many Miles on the Bridport to Charmouth Bus, Dodger's Last Ride Is, Ironically, to the Vet Who Unconscionably Snuffs Out His Precious Life at the Urging of His Derelict Owner.")

They also work hand in glove with shelters and rescue groups in the commission of their myriad of crimes. (See Cat Defender posts of January 11, 2012 and December 22, 2011 entitled, respectively, "A Deadly Intrigue Concocted by a Thief, a Shelter, and a Veterinary Chain Costs Ginger the Continued Enjoyment of His Golden Years" and "Rogue TNR Practitioner and Three Unscrupulous Veterinarians Kill at Least Sixty-Two Cats with the Complicity of the Mayor's Alliance for NYC Animals.")

Likewise, the wholesale atrocities committed against animals that are raised for their flesh, milk, eggs, and other body parts would hardly be possible without the able-bodied assistance of large animal veterinarians. Members of this thoroughly immoral profession also experiment on defenseless animals themselves and IDEXX is up to its eyeballs in aiding and abetting them in the commission of their crimes.

For example, with locations in Columbia, Missouri, West Sacramento, and Ludwigsburg in Baden- Württemberg, as well as at its flagship office in Westbrook, IDEXX's Bioresearch division is devoted to testing, monitoring, and studying diseases in research animals. Included in all of that devilry is unspecified genetic research, cold-blooded vivisection itself, and the inculcation of veterinary and graduate students in the ancient art of torturing defenseless animals to death.

As thoroughly reprehensible and patently immoral as all of that is, it has not deterred ARLGP the least little bit from frolicking in the hay with Ayers and IDEXX. "IDEXX is a generous supporter of the ARLGP, and we are very appreciative of their help getting this little lady back to her family," the organization proclaimed recently in an undated press release posted on its web site. (See "Spice, Kitten from New Mexico Mysteriously Lands at ARLGP!") "Please join us in putting our paws in the air for IDEXX and Jon Ayers."

Jack-in-the Box and Veterinary Assistant Natasha Stalker 

Besides that, ARLGP is not only cheap but greedy and opportunistic as well. "To support animals like Spice, who come to the ARLGP in need of treatment, shelter, and care, please consider making a donation to our treatment care fund to support our life-saving programs," the organization pleaded in the press release cited supra. "Every dollar makes a difference."

There undoubtedly is much truth in that last declaration but it is suspected that the difference is more often than not reflected in Roth's and Murphy's bank accounts than in the lives of animals in need. As revolting as that may be, it is merely the norm with most animal rescue groups.

For example, when it comes to cases of animal cruelty most of these organizations categorically refuse to even launch investigations. Instead, they content themselves with appealing to the public for donations while offering beau geste rewards for information that they know full well they never will be forced to honor. (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.")

The organization additionally continues to dishonestly trumpet the value of implanted microchips. "Spice's journey speaks to the importance of microchipping and providing identification tags for your cat or dog," the shelter stated in the press release cited supra. "Microchipping is a low-cost service we provide right here at the ARLGP, for just $35."

Clearly, microchips are just another of its numerous money-making scams in that quite a few entities, such as Animal Humane New Mexico and the city of Albuquerque, sometimes offer this service for free. Even Battersea Dogs and Cats Home in south London is offering the service gratis during the run-up to a new mandatory microchipping law that targets canines and is scheduled to go into effect on April 6, 2016. (See "Battersea's Five-Hundred-Day Countdown to Compulsory Microchipping" at www.battersea.org.uk.)

As it should be perfectly obvious to any thinking person, microchips do not offer cats so much as an inkling of protection against both humans and animals intent upon doing them harm. (See Cat Defender post of May 25, 2006 entitled "Plato's Misadventures Expose the Pitfalls of RFID Technology as Applied to Cats.")

"It's wonderful when you read about these reunions, but unfortunately for ninety per cent of lost cats, there is no returning home," Lorie Chortyk of the BCSPCA told The Province of Vancouver on January 2, 2011. (See "Cats Rarely Come Back.")

Additionally, microchips are sometimes difficult to locate and decipher, the contact information contained in the databases that they are linked up to is not always kept updated, and they have been known to cause cancer. (See Cat Defender posts of September 21, 2007 and November 6, 2010 entitled, respectively, "FDA Is Suppressing Research That Shows Implanted Microchips Cause Cancer in Mice, Rats, and Dogs" and "Bulkin Contracts Cancer from an Implanted Microchip and Now It Is Time for Digital Angel and Merck to Answer for Their Crimes in a Court of Law.")

Perhaps most egregious of all, ARLGP is opposed to both homeless cats and TNR. "We hope that the message here is that if you have a stray animal in your neighborhood, use your shelter as a resource," Roth declared to the Bangor Daily News on September 4th. (See "Stray Cat Survives Shotgun Blast from Gorham Police Officer Who Thought Feline Was Rabid.")

Since very few cats that enter shelters alive ever come out in the same condition, it is anything but surprising that ARLGP intentionally fails to disclose its kill-rate on its web site. Although it does place some cats with farmers as mousers, it also is mum on the subject of sanctuaries.

Spice Contemplates an Uncertain Future. Que Será, Será.

Instead of defending and caring for the animals that need it most, ARLGP is guilty of not only accepting receipt of shekels that are encrusted with the blood of murdered animals, such as those given to it by Ayers, but also of sucking up to both the Gorham Police Department (GPD) and Animal Control after they conspired to have a falsely accused and totally innocent cat named Clark gunned down in cold blood on August 20th. "We had a meeting with the Gorham Police Department and we talked about communications and working together," Murphy disclosed back in September. "We're happy to work with the Animal Control officer and community to get strays into shelters."

After the way in which those two agencies attacked and nearly killed Clark any halfway legitimate animal protection group would have immediately brought animal cruelty charges against both of them and the fact that ARLGP freely chose to do the exact opposite is just one more staggering indictment against it. (See Cat Defender post of September 27, 2014 entitled "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.")

It is a difficult lesson for both individuals and groups alike to learn but money is the elixir of life as far as most people are concerned. With that being the norm, it is imperative that individuals and groups that cherishes their independence and freedom have their own sources of funding and that does not include bumming from vivisectors, the government, churches, or anyone else for that matter.

In that respect, ARLGP's sellout to IDEXX, the GPD, and others, stands in stark juxtaposition to the behavior of practitioners of TNR who not only donate their time and labor but also pay for their cats' food, milk, shelter, veterinary care, and legal protection out of their own pockets. Unashamed of a little honest toil, most of them labor at uninspiring, low-paying, dead-end jobs but their sacrifices allow them to maintain both their integrity and independence.

ARLGP's legitimacy as an animal protection group is further tarnished by the petit fait that it does not have to associate with the likes of Ayers and IDEXX. Even Murphy herself has publicly admitted that her organization had dozens of offers from individuals around the world who were willing to come to Spice's aid but yet she shunned all of them in favor of accepting shekels from a vivisector.

It is anyone's guess as to what kind of life Spice has been able to resurrect for herself upon her return to Albuquerque. The very best that can be hoped is that she has not once again gone from the frying pan into the fire.

Perhaps the Animal Welfare Department occasionally will look in on her in order to see how she is doing but even that is doubtful. Murphy may have done some nosing around while she was in town but more than likely she was too busy enjoying herself in order to have been troubled with doing so.

It is difficult to let go of cats, even those that have been encountered only from afar, in that there is always the tendency to worry about them and to wonder how that they are progressing. Be that as it may, Spice is now on her own and must either sink or swim by her lonesome.

In what was destined to be a harbinger of things to come, Spice's ordeal began on All Hallows' Eve which can be a pretty spooky time of the year in its own right. She can be forgiven, however, for failing to realize back then that in this world there are considerably more ghouls and goblins to be found in everyday life than ever have ventured out on that celebrated night of both fun and mischief.

For instance, with Murphy and Roth swooping high and low on their gold-plated broomsticks in search of yet still more shekels, Ayers terrorizing cats and other animals with his horns, long tail, and razor-sharp pitchfork, and Watterson, mop and pail in hand, screaming like a banshee about a little piss, Spice surely must have thought that she had descended into the bowels of Hades. Her unfortunate foray into the macabre world of shelters, their sugar daddies, and those who use them in order to get rid of unwanted cats is, hopefully, at an end but for millions of other animals the horrors that she experienced constitute nothing less than a never-ending nightmare.

Photos: Shawn Patrick Ouellette of the Portland Press Herald (Spice by herself and in a cage), The Herald News of Fall River (Sleepy), ARLGP (Spice and Ayers and a contemplative Spice), Dean Hanson of the Albuquerque Journal (Spice and Murphy), Christopher Ena of the Associated Press (Emily and Chiladze), Kirk Wagner of the Appleton Post-Crescent (Emily's homecoming and with Nicky), and Cindy Schultz of the Albany Times Union (Jack-in-the-Box and Stalker).