Cornishman Shells Out £10,000 on Private Peepers in Order to Track Down Farah's Killer but Once Again Gets Stiffed by Both the Police and the RSPCA
"Telling me there is nothing they can do to investigate, or even address, the horrific way Farah died is just not good enough. Using an air rifle to shoot cats is illegal, and it should be treated as such."
-- Neil Tregarthen
As the wholesale maiming and killing of innocent cats continues unabated, there seemingly is not any power on earth that is capable of prevailing upon either the police or animal protection groups to so much as even investigate these atrocities. The long-standing intransigence of the authorities is, not surprisingly, finally prompting some aggrieved owners and caretakers into taking matters into their own hands as a way of attempting to redress some of these outrageous crimes.
One such dedicated individual with a highly developed sense of right and wrong is wealthy fifty-six-year-old retired businessman Neil Tregarthen of Truro in Cornwall who was forced into acting after the Devon and Cornwall Police (DCP) as well as the RSPCA categorically refused to take seriously the premeditated, cold-blooded murder of a fourteen-month-old black cat named Farah that belonged to his twenty-four-year-old daughter, Aylish. She was shot in the stomach by an unknown assailant armed with an air gun sometime during either the day or evening on September 27th while she was playing in a garden in Exeter, Devon, where Aylish is studying medicine at the University of Exeter.
She discovered Farah's plight the following morning when she came down to breakfast but by then it was way too late to save her life. She was taken to a veterinarian where it was determined that the lead pellet had ruptured her bowels.
She died three days later on the operating table from internal bleeding and septicemia and Aylish and her father were left with a £3,500 veterinary bill, their grief, and a consuming rage at the unfairness of having her taken from them in such a senseless and violent fashion. Not only was Farah's life cruelly and unjustly snuffed out barely after it even had begun, but her last four days on this earth could not possibly have been anything other than excruciatingly painful.
"Aylish was devastated. The vet said it would have been an incredibly distressing and painful death for Farah," Tregarthen confided to The Independent of London on March 5th. (See"Man Spends £10,000 on Private Investigators to Track Down Killers of His Daughter's Kitten (sic).") "Any father would be angry with somebody who upset his daughter, but I am a measured man, and anger doesn't get things changed."
His initial reaction was to naïvely call upon the assistance of the DCP but it did not take long for him to become disabused of any notion that he may have harbored in his breast that he could expect any help from that agency. "The police made it very clear they wouldn't be investigating further," he added to The Independent.
He thus was forced to fall back upon his own not insubstantial resources in order to retain the services of a contingent of private peepers from Focus Investigations in Exeter. The gumshoes devoted six weeks to the matter during which time they interviewed and identified possible suspects, handed out fliers in the neighborhood, and established a telephone number in order to receive tips from the public. The effort wound up costing Tregarthen a cool £10,000 (US$14,841.80).
At the end of it all, the shamuses were able to identify several members of a local gang who not only had criminal records for air gun offenses, but also were so emboldened as to post photographs of themselves injuring animals on Facebook. The investigators were even able to narrow down the list of possible culprits to one individual with what they termed an "obvious sociopathic nature."
In the best tradition of the Philip Marlowes and Sam Spades of yesteryear, the private dicks even went so far as to place the gang under surveillance. "We would camp out on the river pretending to be fishing," Tregarthen revealed to the Daily Mail on March 5th. (See "Who Killed Farah the Kitten (sic)?") "We surveyed certain areas pretending to be members of the public. Ideally we needed to witness an incident, but that never happened."
They did succeed, however, in locating a witness who claimed to have seen the prime suspect attack another cat with an air rifle. "We found a witness who claimed that he had witnessed our main suspect shooting another cat and who stated that he was willing to give a statement to this effect," Focus informed Tregarthen according to a report by the BBC on March 4th. (See "Man Spends £10K on Search for Kitten (sic) Killer.")
While the peepers were busy identifying possible suspects, Tregarthen put up a £1,000 reward in an effort to entice a member of the public into coming forward with information relating to the crime. "The sad excuse for a human being that did this will have bragged about it," one of his reward posters stated. "If they gobbed off to you, or a mate and you can tell me for sure who it is, you just got the easiest £1,000 in your life."
Although he received many responses to his offer, none of them were the one that he wanted. It was encouraging, however, that none of those who responded did so because of monetary considerations.
"Not one of at least fifty people who phoned asked about the money," Tregarthen revealed to The Independent. "They said: 'This is shocking. Here is what I know'."
Despite the limited amount of success of both his and the investigators' inquiries, he nevertheless was pleased with the effort. "This was no Boy Scout investigation. I was successful in business because I am very demanding of people," he proclaimed to The Independent. "I am ninety-nine point nine per cent sure the key suspect was responsible."
Operating under the mistaken illusion that since he had done their job for them the DCP now would be forced into taking action, Tregarthen summarized Focus's conclusions in a fourteen-age dossier which he then submitted to the force. The representatives of law and order however took one quick look at it and curtly dismissed it.
"I have examined Mr. Tregarthen's report and it is packed with rumor and speculation," DCP Neighborhood Beat Manager Steve Parsons sneered to The Independent. "However, on the back of this local officers did make further inquiries which also turned out to be fruitless."
After having pursued matters as far as he could under the law, Tregarthen had been expecting the police to at least be willing to interrogate the chief suspect but they were unwilling to even indulge him on that point. "But when a job has been eighty per cent done for them, all I want them to do is exercise their right to knock on a suspect's front door and interview him under caution," he explained to The Telegraph on March 5th. (See "Businessman Spends £10K on Private Detectives to Hunt Killer of Daughter's Cat.") "I cannot confront him because it would prejudice the police inquiry."
In spite of Parsons' outrageous balderdash, there can be little doubt that if the victim had been an individual as opposed to a cat that the police not only would have acted but in the process also violated every one of the suspect's civil liberties in order to have made an arrest. That most definitely would have included taking him into custody, subjecting him to endless hours of unrelenting third degree interrogation, illegal searches of both his person and home and, possibly, even torturing him into confessing.
The English would like the world to believe that they are a genteel people who are ruled by the dictates of both law and morality but that is largely a self-serving public relations' ruse. In reality, both their domestic and colonial police forces historically have been comprised of some of the world's most savage and lawless brutes. Their tactics in turn have been handed down like precious heirlooms to their even more ruthless and cutthroat counterparts in the United States, Australia, New Zealand, and elsewhere who not only have embraced them with all the zeal of maniacs but expanded upon their inherent nastiness and cruelties.
Nations, like individuals, do not become rich and powerful by playing by the Golden Rule and it is utter nonsense for anyone to think differently. "Le secret des grandes fortunes sans cause apparente est un crime oublié, parce qu' il a été proprement fait," Honoré de Balzac oberved in his 1835 novel, Le Père Goriot.
Just as police forces all over the world are very good at taking decisive action whenever it suits their purposes, they likewise are more than content to do absolutely nothing whenever they can get away with doing so. In the DCP's case, it is quite obvious that its motto, In Auxilium Omnium, does not apply to either cats or their aggrieved owners.
|One of Tregarthen's Reward Posters|
It additionally is dishonest for Parsons to dismiss the results of Tregarthen's effort as merely rumor and speculation in that just about all police work commences with precisely that. Few if any cases are handed over to them with the guilty parties, facts, and evidence all tied up with a red ribbon in a neat little package; au contraire, it is precisely the job of the police to go out and find all of those elements.
Regrettably, even that process all too often begins and ends with not only rumors and speculation but institutionalized prejudices and the targeting of innocent individuals and cats alike. Acting in their designated roles as the hired guns of the wealthy and the bourgeoisie, they invariably target the lower classes while turning blind eyes to the far greater crimes that are committed by those who pay the greater part of their salaries.
Even the laws themselves are biased in favor of those who have money. "La majestueuse égalité des lois interdit aux riches comme aux pauvres de coucher sous les ponts, de mendier dans la rue et de voler du pain," is how Anatole France once summed up the grand charade by which all societies live.
In the United States, for example, the police not only gun down cats and dogs in the street but do so with impunity. It therefore goes almost without saying that any group which behaves in such an abhorrently criminal fashion is not about to take cases of animal cruelty seriously. (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.")
Beyond the ingrained class prejudices and lawlessness that characterizes all police work, it also is a business that begins with the degree mills that offer programs in criminal justice which graduates then parlay into sinecures as cops. Once on the force, the new recruits nakedly exploit their newfound authority by arresting anyone that they can so as to move up the ranks to positions with still ever greater authority and money.
Finally, there is the prison-industrial complex which not only includes houses of detention, guards, and wardens but courts, judges, prosecutors, and lawyers as well. While there can be no denying that all stable societies require law and order, it nevertheless is at times difficult to determine exactly who it is that needs to be locked away and who deserves to be set free. If it were only possible, the best solution of all perhaps would be to lock up the entire human race and then throw away the key.
"After all reasonable areas of inquiry were completed, I spoke to Ms. Tregarthen to explain why no further action would be taken and she was happy with my explanation," Parsons declared to The Independent. Unless he is in the habit of making things up, which is a major problem with all cops, Aylish's joy could not have lasted for very long because she soon was singing an entirely different tune.
"I feel like there is no justification for not investigating something that is illegal," she told the Daily Mail. "But to still have the same response (after Focus's work) is very disappointing."
She also has additional concerns besides obtaining a small measure of justice for Farah. "There is no deterrent to stop people doing it again. No one is being held to account and they are being allowed to continue doing this," she complained to The Telegraph. "I have other cats, but I won't let them out of the house in case this happens again."
|Rosie and Her X-Ray|
In spite of all of his good work in taking it upon himself to track down Farah's killer at his own expense, Tregarthen nonetheless is off his trolley when he blames the inaction on the part of the police on monetary considerations. "It's also about getting government to understand what chief constables can deliver with the savage cuts they are enduring," he groused to The Independent.
Even the Home Office was quick to disagree with him on that point. "Police reform is working and crime has fallen," one of its representatives told the BBC. "There is no question the police will still have the resources to do their important work, while making their contribution to reducing the deficit."
Just as individuals with only hammers in their toolboxes are prone to viewing all problems that arise as nails, millionaires like Tregarthen tend to erroneously believe that all issues can be solved with money. Human affairs are far more complex than that and thus require considerably more finesse than ever can be provided by either hammers or shekels.
He also was unsuccessful in his attempt to interest the RSPCA in looking into Farah's murder. The charity, which has the authority to initiate prosecutions on its own through independent solicitors, has cited a lack of evidence as the motive behind its decision to remain glued to the sidelines.
Even on those rare occasions when it has prosecuted and won judgments against individuals for abusing cats the culprits invariably have been let off with slaps on the wrists by jurists. Although it is difficult to determine from the limited amount of information contained online if that is the fault of the RSPCA or the courts, it nevertheless is disturbing that the organization all too often seems to be contented with whatever convictions and sentences, no matter how insignificant and lenient, that it is able to obtain.
Also, the organization's long and checkered past of both stealing and killing cats with impunity hardly inspires confidence in its resolve to uphold the animal cruelty statutes. (See Cat Defender posts of June 5, 2007 and October 23, 2010 entitled, respectively, "RSPCA's Unlawful Seizure and Senseless Killing of Mork Leaves His Sister, Mindy, Brokenhearted and His Caretakers Devastated" and "RSPCA Steals and Executes Nightshift Who Was His Elderly Caretaker's Last Surviving Link to Her Dead Husband," plus Daily Mail articles of November 6, 2014 and December 30, 2012 entitled, respectively, "RSPCA Forced to Apologize for Wrongly Putting Down Cat Belonging to Family It Accused of Cruelty in Bungled Prosecution" and "Revealed: RSPCA Destroys Half of the Animals That It Rescues -- Yet Thousands Are Completely Healthy.")
It thus would appear that Tregarthen's efforts to bring Farah's murderer to justice have reached a dead end. The only recourse open to him would be to have the shamuses continue to closely monitor the activities of the suspect in the hope that they eventually will be able to catch him flagrante delicto attacking another cat.
They then could swear out an affidavit to that effect and the police would be forced into arresting him. While they are interrogating him, they also might be able to coax a confession out of him about shooting Farah.
Tregarthen not only has more than enough moola in order to continue the fight but he has, at least in the past, expressed a willingness to devote even more resources to the cause. "I would pay double that (£10,000) if I thought it would stop this sort of behavior," he vowed to the Daily Mail. "I know I am in a fortunate position to be able to do so, but I think it is money well spent. It's about society fighting back."
|Roxy and Hayley Fallows|
Moreover, he is not merely fighting for Farah and Aylish but rather for cats and their supporters everywhere. "It was for the people whose cats might be shot next -- the elderly widow who might find her lost companion crawling through the cat flap and dying," he told The Independent. "If people who can fight back don't do so, then we are all doomed."
That is all true enough but as things now stand there simply is not any way of getting around the intransigence of both the police and animal protection groups and that rankles him and cat advocates everywhere no end. "Telling me there is nothing they can do to investigate, or even address, the horrific way Farah died is just not good enough," he declared to the BBC. "Using an air rifle to shoot cats is illegal, and it should be treated as such."
If his efforts have accomplished nothing else they have exposed not only how deeply ingrained is the tendency of both the police and animal protection groups to simply wink at cruelty to cats but also how terribly difficult it is going to be in order to substantially change that attitude. It nevertheless is still firmly believed that private dicks have a crucial role to play in the apprehension of cat abusers. Their efforts in this instance went for naught but next time around the outcome might be entirely different.
Not only are assaults perpetrated against cats by thugs and other assorted low-life armed with air guns at epidemic proportions throughout all of the United Kingdom but they have been occurring for a very long time and for that the blame can be squarely laid at the feet of both the police and the RSPCA. For example on March 19, 2007, a ten-year-old brown and white cat named Jacky Boy from Stenhousemuir in Scotland was shot in the face with an air gun and the lead pellet lodged between his jawbone and brain and could not be removed.
Three days later on March 30th a two-year-old black cat named Ebony from Wrexham in Wales lost her right eye to an assailant armed with an air gun. Along about that same time a ten-year-old black cat named Flopsy from Silksworth outside of Sunderland lost his right leg in another air gun assault. (See Cat Defender post of May 7, 2007 entitled "British Punks Are Having a Field Day Maiming Cats with Air Guns but the Peelers Continue to Look the Other Way.")
Later on June 11, 2009, a two-year-old tuxedo named Rosie from the town of Guisborough in Cleveland, North Yorkshire, was shot fifty times with an air gun but amazingly survived. Unfortunately, Clare Turner of Wilton House Veterinary Clinic was able to safely remove only twenty of the pellets and that in turn left Rosie vulnerable to developing lead poisoning from those that were left in her body.
"I've never seen anything like it in my life," her thirty-nine-year-old owner, Tracey Homan, exclaimed to The Telegraph on June 16, 2009. (See "Cat Shot with Fifty Pellets Survives.") "She was covered in blood and dragging her back legs along the floor."
Whereas juvenile delinquents are suspected of committing a lion's share of the air gun attacks that are perpetrated against cats, that is not always the case. On the contrary, elderly gardeners have been caught red-handed doing the same thing.
For example on July 16, 2011, seventy-one-year-old Patrick Doyle of Fields Road in the village of Wootton in Bedford, Bedfordshire, trapped a nameless black cat and then methodically proceeded to shoot it point-blank from a distance of two feet with an air rifle. He doubtlessly would have killed it on the spot if his neighbor, Caroline Benbow-Hunt, had not seen what he was up to and intervened.
|Smokey and the Horrific Damage Done to His Face and Left Eye|
He subsequently was arrested and tried in Bedford Magistrates' Court on February 29, 2012 but was let off with paying court costs of £1,311.64. Nevertheless, Dave Braybroke, who prosecuted the case for the RSPCA, said afterwards that he was "satisfied" with the light tap on the wrists meted out to Doyle.
Benbow-Hunt released the cat and it never was seen again in the neighborhood and therefore is presumed to have died from its injuries. (See Cat Defender post of March 13, 2012 entitled "The Sick Wife Defense Works Like a Charm for Cunning Patrick Doyle after He Traps a Cat and then Shoots It with an Air Rifle while Still in Its Cage.")
Another cat-hating gardener is suspected in a pair of air rifle attacks on cats that occurred last summer on Bennett's Road in Lower Swainswick, five kilometers northeast of Bath in Somerset. In the first attack, Hayley Fallows ' one-year-old brown cat Roxy had one of her femurs shattered when she was shot at close range.
Mark Minkler of Beaufort Surgery only added to her misery when he incorrectly inserted a pin which later moved and went through her sciatic nerve. That in turn necessitated that she had to undergo a second operation in order to have a plate inserted. More than two months later Roxy was still limping around in discomfort.
Later in September, an eleven-year-old tom named Max owned by Fallows's neighbor, Sue Lewis, was shot with a lead pellet that went through both of his legs. Although he did not suffer any broken bones, he did sustain nerve damage and was left paralyzed in one paw.
"We are worried to think someone who is quite close to us could do something like this," Fallows told the Bath Chronicle on October 14th. (See "Fears Disgruntled Gardener Is to Blame for Air Rifle Attack (sic) on Cats.") "For it to have happened twice, it can't be an accident, it must be on purpose. It is malicious. It has been really upsetting for all of us, especially the children."
Lewis could not have agreed more. "One cat might be an accident but two is more sinister," she added to the Bath Chronicle. "You do worry about the kids being out."
Predictably, the only response that Fallows and Lewis were able to get out of the police were the usual unproductive house-to-house inquiries and letters sent to residents begging them to do their jobs for them. "We have no evidence who is responsible, and we're appealing to anyone with information, or who knows someone who owns a high-powered rifle or similar weapon, to contact us," PC Martin Holliwell lamely blowed to the Bath Chronicle.
Ornithologists, both amateurs and professionals, are yet still another utterly despicable lot of lawless ailurophobes who purchase air guns with the sole purpose in mind of killing and maiming cats. For instance, that is precisely what sixty-eight-year-old Eric Reeves of Bradenham Hall Cottages in Bradenham, Norfolk, did on August 8, 2011 when he shot and killed Nicholas Townley's five-month-old brown and white cat Hartley.
|Even After a Shave the Pellet Holes Are Still Visible in Lovey's Body|
When his case came to trial on October 26, 2011 in King's Lynn Magistrates' Court, Reeves escaped with one-hundred hours of community service and a measly £400 in court costs. As was the case with its wet noodle prosecution of Doyle, the feckless RSPCA once again was pleased as punch with the outcome.
"This sends out a clear message that it is unacceptable to go around shooting animals," Dave Padmore, who tried the case for the charity, crowed in the face of all logic and truth. "The RSPCA will continue to investigate incidents of this nature and where possible will always seek to bring a prosecution."
His empty rhetoric surely must ring awfully hollow to Tregarthen and all other individuals who have had cats killed and maimed by cretins armed with air guns. (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.")
Far from being a problem that is confined to the English Isles, air guns are being trained on cats just about everywhere. For example, a nine-year-old part-Persian brown and white tom named Smokey from the small town of Maryborough in Victoria was abducted in September of 2009, restrained in some unknown fashion, and then shot thirteen times in the face and head by an attacker wielding an air gun.
A veterinarian was able to successfully remove all of the pellets except for two that had lodged in his face. His left eye was so badly damaged, however, that the veterinarian was forced into stitching a button to his eyebrow in a desperate attempt to save it.
"I was just shocked someone could take an animal and literally hold them (sic) down and just keep shooting them (sic)," owner Liz Dunn told the Australian Broadcasting Company (ABC) on September 22nd of that year. (See "Owners Horrified after Cat Shot Thirteen Times.") "The police said that they have to keep reloading the slug gun, it's not a process that automatically goes bang, bang, bang. Smokey had been either contained or held because all of them were in his head and nowhere else in his body was injured."
It fell by default to Dr. Hugh Wirth of the Australian RSPCA, however, to give voice to a few enlightening thoughts that should have been uttered a very long time ago. "Jail is the only way to teach people a lesson," he vowed to the ABC. "Almost certainly these will be young males around the age of eighteen to twenty who have done this; it's a pattern that we see throughout Australia and there's only one way to deal with it and that's jail."
He additionally had the courage to call out not only male cat-hating brutes but ornithologists and wildlife biologists as well. "One of the biggest problems we've got here is firstly the Australian male who believes that cats are of a feminine character," he added to the ABC. "The second problem is that conservationists have condemned the cat as the big killer of native wildlife."
In regard to his first keen observation, there cannot be any denying that the life-giving, nurturing, and civilizing attributes commonly associated with women always have been at odds with the bloodthirsty, degenerative, and destructive tendencies of their male counterparts. The Greek dramatist Aristophanes even wrote a play, Lysistrata, about that eternal struggle some twenty-four-hundred-years ago.
During the Middle Ages, the world's oldest, sleaziest, and most morally repugnant institution, the Roman Catholic Church, even waged an all-out war against anchoresses and their cats by branding the former as witches and the latter as their familiars. Even today kindhearted women who go out of their way in order to care for homeless cats are not only universally derided as "crazy cat women" but sometimes even physically threatened and arrested. (See Cat Defender posts of August 2, 2010 and February 26, 2007 entitled, respectively, "Old, Poor, and Sickly Jeanne Ambler Is Facing Eviction for Feeding a Trio of Hungry Cats" and "Charged with Feeding a Feral Cat Named Fluffy, Retired Ohio English Teacher Beats the Rap," plus the Toronto Star, October 20, 2014, "Helping Feral Cats Shouldn't Be Risky Business.")
To put the entire sorry business into a neat little nutshell, male-dominated societies all over the world look down their crooked schnozzles at compassionate women while simultaneously championing the cause of cowardly thugs who get their perverted jollies by taking potshots at innocent cats with air guns. If, on the other hand, someone were to ram the barrel of one of these infernal devices into one of their eye sockets and threaten to pull the trigger they, one to a man, would cry like little babies and beg to be allowed to retain their precious eyesight.
|Lovey's Torture Cell and Would-Be Tomb|
As far as Wirth's second insight is concerned, cats in Australia are far from being the only ones to find themselves in the crosshairs of dishonest conservationists with perverted agendas. In the United States, for instance, it is precisely the National Audubon Society, the American Bird Conservancy, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, The Wildlife Society, the universities, and PETA who through their unceasing defamations and repeated calls for en masse eradications that have not only supplied the motivation but a justification as well for their partisans and others to take the law into their own hands by abusing and killing cats. (See Cat Defender posts of May 18, 2013, July 18, 2011, and October 7, 2011 entitled, respectively, "Ted Williams and the National Audubon Society Issue a Call for Cats to Be Poisoned with Tylenol® and Then Try to Lie Out of It," "Evil Professors Have Transformed College Campuses into Hotbeds of Hatred Where Cats Routinely Are Vilified, Horribly Abused, and Systematically Killed," and "PETA Traps and Kills a Cat and Then Shamelessly Goes Online in Order to Brag about Its Criminal and Foul Deed.")
Like the English press, newspapers in Deutschland are replete with accounts of cats being attacked by assailants armed with air guns. For instance in August of last year, an unidentified cat owned by Norman Lutterbach from the borough of Schmidt in Nideggen, Nordrhein Westfalen, was attacked twice within the span of three days with the last assault claiming its life. (See the Aachener-Zeitung, August 11, 2014, "Mit Luftgewehr gezielt auf Katze geschossen.")
Later on August 29th, a nine-year-old white cat named Cindy was shot and killed by an attacker with an air rifle while she was reclining on a terrace in the Himbergen section of Uelzen, Niedersachsen. In spite of all of that, she still might have pulled through if the wound to her abdomen had not been initially misdiagnosed by an obviously totally incompetent veterinarian as a bite wound.
As things eventually turned out, she died on the operating table from lead poisoning on September 2nd. (See the Allgemeine Zeitung Uelzen, September 6, 2014, "Tödlicher Schuss auf Cindy.")
In the United States the capitalist media seldom even bother to report air guns attacks upon cats and that makes it somewhat difficult to gauge the extent of the problem; nevertheless, it is likely that the number of such instances dwarfs those reported in Deutschland, Angleterre, and Australia combined. That also is another poignant example of just how poorly Americans are served by their disreputable newspapers, radio stations, and television channels.
In the one recently known case that garnered nationwide attention, a caged black and white cat named Lovey was pulled out of McKay Bay in the Ybor City section of Tampa on September 1, 2010 by a Good Samaritan. Rushed to Brandon Veterinary Specialists, it was determined that she had been shot at least thirty times in the abdomen and chest with an air rifle. There is not any known connection, but it is just possible that this case furnished both the inspiration and modus operandi for Doyle's devilry.
Lovey shortly thereafter was needlessly divested of most of her fur in a prelude to undergoing emergency surgery even though the veterinarians ultimately decided against removing the lead pellets. She, thankfully, pulled through and was adopted a few weeks later.
The pet carrier in which she was found provided the authorities not only with a pretty good idea of what she had been put through but also several clues as to the identity of her abusers. Specifically, stenciled to the outside of it were the following words: "Kitty Penitentiary," "Est. 2010," "Cell 666," "Jailer Missy," and "Warden" with the name obliterated.
A running tally of at least twenty assaults also was maintained on the outside of the cage. Clearly, Lovey had been tortured over an extended period of time by a pair of devil worshipers.
On September 16th, nineteen-year-old Giovanni Estrada of 10266 Parsons Street in Town 'n' Country, eight kilometers northeast of Tampa, was arrested and charged with two counts of felony animal cruelty. His twenty-six-year-old girlfriend, Mildred Marie "Missy" Krack, who actually owned the cat that she called Mittens, inexplicably was not indicted although she later was banned for life from owning another animal in Hillsborough County. (See The Tampa Tribune, October 13, 2010, "Ex-Owner of Tortured Cat Banned from Owning Animals.")
In return for his despicable crimes, Estrada was let off in February of 2011 with only one year behind bars. (See "WFTS-TV of Tampa, February 23, 2011, "Tampa Man Sentenced to One Year in 'Kitty Penitentiary' Case.")
On his MyPlace web site entitled "In the Shadow of Death," he claimed to be a wiccan who would like to meet Jesus Christ so that he could "kick his ass." (See Cat Defender post of September 28, 2010 entitled "Caged, Shot Thirty Times with an Air Gun, and Then Tossed into the Bay to Drown, Lovey Is Rescued in the Middle of the Night by a Good Samaritan.")
The pattern revealed by this review of the cases points to the inescapable conclusion that it is precisely young males, gardeners, ornithologists, and devil worshipers who are attacking cats with air guns. There possibly could be other groups as well but that does not materially alter the salient fact that these despicable weapons are owned and used by a rather small subset of the general population.
Decent individuals do not own air guns and, moreover, they certainly have better things to do with their lives than to go around shooting defenseless cats and other small animals. Also, just about all of these attacks are localized. Taken altogether, it is safe to conclude that identifying and arresting at least some of these scumbags is nowhere nearly the impossible task that both the police and animal protection groups claim.
Furthermore, these weapons cannot be used against individuals without engendering serious legal consequences and it is highly doubtful that they are acquired merely for target practice. They therefore are manufactured and sold with the explicit purpose of maiming and killing cats, birds, wildlife and, sometimes, farm animals. (See Cat Defender post of January 9, 2006 entitled "Dodemus, a Sparrow Mercilessly Gunned Down by Domino Stackers, to Be Exhibited at Rotterham Museum.")
It accordingly is nothing short of stupefying that any halfway decent society would even allow their manufacture, sale, and ownership, let alone their use against cats. Just the mere possession of one of these diabolical weapons should be sufficient in order to land both adults and juveniles in jail for at least ten years without the benefit of either early parole or time off for good behavior.
In its recently introduced "Manifesto for Cats," the charity Cats Protection of Haywards Heath in Sussex called for stricter regulation of air guns but that hardly goes far enough in that nothing short of an outright ban will suffice. (See The Independent, January 15, 2015, "A 'Manifesto for Cats': Cat Charity to Launch Its Ten-Point Proposal at the House of Commons.")
The sad truth of the matter is that it is open season on cats everywhere and it does not make much difference whether the weapon of choice is an air gun or some other device. Cops and rescue groups can be counted upon for little more than hot air and disgraceful attempts to flimflam the public out of money while doing absolutely nothing to either protect cats or to put their attackers in jail where they belong.
With that being the way that things are, the onus of protecting cats falls squarely upon the shoulders of their owners and the caretakers of TNR colonies. In Farah's case, it appears that Aylish let her down by failing to check on her before retiring for the evening on September 27th. If she had done so, Farah conceivably might still be alive today.
|Farah Will Be Forever Fourteen Months Old|
It is unclear if she was aware beforehand that yobs in her neighborhood in Exeter have a history of gunning down cats with air guns and that makes it difficult to say if she knowingly placed Farah's life in jeopardy. Although these types of assaults tend to be isolated and sporadic, they nonetheless are crimes of opportunity and for that reason owners need to be constantly on their guard.
As difficult and disconcerting as Tregarthen's efforts have proven to be, apprehending cat abusers is only the initial step in a long-drawn-out judicial process that most often culminates with neither the victim nor their aggrieved owners receiving so much as a smidgen of justice. For instance, not many prosecutors have any genuine interest in trying animal cruelty cases and even those that do, such as the RSPCA, are notorious for turning in lackluster performances whereby they merely go through the motions.
Secondly, judges seldom convict and even on those rare occasions when they do they allow the guilty parties to escape with minuscule fines and probation. Jury verdicts likewise are difficult to obtain in that all the defense has to do is to impanel either one ornithologist, wildlife biologist, or gardener in order to subvert justice. (See Cat Defender post of November 20, 2007 entitled "Bird Lovers All Over the World Rejoice as Serial Killer James M. Stevenson Is Rewarded by a Galveston Court for Gunning Down Hundreds of Cats.")
Civil suits directed at cat abusers are perhaps the best option for aggrieved owners and caretakers. Although Andreas O. did not not receive so much as a scintilla of satisfaction in criminal court, a civil court in München awarded him €500 in damages and issued a cease and desist order against his neighbor, Ernst Bernhard K., who had tortured one of his cats, Rocco, to death and likely would have sooner or later attacked his other resident felines as well. (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.")
A civil court in southern California likewise awarded Janien Bubien from the San Diego suburb of Vista $2,500 in damages plus an additional $5,000 in order to relocate elsewhere after her next-door neighbor, forty-seven-year-old Robert Eugene Brunner, killed her three-year-old orange-colored cat Bill with arrows to the neck and back on April 11, 2006. Even more extraordinary, when his case finally came to trial on September 17, 2007 a criminal court judge sentenced him to three years in jail.
Although Brunner was arrested shortly after he murdered Bill, the civil court verdict against him, like the one Andreas O. obtained against Ernst Bernhard K., predated his criminal court conviction and thus reaffirmed the precedent that having the latter is not a prerequisite for obtaining the former. (See Cat Defender posts of August 14, 2007 and September 28, 2007 entitled, respectively, "Grieving Owner Seeks Justice for Orange Tabby Named Bill That Was Hunted Down and Savagely Killed with a Bow and Arrow" and "California Man Who Slew His Neighbor's Cat with a Bow and Arrow Is Sentenced to Three Years in Jail.")
Whereas it is always better to have a criminal conviction on record before turning to the civil courts for redress, even that is not always necessary and, accordingly, it is something that Tregarthen might want to consider as he goes forward. For instance, Kevin Kimes of Brentwood in northern California sued his neighbors, Joseph and Charles Grosser, for seriously injuring his cat, Pumkin, in October of 2005 with an air gun.
Although it is not known how he ultimately fared in court, no one can question Kimes' resolve. "The people that perpetrate these crimes against domesticated animals are going to have to pay," he swore to the San Francisco Chronicle on June 1, 2011. (See "Brentwood Man Cleared to Sue over Cat's Shooting.") "Maybe over time, people will start to think twice."
It is a crying shame that there are not more owners who feel the same way that he and Tregarthen do because that is the only way that the legal status of cats is ever going to be upgraded. It additionally is always important to remember that in his Devil's Dictionary Ambrose Bierce famously defined a non-combatant as a "dead Quaker." C'est-à-dire, turning the other cheek never has worked and never will, at least not in a world so chock-full of killers and other assorted low-life and scumbags.
Photos: BBC (Farah), Daily Mail (Tregarthen and reward poster), The Telegraph and the North News of Newcastle-upon-Tyne (Rosie), the Bath Chronicle (Roxy and Fallows), the Australian Broadcasting Company (Smokey), Katy Kuehner of The Tampa Tribune (Lovey), Hillsborough County Animal Services (kitty penitentiary), and Kevin Kimes (Pumkin).