A Cruel Teenage Drunkard and Dope Addict Who Bound a Cat and a Dog with Tape Before Killing Them Is Let Off Easy by a Calgary Court
"It's pathetic that our justice system does not see that these animal abuse cases need to have much higher penalties. It's just not right. It's time that something happened and people started speaking out on behalf of the animals."
-- Heather Anderson of the Daisy Foundation
Reduced to its simplest terms, morality can be defined as an abiding respect for the right of animals, Mother Earth, and humans to not only live but also to be free from abuse and exploitation. Since they historically have categorically excluded both the animals and the environment from all moral considerations, it is impossible not to regard the Jews and Christians as being anything other than charlatans.
"There is no religion without love, and people may talk as much as they like about their religion, but if it does not teach them to be good and kind to man and beast, it is all a sham...and it won't stand when things come to be turned inside out and put down for what they are," coachman John Manly observed in Anna Sewell's 1877 timeless classic, Black Beauty.
A total lack of both respect and empathy for other living creatures and things is dangerous enough in its own right but whenever it is combined with the excesses of youth, anger, drugs, and alcohol it is truly something monstrous to behold and nineteen-year-old Nicolino Camardi of Calgary is living proof of that. Although there is not any way of knowing precisely how many evil deeds that he has committed, at least one cat and a dog have died from his hands.
The details are sketchy but in January of 2014 a nameless cat of unspecified sex was found dead with some type of tape covering most of its face. A necropsy later revealed that it not only had been strangled but also beaten about its head, tail, and rear legs.
Along about the same time, a chronically malnourished dog also was found with its mouth taped shut. Press reports have not specified if the victims' corpses were discovered together and at the exact same time or separately and at different locations.
Whereas very few animal protection groups ever even bother to investigate cases of animal cruelty, the Calgary Humane Society (CHS) opened an immediate inquiry into the animals' murders and that resulted in Camardi's arrest and immediate jailing in May of last year. Since arrests in such cases are about as rare as hens' teeth, it would be illuminating to know exactly what led the CHS to him but even that has not been divulged by the press.
In December of 2014, he pleaded guilty to "willfully causing pain, suffering or injury to an animal" and on March 27th of this year he was sentenced to twenty-two months in jail by Justice George J. Gaschler of the Provincial Court of Alberta, sitting in Calgary. Since he was given credit for the sixteen months that he already had spent in jail while awaiting trial, he likely was released sometime in September, if not earlier.
He additionally was given a lifetime ban on the owning of pets, placed on probation for three years, and ordered to undergo anger, alcohol, and drug counseling. "I accept that there is (a) rehabilitative requirement in a fit sentence of a very troubled and severely addicted young man," Gaschler opined according to the March 27th account contained in the Globe and Mail of Toronto. (See "Calgary Man Who Abused and Killed Dog and Cat Sentenced to Twenty-Two Months.") "There is also a need for close community supervision of Mr. Camardi who is at risk of relapse and consequent further criminal and violent behavior."
In spite of not only the leniency of the sentence but Gaschler's totally irresponsible decision to turn loose a violent offender upon society, the CHS nonetheless was as pleased as punch with that outcome. "This is an horrific and violent crime that got the attention of the city and beyond in a way that animal cruelty has not before," the organization's Brad Nichols, who led the investigation, told the Globe and Mail. "This was the case that citizens put their foot (sic) down and said we are not going to tolerate animal abuse. This was the most complex animal cruelty case that we have ever investigated."
Crown Prosecutor Gord Haight, who originally had asked for only a thirty-six-month sentence, likewise was pleased with the light tap on the wrists meted out to Camardi. "Perspective is important here. This, to my knowledge, is the highest sentence in Alberta ever received for an animal cruelty case," he crowed to the Globe and Mail. "My submission, quite simply, was the facts demanded it. This was certainly the most serious case of animal cruelty that I had ever prosecuted before."
Sick and tired of humane groups, prosecutors, and judges coddling animal abusers and killers, Heather Anderson of Delegates Against Inhumane Suffering (the Daisy Foundation) of Calgary was not buying one word of either Gaschler's, Nichols,' or Haight's extended exercise in sugar-coating the ugly truth. "It's pathetic that our justice system does not see that these animal abuse cases need to have much higher penalties. It's just not right," she tearfully told the Globe and Mail. "It's time that something happened and people started speaking out on behalf of these animals."
Truer words never have been spoken but any substantial change in how that animals are treated under the law remains far out of reach. Cats, for example, are horribly abused by their owners and killed with impunity by shelters, PETA, and veterinarians.
Motorists run them down for fun, vivisectors torture and kill them at will, and high-strutting, egomaniacal professors at the world's leading universities shanghai them into serving as guinea pigs so that they in turn can use the data collected from them in order to fabricate a rationale for their en masse feline extermination projects, such as the one currently underway in Australia. Even in such supposedly civilized countries as Deutschland and Österreich they are hunted as sport. The overwhelming amount of abuse that is meted out to them is, accordingly, sanctioned by law.
Even when a case of feline cruelty falls within the narrow confines of existing law, just about all humane groups and police departments categorically refuse to even open an investigation into the matter. On those still even rarer occasions when an arrest has been made, most prosecutors go after the accused with all the ferocity of a paper tiger.
Adding insult to injury, judges and juries seldom vote to convict no matter how overwhelming the evidence may be against the accused and even when they do the former always can be counted upon to hand down absurdly lenient sentences. Jail time therefore is either inconsequential or totally out of the question altogether.
It thus is painfully clear that judicial systems all around the world place little or no value on either the abuse or the killing of animals. Judges, in particular, care only about the abusers and that can be clearly seen in Gaschler's sentencing remarks. If press reports are to be believed, he never expressed so much as a syllable of remorse over the deaths of the cat and dog.
"I just want to say I understand what I did. It was horrible," Camardi told the court earlier in the proceedings according to the Globe and Mail. "I know that I can do it (change) and (I) am really sorry for the things I've done. The public and everyone has a right to feel the way they do."
If he, against all odds, is sincere, that is a positive step forward even though it is highly debatable if anyone as cruel and morally bankrupt as him can be successfully rehabilitated and reintegrated into society. That is especially the case given that character usually is formed during adolescence. Even more worrisome, some psychologists and sociologists believe that cruelty toward animals is a harbinger of future violent crimes against humans.
Whether or not such aberrant behavior continues into adulthood, there can be no denying that young individuals, especially males, are some of the worst and most prolific abusers of cats. (See Cat Defender posts of September 1, 2005, September 22, 2005, September 23, 2005, October 5, 2006, October 31, 2009, March 24, 2010, and July 18, 2015 entitled, respectively, "Danbury Teens Poison and Club to Death with Baseball Bats Twenty Cats; Another One Is Snared in a Leghold Trap," "College Students in South Africa Cook a Cat to Death in a Microwave Oven," "Two New Zealand Teens Douse Three Caged Cats with Glue and Burn Them to Death," "New Jersey Teens' Idea of Fun: Beat Up a Defenseless Kitten and Then Burn In to Death," "Stefan W., Who Publicly Boasted of Scalding Kitty to Death in a Washing Machine, Is Let Off by a Berlin Court with a Measly Fine," "Seven-Month-Old Bailey Is Fed to a Lurcher by a Group of Sadistic Teens in Search of Cheap Thrills in Northern Ireland," and "Blackpudlian Thrill Seeker Who Sicced Her Pit Bull on Regi and Then Laughed Off Her Fat Ass as He Tore Him Apart Receives a Customary Clean Bill of Health from the Courts.")
Drug addicts likewise are bad news for cats. (See Cat Defender posts of January 28, 2010, December 15, 2008, May 10, 2010, and September 27, 2010 entitled, respectively, "Hopped Up on Vodka and Pot, Trio Taunted Tatiana Prior to Attacks That Led to Her Being Killed by the Police," "Vicious Attack on Sid Leads to the Creation of a Fund to Aid Four-Legged Victims of Domestic Violence," "Lunatic Rulings in Cats with No Name Cruelty Cases Prove Once Again That Pennsylvania Is a Safe Haven for Cat Killers and Junkies," and "Caged, Shot Thirty Times with an Air Gun, and Then Tossed into a Bay to Drown, Lovey Is Rescued in the Middle of the Night by a Good Samaritan.")
An even more compelling case can be made against those who abuse and kill cats while under the influence of alcohol. (See Cat Defender posts of September 18, 2008, November 10, 2008, August 17, 2009, December 18, 2009, October 30, 2010, and January 22, 2011 entitled, respectively, "Drunken Brute Beats, Stabs, and Then Hurls Fifi to Her Death Against the Side of a House in Limerick," "London Teenager, Convicted of Killing the HMS Belfast's Kilo, Also Is Unmasked as a Remorseless Liar and Drunkard," "America's Insane Love Affair with Criminals Continues as Drunkard Who Sliced Open Scatt with a Box Cutter Gets Off with Time on the Water Wagon," "Teenage Wino Who Gunned Down Her Neighbor's Cat, Trouble, with a Crossbow from Her Bedroom Window Cheats Justice," "Drunken Bum Is Foiled in a Macabre Plot to Make a Meal Out of Kittens, Nirvana and Karma, That He Allegedly Ran Down Earlier with His Truck," and "Colin Sherlock, an Admitted Boozer and Dope Addict, Pulls Out All the Stops in His Unsuccessful Attempt to Torture Roxy to Death.")
Long before drunken motorists became acceptable, albeit deadly, fixtures of modern-day life, it was boozed-up coachmen who were the scourge of the civilized world. "I only wish all the drunkards could be put in a lunatic asylum instead of being allowed to run foul (sic) of sober people. If they would break their own bones, and smash their own carts, and lame their own horses, that would be their own affair, and we might let them alone, but it seems to me that the innocent always suffer...," Jeremy Barker complained after a drunk irreparably injured his horse, Champion, on the streets of London in Black Beauty. "If there's one devil that I should like to see in the bottomless pit more than another, it's the drink devil."
Despite all the vituperation directed against adolescence, drugs, and alcohol, it is far from clear that they, taken either singularly or altogether, are to blame for acts of cruelty perpetrated against cats and other animals. They could be, for instance, merely the masks that certain individuals hide behind in order to excuse the wickedness that lurks in the bottoms of their black souls. Such an analysis would in turn reduce alcohol and drugs to being merely the catalysts that bring their anti-social tendencies to the surface.
In the final analysis such questions should not even be taken into consideration by the courts. In Camardi's case, for example, his age and whether or not drugs and alcohol were involved are irrelevant because his victims are still just as dead and their suffering was not in any way alleviated by his impairment.
Au contraire, the courts should focus solely upon the conduct of defendants and leave the psychoanalysis to the experts. Above all, their sympathies need to be redirected away from the abusers and toward their victims.
Far from being singular occurrences, Camardi's crimes form part of a pattern of feline abuse that has been unfolding all across Canada for the past few years. Specifically, cats are known to have been bound with tape in the provinces of Saskatchewan and British Columbia as well as Alberta.
|Nellie and Jennifer Paloposki|
For example, in March of this year a handsome three-year-old black and white polydactyl named Bruce Almighty was discovered with all four of his limbs trussed up with electrical tape in Regina. Without the last-minute dramatic intervention of an unidentified couple in the northwest section of town he, too, surely would have joined Camardi's victims in the great void. (See Cat Defender post of November 18, 2005 entitled "Bruce Almighty Weathers an Abominable Act of Cruelty and the Intrigues of the Regina Humane Society in Order to Hopefully Be Able to Pick Up the Pieces of His Shattered Life.")
Over the course of a six-week period in September and October of 2012 no less than three cats were found bound with tape in four separate incidents in the city of Nanaimo on Vancouver Island. The abuse began on September 6th when a sixteen-year-old tom named Sam from Poplar Street was found with his paws tightly wrapped in blue duct tape and his tail fastened to his neck.
His assailant had done such a thorough job that his owner, Dianne Gordon, was forced to rush him to Island Veterinary Hospital where the tape had to be removed with scissors. Sam, fortunately, was not seriously injured and soon recovered from the frightening ordeal.
When advised by the BC SPCA to lock him up indoors, Gordon took umbrage at its insinuation that he had been to blame for the incident. "The cat is sixteen years old. I can't keep it in," she groused to the Nanaimo Daily News on October 24, 2012. (See "Nanaimo Royal Canadian Mounted Police Investigating after Cat Duct-Taped a Second Time.") "That would just be cruel. The cat has been an outdoor cat all his life."
On the same day that Sam was trussed up, a cat named Zuma belonging to Liberty Harakas likewise was found bound with blue duct tape. Unlike Gordon, however, she and her friends were able to remove the adhesive from Zuma's paws and tail without veterinary intervention.
Considering that Zuma lives only two doors down from Sam and that blue duct tape was used in both instances , it is pretty much a foregone conclusion that both of them were assaulted by the same group of individuals. Nevertheless, no arrest ever was made in either case and both incidents soon were forgotten.
That constituted a terrible dereliction of duty on the part of the authorities because on October 1st the taping spree resumed less than one-thousand feet away on the five-hundred block of Chestnut Street when a brown female with black markings named Nellie was found with green painter's tape covering her body. Her owner, Jennifer Paloposki, was able to successfully remove the tape and Nellie was otherwise unharmed.
Unfortunately for her that was merely the beginning of her travails because on October 22nd she was found with her feet tightly bound with brown duct tape and her tail taped to her body. Paloposki's initial reaction was not all that different from the one which, doubtlessly, greeted Bruce's rescuers.
"I went out first thing in the morning and that's when I heard her screaming," she later told the Nanaimo Daily News in the article cited supra. "When I first saw her I thought her feet were cut off."
Thankfully, that was not the case but Paloposki was unable to get the tape off this time around and as a result was forced to take Nellie to the Island Veterinary Hospital where she had to be sedated before it could be removed. "When we take it off, we're having to pull just like taking off a Band-Aid®, where you're pulling off hair," attending veterinarian Ken Langelier later disclosed to The News Bulletin of Nanaimo on October 25, 2012. (See "Police Investigating Cruelty to Cat.")
Nellie had attempted to gnaw off the tape but that endeavor had proven to be unsuccessful. In fact, the tape was bound so tightly that Langelier was barely able to even get it off with scissors.
"If you know cats at all, they certainly don't like having things on their feet, they don't like having restrictions to their ability to move and their tail is like a rudder," he added to The News Bulletin. "In this case the cat's tail was taped to its body, the feet were taped fairly tightly, and with no air breathing through the tape they'd gotten quite moist."
Nellie recovered in time but the incident left her guardian badly shaken. "It freaked me out," Paloposki said of the second incident in an interview with the Nanaimo Daily News. "It was like someone just knew she was out there."
The injustice of the attacks also rankles her. "What they did was wrong," she complained to The News Bulletin. "My cats don't attack anybody, they're not aggressive."
As for the motive behind the tapings, the experts are divided. "It's the sign of a sick mind, and sick minds often ramp up what they do as they feel more comfortable with what they're doing," Langelier theorized to the Nanaimo Daily News. "Any time there's animal cruelty I always suspect there's underlying psychological issues."
Because of the way in which the victims' tails were taped, that prompted Brian Ferris, a clinical psychologist practicing in North Vancouver, to speculate to the Nanaimo Daily News on October 25th that the perpetrator might be a young male between the ages of eleven and fourteen with a strange sexual fetish. (See "Police Have 'Several Persons of Interest' to Talk with after Series of Cats Duct-Taped.")
It was however Lyne Piche, who practices psychology in both Vancouver and Abbotsford, who likely came the closest to the truth when she suggested that the culprits were either cat-haters or juveniles. "It could be a neighbor who is really upset with the cats," she speculated to the Nanaimo Daily News on October 25th. "Instead of putting out poison, they decided to do it this way. I'm not sure."
In that respect, Paloposki, Gordon, and Harakas are extremely lucky that the individuals who assaulted their cats chose not to employ any of the lethal methods commonly associated with such inveterate ailurophobes as ornithologists, wildlife biologists, and gardeners. For instance, one of their more common tactics is to illegally trap their neighbors' cats and subsequently hand them over to shelters to kill. (See Cat Defender posts of October 30, 2006, March 9, 2007, and August 19, 2010 entitled, respectively, "A Collar Saves a Cat Named Turbo from Extermination After He Is Illegally Trapped by Bird-Loving Psychopaths," "Long Island Serial Cat Killer Guilty of Only Disorderly Conduct, Corrupt Court Rules," and "Music Lessons and Buggsey Are Murdered by a Cat-Hating Gardener and an Extermination Factory Posing as an Animal Shelter in Saginaw.")
Another favorite tactic of those individuals and groups who hate cats is to trap them and then dump them at undisclosed locations. (See Cat Defender posts of November 16, 2007 and December 24, 2007 entitled, respectively, "Fletcher, One of the Cats Abducted from Bramley Crescent, Is Killed by a Motorist in Corhampton" and "Prominent New Zealand Physician Who Ludicrously Claims to Be an Ailurophile Gets Away with Stealing and Dumping His Neighbor's Cat.")
Regardless of whether the perpetrators are motivated by either pure hatred of the species or simply youthful mischief, the means that they have at their disposal for carrying out their wicked designs are almost endless. In addition to that, they can rest assured that in most instances the authorities will not be coming after them.
In Nanaimo, for instance, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and the BC SPCA knew from the outset that there were more than one individual involved in the attacks and that they were neighbors of the victims. "It's virtually impossible to control a cat and do something like that," Constable Gary O'Brien told The News Bulletin. "I'm sure the persons would receive considerable scratches, would have to be heavily clothed and have gloves on. We're sure it's someone living in the area that's taken an exception to this (Nellie) particular cat."
On top of all of that, the RCMP received a tip from an employee of a hardware store concerning a customer who had purchased brown duct tape of the type that was used in order to truss up Nellie. It also handed out flyers on Chestnut Street, established a citizens' watch group, and compiled a list of suspects but, as far as it is known, no arrests ever were made.
It accordingly is difficult to say if there is a discernible link between the failure of the authorities in Nanaimo to make an arrest in these four cases and the more recent copycat crimes that have been committed against cats in Calgary and Regina. The only thing that is known for certain is that all crimes committed against cats, regardless of the modus operandi improvised, need to be taken seriously by the authorities and that no stone should be left unturned until those individuals responsible have been apprehended and jailed.
Deplorably, that has not happened in either Nanaimo or Regina and Gaschler bent over backwards in order to shortchange Camardi's victims in Calgary. It therefore is an open question as to whether it is worthless sods like Camardi or those derelicts within the political and legal establishment who refuse to strenuously enforce the anti-cruelty statutes that are the greatest threat to the safety and well-being of cats and dogs.
Photos: Facebook (Camardi) and Niomi Pearson of The News Bulletin (Nellie and Paloposki).