Bruce Almighty Weathers an Abominable Act of Cruelty Coupled with the Intrigues of the Regina Humane Society in Order to Hopefully Be Able to Pick Up the Pieces of His Shattered Life
"The cat, who had no identification, collapsed into the arms of officers late Wednesday evening and purred as they began the delicate process of removing the bands which had destroyed his limbs."
-- the Regina Humane Society
The most readily available means that owners have at their disposal for getting rid of unwanted cats is to fob them off on either shelters or veterinarians. That is because both of them operate on mandates issued by the state that allow them to commit en masse murders with impunity.
Whenever those two expedients are not, for whatever reason, desirable owners can always fall back upon such time-honored disposal techniques as either nonchalantly tossing them out in the trash, dumping them in the middle of busy highways, or poisoning them. In the end it really does not matter all that much which modus operandi is selected because all of them are pretty much foolproof.
There are some owners, however, who hate their cats so much that merely snuffing out their lives is insufficient; au contraire, they feel compelled to either torture them to death or to consign them to circumstances whereby their demises are prolonged and excruciatingly painful. The latter was the means selected back in March in order to put a permanent end to a handsome, longhaired, black and white polydactyl subsequently dubbed Bruce Almighty from Regina in Saskatchewan.
In particular, his diabolical owner tightly wrapped each of his four legs in electrical tape before casting him out in the street in order to fend for himself where temperatures that time of the year normally average between 14.2° and 32.7° Fahrenheit. What offense, if any, he possibly could have committed in order to have provoked such animus remains a mystery to this very day.
It is difficult to determine from press reports if his legs were bound together or separately but even if they were taped individually that made it nearly impossible for him to walk because the adhesive was wrapped so tightly that it had cut off the circulation causing the tissue below it to die and become infected. Under such dire circumstances procuring food, water, and shelter from the bitter cold became herculean tasks.
Moreover, he no longer had any way of eluding human and animal predators due to his inability to either take to his heels or to scale heights. Most frightening of all, he would have been a dead duck if a motorist ever had gotten a bead on him.
If neither predators, the elements, nor starvation had finished him off, the total lack of blood flowing through his constricted limbs soon would have done the trick. It accordingly is not any exaggeration to say that the clock of doom was fast winding down and Bruce's cruel fate was all but sealed.
Despite the excruciating pain and the hopelessness of his predicament he, like so many cats, somehow was able to summon the will power in order to persevere. In doing so he took full advantage of a rather mild day on March 18th when, according to Friendly Forecast, the temperature soared to 42.08° Fahrenheit to somehow either hobble or crawl into the yard of a house located in the northwest section of town. Once there, his desperate plight attracted the attention of the compassionate homeowners who immediately telephoned the Regina Humane Society (RHS) which came and collected him.
"The cat, who had no identification, collapsed into the arms of officers late Wednesday evening and purred as they began the delicate process of removing the bands which had destroyed his limbs," the RHS later told the CBC on March 22nd. (See "More Than C$11K Raised for Hurt Regina Cat 'Bruce Almighty'.")
In addition to the extensive damage that was done to all four of the approximately three-year-old tom's limbs plus his front paws, it has not been revealed if he also was suffering from malnutrition, dehydration, and frostbite. It likewise has not been disclosed if evidence of other forms of abuse were detected by the veterinarians who examined him.
They were able to conclude however that the adhesive had been on for a "significant amount of time." What exactly that means is unclear but based solely upon the extensive damage done to Bruce's legs it more than likely had been in situ for several weeks, if not indeed longer.
It furthermore is not known how many callous residents of Regina turned blind eyes to his interminable suffering. A similar sorry spectacle took place in the Ichenheim section of Neuried in Ortenaukreis, Baden Württemberg, during the early days of January in 2011 when equally uncaring residents allowed a forever nameless brown and white female with green eyes to wander the streets for days after she had been deliberately doused with petrol and set on fire.
A citizen finally telephoned Tierschutzvereins Offenburg-Zell on January 10th but by then it was way too late and the cat died three days later. No one came forward to claim her remains and that lent credibility to the strong suspicion that her assailant, as was the case with Bruce, had been her owner. (See Cat Defender post of June 27, 2011 entitled "Citizens of Ichenheim Callously Allow a Torched Cat to Walk the Streets for Days Before Summoning Veterinary Help That Arrived Too Late.")
|Bruce on the Operating Table|
As it seemingly always turns out to be the case whenever a cat's life is hanging in the balance, Bruce's deliverance from the street initially succeeded in only placing his fragile life in even greater jeopardy. That is because the first idea that popped into the diseased gourd of the RHS's head honcho, Lisa Koch, was not to treat him but rather to finish the job that had been begun earlier by his owner.
"There's a lot of dead tissue. We've seen some improvement, but we're thinking that amputation may be necessary," she declared to the Leader-Post of Regina on March 20th. (See "Almighty Battle for Bruce the Cat after Legs Bound by Tape.") "If both of his front legs are requiring amputation, then it would be very difficult for him to survive."
Besides being both utterly disgraceful and totally morally repugnant, Koch's asinine reasoning simultaneously demonstrated her abysmal ignorance of the resilience of handicapped cats. For example, the reaction from Geoffrey Weech of the Monmouth Small Animal Hospital in Wyatt Earp's hometown of Monmouth, Illinois, was entirely different when in late September of 2010 an impecunious local resident brought in a fourteen-week-old black and white kitten named Trace whose rear legs had been badly mangled in a car's engine.
"Didn't have any blood flow in them; the bones were broken in the legs," he later revealed. Unlike Koch's reaction to Bruce, he was not about however to reach for the sodium pentobarbital. "We felt that if a cat can be that normal with three legs, I think that they can adapt to two legs," he correctly deduced.
His compassion did not end with saving her life, however, but rather it extended to securing a good home for her. "It's going (to) have to be somebody that is dedicated to a special needs kitten but I think they're going to be surprised," he predicted. "I think she's really going to come around."
His only error in judgment was to limit his reasoning to cats with two limbs. For instance, a tortoiseshell named Callie Mae from Theodore, Alabama, does not have any legs at all.
Back in 2008, she was chased up a tree by a pack of vicious dogs where she subsequently became entangled in electrical wires and was electrocuted. Her subsequent fall to the ground cost her all of her appendages.
Someone has to scratch, groom, and brush her and she uses Wee-Wee Pads as opposed to a litter box but other than that she is doing remarkably well all things considered. "She's a good kitty," Sandy Tomlin of the Theodore Veterinary Clinic, where she lived until finally being adopted, said back in 2010. "She even caught a mouse one time." (See Cat Defender post of November 17, 2010 entitled "Penniless and Suffering from Two Broken Legs, It Looked Like It Was Curtains for Trace Until Geoffrey Weech Rode to Her Rescue on His White Horse.")
Cats who have lost limbs also can be fitted with wheelchairs, prosthetics, and bionic implants. (See Cat Defender post of November 20, 2010 entitled "Celebrated as the World's First Bionic Cat, Oscar Now Has Been Turned into a Guinea Pig with a Very Uncertain Future.")
Almost immediately after threatening to whack Bruce, Koch did an about-face. "We're committed to Bruce. He's Bruce Almighty and he has incredible determination and perseverance," she added to the Leader-Post for reasons that were soon to become abundantly clear. "He deserves an opportunity to feel safe and love after the tremendous amount of pain and suffering that he's endured because of this purposeful act of animal cruelty."
The petit fait that a fundraising appeal launched on his behalf in order to raise C$5,000 for his treatment took in more than C$20,000 from Canadian, American, Polish, Spanish, and Greenlandic donors between March 22nd and March 25th sans doute played a significant role in her abrupt change of heart. Even though she may not have given so much as a whit as to whether he lived or died, she most assuredly had enough bon sens in order to recognize that in him she had a proverbial gold mine on her hands.
"We had no idea the response we were going to get, or really, Bruce was going to get, around the world," she gushed to Global News of Toronto on March 25th. (See "Overwhelming International Response to Cat in Need.") "He has a wonderful personality. He fought hard and we figured it was our turn to fight hard for him."
The donations, which eventually added up to almost C$25,000, spared Bruce from having to face the hangman but they contributed very little toward shortening his convalescence. "He has a long road of recovery ahead of him," Koch added to Global News. "A lot of rehabilitation will come and when he's ready for adoption, there'll be some special circumstances around what his needs are going to be."
|Bruce in an Elizabethan Collar Following Surgery on His Toes|
The long haul to once again becoming a functioning cat began on March 23rd when veterinarians amputated eight of his front toes and thus leaving him with only two on each paw. That was followed by hydrotherapy and unspecified treatment of his badly damaged legs.
He tentatively was scheduled to have undergone paw pad grafts at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine in Saskatoon, two-hundred-fifty-nine kilometers north of Regina, in May but it is far from clear if those procedures ever took place. (See the CBC, March 27, 2015, "Hurt Regina Cat Bruce Almighty Makes Encouraging Recovery" plus untitled articles dated March 31, 2015 and May 1, 2015 on the RHS's Facebook page.)
Perhaps those additional surgeries were not needed in that less than a month after knocking on death's door Bruce had made an astounding recovery. "The healing of his wounds on his front paws is going incredibly well and his newly unwrapped back leg is looking near normal," the RHS confided to The Chatham News of Chatham in Ontario on April 18th. (See "Bruce Almighty the Saskatchewan Cat Recovering after Electrical Tape Ordeal.") "Bruce Almighty is feeling much stronger and is happiest when he is near people. He is able to walk short distances with his front bandages and now spends his weekdays in staff offices and the weekends at home with his foster family."
Besides enjoying a new crinkle bed and feather toys dropped off for him at RHS by well-wishers, it was the attention lavished on him by staffers that pleased him the most. "He absolutely adores sitting on a warm lap and will stand up on his back legs and ask to be picked up knowing cuddles await him on the lap of his choice," the RHS added to The Chatham Daily News.
In May, the RHS initiated a long-drawn-out process of finding him a new home. In furtherance of that objective, they decreed that his new owner must not only be familiar with his history but also able to spend considerable time with him. It additionally mandated that the individual adopting him must have the financial means in order to pay for his continued veterinary care and to reside in a dwelling with a minimal amount of hardwood flooring and stairs.
The charity received hundreds of inquiries from individuals, including many from Deutschland, expressing a desire to adopt Bruce but on July 3rd it selected Melissa Fiacco who works in public relations for the trade and industry group, the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters (CME). "You wanted to champion his recovery. You wanted him to defy his attacker and triumph," she told the Leader-Post on July 3rd. (See "Bruce Almighty Finds a New Home.") "To be honest, it's kind of like Rocky Balboa. It's so silly, but you really wanted him to triumph."
Whereas Fiacco sans doute is loaded, it is highly unlikely that she has very much time to spend with Bruce because she has a rather demanding job at CME. She also, based upon her rather substantial presence on the web, leads a very hectic social life.
It is even far from clear just who it is that is taking care of Bruce. In particular, although she moved into a new condominium just before she adopted him, it appears that it is actually her father who is in charge of his welfare. "It's really adorable, I think he thinks my parents are his parents," she disclosed to the Leader-Post. "Because Bruce has been by (my dad's) side every moment he's been home."
The dad that she is referring to is none other than Pat Fiacco who served as mayor of Regina from 2000 until 2012. That revelation, purposefully hidden from the outside world by the Leader-Post, also lays bare another of the RHS's blatant lies.
Quite obviously Bruce was not given to the younger Fiacco because she was able to devote time to his recuperation and future care, but rather because of her rather substantial economic and political ties to the Regina establishment. By entering into such an arrangement the RHS is attempting to further ingratiate itself to the powers that be and thus to rake in additional funding.
None of that is meant in any way to imply that Fiacco will not be a passably competent guardian of Bruce but it does once again vividly demonstrate that what matters to the RHS is money and not the welfare of cats.
The charity accordingly plans on exploiting him as an advocate for its own interests. "In a way, he belongs to a lot of people," the organization's Karen Mercier proclaimed to the Leader-Post in the July 3rd article cited supra.
Besides the RHS's mendaciousness and perverted agenda, it has miserably failed Bruce by fobbing him off on an individual whom, it would appear, never will be much more than an absentee caretaker. In that light, it would be interesting to know how that this highly sociable cat is adjusting from being the center of attention at the RHS to being left alone for long periods of time in her, apparently empty, condominium.
|Bruce Is Attempting to Adjust to His Limited Mobility|
Also, since the RHS has stipulated that he, for medical reasons, be confined indoors for the remainder of his days, he thus is being denied the stimulation, freedom, and feline companionship that is customarily afforded by the great outdoors. That may be unavoidable considering his injured legs but it nevertheless underscores the pressing need for him to be provided with tons of human interaction as well as for his indoor environment to be made as interesting as possible to him.
Abandoning him to his own devices for lengthy periods of time also is dangerous considering his acute medical problems. In particular, if either a blood clot or some other medical emergency should unfold while Fiacco is out chasing shekels he easily could die before she returned home.
It therefore is difficult not to conclude that Bruce would have been much happier and safer if the RHS had placed him in a home where he would have enjoyed around-the-clock companionship and supervision. That was not about to happen, however, owing to the RHS's ambitiousness and, above all, insatiable greed.
For instance, it is believed that the care that he received from the RHS cost less than C$5,000 of the nearly C$25,000 that was donated. Accordingly, the RHS certainly had it within its means to have placed him with a far more devoted, even if less financially well-heeled, owner and then applied the remaining balance to his future care.
In its defense, the RHS claims to have made other plans for that money. "Bruce Almighty -- and all the people that helped him -- will be able to help a lot of other animals as well," Koch pledged to the CBC on April 17th. (See "Bruce Almighty, a Cat, Is Healing Well and Walking a Bit after Taped Paws Trauma.")
That is well and good as far as it goes but it deliberately fails to take into account that the donations were explicitly earmarked by the public for Bruce's care and his needs certainly did not come to a screeching halt the moment that he walked out the door of the RHS. Consequently, for the RHS to wash its hands of him and then to divert those funds to other causes is nothing short of outright thievery.
Besides, there is not any reason to believe that they will be spent on other deserving cats and dogs. For example, Koch and her cronies either could appropriate them for their own personal use or apply them toward the purchase of lethal drugs in order to kill injured cats, as they initially planned on doing with Bruce, as opposed to treating them.
Few, if any, shelters and humane organizations operate on the level and as a consequence donors seldom know for certain how their donations are being spent. Furthermore, since just about all of these outfits rely heavily upon the public for their livelihoods, the very least that they should be willing to do is to give donors a detailed, written accounting, right down to the last penny, of exactly what was done with their contributions.
Just as there should exist a sacred and inviolable trust between cats and those individuals and groups that are responsible for their safety and well-being, so too should there exist a similar bond between shelters and humane groups and their benefactors. Under no circumstances should these institutions be allowed to continue to squander funds on policies that are inimical to the wishes of those who donated them.
As things now stand, donors are unwittingly guilty of subsidizing the cold-blooded murders of countless cats, dogs, and other animals. Likewise, shelters that categorically refuse to devote a portion of their donations toward the apprehension and punishment of animal abusers are making it possible for such crimes to continue to be committed in perpetuity.
In Bruce's case, it is almost superfluous to point out that no arrest has been made and none is expected. Based primarily upon the fact that his former owner never came forward in order to reclaim him even after his story and photograph appeared not only in the Leader-Post but also on the world wide web, that makes that individual suspect number one.
Although it is remotely conceivable that his former caretaker could have abandoned him, moved out of town, and then took up residence underneath a rock, that does not seem to be a likely scenario. Even under such an arrangement, it likely would have been necessary for the culprit to have trapped Bruce and then restrained him in some fashion before taping and subsequently abandoning him.
The motive behind the attack seems to have been pure malice directed at either him in particular or all cats in general. Another possible explanation is that he somehow fell into the clutches of juveniles who get their perverted jollies by committing all sorts of atrocities against defenseless cats.
|Bruce in His New Home|
As best it could be determined, neither the RHS nor the local police ever lifted so much as a finger in order to bring Bruce's abuser to justice. As the very least they should have conducted door-to-door interviews in the area where he was found in an effort to determine if anyone knew anything about him.
Secondly, veterinarians, shelters, pet shops, and groomers, in the city and surrounding areas should have been contacted and shown photographs of him. Thirdly, the entire neighborhood should have been fly-posted. Fourthly, retailers should have been queried concerning any and all recent sales of electrical tape.
Fifthly, although such acts are largely beau geste, the RHS could have offered a monetary reward for information leading to the arrest of Bruce's abuser. Regrettably, it apparently was too cheap to even have done that much for the sake of justice.
As is the case with just about all shelters, the RHS not only expects the public to provide the financial support that enables it to operate but to additionally do its job for it. "We rely on the public to be our eyes and ears for cases involving neglect and abuse," Koch told the Leader-Post in the March 20th article cited supra. "They (the Good Samaritans) did the right thing."
Besides being shameful, such dilatoriness constitutes a blatant dereliction of duty. Specifically, if it really cared about such matters the RHS would not have left any stone unturned until the fiend who abused Bruce was safely locked up behind bars.
The picture that emerges of the RHS throughout its handling of this heartbreaking matter is anything but flattering. Most damning of all, it is guilty of flirting with the idea of killing, as opposed to treating, Bruce.
Secondly, it bungled his adoption. Thirdly, it has misappropriated funds intended for his continued care. Fourthly, it has failed in its mission to safeguard the lives of cats by steadfastly refusing to go after Bruce's abuser. Such perverse thinking and morally inexcusable polices also go a long way toward explaining why shelters, even on their best days, are little more than dressed-up death houses that are operated for a profit.
The coziness that all of them seem to have with the political, economic, and media elites also is disgusting. That is because those individuals, institutions, and groups who not only traffic in but profit from the exploitation of animals are committed only to maintaining the status quo and that never has and never will be a good thing for the animals.
It additionally is important to always bear in mind that Bruce owes his life, not to the RHS and Fiacco, but rather to the unidentified Good Samaritans who found him and the generosity of the worldwide cat-loving community. They are the real heroes in this story.
It is difficult to speculate as to what the future holds in store for Bruce. Assuming that he does not fall prey to any additional mischief, both the quality and quantity of his existence will depend largely upon the success of his recovery and what kind of a home Fiacco provides for him.
"He's still very independent and very vocal when he chooses to be," she told the Leader-Post on July 3rd. "But you want to love him, he makes it so easy."
That is not a bad place to start but much more remains to be done. That is especially the case considering not only all the hell that he has been put through but the difficulties that await him in the days and years ahead.
Photos: Regina Humane Society (Bruce by himself, on the operating table, in an Elizabethan collar, and lying on a rug) and Melissa Fiacco (Bruce in his new home).