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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

Thursday, June 23, 2016

The State of North Carolina's Veterinary Division Is Covering Up a Savage Beating Dished Out to Cooper at the Rowan County Animal Shelter During the Course of a Microchipping Fiasco

Cooper's Mouth,Gums, and Teeth Were Left a Bloody Mess

"I can't say what happened, but when he went back to get microchipped he was fine. He came back with a fractured jaw."
-- Debbie Orbison

Animal Control officers, shelters, and veterinarians always have made a pretty penny by defaming, abusing, and killing cats but no matter how much that they have raked in it never has been enough for them. As a consequence, they are constantly on the lookout for newfangled means of exploiting these already horribly abused animals.

Aside from the administration of a litany of needless inoculations, the implantation of thoroughly worthless and harmful microchips has become one of their most lucrative money-making rackets. As if that were not bad enough in itself, many of these professionals are either incompetent or unwilling to even properly insert these odious devices.

For example, on March 8th a pair of unidentified Animal Control officers at the Rowan County Animal Shelter (RCAS) in Salisbury, seventy-seven kilometers north of Charlotte, broke the jaw of a handsome gray and white tom named Cooper in two places and inflicted unspecified damage to his mouth, gums, and teeth during a microchipping exercise that went terribly awry. In its defense, the RCAS has, not surprisingly, placed all of the blame for the retaliatory beating that it meted out to him on Cooper's tiny shoulders while simultaneously pretending to be every bit as innocent as a newborn lamb.

"He acted up when they were doing the microchipping and that's why he was bleeding," his current foster mother, Debbie Orbison, told WBTV of Charlotte on March 11th. (See "Employee on Leave, County Paying Vet Bills after Cat Injured During Microchipping.")

An investigation into the incident spearheaded by Patricia "Porous" Norris of the Veterinary Division of the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services in Raleigh failed to shine any light whatsoever on what actually occurred. For starters, she claims that Cooper received a bloody mouth when the Animal Control officers chased him into the Plexiglas® window of a pet carrier.

Although "Porous" Norris insists that the Plexiglas® window of this so-called "feral cat den" had been raised so as to allow Cooper ingress, she conveniently fails to disclose how it was that Cooper came to break it. After all, Plexiglas® is exceedingly difficult to shatter and cats certainly are neither blind nor do they, like birds, make a habit of attempting to go through glass.

If, on the other hand, there is so much as a smidgen of truth in her conclusion the window surely must have broken when the Animal Control officers either threw him against it with tremendous force or attempted to forcibly stuff him into the carrier. Leaving aside the rarity of such contraptions, it also is rather odd that the RCAS would use them in order to move around cats in that even conventional pet carriers with steel grilles for doors are usually covered with either blankets or towels so as to reduce the level of stress on the cats incarcerated inside; c'est-à-dire, the goal usually is to shield them as much as possible from the frightening sights and sounds of the outside world, not to provide them with a front row seat to them.

Most damning of all, "Porous" Norris fails to disclose how it was that Cooper's jaw came to be broken. Although it is remotely possible that the fractures occurred when the Animal Control officers slammed him headfirst into the Plexiglas®, a far more plausible explanation is that they used either their fists or the back of their hands on him. It also cannot be completely ruled out that they beat him with some sort of blunt object, such as either a night stick or a metal flashlight.

In spite of what "Porous" Norris alleges, that likely is how that he wound up with a bloody mouth in that it stands to reason that a blow powerful enough to have broken his jaw also would have inflicted severe damage on his lips, gums, and teeth. In all likelihood, she simply concocted that sottise about the Plexiglas® in order to hoodwink a naïve and uncaring public.

Although by this time Cooper already was not only bloodied and injured but frightened to death and fighting for his very survival, none of that in any way deterred the Animal Control officers from administering a rabies vaccination and ramming home the microchip. With their tasks now completed, they were so derelict in their responsibilities that they did not even bother to verify that the chip had been properly inserted and was functioning.

Even more shockingly, no one affiliated with the RCAS even so much as looked at Cooper's injuries, let alone attended to them. Instead, he was manhandled into yet still another pet carrier, this one provided by an unidentified rescue group, and left to lick his wounds.

The exact timeline of events never has been disclosed so it is not known exactly when Cooper was assaulted by the Animal Control officers other than that it was at either around lunchtime or shortly thereafter. Likewise, it has not been made public exactly when he was collected by the rescue group which had so magnanimously ransomed him off of death row.

All that is known for certain is that he was admitted to the China Grove Animal Hospital at 2001 US-29, eighteen kilometers south of Salisbury in the town of the same name, at 3 p.m. on that day. Although the attending veterinarian, Scott Vaughan, immediately recognized that his jaw was swollen and that his tongue was hanging out, a sure sign of a cat in extremis, he categorically refused to either examine him or to even prescribe any analgesics.

The official explanation given for this trained member of the veterinary medical profession's shocking abdication of responsibility was that he was too scared to go near Cooper. Given that just about all cats that wind up at a veterinarian's office are frightened out of their wits and the majority of them are either injured or sick, it is no small wonder that a rank coward such as Vaughan is able to stay in business.

The level of ignorance, inexperience, and callousness demonstrated by both the Animal Control officers and Vaughan is simply shocking in that someone, presumably Cooper's original owner, already had trapped and delivered him up to the RCAS on a silver platter and that constituted ninety-nine per cent of the job of microchipping him. Furthermore, experienced shelter and veterinary personnel possess the prerequisite savoir-faire in order to properly restrain a cat so that it can be medicated and microchipped without having to resort to the expedient of using their fists on it.

As Miguel de Cervantes once observed, "those who will play with cats must expect to be scratched" and that admonition applies not only to veterinarians like Vaughan but to the Animal Control officers as well. Knowledge and patience are the keys when it comes to dealing with cats and, above all, anyone who is either afraid of them or detests them is in the wrong line of work.

Patricia "Porous" Norris

As the result of Vaughan's utterly disgraceful abdication of his professional responsibilities, Cooper once again was locked up in some type of enclosure for the night and left to suffer all alone. On the following day, March 9th, either Vaughan or someone made of sterner stuff from the clinic was able to muster enough moxie in order to sedate and, not treat, but rather sterilize him.

Photographs were taken of his broken jaw but not radiographs because, believe it or not, the surgery claims not to own an x-ray machine. If that indeed is the case, China Grove surely must have either a CT or an MRI machine otherwise it could not properly treat animals with internal injuries and ailments. This is mere supposition but the solution to that conundrum is most likely to be found in the rescue group's either unwillingness or inability to pay up front for either of those two considerably more expensive alternative diagnostic tools.

It therefore was not until March 10th when Cooper was uprooted once again and hauled to the Carolina Animal Hospital in Charlotte that he received any kind of treatment whatsoever for either his twice-broken jaw or badly injured mouth. Specifically, he was anesthetized, his jaw radiographed, and the fractures of the mandible (lower jaw) surgically repaired.

That also marked the first time since he had been beaten by the Animal Control officers that he was administered any painkillers and antibiotics. In addition to his prolonged suffering, his mouth easily could have become infected and he could have even strangled to death on his own blood, mucus, and the fragments of any broken teeth.

Normal veterinary protocol in such cases calls for cats to be immediately evaluated for shock and, if necessary, to be placed on intravenous fluids and oxygen. Secondly, any broken teeth and foreign debris should have been promptly removed and rents in the soft tissue treated so as to ward off the onset of infection.

Thirdly, splints should have been inserted in order to have stabilized his jaw and a complete neurological examination conducted in order to have determined if he had suffered any damage to either his brain or the nerves in his head. Above all, antibiotics and analgesics should have been administered long before he ever left RCAS.

Nevertheless, in spite of the unassailable fact that Cooper was forced to go without veterinary treatment for his broken jaw and injured mouth for at least two days, "Porous" Norris was not about to admit to any of that under any circumstances. "This review concludes that as (sic) Cooper was provided with access to veterinary care within thirty minutes of injury," she proclaimed in the face of a mountain of evidence to the contrary in a March 21st epistle addressed to Rowan County Manager Aaron Church. "Therefore veterinary care was provided as required by 02 North Carolina Code .0210(c). Consequently, the findings of this investigation do not substantiate a violation of the North Carolina Animal Welfare Act."

Even more outrageously, this bare-faced liar and highly paid apologist for cat abusers was totally unwilling to even consider the plainly obvious conclusion that Cooper had been hideously abused by the Animal Control officers in retaliation for his allegedly uncooperative behavior. "Veterinary review of the fractures show that the injury is most consistent with a recent accidental type injury," she wrote to her bosom buddy Church.

In hindsight, it is not all that surprising that she arrived at such an absurd conclusion in that her inquiry was strictly limited to visiting the RCAS, interviewing staffers, rescue personnel, and veterinarians in addition to a cursory review of shelter and veterinary records. There accordingly is absolutely nothing in her report to even remotely suggest that she used her gray cells for any purpose other than to completely exonerate the RCAS of all wrongdoing.

The shelter and its Animal Control officers certainly were not about to admit the truth and since Cooper is unable to speak up in his own defense, inferences and logical conclusions therefore must be drawn based upon experience, knowledge, and the totality of the circumstances. In "Porous" Norris' case, she had absolutely no interest whatsoever in getting at the truth and that petit fait is clearly discernible throughout her report.

It would have been utterly laughable for any trained veterinarian to have arrived at such a ludicrous conclusion but in her case the offense is compounded in that she previously has investigated cases of animal cruelty for the Doña Ana County Sheriff's Office in Las Cruces, New Mexico, and as a consequence should be intimately acquainted with the telltale signs of abuse. (See undated press release of the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services entitled "Norris Named North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services' Animal Welfare Director.")

First of all, the vast majority of all cats that sustain broken jaws do so at either the hands of motorists or as the result of falling out of windows and subsequently landing on their faces. Even more telling than that, it is extremely difficult to break a cat's jaw.

"The mandible is one of the hardest bones in the body and a great deal of force is necessary to break the bone," veterinarian David Diamond wrote in a July 4, 2015 article for PetPlace. (See "Fracture of the Mandible in Cats.")

That in turn does not leave much room for any doubt that Cooper was the victim of a simply horrific beating meted out by the Animal Control officers. Even "Porous" Norris was astute enough not to even attempt to explain how that his jaw was broken.

If, for instance, she had claimed that he either had been run down by a motorist drag racing through one of the examining rooms or had fallen from one of the upper floors at the single-story facility she would have been laughed out of even a town as humorless as Raleigh. (A link to her report can be found at the Greenville Examiner, March 21, 2016, "Rowan County Animal Control Cleared of Wrongdoing Following Investigation.")

"Porous" Norris' whitewashing of a simply barbaric act of animal cruelty that was made even worse by wholesale veterinary malfeasance may have been far from convincing as far as the outside world was concerned but it proved to be more than sufficient in order to let the RCAS off the hook. Although there were two Animal Control officers involved in beating Cooper, only one of them was even singled out for investigation.

Not only was that individual's name and photograph shielded from public scrutiny by the RCAS and a obliging local media, but the only disciplinary action that the abuser received was to be placed on paid administrative leave for about ten days. The media likewise has refused to divulge that individual's current status but more than likely either he or she is back on the job and abusing other cats not only with impunity but renewed vigor as well.

Cooper Was Forced to Wear an Elizabethan Collar Following Oral Surgery

As utterly risible as "Porous" Norris' conclusions turned out to be, it is nonetheless somewhat surprising that an investigation was even undertaken in the first place. Of course, that could be explained by the fact that the fix was in from the start.

Besides that, Church's first inclination was to attempt and pack off all the blame on Orbison and he did so by asking her point-blank in a telephone conversation if Cooper's injuries could have been sustained after he had departed the RCAS.

"There's no way this was not done by Animal Control," she responded by telling the Salisbury Post on March 11th. (See "County Employee Placed on Leave after Cat Injured.") "It's just so sad because he didn't deserve this."

She certainly was in a position to know what she was talking about because earlier on March 8th she had selected Cooper to be transferred to her custody and he most definitely was as healthy as a horse at that time. "I can't say what happened, but when he went back to get microchipped he was fine," she added to Salisbury Post. "He came back with a fractured jaw."

Even though it is strongly suspected that Cooper's early days were anything but blissful, his travails began in earnest on February 29th when he a trio of other cats were fobbed off on the RCAS by their unscrupulous and uncaring owner. Although on that occasion he was administered unspecified intake vaccinations and prescribed an oral deworming drug without any apparent difficulties, Cooper nevertheless was immediately segregated on death row with other cats deemed to be unsocialized. His mates meanwhile were put up for adoption but it is not known what has become of them.

In making such a distinction, the RCAS is guilty of perpetuating the age-old myth that there is any discernible difference between homeless and domiciled cats, those that are unsocialized vis-à-vis those that are, or between those that are wild and those that are considered to be tame. "A cat is a cat and that is that" as an old American Sprichwort stipulates and that point is best illustrated by comparing, not those who are homeless with those that are domiciled, but rather by examining only those that are regarded as being domesticated.

That is because cats that are born into and spend their entire lives in residential settings can exhibit not only radically different personalities but some of the same behavioral traits that ignorant and dishonest individuals insist upon labeling as feral. That phenomenon is first and foremost attributable to genetic differences occasioned by females who mate with several males.

Secondly, their guardians often accentuate those differences by unwittingly lavishing more time and energy on those kittens that are already disposed by nature to be friendlier and more affectionate. Contrariwise, those that by nature are more skittish and standoffish became even more so in such households.

Thirdly, some kittens commandeer a disproportionate amount of their mothers' milk and attentions and that can have adverse consequences on both the physical and psychological development of their litter mates who get shortchanged in the competition. All of these and other differences in genetics and nurturing therefore cannot help but to produce cats with radically different outlooks upon life.

All animals in fact have different personalities and Aristotle recognized that more than twenty-four-hundred years ago but modern man is totally unwilling to concede the point. That is because if he ever were forced into acknowledging that they are not all that different from himself such an admission would completely repudiate the Jews' self-serving nonsense as expounded in the Dominion Mandate of Genesis I:26-28 and elsewhere in the Bible. That in turn would have nothing short of revolutionary implications in the fields of economics, politics, and law.

There accordingly is a very good chance that Cooper grew up in a household under similar circumstances and that as a result he is nowhere nearly as friendly and outgoing as his former mates. That does not, however, automatically transform him into being an unsocialized cat and it most definitely does not provide a valid excuse for maligning, abusing, and segregating him on death row.

Much more poignantly, the unmitigated hell that he has been put through once again demonstrates writ large that cats do not belong in shelters under any conceivable circumstances. Residential homes, sanctuaries, managed TNR colonies, barns, and even sleeping rough are the only humane and morally acceptable alternatives. (See The Philadelphia Inquirer, March 11, 2011, "Shelter Shock. Cats Can Get Sick from Stress. One Proposed Remedy? Keep Them Out.")

Cooper's unhappy plight does, however, focus attention on the need for guardians not to neglect the proper socialization of their cats. That is important principally owing to the fact that it is far easier to medicate an ailing cat that is accustomed to being handled as opposed to one who shies away from being touched. The results can be quite staggering in that severely ill and injured ones that are amenable to treatment often recover whereas those that resist their owners' ministrations sometimes succumb to even minor injuries and maladies.

Also, a socialized cat has a far greater chance of surviving a trip to the death house than does one that is afraid of people. That is far from being the entire story, however, in that those that trust humans also are more easily victimized by ailurophobes than those that know to keep their distance.

To make a long story short, there are not any easy answers as far as cats are concerned. Even more depressingly, the vast majority of them are damned regardless of either their personalities or behavior.

Cooper Was Repeatedly Caged, Bandied About, and Anesthetized 

That is attributable to the fact that the only use that the vast majority of people have for all of creation, their fellow citizens included, is strictly limited to what they can get out of it. (See Cat Defender post of May 27, 2016 entitled "Snubbed by an Ignorant, Tasteless, and Uncaring Public for the Past Twenty-One Years, Tilly Has Forged an Alternative Existence of Relative Contentment at a Sanctuary in the Black Country.")

Whereas the RCAS, "Porous" Norris, Church, and their fellow liars have long since gone on their merry ways, the road back to health has been a lengthy and arduous one for Cooper. For instance, on March 11th he was moved to a third unidentified veterinary hospital where he once again was anesthetized and a complete blood count and a general serum biochemistry analysis conducted. He was orally examined again and forced to submit to still more radiographs.

All of that was only a prelude to the insertion of orthodontic buttons and wires in his jaw, the closing of a wound in his oral soft tissue, and the making of unspecified repairs to his oral cavity with a laser. He additionally was administered more antibiotics and analgesics but a fragment of his right jaw was deemed to be too small in order to be reattached.

After that he was put in an Elizabethan collar and placed on a liquid diet before being returned to Orbison. It never was revealed if he had suffered any broken teeth as the result of the violent assault.

To sum up, not only was he forced to go without treatment for two days but once he was provided with access to it he was shuttled between three surgeries like the Flying Dutchman of yore where he was sedated once, anesthetized twice, and radiographed twice. Regardless of how the quality of the care that he ultimately received is analyzed, that still constitutes an inordinate amount of barbiturates and radiation for such a diminutive animal to absorb.

On top of all of that, he was put through no less than three oral examinations and a pair of oral surgeries as well as having been sterilized. Nonetheless, neither "Porous" Norris nor anyone else involved in this sordid affair seems to have an issue with either the tardiness or the redundancy of the care that Cooper received.

If the rigmarole that he was subjected to accomplished little else, it did succeed in saddling Orbison with an enormous bill. "The county has contacted the Carolina Animal Hospital of Charlotte to convey that we will be covering all the vet bills," Church swore to WBTV in the article cited supra.

Conspicuously omitted from that declaration was any mention of the not inconsiderable tabs that Cooper has run up at the China Grove Animal Hospital and the dental specialists. As a result, Orbison has been forced into begging online for donations which, at last word, had totaled only a measly few hundred simoleons.

Nevertheless, she has been delighted with even that limited amount of support. "When I first started, in my mind I was thinking I'd ask my friends to help cover the costs, raise $10 or $20 and then do the best I could," she confided to the Salisbury Post in the article cited supra. "Never in a million years did I think this would happen."

Lost in the uproar over what was done to Cooper has been the salient fact that the RCAS did not have any business microchipping him in the first place. Since its Animal Control officers already knew that he did not cotton to being handled by strangers, they should have left that task to Orbison. If she had wanted him chipped, she could have either arranged for the procedure to have been performed at a later date or, better still, left that decision to his eventual new guardian.

Besides, neither the RCAS nor Orbison had a valid reason for being in such a hellfire hurry because microchips are a complete fraud in that they not only fail to afford cats any protection whatsoever against the machinations of their enemies but they additionally have been linked to cancer. (See Cat Defender posts of May 25, 2006, September 21, 2007, and November 6, 2010 entitled, respectively, "Plato's Misadventures Expose the Pitfalls of RFID Technology as Applied to Cats," "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.")

They additionally are sometimes difficult to both locate and decipher. Even if that is not a problem, they are totally worthless if the cats' owners have not kept their contact information up-to-date in the databases that link up to them. (See Cat Defender posts of March 31, 2010 and August 26, 2015 entitled, respectively, "Winnipeg Family Is Astounded by Tiger Lily's Miraculous Return after Having Been Believed Dead for Fourteen Years" and "A Myriad of Cruel and Unforgivable Abandonments, a Chinese Puzzle, and Finally the Handing Down and Carrying Out of a Death Sentence Spell the End for Long-Suffering and Peripatetic Tigger.")

Although the beating doled out to Cooper at the RCAS is the first time in memory that a cat has been so horribly abused during a microchipping procedure, it is fairly common for these devices to be surgically implanted on top of spinal cords and at vaccination sites. (See Cat Defender post of April 28, 2016 entitled "Sassie Is Left Paralyzed as the Result of Yet Still Another Horribly Botched Attempt to Implant a Thoroughly Worthless and Pernicious Microchip Between Her Shoulders.")

If she has not done so already, it would be a good idea for Orbison to have Cooper examined by a competent veterinarian in order to determine that the microchip the Animal Control officers so brutally rammed between his shoulders has not caused any damage to either his spinal cord or surrounding tissues. After all that he has been put through, it would be doubly tragic if something should turn out to be amiss with it.

The reason that the officers so stubbornly insisted upon going through with the procedure is in all likelihood attributable to financial considerations. C'est-à-dire, cats with implanted microchip are, supposedly, easier to sell back to both rescue groups and the general public than those that so not have them.

 Bob Pendergrass Delivers the Coup d'Grâce to Another Innocent Kitten

That is far from being the only oddity, however, in the RCAS' perverted business model. For instance, whereas it has not been publicly disclosed how much that it charges rescuers like Orbison for its cats, the cost to the general public is $80. Most surprising of all, although it microchips, deworms, and vaccinates them, it does not automatically sterilize them.

Instead, it provides members of the public, and supposedly rescuers as well, with $70 vouchers for sterilizations to be performed at a later date. Not only is that policy at odds with those in situ at the vast majority of American shelters who will not allow any intact animal out the front door, but it serves to exacerbate the overpopulation crisis in that some adopters choose not to redeem the vouchers.

The point is largely moot, however, in that the RCAS freely admits that ninety per cent of the animals that make it out of its death house alive are adopted by rescue groups and that leaves only the ten per cent that are taken in by the general public for it to sterilize. It therefore would appear that in most cases it ends up pocketing the entire $80.

Moreover, it is not even known if rescuers like Orbison use the RCAS to sterilize the cats that they take off of its hands. That certainly did not turn out to be the case with Cooper.

It thus seems to be clear that the RCAS functions as little more than a roundup and drop off location for unwanted cats. It puts almost no money and effort into adoption services and instead liquidates just about all of them that rescue groups and the general public fail to ransom.

It is sans doute a profitable racket, however, in that the death house and its ancillary bodies employ twenty full-time and forty part-time cat killers. Its hideous crimes additionally help to sustain, inter alia, the manufacturers of lethal drugs, superfluous vaccines, microchips, and cages as well as any number of corpse burning and disposal services.

As it shortly thereafter was made manifestly clear, the beating meted out to Cooper proved to be merely the tip of the proverbial iceberg as far as the crimes of the RCAS are concerned. Most prominently, up until less than two years ago the shelter was still gassing cats and dogs. (See The Charlotte Observer, March 4, 2014, "Rowan to Stop Using Gas Chamber at Animal Shelter.")

Although it claims to have washed its hands of that wretched business, shelter personnel in particular and Rowan County politicians in general have told so many lies in the past that they have squandered all of their credibility. "Again, we regret that this (Cooper's beating) occurred," Church told WBTV of Charlotte on March 21st. (See "Animal Shelter Cleared after Cat's Jaw Broken During Microchipping.") "And we will continue to make every effort to treat all animals humanely as we improve our policies and the care that animals receive at our facility."

County Commissioner Craig Pierce echoed those sentiments. "We want to see it (RCAS) become the best county shelter possible," he blowed to the Salisbury Post on April 13th. (See "Locals Heap Criticism on Rowan County Animal Shelter.") "Are we going to be perfect? No, but are we going to be better? Absolutely."

Besides the expulsion of a tremendous amount of meaningless hot air and double talk, Church and the commissioners did remove Clai Martin as shelter director but that was only so that they could reassign him as manager of its animal enforcement division. Even that only occurred after five-thousand-one-hundred-fifty-nine critics of his stewardship took to the petition site www.change.org in order to demand that he be fired.

The exercise in cosmetics continued with the creation of a new layer of bureaucracy called Rowan County Animal Services with a zookeeper named Bob Pendergrass appointed as its head. As if his professional calling were not ominous enough in its own right, he additionally has substantial ties to both the cat-hating fiends at the diabolical United States Fish and Wildlife Service and bird enthusiast groups. (See the Salisbury Post, March 22, 2016, "County's Consolidation Means Martin Won't Oversee Animal Shelter.")

"I have to be very careful not to get too attached because hopefully they're (the cats) going to go to good homes," he declared right out of the starting gate to WJZY-TV of Charlotte on June 8th. (See "Influx of Cats in Rowan County, Desperately Need Forever Homes.") "It's kind of nice to have something crawl up into your lap wanting attention when it's the end of the day."

He almost overnight became the darling of the media and even many of the rescue groups were taken in by his palaver, especially when it came to his declaration about not wanting to kill cats. "We do have kind of policies that we follow of not having things so full that we can't be ready to take in something that comes in the next day, but we certainly are doing everything we can to avoid euthanizing any animal," he added.

His use of the word "something" in reference to cats should have been enough to have given the game away right then and there because absolutely nobody who cares the tiniest bit about them ever would refer to them in such a callous and derogatory vein. That likewise sans doute is how that he looks down upon the unjustly incarcerated inmates under his care at the Nature Center in Dan Nicholas Park, sixteen kilometers east of the RCAS.

That is a rather minor point in comparison with the fact that his lofty rhetoric was a complete fabrication. Most notably, the RCAS' latest cat killing spree began shortly after March 8th when it snuffed out the lives of nine felines allegedly in retaliation for Orbison's making a stink about the beating that was meted out to Cooper.

Cooper Is Still Living with Debbie Orbison but He Needs a Home of His Own

Regardless of whatever else can be said about Pendergrass, there can be no denying that the old fraudster has the chutzpah of Old Nick himself. That is because on the very same day that he was pulling the wool over the eyes of the viewers of WJZY-TV he simultaneously was ordering the liquidation of ten more cats. The killings continued on June 10th with the cold-blooded murders of thirty-two additional felines.

Thirteen others were killed on June 11th and June 12th and another twenty of them were slated to have been exterminated on June 13th. Even more appallingly, all of these cats were vanquished while a number of individuals and rescue groups were telephoning the shelter to inquire about adopting them. (See the Greenville Examiner, June 10, 2016, "Dozens of Cats Killed after Rowan County Shelter Asks Public to Adopt Them," the Salisbury Post, June 12, 2016, "Warm Weather (sic) Overflows Animal Shelter Again," plus Cat Defender post of June 15, 2010 entitled "Bay City Shelter Murders a Six-Week-Old Kitten with a Common Cold Despite Several Individuals Having Offered to Give It a Permanent Home.")

For years Orbison and other rescuers have been attempting to work with the RCAS despite its obstructionist and uncooperative activities, such as limiting the number of animals to eight that could be taken out of their cages and photographed for adoption purposes, refusing the answer the telephone, and failing to adequately staff the new cat wing. Only time will tell for sure, but perhaps the light has finally begun to dawn on her.

"Please, please, please spread the word so the public is aware. Do not take animals to the RCAS," she wrote June 11th on the Facebook page entitled Saving Cooper and Friends. "People need to know that the chances of them getting out of there are slim to none!!! People need to know this is not a safe haven for them. It is a slaughterhouse."

If there were so much as a smidgen of justice in this world, the Animal Control officers, Martin, and Pendergrass would not only be fired but arrested, convicted of animal cruelty, and thus forced to spend the remainder of their days behind bars. Church, Pierce and his fellow county commissioners, Greg Edds, Jim Greene, Mike Caskey, and Judy Klusman, are quite obviously not fit to be entrusted with cleaning toilets let alone caring for cats and accordingly should be sent packing on the next election day.

Cooper's utterly disgraceful owner who not only initialed his death warrant but also has no far refused to come to his assistance, should at the very least be barred from ever owning another cat. Plus, although there is not anything in the public record to even so much as to suggest that either the Carolina Animal Hospital or the veterinary dentists treated him in any way other than admirably, the same most definitely cannot be said for the China Grove Animal Hospital which most definitely should be avoided at all costs.

With the notable exception of the Greenville Examiner, the local media has functioned throughout this affair more as the department of agitprop for the Rowan County establishment than as a supposedly impartial gatherer of the news. Consequently, rescue groups are living in dream world if they ever expect to make them their allies in their fight against the RCAS.

The harshest criticism however falls squarely upon the misshapen noggin of old "Porous" Norris and in her case simply firing and jailing her would be far too lenient. Rather, she richly deserves to be kicked all the way back to New Mexico and then to be abandoned to the mercy of the Gila monsters in the remote desert. Although she could have made a huge difference in the lives of millions of cats by simply being honest, fair, telling the truth, and revoking the RCAS' license to operate, she instead chose to cover up the crimes of her fellow bureaucrats. As per usual, the elites once again have chosen to stick together much like congealed feces.

Above all, this case vividly demonstrates once again the utter impossibility of ever reforming to any positive degree the Animal Control profession, shelters, and the practice of veterinary medicine. That sobering reality is attributable to the fact that the RCAS is anything but an anomaly; au contraire, the way that it conducts business is pretty much the norm with similar institutions all around the world. (See Cat Defender post of July 31, 2015 entitled "The Cold-Blooded Murder of Spitz Once Again Exposes the Horrifying, Ugly, and Utter Appalling Truth about Not Only Shelters but Callous Owners and Phony-Baloney Animal Rights Groups as Well.")

The only conceivable solution is the abolition of all three professions in favor of private initiatives undertaken by individuals and groups, such as the managers of TNR colonies, who truly love and care about cats. It is one of life's hardest lessons to learn but there is not any substitute for self-help.

Above all, cat lovers must somehow come up with their own financing, even if that entails selling lemonade on the corner. Governmental initiatives, at least in the land of the dollar bill, are no longer the answer to much of anything.

As far as Cooper is concerned, it was expected to have taken anywhere from four to twelve weeks for his broken jaw to have healed. If, on the other hand, the fractures either were not properly mended or, for whatever reason, failed to heal, he could have been left with a condition known as malocclusion where the teeth do not fit together correctly. That in turn would have made chewing difficult and in all likelihood necessitated additional oral surgeries.

Then there is the problem of his skittishness and the beating doled out to him by the Animal Control officers can only have served to further reinforce his fear of people. The easiest way for Orbison to have combatted that problem would have been for her to have spent tons of time on his turf and under his conditions. There are, of course, other more efficient means of remedying such difficulties.

Most troubling of all, he desperately needs a permanent home and since she has not publicly expressed any desire in adopting him, his fate is still very much up in the air. Moreover, uprooting him again is not only destined to be traumatic, but it also could prove to be deadly should he, once again, fall into the wrong hands.

"My first initial reaction was I was irate," she said of the beating in the March 11th interview with WBTV. "Who could hurt an animal like this?"

She now fully realizes that all sorts of individuals, professionals, and institutions not only horribly abuse but kill cats as well. Already during his brief sojourn upon this earth he has had one owner who signed away his inalienable right to live, a shelter that unjustly and prejudicially consigned him to death row, a pair of Animal Control officers who savagely beat him halfway to death, and a veterinarian that sadistically allowed him to needlessly suffer by withholding treatment.

Cooper accordingly has every reason in the world for fearing and distrusting people but that in no way provides a solution to any of his pressing difficulties. Moreover, barring the last-minute arrival of a knight in shining armor astride a white horse his fate, whether she likes it or not, rests solely in Orbison's hands.

Photos: Dedrick Russell of WBTV (Cooper's bloody mouth and him in an Elizabethan collar), The Link New Mexico (Norris), the Greenville Examiner (Pendergrass), and Facebook (Cooper at home).

Monday, June 06, 2016

The Vicious Mauling of Mayor Stubbs by an Unleashed Dog on the Mean Streets of Talkeetna Was the Number One Cat Story of 2013

Familiar themes and villains dominated the top cat stories of 2013. Most prominently among them, Ted Williams and the National Audubon Society became so drunk on their money, power, and all the evil that percolates throughout their warped gourds that they had the audacity to issue a public call for cats to be poisoned out of existence with Tylenol.® Despite being patently illegal, their outrageous proposal received the full endorsement of their kindred spirits at the Orlando Sentinel.

Christians likewise continued their two-thousand year old holy war against the species but in 2013 it was evangelical blowhard Rick Bartlett, not the Catholics, who garnered a lion's share of the media's attention when he stole and subsequently murdered his neighbors' beloved cat, Moody, in Bastrop, Texas. The mercenary and utterly cutthroat nature of the practice of veterinary medicine was exposed writ large for all those with eyes to see when the rich-as-Croesus practitioners at PennVet killed off an impecunious, but preeminently treatable, cat after it accidentally had swallowed a ribbon from a Christmas present.

Irresponsible owners also were very much in the news. For example in Fort Walton Beach, Florida, Alex McAllaster came dangerously close to costing her already ailing cat, Dante, his life through an egregious lapse in judgment. Worst still, in Moore, Oklahoma, Misty Satterlee abandoned her cat, Gypsy, to fend for herself during a tornado and did not even bother to return home to look for her until three weeks later.

Such callous and uncaring behavior was by no means confined to private individuals but rather it extended to shelters as well. For instance, staffers at the Knox-Whitley Animal Shelter in Rockholds, Kentucky, left dozens of cats to be burned alive in a fire. A cat named Freckles somehow survived but even then she owed her deliverance, not to staffers, but rather to an insurance investigator who found her while sifting through the carnage six days after the blaze had been extinguished.

In Swansea, Massachusetts, an elderly tortoiseshell named Penny fended off a spirited attempt by a local rabble-rouser to have her evicted from the public library. The thoroughly odious practice of whereby owners hire veterinarians to kill off their elderly and ailing cats continued unabated and the lowlight of the year in that regard came when entertainer Garrison Keillor joined the legions of murderers by whacking his cat, Meiko.

The news was not all bad, however, in that at a nursing home in Allentown, Pennsylvania, a beloved cat named Miss Kitty celebrated her twenty-first birthday. The most absorbing and melancholic story of the year, however, belonged to a four-year-old cat named Tabor from Portland, Oregon, who hooked up with a down-and-out homeless man in order to do enough roaming to last one-hundred of her mates a decade. Finally, the world came within a hairbreadth of losing one of its best loved and most admired felines when Mayor Stubbs was nearly killed in savage mauling by a dog in Talkeetna, Alaska.

For previous articles in this series, see Cat Defender posts of January 4, 2007, January 11, 2008, February 2, 2009, March 16, 2010, June 20, 2011, December 20, 2012, and December 30, 2014 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," "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," and "The Federal Government's Resounding Victory in Its Long-Running War Against Ernest Hemingway's Polydactyls Was the Biggest Cat Story of 2012.")

1.)  Mayor Stubbs Is Almost Killed in a Savage Mauling by a Dog in Talkeetna.

Mayor Stubbs and His Horrific Injuries

"I only hope I have served them (the residents of Talkeetna) with as much love and respect as you (sic) all have shown me. I love you all -- meeow!"
-- Mayor Stubbs

The attack was so savage that it is hard to believe that a buffalo could have survived it, much less an elderly cat. Nevertheless, on August 31st a then seventeen-year-old ginger-colored cat named Stubbs was on his way to get his customary evening dish of crab meat at the Wildflower Cafe at 13578 East Main Street in tiny Talkeetna, Alaska, when out of the blue he was ambushed by an unleashed dog.

The world famous part-Manx and tailless tom who has served as the city's de facto mayor ever since 1997, suffered multiple life-threatening injuries and was left bloodied and knocking on death's door. He surely would have soon died all alone in that forlorn, dark, and deserted street if an unidentified individual had not intervened by telephoning his longtime owner, Lauri Stec, of Nagley's Store.

After dropping everything and rushing to the scene, she was able to eventually locate him and rush him to Golden Pond Veterinary Services in Talkeetna where practitioner Jennifer Pironis was able to stanch the bleeding and stabilize him. Apparently believing that he required substantially more veterinary expertise than she was able to provide, she then accompanied him and Stec on a nerve-wracking ninety-six kilometer race against the clock to the Big Lake Susitna Veterinary Hospital in Big Lake.

Stubbs was in such bad shape, however, that Pironis brought along with her a jab of sodium pentobarbital just in case his condition deteriorated en route. Mercifully, her colleague in Big Lake, Amy Lehman, would not have any part of that criminality and instead chose to treat his injuries.

Over the course of the following three hours she used twelve stitches in order to close a long deep gash in the mayor's side. She also was forced to attend to a punctured lung, a fractured sternum, an unspecified number of broken ribs, and a bruised hip.

Unable to breathe properly on his own, Stubbs was placed on a respirator while Stec and his legions of fans from around the world held their collective breaths. Amazingly, he pulled through and by September 5th was back on his feet and eating on his own.

By September 9th he was well enough to be released from the hospital into Stec's care but months of relying upon pain medication and frequent return visits to the vet still lay ahead of him. "I am still recovering slowly but he (sic) has been able to make my way out to the front of the shop and although not quite my old self I am feeling a bit better today," he wrote October 18th on his Facebook page. "I am still very stiff and hold close to Lori (sic) as I am still a little jumpy around other animals and loud noises."

In the aftermath of the attack, the mayor was flooded with get-well cards and presents from his admirers around the world. Best of all, he was the beneficiary of $3,000 donated by 9Lives® in order to cover part of his not insubstantial veterinary bill.

Other individuals and groups, however, elected to cash in on Stubbs' miseries by attacking Stec for not only allowing him to be out alone at night but even for accepting the generous donation from 9Lives.® Not surprisingly, opportunistic PETA struck like a viper in the grass in order to advance its and its partners in crime at the American Bird Conservancy's cats indoors agenda.

To her credit, Stec wisely chose to ignore the gratuitous advice proffered by the notorious defamers and killers of cats. "I will be closely monitoring him, but when he feels better, he will be let outside," she defiantly declared. "He's been roaming Talkeetna since he was a kitten. Caging him up inside would kill him."

Anticipating such a response, PETA furthermore contended that at the very least Stec should put him on a leash and in a harness if he was, contrary to its advice, to be allowed outdoors at all. That suggestion also was rejected by Stec.

"He's a loved cat, he's very well taken care of," she countered. "I'm not going to put him on a leash and I'm not going to put him on a harness."

The point actually was moot because it turned out to be quite a while before the mayor was well enough in order to get around on his own. "He's going to have to curb back the social lifestyle for a few weeks, at least a month and a half, and we'll see how he's doing from that point on," Lehman ordered. "It's going to take a long time for him to heal."

Not a great deal has been written about him either in the press or on Facebook since then but apparently his recovery did not progress as rapidly as anticipated in that he was forced into announcing that he was planning on stepping down as mayor of Talkeetna. "As you have read I don't think I will return to public life in the same manner as before," he disclosed in the October 18th posting on Facebook cited supra. "I had a great run and a very exciting life as mayor but it is time for Talkeetna to find a new mayor."

Then came the disturbing announcement early last year that Stec had sold Nagley's and Stubbs to Stephanie Enders. "Really, without having him, the deal would have gone a lot differently," Stubbs' new owner told KTVA-TV of Anchorage on January 14, 2015. (See "Talkeetna Store Gets New Owner; Mayor Stubbs the Cat Sticks Around.") "He's a big part of Talkeetna in general."

It is nothing short of stupefying that Stec would willingly relinquish custody of the cat that she had purchased out of a cardboard box in a parking lot when he was still just a kitten. That is especially the case considering his advanced years and health problems. Regrettably, it is not even known if she still resides in Talkeetna and is thus able to occasionally stop by and spend some time with him.

Very little accordingly is known concerning the mayor's health, activities, and care. An e-mail letter received on January 21st of this year from Dennis Freeman, who is in some capacity connected to Nagley's, stated only that he was "doing well."

A few weeks ago it was reported on social media that he had died but that spurious rumor was quickly quashed by Enders. "He's alive and well, and we can't get all of the fake pages off Facebook," she told KTVA-TV of Anchorage on May 16th. (See "Mayor Stubbs Is 'Alive and Well' Despite Facebook Rumors of His Death.")

Although Stec knew almost immediately after the attack the name of the vicious dog's owner and subsequently filed a complaint with Animal Control officers at the Matanuska Susitna Animal Shelter, they apparently never took any action on the matter. She nevertheless expressed confidence at that time that Stubbs had nothing further to fear from either the man or his vicious canine.

"The dog has not been seen and neither has the owner," she related. "I can guarantee you they will not come into this town again."

Regardless of how, when, and under what circumstances it all ends for the mayor, it is going to be a sad day in Talkeetna and around the world as well. "I only hope I have served them (the residents of Talkeetna) with as much love and respect as you (sic) all have shown me," he wrote in the October 18th Facebook article cited supra. "I love you all -- meeow!"

On that last point, Stubbs can rest easily because he certainly has accomplished that and considerably more during the twenty years that he has graced this planet. (See Cat Defender posts of October 28, 2013 and September 25, 2012 entitled, respectively, "Slow to Recuperate from Life-Threatening Injuries Sustained in a Savage Mauling by an Unleashed Dog, Stubbs Announces His Intention to Step Down as Mayor of Talkeetna" and "Talkeetna Has Profited Handsomely from Mayor Stubbs' Enlightened Leadership but the Lure of Higher Office Soon Could Be Beckoning Him to Change His Address.")

2.)  Tabor Hooks Up with a Homeless Man on the Streets of Portland for the Adventure of a Lifetime.


"There's going to be six or seven men crying the day I give her away. My pack will be twenty pounds lighter but a big hole, a big hole."
-- Michael King

Forty-eight-year-old Michael King was wandering the forbidding streets of Portland at around midnight during the middle of September 2012 when he spotted a four-year-old gray and white female cowering underneath an outdoor table at the Tabor Hill Cafe at 3766 Southwest Hawthorne Street. The rain was coming down in buckets and his first thought was to keep on going.

"I see cats all the time. I don't pick up cats," he later disclosed. "I don't want a cat, especially a full-grown one."

That is not the entire story, however, because he used to own several of them but that was long before his world fell apart in 2003. His companion died, he lost his job, and ultimately wound up on the street.

It therefore was perhaps the special bond that homeless men and their feline counterparts share in common as members of the fraternity of the damned and forgotten that prompted him to change his mind. "Something told me to grab her," he later recalled. "I don't know..."

His own not insubstantial psychological needs also may have factored heavily into that decision. "I really needed the companionship. I'm homeless," he explained. "Depression is a big thing out there. The cat was a rainbow in a dark world."

He accordingly picked up the frightened, emaciated, and soaking wet cat and stuffed her into his backpack. Since she also was suffering from a swollen eye, his first order of business was to attend to it.

The next hurdle to be surmounted was the seemingly impossible task of safeguarding and caring for a cat while living on the street. The enormity of that task cannot in any way be underestimated and that is especially the case when viewed against the disturbing reality that even owners blessed with permanent abodes and tons of money have tremendous difficulties in hanging on to their resident felines.

King was able to pull off that seemingly impossible feat by purchasing a cage in order to transport her about and at other times by keeping her tethered to a ten-foot leash. Most important of all, he never allowed her out of his sight.

Even so, Tabor, her food, and accouterment added another twenty pounds to his backpack, which is anything but an insignificant amount especially for an individual who is forced to carry around with him the sum total of his worldly possessions on his back. As for Tabor, it is far from clear whether she willingly consented to such an arrangement or was left without any choice in the matter once King had gotten his hands on her.

They hung around Portland for another three weeks where King doubtlessly was able to pick up a few bob by posing with her for photographs. "She's a hit on the streets of Portland," he admitted. "Very rarely do you see a cat riding on top of someone's backpack."

After the weather had taken an even more dramatic turn for the worst, events unfolded pretty much as Johnny Mercer had scripted them way back in 1962 when he penned the following lyrics to his timeless song, "Moon River:"

"Two drifters off to see the world
There's such a lot of world to see
We're after the same rainbow's end,
Waiting 'round the bend
My huckleberry friend, Moon River and me."

Specifically, they embarked upon a twelve-hundred-eighty-three-kilometer hitchhiking trek that took them to Ventura, California, for the winter. In the spring of 2013, they returned to Portland via stops along the way at the Sacramento River and Yosemite National Park.

Best of all as far as Tabor was concerned, she enjoyed free taxi service the entire trip. "We've traveled thirty-six-hundred miles and the cat's probably got a half mile walking," King summed up.

Tabor and Michael King Shortly Before It All Ended

King soon grew tired of Portland and set off to visit his foster father, Walt Ebert, in Helena, Montana, and, although little did he realize it at the time, that marked the beginning of the end of this extraordinary love affair. In June, he and Ebert took Tabor to Helena Veterinary Service for a routine checkup where they received a mixed report.

The good news was Tabor's health. "The cat was in awesome shape," Maddie Park of the surgery exclaimed. "He had taken good care of it."

The disconcerting news, as revealed by an implanted microchip, was that Tabor belonged to Ronald A. Buss of 2232 Southeast Thirty-Seventh Avenue in Portland who had rescued her and her brother, Creto, as two-week-old kittens after they had been cruelly abandoned to die by a neighbor. Tabor, as it turns out, had disappeared from Buss's home on September 1st but it is far from clear what, if any, measures he had undertaken in order to find her.

Before he had left Portland back in September, King had placed a notice on Craig's List that somehow had eluded Buss's attention. He did not at that time have the money in order to have her scanned for an implanted microchip.

Once the chip was discovered, King quickly abandoned all thought of retaining custody of Tabor. "She is going to go back home where she belongs. I didn't want a cat in the first place," he said at that time. "I just thought I was saving someone's cat. And that's what I've done."

Tabor, whom Buss refers to as Mata Hari from the 1970's television show "Lancelot Link, Secret Chimp," was accordingly returned to him sometime during the third week of June. For his part, Buss was planning on inviting family members and friends to a homecoming party in Tabor's honor where she was expected to have been treated to one of her favorite dishes consisting of ground-up raw chicken, egg yolks, and vitamins.

Once it became time to relinquish custody of her, however, King proved not be quite as sang-froid as he earlier had indicated. "There's going to be six or seven men crying the day I give her away," he admitted. "My pack will be twenty pounds lighter but a big hole, a big hole."

Although he doubtlessly was sincere when he uttered those heartfelt sentiments, in reality he had already moved on to the next chapter in his turbulent life. In particular, during his trip to California he had hooked up with Kyle Brecheen somewhere along the way and it is now him, not Tabor, who is the focus of his life. That also was the time that the music died and he and Tabor ceased to be chasing the "same rainbow's end."

As for Buss, it is difficult to know exactly what to think of him as an owner in that this marked the second time that he had carelessly allowed Tabor to get lost. He has vowed to keep her inside this time around but it is difficult to coop up a cat who has become accustomed to roaming.

At no time throughout Tabor's travails was any thought ever given to either what she wanted or what would have made her happy. Even if King no longer wanted her, it does not automatically follow that she should have been returned to an owner who has been as careless with her safety as Buss.

As it seemingly always turns out to be the case, both King and Buss have, in their own ways, gotten what they wanted out of Tabor but she has received precious little in return. Much more importantly, King has lived long enough to fully understand that friends come and go with the wind but a cat's love is the one constant that an individual can rely upon through thick and thin in this topsy-turvy world and that, accordingly, is not something to be casually thrown out the window.

Some day in the future and long after Brecheen has deserted him and he is sleeping all alone underneath a bridge he may just remember that. As Mercer expressed it so well in the following lyrics, there are hazards in chasing even dreams:

"Oh, dreammaker, you heartbreaker,
Wherever you're going, I'm going your way."

As for Tabor, nothing further has appeared in the press concerning her so it not known what has become of her. (See Cat Defender post of July 5, 2013 entitled "Tabor's Long and Winding Road Finally Leads Her Back Home but Leaves Her with a Broken Heart.")

3.)  Penny Staves Off an Attempt to Oust Her from the Swansea Public Library.

Penny Holds Court at the Library

"I've lived here all of my life and I can't remember a time when the library didn't have a cat. Penny is a breath of fresh air. She's very therapeutic."
-- local resident Luna Leal

For more than a decade a beautiful and sedate tortoiseshell with green eyes named Penny resided at the public library in Swansea, seventy-six kilometers south of Boston, without incident. The peace and tranquility that she had enjoyed for so long was rudely interrupted in March when local troublemaker and chronic litigant Patrick Higgins attempted to have her removed from the premises.

"I must again demand that Penny the 'house cat' for the Swansea Library disappear since there are many people who are allergic to cats who cannot use the library (sic) facilities due to their allergies, in direct violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)," he demanded in a March 24th e-mail letter sent to the library's director, Cynthia St. Amour, and other bigwigs around town.

Although St. Amour readily responded by pointing out that the facility never had received any complaints whatsoever about Penny, she was not about to go to the mat in order to save her. "We'll be looking at adoption possibilities," she conceded by way of throwing in the towel on her loyal and utterly defenseless resident feline.

Fortunately for Penny, other staffers at the library were nowhere nearly as chicken-hearted as their boss and as a result they started an online petition designed to save their beloved mascot, goodwill ambassador, and resident mouser. They soon were joined in their effort by former residents, The Herald News of nearby Fall River, and kindred spirits from around the world.

"I've lived here all of my life and I can't remember a time when the library didn't have a cat," local resident Luna Leal said at that time. "Penny is a breath of fresh air. She's very therapeutic."

That certainly was true enough in that the facility always has kept cats since 1986. Much more importantly, there is absolutely nothing in the language of the ADA that bars them, as Higgins alleged, from public buildings.

Armed with an advisory opinion to that effect from the Justice Department in Washington and a pledge of pro bono support from the law firm of Killoran and Killoran of Fall River, the Board of Library Trustees met on April 3rd and adamantly refused to knuckle under to Higgins' outrageous demands. "All you have here is a complaint," Arthur Frank, an attorney for the city, said on that historic occasion. "It's not a properly filed complaint."

He additionally availed himself of the opportunity afforded him to give Higgins a good dressing-down. "Basically, he wants you (the board) to make her disappear. It's an ultimatum. He's saying do this or I'll file," he said. "If you want to deal with the devil, you can deal with the devil."

Belatedly arriving at the realization that this time around the town was not about to be bullied, Higgins thereafter abandoned his campaign to have Penny evicted. His blatant hypocrisy throughout this sordid affair had not however escaped the discerning intellect of Bill Kinnane of neighboring Somerset. "I think considering the source...I don't know how he can point a finger when he has spent time in a Pennsylvania prison," he pointed out.

By that he was referring to Higgins' pair of convictions for illegally collecting unemployment compensation while simultaneously working at Burger King.® When he refused to make restitution he accordingly was jailed.

"Penny is here and I think this is where she's going to stay," children's librarian Carol Gafford predicted at the height of the squabble. "She runs this library. We take care of her."

For a while at least it certainly looked if that indeed was going to be the case as Penny continued to spread comfort and joy to both staffers and patrons alike. On most days she still could be found either hanging out at the front desk or sleeping in her straw basket.

Sadly, her reprieve was destined to be an exceedingly brief one and less than eleven months later she died on March 8, 2014. As far as it is known, the library has not found a replacement for her and given that one of Higgins' chief demands was that she not have a successor, it certainly would appear that although he may have lost the initial battle he ultimately has won the war. (See Cat Defender post of March 8, 2016 entitled "Penny of the Swansea Public Library: A Remembrance.")

4.)  Freckles Is Found Alive in the Rubble of the Knox-Whitley Animal Shelter Six Days after It Burned to the Ground.

Freckles and Her Singed Whiskers and Fur

"She is a very sweet cat after everything she has been through (and) we are amazed she is alive."
-- Ashley Holder of the Lexington Humane Society

Almost every knowledgeable individual fully realizes that shelters are little more than camouflaged feline extermination camps but that which is considerably less well-known is that they also are firetraps. That horrifying reality was brought home with a deadly vengeance to thirty-seven cats that were residing at the Knox-Whitley Animal Shelter (KWAS) in Rockholds, Kentucky, at 9:45 p.m. on November 29th when a fire broke out and rapidly engulfed the facility.

Press reports are contradictory but between twenty-nine and thirty-four of them perished in the blaze. A one-year-old tortoiseshell named Freckles miraculously survived the fire but she was not discovered until six days later on December 5th when an insurance investigator accidentally stumbled upon her.

"She's in serious, but stable condition," Teresa Martin of KWAS said following her rescue. "Her will to survive is just amazing."

Transported to the Lexington Humane Society (LHS), she was diagnosed to be suffering from an upper respiratory infection, burned paws and pads, and singed fur and whiskers. Since she had not been fed in almost a week, she additionally was dehydrated and malnourished.

"She is a very sweet cat after everything she has been through (and) we are amazed she is alive," Ashley Holder of the LHS marveled at that time. "Having her here is just wonderful, all of our hearts are filled with joy. We are so glad that she made it through this devastating time."

Thanks to the excellent care that she received at LHS, Freckles' fur and whiskers soon grew back and the pads on her feet healed. Unfortunately, all of her claws, both front and rear, had to be surgically removed.

In early 2014, she received a very special gift when she was adopted by Emily Tolliver of the LHS. She now resides with her and her two-year-old son, a pair of cats, and two dogs.

Her utterly astonishing transformation from being a death row inmate and the victim of a shelter fire only to finally land on all four paws in a loving home was quite an achievement even for an animal that is often said to be blessed with more than one life. By contrast, the same most definitely cannot be said for the employees of KWAS.

In fact, numerous questions concerning the deadly blaze remain unaddressed to this very day. First of all, there is the inexplicable discrepancy in the number of feline fatalities.

Secondly, the origin of the fire has not been publicly disclosed. Thirdly, it is not even known if anyone was on duty when it erupted.

Fourthly, since only one of the twenty-five dogs that were housed there died in the inferno, it certainly appears that staffers gave preferential treatment to them while callously allowing the cats to be burned to death. Fifthly and most incriminating of all, none of the employees of the shelter even bothered to reenter the facility after the flames had been extinguished in order to search for any possible feline survivors.

If any of them had cared just a tiny bit about the fate of the cats, they would have immediately found Freckles and thus spared her from spending a week in Hell. It additionally is highly probable that they could have saved the lives of several other cats as well.

"I think an animal's life is (as) precious as a person's and I think that was a horrible, horrible death," city resident Virginia Thompson remarked in the aftermath of the disaster. Quite obviously, that is a minority opinion that absolutely no one associated with KWAS shares.

Despite their dereliction of duty, no one at the shelter ever was charged with either animal cruelty or gross negligence in the totally preventable deaths of these cats. Instead, they were rewarded with a new facility in nearby Corbin in order to continue to perpetuate their outrageous crimes against the species. (See Cat Defender post of March 15, 2016 entitled "Freckles Is Alive and Well More Than Two Years after Having Been Inexcusably Left for Dead in the Rubble of the Burned-Out Knox-Whitley Animal Shelter.")

5.)  Ted Williams and the National Audubon Society Call for Cats to Be Poisoned with Tylenol®.

Ted "Slick Willie" Williams Daydreaming, No Doubt, of Killing Cats

"The feral-cat (sic) fiasco wasn't my finest hour, or Audubon's. Audubon asked me to write an op-ed for the Orlando Sentinel because the Florida chapter didn't have time and because I'd recently done an 'Incite' column on cats."
-- Ted Williams of the National Audubon Society

Through both their words and deeds, ornithologists, wildlife biologists, and their acolytes have demonstrated time and time again that they will stop at absolutely nothing when it comes to defaming and killing cats. Consequently, it really did not come as much of a shock when Ted "Slick Willie" Williams of the National Audubon Society (NAS) published an article in the March 14th edition of the Orlando Sentinel calling for cats to be poisoned with Tylenol.® (See "Trap, Neuter, Return Programs Make Feral-Cat Problem Worse.") "There are two effective humane alternatives to the cathell (sic) of TNR. One is Tylenol® (the human pain medication) -- a completely selective feral-cat (sic) poison," he proclaimed. "But the TNR lobby has blocked its registration for this use."

While he was at it, "Slick Willie" also voiced his wholehearted support for trap and kill. "The other is trap and euthanize (TE). TE is practiced by state and federal wildlife managers; but municipal TE needs to happen if the annihilation of native wildlife is to be significantly slowed," he thundered like Zeus from Mount Olympus.

In the firestorm that followed Williams' incendiary, not to mention patently illegal, proposal, the Orlando Sentinel belatedly deleted his remarks about Tylenol® and any reference to the fact that he was speaking for the NAS but nonetheless allowed his article to remain online. For its part, the NAS suspended him for an inconsequential ten days and lamely attempted to distance itself from his outrageous proposal.

"Ted Williams is a freelance writer who published a personal opinion piece in the Orlando Sentinel," it swore to its fellow cat-haters at National Geographic on March 20th. (See "Writer's Call to Kill Feral Cats Sparks Outcry.") "We regret any impression that Mr. Williams was speaking for us in any way. He wasn't."

Although knowledgeable people knew even back then that the NAS was, as per usual, lying through its rotten teeth, it was not until only recently that Williams finally came clean on that point. "The feral-cat fiasco wasn't my finest hour, or Audubon's," he confided to his pals at Forbes on December 1, 2015. (See "Writer Ted Williams Talks Obama, the NRA, Feral Cats and Sportsmen Versus Environmentalists.") "Audubon asked me to write an op-ed for the Orlando Sentinel because the Florida chapter didn't have time and because I'd recently done an "Incite" column (in Audubon Magazine) on cats."

Actually, the NAS' poisoning offensive had its genesis a few weeks earlier in the diseased gourd of little Georgie "Porgie" Fenwick of the American Bird Conservancy (ABC). "The only sure way to protect wildlife, cats, and people is for domestic cats to be permanently removed from the outdoor environment," he wrote February 26th in The Baltimore Sun. (See "The Destructive Species Purring on Your Lap.") "Local governments need to act swiftly and decisively to gather the thirty to eighty million unowned cats, aggressively seek adoptions and establish sanctuaries for or euthanize cats that are not adoptable."

In a clumsy, dishonest, and utterly laughable attempt to excuse his criminality, Williams went on to claim both in 2013 and again in 2015, that he wrote the article in haste and was a freelancer as opposed to being a salaried employee of NAS. Both of those excuses simply are not credible because freelance writers seldom work for gratis and Williams is well-known as a writer and speaker who chooses his words with the utmost care.

In addition to all of that tap-dancing around the truth he also had the chutzpah to declare that his proposal would have been less revolting if only he had used the generic name (acetaminophen) for Tylenol®. The only logical conclusion to be drawn from such balderdash is that "Slick Willie" and the NAS not only believe the reading public to be totally lacking in all moral consciousness but to be as dumb-as-mud to boot.

To this very day, Williams has backed off from his original proposal in only one respect. "I urge people not to take the law into their own hands," he wrote in a March 21st postscript to his original column. "They should leave it to the professionals."

He not only reiterated that viewpoint to Forbes but endorsed the Australians' ongoing wholesale extermination of two-million cats. "The only solution is selective poisoning -- again by wildlife professionals, not the public," he told Forbes. "The Aussies do it; we don't."

In doing so, he was careful not to define what he meant by "professionals." Since he never has denounced her actions, he likely is an avid supporter of Nico Dauphiné of the Smithsonian Institution who was caught flagrante delicto in 2011 attempting to poison a TNR colony in Washington. (See Cat Defender posts of July 12, 2011, November 18, 2011, and January 6, 2012 entitled, respectively, "The Arrest of Nico Dauphiné for Attempting to Poison a Colony of Homeless Cats Unmasks the National Zoo as a Hideout for Ailurophobes and Criminals," "Nico Dauphiné, Ph.D., Is Convicted of Attempting to Poison a Colony of Homeless Cats but Questions Remain Concerning the Smithsonian's Role," and "Nico Dauphiné Is Let Off with an Insultingly Lenient $100 Fine in a Show Trial That Was Fixed from the Very Beginning.")

He undoubtedly also considers himself to be one of the anointed ones who is endowed with a god-given right to kill cats and other animals by any means available. "I erect nest boxes for Eastern Bluebird (sic) in our field," he confessed to Forbes. "If I didn't euthanize the alien English Sparrows that enter the boxes, they'd peck the bluebird nestings to death and raise their own broods which would then imprint to the boxes and spread like a virus."

Quite obviously, any card-carrying member of the NAS who would publicly brag about systematically exterminating, not euthanizing, birds never would think so much as twice about killing cats. Moreover, since acetaminophen is dirt-cheap, readily available, virtually untraceable, and only one tablet is required in order to kill a cat, it is precisely the type of poison that anyone as devious, underhanded, and diabolical as Williams would find attractive.

Since cats, unlike most other animals, lack the enzymes necessary in order to metabolize the drug, it rapidly destroys their red blood cells and thus their ability to carry oxygen to their vital organs. That is precisely why Williams is all the time touting it as "a selective cat poison."

Above all, acetaminophen poisoning is a hellish way for any cat to die and that sans doute is another reason why "Slick Willie" is so enthusiastically championing its use. Among the observable symptoms are, inter alia, depression, weakness, labored breathing, swollen faces, necks, and limbs, hypothermia, vomiting, brownish-gray gums and tongues, and jaundice due to liver damage.

Because neither the police nor humane groups are willing to even so much as to open investigations into the activities of Williams and the NAS, it is impossible to know how many cats that they already have killed in this hideous fashion. Almost as bad, his partners in crime at Forbes have chosen to pay homage to this diabolical monster as a "national treasure" and the "modern-age equivalent of Rachel Carson for sportsmen."

His repeated call for cats to be poisoned with Tylenol® also was endorsed on January 25th of this year by the High Country News of Paonia, Colorado. (See "Taking Down Feline Marauders and Surviving 'Feral' Landscapes'.")

Every bit as unprincipled and scurrilous as Audubon Magazine, Forbes, and the High Country News, the Orlando Sentinel published Williams' call to arms for all cat poisoners out of sympathy for his cause. "And considering the scale of destruction that feral cats are inflicting on wildlife, Ted Williams' views on the matter deserved publication," the paper's Mike Lafferty wrote March 22nd on its web site. (See "Column About Feral Cats Demanded a Forum, and More Editing.") "At the same time, the public deserved more discretion -- and editing from us."

That left it to Joe Mason to put the entire sorry matter into the proper perspective. "But to suggest that the best way to solve the problem of homeless cats is to poison them might be the dumbest and most irresponsible thing I've ever seen written in (a) paper," he wrote in the March 16th edition of The Burlington County Times of Willingboro, New Jersey. (See "Killing Cats Is a Problem Not a Solution.") "It's outrageous, stupid, dumb, and every other word you can use for idiotic."

He also had some choice words for Lafferty and the Orlando Sentinel which are equally applicable to Forbes and the High Country News. "I work at a paper and we're held to standards...," he wrote. "So when a paper allows someone to suggest poisoning cats as a solution to a problem, it really makes me angry."

Deplorably and inexcusably, there are far too few individuals either within or without the feline protection movement who share his anger. As a result, low-life criminals and all-around scumbags like Williams, NAS, the ABC, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, and others are busily poisoning and killing cats with impunity at this very minute.

Worst still, such behavior violates every anti-cruelty statute on the books. Their ultimate goal is to transform America into another Australia where no cat's life is worth so much as a plug-nickel.

Like their kindred spirits down under, their thirst for feline blood is not about to be slaked with the elimination of cats. For instance in his interview with Forbes, Williams also endorsed the killing of fish, horses, donkeys, rats, pigs, and goats.

Earlier in 2007, the Connecticut Chapter of the NAS came out in favor of the mass eradication of not only cats but several other species as well. (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.")

All those who care about cats and other animals accordingly do not have any excuse for not standing up to these fascists of the animal world. (See Cat Defender post of May 13, 2013 entitled "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.")

6.)  Lone Star State Bible Thumper Gets Away with Stealing and Killing His Neighbors' Cat, Moody.

Moody Was Abducted, Starved, and Then Thrown Off of a Bridge

"It's not that they lost their kitty, it was in the manner in which it happened by a man who purported to be a man of God."
-- attorney Bill Aleshire

Demonizing, abusing, and killing cats may have begun in earnest with the Roman Catholic Church but it certainly has not ended there in that fundamentalist Christians seem unable to resist the temptation to do likewise. For instance on January 15, 2012, fifty-seven-year-old Rick Bartlett, pastor of Bastrop Christian Church in the Texas city of the same name, stole a twelve-year-old brown and white cat named Moody that lived three down from him with Eddy and Sarah Bell.

He then incarcerated him in a cage in the back of his truck for three days without either food, water, or heat before finally tossing him off of the Loop 150 Bridge at 4:30 p.m. on January 17th. He was found motionless and near death at 8 p.m. that same day by an unidentified jogger in Fisherman's Park on the banks of the Colorado River.

He then was rushed to Crossroads Animal Hospital where he was diagnosed to have suffered a ruptured lung and other unspecified internal injuries. The force of the sixty-foot plunge also had injured his penis and left him in shock.

"(Moody was) just laid out like a sack of potatoes," veterinarian Greg Maynard said at that time. "No obvious signs of trauma."

Since he was wearing a collar and a tag, the Bells were immediately notified whereupon they instructed Maynard not to spare any expense in an all-out effort to save his life. Sadly, veterinary intervention came way too late and the beloved cat that they had owned for eleven years died later that evening.

That most likely would have been the end of the matter and absolutely no one ever would have known what had happened to Moody if Bartlett had not moonlighted as the chaplain of the Bastrop Police Department. As it just so happened, shortly before he killed Moody he had stopped by the department and its Animal Control officer, Susan Keys, had spied the cat in the back of his truck.

"I said I'd be taking the cat back to its owners because it had a tag and he said if that was the case, he would take it back to the neighborhood," she later testified. She then dismissed the matter from her mind.

After Moody was killed, however, she was called in to investigate his death and instantaneously recognized him as the cat that she earlier had seen in the back of Bartlett's truck. She then turned the matter over to detective Sarah Moore who subsequently arrested Bartlett a few days later but he immediately was freed after posting a $5,000 bond.

Holy Man and Convicted Cat Killer Rick Bartlett

The wheels of justice grind slowly and it was not until May 13th of the following year that Bartlett was forced to face the music in Bastrop County Court of Law. "The bottom line is this man was the last one to have our cat, and then he was found dying under a bridge," Eddy Bell said going into the trial. "We all want answers and want him prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law."

Prosecutor James Rhodes certainly did his part and Keys, Moore, and Maynard testified for the state. Bartlett declined to take the stand and his attorney, Chris Dillon, did not call any witnesses on his behalf.

Nevertheless, the man of god is known to earlier have claimed that Moody, despite his collar and tag, was homeless. He also ludicrously swore that he had jumped to his death of his own volition after he had unlocked his cage. As for not feeding him, Bartlett maintained that the matter simply had slipped his diseased gourd.

The jury deliberated for only forty minutes on May 17th before finding him guilty of misdemeanor animal cruelty and under Texas law he could have been sentenced to up to a year in the sneezer and fined $4,000. Lamebrained judge Terry "Flimflam" Flenniken, however, was not about to countenance any of that.

Instead, he let the demon off with a minuscule fifty hours of community service and placed him on probation for a year. He also tacked on a customary six-month suspended jail sentence that seemingly every jurist on the planet feels compelled to mandate for the sake of making it appear that the ends of justice had been served.

In anticipation of such an egregious miscarriage of justice, the Bells earlier on March 24, 2012 had filed a civil suit against Bartlett and his wife, Tina, in the District Court of Bastrop, Three-Hundred-Thirty-Fifth Judicial District. "It's not that they lost their kitty, it was in the manner in which it happened by a man who purported to be a man of God," their attorney, Bill Aleshire, declared on that occasion.

In doing so, he went on to point out the absurdity of Bartlett's defense. "If you were a cat and you'd been in that cage the whole time, and someone opened that cage, how long do you think you'd stay in that cage? Would you stay long enough for the truck to start and cross the bridge, and then jump out?" he asked rhetorically. "The story is a little hard to believe."

Although it initially had been hoped that the suit might ultimately undo a small portion of the damage that Flenniken had done, that apparently is not in the offing in that a recent check of online court records revealed that no further action has been taken on the matter since December 11, 2013. As a consequence, Moody's murder remains unavenged.

Bartlett also remains at large to continue stealing and killing cats with impunity, which Dillon freely admitted in court he has been doing for years. Old "Flimflam" Flenniken likewise is still on the bench where he is free to continue shortchanging cats and their owners with impunity all the while masquerading as an impartial trier of facts. (See Cat Defender post of January 10, 2014 entitled "Texas Judge Idiotically Allows Pastor Rick Bartlett to Get Away with Stealing and Killing Moody but a Civil Court May Yet Hold Him Accountable.")

7.) PennVet Murders a Sick Cat Because Its Owner Could Not Come Up with the Exorbitant Fee That It Demanded in Order to Have Saved Its Life.

The Scene of the Crime, the Matthew J. Ryan Small Animal Hospital

"Veterinary care has become brutally expensive."
-- Kenneth J. Drobetz of PennVet

Just in case any further proof was needed as to exactly how cutthroat and mercenary the practice of veterinary medicine has become the high-strutting, moneygrubbing scoundrels who rule the roost at PennVet in Philadelphia furnished it in rather graphic fashion right before Christmas. In keeping with their perverted version of the spirit of the season, the sawbones killed off a preeminently treatable cat simply because its owner could not readily come up with the thousands of dollars that they had demanded in order to treat it.

Neither the name of the cat nor that of its owner ever were publicly disclosed and as a result all that is known is that it had swallowed a ribbon from a Christmas present that subsequently had lodged somewhere in its digestive tract. It likewise is not known how much that the mercenaries demanded in order to snuff out its life, but it is a sure bet that they did not execute that gruesome task gratis unless, that is, they hate cats so much that they did it for the sheer pleasure of seeing another one of them die.

Given the extremely limited amount of information provided by PennVet's publicists at The Philadelphia Inquirer, it is difficult to speculate on possible alternatives but it nonetheless is remotely possible that, given time, the ribbon would have either rotted away or passed harmlessly out of the cat's intestines. Such an outcome would have depended upon a number of factors and not the least of which would have been the texture and length of the ribbon. Additionally, it might have been possible to have dislodged it with an enema if it had not become too intricately intertwined in the intestines.

Such speculation if largely spurious, however, in that PennVet had a moral and a professional obligation to have saved the cat's life. The mere fact that its owner did not have the money is totally irrelevant.

It certainly would not have strained the coffers of the high and mighty professors if they had extended credit to the cat's owner and thus recouped their blood money in installments. Besides, even if that individual never had been able to repaid so much as a red cent the University of Pennsylvania with its $8 billion endowment and annual operating budget of another $6 billion most assuredly could have afforded to have done a little pro bono work.

If the professors at PennVet had been willing to have done that, they not only would have saved a life but in doing so they also would have instantaneously transformed the owner's wails of distress into tears of joy. For their part, the practitioners would have had the satisfaction of knowing that for once in their miserable lives that they had done something that was noble and worthwhile.

Instead, the sawed-off slugs settled for counting their shekels. "Veterinary care has become brutally expensive," was all that Kenneth J. Drobenz, head of the emergency room at the Matthew J. Ryan Veterinary Hospital, was able to come up with in defense of his colleagues' shameful behavior.

Whereas there sans doute is some measure of truth in his declaration, the cost of veterinary care is not nearly as brutal as the level of callousness and abject disrespect for feline life that exists in Drobenz's black soul. To put the matter succinctly, for any individual to allow an animal to die when either he or she has the necessary means and prerequisite expertise in order to save its life is not only morally indefensible but should be a jailable offense as well.

On its web site, PennVet boasts to treating thirty-three-thousand small animals each year, including thirteen-thousand that require emergency surgery, but that is a grossly misleading statistic. Instead of dishonestly tooting its own horn, the surgery should reveal the total number of cats and dogs that it sends back home to die through its refusal to treat them if their guardians are unable to pay its exorbitant fees.

It also should disclose not only how many animals that it deliberately kills off as opposed to treating but also the number that it kills through sheer incompetence. Only after the entire picture has been revealed can its performance be accurately evaluated; self-serving lies and propaganda are not acceptable substitutes for the unvarnished truth.

Conditions at Ryan's sister facility, the George D. Widener Hospital for Large Animals at the New Bolton Center in Kenneth Square, are ever more diabolical in that its practitioners devote their lives to whoring for factory farmers, the thoroughbred horse racing industry, and other serial abusers of animals. For instance, the remains of a nine-year-old gelding named Homeboykris was taken there for a necropsy after he collapsed and died of an apparent heart attack after winning the first race of the day at Pimlico on May 21st. (See the New York Post's print edition of May 22, 2016, "Deaths Mar Early Races.")

Furthermore, veterinarians at both Ryan and the New Bolton Center routinely torture and kill untold scores of cats and other animals in their research laboratories. These facilities, and numerous others that are scattered around campus, oftentimes do not even comply with the minimalist standards of care dictated by the scandalously impotent Animal Welfare Act of 1966.

To sum up, the veterinary medical establishment is, arguably, the number one abuser and killer of cats and other animals. Worst of all, schools such as PennVet each year churn out nothing except dunces and flatheads who are every bit as morally bankrupt as the rotten bums at whose elbows they have earned their tuition.

As a consequence, the profession cannot possibly be reformed. (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.")

8.) A Florida Woman Entrusts the Care of Her Cat, Dante, to a Roommate Who Soon Thereafter Abandons Him.


"As soon as he meowed, I knew it was him. I know his meow."
-- Alex McAllaster

There are always exceptions to any rule but, generally speaking, the care of a cat cannot be delegated. That is one lesson that Alex McAllaster of Fort Walton Beach, Florida, was forced into learning the hard way after an egregious mistake in judgment on her part nearly cost the life of her beloved cat, Dante.

The trouble all began when she cast off on a six-week sailing expedition sometime in either late April or early May. In doing so, she left Dante, a light-brown colored tom whom she had owned for eight years, in the care of her unidentified roommate. Even more inexcusably, she ran out on him even though he suffers from a bladder condition that will not allow him to eat kibble.

Predictably, when she returned home in early June Dante was nowhere to be found and her roommate refused to inform her as to what she had done with him. That in turn necessitated her calling in the police who eventually were able to get the roommate to admit that Dante had been fobbed off on an unidentified individual a fortnight earlier in the parking lot of Sam's Club at 740 Beal Parkway Northwest.

"You could have burned the house down, and I wouldn't have cared," an irate McAllaster swore to the Northwest Florida Daily News of Fort Walton Beach on June 7th. (See "Roommate Gives Away Cat; Owner Searching.") "But you screwed with my cat."

Although by that late date locating Dante had become a real long shot, McAllaster was not about to submit to the seemingly inevitable without first putting up a fight. Toward that end, she contacted the charities Save Our Cats and Kittens Shelter (SOCKS) and the Panhandle Animal Welfare Society (PAWS), offered a monetary reward for his safe return, and erected Lost Cat posters in her neighborhood. Best of all, she solicited and received the support of the Northwest Florida Daily News.

In spite of that, the search turned out to be a long and frustrating slog. "I've been getting phone calls and e-mails and texts since all of this happened," she confided to the Northwest Florida Daily News on July 3rd. (See "Cat Given Away by Roommate Found: 'As Soon as He Meowed, I Knew It Was Him'.") "Every time I've gone and looked."

Her hard work, due diligence, and indefatigability paid a huge dividend on June 29th when an unidentified woman telephoned to report that she had seen Dante in a drainage ditch in front of a Walmart store located at 748 Beal Parkway Northeast. Although the telephone call had been received at 8 p.m., McAllaster inexplicably demurred for several hours before finally taking any action.

"It was midnight, pitch-dark, and I saw his little shadow of a body just sitting there," she later disclosed to the Northwest Florida Daily News in the July 3rd article cited supra. "I stopped, squatted down and said his name, 'Dante.' He started meowing."

Then and only then did she realize that her travails had reached an end. "As soon as he meowed, I knew it was him," she added. "I know his meow."

Dante, thankfully, was alive but the weeks of sleeping rough and going without sustenance had exacted an awful toll on his health. In particular, he had lost eight of his sixteen pounds and, even worse, he had sustained unspecified damage to his liver. The good news, however, was that the attending veterinarian was confident that he would recover.

"He's dirty, but he's alive. I'm so grateful to the community," McAllaster told the Northwest Florida Daily News on July 3rd. "I prayed every day and I just kept calling him home. It's a miracle that I found him."

Truer words never have been spoken in that almost anyone could have picked him up and spirited him halfway across the country. Tant pis, Animal Control easily could have trapped and killed him at any time and McAllaster never would have been any the wiser.

Also, the mere fact that he was found only doors down from Sam's Club is a pretty strong indication that McAllaster's roommate had lied about giving Dante to a third party. On the contrary, the already sickly cat likely was cruelly abandoned to either sink or swim on his own.

As far as it is known, the roommate never was charged with either theft or animal cruelty. Moreover, it is not even known if that individual and McAllaster are still living underneath the same roof.

This case once again demonstrates just how imperative it is that cat owners exercise extreme caution when choosing roommates. For example in September of 2004, Chavisa Woods left her cat, Oliver, in the custody of a blind roommate while she made a trip out of town.

As a result, the roommate carelessly allowed him to escape from their Lower East Side walk-up in Manhattan and it took Woods several years in order to locate and then regain custody of him. (See Cat Defender post of January 3, 2006 entitled "Manhattan Court to Rely Upon 1894 Dog Law to Decide Custody of a Russian Blue Cat Named Oliver Gatsby.")

Although the gender of McAllaster's roommate never was revealed, it nevertheless is precisely the resident felines of women who take on live-in male lovers that are most at risk. That is because even though their good-looking, smooth-talking studs may be heaven in hay the way that some of them mistreat their cats can only be described as diabolical.

For instance, in 2008 Joseph Petcka killed a cat named Norman that belonged to Lisa Altobelli of Sports Illustrated. (See NBC-TV, September 29, 2008, "Man Who Killed Cat: 'I Did Not Act Intentionally'." and the New York Post, December 18, 2009, "Cat-Killer Petcka Sentenced to Community Service.")

Only recently, twenty-four-year-old Declan Garrity of Omagh, County Tyrone, beat nearly to death a cat named Lucy that belonged to his Manhattan roommate, identified in press reports only by her first name as Danielle. Although he later not only was arrested and charged with animal cruelty but fired from his job as a financial analyst with Barclay's Bank as well, he chose to do a runner instead of sticking around to face the music.

Moreover, it is highly unlikely that he ever will be extradited. (See the New York Daily News, articles dated February 26, 2016 and April 20, 2016 and entitled, respectively, "Cat-Torturing Goon Tricked Pet's Owner into Thinking He Was 'Best Roommate Ever' while Sadistically Burning, Beating Animal for Three Months" and "Cat-Torturing Creep Declan Garrity Back in Native Ireland (sic), Manhattan Judge Issues Bench Warrant," plus the Belfast Telegraph, March 3, 2016, "New York Cops Rearrest Northern Ireland Man Accused of Cat Torture after He Ignores Ruling by Judge.")

Considering both the duration of the abuse and the extent of Lucy's injuries, it would appear that Garrity maintained Danielle in such an erotic stupor that she was barely cognizant of the day the week, let alone the abject cruelty that was occurring right underneath her schnoz. Her behavior therefore is every bit as inexcusable as Garrity's in that she committed the selfish error of placing a far greater value upon having a high old time in the sack every night than she ever did on Lucy's welfare.

9.)  Gypsy Survives Both an EF5 Tornado and Being Deserted by Her Guardian.

Gypsy and Misty Satterlee

"There's a tiny part of me that just wanted to hang on and keep looking for her because she's our family."
-- Misty Satterlee

Absolutely no one even cares enough to speculate as to how many cats and other animals are killed each year by tornadoes but the unsung and unmourned death toll surely must be off the charts. It therefore is anything but an overstatement to declare as miraculous Gypsy's survival of an EF5 tornado that roared through the Oklahoma City suburb of Moore on May 20th.

The extremely attractive, multicolored female did so by taking refuge underneath a sink after the roof of the house that she had lived in for the past eight years had been blown away by the three-hundred-twenty-one kilometer winds and the walls had collapsed around her. Being either unable or too traumatized to come out, she remained hidden in that hole for the following three weeks while subsisting upon rain water, insects, rodents, and possibly scattered bits of food.

The specifics never were revealed by the media but apparently her guardian, Misty Satterlee, simply ran off and callously left her behind in order to fend for herself. Even more outrageously, she did not return home again until June 10th and even then it was not to search for Gypsy but rather to show off the damage to a brother of hers who just happened to be visiting from out of town.

"When I got back over there I decided to call one more time for her and I just barely heard a little meow," she later related. The local fire department was summoned and Gypsy shortly thereafter was pulled to safety emaciated and dehydrated but otherwise unharmed.

As a precautionary measure, she was taken to a veterinarian who administered intravenous fluids so as to rapidly replace some of the liquids that she had lost during her long and grueling ordeal in the aftermath of the twister. Best of all, she was expected to have made a full recovery.

"There's a tiny bit of me that just wanted to hang on and keep looking for her because she's our family," Satterlee added. "We've had her eight years and she's part of us and we aren't complete without her."

Although that may sound genuine, a good argument could be made that Gypsy owes her deliverance, not to Satterlee, but rather to her brother. If he had not shown up when he did, she in all likelihood would have starved to death all by her lonesome underneath that forlorn and desolate sink.

Owing to their diminutive size cats, such as Spinner of Albert Lea, Minnesota, are easily transformed into the playthings of tornadoes. (See Cat Defender post of August 31, 2010 entitled "Picked Up Off the Ground by a Tornado and Slammed into a Board, Spinner Sustains a Broken Leg but Survives Muddy and Unbowed to Live Another Day.")

They additionally are in grave danger of being crushed to death by falling buildings, trees, electrical lines, and miscellaneous flying debris. Most alarming of all, they do not, as far as it is known, have any way of anticipating the arrival of such cataclysmic events.

All of those perils pale in comparison, however, with being saddled with callous owners, such as Satterlee, who not only desert them when tornadoes strike but also lack the prerequisite compassion and sense of responsibility to even bother to look for them once the deadly winds either have abated or gone off in search of new victims to torment. (See Cat Defender post of August 24, 2013 entitled "Gypsy Is Discovered Alive and Well Hiding in a Hole Underneath a Sink Three Weeks after an EF5 Tornado Destroys an Oklahoman City.")

10.)  Miss Kitty Celebrates Her Twenty-First Birthday at a Pennsylvania Nursing Home.

 Miss Kitty with Pam Kleckner and Resident Elaine Kwedder at the Party 

"Everyone lives a long time at Phoebe. Even the cats."
-- Trina Johnson-Brady

Although they are still largely verboten at most hospitals, more and more nursing home are belatedly recognizing the therapeutic value of keeping cats. For example, the Phoebe Health Care Center in Allentown, Pennsylvania, has fourteen of them.

It therefore was entirely appropriate when on April 11th staffers, volunteers, and residents at the facility's dementia care unit, Bridgeways, threw a party for a skinny calico named Miss Kitty in order to celebrate her twenty-first birthday. Led by local musician Lorenzo Branca, they serenaded her with a rendition of "Happy Birthday to You" while she scarfed tuna from a martini glass.

"The residents love her and the families do, too," nurse Gina Shupp told The Morning Call of Allentown on April 11th. (See "In Allentown, a Senior Cat Gets the Royal Birthday Treatment.") "They look for her, and when she's not up on the counter they say, 'Where is she?'"

In addition to boosting the morale of residents, Miss Kitty's presence also is therapeutic. "When we put a cat in their lap (sic),  that's when the magic begins," staffer Pam Kleckner added to The Morning Call. "She responds well to all the attention, and they feel like they're caring for something."

It has not been disclosed how long that Miss Kitty has been living at the institution but she certainly did not arrive there of her own volition. Rather, she accompanied Kleckner's father, Fred Navatier, when he relocated from his home in Lehighton, forty-five kilometers north of Allentown, some years ago. "He spoiled her and she's spoiled here," Kleckner pointed out.

Considering that the nursing home is operated by Phoebe Ministries, which is affiliated with the United Church of Christ, it is refreshing to see that it has broken ranks with mainstream Christianity and opened up both its doors and hearts to cats. Serious question remain, however, concerning the quality of care that the facility metes out to Miss Kitty and her mates.

That is because all cats deserve good quality food and water, warm and dry shelter, top-notch veterinary care, and protection against their sworn enemies. Above all, their inalienable right to live out their lives to the very end and only then to die natural deaths must be, above all, respected.

Still, given Miss Kitty's longevity coupled with the petit fait that one resident of the facility lived to be a staggering one-hundred-nineteen-years-old, it surely must be doing something right. "Everyone lives a long time at Phoebe," community relations coordinator Trina Johnson-Brady proudly proclaimed to The Morning Call. "Even the cats."

It additionally is highly commendable that more than forty per cent of the residents at the four nursing homes that Phoebe operates are indigent. "Phoebe Ministries is guided by its mission to provide compassionate care to residents in our communities, regardless of their ability to pay," the organization declares on its web site.

That stands in stark contrast not only to the simply abhorrent mistreatment that PennVet, one-hundred kilometers to the south, metes out to cats but also that of its competitors who are showing the door to the poor and mentally ill in droves. (See The Star Ledger of Newark, May 9, 2016, "Nursing Homes Use Eviction to Drop Difficult Patients.")

11.)  Garrison Keillor Kills Off His Cat, Meiko, and Then Goes on the Air in Order to Capitalize on His Foul Deed.

Garrison Keillor

"Lullabye little cat, wherever you're at
May you lie in the sun and be loved by someone
May you curl up and rest, with a quilt for a nest
May you run, may you leap, and be young in your sleep."
-- Garrison Keillor

Those individuals who commit atrocities against cats are bad enough in their own right but those who take pride in such behavior are the worst of all and that description certainly applies in spades not only to the representatives of PETA but to Garrison Keillor, the longtime host of National Public Radio's "A Prairie Home Companion," as well. During a June 7th show from the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles' Griffith Park, this loud-mouthed, pompous buffoon took to the microphone in order to proudly declare that he had paid a veterinarian to kill off his seventeen-year-old cat, Meiko.

In a long-winded, self-congratulatory poem entitled, Meiko Tribute," he wrote:

"And then this delicate creature
Of an affectionate nature
Had to be carried outside
And taken for a short melancholy ride
To the vet's office where with gentle affection
She was given a merciful injection."

In doing so, he was careful not to disclose either when she was whacked or the name of her killer. Much more importantly, he failed to make any mention of either what ailed her or the treatment options available to her.

That in turn has led to speculation that he had her killed off simply because he was too cheap to pay for her treatment and too lazy to have had someone to attend to her needs. That conclusion is buttressed by the fact that he conveniently omitted any reference whatsoever to what ultimately was done with her remains.

Once he had finished relishing in his criminality, Keillor then proceeded to denigrate the entire species. For instance:

"A cat has not much utility
But beauty is beauty: that's
Why the Lord created cats."

Some years earlier he had put the matter even harsher by declaring that "cats are intended to teach us that not everything in nature has a purpose." No one ever will be able to say the same thing about him because he, quite obviously, has found his raison d'être in defaming and killing cats.

Even the snuffing out of Meiko's precious life has not proven to be sufficient in order to slake his thirst for feline blood. For example, during a May 2, 2015 broadcast from Goshen College in Indiana he declared that every cat kills on the average fifty birds each summer.

In keeping with his long and checkered history of being a cheap shot artist, Keillor failed to mention where he had picked up that statistic and he certainly was not about to provide his critics with an opportunity to respond. He also is acutely aware that not only do birds kill cats but that ornithologists and wildlife biologists exterminate them in the millions each year, as they are currently doing in Australia.

By finally coming out and publicly aligning himself with the worldwide cat-killing fraternity, Keillor additionally has called into question the quality of care that he provided Meiko while she was still alive. First of all, although he never specified whether she lived at his residence in St. Paul or his swanky digs on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, if it were the latter it is certain that she was forced into spending her entire existence cruelly cooped up indoors and without either an iota of freedom or the fellowship of her fellow felines.

Secondly, since he spends just about all of his time on the road chasing shekels, women, and fame, he obviously never devoted very much of his time to her care. Yet, he was johnny-on-the-spot once her health deteriorated and wasted no time in getting rid of her.

Thoroughly lacking in all morality, knowledge, and appreciation of the species, he not only was far too uncharitable to allow her to have gone on living in this world but he also categorically denied her entry into his Lutheran heaven by consigning her to spend eternity in the arms of the Sandman. For example:

"Lullabye little cat, wherever you're at
May you lie in the sun and be loved by someone
May you curl up and rest, with a quilt for a nest
May you run, may you leap, and be young in your sleep."

Although he has announced that this is going be his last season as host of "A Prairie Home Companion," he has quit before only to sooner or later turn up again in much the same fashion as a bad penny. Regardless of wherever his future rambles take him, the only thing for certain is that cats are destined to continue to be on the receiving end of his outrageous slanders and libels. (See Cat Defender post of July 17, 2013 entitled "Not Satisfied with Merely Whacking Meiko, Garrison Keillor Struts on Stage in Order to Shed a Bucketful of Crocodile Tears and to Denigrate the Entire Species.")

Photos: Jim Carlton of the Wall Street Journal (Stubbs), Dylan Stone of the Independent Record of Helena (Tabor and King), The Swansea Public Library (Penny), Lexington Humane Society (Freckles), The New York Times (Williams), The Digital Texan of Austin (Moody), Bastrop County Sheriff's Department (Bartlett), University of Pennsylvania (Ryan Veterinary Hospital), Northwest Florida Daily News (Dante), KWTV (Gypsy and Misty Satterlee), April Bartholomew of The Morning Call (Miss Kitty), and National Public Radio (Keillor).