The Legal and Political Establishment in a Small Pennsylvania Backwater Closes Ranks and Pulls Out All the Stops in Order to Save the Job and Liberty of the Bloodthirsty Cop Who Murdered Sugar
|Sugar Will Be Forever Six Years Old|
"She was not sick, aggressive, or dangerous. He (Pursell) never made any attempt to catch her. She was shot in the neck within hours of getting out of her home. He then disposed of her body in a Dumpster without making any attempt to locate her owners."
-- attorney Jenna M. Fliszar
Another totally innocent and unsuspecting cat has been murdered in cold blood by a trigger-happy American cop in search of any excuse, no matter how bogus, to shed some feline blood. This time around the victim was a six-year-old, orange-colored female named Sugar from the borough of North Catasauqua, one-hundred-four kilometers north of Philadelphia in the Leigh Valley.
The chain of patently criminal and immoral events that culminated in her killing began to unfold sometime during the daylight hours of December 6th when she either escaped or was intentionally let out of the house that she shared with Tom Newhart and his wife at 733 Hunter Street. Unbeknownst to her owners, she then for some reason traveled five doors from home where she eventually wound up in the yard of Mike Lienert at 1100 American Street.
Horrendously bad luck seems to so often be the constant companion of cats and that proved to be the case once again on this tragic occasion as well in that she could not possibly have chosen a worst place to have paid an impromptu visit. That is because as soon as Lienert learned of her presence he immediately undertook measures in order to have her evicted.
He first of all reportedly made a half-hearted effort to corral her but quickly abandoned that plan after she allegedly hissed and clawed at him. What he planned on doing with her if he had been successful in that endeavor is a subject that the media have conspicuously refused to broach.
When that ploy failed, he wasted no time in ratting her out to the authorities. "There's an injured cat in my yard," he informed the North Catasauqua Police Department (NCPD) via the telephone according to a recording later released to the public. "I have three dogs. This cat does not belong to me."
It is difficult to decipher from the audio exactly what thoughts were coursing through his gourd at the time that he placed that call but just a touch of irritation and possibly even annoyance are clearly distinguishable in his voice. By contrast, he never specifies exactly what is ailing the cat or, even more telling, expresses any concern whatsoever for her well-being.
The equally callous police dispatcher likewise did not even ask about the cat's condition. Instead, he dispatched officer Leighton Pursell who had already made up his mind on how that he was going to handle the situation long before he ever arrived on the scene. "It may not be politically correct, but if it's injured, I'm going to put it down," he immediately informed Lienert according to a December 21, 2015 article posted on the Facebook page entitled Justice for Sugar. (See "Cat's Owner, Attorney Demand Cat-Killing Cop Be Fired, Charged.")
Pursuant to that objective, he then poked and prodded at Sugar with some type of object, most likely his night stick, as she cowered underneath what is believed to have been an outdoor barbecue grill. Once he had managed to flush the terrified cat out into the open, he reiterated to Lienert his intention to kill her.
As far as it is known, the homeowner did not raise any objections whatsoever to what Pursell had in mind and that more than anything else lays bare his true reason for contacting the police in the first place. After all, it is well established that many dog owners do not have any use for either cats or their owners. (See Cat Defender post of July 18, 2015 entitled "Blackpudlian Thrill Seeker Who Sicced Her Pit Bull on Regi and Then Laughed Off Her Fat Ass as He Tore Him Apart Receives a Customary Clean Bill of Health from the Courts.")
True to his word, Pursell wasted no time in dry-gulching Sugar in the neck with his .38 caliber service revolver as she attempted to flee and as a consequence she never knew what hit her. Then after ordering Lienert to clean up the blood, he nonchalantly tossed her corpse in a nearby Dumpster so that it along with any incriminating evidence that it might contain pertaining to him and his partner in the commission of this heinous crime, Lienert, could be collected in the morning by the garbagemen.
At no point after his arrival on the scene did Pursell make any effort to humanely trap the cat. Also, although she was not wearing a collar, she could have been carrying around inside of her an implanted microchip which could have been deciphered by staffers at either a shelter or a veterinary office using a scanner and due diligence. Although Pursell is sans doute familiar with these modern, high-tech identification devices, his craving for feline blood was so powerful that he went right ahead and shot her without even bothering to have had her scanned.
Although a cat's socio-economic status should not have any bearing whatsoever on its inalienable legal and moral right to live, Pursell simply assumed that Sugar was homeless and that in turn supplied him with yet still another rationale for executing her on the spot. His brand of perverted logic whereby facts are fabricated out of thin air and made to fit the circumstances demonstrates conclusively that he is not only a cold-blooded killer but an inveterate liar who has absolutely no regard for either morality, justice, or the truth.
More to the point, given that Sugar had been found in a purely residential area any rational and halfway honest individual would have assumed that she either had an owner nearby or was being cared for by someone or some humane group. Pursell accordingly must have known that he was killing an area resident's beloved cat; he simply did not care and, more likely, even reveled in the pain and sorrow that he was inflicting upon the cat's guardians. After all, there always has been a deep and abiding streak of sadism throughout American society.
For his part, Newhart did not learn of what had happened to Sugar until sometime late the following day, December 7th, when he came home from work and discovered that she had not returned. He telephoned the NCPD in order to report her missing and that was when he was informed that she had been executed by one of its bloodthirsty officers.
Another unidentified officer then came over and retrieved Sugar's body from the Dumpster and returned it to Newhart. For some unknown reason, the trash had not been collected that day and that turned out to be doubly fortuitous for Newhart.
First of all, the retrieval of her body allowed him the opportunity to not only say goodbye to her but also to have her remains cremated. It also foiled Pursell's carefully laid plan to have the evidence of his crime disappear.
|While She Was Still Alive, Sugar Often Could Be Found in Her Box|
As things eventually turned out, that proved to be the extent of the cooperation that Newhart was ever going to get from the NCPD. "I called and I was told it was a judgment call," he related to WFMZ-TV of Allentown on January 4th. (See "Community Calls for 'Justice for Sugar'.") "He don't know nothing about it and that's all they end up doing and hung up."
It therefore goes almost without saying that to have had the cat that he adopted as a four-week-old kitten and whom his wife had bottle-fed taken from him in such a cruel and violent manner has all but destroyed Newhart's life. "Sugar was more than just a cat," he told Justice for Sugar on December 21st. "My pets are like my kids."
Sugar also was an intelligent cat. "She knew her name," he added to the San Francisco Chronicle on May 4th. (See "Wrist Slap for Cop Who Shot Sugar the Cat.") "If you'd call her, she'd come to you."
In most such instances, that would have been the end of the matter. Newhart would have been left with his grief and Sugar simply would have joined the ranks of the countless cats that are gunned down each year in the United States by cops and Animal Control officers who operate outside the purview of all morality and law and as such are accountable to absolutely no one. Newhart, however, is a man who not only cared deeply about Sugar but also one who is not easily cowered.
As a consequence, once the shock of what had been done to Sugar began to dissipate somewhat he courageously decided to take on the political and legal elites in North Catasauqua and to seek a measure of justice for Sugar. In furtherance of that objective, he and his supporters protested outside a meeting of the North Catasauqua Council on January 4th while those lucky enough to have been admitted inside attempted in vain to get the politicians to act.
A petition calling for Pursell not only to be fired but charged with animal cruelty as well quickly garnered two-hundred-thirteen-thousand signatures at Justice for Sugar. Most of them, however, came from outside the area given that the stated population of North Catasauqua is only two-thousand-eight-hundred-fourteen. There were even calls for the head of his boss, derelict Chief of Police Kim Moyer.
All of those entreaties fell upon deaf ears, however, as the political and legal establishment in North Catasauqua closed ranks and dug in its heels in an all-out effort to save the job and freedom of a low-life, cat-murdering scumbag like Pursell. The only positive development to have come out of Newhart's efforts was that he eventually was able to prevail upon Northampton County District Attorney John Morganelli to belatedly open an investigation into Sugar's murder.
His most astute move, however, was to retain the services of attorney Jenna M. Fliszar of nearby Allentown to represent him and his family and she so far has proven herself to be not only a tireless advocate for justice but also someone who is not easily intimated by her fellow legal eagles. "She (Sugar) was not sick, aggressive, or dangerous. He (Pursell) never made any attempt to catch her," she is quoted as saying in the December 21st Justice for Sugar article cited supra. "She was shot in the neck within hours of getting out of her home. He then disposed of her body in a Dumpster without making any attempt to locate her owners."
Based upon those unimpeachable facts, she arrived at the only logical and just conclusion that presents itself to any halfway honest individual. "It is hard to imagine a more willful or malicious act than this," she continued. "The only reasonable and acceptable outcome here is to charge Officer Pursell with cruelty to animals and to terminate his employment."
In addition to the lawlessness and immorality of allowing cops to kill cats at their discretion, such precipitate behavior is dangerous to the public as well, especially when undertaken in residential neighborhoods. "It's scary to have a guy (like Pursell) out there on the street," Newhart added to WFMZ-TV in the article cited supra. "He shouldn't be carrying a gun in my opinion."
Once that his actions had come under both legal and political scrutiny, Pursell and his numerous supporters significantly enlarged upon his original lies that Sugar was feral, injured, and aggressive. Before they had finished reshaping the facts in order to suit their own perverse objectives she also allegedly was hissing, dragging her rear legs, bleeding, suffering from either the mange or hair loss and, above all, mysteriously had contracted that old bugaboo known as rabies and therefore posed an imminent threat to the community at large.
Finally, after procrastinating for more than four months, Morganelli descended from Mount Olympus on May 2nd to insanely proclaim that Pursell's actions were not malicious but rather humane. "Officer Pursell made a decision in his judgment to humanely end the cat's life and suffering," he held forth to the Philadelphia Metro on May 4th. (See "'Justice for Sugar' Movement Keeps Growing after District Attorney Declines to Prosecute Cop Who Killed Cat.") "Officer Pursell fired a single shot...instantly killing the cat."
Pursell therefore was allowed to escape justice without being charged with either criminal or misdemeanor animal cruelty. Devious old Morganelli was not quite finished just yet however and in an act of outrageous beau geste to cat lovers everywhere he issued him a citation for, as best it could be determined from the local media's slipshod and elliptical coverage, failing to seek veterinary care for Sugar.
"I cannot conclude that (Sugar) should have been summarily killed without more of an effort to isolate the animal and, perhaps, obtain veterinary care," he told The Morning Call of Allentown on May 2nd. (See "District Attorney Cites North Catasauqua Cop Who Shot Sugar the Cat.")
Morganelli's behavior is odd in itself in that it is usually police officers, not prosecutors, who issue citations; the latter usually restrict their actions to either lodging or dismissing complaints. In any event, such a citation has been likened in the media to being the legal equivalent of a parking ticket and as such would have ended up costing Pursell at the most a minuscule fine.
All of that would have been shameful enough in its own right if only Morganelli had had the bon sens to have stopped there but rather than doing so he plowed ahead and shot off his big mouth about several topics that not only left little doubt about his ingrained prejudices but also called into question his own personal integrity. He began his tour de force by lambasting Newhart for failing to report that Sugar was missing to the police.
|Jenna M. Fliszar|
From there he proceeded to censure Newhart for having allowed his cats to roam freely without collars on three separate occasions in the past. Sugar was the culprit in one of those incidents but the details of it and how it was handled have not been divulged in press reports.
Nevertheless, that is one argument that Morganelli would have been better off not making because it actually works against both him and his buddy Pursell. That is because the NCPD not only was familiar with Sugar but also with Newhart's other cats and the neighborhood as well and as such Pursell should have suspected from the outset that the cat he encountered in Lienert's yard belonged to the homeowner five doors down at 733 Hunter Street.
While he had the wind up, Morganelli not only had the temerity to call Fliszar a liar but he also accused her of contributing to a "mob mentality" around the case. Au contraire, a close examination of not only the facts but Morganelli's statements themselves point to the exact opposite conclusion.
Most prominently, in his report he not only endorses Pursell's lies that Sugar was injured, bleeding, and suffering from the mange and hair loss, but he also contends that Northampton County has a significant number of homeless cats and that some of them have rabies. Such unsupported sottise, quite naturally, evoked a spirited rebuttal from Newhart's attorney.
"It is beyond my comprehension that he can say that we are putting out misinformation related to there not being any injuries when the veterinary report backs up what we're saying," she responded to the Philadelphia Metro. "He (Pursell) is saying that the cat was so injured he (sic) was dragging his (sic) back leg, and couldn't walk and was leaving a trail of blood. There'd be something significant on the veterinary exam and there wasn't anything -- other than the bullet hole."
That certainly is true enough in that after he had retrieved Sugar's body from the Dumpster, Newhart took it to the Stanglein Veterinary Clinic (SVC) in the borough of Northampton where it was radiographed and examined by Nate Stanglein. Not only was he unable to find any visible signs that she had been suffering from rabies but there were not any injuries to her body other than the bullet hole put in her neck by Pursell.
It therefore should be clear to one and all that the allegation that Sugar was injured was a complete fabrication started by Lienert as an excuse to get her removed from his yard. Pursell embellished it in order to excuse his killing of her and, like sheep to the slaughter, Morganelli followed suit in an attempt to exonerate him of all wrong doing.
As it was to have been expected, Morganelli's decision pleased neither side in this heated dispute. "He (Newhart) feels like there is no justice here," Fliszar told the Philadelphia Metro. "He feels like they put all the blame on him."
Although he was glad to have prevailed in court, Pursell's attorney, Gary Asteak of Easton, immediately announced his intention to appeal the minuscule fine handed down to his client. While he was at it, he could not resist the overpowering temptation to heap scorn on both cats and their owners.
"Based upon the fact that it was injured, the officer followed the use of force directives provided him by the police department," he pontificated to The Morning Call in the May 2nd article cited supra. "My sense is that the prosecution is based more on public sentiment from the 'Cat Lives Matter' movement than it is based on the prosecutor's examination of police practices."
In that light it would be interesting to know if he likewise looks down his long, dirty schnoz at the "Black Lives Matter" movement with the same sneering condescension. As a highly-paid defense attorney, he at the very least should be cognizant of the fact that the courts are open to all aggrieved parties provided, of course, that they have a certain amount of money.
Besides, if the situation were otherwise there would not be anywhere nearly as many criminals, such as Pursell and the NCPD, to maintain him living in the lap of luxury. He therefore should be concerned that his buddies in blue are going to eventually erode his client base by executing them in the street.
In between his blustering, ad hominen attacks, and blatant lies, Asteak did, most likely inadvertently, make one point worth considering. "The decision by the district attorney sends a message to police officers statewide that it is not their job to deal with feral animals," he pointed out to The Morning Call. "They should tell their municipalities to hire an Animal Control officer (sic)."
As best it could be determined, neither North Catasauqua, Northampton County, nor the borough of Northampton have either an animal shelter or an Animal Control officer between them. North Catasauqua apparently does operate a kennel but it is exclusively for dogs.
Even though all shelters and Animal Control officers are little more than thinly disguised cat exterminators, they are still preferable to turning loose police officers to take the law into their own hands and thus to mete out their own perverted versions of curbside justice. With that being the case, both North Catasauqua and the county are partially to blame for Sugar's death.
Furthermore, there are innumerable veterinary practices in the area, including the SVC which is located only 3.7 kilometers north of Newhart's home in the borough of Northampton. Since both the borough and the county are too cheap to operate either a shelter or to hire an Animal Control officer, they at the very least should be willing to foot the bill for the veterinary care of all sick, injured, and impounded cats. It also likely would be considerably more economical than paying shysters like Asteak to defend rogue cops.
Far from putting an end to this legal tug-of-war, Morganelli's ruling served only to throw additional business to the Northampton County Court of Common Pleas, sitting in Easton, which convened on August 8th in order to hear Pursell's appeal of the citation. Both Newhart and Stanglein testified in the one-day trial but they did not have anything new to say.
Pursell took the stand in his own defense in order to reiterate the same old lies that he had told earlier about Sugar being, inter alia, feral, rabid, limping, bleeding, and suffering from the mange. The only new twist that he added this time around was to declare that he did not have any gloves, blankets, or even a cage in order to have trapped her.
On all of those points he clearly was lying because all cops are issued gloves and they most likely carry blankets in the trunks of their cruisers. Cages can be easily and inexpensively purchased at any pet store and whenever such retailers are not readily available makeshift ones can be improvised out of boxes, trash cans, and other devices. Bait, such as tuna, can be found at almost any retailer that sells either human or cat food.
He also lied when he told the court that there were not any nearby veterinary surgeries open on a Sunday, the day that he shot Sugar. On the contrary, the Valley Central Veterinary Referral and Emergency Center, located at 210 Fullerton Avenue in Whitehall, is open twenty-four-hours a day, seven days a week. Best of all, it is located less than six kilometers from Newhart's house and Pursell could have driven Sugar there in twelve minutes.
The Quakertown Veterinary Clinic, located at 2250 North Old Bethlehem Pike in Quakertown, also never closes its doors. Although not quite as conveniently located as Valley Central, it nonetheless is slightly less than thirty kilometers from Newhart's house and Pursell come have driven there in thirty-seven minutes.
Moyer then took the stand in order to testify under oath that his officers are free to do with cats as they see fit. He also backed up Pursell's claim that Sugar surely must have been feral and rabid because, believe it or not, cats of that description had been reported in the neighboring borough of Catasauqua.
On both counts his testimony not only appears to have been erroneous but perjured as well. First of all, although local ordinances in Pennsylvania allow police officers to kill injured cats, two individuals must confirm that such drastic action is warranted.
The legal yardstick possibly could be different in cases where rabies is suspected but just the making of such a determination requires that cats suspected of carrying the deadly disease be trapped and held for observation for between ten and fourteen days. The only other way to make such a diagnosis is to kill the cat and then to send brain tissue samples to a laboratory for analysis.
Since Pursell not only did not do any of that but also nonchalantly handled Sugar's corpse after killing her, he quite obviously never in his wildest dreams believed for one minute that she had rabies. The same is equally true for the big liar Moyer.
That assessment of his credibility is buttressed by a report from an unidentified resident of North Catasauqua who telephoned him after Sugar's murder in order to express his concerns about rabies. On that occasion, Moyer told him pointblank that there was not any "reason to believe there were any rabid cats in North Catty." (See Justice for Sugar, untitled article dated August 8th.)
In spite of all of that and more, Judge Jaqueline Taschler turned a deaf ear to all truth, justice, and logic and issued Pursell a clean bill of health. "But what you did was not right," she lectured him according to The Morning Call's August 8th edition. (See "Judge to North Catasauqua Cop on Killing Cat: 'What You Did Was Not Right'.") "It just wasn't criminal."
She quite obviously takes an extremely narrow view of a Pennsylvania ordinance which defines animal cruelty as "willfully and maliciously killing...any dog or cat belonging to himself or otherwise." Moreover, if what Pursell did to Sugar does not qualify as "willful and malicious" behavior it is difficult to see how that the courts in the Keystone State ever could be prevailed upon to convict anyone, either cop or civilian, of animal cruelty no matter how heinous the crime.
Pursell, who showed up in court accompanied by Asteak, his witnesses, and a contingent of NCPD bigwigs decked out in full departmental regalia, quite obviously thought that the entire proceeding was nothing but a big joke and that provided Taschler with the excuse that she had been waiting for in order to not only confirm his suspicions but those of the entire world as well. "You can sit there and smirk because you won," she scolded him according to the version of events rendered in The Morning Call.
While she was busily ladling the sugar on a simply disgraceful ruling that stinks all the way to high heaven, Taschler also admitted to Pursell that she thought his claim that Sugar had rabies was a "red herring." If she truly had believed that, she not only would have handed down an entirely different verdict but she also would have convicted him and his buddy Moyer of perjury.
If her ludicrous ruling accomplished nothing else it provided Asteak with yet still another golden opportunity in order to strut his stuff and to tell more lies. "He was acting as a police officer must," he preened to The Morning Call on August 8th. "He was not provided with the tools to do anything else other than what he did. He did what he had to do."
If any civilian walked into court and his shyster stood up and blabbed such utter nonsense that individual would be laughed at and his client would be put underneath the jail as opposed to in it and for a bloody long time. If therefore is safe to conclude that the members of the legal profession, quite obviously, operate on two separate sets of rules. C'est-à-dire, they screw all outsiders to the wall every opportunity that they get but let off their own members scot-free no matter either how numerous or heinous the crimes that they commit.
Perhaps that is one of the reasons that lawyer jokes so often fall flat. Lawyers do not think that they are funny and no one else ever can be quite convinced that they are jokes.
So, once all was said and done Pursell, still smirking and jerking, strutted out of court not only as a free man but also as a hero to his fellow officers and cat killers everywhere. Best of all, since the NCPD footed the bill for Askeak's disingenuous blatherings, the entire affair did not cost him so much as a red cent.
Although the police department in Coplay, three kilometers northwest of North Catasauqua, has offered him a job of murdering cats for it, his present employer may not be quite so eager to see him go and therefore could be sweetening the pot for him to stay. A promotion could be in the offing and Mayor William Molchany Jr. may even be contemplating the commissioning and erection of a statue in his honor.
Even a ticker-tape parade through the streets of North Catasauqua may not be entirely out of the question. As a people, Americans always have exalted the base, criminal, and patently immoral at the expense of their polar opposites.
The NCPD also has escaped unscathed. Moyer not only still has his job but, more importantly, he has not announced any deviation from his department's policy of shooting cats on sight. Even more indicative of the moral depravity that flourishes within the ranks of the force, neither he nor Pursell has had so much as the common decency to issue an apology to Newhart and his family.
Molchany and Council members, both of whom have fully supported Pursell and Moyer throughout this sordid affair, are likewise still sitting pretty with no intention of either going anywhere any time soon or reigning in the city's rogue police force. Likewise, they are not about to authorize either the building of a shelter or the hiring of an Animal Control officer. That, in one respect, is good news as far as homeless cats are concerned but it still leaves them and domestics, such as Sugar, at the mercy of bloodthirsty, trigger-happy cops.
Worst of all, they are not about to make any provisions for the veterinary care of cats so much as suspected of being injured, sick, or simply homeless. The best therefore that can be said for them is that they are consistent in their pigheadedness and niggardliness.
Although it is not known if Sugar had visited his yard on previous occasions, Lienart has gotten rid of her for good and now knows exactly what to do the next time that any cat trespasses on his turf. As far as the pompous blowhard Asteak is concerned, he has another feather for his cowboy hat to go along with the bushel basket full of taxpayer shekels that the earned for helping a merciless killer of a defenseless cat to escape justice.
Both Morganelli and Taschler have cemented their standing within Pennsylvania's notoriously corrupt legal establishment by proving themselves once again to be solid and reliable members who will do almost anything in order to protect and promote their fellow partners in crime. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences would be sorely remiss if it failed to recognize them with Academy Awards for pretending to care about cats, their owners, and the eternal requirements of justice all the while pimping and whoring on behalf of a cold-blooded cat murderer and his superiors.
Even those individuals and organizations that line their pockets while supposedly defending and protecting cats and other animals have categorically refused to come to Sugar's and Newhart's defense. Even more outrageously, the Philadelphia-based Pennsylvania SPCA (PSPCA) has sided with Pursell.
"We cannot determine whether this animal's condition would warrant this type of action as we do not know what injuries it may have had prior to its shooting," the group's Gillian Kocher equivocated to the Philadelphia Metro in the article cited supra.
|Brokenhearted Tom Newhart Is Trying to Cope with a Devastating Loss|
That is pure baloney in that the PSPCA is every bit as familiar with the SVC's post-mortem examination of Sugar as everyone else. Secondly, it is totally unforgivable that any allegedly humane organization would endorse shooting, as opposed to treating, any injured or sick cat. The petit fait that Sugar was a completely healthy cat makes Kocher's reasoning all the more odious.
The capitalist media, both local and national, once again have left little doubt that they function primarily as a department of agitprop for the legal and political establishment. That ingrained prejudice manifested itself most vividly in the limited amount of both ink and air time that they devoted to this all-important issue as well as their unwillingness to investigate this crime themselves in an effort to arrive at the facts and the truth.
None of them likewise was willing to divulge any information concerning Pursell's prior record with the NCPD or even to display a photograph of him. By contrast, these rotters plaster the photographs, personal data, and even unfounded malicious gossip about civilians charged, but not convicted, of even minor infractions all over the Internet, their television channels, radio stations, and newspapers.
It therefore is impossible to arrive at any other conclusion than that the legal and political establishment in both North Catasauqua and Northampton County has sold out, and rather cheaply at that, in order to protect a merciless and totally unrepentant cat killer. In doing so, it has squandered whatever vestiges of legitimacy and integrity that it once may have enjoyed and as a result it is no longer any better than the criminal Pursell
Even more appalling is the across-the-board unwillingness of any of the legal and political elites to ever speak the unvarnished truth about anything. The public instead is treated to a never-ending litany of legal double-talk, obfuscations, and outright blatant lies.
"You know I hate, detest, and can't bear a lie; not because I am straighter than the rest of us, but simply because it appalls me," Joe Conrad proclaimed in his 1899 novel, Heart of Darkness. "There is a taint of death, a flavor of mortality in lies -- which is exactly what I hate and detest in the world -- what I want to forget. It makes me miserable and sick, like biting something rotten would do."
That certainly is a more than apt description of the conditions that prevail today in North Catasauqua in that the legal and political establishment is definitely rotten to the core. Moreover, Sugar is far from being the borough's only casualty in that all concern for justice and the truth died out a long time ago.
On the other side of the equation, there is undeniably some small measure of truth in Morganelli's contention that Newhart is not completely guileless in Sugar's death. Although it is almost impossible to anticipate the myriad of dangers that lurk for cats in any neighborhood, he perhaps should have been more watchful of her and his other cats, especially given that he had had three prior runs-ins with the police concerning their tendency to roam.
Apparently, the borough does not have in situ either an anti-roaming ordinance or a requirement that cats must wear collars and that, coupled with the fact that it does not employ an Animal Control officer, makes it all but certain that these complaints were lodged against Newhart by disgruntled neighbors. Lienert possibly even could have been one of them.
At the very least, Newhart therefore is guilty of ignoring those complaints. Neighbors who confine their behavior to merely complaining are actually, in an imperfect world, doing cat owners a favor in that many of their fellow despisers of the species elect to take the law into their own hands and therefore strike without warning. (See Cat Defender posts of September 24, 2007, July 8, 2010, June 30, 2011, August 17, 2011, March 9, 2012, and January 10, 2014 entitled, respectively, "California Man Who Slew His Neighbor's Cat with a Bow and Arrow Is Sentenced to Three Years in Jail," "North Carolina State Trooper Who Illegally Trapped and Shot His Next Door Neighbor's Cat, Rowdy, Is Now Crying for His Job Back," "No Cat Is Safe Any Longer in New Hampshire Resort Town after a Local Court Sets Free Molly's Shotgun Murderer with a Trivial $200 Fine," "Ernst K. Walks Away Smelling Like a Rose as Both the Prosecutor and Judge Turn his Trial for Killing Rocco into a Lovefest for a Sadistic Cat Killer," "Amateur Ornithologist Guns Down Hartley with an Air Rile, Feigns Remorse, and Then Cheats Justice by Begging and Lying," and "Texas Judge Idiotically Allows Pastor Rick Bartlett to Get Away with Stealing and Killing Moody but a Civil Court May Yet Hold Him Accountable.")
Other individuals steal their neighbors' cats, dump them at remote, undisclosed locations, and then resort to taunting them with anonymous letters. (See Cat Defender posts of October 30, 2007, November 16, 2007, and December 24, 2007 entitled, respectively, "Crafty Bird Lover Claims Responsibility for Stealing Six Cats from a Southampton Neighborhood and Concealing Their Whereabouts," "Fletcher, One of the Cats Abducted from Bramley Crescent, Is Killed by a Motorist in Corhampton," and "Prominent New Zealand Physician Who Ludicrously Claims to Be an Ailurophile Gets Away with Stealing and Dumping His Neighbor's Cat.")
Yet still other ailurophobes steal their neighbors' cats and give them to shelters and rescue groups to exterminate. (See Cat Defender posts of October 30, 2006, March 9, 2007, August 19, 2010, and January 11, 2012 entitled, respectively, "A Collar Saves a Cat Named Turbo from Extermination After He Is Illegally Trapped by Bird-Loving Psychopaths," "Long Island Serial Cat Killer Guilty of Only Disorderly Conduct, Corrupt Court Rules," "Music Lessons and Buggsey Are Murdered by a Cat-Hating Gardener and an Extermination Factory Posing as an Animal Shelter in Saginaw," and "A Deadly Intrigue Concocted by a Thief, a Shelter, and a Veterinary Chain Costs Ginger the Continued Enjoyment of His Golden Years.")
In Newhart's case, he quite obviously was unaware of the dangers that awaited Sugar outside his door and that makes it imperative that he keep a closer eye on his remaining felines. It is not only cruel but exceedingly difficult to coop up cats indoors all the time but with neighbors like Lienert and monsters such as Pursell on the prowl their personal safety must be his primary concern.
The only other option open to him would be to pull up stakes and relocate elsewhere. That would not be a bad idea in that Pennsylvania is one of the most repressive and dangerous places in the country for cats. Not only do all sorts of private individuals, public officials, and organizations commit wholesale atrocities against the species all the time but they do so with the blessings of the courts. (See Cat Defender posts of March 5, 2007, March 19, 2010, April 24, 2010, May 10, 2010, and October 30, 2010 entitled, respectively, "Run Down by a Motorist and Frozen to the Ice by His Own Blood, Roo Is Saved by a Caring Woman," "Trapped and Killed by the Delaware County SPCA, Keecha's Life Is Valued at Only $1 by a Pennsylvania Arbitration Panel," "Holly Crawford Hits the Jackpot by Drawing a Judge Who Simply Adores Kitten Mutilators and Dope Addicts," "Lunatic Rulings in Cats With No Name Cruelty Cases Prove Once Again That Pennsylvania Is a Safe Haven for Cat Killers and Junkies," and "Drunken Bum Is Foiled in a Macabre Plot to Make a Meal Out of Kittens, Nirvana and Karma, That He Allegedly Run Down Earlier with His Truck.")
One of the principal reasons that cats count for so very little with the authorities are the horrendous examples set for them and the anti-cat propaganda disseminated at the state's disgraceful and revolting degree mills. (See Cat Defender posts of February 12, 2007, June 9, 2008, and March 19, 2014 entitled, respectively, "God-Fearing Baptists at Eastern University Kill Off Their Feral Cats on the Sly while Students Are Away on Christmas Break," "Pennsylvania College Greedily Snatches Up Alumnus' Multimillion-Dollar Bequest But Turns Away His Cat, Princess," and "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.")
Then to talk about fish rotting from the head, the state's legal establishment is so rotten and corrupt that not only have several of its Supreme Court justices been forced out of office in recent years but on August 15th a Montgomery County court convicted state attorney general Kathleen G. Kane of two counts of perjury and seven misdemeanor counts of abusing the power of her office. (See The Philadelphia Inquirer, August 20, 2016, "Kane Impeachment Still a Possibility.")
It often has been observed that misery loves company and in that respect the residents of the Keystone State can take comfort, albeit a chilly one at that, in knowing that their legal and political system is far from being the only corrupt one in the country. For instance, back in 2011 and 2012 the elites in Virginia banded together and in doing so pulled out every underhanded and devious trick known to their ignoble class in order to save the career of Jonathan N. Snoddy of the Harrisonburg Police Department (HPD) after he had bludgeoned to death an injured cat.
In circumstances that bear an eerie resemblance to those that befell Sugar, a cat of unspecified age, pedigree, and sex was run down and left for dead by a hit-and-run motorist on Settlers lane on November 11, 2011. It was found by kindhearted area resident Wayne Meadows who first attempted to secure assistance for it by telephoning the Harrisonburg SPCA, Animal Control, and several veterinarians.
|Sugar at Play|
When all of them, characteristically, stiffed him he then committed the faux pas of telephoning the HPD. Twenty-five-year-old hotshot Snoddy promptly arrived on the scene and although veterinary assistance was only thirty minutes away he promptly killed the cat.
The manner in which he did so was not either particularly pretty or humane. In particular, he took his night stick to its head and just to make doubly sure that it was dead he bashed its head against Meadows' townhouse.
Although the homeowner by that time had gone back inside, he later testified in court that he had overheard at least twenty blows having been administered to the cat. True enough, the bloodstains left on Meadows' porch and the damage done to the rock work testified to the savagery of Snoddy's attack.
To condense the rather lengthy legal wranglings that ensued to a few words, the HPD, mayor, City Council, the Virginia State Bar, and multiple prosecutors and judges all put their misshapen gourds together and as a result of their legal shenanigans Snoddy walked away scot-free after having been forced to stand in the dock twice. He and his supporters also received a big assist from the slimy capitalist media and all the phony-baloney animal rights groups that refused to come to the cat's defense.
From start to finish, the legal proceedings against Snoddy were not only a farce but represented one of the darkest and most shameful moments in the history of American jurisprudence. (See Cat Defender posts of March 22, 2012, April 26, 2012, and August 23, 2012 entitled, respectively, "In Another Outrageous Miscarriage of Justice, Rogue Cop Jonathan N. Snoddy Is Let Off with a $50 Fine for Savagely Bludgeoning to Death an Injured Cat," "Virginia's Disreputable Legal and Political Establishment Is All Set to Acquit Jonathan N. Snoddy at His Retrial for Brutally Beating to Death an Injured Cat," and "Cat-Killing Cop Jonathan N. Snoddy Struts Out of Court as Free as a Bird Thanks to a Carefully Choreographed Charade Concocted by Virginia's Despicable and Dishonest Legal System.")
The one thing that Snoddy and Pursell share in common is that out of the hundreds of cops who murder cats each year in the land of the dollar bill they are the only ones, as best it could be determined, ever to have been either publicly identified or prosecuted in any form. The remainder of them commit their dastardly deeds with impunity.
For example on March 22, 2008, an unidentified twenty-five-year veteran of the police force in the Pittsburgh suburb of Cecil, four-hundred-seventy-six kilometers west of North Catasauqua, executed Roger Oldtaker's ten-year-old Persian, Elmo. As was the case with Sugar, the wheels that led to his demise were set in motion when an unidentified neighbor telephoned the police in order to report a clowder of cats loitering on either his or her property. As an inducement in order to get them to act, the complainant alleged that one of them had rabies.
The gunslinger arrived promptly on the scene, trapped the expensive-looking tom and then shot him. (See Cat Defender post of March 31, 2008 entitled "Cecil, Pennsylvania, Police Officer Summarily Executes Family's Beloved Ten-Year-Old Persian, Elmo.")
An almost identical scenario featuring a new cast played out to an entirely different audience on September 9, 2009 in Raymore, Missouri, when the police murdered Kelly Wesner's nineteen-year-old cat, Tobey. Once again, a cat-hating neighbor was the instigator of the police's machinations against him.
In this case, the neighbor first turned a garden hose on him before telephoning the gendarmes in order to report that a "large, vicious feral cat with rabies had scratched a girl." The supposedly defenders of law and order arrived johnny-on-the-spot whereby they snared Tobey with a catch pole and then pumped two shotgun blasts into his tiny head. After they had completed their dirty work, they then stuffed his body into a plastic bag and deposited it in a Dumpster.
In the uproar that followed, the police enlarged upon their totally unfounded allegation that Tobey had had rabies by claiming that he had his claws extended and that it had taken three of them in order to wrestle the scratching and clawing cat into a box.
As it shortly was revealed, not only was he anything but a large and vicious tom who suffered from rabies, but rather he was deaf and weighed only six pounds. Most important of all, he also had been cruelly declawed and therefore was not in any position to either have extended his claws or to have scratched anyone even if he had been so inclined. (See Cat Defender post of September 16, 2009 entitled "Acting Solely Upon the Lies of a Cat-Hater, Raymore Police Pump Two Shotgun Blasts into the Head of Nineteen-Year-Old Declawed and Deaf Tobey.")
Later on August 20, 2011, the police in Lebanon, Ohio, executed Dori Stone's beloved cat, Haze, and then tossed his bloody corpse into a Dumpster. Like just about all of these incidents, Haze's road to doom began when an unidentified neighbor called the police to report a stray cat with rabies loitering either on or near his or her property. Despite the fact that Haze weighed twenty pounds and was clearly obese and had been found in an exclusively residential area, the police afterwards stood by their outrageous lie that he was a stray suffering from rabies.
"We (she and her family) love our cats. Do you know what it was like to pull your pet out of the garbage can and then pull him out of the garbage bag and his head is bloody with a bullet hole in it?" she asked in much the same fashion that Newhart was destined to later do immediately following Haze's murder. "It's so violent that they did this to our animal and made no effort to call the humane society to find his owners." (See Cat Defender post of September 22, 2011 entitled "Neanderthaloid Politicians in Lebanon, Ohio, Wholeheartedly Sanction the Illegal and Cold-Blooded Murder of Haze by a Trigger-Happy Cop.")
More recently on August 20, 2014, a five to eight year old tuxedo named Clark from Gorham, Maine, found out firsthand just how injurious the lies of cat-haters can be when he narrowly escaped a deathly encounter with the local police. The trouble all began when, once again, an unidentified neighbor telephoned the Gorham Police Department (GPD) to report that a limping and rabid cat had either bitten or scratched a seven-year-old girl.
Part-time Animal Control officer and part-time traffic cop Paul Dubay arrived on the scene where he made a half-hearted attempt to trap Clark. Once that ploy had failed, he telephoned his department to request that a death squad to be dispatched to the scene. In order to make doubly certain that the cavalry arrived and relieved him of his responsibilities, he told his dispatcher that Clark not only had attempted to bite him but that he was staggering, weeping, and vomiting.
Two marksmen from the GPD showed up shortly and one of them wasted no time in blasting Clark with a sixteen-gauge shotgun. The blast shattered multiple bones in both of Clark's front legs but he, miraculously, escaped with his life by fleeing into the woods and the bone-lazy cops were not about to chase him.
Even Eric Sakach of the phony-baloney Humane Society of the United States was left incredulous at the level of incompetence displayed by Dubay. "This may be the first time I've ever heard of a police officer responding to help an Animal Control officer with a cat," he later swore. "Animal Control officers should be trained and have the equipment to properly trap a cat."
|Sugar's Empty Box|
Jeana Roth of the Animal Refuge League of Greater Portland, which later took in and treated Clark, echoed those sentiments. "We hope the message here is that if you have a stray animal in your neighborhood use your shelter as a resource," she counseled. "This is not a typical way (shot up) for a cat to be brought to us. We never want to see a situation like this again." (See Cat Defender post of September 27, 2014 entitled "Falsely Branded as Being Rabid by a Cat-Hater, an Animal Control Officer, and the Gorham Police Department, Clark Is Hounded Down and Blasted with a Shotgun.")
Even when cops are not actually shooting cats they are either running them down with their cruisers or siccing their dogs on them. (See Cat Defender posts of June 18, 2015 and July 2, 2015 entitled, respectively, "Harry Is Run Down and Killed by a Pair of Derbyshire Police Officers Who Then Steal and Dispose of His Body in an Amateurish Attempt to Cover Up Their Heinous Crime" and "After Allowing One of Their Dogs to Maul McGuire to Within an Inch of His Life, the Toronto Police Do Not Have Even the Common Decency to Summon Veterinary Help for Him.")
The pattern that emerges from an examination of all of these cases is every bit as unmistakable as it is undeniable. First of all, the catalysts for all of these shootings have been disgruntled cat-haters.
They are unquestionably ailurophobes because they do not respond in a similar fashion whenever deer, raccoons, squirrels, and other animals encroach upon their Grundstücks; im Gegenteil, it is only cats that provoke such animus.
To put the matter succinctly, whereas some of these fiends historically have either killed or stolen their neighbors' cats, others have turned them over to shelters to do their dirty work for them. Of late a third school of thought, led by proponents such as Lienert, has emerged which inveigles police officers into doing their bidding.
Secondly, cops for their part are only too willing to be of service because there is absolutely nothing in this big, wide world that they enjoy more than spilling innocent blood. Like all criminals, however, they are in constant need of an endless myriad of excuses in order to justify behaving as they do and that is why that every single cat that they summarily execute is, inter alia, sick, injured, aggressive, feral, rabid, mangy, and a threat to society. Moreover, most of them are such inveterate liars that they would swear upon a stack of Bibles that every single one of the immaculately groomed and pampered felines on display each year at the Westminster Cat Show was mangy, feral, and rabid and therefore should be shot if they believed for one minute that they could get away with doing so.
Thirdly, it is long overdue that the legal and political community finally acknowledged just how widespread and ingrained ailurophobia is in this society and undertook concrete measures in order to remedy this intolerable situation. Cats are entitled to the full exercise of the protections afforded them under the anti-cruelty statutes and their aggrieved owners most definitely deserve fair hearings by impartial courts as opposed to the trumped-up, biased proceedings that Newhart and the supporters of the forever nameless Harrisonburg cat have received in return for their efforts.
Fourthly, neither rescue groups nor veterinarians are of any use whatsoever when it comes to saving feline lives. The only time that most of them can be prevailed upon to intervene is when cats are delivered to their doorsteps and even then they must be paid in advance for their services. If not, the only thing that they are good for is behaving like police officers and thereby immediately executing them.
Fifthly, in addition to the myriad of other problems that surround their usage, implanted microchips are not only useless but dangerous when it comes to protecting cats against the murderous urges of cops. Although they have the liabilities, conventional collars and tags are a far better option in that they just might succeed in certain circumstances in deterring cops from resorting to the use of lethal force. (See Cat Defender posts of May 25, 2006, September 21, 2007, November 6, 2010, and April 28, 2016 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," "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," and "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.")
"Although the criminal case may be over, we are still seeking justice," the author of an untitled article posted August 9th on Justice of Sugar has vowed. "There are a few things going on that we're not able to discuss yet, but please trust us that we are still working hard behind the scenes."
Most likely the author is referring to a wrongful death civil lawsuit against Pursell and the borough of North Catasauqua. Although some cat owners actually have won civil judgments against private individuals who have killed their cats, no known cases come of mind of whereby that they have even sued, let alone prevailed, against police officers.
Such an undertaking nevertheless certainly would be worth a try but even then the case would have to be heard in Pennsylvania's draconian court system and before judges and juries that have little regard for the sanctity of feline life. Besides, the cost, time, and exertion involved is destined to be considerable.
Another possibility would be for Newhart to go after Lienart. It was him after all who initialed Sugar's death warrant by ratting her out to the police in the first place.
It now appears in hindsight that he purposefully lied to the police when he reported that Sugar was injured and the reason that he did so was to make certain that they took action; if he had not done so, they simply might have told him to have handled the matter himself. Plus, his telephone call has been preserved and there are laws against filing false police reports.
More than likely, however, Lienert would simply counter by arguing that he was mistaken about Sugar having been injured if the matter ever came to court. The difficulties involved in holding individuals like him accountable under the law in no way detracts from the realization that something desperately needs to be done about them and now.
The nexus between the lies and unfounded allegations disseminated against cats by despisers of the species and the corresponding malice aforethought shown them by officers of the law is simply too obvious for either society or the courts to ignore any longer. Even if Newhart ultimately should fail to prevail in a damage suit against Lienert, such an undertaking just might possibly deter other cat-haters from concocting lies in order to inveigle the police into killing cats.
Regardless of whatever happens in civil court, none of that is ever going to bring back Sugar. Her tiny box at home is empty and is destined to remain so forever.
Newhart, meanwhile, has been left with a hurt that stubbornly refuses to abate. "When you look at pictures you cry as if it were your own child," is how that he summed up this heartbreaking tragedy and outrageous miscarriage of justice to WFMZ-TV.
Photos: Tom Newhart (Sugar up close and at play), Justice for Sugar (Sugar in her box), The Fliszar Firm (Fliszar), johnmorganelli.com (Morganelli), Stanglein Veterinary Clinic (Stanglein), and April Bartholomew of The Morning Call (Newhart and Sugar's empty box).