.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

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

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Browser Beats Back a Determined Effort to Oust Him from the White Settlement Public Library and in Doing So Has the Distinct Pleasure of Seeing His Political Nemesis Voted Out of Office

Browser Is the Library's Number One Attraction

"Browser is still employed and will be as long as he wishes to continue his duties as mascot and reading helper for children at the library."
-- Ronald A. White, mayor of White Settlement

Cats do not often come out on top in this ailurophobic world but a handsome six-year-old gray male named Browser from White Settlement appears to have pulled off that herculean feat by beating back a determined effort to evict him from the public library. "Browser is still employed and will be as long as he wishes to continue his duties as mascot and reading helper for children at the library," Mayor Ronald A. White declared to The Dallas Morning News on December 13th. (See "Browser Will Be White Settlement Cat for Life, Mayor Says.")

Adopted from a local shelter in October of 2010 by the White Settlement Public Library (WSPL), the then tiny kitten quickly became a huge favorite of both staffers and patrons alike in the small community of sixteen-thousand souls located sixteen kilometers west of Fort Worth. He often can be found either napping on staffers' chairs and desks, lounging on top of computer keyboards, or assisting children with their studies.

Always on the lookout in order to better himself, he attends GED classes twice and week and for that effort he has been rewarded with an honorary high school diploma. Even more remarkably, he was able to accomplish that milestone in spite of suffering from periodic bouts of Wanderlust that prompt him to make impromptu breaks for any doors that have been left ajar by arriving and departing visitors to the facility at 8215 White Settlement Road.

Although he more than pays for his keep through the many hats that he wears, such as that of mascot, goodwill ambassador, and rodent chaser, he additionally puts money in the library's coffers by graciously consenting to pose for its annual calendars which staffers then sell back to his legions of fans and others. All things considered, the arrangement has worked out remarkably well for both parties and, best of all, the library saved a life by ransoming him off of death row.

The tranquility and happiness that he had enjoyed for so many years was rudely shattered back in June, however, and it all began with, predictably, a dog. That was when City Secretary Amy Arnold brought an unidentified puppy to work with her which in turn provoked the ire of seventy-five-year-old city councilman Elzie Clements.

"City Hall and city businesses are no place (sic) for animals," he declared to Fox News on June 26th. (See "Texas City Council Votes to Evict Library Cat.")

Arnold accordingly was instructed to get rid of the dog and when he obediently complied that served as the catalyst for Clements to go after Browser's tiny head in a spirited effort to add it to his trophy collection. Now feeling his oats more than ever, the old warhorse was able to convince councilman Paul Moore to support his scheme to remove Browser from the library.

The City Council then compliantly voted two to one on June 14th to issue Browser a thirty-day eviction notice. Only councilman David Mann was able to muster the moxie in order to go against Clements' wishes.

The reaction to that disastrous turn of events was quick and predictable. "We've had that cat five (sic) years, and there's never been a question," White, a nominal, non-voting member of the council, complained afterwards to Fox News.

It was, however, Lillian Blackburn of the Friends of the WSPL who most succinctly and eloquently summed up the sorry situation. "This cat has been loved by people of all ages for six years," she pointed out to Fox News. "I don't have any animals but this cat is so gentle and so lovable and he brings so much comfort to so many people, it seems a shame to take him away."

Mayor Ronald A. White

To their credit, neither the library nor the citizens of White Settlement were about to knuckle under to the prejudices of a mean-spirited old man with a political ax to grind and they accordingly circulated a petition demanding that Browser be allowed to continue residing in the only home that he ever has known and it quickly garnered more than twenty-thousand signatures. His supporters received a major shot in the arm when both the mainstream as well as social media rallied to his defense.

In particular, his desperate plight was not only chronicled on Facebook, Gawker, and BuzzFeed, but also by the Associated Press, The Washington Post, and The New York Times. That in turn led to White being inundated with at least fourteen-hundred e-mail letters, some of which came from as far away as London, Guam, and Australia.

"They're all in support of the cat," he divulged to the Grizzly Detail of Fort Worth on July 8th. (See "Council Reinstates Library Cat at Special Me(ow)eting Friday.")

That alone put the obscure little town with the provocative moniker on the map. "We are now known all over the world," White caroled to The Fort Worth Star-Telegram on July 1st. (See "Browser the Cat Gets to Stay at White Settlement Library.") "I'm not sure yet if that's a good thing or a bad thing. I never expected this would get this big."

As things eventually turned out, that was not the end of the matter but rather only the beginning in that public opposition to Browser's ouster became so widespread and vociferous that City Council was forced into calling a special meeting on July 1st in order to undo the colossal damage that it earlier had inflicted. On that memorable occasion, fifty or more of Browser's avid supporters packed council chambers while others waited outside and once the political dust had settled councilman Paul Moore had reversed his earlier vote and joined Mann in voting to rescind the eviction notice.

Realizing that he was licked, Clements grudgingly joined his opponents in making the decision unanimous. To say that he was unhappy with that outcome would be a gross understatement.

Although he unmercifully castigated both mainstream and social media for meddling in White Settlement's affairs, he reserved his most poisonous venom for cat-lovers. "This small group of activists and their political supporters have chosen to ignore the needs of the minority group of people, which includes our schoolchildren who are unable to use the public facility," he declared to the Grizzly Detail. "They take their view of the cat's residence in the library as exclusive and set aside the needs of everyone else who may wish to use the facility."

On all of those points Clements was being considerably less than truthful. Most importantly, there is absolutely nothing in the public record to even remotely suggest that Browser's presence ever had deterred anyone from using the facility.

Au contraire, several residents who are allergic to cats themselves spoke up at the July 1st meeting in favor of allowing him to keep his home. Moreover, staffers at the library always have been more than willing to accommodate any patrons with allergies by confining Browser during their visits if they so requested.

Most dishonest of all, Clements has conveniently forgotten that the main reason that the library acquired Browser in the first place was to protect the health and well-being of its juvenile patrons. That is because prior to his arrival the facility had employed an exterminator who was so careless that some of the rat poison that was put out eventually found its way onto the books and that in turn necessitated that they had to be individually inspected and wiped clean.

"We don't want those books getting into the hands of little children who would then put their fingers in their mouths," White astutely pointed out to the Star-Telegram in the July 1st article cited supra.

Mean Old Elzie Clements

In addition to contaminating the environment, it is the epitome of cruelty to poison rodents. Furthermore, in many instances the mere presence of a cat is sufficient in itself to persuade them to pull up stakes and to relocate elsewhere. They thus are able to escape with their lives but with poisons they do not stand a ghost of a chance of doing so and instead die hideously painful deaths.

While he had the wind up, old Clements heaped scorn and ridicule upon Browser's supporters by arguing, in effect, that depriving him of a place to hang his hat was of no consequence. "Yet, with all of that going on (other city business), the only focus of a small group of community activists and their political supporters is whether or not a cat can reside in the public library," he sneered to the Grizzly Detail.

He additionally had the chutzpah to blame Browser's supporters for his own pigheadedness and folly. "Staff and elected officials have been needlessly called names and ridiculed over this issue," he whined to the Grizzly Detail. "The entire town has been made a mockery."

His wife, Penny, echoed those sentiments. "We have gotten nothing but hate e-mails and hate messages since this whole thing started," she groused to the Star-Telegram. "We just wanted (sic) it all to go away."

Regardless of how many incidents of this nature occur, the way in which cat-hating individuals and institutions do their sums continues to boggle the mind. First of all, they talk and behave as if they are endowed with a divine right to malign, evict, abuse, and even kill cats with impunity.

Secondly, whenever they encounter any opposition whatsoever they immediately show their true fascist colors by declaring their total opposition to free speech and press as well as the constitutional right of citizens to petition the government for the redress of grievances. A good example of that behavior is to be found in how Clements threw his considerable weight around at the July 1st city council meeting.

Specifically, he adjourned the meeting twenty minutes after it had been called to order without granting any of Browser's supporters the opportunity to speak. Even more unfairly, he did that after he had monopolized the allotted time in order to harangue and denigrate them to the hilt.

Worst of all, Clements and his misbegotten ilk categorically refuse to acknowledge cats' right to live and to be treated humanely. To top it all off, he and his wife would have the world to believe that they actually like cats.

"We've been called cat-haters and we have cats at home," she averred to the Star-Telegram. "People have suggested doing things just short of murder."

While it is conceivable that she was being truthful, it nevertheless is extremely odd for one cat owner to be agitating for the uprooting and eviction of someone else's resident feline. That is especially the case in light of the millions of unwanted and homeless cats that are systematically exterminated each year without so much as a twinge of conscience by shelter operators and veterinarians.

Browser Is Always on Hand to Assist Children with Their Reading

Most deplorable of all, there is absolutely nothing in press reports to even remotely suggest that either Clements or his spouse ever expressed one iota of concern about Browser's well-being and future. Quite obviously, neither of them cared whether he lived or died.

Their callousness is trumped only by their ingratitude, unfairness, and cheapness. Given that Browser had worked as a dutiful city employee for the past six years, he was at the very least owed a pension and veterinary care for life.

It additionally is the very pinnacle of hypocrisy for the Clements to complain about receiving threats after what they were attempting to do to Browser. Everywhere in the world it is always the same old story in that the rich and powerful believe that they not only should be allowed to do with cats, other animals, Mother Earth, and the poor as they see fit but without opposition to boot.

Clements' cavalier treatment of Browser also makes a mockery of his utterly laughable attempt to pass himself off as a champion of minorities. In reality, the only minority that he cares about is himself.

Under most circumstances, the vote on July 1st would have been the end of this dispute and Browser's position as "Library Cat for Life" would have been secure, but nothing ever can be taken for granted when it comes to members of his species. Someone or some group is always out to get them and that is especially the case once any of them have made any enemy out of a spiteful old man like Clements who does not have anything better to do with his dwindling days upon this earth than to attack them.

Consequently, it was not really all that surprising that he went back on his word and attempted to have Browser removed from the library when the City Council convened again on December 6th. "My view hasn't changed," he proclaimed on that occasion according to the account of events rendered in The Fort Worth Star-Telegram on December 10th. (See "Council Critic Takes Yet Another Swipe at Browser the Library Cat.") "I don't believe we need animals in our buildings."

Clements' about-face left Mann exasperated. "I can't believe they (sic) would bring the cat up again," he told the Star-Telegram. "He's not costing the city any money. Why act this way?"

That was one question that White was more than capable of handling with ease. "Mr. Clements wants to get the last hurrah and snub his nose at everybody," he told the Star-Telegram. "It's like he wants to get the city back for not voting for him."

By that he was referring to Clements' trouncing by Evelyn J. Spurlock at the polls on November 8th. In fact, the political drubbing doled out to him was so bad that he was only able to garner forty-three per cent of the vote as compared to her fifty-seven per cent.

As if any further proof of Clements' designs were needed, it is to be found on the city's Facebook page in a notice that was posted shortly before the calling to order of the December 6th meeting of City Council. "One decision that has been finalized is that there will be no items on this agenda related to the removal of animals from city buildings," the notice read according to The Dallas Morning News' December 13th edition. (See "Browser Will Be White Settlement Library Cat for Life, Mayor Says.") "City leadership made the decision that this item will not be placed on the agenda and at no time was it included."

Browser Is Safe and Secure in the Stacks -- at Least for the Time Being

By ultimately prevailing over Clements, Browser became the second cat in recent memory to have outlasted a politician who was not especially fond of him. For instance, earlier this year Larry was allowed to remain at 10 Downing Street after David Cameron was driven from power in the wake of the Brexit debacle.

Larry's and Browser's situations were not exactly identical in that Cameron at least tolerated the former's presence for political reasons even though he, according to Fleet Street, was not overly fond of him. (See Cat Defender post of August 1, 2016 entitled "Unmercifully Maligned and Treated Like Dirt for So Many Years, Larry Nevertheless Manages to Stick Around Long Enough in Order to See the Last of David Cameron and His Uncaring Family.")

"There's one absolute rule in politics: Don't mess with cat people," former Miami Beach Mayor Seymour Gelber declared in 1995. While they are not always able to prevail, cat-lovers usually can be counted upon to at least put up a good fight.

In that respect, the fighting spirit of Browser's defenders in White Settlement may be needed again in that it is anything but certain that they have seen and heard the last of Clements. Even though he has been driven from power, he is more than willing and capable of going after Browser again in his capacity as a private citizen.

That is precisely what local rabble-rouser and ex-jailbird Patrick Higgins did in 2013 when he unsuccessfully attempted to have an elderly tortoiseshell named Penny evicted from the Swansea Public Library in Massachusetts. (See Cat Defender post of March 8, 2016 entitled "Penny of the Swansea Public Library: A Remembrance.")

Browser's best hope of remaining at the library therefore lies in the continued vigilance of his supporters in White Settlement. In that respect, his fate appears to be in especially capable hands in that this was by no means the first time that residents have joined together in order to rein in their elected officials once they had become tyrannical.

For example on November 8, 2005, they beat back an attempt to change the town's politically incorrect name to West Settlement by the lopsided vote of two-thousand-three-hundred-eighty-eight to two-hundred-nineteen. When it was incorporated in 1941, the town's elders gave it that moniker in order to distinguish it from, not blacks, but rather a group of Native Americans that had a settlement of their own nearby.

Even if the political winds should once again turn against him, it is unlikely that Browser is going to wind up on the street given the large number of individuals from around the world who have generously offered to adopt him if worse should ever come to worst. That is unlikely to be necessary, however, considering how much that the resident of White Settlement value his presence.

Speaking more broadly, libraries and other facilities, both public and private, need more, not fewer, cats. Not only do they have a proven calming effect upon most individuals but their presence also serves as a poignant reminder that, contrary to what some people believe, a whole other world still exists outside of computers, mobile telephones, and television.

Cats additionally have much to teach individuals who are still willing to learn. "These intelligent, peace-loving, four-footed friends -- who are without prejudice, without hate, without greed -- may someday teach us something," novelist Lilian Jackson Braun once observed.

Besides, cats and books just naturally go together. "Outside of a cat, a book is man's best friend," a sign at the Lilac Hedge Bookshop in Norwich, Vermont, proclaims. "Inside of a cat, it's too dark to read."

Photos: White Settlement Public Library (Browser holding court and in the stacks), Paul Moseley of The Fort Worth Star-Telegram (White and Clements), and KDFW-TV of Dallas-Fort Worth (Browser assisting a group of children with their reading).

Thursday, December 15, 2016

A Quebec Man Risks His Own Life by Electing to Spend Four Days in a Hellhole Prison Rather Than to Give Up His Six Elderly Cats

Sylvain Brunette with One of His Cats

"Je ne veux pas partir avant eux, j'ai peur pour leur avenir."
-- Sylvain Brunette

At times it is difficult to determine whether it is cats per se or their owners that the species' detractors detest the most. Regardless of whichever scenario is the closest to the truth, there cannot be any denying that the independence and open-mindedness exhibited by both groups rankles a world that is dominated primarily by authoritarians and sycophants.

C'est-à-dire, most men only have any regard whatsoever for those beings and things that they can exploit, abuse, and corrupt to the hilt. With that being the case, it naturally follows that they also do not brook any dissent.

An especially apt example of that mentality in action is to be found in how horribly the authorities and residents of tiny Franklin, sixty-eight kilometers south of Montréal and near the border with the États-Unis, are treating fifty-four-year-old Sylvain Brunette and his six, sixteen-year-old resident felines. Most outrageously of all, on November 6th three gendarmes showed up at his house and carted him away to Prison de Bordeaux in the Montréal arrondissement of Ahustic-Cartierville.

That extraordinary exercise of legal and political muscle was in response to his failure to pay fines levied at him totaling C$1,208 for not only owning five cats over the legal limit in Franklin but also for feeding others that are homeless. The petit fait that some of those fines dated back to 2013 certainly did not help his case.

"I have no business paying fines for kittens," he later declared to the CBC on November 26th. (See "Quebec Cat Lover Sent to Jail after Refusing to Give Up His Pets.") "I find that really stupid."

While that doubtlessly is true, he also had other motives for not anteing up and the most pressing of which could have been a lack of wherewithal considering that he lives on social assistance. He additionally appears to be a scofflaw in that he spent an unspecified amount of time interned at Prison de Bordeaux fifteen years earlier for failing to make good on a parking ticket issued to him.

Although an unidentified municipal court judge originally had sentenced him to fifty-four days in the sneezer, he was sprung after serving slightly less than four when family members came forward and ponied up C$1,409. Press reports have not spelled out the specifics but presumably that total covered not only his fines but interest and court costs as well.

He subsequently has pledged to repay the full amount to his relatives in installments of C$60 a month but, other than that concession, he remains defiant. "Je ne veux pas partir avant eux, j'ai peur pour leur avenir," he declared to Le Journal de Montréal on November 26th. (See "Peine de cinquante et quatre jours de prison pour ses chats.")

In that regard, his trepidations cannot in any way be understated. First of all, by simply retaining custody of them he remains in defiance of a city law and that can only lead to either additional fines or, tant pis, the outright seizure of them.

Secondly, elderly cats are notoriously difficult to rehome and should the authorities ever get their hands on them, they in all likelihood would waste little time in snuffing out their lives. Therefore, unless he can persuade either a lawyer or an animal rights group to take his case on a pro bono basis, it would appear that the only option left open to him would be to leave Franklin.

He also is unlikely to refrain from coming to the assistance of homeless cats in extremis. "L' autre jour, il y avait un chat avec un plomb sur lui, j'ai enlevé le plomb, désinfecté sa plaie et je lui ai fait un bandage," he disclosed to Le Journal de Montréal. "Depius que je suis petit que j'ai une passion pour les animaux."

As commendable as all of that may be, sooner or later an ailurophobe is going to rat him out to the authorities for either feeding or medicating homeless cats and additional fines are going to ensue. If, on the other hand, he should abruptly stop caring for them he would be in effect initialing their death warrants because not only is food extremely difficult to come by during Montréal's long and grueling winters but veterinary care is totally out of the question as far as impecunious cats are concerned.

Amanda Di Pancrazio's Lost Cat Poster for Gizmo

Contacted by the CBC, Franklin Mayor Suzanne Yelle Blair pleaded ignorance of the entire cause célèbre and that in itself is odd given not only that there are only seventeen-hundred residents in the entire city but the plight of Brunette and his cats has been chronicled by the media. It nevertheless is entirely conceivable that his newfound notoriety may have bought him and his cats some breathing room but that is unlikely to endure for very long in that as soon as the hubbub surrounding them abates the authorities likely will once again strike and this time around they will arrive as thieves in the night and with deadly consequences.

Press reports have failed to disclose who attended to the needs of his cats while he was in jail and in that light he surely must be fully aware that even if the authorities should refrain from seizing them, they cannot provide for themselves. The only obvious way therefore that he can ensure their well-being is to stay out of prison even if that entails paying the fines levied against him.

On top of concerns about their welfare, Brunette also has to be worried about his own safety in that another sojourn, no matter how brief, at Prison de Bordeaux could very well spell the end of him. Although the institution is touted as a minimum security facility for both those awaiting trial as well as those serving sentences of less than two years, Brunette paints a bleak picture of it as an earthly hellhole where overcrowding, violence, and drug use and trafficking are the norms.

With that being the case, it is not surprising that it is the inmates who run the asylum as opposed to its nominal overseer, the Quebec Ministry of Public Security. "Dès le lendemain de mon arrivée, le comité de détenus m'a accueilli pour m'expliquer le fonctionnement de la place, j'avais peur, ils sont épeurants," he explained to Le Journal de Montéal.

This comité de détenus also hogged a lion's share of the daily food rations and that in turn left very little for him and the other inmates to eat. It was, however, the threats and violence that unnerved Brunette the most and necessitated in him being forced to walk with his back to the wall so as to ward off assaults from behind.

"Les gars sont gros, sont grands et méchants," he told Le Journal de Montréal. "J'ai vécu de multiples agressions."

In his defense, Brunette has raised several salient points. Perhaps most important of all, he was ratted out to the authorities by an unidentified neighbor that he foolishly had taken into his confidence by confiding to that individual that he had six cats.

That is an altogether too familiar pattern that plays itself out seemingly all the time at varying locations around the world. In the United States, for example, it is almost always cat-hating neighbors who inform on roaming cats to the authorities who in turn dispatch trigger-happy cops who put bullets in their heads. (See Cat Defender post of September 1, 2016 entitled "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.")

Secondly, Brunette believes himself to have been the victim of selective law enforcement and prosecution. "On est à la campagne, mon voisin a plusieurs chiens, un autre a plusieurs chats sur ses terres et ils ne se sont jamais retrouvés en prison," he groused to Le Journal de Montréal.

Thirdly, he is perturbed by the grossly unfair manner in which his cats are being treated. "Oui, j'ai six chats, mais ils restent toujours à l'intérieur de ma maison," he freely admitted to Le Journal de Montréal. "Ils dérangent qui?"

All of that in turn has left him feeling very much like a martyr. "...Il y a une chose que je sais, c'est que jamais je ne ferais mal à personne et je serais le premier à sauver un humain et également le premier à sauver un animal," he vowed to Le Journal de Montréal.

The German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche once observed that individuals are best punished for their virtues and that most definitely has proven to be the case with Brunette. "Imaginez, moi j'etais là (prison) pour avoir gardé mes chats et je ne ferais pas de mal à une mouche," is how that he summed up the absurdity of his incarceration to Le Journal de Montréal.

Self-Professed Cat Killer and All-Around Scumbag Stéphane Gendron

As patently unfair as what is being done to Brunette and his cats in Franklin may be, it is merely one episode in an ongoing worldwide assault upon the liberties of both cats and their owners. For instance, in addition to ownership restrictions, many jurisdictions now mandate that cats be licensed, sterilized, and have cancer-causing microchips implanted in them. Other jurisdictions have relegated them to  second class citizens of this planet by mandating that they be locked up indoors at all times.

It is homeless cats, however, that always have been on the receiving end of the most outrageous and monstrous treatment of all. Even in this supposedly enlightened age, they are still largely regarded as being unfit to even exist.

In furtherance of that inhumane and morally indefensible objective, anti-feeding laws have proliferated not only in Franklin but elsewhere as well. For example, in 2007 Janice L. Rolfe of Grandview Heights, Ohio, was arrested for showing compassion for a cat named Fluffy. (See Cat Defender post of February 26, 2007 entitled "Charged with Feeding a Feral Cat Named Fluffy, Retired Ohio English Teacher Beats the Rap.")

Others, such as eighty-one-year-old Jeanne Ambler of Temple Terrace, Florida, have been threatened with eviction from their apartments for doing likewise. (See Cat Defender post of August 2, 2010 entitled "Old, Poor, and Sickly, Jeanne Ambler Is Facing Eviction for Feeding a Trio of Hungry Cats.")

The slugs and moral degenerates who run the show at Cornell University even stooped so low as to fire John Beck for feeding homeless cats on its sprawling upstate New York campus. (See Cat Defender post of June 14, 2006 entitled "Kindhearted Dairyman, Sacked for Feeding Feral Cats, Files $20 Million Lawsuit Against Cornell University.")

Even so much as attempting to rescue a cat trapped inside the walls of a building earned Chris Muth of Brooklyn a six-day stay in a mental hospital. (See Cat Defender post of August 4, 2008 entitled "Brooklyn Man Gets Locked Up in a Nuthouse and Then Loses Digs, Job, and Honey All for Attempting to Save His Friend's Cat, Rumi.")

To their eternal credit, however, some fans of the species steadfastly refuse to be intimidated by the authorities regardless of either how daunting the obstacles or severe the penalties. For example, fifty-five-year-old Hannelore Schmedes of the Mahlum section of Bockenem, thirty kilometers southeast of Hannover in Niedersachsen, was forced to spend thirty-five days at the Justizvollzuganstalt für Frauen in Hildesheim in 2010 for shoplifting €100 worth of food in order to feed her twelve resident felines.

While she was incarcerated, Tierschutz Hildesheim not only confiscated her cats but also a pair of dogs that belonged to her as well. It then adopted out two of the cats and one of the dogs while simultaneously sticking her with a bill for €400 for feeding and housing her remaining ten felines and one canine.

"Ich habe noch nie etwas gestohlen," she later said in her defense. "Aber jetzt wusste ich mir keinen anderen Rat." (See Cat Defender post of February 11, 2011 entitled "Disabled Former Casino Worker Is Sent to Jail for Shoplifting Food in Order to Feed Her Twelve Cats.")

In 2013, forty-eight-year-old Mamoru Demizu of Izumi in Osaka Prefecture was arrested and charged with stealing the equivalent of £112,000 in cash and jewels during the course of thirty-two burglaries that he committed in order to purchase food for the one-hundred-twenty homeless cats that he had taken under his care. As that staggering grocery bill indicates, he most definitely was not feeding them cheap kibble but rather a gourmet diet consisting of fresh fish and chicken that cost him £148 per day.

"He said he was happiest when he rubbed his cheek against the cats," an unidentified police officer told The Telegraph of London on December 12, 2013. (See "Cat Burglar: Japanese Man Steals £112,000 to Feed His One-Hundred-Twenty Cats.")

Although anti-cat sentiment has reached a fever pitch just about everywhere, that is particularly the case in and around Montréal. For instance, in May of 2013 the authorities in the arrondissement of Hochelaga-Maisonneuve threatened to fine Amanda Di Pancrazio C$500 for posting four-hundred Lost Cat posters.

A Campaign Poster for  Humbert

Her beloved Gizmo had disappeared in April and it, unfortunately, is not known if she ever was able to locate him. Like Brunette, however, she remained defiant in face of the opposition that she faced and vowed not to take down the posters. (See CTV of Montreal, May 7, 2013, "Woman Threatened with $500 Fine for Posting Pictures of Lost Cat.")

By taking such a cruel and inhumane attitude toward Di Prancrazio and Gizmo, the authorities in Montréal were imitating the utterly reprehensible example set by the politicians in the north London borough of Haringey who in 2008 went after fifty-three-year-old Eileen Miles for fly-posting the neighborhood in search for her missing cat, Ginger Boy. (See Cat Defender posts of September 11, 2008, October 3, 2008, and November 7, 2008 entitled, respectively, "North London Borough Bans Lost Cat Posters Thus Forcing Ginger Boy to Find His Way Home by Himself," "Haringey Council Comes to Its Senses and Rescinds Its Ban on Lost Cat Posters but It Already May Be Too Late to Save Ginger Boy," and "Ginger Boy Is Found Safe and Sound after Roaming the Streets of Harringay Ladder for Nearly Two Months.")

The high-muck-a-mucks in Haringey eventually backed down and Miles thus was able to avoid being fined but the outcome was entirely different a few years later in Bedford when the Bedfordshire Borough Council gave forty-four-year-old Mike Harding only forty-eight hours in order to remove twenty Lost Cat posters that he had erected around town in an effort to locate his seven-year-old cat, Wookie. Failure to have complied would have cost him £1,000.

Afterwards he expressed many of the same sentiments that Brunette was later to voice after his incarceration. "...I'm a law-abiding citizen and I've not even got so much as a speeding ticket and I'm being threatened to be fined £1,000 for looking for my cat," he complained to The Telegraph on January 3, 2011. (See "Council Threatens Man with Fine over Lost Cat Posters.") "You would think the council would have more compassion."

Ownership restrictions and bans on Lost Cat posters are merely the tip of the proverbial iceberg, however, as far as the authorities in Quebec are concerned in that some of them seem to think that they have a divine right to take the law into their own hands. For instance, in July of 2013 Mayor Stéphane Gendron of Huntingdon, twenty-six kilometers west of Franklin, bragged on his radio show about running down and killing cats with his pickup truck.

"When I see a cat in the street, I accelerate," he declared on Radio X according to the July 13, 2013 edition of The Globe and Mail of Toronto. (See "Quebec Mayor in Cat Scandal Under Investigation by Animal Rights Activists.") "Stray cats have no business in the street. So bang! I accelerate."

He even went on to claim that killing kittens made him especially delirious with joy. "The other day, I backed up on one, it was a newborn," The Huffington Post reported him as declaring on July 13th. (See "Stéphane Gendron Killed Cats with Truck, He Admits on Radio Show.") "I'm sure he didn't feel anything. The pickup truck ran on it like nothing. I was so happy, yes! One less."

Many individuals do not want to believe it but Gendron's admission is just one more bit of evidence that motorists do not accidentally kill cats; au contraire, every single one of all the dead cats to be found in the street have been intentionally run down and killed by low-life scumbags like Gendron. Many motorists also do likewise to pedestrians and bicyclists.

Although both the SPCA and the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council pledged to look into the matter, no punitive action ever was initiated against him. The only positive development came when pet food supplier Mondou of Montreal pulled its ads from Radio X in protest.

"Shocking, but not surprising," is how Leni Parker of the Montreal-based rescue group, Pussy Patrol, characterized Gendron's conduct to The Globe and Mail. "Quebec is one of the worst places on the planet in terms of animal abuse and complacency."

Considering how horribly that cats are treated throughout the province, it was not all that surprising that a four-year-old tom named Humbert did not fare too well last year when he campaigned to represent the Montreal arrondissement of Notre Dame de Grâce and Westmount in Parliament. Instead, the voters on October 19th returned Liberal MP Marc Garneau to Ottawa.

"We just thought that given all the characters running for election, you couldn't do any worse than our cat," Humbert's owner, John Jordan, averred to the CBC on August 18, 2015. (See "Humbert, Four-Year-Old Furry Feline, Tries to Purr-suade Voters in Notre Dame de Grâce-Westmount.") "He's good at his job and he's well-known. He's a man of the people."

Generally speaking, it would appear that Théophile Gautier was talking out his hat when he once declared that "only a Frenchman could understand the fine and subtle qualities of the cat." On the contrary, these are perilous times for both cats and their owners everywhere but that appears to be especially the case in Quebec.

Photos: Magalie Lapointe of Le Journal de Montreal (Brunette with one of his cats), CTV of Montreal (Gizmo), Ian Barrett of The Globe and Mail (Gendron), and Carol Berringer of Facebook via the CBC (Humbert).