.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

Saturday, January 19, 2019

The American Bird Conservancy, a Stench of the Federal Bench, and New York State Parks Pool Their Resources in Order to Put the Screws to the Jones Beach Cats

 Spatt the Scat Cares Nothing for Either Evidence or the Law

"This lawsuit appears to be part of a larger pattern by the American Bird Conservancy to advocate for its vision of an American landscape in which all cats have been eradicated, and it is inappropriately trying to use the Endangered Species Act as a tool to further this dark agenda."
-- Becky Robinson of Alley Cat Allies

Homeless cats and their supporters were dealt a crushing defeat on August 4th when a federal judge ordered all current and future members of the species to be evicted from Jones Beach State Park in the hamlet of Wantagh in Hempstead, fifty-eight kilometers west of Manhattan on Long Island. That high-handed and simply outrageous miscarriage of justice was handed down by ninety-three-year-old Brooklynite Arthur D. Spatt of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York in nearby Central Islip, forty-two kilometers northeast of Jones Beach, and in doing so he bestowed upon inveterate cat-haters and defamers David A. Krauss and Susan Scioli of the American Bird Conservancy (ABC) in The Plains, Virginia, one of their sweetest victories to date.

At issue in this case was, supposedly, the safety and well-being of piping plovers (Charadrius melodus), small, sand-colored shorebirds, that arrive at Jones Beach in mid-April in order to breed before returning in late August and early September to their winter homes in the Caribbean, the Gulf of Mexico, and elsewhere along the southern Atlantic coast. From start to finish, no one involved in this cause célèbre, least of all Spatt the Scat and the defendant, Rose Harvey, commissioner of New York State's Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation ((NYS Parks), which administers Jones Beach, had so much as a kind word to say for either the cats or their dedicated caretakers.

It is not known with any exactitude just how long the cats had been residing at the beach, but most likely they had been there ever since the area was settled and both year-round and as well as seasonal residents cruelly began using it as a convenient dumping ground in order to get rid of those that they no longer wanted. "We get one or two a month," Marion McKenna, one of their longtime caretakers, told The New York Times on April 17, 2015. (See "At a Long Island Beach, Human Tempers Flare over Claws and Feathers.")

What is known is that her colleague, nearby resident Stephanie Capuano, had been caring for them for at least eighteen years and that they had been permanent, year-round residents as opposed to the seasonal plovers. She and her colleagues sheltered, fed, watered, vaccinated, and medicated the cats out of their own funds and were not paid so much as a red cent for their labors. The town of Hempstead, however, did help them to sterilize an indeterminate number of them.

Until the ABC went on the offensive, the arrangement had worked out quite well for all concerned and the number of homeless cats had dwindled significantly over the years. "We understand that there were over one-hundred cats at Jones Beach ten years ago," Peter Osborne of Alley Cat Allies (ACA) of Bethesda, Maryland, told the Examiner of Washington on June 8, 2016. (See "New York Aims to Toss Lawsuit Targeting Jones Beach Feral Cats.") "Today, we understand the number generally used is about thirty cats."

In court filings, the feline population was pegged at twenty-three but regardless of the actual number all of them are now gone and any future arrivals also will be given the boot. "It's disgraceful the bird people have sued the parks," Capuano lamented to the Daily Mail on April 4, 2016. (See "Cats Versus Birds: Natural Enemies the Focus of New York Legal Battle.")

McKenna echoed those sentiments. "Nobody has bothered us. The park's staff all know who we are," she added to The New York Times. "We've never had any trouble. It's just the bird people."

Although NYS Parks reportedly had been attempting to get rid of the cats and their caretakers for as far back as 2006, the beginning of the end of their tenure began in March of 2016 when the ABC filed a lawsuit demanding that they be permanently removed from the park. In doing so, it once again trotted out all of its well-rehearsed libels and slanders against the species.

"People think that a well-fed cat isn't going to bother chasing down these birds," the organization's Glenn Phillips told The New York Times. "But it doesn't work that way. They are driven by instinct."

That is hardly earth-shattering news in that of course cats chase birds just as they do mice, strings, and about anything else that moves, but what he fails to mention is that it actually is quite difficult for them to catch and kill birds. He also jumps to the erroneous conclusion that all cats are alike in both personality and disposition and that is patently untrue in that many cats do not hunt at all.

"In fact, a well-fed cat is a better predator," Phillips continued to The New York Times. "A healthier cat is better able to run and pounce."

That is utter nonsense in that cats do not kill birds by running and pouncing because their intended victims would see and hear them coming for afar and immediately take to the air. That is even more so the case on beaches.

On the contrary, the relatively few skillful avian killers that actually exist hide in tall grass and use their exceptional hearing and lightning fast reflexes in order to take down birds by surprise with their claws. Even under that scenario many birds are still able to get to their feet and fly off owing to their attackers' rather poor eyesight.

It possibly could be an entirely different story if they were able to get at newly-born birds while they were still in their nests and unable to fly but, according to some press reports, the nests of the plovers at Jones Beach are protected by circular cages and other devices. The failure of the ABC to acknowledge these realities is just one more example among many of its total unwillingness to ever tell the truth about a solitary thing.

Besides, so what if cats do occasionally kill birds? Not only do they reciprocate in kind by killing cats and kittens but ornithologists, both amateurs and professionals, often take the law into their own hands and do likewise.

If it were possible to conduct an accurate accounting, it surely would show that birds and their advocates kill far more cats than vice-versa. (See Cat Defender posts of July 31, 2006, August 14, 2008, August 1, 2011, and February 16, 2012 entitled, respectively, "A Fifteen-Year-Old Cat Named Bamboo Miraculously Survives Being Abducted and Mauled by a Hoot Owl in British Columbia," "Birds Killing Cats: Blackie Is Abducted by a Sea Gull and Then Dropped but Her Fall Is Broken by a Barbed-Wire Fence," "Eddie Is Saved by an Outdoor Umbrella after He Is Abducted and Then Dropped by a Redtailed Hawk," and "Hawk Suffers Puncture Wounds to His Stomach and One Paw When He Is Abducted by a Raptor Hired to Patrol a City Dump on Vancouver Island," plus The Mirror of London, June 4, 2009, "Crows Attack Cat Stuck Seventy Feet Up Tree.")

It also is important to bear in mind that plovers, like all birds, are not the innocent little angels that the ABC claims. For instance, they eat worms, beetles, insect larvae, crustaceans, and mollusks as well as other small marine animals and their eggs. (See Cat Defender post of May 6, 2008 entitled "The National Audubon Society Wins the Right for an Invasive Species of Shorebirds to Prey Upon Unborn Horseshoe Crabs.")

Based solely upon the ABC's rhetoric, entomologists would be entirely justified in calling for the removal of birds from the environment in order to protect declining insect populations. (See Common Dreams, October 16, 2018, " 'One of the Most Disturbing Articles I Have Ever Read' Scientist Says of Study Detailing Climate-Driven 'Bugpocalypse'.")

Furthermore, Phillips' assertion that well-fed cats do more hunting than those that are on the verge of starvation is simply asinine. For example, those cats that clearly can be seen waiting patiently each morning and evening at their feeding stations for their TNR caretakers to arrive and feed them are, quite obviously, not stalking birds or any other animals at those times of the day.

A Survivor with No Place to Go

In 2013, Michael Cove of North Carolina State University in Raleigh conducted a study of the diets of free-roaming cats in Key Largo's Crocodile Lake National Wildlife Refuge and in Big Pine Key's National Key Deer Refuge and from that exercise he concluded that more than eighty per cent of their diets were derived from anthropogenic sources. (See the Florida Keys Free Press of Tavernier, September 6, 2017, "Study: Refuge Cats Fed Mostly by Humans.")

In addition to the ABC's sottise about the hunting prowess and dietary preferences of cats, it also claims that they are a threat to humans because they allegedly spread hookworm, rabies, and toxoplasmosis. First of all, such an argument was not germane because what was at stake in this instance was the well-being of plovers, not humans.

Secondly, the ABC's claims are ludicrous in that if they contained so much as a scintilla of validity those diseases would be at epidemic proportions and local, state, and federal health officials would have intervened long ago. On the contrary, it is precisely the ABC's beloved birds that pose a threat to human health.

For instance, they not only spread deadly strains of influenza but they also destroy crops as well. It is axiomatic but nonetheless worthwhile to point out that scarecrows are not erected in gardens and on farms in order to scare away cats.

Plus, bird flu not only kills humans but cats as well. (See Cat Defender posts of March 8, 2006 and March 17, 2006 entitled, respectively, "Vogelgrippe Claims the Life of a Kater on Deutschland's Rügen Islet. Could Humans Be Next?" and "Two More Cats and a Steinmarder Die of Vogelgrippe on Insel Rügen Prompting Panicky Owners to Abandon Their Felines at Shelters.")

It is a little known fact but birds also start wildfires. (See Cosmos Magazine of Adelaide, January 12, 2018, "Australian Raptors Start Fires to Flush Out Prey.")

Phillips' comrade-in-arms at the ABC, Grant "Seismic" Sizemore, even has had the temerity to accuse cats, who are world renowned for their cleanliness and toilet habits, of being just the opposite. "The continued presence of this large number of cats has the effect of turning the beachfront into a giant litter box," he bellowed to his buddies at The New York Times.

Conspicuously absent from Seismic Sizemore's mindless rant is any mention whatsoever of where his beloved plovers and the other avian species that frequent Jones Beach go to the toilet. It is a good bet, however, that they do their dirty business in the sand, ocean, and on the tops of visitors' noggins. Once again, no one has ever accused a cat urinating and defecating on a promenader's head.

Furthermore, it most assuredly is not cats that foul grain silos, waterways, and city streets with their excrement but rather birds. For instance, it was not cats but rather pigeons that "Red" Ken Livingstone, the former mayor of London, ordered to be cruelly eradicated from Trafalgar Square. So, to sum up, the ABC's case against cats boils down to nothing more than a hate-filled tirade of lies and hypocrisy.

On June 2, 2016, NYS Parks  responded by filing a motion to have the ABC's lawsuit dismissed. Most importantly of all, it correctly argued that the organization had not demonstrated any causal connection whatsoever between the presence of the cats at Jones Beach and any detrimental impact on the piping plovers. In fact, it even went so far as to label the ABC's allegations as "highly suspect and unreliable."

Although the birds are listed by New York State as endangered and by the feds as threatened under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) of 1973, they have made an amazing recovery over the course of the past twenty years or so. For instance, Anne Hecht of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) told the Daily Mail in the article cited supra that the number of mating pairs along the Atlantic Coast had more than doubled from seven-hundred-ninety in 1989 to one-thousand-eight-hundred-fifty in 2015. Furthermore, the Long Island Colonial Waterbird and Piping Plover Survey counted a total of thirty-three nesting pairs and forty-five fledglings at Jones Beach alone during 2015.

It also must never be forgotten that it was not cats that were responsible for the plovers' initial decline. Rather, that blame can be laid at the feet of hunters who during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries slaughtered them in droves so that they could be fashioned into women's hats.

Later on unchecked development and beach replenishment efforts led to a second decline in the birds' prospects. Storytellers, such as those in residence at the ABC, never have been known to allow the truth to spoil their narratives and, in this instance, cats have been made the scapegoats for a litany of crimes that were committed in the past as well as imaginary present-day offenses.

NYS Parks additionally argued that "no potential interest of (the ABC) is being harmed" by the presence of the cats and that it was "pure speculation" that evicting them would address the alleged harm that was being done to the plovers. Those arguments delighted ACA.

"In pushing back against (the) baseless assertions ABC made about New York State Parks and its management of Jones Beach State Park, New York State is sending a strong message to ABC, to park officials, to city governments, and to cat advocates across the country," Becky Robinson intoned in a July 3, 2016 press release. (See "New York Moves to Dismiss Speculative Allegations Made Against Cats at Jones Beach.") "We hope that the court will follow New York's request and dismiss this lawsuit."

As things eventually turned out, she later would have more than ample reason not only to rue those statements but, more importantly, for ever aligning her advocacy group with the duplicitous and totally untrustworthy NYS Parks. For the time being, however, it was full speed ahead for the unsuspecting Robinson and ACA.

In early July, it requested permission from Spatt the Scat to file an amicus curiae brief on behalf of the cats. "We've asked to be heard on this case because -- if it goes forward -- it will be important for the court to have accurate information on cat behavior so it can assess the claims made in the lawsuit," Robinson stated July 5th in a press release. (See "Jones Beach Cats Update: Alley Cat Allies Files Proposed 'Friend of the Court' Brief.") "We also want the court to understand the significant level of public opposition to this lawsuit and to the position advanced by the American Bird Conservancy in it, and to have the information needed to assess the many negative ramifications of taking the action the American Bird Conservancy has requested."

Ultimately that request was granted and the amicus was prepared by Michael D. Goodstein and Anne E. Lynch of the Washington law firm of Hunsucker Goodstein. Once Spatt the Scat finally got around to ruling on Harvey's request for a dismissal on February 6, 2017, the first thing that he did was to reverse course and to refuse to even consider ACA's brief.

His ruling was based upon his interpretation of Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 12 (b) (1) and 12 (b) (6) which relate to the question of standing. Given that Goodstein is a seasoned trial attorney who spent a dozen years with the Justice Department in Washington during which time he, inter alia, won a US$30 million judgment against the notorious Koch Brothers for spilling oil and a US$12 million verdict against the en masse pig killers at Smithfield Farms for violating the Clean Water Act he, better than anyone else, should be intimately familiar with the rules for pleading in a federal courtroom.

If, on the other hand, Spatt the Scat did not manhandle that important issue, then Goodstein and Lynch sold Robinson and ACA a bill of goods and took the charity's money under false pretenses. Regardless of where the truth may lie, it is seldom a good idea to bring in counsel from outside an area in order to try a case on their own.

Another Cat That Has Lost Its Home and Freedom

Just about all judges are tyrannical autocrats who run their courtrooms like feudal fiefdoms; like cops, they are the law and woe be it to anyone who so much as either questions their authority or looks cross-eyed at their insane opinions and prejudices. For that reason alone, it is usually far preferable to hire a local attorney who is intimately acquainted with the judicial temperament and jurisprudence of the judge trying the case. C'est-à- dire, venue and judge shopping, as opposed to what is right and wrong, more often than not determine how a particular case is going to be decided.

After he had done that, it was a foregone conclusion that Spatt the Scat was going to deny Harvey's request that the case be dismissed but little did ACA anticipate that in doing so he was going to voice his full support for all of the ABC's ridiculous allegations. Most of his twenty-eight-page opinion is devoted to the question of standing and in regard to that matter he ruled that the ABC had more than satisfied the trio of elements required for it to seek relief from the federal courts.

He did so by first of all ruling that the lead plaintiffs in this case, Krauss and Scioli, were being harmed by the presence of the cats at Jones Beach. "Members of the American Bird Conservancy regularly visit Jones Beach State Park for the purpose of observing piping plovers," he wrote. "In this regard, they derive academic, recreational, aesthetic, spiritual, and other benefits from watching the courting, feeding, nesting and chick-rearing habits of the birds," he declared. (A link to his opinion can be found at Courthouse News Service of Pasadena, February 8, 2017, "Piping Plover Defenders Gear Up for Trial.")

First of all, that hardly seems to be sufficient evidence in order to support an "injury in fact" given that neither of them either own the plovers or the beach. Secondly, Krauss's claim that he regularly journeys to the beach fifteen to twenty times a year in order to visit the birds is, to say the least, dubious.

Since they are in residence for such a very brief period of time each year, his declaration implies that he is at the beach at least once a week, every week, between April and September and that would involve considerable time and expense. For instance, since he resides on the Upper East Side of Manhattan it is doubtful that he could make it to Jones Beach in less than an hour even by motor car.

If, on the other hand, he utilizes public transportation, he most likely would need to take the IRT to Grand Central Terminal where he then would need to change to the number seven train. At Hunterspoint in Long Island City he would need to transfer again to the Long Island Rail Road in order to just get to Freeport.

From there he would need to take Nassau Inter-County Express bus number eighty-eight to the beach. It accordingly is doubtful that such an arduous expedition could be completed in much less than two hours.

Secondly, visiting the plovers is an expensive proposition. If he is traveling by automobile, he would be responsible for the petrol, tolls, and the $US10 parking fee that the beach charges. Likewise, if he is using public transportation, train and bus fares in both the city and on Long Island are not exactly on the cheap side.

The beach additionally charges state residents an entrance fee of US$12; non-residents pay US$15. Of course, it is entirely possible that since he is such a big shot with the ABC that park officials fall all over themselves in his presence and not only grant him free entrée but also allow him to park his old jalopy gratis.

That likely is the only way that he could be making so many trips to the beach given that he works as a science professor at Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC), which is located in the shadows of where the World Trade Center used to stand. That is because college professors are not only bone-lazy but notoriously cheap to boot.

Their specialty, on the other hand, is fleecing students, their parents, and the feds out of tons of money, not spending it. For instance, BMCC sticks it to in-state students to the tune of US$5,170 in tuition and fees each year while out-of-state students are required to pony up a whopping US$8,050. Even at those exorbitant rates only a paltry 24.6 per cent of the school's students ever graduate.

Aside from serving on the ABC's Advisory Council, Scioli is the former proprietor of the Community Bookstore in the Park Slope section of Brooklyn where she still resides above the shop. No mention has been made in court documents of how much time, if any, that she spends with the plovers. (See the Brooklyn Daily, September 21, 2011, "Community Bookstore Celebrates Forty Years at the Heart of the Slope.")

Press reports have inexcusably neglected to disclose if the grief-stricken duo turned up in court dressed in black and toting bath towels and steel buckets in order to catch their teardrops. Or perhaps they merely showed Spatt the Scat a pair of empty wallets and that was sufficient in itself in order to prompt him to get out his silk handkerchief and to join them in a long and raucous bawl.

As far as the second component of standing, causation, is concerned, Spatt the Scat ruled that Harvey and NYS Parks were clearly culpable. "Initially, drawing all inferences in the plaintiff's (sic) favor, the court assumes that the act (ESA) imposes on governmental agencies, including the commissioner (Harvey), a broad affirmative duty to take such measures as are reasonably necessary to protect threatened species within their jurisdictions," he decreed.

Even in grudgingly granting the old geezer that much, he surely went off the deep end when he came to the third element of standing, redressability. "...in this case, it is plausible to believe that the commissioner's broad duty to conserve piping plovers at Jones Beach may include actions to lessen the risk of predation by removing non-native feral cats and preventing members of the public from re-establishing feral cat colonies in the future," he ruled. "As discussed above, in the court's view, it is also plausible that such measures would likely redress the plaintiffs' aesthetic and recreational interest in the birds."

In arriving at that conclusion, Spatt the Scat turned Harvey's own scribblings against her. "Feral cats, whether in colonies or solitary, represent a significant concern when in proximity to the threatened and endangered species such as nesting areas of species at risk," a NYS Parks' publication entitled "Guidelines for Feral Cat Control in State Parks" proclaims.

That publication, however,  fails to define "proximity." For example, there were colonies at both West Bathhouse and Field Number 10 which were, it is believed, anywhere between one-quarter and two-thirds of a mile removed from the plovers' well-protected nests.

Spatt the Scat also pounced like a hawk on a cat by citing a March 17, 2015 letter that Harvey sent to the ABC. "...its (NYS Parks) goal should be the removal of feral cats within New York State Parks," she wrote. "...there is 'a possibility of (feral cats) harming endangered and threatened wildlife, particularly piping plover'..."

Not only that but Old Harvey Bird is both a graduate of Yale's School of Forestry and Environmental Studies as well as a member of the cat-hating Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation in Morristown, New Jersey. So, that segues into the thought-provoking question of why did she even bother to buck the ABC in the first place?

An Orange Cat Enjoying a Last Meal at Home

Well, as it turns out she had at least fifty million reasons for doing so. At least that is the dollar amount that Jones Beach pours into the Long Island economy each year according to Michael Hollander of the Long Island Conventions and Visitors Bureau. (See The New York Times, June 27, 1999, "Keeping Up with Jones Beach; a City on the Sand for Eight Million, Silicone Singles to Kite Flyers.")

For the uninitiated, Jones Beach is a lot more than just cats and birds. In fact, it is the busiest beach on the East Coast with more than six million visitors per annum.

The beach is so heavily developed that it features, inter alia, the Jones Beach Theatre, the Boardwalk Bandshell, a 3.2 kilometer boardwalk, a water tower, a shopping mall, restaurants, concessions stands, a boat basin, a Coast Guard station, several parking lots, and the Theodore Roosevelt Nature Center. It even sports its very own police station!

It additionally allows fishing and has a bait and tackle shop. It has golf, basketball, tennis, shuffleboard, softball, and volleyball facilities as well as swimming pools, bicycle trails, picnicking areas, sailing, kayaking, and two bathhouses.

It is better known, however, for its rock concerts, Fourth of July fireworks, and the Bethpage Air Show. The latter of which is held each Memorial Day and attracts more than four-hundred-thousand spectators in order to view flyovers by the United States Navy's Blue Angels and the United States Air Force's Thunderbirds.

All of those extremely noisy, polluting, and disruptive activities are more than welcome at Jones Beach as far as Spatt the Scat, NYS Parks, and the ABC are concerned. It was only the twenty-three resident felines that had to go.

In addition to Jones Beach, NYS Parks operates an additional two-hundred-fourteen parks across New York State plus twenty-eight golf courses, thirty-five swimming holes, sixty-seven beaches, and eighteen museums and nature centers. At least fifty-one of its parks even allow recreational hunting.

Presumably, Harvey and her cronies have outlawed the recreational killing of protected avian species at all parks under their jurisdiction but it is highly unlikely that they are able to enforce that edict. In that same light, Bird Life International of Cambridge has reported that an astounding twenty-five million migratory birds are shot, trapped, and glued each year while crossing the Mediterranean region. (See Deutsche Welle of Köln, October 24, 2017, "Europe Remains a Major Bird Killer.")

Therefore, it is safe to assume that Old Harvey Bird and New York State were not about to allow the ABC to impinge upon any of their shekel accumulation activities and instead they chose to sell the cats and their dedicated caretakers down the river. Although since the ABC's partner in crime, the National Audubon Society (NAS), allows oil to be drilled at the Paul J. Rainey Wildlife Sanctuary in Vermilion Parish, Louisiana, the Bernard W. Baker Sanctuary in Bellevue, Michigan, the Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary in Bonita Springs, Florida and, presumably, elsewhere at all of its bird sanctuaries, it would have been quite a hoot to have seen it accuse NYS Parks of chasing shekels at the expense of its precious plovers.

Much more importantly, Spatt the Scat's cockeyed dicta that the ESA bestows a right of exclusivity upon plovers and their champions is an opinion that is not shared by all jurists. For example, when the Goldenrod Foundation attempted to have motorists banned from Plymouth Long Beach, four-hundred-seven kilometers north of Jones Beach in the state of Massachusetts, on the grounds that they were a threat to piping plovers and terns the courts turned deaf ears.

In the first of two decisions on the subject, Administrative Judge David Hoover ruled that allowing off-road vehicles (ORV) on the beach did not constitute a "take" within the meaning of the ESA. In doing so, he also questioned the motives of Goldenrod's founder, Catherine S. Muther.

"Portions of Ms. Muther's testimony may be motivated more by her longstanding opposition to any ORV access to the beachfront, due perhaps to her family summering experience at her beachfront cottage," he wrote according to the December 26, 2010 edition of the Wicked Local of Plymouth. (See "Judge Upholds Plymouth Beach Management Plan.")

Although the town of Plymouth owns ninety per cent of the beach, Muther owns a summer home there and has complained in the past not only about the noise churned up by motorists but dogs as well. Golodenrod's appeal of that decision was denied in March of 2015 by Suffolk Superior Court judge Jeffrey A. Locke. (See the Wicked Local, March 21, 2015, "Court Says Cars and Birds Can Coexist on Plymouth Long Beach.")

By contrast, Spatt the Scat's understanding of the "taking" provision of the ESA is rather different. "...the act prohibits any person from 'taking' such species within the United States or its territorial seas," he wrote. "To 'take' a species means to 'harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture, or collect it, or to attempt to engage in such conduct."

If he had had the bon sens to have stopped there that would have been bad enough but he instead went on to incorporate psychological stress into his interpretation of "taking." "In this regard, aside from actually hunting the birds, the mere presence of feral cats can cause substantial behavioral changes in nearby bird populations, such as a reduction in the feeding of nesting chicks and an increased likelihood of nest failure," he opined in a ruling that reads as if it were crafted by none other than the ABC itself.

There is an almost endless array of problems associated with Spatt the Scat's lunatic interpretation of the ESA. First of all, cats and TNR are not mentioned in the law.

Secondly, it never was intended by its draftsmen as a primer for ornithologists and wildlife biologists to engage in speciesism. Thirdly, the "taking" clause refers explicitly to "persons" not cats and other animals.

What has happened in recent decades is that the USFWS, the National Marine Fisheries Service, and the Commerce Department, which are entrusted with administering the law, have transformed it at the urging of birders and wildlife biologists into a bludgeon in order to go after cats. Even worse, other federal services, such as the USDA's Wildlife Services, the National Park Service, and the United States Army Corps of Engineers, just to name a few, have followed suit.

None of that changes the salient fact that the ESA on its face does not sanction either speciesism or any of the abominable crimes that follow from such an interpretation. Rather, it is federal and state bureaucrats and robed cat-haters such as Spatt the Scat who have unconstitutionally corrupted its original intention.

If Spatt the Scat, the ABC, NAS, and USFWS are so hellbent on getting rid of cats they should inveigle one of the many politicians that they have in their hip pockets into putting the matter on the ballot. It is almost superfluous to point out that there are an awful lot of people across this nation who are fed up with nameless and unelected bureaucrats and judges making the laws.

New York State Parks Stole the Cats' Shelters and Feeding Stations

The remainder of Spatt the Scat's spiel is just pure drivel. "Feral cats are an invasive or non-native species to Jones Beach and one which naturally preys on birds," he bellowed.

It is always amusing to hear pale-faced, honky-donkeys like Spatt the Scat, the ABC, ornithologists, and wildlife biologists open up their traps and trot out their hypocritical nonsense about invasive species. If they truly believed what they profess, they would simply shut up and go back to Europe!

Most of their palaver is nothing but outright lies anyway. For example, cat-hating fiend Michael Hutchins of The Wildlife Society went before a congressional committee in 2011 in order to brand the wild horses who live in the Currituck National Wildlife Refuge on North Carolina's Outer Banks as an invasive species.

"It's all about values," the big phony lectured the legislators according to his group's April 7, 2011 press release. (See "The Wildlife Society Testifies Before Congress on Feral Horse Management. Recommends Keeping Numbers Low to Minimize Impacts on Native Wildlife.") "Do we want to protect our native wildlife, or turn our national wildlife refuges into theme parks for exotic animals?"

Actually, horses are native to North America. For some unknown reason, they disappeared around ten-thousand years ago before being reintroduced by the Spanish conquistadors. (See Living on Earth, October 20, 2017, "Rough Riding in Wild Horse Country.")

Determining what men, animals, and plants are native to a particular land mass therefore depends upon how far back in the archaeological record one is willing to go and the honesty of the researcher. Also, taxonomical classifications change all the time. (See Cat Defender post of April 17, 2007 entitled "Clouded Leopards of Sumatra and Borneo Are Discovered to Be a Distinct Species from Their Cousins in Mainland Southeast Asia.")

Most importantly of all, speciesism is not only unjust but morally indefensible as well. Being au fond nothing more than the taking of the odious principles of bigotry, exploitation, and genocide and applying them to the animal kingdom, it has been used to sanction the diabolical eradication of untold species around the world and its exponents and practitioners are far worse monsters than the Adolf Hitlers and Pol Pots of this world. (See Cat Defender post of November 18, 2016 entitled "A Clever Devil at the University of Adelaide Boasts That He Has Discovered the Achilles' Heel of Cats with His Invention of Robotic Grooming Traps as the Thoroughly Evil Australians' All-Out War Against the Species Enters Its Final Stages.")

Just as Spatt the Scat was not the least bit interested in hearing anything out of ACA, he likewise turned a deaf ear to NYS Parks' assertion that skunks, foxes, opossums, raccoons, and gulls could be preying upon the plovers. "...there is no evidence in the record relating to the alleged threat posed by these or any other non-feral cat species, and the assertions contained in the commissioner's legal memorandum are insufficient to refute the plaintiff's (sic) allegations at this juncture," he decreed.

In the end, Spatt the Scat refused NYS Parks' dismissal petition and thus paved the way for the lawsuit to go forward. "In this case, taken together, the court finds that the allegations in the complaint support a plausible inference of harm to the survival of the Jones Beach piping plovers, and, by extension, the plaintiff's (sic) protected interest in them," he concluded. "For example, the feral cat colonies are located well within the roaming radius of the cats, and predatory feral cats have consistently been documented near the birds' nesting areas."

In making such an asinine determination Spatt the Scat was guilty of accepting the ABC's propaganda without so much as an iota of evidence that the cats had preyed upon the plovers. If she had been allowed the common courtesy of testifying, McKenna would have presented an entirely different picture of the situation.

"Every day the cats get fresh water and fresh food," she told The New York Times on April 17, 2015. "They are not hungry. They stay where they are."

Spatt the Scat gave NYS Parks twenty days in which to respond to his ruling and although he did not specifically rule on the actual substance of the case, his dicta left little doubt that he fully concurred with the ABC's charges. That rather obvious conclusion, however, somehow eluded Robinson and ACA.

"We are confident that New York State will prevail, and look forward to the issue having its day in court," she declared in a February 6, 2017 press release. (See "Alley Cat Allies' Reaction: Cats Get Their Day in Court in Endangered Species Act Case in New York.")

Actually, the cats never had anything even remotely resembling a fair hearing. Although they were relentlessly derided throughout the years of legal wrangling by the ABC and later by Spatt the Scat, no one was allowed to speak up for them.

So, it was not surprising that in the end they lost their home, freedom, caretakers and, worst of all, some of them may even have lost their lives. On the other hand, the piping plovers were represented by Jeffrey A. Simes, Glenn S. Kerner, Jordan D. Weiss, and Shaun P. deLacy of the Manhattan law firm of Goodwin Proctor as well as William F. Sheehan of the ABC's Washington office.

On August 4th of last year, the ABC, NYS Parks, and Spatt the Scat hashed out and initialed what is known as a Stipulation of Settlement and Order of Dismissal. In layman's terms, it stipulated that the cats had to be imprisoned in a so-called "Field 10 Contained Area" by December 31st and removed from the park entirely by March 31, 2019.

Once it had lost its dismissal motion on February 6, 2017 it was a foregone conclusion that NYS Parks was going to capitulate to the ABC's demands. It is only conjecture but it seems likely that the eighteen-month delay in reaching a final settlement was necessitated by NYS Parks' burning desire to save its own hide which, in the end, it succeeded in doing by selling the cats down the river.

It accomplished that Machiavellian objective by first of all persuading the ABC to agree that there would not be any "payments, attorneys' fees, costs, disbursements, (or) expenses." Secondly, the stipulation states that it "explicitly denies any wrongful conduct or liability, or violation of the ESA or any other law, in connection with the events alleged in the action." Thirdly, the stipulation denies that NYS Parks is acknowledging any liability whatsoever in regard to the plovers.

To make a long story short, the ABC got rid of the cats while NYS Parks saved its precious shekels and is going to be allowed to continue to operate its profitable park without any further interference. As for the cats, they got screwed.

Overlooked in all the hoopla is the petit fait that there is absolutely nothing in the ESA that prohibits cats from living at Jones Beach or, for that matter, any other beach. Their ouster therefore was just another classic example of a judge abusing his powers by codifying his own prejudices.

Motorists and Plovers Coexist on Plymouth Long Beach

The only reasonable solution would have been for Spatt the Scat to have ruled that protecting the plovers was the ABC's responsibility and that it had to do so in a manner that did not harm cats, other animals, and the interests of the park. In other words, it could not take the law into its own hands as fanatical cat-haters James Munn Stevenson of Galveston and Nico Dauphiné of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, and Richard DeSantis of West Islip have previously done and, unbelievably, gotten away with to boot. (See Cat Defender posts of August 7, 2008, January 6, 2012, and March 9, 2007 entitled, respectively, "Crime Pays! Having Made Fools Out of Galveston Prosecutors, Serial Cat Killer James Munn Stevenson Is Now a Hero and Laughing All the Way to the Bank," "Nico Dauphiné Is Let Off with an Insultingly Lenient $100 Fine in a Show Trail That Was Fixed from the Very Beginning," and "A Long Island Serial Cat Killer Is Guilty of Only Disorderly Conduct, a Corrupt Court Rules.")

That, for example, is universally the reaction from wildlife biologists whenever coyotes, fishers, raccoons, and other wild animals that they have deliberately driven out of their rural homes invade urban settings and commence slaughtering cats. (See Cat Defender posts of October 2, 2006, July 19, 2007, August 28, 2007, and August 28, 2006 entitled, respectively, "Coyotes, Cheered On by Wildlife Officials, Join Raccoons in Killing Cats and Dogs in Washington State," "Up to Their Old Tricks, Wildlife Officials Reintroduce Fishers to the Northeast to Prey Upon Cats and to Provide Income for Fur Traffickers," "TNR Programs, Domestic Cats, Dogs, and Humans Are Imperiled by Wildlife Proponents' Use and Abuse of Coyotes and Fishers," and "A Marauding Pack of Vicious Raccoons Rips Ten Cats to Shreds and Terrorizes Residents in Olympia but Wildlife Officials Refuse to Intervene.")

Any halfway decent and honest jurist accordingly attempts to follow the law and to balance the interests of the contending parties. Spatt the Scat, on the other hand, takes sides and issues rulings that do not have any basis whatsoever in law. As a result, he is renowned far and wide for being the stench of the bench.

"My experience with Judge Spatt is that he makes 'gut' rulings, i.e., decides early on what/who he thinks is 'right' and then makes the factual and legal findings to support that conclusion," one former litigant wrote December 2, 2009 on the web site, The Robing Room. "Of course, good judges do it the other way around."

Even some of his self-professed admirers share the same opinion of him. "I will add, however, that sometimes Judge Spatt does what he thinks is right rather than what the law requires in cases," a former litigant wrote June 28, 2008 on The Robing Room.

He also is well-known for being biased and dishonest. "Spatt is a close friend of one of my legal enemies. But Spatt never disclosed this fact," another litigant wrote September 10, 2018 on The Robing Room. "Instead, Spatt would continue to preside over my case and proceeded to make outrageous rulings against me."

"One of the worst judges to hear federal civil rights cases, where the defendants are law enforcement officers," another litigant wrote May 17, 2015 on The Robing Room. "...(he is) an insult to the furtherance of civil rights."

Other litigants who have had the misfortune to come before him have questioned his judicial temperament. "He was the rudest, most arrogant man I've ever met. He stated on the record that all Muslims were terrorists...," another litigant wrote February 10, 2010 on The Robing Room. "He would doze off during my trial. He was eighty-three then."

Other litigants feel that it is way past time that he turned in his gavel. "He slept through several hearings and ruled as if he (had) followed it all," a disgruntled litigant complained February 2, 2007 on The Robing Room.

It was yet still another of his critics who said it best when he reared back on February 2, 2007 and gave Spatt the Scat the dressing down that he has long and eminently deserved. "Judge Spatt is hard of hearing, he is extremely biased and unfair, changes his mind very often and suffers from amnesia...," that litigant wrote on The Robing Room. "Spatt should be forced to retire. He is an evil old man."

Old Spatt the Scat certainly has been busy over the course of the several decades that he has spent on the federal bench and he, unquestionably, has compiled an impressive curriculum vitae. Why, just his conflicts of interest, bigotry, disregard for the rule of law, intellectual dishonesty, and total lack of any sense of justice whatsoever ought to be sufficient in themselves in order to entitle him to a seat on the United States Supreme Court! He most assuredly would fit in well with the rotters already ruling the roost in Washington.

Once his slumlord personality, total lack of manners, arrogance, and the work ethic of a latter-day Rip Van Winkle are added to the equation, the prestigious title of Lord of All Creation might not be totally beyond his grasp. In the meantime, it is curious as to why he even bothers to go through the pretense of being an honest and impartial trier of facts.

For all the good that he does he might just as well turn up every day in court toting a blanket, pillow, a glass of warm milk, and some cookies. He then could remove his brogans and put his feet up.

One of his devoted law clerks could tuck him in and he therefore could have a good, long snore on the public's dime. He could even go so far as to occasionally rip off a loud, raunchy fart or two if he so desired. Since absolutely nobody in this country cares just how vile and unjust federal judges are, he would still be able to collect his annual US$186,000 salary without any difficulties.

Given all of that, it could not have been anything other than a case of  love at first sight when he finally met up with Krauss the Louse. As was the case with those who are most familiar with the judge, only a trio of the latter's students at BMCC had anything positive to say about him as either a teacher or as a person.

"Professor Krauss is a genuinely jaded professor. He doesn't teach, he reads and his style of teaching is do disconnected," one former student wrote August 11, 2018 on the web site, Rate My Professors. "He's wildly uninspired and doesn't provide the proper framework to help you comprehend the course material, classes ended early and sure enough (he) was very hellbent on making exams the main means of judgment. Avoid at all costs."

"He's absolutely terrible. I have taken Anatomy and Physiology (Biology 425) before and I can tell you that this man does not know how to teach," another student wrote May 29, 2018 on Rate My Professors. "He expects you to memorize everything. Worst professor ever."

"Choosing this class was the worst thing I have ever done. His teaching style is just scary. He is not helpful," another student wrote May 25, 2018 on Rate My Professors. "He gives a (test) on every lecture class which means he expects you to learn everything on your own in a week. He doesn't give extras, guys. He doesn't care if you pass or fail. I recommend to not (take) this class. Just don't."

"He was the worst teacher I ever had," another respondent wrote May 23, 2018 on Rate My Professors.

Justice Is Blind, Deaf, and Fast Asleep in Spatt the Scat's Court

"He is the absolute worst professor I've ever had," a March 29, 2018 respondent agreed.

"This is one of the worst professors I ever had the displeasure of knowing. He has a terrible attitude...," a student wrote March 20, 2018 on Rate My Professors. "About a month into the course there was about five people left in the class after it was packed with twenty-five students in the beginning."

"Do yourself a favor and not take him. Throughout my whole life I've never gotten a professor-teacher like this," a student wrote May 24, 2017 on Rate My Professors. "He's the worst, he doesn't care about you, he doesn't support you nor motivate you. He just does it for the money plus his tests are hard for no reason. Half of the class drop (dropped out during) the third week of class. He grades unfairly."

It therefore is difficult to imagine how that anyone who is so contemptuous of his students could possibly care very much about any living creature, especially plovers. Moreover, based upon the testimonials of those who know him and his buddy Spatt the Scat most intimately, the portrait of them that emerges is one of two turds floating in a commode.

Unfortunately, the halls of academia always have been chock-full of rotten and egomaniacal professors such as Krauss the Louse. The only thing that they are good at besides abusing their students is either teaching them nothing at all or indoctrinating them with their own ingrained prejudices, such as an inveterate hatred of cats. (See Cat Defender post of July 18, 2011 entitled "Evil Professors Have Transformed College Campuses into Hotbeds of Hatred Where Cats Routinely Are Vilified, Horribly Abused, and Systematically Killed.")

Moreover, they fervently believe that verbally abusing and lording it over the young, naïve, and impressionable enhances their stature but they are badly mistaken; doing so only exposes them as bad teachers and even worse individuals. Quite obviously, only a severely warped individual would take pride in churning out class after class of failing students.

Even worse, to mistreat those who are footing the bill for his comfortable lifestyle is simply outrageous. With such a rotter as Krauss the Louse on its faculty it is small wonder that BMCC has such a miserable graduation rate.

The ABC was, quite naturally, ecstatic with Spatt the Scat's August 4th ruling. "We are delighted with this agreement," the organization's Mike Paar said in an August 8th press release. (See "Jones Beach Legal Settlement Provides Safety for Endangered Birds.") "By removing the cat colonies, New York State Parks has ensured a much safer environment for the plovers to help them nest successfully in the future."

He also announced on that occasion that NYS Parks had agreed to fence off the plovers' nesting area and to install enclosures around their nests. It also consented to erect signs stating that cats are now personae non gratae and to promptly get rid of any new arrivals. Harvey's crew also agreed to put in place new, unspecified restrictions on motorists using the park and to initiate a campaign of public outreach and education.

Leaving absolutely no doubt that she was now a chastened woman, Old Harvey Bird practically got down on both knees and licked the ABC's boots. "Jones Beach State Park is simply not an appropriate place for stray or abandoned cats," she declared with all the fervor of a newly converted acolyte in the ABC's press release. "We are pleased this agreement with the American Bird Conservancy strikes a sensible balance between protecting the piping plover and relocating the feral cats that have been dropped off in the park in as humane a manner as possible."

Harvey's double-cross and sellout may have gotten the ABC off of her back but, as it was soon to be demonstrated, there was absolutely nothing humane about what she did to the cats. Of course, the public hardly could expect someone like her to ever level with it.

Lamentably, the same accusation applies in spades to Robinson of ACA whose response to Spatt the Scat's final ruling makes it appear that she had gotten an early start on last autumn's hard cider. "This settlement brings to an end this frivolous lawsuit in which the ABC ultimately failed to achieve its goal," she proclaimed in the face of all facts in an August 9th press release. (See "Alley Cat Allies Applauds Dismissal of Endangered Species Act Complaint by American Bird Conservancy.") "From the start of litigation and at every step of the way since, New York has asserted that the ESA was not violated by sterilized cats living in Jones Beach State Park. It reiterates this in the settlement agreement."

By that time the cats' fate had already been sealed and in that regard the ABC had most definitely prevailed. While it is true that the ABC allowed NYS Parks off the hook without admitting any wrongdoing, there cannot be any denying that it had knuckled under to the organization's demands and that is an even stronger admission of guilt than a verbal confession.

Practically speaking, Spatt the Scat's ruling means that cats soon will be removed from all state-operated parks in the Empire State regardless of whether the ABC instigates any additional legal action. Local authorities may also take preemptive measures in order to get rid of any cats now residing in their parks and on other public lands under their control.

Even before the ABC's lawsuit, TNR colonies that had been established on private properties were under attack. For example in April of 2016, a TNR colony that had resided at the Shores Restaurant and Marina on Tonowanda Island, located in the middle of the Niagara River, for twenty years was victimized by a surprise attack led by the property's owner, Michael Charnock.

In particular, he ordered the cats' winterized shelters and feeding stations to be destroyed and dumped. Not only did that act of violence cost the one-hundred resident felines their homes but replacing the shelters and feeding station cost Danielle Coogan and Operation Island Cat more than US$1,700. (See the Buffalo News, April 20, 2016, "Feral Cats Program on Tonowanda Island Suffers a Setback" and the Niagara Gazette, April 24, 2016, "Cat Shelters Being Replaced on Tonowanda Island.")

None of that seems to have fazed Robinson the least little bit. "We are keeping in communication with New York and will be happy to work with the state to put in place an effective cat population management program," she declared once again in the face of both past and present-day history.

Not only are Harvey and her cronies outrageous liars an double-crossers but New York, both the state and the city, is one of the most virulently anti-cat locales in the country and Robinson most assuredly was aware of that from the outset. For example on October 26, 2015, governor Andrew Cuomo voiced his wholehearted support for the ABC's agenda when he vetoed a legislative initiative that would have provided some public funding for TNR. (See the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, November 14, 2015, "Pet Tales: Birders, Cat Lovers Split by New York Veto" and the Audubon Magazine, October 29, 2015, "Audubon New York Rallies Support Against TNR Legislation.")

Back in 2006, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, an arm of New York State, trapped, removed, and slaughtered an undisclosed number of cats from JFK International Airport in Queens. (See Cat Defender post of November 5, 2007 entitled "The Port Authority Gives JFK's Long-Term Resident Felines the Boot and Rescue Groups Are Too Impotent to Save Them.")

The Surviving Jones Beach Cats' New Purgatory

In 2014, the National Park Service evicted a TNR colony from Plum Beach in Brooklyn. (See Cat Defender post of August 7, 2014 entitled "The National Park Service Racks Up a Major Victory by Expelling the Plum Beach Cats but It Is Thwarted in Its Burning Desire to Dance a Merry Little Jig on Their Graves.")

In spite of its tremendous wealth, New York City arguably exterminates more cats each year than any other city in the country but soon after he assumed office in January of 2002 former mayor Mike "Dirty Bloomers" Bloomberg pledged to transform it into a no-kill operation. Instead, he and his minions were caught rolling in the hay with a notorious cat killer and attacking the Algonquin Hotel's beloved resident feline, Matilda III. (See Cat Defender posts of December 22, 2011 and December 5, 2011 entitled, respectively, "A Rogue TNR Practitioner and Three Unscrupulous Veterinarians Kill at Least Sixty-Two Cats with the Complicity of the Mayor's Alliance for NYC Animals" and "The Algonquin Cruelly Responds to Threats Made by New York City by Trussing Up Matilda III and Bombarding Her with Shock Therapy.")

As far as Dirty Bloomers' successor, Bill de Blasio, is concerned, he does not even know that cats exist.

As if all of that were not bad enough, the area serves as the home base for the unprincipled The New York Times which rarely passes up an opportunity to poison the debate with its one-sided, dishonest diatribes against the species. (See Cat Defender posts of December 8, 2007, June 15, 2009, and July 9, 2018 entitled, respectively, "All the Lies That Fit: The Scheming New York Times Hires a Bird Lover to Render His 'Unbiased' Support for James M. Stevenson," "The American Bird Conservancy, The New York Times, and the Humane Society Unite to Form an Achse des Bösen Against Cats," and "The Slimy, Underhanded, and Utterly Despicable New York Times Fabricates Another One-Sided, Scurrilous Screed Against Cats and This Time Around the Target of Its Libels Is a TNR Colony at the Googleplex in Mountain View.")

Although it would appear in hindsight that Robinson was bamboozled by Harvey and her cronies, she could not possibly have been more correct in her understanding of the ABC's agenda. "This lawsuit appears to be part of a larger pattern by the American Bird Conservancy to advocate for its vision of an American landscape in which all cats have been eradicated, and it is inappropriately trying to use the Endangered Species Act as a tool to further this dark agenda," she wrote in the organization's February 7, 2017 press release cited supra.

That is a point that the ABC never has denied. In fact, its all-out assault on cats began long ago with its ludicrous "cats indoors" campaign.

Now, it has progressed to advocating for an even more sinister agenda. "The key point is that they (cats) must be separated from the environment," Seismic Sizemore told his longtime ally Karen Brulliard of The Washington Post in the April 9, 2016 article cited supra. (See also Cat Defender post of September 30, 2005 entitled "The Morally Bankrupt Washington Post Pens a Love Letter to Shelter Workers Who Extermination Cats and Dogs.")

He recently made that point even more emphatically. "What is overwhelmingly evident based on the science is that maintaining cats on the landscape is harmful for cats, wildlife, and people," he bellowed December 20, 2018 to another of his allies within the capitalist media, John Hayes, of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. (See "Feral and Pet Cats Killing Billions of Birds Each Year, Study Says.") "It's time to treat cats like dogs and to safely remove stray and feral animals from our parks and neighborhoods."

With a big push from various federal agencies, the ABC's "dark agenda" has already moved into high gear. For example, agents of the USFWS regularly venture into residential neighborhoods in Key Largo and, presumably, elsewhere in the Florida Keys where they trap and steal domestic cats from private residences.

In 2016, however, they went too far when they stole, bloodied, and falsely imprisoned a cat named Rocky that belonged to world famous scuba diver Spencer Slate of Key Largo. Rocky was eventually returned to him and he also was able to beat in a federal court the fine imposed upon him by the USFWS. (See the Foundation for Economic Education of Atlanta, December 1, 2016, "Now They've Gone Too Far: Greens and Feds Declare War on Cats," and the Miami Herald, December 30, 2014, "In the Florida Keys, Cat Lovers Smell a Rat.")

Even worse, at the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum in Key West, agents of the USDA's Animal Plant Health Inspection Service now dictate the minute details of the resident polydactyls' daily lives. (See Cat Defender post of January 24, 2013 entitled "The Feds Now Have Cats and Their Owners Exactly Where They Want Them Thanks to an Outrageous Court Ruling Targeting the Hemingway Home and Museum in Key West.")

Whenever they are unable to prevail in the press and in the courts birders, such as Stevenson, Dauphiné, and their accomplices, are not the least bit hesitant to take the law into their own hands. Back in 2013, Ted Williams of the NAS and the Orlando Sentinel even went so far as to call for cats to be poisoned out of existence. (See Cat Defender post of May 18, 2013 entitled "Ted Williams and the National Audubon Society Issue a Call for Cats to Be Poisoned with Tylenol® and Then Try to Lie Out of It.")

Once NYS Parks' sellout of the Jones Beach cats had been initialed by Spatt the Scat on August 4th, their caretakers turned their attention to the herculean task of finding them new homes. "The shelters are full. They don't have spots for a lot of adults. People only want kittens," is how that McKenna summed up their dire plight to The New York Times on April 17, 2015. "But these cats didn't ask to become feral. The state will trap them and put them down, and then more cats will be dumped."

"Relocating outdoor cats is not the easy fix some may expect," Robinson forewarned in ACA's press release of August 9, 2018. "These cats are bonded to their outdoor home and moving them will be highly traumatic for them."

It was Capuano, however, who summed up the situation most succinctly. "We just can't bring these cats somewhere else," she pleaded to the Daily Mail in the article cited supra.

Only within the past few days has a trickle of information regarding the cats' horrible fate began to leak out through the capitalist media. As far as it has been revealed, the trapping and removal of them began shortly after Spatt the Scat's ruling in early August. They first were taken to an unidentified veterinarian and next to the Hempstead Animal Shelter but who paid for their removal and examinations has not been disclosed.

According to the January 8th edition of Newsday of Garden City, four of them that were deemed to be adoptable are now "with a caretaker." What "with a caretaker" means has not been defined. (See "Feral Cats Relocated to Keep Piping Plovers Safe.")

The remaining ones were relocated to a dog pound known as Northwind Kennels in the northern Westchester County town of Bedford, sixty-nine kilometers north of Manhattan and one-hundred-eleven kilometers northwest of Jones Beach. There they are confined to steel cages although they may be allowed some time outdoors in an enclosed area.

A rather old video posted on the kennel's web site states that it is home to two-hundred dogs and thirty cats. Its specialty, however, is boarding and grooming dogs.

The Totally Innocent Cats' New Jail Cells at Northwind Kennels

Other than those disturbing bits of information, all that is known about Northwind is that it, like the Jones Beach cats, has had its share of legal woes in the past. For instance, it was sued in 2013 after a ten-year-old Akita named Patton died while in its care.

In 2011, it was sued again by an owner who claimed that it did not properly treat his dog's skin disease. That case was later dropped.

Before that, it was sued by Zions Bank of Salt Lake City for being delinquent with its mortgage payments. Given its rather precarious financial situation, it would be interesting know who paid the kennel to accept the cats because it is a good bet that it is not sheltering and feeding them out of the goodness of its heart. (See the Patch of Bedford and Katonah, August 2, 2013, "Lawsuit Accuses Kennel of Negligence in Dog's Death.")

Although none of that is reassuring, it does not necessarily imply that anything is egregiously amiss at Northwind. Any kennel that cares for that many dogs is bound to incur both financial and veterinary difficulties occasionally.

Still, that does not in any way alter the heartbreaking conclusion that a dog kennel is hardly a suitable home for the Jones Beach cats. Uprooted from home, robbed of all their independence and freedom, imprisoned in cages by strangers, poked and probed by veterinarians and shelter officials, and then dumped at a dog pound in the middle of nowhere and left to rot could not possibly have left them anything other than despondent and fearing for their lives.

Cats do not belong in exclusively indoor environments and they most certainly do not belong in cages. (See The Philadelphia Inquirer, March 11, 2011, "Shelter Shock: Cats Can Get Sick from Stress. One Proposed Remedy? Keep Them Out.")

Most importantly of all, it is totally inexcusable that this has been allowed to happen in the first place. Quite obviously NYS Parks just wanted rid of them as quickly as possible and did not care in the least bit what became of them, but for their caretakers and ACA to have deserted them is nothing short of monstrous.

Given that the both of them had known for years that there was a very good chance that they would be forced into removing the cats from Jones Beach, they should have made contingency plans for them long ago. It simply staggers the mind that a dog pound was the very best that they could do for them.

"In choosing to settle this lawsuit instead of a trial where it would have won, New York has set itself up for failure," was all that Robinson had to say to Newsday.

Even on that point she is dead wrong because there was not any way that NYS Parks could have prevailed in a court presided over by someone as anti-cat as Spatt the Scat. An appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in Manhattan would have been a possibility but if the cats had lost there then Spatt the Scat's jaundiced opinion would have been the law throughout not only New York State but also Connecticut and Vermont as well which comprise that judicial fiefdom.

Following that, the cats' only option would have been an appeal to the United States Supreme Court in Washington where a loss would have made Spatt the Scat's sottise the law of the land. Besides, this matter from start to finish was totally out of ACA's hands in that Spatt the Scat would not allow the organization to intervene on the cats' behalves.

Most reprehensible of all, it is nothing short of infuriating to listen to Robinson take on about TNR while the Jones Beach cats are languishing in a bloody dog pound! "The organization will continue to monitor the situation to ensure the humane treatment of the cats," ACA pledged in its August 9, 2018 press release and it is high time that it made good on that promise.

First of all, it must immediately get the cats out of Northwind Kennels. With all of its money, resources, and contacts, that is surely a manageable task.

Secondly, it must make a full public accounting regarding the health, location, and disposition of all twenty-three cats that were removed from Jones Beach. That is absolutely necessary in order to allay fears that some of them may already have been liquidated. Even at this late date in the game, press reports cannot even agree on the exact number of cats involved.

If the organization is unwilling to do at least that much for them, it should take down its shingle and go out of business. Either the Jones Beach cats count or no cat counts with ACA.

Every bit as predictable as clockwork, Seismic Sizemore was as full of himself as ever and still spouting his outrageous lies like a runaway volcano. "This is a very positive outcome that safeguards piping plovers and ensures a comfortable life for the cats," he pontificated in a January 8th press release. (See "Feral Cats Relocated from Jones Beach State Park.") "The protected plovers that nest at Jones Beach State Park -- and many other species -- will have one less threat to contend with, and the cats have a safer place to live out their lives."

Even while draped in his victory laurels he could not quite conceal his thirst for yet still more feline blood. "If you observe someone releasing a cat or other domestic animal in the park, contact the New York State Park Police," he urged. "Anyone spotting a cat within the park should notify the Jones Beach Operations Office."

Additional cats will sans doute be dumped at the beach and without anyone to look out for them they will, sooner or later, wind up at the Hempstead Animal Shelter where they surely will be slaughtered in droves. Furthermore, Seismic Sizemore's oblique reference to "other domestic animal" would tend to imply that dogs very well could be the next victims to feel the vengeance of the ABC.

After all, the Connecticut chapter of the NAS already has set out a rather ambitious agenda for itself and its avian allies. (See Cat Defender post of March 15, 2007 entitled "The Connecticut Audubon Society Shows Its True Colors by Calling for the Slaughter of Feral Cats, Mute Swans, Mallards, Canada Geese, and Deer.")

Already having been abandoned at least once during their brief lives, the Jones Beach cats now have been deserted once again by those that they had come to trust. The only real difference is that this time around their fate appears to have been sealed once and for all time and, barring a miracle, they will not be receiving any eleventh-hour reprieves.

Photos: United States Government (Spatt the Scat), the Daily Mail (the Jones Beach cats), the New York Post (the cats' shelters), Wicked Local (Plymouth Long Beach), CHvhLR10 of Wikipedia (Lady Justice Statue in Hong Kong), and Northwind Kennels (entrance and cages).