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Cat Defender

Exposing the Lies and Crimes of Bird Advocates, Wildlife Biologists, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, PETA, the Humane Society of the United States, Exterminators, Vivisectors, the Scientific Community, Fur Traffickers, Cloners, Breeders, Designer Pet Purveyors, Hoarders, Motorists, the United States Military, and Other Ailurophobes

Sunday, April 08, 2018

A Rare Behind the Scenes Glimpse at the Ruthless Murders of Two Cats by an Indiana Veterinarian Exposes All Those Who Claim That Lethal Injections Are Humane to Be Barefaced Liars

The Butcher of Knightstown, James A. Wilson

"Look, just stop. I'll take him home. I'll put a bullet in his head. It would be a much kinder way for him to go."
-- Ditty's unidentified female owner

Evil and moralless men and women always have been around but it used to be that the hideous crimes that they perpetrated against cats were pretty much confined to specific geographic locations. Technological advances have changed all of that and nowadays there is not a corner of the planet that is safe from their wicked designs.

Perhaps even more importantly has been the invention of language which has made possible not only the dissemination of lies but worldwide indoctrination as well. "Language was our secret weapon, and as soon as we got language we became a really dangerous species," biologist Mark Pagel of the University of Reading told The New York Times on April 25, 2011. (See "Ancient Clicks Hint Language Is Africa-Born.")

It therefore might not be unfair to conclude that a good share of the world's evils have their genesis in the corruption of language. Take for instance the ancient Greek word euthanasía which literally means an easy death. Much later in history its meaning was expanded to include the snuffing out of the lives of animals and, on rare occasions, humans that were deemed to be suffering from incurable diseases and conditions. Today, its connotation has been so corrupted as to encompass the wholesale slaughter of tens of millions of cats and other animals all around the world each year simply because their owners are, inter alia, to cheap to medicate them, too lazy to care for them, or simply want rid of them for a variety of reasons.

To make a long story short, euthanasia has now become synonymous with cold-blooded murder. Almost as importantly as the commission of these dastardly deeds themselves, there is absolutely nothing either painless or humane about these so-called euthanizations regardless of whatever guises that they may take or how pretty the language that animal owners, shelters, and veterinarians employ in order to cloak the ugly truth.

Another huge problem is that owners, shelters, and veterinarians carry out their diabolical atrocities in secret and far from the prying eyes and ears of the hoi polloi. Out of sight accordingly translates into out of mind.

Now thanks to two complaints filed with Indiana Attorney General Curtis Theophilus Hill, Jr., the public has been made privy to exactly what goes on behind the scenes in the surgeries of veterinarians who not only kill cats but for a handsome profit as well. Specifically, on January 5th Hill filed a complaint with the Indiana Board of Veterinary Examiners (IBVE) in Indianapolis alleging that sixty-four-year-old practitioner James A. Wilson, operator of the Knightstown Veterinary Hospital at 8562 West US 40, had failed to "humanely, kindly, and peacefully euthanize two cats." Knightstown, located fifty-one kilometers east of Indianapolis, is perhaps best known to the outside world as the setting of the 1986 basketball movie, Hoosiers.

The first complaint concerns a fifteen-year-old cat named Sweetpea that Wilson dispatched to the devil on February 13, 2016. In behavior more commonly associated with the bulldogs that he breeds as an avocation than that befitting an animal doctor, Wilson began his assault upon Sweetpea by roughly removing her from her carrier and then grabbing her by the scruff of her neck. He next bound the front paws of the allegedly sick and purring female with masking tape before proceeding to tie one of her rear appendages to the examination table with a piece of twine.

"Please don't do that to her," Sweetpea's unidentified female owner reportedly pleaded with him according to The Star Press of Muncie's February 6th edition. (See "Veterinarian Accused of Cruel Euthanizations.") "Please don't treat her like that."

Not only did Wilson demonstrate the bedside manner of a boa constrictor on that occasion but he also was in such a hellfire hurry that he had great difficulty even locating a vein into which to inject the poison that was destined to rob Sweetpea of her precious life. All of that ultimately proved to be too much for the woman to witness.

After she had withdrawn, her father stormed into the killing theatre and demanded of Wilson why that he had Sweetpea stretched out and trussed to the examining table. The vet responded by telling him that he was scared to death that the cat was going to bite him and if that happened he would have to cut off her head and send it to a laboratory for analysis.

All of that is, of course, pure nonsense. First of all, anyone who does not possess the prerequisite savoir-faire in order to properly restrain a cat does not have any business practicing veterinary medicine. Equally importantly, it is difficult to see how that such an obviously callous and incompetent individual could even begin to properly treat any cat.

The most likely explanation to that conundrum is that Wilson considers all the cats that he is being paid to kill as garbage and therefore does not recognize any need whatsoever to treat them as sentient beings. It additionally is entirely conceivable that killing cats constitutes a lion's share of his practice and with that being the case he has forgotten how to humanely treat any cat that has the misfortune to wind up at his surgery. His modus operandi is therefore to whack them as quickly and expeditiously as possible, collect his blood money, and then move on to other patients.

Secondly, while it is certainly possible that there could be an Indiana statute on the books that mandates the beheading of all cats that bite individuals, such a law is pure madness. Au contraire, if anyone is to be decapitated it should be lamebrains like Wilson and certainly not any cat.

Much more importantly, it is difficult to understand how that any practitioner of veterinary medicine could possibly avoid being occasionally scratched and bitten by his feline patients. "Those who'll play with cats must expect to be scratched," Miguel de Cervantes pointed out a long time ago.

Despite the hysterical rantings of cat-haters and the uninformed, scratches are not any big deal. They may sting and even bleed a little but that is pretty much the extent of the damage that they inflict upon recipients. Nevertheless, they should be irrigated with either soap and water, iodine, zinc, hydrogen peroxide, or vinegar as a precautionary measure but that is about all the attention that they normally require.

Bites are an altogether different matter owing to the bacteria that cats carry around with them in their mouths. Even so, they usually can be remedied through irrigation, a squeezing out of any residual blood that comes to the surface, and an application of such common over-the-counter antibiotics as bacitracin, neomycin sulfate, and polymyxin b sulfate.

Depending upon the location of the wound, it may be necessary to bandage it so as to keep the antibiotics in situ. If any complications other than a minimal degree of swelling should develop, a trip to a doctor's office for stronger antibiotics would be perhaps advisable.

Finally as far as this topic is concerned, there could not possibly be so much as a shred of validity in Wilson's thinking given that just about all owners are accidentally scratched and bitten by their cats from time to time. Besides, if any veterinarian adhered to his asinine advice he soon would find himself not only bereft of feline patients altogether but also in court defending himself against unlawful death lawsuits as well as larceny charges.

With the money on the table, Wilson was not about to allow Sweetpea to escape with her life and through sheer perseverance he was able to eventually locate a vein to serve as the conduit for his poison. Her death, however, was anything but quick and painless as proponents of these so-called euthanizations so often allege.

Instead, she was put through what can only be termed as pure hell which first saw her go into convulsions which were followed by twitching spams. She then began to flail about as she gasped for breath with her tongue hanging out of her diminutive mouth. The Star Press fails to disclose how long this torture session went on but it nevertheless did prove to be too much for the owner's father to watch and he, too, soon marched out of the examining room.

In his defense, Wilson has packed off the blame for this debacle onto the tiny shoulders of totally innocent Sweetpea herself for her refusal to, in the immortal words of Welsh poet Dylan Thomas, "go gentle into that good night." "Everybody who deals with cats realizes that cats aren't generally willing participants in some things...," he philosophized to The Star Press. "They don't magically hold still."

While he was at it, he chastised Sweetpea for having been a difficult cat to annihilate. "(During euthanization) cats occasionally...have a reaction period and become excited. It's a well-known fact," he averred to The Star Press. "This was one of the worst excitements I have ever seen."

Her owner likewise did not escape his censure. "I understand people love their cats...but you have to pick them up and get them out of their cage (sic)...," he continued to The Star Press. "This lady was very, very soft-hearted. We got it out of the cage and it screamed."

He finished up by invoking the time-honored scared to death rationale. "I have to protect myself, my employees and my customers...," he declared self-righteously to The Star Press. "If it bites somebody, legally its head has to come off or it has to be quarantined for seven days."

To sum up. Wilson has amateurishly attempted to blame this horribly botched killing upon everyone involved except himself. C'est-à-dire, he is not a cold-blooded murderer, a brute, and an incompetent but rather every bit as innocent as a newborn lamb.

The second complaint concerns an eight-year-old male named Ditty that Wilson whacked under similarly appalling circumstances on July 3, 2017. On that unpleasant occasion, the blundering nitwit jabbed the cat in his back legs with a needle about fifteen times in an unsuccessful effort to locate a vein. Quickly tiring of that futile exercise, he instead stabbed Ditty directly in the heart with the needle without the benefit of first anesthetizing him.

Before that had happened Ditty had screamed his lungs out in a last-ditch plea that his life be spared and in doing so he inadvertently bit his female owner on the nose. That in turn caused a shower of blood to rain down on the killing mat and sent the woman scurrying for cover in the waiting room.

When she returned a short time later the blood now was in her eye and she had malice aforethought in her heart. "Look, just stop. I'll take him home," she reportedly instructed Wilson. "I'll put a bullet in his head. It would be a much kinder way for him to go."

Such reprehensible thinking on the part of owners is neither uncommon nor always attributable to veterinary incompetence. For example, Brian Burgess of Sandyford in Staffordshire took exception to the £141.59 that an unidentified veterinarian charged him for killing off his sixteen-year-old unidentified female on December 16, 2011 after she had suffered a stroke.

"Do I take her home and watch her die in agony, take her down to the canal with a brick around her neck, or simply belt her across the head with a hammer?" the callous cheapskate groused to The Sentinel of Stoke and Staffordshire on January 10, 2012. (See "£141 Put My Pet Cat to Sleep.")

As was the case with Sweetpea, Wilson once again has pinned the blame for this botched liquidation on everyone involved except himself. "This cat was extremely sick and it was not holding still," he complained to The Star Press.

He then trained his sights on Ditty's owner. "The owner was wanting to help hold her (sic) still but she is not trained to do that," he explained to The Star Press. "But sometimes clients insist. What are you going to do, argue with them?"

He is on target, however, in denouncing the owner's alternative plan. "Saying you're going to shoot it with a gun is ridiculous," he told The Star Press. "I did the best I could under the circumstances."

Lastly, he has blamed the difficulty of the task itself. "Sometimes veins are very difficult to get into," he explained to The Star Press. "We (sic) try to avoid intracardiac injections unless they are anesthetized, but this one kept pulling away."

In other words, Ditty richly deserved his all-consuming fear, stress, suffering, a fatal stab wound to the heart and, above all, to be robbed of his right to live. Mercifully, the entire civilized world has not gone completely bonkers.

Wilson has "failed to exercise the reasonable care and diligence ordinarily exercised by members of his profession in similar cases under like circumstances," Hill argues in his complaint to the IBVE. He accordingly is asking it to discipline him by, inter alia, issuing him a letter of reprimand, fining him an unspecified amount, requiring him to go back to veterinary school, placing him on probation, or either suspending or revoking his license.

At least four conclusions can readily be drawn from the murders of Sweetpea and Ditty. First of all, despite the affirmations of Wilson and their owners both cats quite obviously had plenty of life left in them.

Secondly, they clearly did not want to die and that petit fait is graphically demonstrated by the spirited struggles that they waged in order to go on living. Thirdly, there cannot be any disputing that they suffered tremendous physical and psychological pain during their last minutes on this earth. Fourthly, both cats were roughly handled and abused by Wilson and their owners.

Although there are not any data to support a firm conclusion that the way in which Wilson treated Seeetpea and Ditty is the norm in veterinary circles, it is strongly suspected that is indeed the case. The only exception would be those rare instances where cats are already on their last gasps and therefore too far gone in order to put up much in the way of resistance. That in turn makes killing them superfluous.

Lethal injections likewise are not a humane way of killing kittens. On the contrary, newborns are very much alive and correspondingly feel pain very intensely.

What kindhearted and caring owners should do instead is to make ailing cats comfortable at home and to cradle them in their laps. That is anything but a pleasant task but in this world individuals should be willing to accept the tears that follow the laughter, the infirmities of old age that supplant the vigor of youth and, above all, that horrible descent into oblivion that ultimately usurps even life itself.

Cassandra James Pled Guilty to Drug Charges

For their part cats never willingly forsake their owners and the latter should be willing to reciprocate by going the last mile with them. (See Cat Defender post of July 27, 2013 entitled "Instead of Killing Her Off with a Jab of Sodium Pentobarbital and Then Burning Her Corpse, Ian Remains Steadfast at His Guardian's Side Long after Her Death.")

Some of them even hang around to the bitter end with individuals that they hardly even know. (See Cat Defender posts of July 30, 2007 and May 27, 2010 entitled, respectively, "A Visit from Oscar Means That the Grim Reaper Cannot Be Far Behind for the Terminally Ill at a Rhode Island Nursing Home" and "When Lovers, Friends, Health, and All Hope Have Vanished, Oscar Is There for Those Who Have No One and Nothing Left.")

Even the ringing down of the final curtain does not put an end to conscientious owners' obligations to their cats. Rather, the departed must be given a proper memorial service, a fitting burial, and a tombstone. By contrast, veterinarians and shelters simply toss the remains of their victims in the trash.

Cats that still have plenty of life left in them, such as Sweetpea and Ditty, should be allowed to go on living. Furthermore, any halfway just and compassionate society would mandate by law that they be provided with the top-notch veterinary care that they so richly need and deserve regardless of whether their owners can afford it or not.

As reprehensibly as Wilson botched the killings of Sweetpea and Ditty, his conduct in that regard is far from being the worst in recent memory. For example in June of 2011, Mandy Raab of Donnington outside of Telford in Shropshire dropped off her tuxedoes, Maddy and Tammy, at Wrekin Veterinary Practice in nearby Wellington to be sterilized.

While examining Maddy, the practitioners noticed that she had an injured leg and accordingly advised her owner that she should be killed. Given that cats can get along just fine on three appendages, that should have served as a warning to Raab that the surgery was not operating on the level.

It did not, however, and she instead gave the veterinarians the green light to go ahead and kill Maddy. Being incompetent boobs, however, they got the cats mixed up and killed Tammy instead.

Instead of leaving bad enough alone, Raab next instructed the veterinarians to make a tabula rasa of that debacle by polishing off Maddy as originally planned. (See Cat Defender post of July 28, 2011 entitled "Tammy and Maddy Are Forced to Pay the Ultimate Price after Their Owner and an Incompetent Veterinarian Elect to Play Russian Roulette with Their Lives.")

In Wilson's case, this is far from being the first time that he has been called on the carpet by the authorities. For instance, during 2013 and 2014 he wrote multiple prescriptions for Alprazolam (Xanax) allegedly for two dogs, Cujo and Bear, but the drugs were actually used by his then employee and fiancée, thirty-four-year-old Cassandra James.

She later was charged with burglarizing the animal hospital in order to steal additional drugs. Although the authorities originally charged her with five counts of forgery and twenty counts of drug possession, they eventually allowed her to plead guilty to only four counts of possession. The Star Press skirts the issue but it is unlikely that she served any time in jail.

Her boss and lover on the other hand was originally charged with no fewer than twenty-five counts of illegally dealing and dispensing drugs but on January 4th Hill dropped those charges in exchange Wilson's pleading guilty to one count of failing to make, keep, and furnish records of his surgery's controlled substances. Even then he was let off with probation.

"Those charges should never have been filed in the first place," he defiantly told The Star Press. "They didn't have a case."

While he was at it, Hill last summer attempted to get the IBVE to suspend Wilson's license to practice veterinary medicine but he was rebuffed. The state "did not show through clear and convincing evidence that Wilson was a clear and immediate danger to the public health and safety if allowed to continue to practice," it ruled at that time.

Following his guilty plea in January, the IBVE did place him on indefinite probation and order him back to school in order to brush up on his recordkeeping skills. It also mandated that he undergo a veterinarian well-being assessment.

The board's ruling raises two puzzling issues. First of all, since Wilson voluntarily surrendered his Drug Enforcement Administration license to prescribe drugs in 2014 it is difficult to see how that the recordkeeping classes are going to profit either him or the state unless he is planning to have his license reinstated. Secondly, it is hard to imagine how that he is still able to practice veterinary medicine without being able to prescribe drugs to his patients. He accordingly must be relying upon the assistance of another licensed veterinarian to write the prescriptions that he prescribes.

As was the case with his botched liquidations of Sweetpea and Ditty, Wilson is blaming his drug problems on someone else. "The pending criminal charges were related to prescriptions that were improperly obtained by an employee of his practice, who he was also in a romantic relationship with at that time," the IBVE concluded by way of refusing to suspend his license.

About the only thing exculpatory that can be said about that situation is that it is not uncommon for an older man, such as Wilson, to lose his head over a younger woman. It also is far preferable that the dangerous drugs found their way into James' system rather than into Cujo, Bear, and cats.

Furthermore, mood-altering drugs, such as Alprazolam, never should be given to cats, dogs, and other animals under any circumstances. They have their own unique personalities and moods and should be left to them. Those individuals who do not like them as they are should stay away from them and confine their socializing to their doped-up human counterparts.

"Love the animals. God has given them the rudiments of thought and joy untroubled," Fyodor Dostoevsky wrote in his 1879 novel, The Brothers Karamazov. "Don't trouble it, don't harass them, don't deprive them of their happiness, don't work against God's intent."

Besides, Alprazolam is an extremely dangerous drug for humans to play around with, let alone animals. For example, its side effects can include paranoia, suicide, memory and coordination impairment, and even death. Nevertheless, the wholesale prescribing of harmful drugs to cats and dogs has become, like whacking them, a popular and profitable sideline for both veterinarians and the drug manufacturers themselves.

While it is not known how big of a racket this is, it nevertheless is strongly suspected that it rivals the medical profession's unconscionable fobbing off of oxycodone and fentanyl to gullible and uninformed members of the public, such as the late rocker Tom Petty who died on October 2nd of last year. (See The New York Times, January 19, 2018, "Tom Petty Died from Accidental Drug Overdose Involving Opiods, Coroner Says.")

Given his tendency to always blame others for his own mistakes, it is only fitting that Wilson now is claiming that Hill and his subordinates are pursuing a vendetta against him. "They got beat (on the drug charges) and are not happy about it, and they're doing everything they can to try and stir up trouble and put me out of business," he railed to The Star Press. "They were searching and searching...They interviewed all of my former employees over the last five years trying to find something. I'm fighting this to the end."

Hill's mouthpiece, Bill McCleery, vociferously disagrees. "The Office of Attorney General Curtis Hill cannot initiate a licensing investigation unless we receive a complaint from outside of the office," he argued to The Star Press. "Legal actions are taken to hold individuals or entities accountable. To suggest that our office would engage in anything but ethical behavior is absurd."

The IBVE is expected to convene a hearing on Hill's complaint against Wilson sometime later this month but it would be shocking if it took any meaningful action against him. After all, considering that it was unwilling to pull his license in spite of his numerous violations of the drug laws, it is not about to do so because of how horribly he mistreated Sweetpea and Ditty.

That is true for at least three reasons. First of all, few individuals either within or outside the veterinary medical profession care so much as one whit about the millions of cats that are systematically exterminated each year across the United States by veterinarians, shelters, Animal Control officers, and cops.

Secondly, killing cats puts an awful lot of money in the coffers of veterinarians. Thirdly, all veterinary oversight bodies, such as the IBVE, the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons in London, and the Conseil régional de l'ordre des vétérinaires Picardie in Armiens, exist solely in order to protect their own interests and those of their members and that select group most definitely does not include cats. (See Cat Defender posts of June 17, 2010 and January 19, 2012 entitled, respectively, "A Veterinarian Gets Away with Almost Killing Felix but Is Nailed by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons for Not Paying Her Dues" and "A Veterinary Watchdog Group Not Only Allows an Incompetent Substitute Practitioner to Get Away with Killing Junior but Scolds His Owner for Complaining.")

It is pretty much impossible to know exactly how many cats that veterinarians kill each year. That is attributable first of all to a total lack of interest on the part of private individuals, rescue groups, and politicians to undertake even so much as a cursory inquiry into the matter.

The issue is further complicated by the fact that veterinarians also hire out their killing expertise to shelters, research laboratories, zoos, circuses, the sports industry, and the entertainment business. For what little it is worth, the Humane Society of the United States in Washington estimates that American animal shelters alone kill three to four million cats and dogs annually and of that total 2.7 million of them are adoptable. Even those deemed to be unadoptable could be sent to TNR colonies and sanctuaries and that in turn strongly implies that one-hundred per cent of all those killings are unnecessary.

Those owners who employ veterinarians, such as Wilson, as their designated triggermen fall into two broad categories. The members of the first group ludicrously claim that they are so hard up as to be totally unable to afford to even purchase food for their cats.

They even have their apologists. "(Owners sometimes just can't) provide what that animal needs due to changes in their family finances or job changes that have caused them to have a tighter budget," Barbara Hutcherson of Lost Dog and Cat Rescue in Arlington, Virginia, averred to USA Today on June 7, 2014. (See "Euthanizing Pets Increasing as Vet Costs Rise.") "The saddest thing that I see in my e-mail inbox is probably when someone needs to give up an older pet that they have had for many years because the care has become so expensive."

That is sans doute some of the most outrageous balderdash ever uttered! Contrary to what she and the capitalist media would have the world to believe, there is not any food shortage in the United States.

The feeding of one or two cats accordingly is well within the budgets of even those that live on welfare. They might have to slack off on their boozing, doping, gambling, whoring, and gluttony but feeding a few cats does not pose a financial hardship on anyone.

Rescue groups even dole out a certain amount of cat food gratis to those owners who are too cheap to spend their own precious shekels on their cats' diet. Even when commercial cat food is not available, their companions can get by just fine on human food. That is precisely what they did until kibble and canned tuna became popular in the 1950's.

It therefore is the epitome of dishonesty to claim that Americans are undernourished; au contraire, they are the world's number one gluttons, not to mention being stingy and wasteful to boot. The federal government spends $79 billion annually on Food Stamps and on top of that there are WIC coupons.

Seemingly every church in the country hands out bags of food, which they obtain from the feds, and there are soup kitchens in practically every neighborhood. For instance, New York City has around four-hundred of them and that does not even begin to take into consideration those groups that hand out food on the street.

Even if worse came to worst dedicated owners could feed their cats by raiding Dumpsters and collecting the boxes of food that are left at the curb on trash collection days. Even individuals who have lost practically everything that they once had nonetheless somehow manage to retain custody of their cats though they may be living on the street in cardboard boxes.

Individuals such as Hannelore Schmedes and Mamoru Demizu have even turned to crime in order to feed their cats. Such expedients almost always prove to be only temporarily successful in that sooner or later the thieves are apprehended by the authorities and their cats once again wind up either going hungry or in direr straits. (See Cat Defender post of February 12, 2011 entitled "A Disabled Former Casino Worker Is Sent to Jail for Shoplifting Food in Order to Feed Her Twelve Cats" and The Telegraph of London, December 12, 2013, "Cat Burglar: Japanese Man Steals £112,000 to Feed His One-Hundred-Twenty Cats.")

There is even a limited amount of veterinary care available to the cats and dogs of the homeless. For example on July 30th of last year, two groups attended to the pets of about sixty individuals who then were living in a shantytown located in the riverbed of the Santa Ana River Trail in Anaheim.

"We launched this program because we know there are many services for homeless people but not for their pets," Mark Malo of the Garden Grove Dog and Cat Hospital told The Orange County Register of Anaheim on July 31, 2017. (See "Veterinarians Treat Homeless Pets at Santa Ana River Trail for Free.") "These people are dedicated to their animals. They would go without their own meals to feed them."

It therefore seems fair to conclude that if the universally despised homeless can find a way to feed their cats and dogs that the so-called respectable bourgeoisie do not have a valid excuse for failing to do likewise. It is a pity, however, that the compassionate work performed by Malo and his colleagues was undone a short time later by the gendarmes who unceremoniously not only evicted the squatters but their pets as well from the Santa Ana River Trail.

Being either unable or unwilling to pay the exorbitant fees that are charged in order to treat ailing cats is likewise not a valid reason for owners to instead pay veterinarians smaller sums to kill them. Nonetheless, that is precisely the course of action chosen by owners with bargain basement moralities.

Indiana Attorney General Curtis Theophilus Hill, Jr.

The large number of cats that veterinarians sentence to die on their own by cruelly and inhumanely withholding treatment must also be added to the total that they liquidate for economic reasons. (See Cat Defender posts of March 19, 2014 and July 16, 2010 entitled respectively, "Cheap and Greedy Moral Degenerates at PennVet Extend Their Warmest Christmas Greetings to an Impecunious, but Preeminently Treatable, Cat Via a Jab of Sodium Pentobarbital" and "Tossed Out the Window of a Car Like an Empty Beer Can, Injured Chattanooga Kitten Is Left to Die after at Least Two Veterinarians Refused to Treat It.")

It is not easy to delineate exactly where economic considerations give way to convenience killings, but it is strongly suspected that the latter is even more prevalent than the former. Of course, few owners are willing to call it that; rather, they make up outrageous lies about not wanting to see their cats suffer.

As is the case with economic euthanasia, convenience killing not only has its legions of supporters but many individuals, groups, and institutions who have nothing but praise for veterinarians and shelters who do owners' dirty work for them by whacking their cats. For instance, Karen Brulliard of The Washington Post can hardly manage to put stylo to papier without crying a proverbial river for them. (See Cat Defender post of September 30, 2005 entitled "The Morally Bankrupt Washington Post Pens a Love Letter to Shelter Workers Who Exterminate Cats and Dogs.")

The Austin Chronicle is another publication that is madly in love with cat and dog killers. (See Cat Defender post of November 23, 2005 entitled "A Texas Newspaper Defends Pet Genocide by Publishing Graphic Photographs of Shelter Workers Exterminating a Dog.")

The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) does not have anything against convenience euthanizations and, despite toning down its anti-cat rhetoric somewhat in recent years, it still steadfastly refuses to recognize that homeless cats have any right whatsoever to even exist. (See AVMA press release of January 11, 2016, "AVMA Approves Updated Policy on Free-Roaming Abandoned and Feral Cats" and Alley Cat Allies' press release of January 25, 2016, "AVMA Revises 'Free-Roaming Abandoned and Feral Cat' Policy.")

The Canadian Veterinary Medical Association likewise fully supports convenience euthanizations. (See The Canadian Press via the CBC, May 22, 2017, "Advocates Calling to End Euthanization of Healthy Pets for Owners' Convenience.")

This deplorable situation has gotten so far out of hand that there is even an organization, Compassion Understood of Rugby in Warwickshire, that exists to make killing cats "as smooth and stress-free as possible for all concerned." (See Your Cat Magazine of Grantham in Lincolnshire, April 21, 2016, "Online End-of-Life Training for Vet Practices Launched.")

When it comes to not only the prettying-up of the god-awful liquidation of wholesale numbers of cats but also the transforming of doing so into something akin to a social obligation, no one or group can hold so much as a candle to Ingrid E. Newkirk and her band of villains and inveterate liars at PETA. Specifically, she and her brainwashed apostles of death gallivant all over the world and across the Internet preaching the gospel that no homeless cat has any right whatsoever to even exist.

In accordance with such a warped morality, the organization is vehemently opposed to not only TNR but also the feeding of homeless cats by purely private individuals and groups. (See Cat Defender post of August 24, 2017 entitled "The Brutal Murders of a Trio of Atlantic City's Boardwalk Cats Provide an Occasion for the Local Rag and PETA to Whoop It Up and to Break Open the Champagne.")

To merely accuse PETA of simply hating homeless cats would not do justice to its perverted agenda; actually, it hates all cats and is dedicated to their eradication from the face of the earth. To begin with, it wants to make it illegal for individuals to even own them.

"It is time we demand an end to the misguided concept of animal ownership," Newkirk has mouthed on more than one occasion. "(We should) return to a more symbiotic relationship (with animals) -- enjoyment at a distance."

Such an agenda dovetails nicely with the organization's rabid ailurophobia in that if cats no longer had owners to shield and protect them it therefore would have a free hand in order to eliminate them at will. Needless to say, if PETA had its way there soon would no longer be any cats left for anyone to enjoy at any distance.

PETA likewise is opposed to securing homes for abandoned and lost cats. "Adoption can be bad -- far worse than euthanasia," Newkirk insanely claims.

Furthermore, the organization looks down its long, dirty schnoz at no-kill operations. "These people aren't in the trenches, they're on Facebook," the group's Daphne Nachminovitch told Slate on May 19, 2014. (See "Animal Rights Advocates Are Fighting Like Cats and Dogs over No-Kill Shelters.") "They believe that anyone who is compassionate and loves animals can run a shelter, but bad management leads to hoarding, bad adoptions, and cage deaths."

As utterly reprehensible as its rhetoric may be, PETA's praxis is even worse. For instance, it operates a fleet of death vans that travel the back roads of southern Virginia and northern North Carolina trapping and picking up cats and dogs from the streets and fields. It also steals them from the grounds of private residences and even inveigles shelters to surrender them to its representatives under the guise that they are going to find good homes for them.

In reality, none of those animals ever make it out of PETA's death chariots alive; instead, they are administered lethal injections and then their corpses are deposited in private Dumpsters. (See Cat Defender posts of January 29, 2007 and February 9, 2007 entitled, respectively, "PETA's Long History of Killing Cats and Dogs Is Finally Exposed in a North Carolina Courtroom" and "Verdict in PETA Trial: Littering Is a Crime but Not the Mass Slaughter of Innocent Cats and Dogs," plus The Virginian-Pilot of Norfolk, articles dated December 1, 2014 and February 27, 2015 and entitled, respectively, "Man Says PETA Took His Dog from Porch, Killed Her" and "PETA 'Devastated' after Dog Taken from Porch Is Euthanized.")

Those cats and dogs that somehow manage to make it inside the doors of its shelter in Norfolk do not fare any better in that up to ninety-eight per cent of them are killed shortly after their arrival. Such a policy also conveniently relieves the organization of the necessity of having spend any of the estimated $40 million that it takes in annually on feeding, medicating, sheltering, and adopting out those animals.

All of that, no matter how damning, is old news. Considerably less well understood is PETA's killing modus operandi.

Whereas it is generally conceded by most sensible individuals that killing up to thirty cats at a time in gas chambers, such as shelters in Utah, North Carolina, and other states routinely do, is cruel and barbaric, the time has come to ask just how humane are the lethal injections that PETA touts so vociferously and administers so profusely to innocent and defenseless cats? (See Cat Defender posts of November 12, 2011 and February 7, 2012 entitled, respectively, "The Multiple Attempts Made Upon Andrea's Life Graphically Demonstrate the Urgent Need for an Immediate Ban on the Killing of All Shelter Animals" and "Long-Suffering Andrea Finally Secures a Permanent Home after Incredibly Surviving Quadruple Attempts Made on Her Life by an Unrepentant Utah Shelter.")

"Our service is to provide a peaceful and painless death to animals no one wants," Newkirk has proclaimed on numerous occasions. Since outside observers are not permitted inside PETA's death vans, its Norfolk shelter, and the offices of the veterinarians who do its dirty work for it, no one really know for sure just how "peaceful" and "painless" its executions are in reality.

These egomaniacal frauds also ludicrously claim that cats find being whacked to be a pleasurable experience. "The veterinarian immediately put the suffering cat out of his misery, giving him more comfort in his final moments than he had likely known for much of his life," the organization's Alisa Mullins said in reference to a cat that PETA stole off of the streets and then executed in 2011. (See Cat Defender post of October 7, 2011 entitled "PETA Traps and Kills a Cat and Then Shamelessly Goes Online in Order to Brag about Its Criminal and Foul Deed.")

As the premeditated murders of Sweetpea and Ditty have graphically demonstrated, cats never go willingly to the gallows and that petit fait alone calls into question Newkirk's and Mullins' claims about such killings as "peaceful," "painless," and a "comfort." Even more revealing, Newkirk's own behavior flatly contradicts her own self-serving propaganda.

Before founding PETA, she operated a shelter in Washington, DC, where she did away with her inmates in much the same kind of mad killing frenzies as Robert Fawcett displayed when he liquidated one-hundred of his Siberian Huskies once he no longer needed their services following the close of the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. "I went to the front office all the time, and I would say, 'They are stepping on the animals, crushing them like grapes, and they don't care'," she revealed to The New Yorker on April 4, 2003. (See "The Woman Behind the Most Successful Radical Group in America.") "In the end, I would go to work early, before anyone got there, and I would just kill the animals myself. Because I couldn't stand to let them go through that. I must have killed thousands of them, sometimes dozens every day."

To have carried out that many murders each day and in such a short period of time Newkirk must have done to her animals what Wilson did to Ditty and that is to have stabbed each of them in the heart with needles and without the benefit of anesthesia. That accordingly raises the likelihood that PETA conducts business in its death vans and at its shelter in a similar fashion.

It therefore is high time that PETA either put up or shut up. If it truly believes that the thousands of executions that it performs each year are humane it should allow outside observers to witness them.

The deadly drugs that veterinarians and shelters dispense do not only kill cats and dogs but also birds and other wildlife that feed upon their carcasses whenever they are deposited in landfills. Traces of them also have been found in pet food and that strongly suggests that the corpses of cats and dogs are being sold to the manufacturers of pet food.

In that respect, it would be interesting to know how many wild animals that PETA has inadvertently killed through its being too cheap in order to properly dispose of the corpses of the animals that it indiscriminately slaughters en masse each year. It also is entirely conceivable that the lethal drugs employed in these wholesale eradications could be contaminating the earth and streams as well and as such that would make a worthy subject for the Environmental Protection Agency in Washington to investigate.

In spite of the wholesale crimes that it commits against cats and dogs, PETA remains a darling of the capitalist media. (See The Virginian-Pilot, February 27, 2015 editorial, "Taking Aim at PETA's Work.")

It also is illustrative to examine how radically different capital offenders, the majority of whom are most assuredly guilty as charged, are treated vis-à-vis totally innocent cats. For instance, the European Union and eighteen American states ban capital punishment and even in the remaining states where it is still legal candlelight vigils are held for the condemned, clerical intervention is common, politicians are called upon to show mercy, and last-minute appeals are made to the United States Supreme Court.

Even on those rare occasions when a condemned man is actually put to death, if he so much as twitches in pain a clarion call goes out from various sectors of society that the death penalty is cruel and immoral. That in turn has led to more than twenty European and American drug manufacturers to prohibit the use of their products in the taking of lives.

"Pfizer makes its products to enhance and save the lives of the patients we serve (and) strongly objects to the use of its products as lethal injections for capital punishment," the Manhattan-based pharmaceutical giant pontificated to The New York Times on May 13, 2016. (See "Pfizer Blocks the Use of Its Drugs in Executions.")

New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli brushed aside Pfizer's highfalutin rhetoric in order to zero in on more practical considerations. "A company in the business of helping people is putting its reputation to risk when it supplies drugs for executions," he blowed to The New York Times. "The company is also risking association with botched executions, which opens it up to legal and financial damage."

By contrast, cats have never committed any crimes unless breathing is considered to be a capital offense. Yet, no one has ever seen a candlelight vigil outside of either a shelter or a veterinarian's office, the cats' pleas for mercy fall upon the deaf ears of the Talmud thumpers and Bible beaters, and their inalienable right to live and to be afforded due process of law is not part of the jurisprudence that judges and politicians dispense with such vigor and enthusiasm.

Furthermore as the murders of Sweetpea and Ditty have demonstrated, cats suffer truly horrible and prolonged deaths at the hands of veterinarians and shelter personnel and yet absolutely nobody ever demands that the makers of sodium pentobarbital, such as Akorn Pharmaceuticals and its subsidiary Oak Pharmaceuticals of Lake Forest, Illinois, and Aston Pharma of London, stop selling their products to those practitioners and institutions as well as to all research laboratories located on college campuses. The same scenario holds true for their extensive network of suppliers, such as Henry Schein of Dublin, Ohio, and compounding pharmacies, such as Heiber's of Pittsburgh, who ultimately make it possible for cat killers to not only stay in business but to continue laughing all the way to the bank.

The belief that individuals and institutions are endowed with a carte blanche right to kill cats for any or no reason is embedded so deeply in society that it even has corrupted the thinking and behavior of such renowned rescue groups such as Alley Cat Allies, Cats Protection, and the RSPCA. (See Cat Defender posts of January 2, 2013, February 17, 2016, and October 23, 2010 entitled, respectively, "Alley Cat Allies Demonstrates Its Utter Contempt for the Sanctity of Life by Unconscionably Killing Off Its Office Cat, Jared," "Cats Protection Races to Alfie's Side after His Owner Dies and He Winds Up on the Street, Swears It Is Going to Help Him, and Then Turns Around and Has Him Whacked," and "The RSPCA Steals and Executes Nightshift Who Was His Elderly Caretaker's Last Surviving Link to Her Dead Husband.")

The same holds true for those shelters that claim to be no-kill operations. (See Cat Defender posts of October 23, 2012 and July 29, 2010 entitled, respectively, "A Supposedly No-Kill Operation in Marblehead Betrays Sally and Snuffs Out Her Life Instead of Providing Her with a Home and Veterinary Care" and "The Benicia Vallejo Humane Society Is Outsourcing the Mass Killing of Kittens and Cats All the While Masquerading as as No-Kill Shelter.")

In the final analysis, there is not much point in appealing to veterinarians, shelters, rescue groups, and the drug manufacturers to mend their evil ways; most of them are such shameless whores for shekels that they gladly would pimp for even Satan himself. Politicians, jurists, and the clergy are ever worse rotters.

Together they form a tightly knit club which finds the wholesale suffering and killing of cats to be mutually beneficial. They like things the way they are and are equally determined that they remain unchanged.

What small glimmer of hope that there is lies with owners who have it well within their power to put all of these remorseless killers out of business once and for all time by ceasing to abuse, abandon and, above all, furnish the cats that keep their killing mills grinding. Even so, it would be naïve to think for one moment that the public disclosure of how ruthlessly and unconscionably Sweetpea and Ditty were treated is going to result in many owners having epiphanies.

For instance, the public disclosure of the murder of Spitz at the hands of the Oakland County Animal Shelter in Auburn Hills back in 2015 has not had any positive impact whatsoever upon how owners and shelters treat cats. (See Cat Defender post of July 31, 2015 entitled "The Cold-Blooded Murder of Spitz Once Again Exposes the Horrifying, Ugly, and Utter Appalling Truth about Not Only Shelters but Callous Owners and Phony-Baloney Animal Rights Groups as Well.")

"Human kindness is like a defective tap, the first gush may be impressive but the stream soon dries out," novelist Phyllis James once observed. When it comes to man's perennially abysmal mistreatment of cats, however, one can forget about getting anything out of the tap; the problem lies rather in the well itself and it always has been as dry as the Sahara Desert.

Meanwhile, the corruption and misuse of language continues unabated. After all, cats are not being murdered but rather euthanized, put down, put to sleep and, as far as the godly are concerned, gone to heaven.

They likewise do not suffer unimaginable physical and psychological horrors, but rather their deaths are quick, painless, and a welcomed comfort to them. Doubters, should any exist, need only to ask PETA, veterinarians, shelter operators, and the clergy and they will gladly set them straight in a hurry.

Photos: WXIN-TV of Indianapolis (Wilson), The Star Press (James), and WIBC-FM of Indianapolis (Hill).

Monday, March 26, 2018

A Dedicated and Compassionate Kilianstädterin Has Found at Least a Partial Solution to the Tragic Plight of alte und obdachlos Katzen

Luke and Melanie Gottschalk

"Diese Tiere sind in der Regel schwer vermittelbar, weil etwa Familien mit Kindern näturlich ein kleine und süße Katze wollen."
-- Melanie Gottschalk

When it comes to cats few issues are quite as heart-wrenching as that of those that have grown not only old but, through no fault of their own, also homeless. That is by no means a new problem in that it has plagued the species ever since time immemorial.

Now, a young technical designer named Melanie Gottschalk from the Kilianstädten section of Schöneck, twenty kilometers north of Frankfurt am Main in the state of Hesse, believes that she has found at least a partial solution to that age-old dilemma by placing them in the homes of pensioners. Being a lifelong fan of the species, she operates a private rescue operation out of her house for cats of all ages but it is the elderly ones that are her specialty.

Her rescue efforts begin with a perusal of the lost, found, and for sale notices on the Internet. "Ich kann inzwischen gut unterscheiden, welche Anzeige von einem Tierschutzverein ins Netz gestellt wurde oder ob ein Verkäufer Geld mit der Katze machen will," she disclosed to the Frankfurter Neue Presse on September 4, 2014. (See "Wenn alte Katzen obdachlos werden.") "Und dann gibt es die für mich interessanten Anzeigen, wo Menschen Tiere schnell loswerden wollen -- aus den unterschiedlichsten Gründen."

She then contacts the advertisers while simultaneously interceding with local veterinarians and other rescuers by e-mail on behalf of those cats. Some of those that she is able to gain custody of are placed fairly soon in new homes but the remainder she takes in herself and fosters until good homes can be secured for them.

At one point in 2014, she was caring for a Maine Coon named Luke, a tom named Baghera, a female named Lilly, and a pregnant cat named Emmi that had been rescued from floodwaters in Nidda, forty kilometers northeast of Frankfurt am Main. "Bekannte haben das Tier gefunden und mich informiert," she related to the Frankfurter Neue Presse. "Da konnte ich nicht Nein sagen und seither lebt Emmi bei uns (she and her boyfriend)."

Generally speaking, however, she has had remarkable success in finding new homes for those cats that she has rescued. "In der Regel dauert es nicht lange, bis ein neues Zuhause für die Tiere gefunden ist," she told the Frankfurter Neue Presse.

With old cats, however, she has run up against the same old Stolperstein  that has stymied traditional shelters for so long. "Diese Tiere sind in der Regel schwer vermittelbar, weil etwa Familien mit Kindern näturlich ein kleine und süße Katze wollen," she lamented to the Frankfurter Neue Presse.

As it often has been pointed out, necessity is the mother of invention and it was out of those frustrations that Gottschalt eventually hit upon the idea of placing old cats with pensioners. The arrangement works out well for senior citizens given that older cats are quieter and less demanding than either kittens or those that are in the primes of their lives.

As for the cats themselves, Gottschalk argues that such arrangements assure them of permanent homes for the remainder of their days. The rather obvious flaw in her reasoning is that old men and women also get sick and die and that in turn translates into their new arrivals being left homeless once again.

Just how big of a problem that is with the cats that she places with seniors, only she knows. Nevertheless, she presumably is willing to compensate for that drawback by retaking custody of those cats that find themselves displaced for a second time.

Since she does not limit her feline outreach efforts to Kilianstädten and Nidda, she was able to place a twelve-year-old Maine Coon from Mainz, sixty-six kilometers south of Kilianstädten in Rhineland-Pfalz, with a seventy-year-old woman in Hanauer Stadtteil Klein-Auheim, twenty-two kilometers south of Kilianstädten, whose dog had recently died. "Das war genau das richtige Tier für die Seniorin," she told the Frankfurter Neue Presse. "Die alte Dame ist super happy mit ihrem neuen tierischen Freund."

In order to facilitate such successful adoptions, she must first overcome two daunting obstacles. The first of which is to identify those senior citizens who might be willing to take on the care of an elderly cat. Secondly, those individuals then must somehow be prevailed upon to adopt.

As far as the first problem is concerned, Gottschalk has been able to circumvent it by relying upon an eclectic mix of e-mail, word of mouth, and fliers that she distributes to merchants in and around Schöneck. Although surmounting the second dilemma surely would tax the oratorical skills of even the most seasoned carnival barker, since she has been able to convince at least one dog owner to adopt a cat she must be pretty good at that difficult chore.

Even though her results so far have been only meager, she is demonstrating that the correct strategy coupled with hard work can produce amazing results. The true secret of her success does not lie in strategy, however, but rather in an altogether different ingredient that is so sorely lacking in traditional rescuers and shelters.

"Ich mache das aus Liebe zu den Tieren und verlange auch kein Geld dafur," she summed up for the Frankfurter Neue Presse.

It goes almost without saying that her initiative is direly needed given that the options available for elderly and homeless cats are few indeed. Just as an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, the best of all possible solutions would be for their guardians to make provisions for their continued care in their wills.

That is what Ellen Frey-Wouters of the Bronx did for her two companions, Troy and Tiger, before she kicked the bucket in 2015. Specifically, she left behind US$300,000 for their continued care. (See the New York Post, August 21, 2017, "Bronx Widow Leaves $300,000 Fortune to Her Cats," and the Daily Mail, August 24, 2017, "Here, Kitty, Kitty! New York Woman Leaves $300,000 to Her Cats in Her Will with the Request They 'Never Be Caged'.")

Although the transition from one home and one guardian to another home and a new caretaker is not an easy adjustment for an elderly cat to make, it is still preferable than for it to wind up totally on its own. If that should not be feasible, the second best option would be for owners to prevail upon close family members to take over the care of their cats after they are gone.

That is precisely what Beverley Hume of Newcastle upon Tyne did after both of her parents died and left behind their elderly cat, Ginger. Sadly, even her compassion proved to be insufficient in order to safeguard the life of the twenty-five-year-old male from the machinations of those individuals and institutions who fervently believe that old cats should not be allowed to draw so much as one more breath under any circumstances. (See Cat Defender post of January 11, 2012 entitled "A Deadly Intrigue Concocted by a Thief, a Shelter, and a Veterinary Chain Costs Ginger the Continued Enjoyment of His Golden Years.")

Even more reprehensibly, the simply abhorrent attitude that veterinarians and shelters have toward elderly cats is shared by the overwhelming majority of owners who do not hesitate to have them killed off as soon as their care becomes either expensive or inconvenient. Despite its popularity, murdering elderly cats never should be an option for either individuals or institutions.

Even those cats that are lucky enough to outlive their guardians are left with very few options. For example, just about all of those that are dumped at shelters are immediately liquidated shortly after their arrival.

That is because just about all of those wretched institutions are anything but animal shelters; rather, they are thinly disguised feline extermination camps. Secondly, even if staffers were willing to attempt to find homes for them the general public, as Gottschalk has pointed out, has little or no interest in adopting old cats.

Even those extremely rare organizations that have an abiding respect for the sanctity of all feline life, such as Yorkshire Cat Rescue (YCR) in Keighley, West Yorkshire, have a devil of a time finding homes for their senior citizens. For instance, YCR is currently on its fourth attempt to locate a permanent home for a fourteen-year-old tom named Harvey. (See Cat Defender posts of August 31, 2017 and March 12, 2018 entitled, respectively, "With His Previous Owner Long Dead and Nobody Seemingly Willing to Give Him a Second Chance at Life, Old and Ailing Harvey Has Been Sentenced to Rot at a Shelter in Yorkshire" and "Much Like a Nightmare that Stubbornly Refuses to End, Harvey Continues to Be Shuttled from One Home to Another at the Expense of His Health and Well-Being.")

Not all of its efforts have been in vain, however, in that it has successfully placed a fifteen-year-old ginger and white tom named Frank in a new home. (See Cat Defender post of September 5, 2017 entitled "Written Off More Than Once as Being All but Finished, Frank Is Living Proof That Old Cats Not Only Have Value but Considerably More Life Left in Them Than Most People Are Willing to Acknowledge.")

Elsewhere, it even took Cats Protection three tries in order to secure a permanent home for a ten-year-old tuxedo named Ian from Birmingham after his guardian had died without making any plans for his continued care. (See Cat Defender post of July 27, 2013 entitled "Instead of Killing Her Off with a Jab of Sodium Pentobarbital and Then Burning Her Corpse, Ian Remains Steadfast at His Guardian's Side Long after Her Death.")

Harvey, Frank, and Ian are exceptions to the rule in that the overwhelming majority of old cats never make it out of shelters alive. For that reason alone, shelters never should be an option for them or, for that matter, any cat no matter what its age and circumstances.

The second most likely destination for cats that have outlived their owners is the street as George, Pops, Orakal, and so many others have have discovered to their distress and horror. (See Cat Defender posts of March 23, 2015, August 6, 2015, September 15, 2015, and May 4, 2017 entitled, respectively, "Old, Sickly, and on the Street, George Accidentally Wanders into a Pet Store and That, in All Likelihood, Saved His Life," "Elderly, Frail, and on Death Row, Lovely Pops Desperately Needs a New Home Before Time Finally Runs Out on Her," "Pops Finally Secures a Permanent Home but Pressing Concerns about Both Her Continued Care and Right to Live Remain Unaddressed," and "Seventeen-Year-Old, Sickly, and Blind Orakel Is Abandoned to Fend for Herself in the Unforgiving Streets of Breitenfurt bei Wien.")

Although most any existence, no matter how harsh, is still preferable to unjustly robbing these cats of their inalienable right to live, there cannot be any disputing that dumping elderly cats in the street constitutes the very epitome of cruelty and that is especially the case with those that have lost their eyesight and mobility. In most instances, the absolute very best that they can expect from a cutthroat and uncaring world is to be offered shelter by kindhearted, private individuals who respect their right to live.

Private sanctuaries are a third option but they are few in number and usually operate at capacity. (See Cat Defender post of May 27, 2016 entitled "Snubbed by an Ignorant, Tasteless, and Uncaring Public for the Past Twenty-One Years, Tilly Has Forged an Alternative Existence of Relative Contentment at a Sanctuary in the Black Country" and the Donau Kurier of Ingolstadt, July 9, 2013, "Die Geschichte der Maya.")

Managed TNR colonies offer a fourth option for elderly cats and Alley Cat Allies has had several of its charges in Atlantic City live to be at least twenty years old. (See Cat Defender post of December 10, 2011 entitled "Snowball Succumbs to the Inevitable after Toughing It Out for Two Decades at Atlantic City's Underwood Hotel.")

Even so, it is cruel to sentence elderly cats to spend their last days all alone and outdoors. Plus, the Underwood Hotel is a dangerous place for even humans, let alone defenseless cats. (See Cat Defender post of August 24, 2017 entitled "The Brutal Murders of a Trio of Atlantic City's Boardwalk Cats Provide an Occasion for the Local Rag and PETA to Whoop It Up and to Break Open the Champagne.")

Considering the extent to which the game of life is stacked against them, only a handful of cats ever live long enough in order to become senior citizens. Those that do accordingly should be treasured for the rare gems that they are and every day that they continue to grace the face of Mother Earth ought to be regarded a a precious gift.

Even granting them that much is still woefully insufficient. In particular, not only should their right to live be enshrined in law but that also should entitle them to warm, secure, and loving homes, a good quality diet, and top-notch veterinary care. To afford them anything less makes a mockery of any lingering pretenses that man may still harbor in his malignant bosom about his own fundamental fairness, decency and, most importantly, right to exist himself.

Photo: Thomas Seifert of the Frankfurter Neue Presse.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Much Like a Nightmare That Stubbornly Refuses to End, Harvey Continues to Be Shuttled from One Home to Another at the Expense of His Health and Well-Being

Harvey Has Had Five Homes Within the Past Fifteen Months

"He is one of a kind and utterly lovely. He is just quite specific about his demands -- no other pets, no noisy kids, all attention and love on him. That's not a bad deal, is it?"
-- Yorkshire Cat Rescue

As far as it is known, no cat possesses the power to divine the future. With that being the case, even having the good fortune to have entered this world in perfect health, a happy kittenhood, and a good life as a mature adult cat are not preventatives against the vicissitudes of old age.

In particular, the infirmities that accompany growing old are themselves difficult enough for any cat to deal with but for one to suddenly find itself uprooted from its home and abandoned to either the streets or unjustly incarcerated at some hellhole shelter is, quite often, entirely too much for it to overcome at such a late stage in its life. About the only thing positive that can be said about such tragic dénouements is that they are still preferable to being whacked by unscrupulous veterinarians at the behest of their perfidious owners.

Although he was only concerned with man's lot, Sophocles knew that in order to have had a good life an individual had to be not only happy throughout his days but also to drag his happiness down into the crypt with him. He makes that clear in the concluding lines of Oedipus Rex where he argues as follows:

"Let every man in mankind's frailty
consider the last day; and let none
Presume on his good fortune until he find
Life, at his death, a memory without pain."

So, too, is it doubtlessly the case with cats and at an undisclosed location in, presumably, West Yorkshire, a fourteen-year-old brown, gray, and white tom named Harvey is currently struggling to come to grips with that eternal dilemma. Although practically nothing has been publicly disclosed about his first twelve years upon this earth, his fortunes took a downward tumble in December of 2016 when his guardian died.

As a result, he was unceremoniously dumped at Yorkshire Cat Rescue (YCR) in Keighley and that was destined to be only the first of four lengthy stays for him at that facility over the course of the following fifteen months. His first incarceration was, mercifully, a brief one in that the charity was able to place him in a new home shortly after his arrival.

Unfortunately, he did not hit it off with his owners' other resident feline and they quickly threw in the towel on him and returned him to YCR. The next time around he was adopted by an unidentified woman in Leeds, thirty-three kilometers southeast of Keighley, but she soon thereafter allegedly became ill and likewise dumped him back into YCR's lap.

So, within a period of less than six months he had been bandied about between no fewer than three homes on top of three separate stays at YCR. "But he really is completely lovely -- just so desperately unlucky," is how that the charity's Sam Davies summed up his cruel fate.

Despite those devastating setbacks, the shelter to its credit vowed not to give up on him. "This poor lad has spent the summer with us, and still no luck in finding him a home," its Sara Atkinson lamented last year. (See Cat Defender post of August 31, 2017 entitled "With His Previous Owner Long Dead and Nobody Seemingly Willing to Give Him a Second Chance at Life, Old and Ailing Harvey Has Been Sentenced to Rot at a Shelter in Yorkshire.")

The long hot summer dragged into a chilly autumn and Harvey still found himself firmly encased behind bars at YCR. In fact, it was not until early November that he was given a new lease on life and even that positive break did not materialize until after the charity had come up with a novel and experimental stratagem in order to get him into another home.

"As you know Harvey has been with us for quite some time but he has now found a loving permanent fosterer and it looks like he has decided to stay there and let her look after him and his wonkiness," YCR announced November 7th on its Facebook page.

Under that unusual arrangement, YCR took it upon itself to foot the bill for his food and veterinary care with the fosterer providing only a place for him to live and, supposedly, pledging to take good care of him. It nevertheless is unclear who actually had legal custody of him and, much more importantly, which party would have been liable if he had been abused or mistreated in any fashion.

The positive aspect of such arrangements is that they do get cats like Harvey out of cages at shelters and into homes. On the negative side of the equation, fosterers are not required to make any moral, legal, or financial commitments to those that they bring into their lives and they accordingly are free to return them to YCR at any time.

The situation is analogous to the adoption fees that shelters charge. One theory maintains that there is a causal link between the size of those fees and the sincerity of the adopter. For instance, the higher the fee, the greater the degree of commitment.

Another theory holds that lowering them actually saves lives by making it possible to place more cats in homes. It is difficult to know which theory is closest to the truth owing to, inter alia, the paucity of research conducted on this subject and the multitude of variables and value judgments that would need to be sorted out before any firm conclusions could be reached.

In Harvey's case, however, YCR's experiment turned out to have been an unmitigated disaster. "I then had the most amazing foster mum but I of course had to be trouble and make sure she knew that I do not share my human with other pets," the charity, speaking on behalf of him, announced February 10th on Facebook. "So I am back here looking for a new home!"

There are at least four things that can be said about that debacle. First of all, any woman who would give up on an elderly cat after only three months was not a fit guardian for him in the first place.

Secondly, YCR once again dropped the ball by placing Harvey in such an untenable situation. Thirdly, it needs to seriously rethink this entire business of placing him with so-called permanent fosterers or, at the very least, to be forthright enough to call them what they really are and that is nothing more than short-term guardians who do not have any firm commitments to the Harveys of this world.

Fourthly, it is not only outrageous but totally unforgivable that YCR has fobbed off all the blame for the failure of this half-baked expedient onto the tiny shoulders of Harvey. Au contraire, it is the charity and the fosterer who have failed him and not vice-versa.

For its part, YCR is culpable for failing to realize that all cats are individuals with different personalities, histories, and experiences in life. C'est-à-dire, one size does not fit all.

Most egregious of all, it does not have any earthly way of knowing what types and amounts of verbal and physical abuse that he may have been subjected to at the hands of the fosterer and her other pets. After all, the woman is free to badmouth him until the cows come home but he is unable to speak up for himself.

Based upon the deleterious effect that his latest foray into the adoption thicket has had upon his health, the miseries, torments, and possible abuse that he may have suffered were anything but insubstantial. "When I came back here I was all shouty and confused," YCR stated for him February 10th on Facebook. "I was a bit all over the place and not at all the cuddly Harvey they remembered from all those months ago."

In its defense, YCR insists that Harvey is suffering from a benign brain tumor and that is what is causing his agitation, wobbly gait, and forgetfulness. Yet at the same time it insists that its veterinarians cannot find any presence of such a growth.

Harvey Desperately Needs a Home Before Time Runs Out on Him

Given that there are various diagnostic tests which are fairly accurate in detecting such growths, YCR should not be allowed to have it both ways. If Harvey does have a tumor, it needs to be closely monitored and, if conditions so merit, treated and possibly even removed.

If that is not the case, the charity should stop blaming his health for its own incompetence. In that light, it certainly is odd that he was said to have been in excellent health when he first arrived at the shelter and it was not until after he had returned from YCR's first failed attempt to adopt him out that a noticeable decline in it was detected.

It accordingly very well could be the case that the changes in both his personality and physical health could be at least in part attributable to his being bandied about like a Flying Dutchman between the shelter and various homes. If, on the other hand, the right home environment could be secured for him both his mental and physical health might very well improve almost overnight.

It is almost superfluous to point out, but the absolute last thing on earth that this fourteen-year-old cat needs and deserves is additional time in either a cage or foster care. "...I can get a bit confused, lost and agitated," YCR said for him February 10th on Facebook. "...I wondered why every cat else was finding it easier here (at the shelter) than me!"

Because of his advanced years and health concerns, YCR next issued a call to find him a home with a guardian who would be willing to overlook his forgetfulness and personality quirks. If one could be found with an enclosed garden that would be all the better considering his love for the great outdoors.

"As you know Harvey is back with us and we are struggling to find him a suitable home due to him being an old boy with...hmmm...lots of character," it stated February 16th on Facebook. "Everyone at the centre love him dearly but this is not the best place for a wobbly oldie who does not like other cats."

It then went on to elaborate on just how difficult a job that it had on its hands. "Yes, he is demanding. Yes, he is on the older side. Yes, he is loud. Yes, he is wonky. But he is also a charmer. A cuddler," it added. "He is one of a kind and utterly lovely. He is just quite specific about his demands -- no other pets, no noisy kids, all attention and love on him. That's not a bad deal, is it?"

Certainly not in that Harvey would make a simply fantastic addition to some lucky individual's life. Above all, that person could love him completely and without reservations knowing that those sentiments were fully reciprocated.

It did not take long for that plaintive appeal to bear fruit but whether it is of the edible or the poisonous variety remains to be determined. "We are so happy to say that he has found a permanent fosterer and a retirement home," a much relieved YCR proudly announced February 26th on Facebook.

Although the charity is deserving of the highest praise possible for standing by Harvey, its decision to once again pay someone to take him in on a temporary basis is extremely troubling. That is especially the case given that it has omitted any mention whatsoever of whether or not the fosterer meets all of the requirements that it outlined on February 16th.

Even more outrageously, it once again has placed the onus of making this arrangement work upon Harvey. "All he has to do now is play nice and make sure this stays his forever home!" it cautioned February 26th on Facebook.

That certainly does not sound like it is expecting this arrangement to work out. Whereas the charity's position is completely understandable given that being behind bars is having a debilitating effect upon his health, bandying him about from home to home under who knows what conditions is not good for him either. In fact, the stress could very well eventually kill him.

The most logical solution from the outset would have been for a staffer at YCR to have adopted him but since that has not occurred it is most likely attributable to all of them already caring for multiple felines. Much like the Epicurean gods who were said to have resided in the intermundia, Harvey thus seems to be beyond the help of all but a few genuine cat-lovers and that in turn has whittled down the pool of potential adopters to those that have little or no experience in caring for cats in general and especially those with his pressing needs.

Although the organization has not commented one way or the other on this subject, Harvey's disdain for other cats is most likely attributable to his either being weaned too early or the product of his having spent his entire adult life with a one-cat guardian. In some instances, issues of this type can be resolved over time with work, patience, and a certain amount of savoir-faire but owing to his age, personality, and background that may not be feasible in this instance. Besides, he has been put through enough experimentation already and it would not be conducive to his well-being to subject him to any more stress and turmoil.

That does not appear to leave YCR with all that many alternatives but the most promising of which would be to attempt to place him with an elderly woman who recently had lost a cat. The difficulty with that would be to first identify such individuals and then to convince one of them to take on the care of Harvey. That is admittedly a long shot but it may be his only hope.

If it has not done so already, YCR ought to at least consider broadening its appeal beyond West Yorkshire. Advertising is sans doute an expensive proposition but both England and Scotland are chock-full of cat-lovers and there is at least some small measure of hope that such an appeal might very well produce positive results.

Every individual and organization involved in this process has failed Harvey to one extent or the other. First of all, his late guardian neglected to make any provisions for his continued care and that person's survivors likewise wanted no part of him and could have cared less what became of him.

Secondly, the three caretakers who subsequently invited him into their homes quickly gave up on him and thereby established beyond a doubt their unworthiness to be cat owners. Thirdly, the charity has put him through pure hell by subjecting him to three badly botched adoptions while during the interims sentencing him to languish in a cage for months on end.

Seemingly unwilling to have profited from its past mistakes, it now has fobbed him off on another suspect guardian with, from all outward appearances, little hope of success. It is, however, the charity's maligning of Harvey and blaming him for its own mistakes that galls the most. With this world being so jam-packed with despisers of the species, cats such as Harvey certainly do not need and deserve to be publicly excoriated and maliciously libeled by an organization that claims to be in their corner.

As any halfway sensible individual can easily comprehend, Harvey is the victim not the victimizer that YCR would have the naîve to believe. Furthermore, denigrating cats who have suffered the slings and arrows of outrageous misfortune is so repulsive and outrageous that it is deserving of being proscribed by law.

As troubling as some of YCR's comments and actions have been the sad truth of the matter is that it is all that is standing between him and a date with the hangman. Even so its patience and resources are not limitless and that makes it imperative that some conscientious member of the public comes forward soon and offers him a permanent and loving home.

Plus, time is fast running out on him and it is questionable just how much more of this senseless bandying about that he is capable of withstanding. Fiddling around as Nero was said to have done while Rome burned is not an option in his case.

To have put any cat through what Harvey has been subjected to over the course of the past fifteen months is totally unacceptable and it accordingly is high time that YCR found him a permanent home. Most importantly of all, it never must be forgotten that he is not asking for anything more than what he so richly deserves.

Photos: Facebook.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

The Hunt for Runa's Sadistic Killer Takes an Unexpected and Bizarre Turn but, Owing to the Polizei's Refusal to Take the Case Seriously, an Arrest Remains a Long Shot

Runa and Jordana Rebmann in Happier Days

"Die Wahrscheinlichkeit ist aber klein, dass der Fall aufgeklärt wird."
-- Bernhard Graser von die Kantonspolizei Aargau

Even under the very best of circumstances the wheels of justice grind agonizingly slowly. When it comes to cats that have been victimized by abusers, however, it is almost impossible for their owners and supporters to attract even the tiniest bit of attention from those who are charged with enforcing the anti-cruelty statutes and what was done to a beautiful three-year-old gray Norwegian Forest Cat-British Shorthair-mix named Runa from Oberrohrdorf, thirty kilometers north of Zurich, last November 17th is an infuriating example of such gross malfeasance and indifference.

On that date, she was abducted, savagely beaten to death, and then decapitated. Even that outrageous atrocity was not sufficient in order to assuage her killer's hatred; on the contrary, as soon as he had finished with Runa he immediately went after her owners as well.

He did so by transporting, most likely by foot, Runa's still warm and bleeding torso to Buacherstraße 6 where he dumped it in the garden of fifty-nine-year-old Jordana Rebmann. Her husband, Jörg, made the grisly discovery some time later when he ventured out of doors.

Brazen beyond belief, the killer returned to the Rebmanns' Grundstück a day later in order to deposit Runa's collar in the hedge. Given that the Halsband was the type that can only be removed by cutting it in two, the fact that it was still intact demonstrated that it either had fallen off or been removed after her head had been severed.

Press reports are not specific, but at about that same time a next-door neighbor of the Rebmanns also found Runa's name tag. It is far from clear but presumably it was retrieved from somewhere near the boundary line that separates the two residences.

The rather obvious conclusion to be drawn from those twin discoveries is that Runa's killer made at least two and possibly three trips to the Rebmanns' house. He quite obviously wanted to make them fully aware of not only what he had done to their cat but also that he knew their names and address as well.

In the aftermath of the killing, Frau Rebmann took Runa's remains to an unidentified veterinarian for a necropsy which revealed that she had sustained multiple injuries and internal bleeding before she was decapitated. What else, if anything, that the attending veterinarian learned from his examination of her remains has not been released to the public.

Rebmann also wasted no time in notifying the Kantonspolizei Aargau but that utterly worthless authority apparently did absolutely nothing beyond letting fly with a few perfunctory statements. For instance, it is highly doubtful that it even bothered to collect forensic evidence from Runa's fur, teeth, and claws.

It likewise is highly improbable that her collar and name tag were dusted for fingerprints. Furthermore, there is absolutely nothing in the public record to indicate that the Rebmanns' garden was treated as a crime scene and gone over thoroughly for blood, footprints, and other forensic evidence.

Longtime Gemeindeammann Kurt Scherer issued a statement condemning the killing but since then there has not been anything from him that would tend to indicate that either he or his fellow politicians have lifted so much as a lousy finger in order to bring Runa's killer to justice. Developments in this tragic case are difficult to follow from afar, but as best as it could be determined not a single animal protection group in the entire canton of Aargau has either opened an investigation into this matter or offered a reward for information that might lead to the apprehension of the perpetrator.

The Rebmanns and their two children accordingly have been abandoned by the authorities to their shock, grief, and unallayed fears. As a result, Frau Rebmann suffered a nervous breakdown at work shortly after Runa was killed and had to be driven home by a co-worker. Her children likewise have been left traumatized.

With the police and animal protection groups in Aargua being the worthless and uncaring sods that they are everywhere else in this world, this story appeared to be at an end. Runa's killer never was going to be caught and the Rebmanns had been left to persevere as best they could under simply horrible circumstances.

The criminal investigation into Runa's killing, which never actually became open and active in the first place, now was permanently closed, filed away, and forgotten by the authorities. The holidays came and went and almost three months had been crossed off the calendar when, during either the first or second week of February, the long dead and all but forgotten case once again sprang to life in a totally unexpected and bizarre fashion.

Acting upon a tip, presumably anonymous, the Kantonspolizei Aargau returned unexpectedly to the Rebmanns' Grundstück where they, reportedly, found the murder weapon. The nature of the Tatwaffe, where it was found, and how that the Polizei determined that it was indeed the instrument that had been used in order to put an end to Runa's short life have not been publicly disclosed.

"Vor wenigen Tagen haben wir einen entscheidenden Hinweis erhalten und in der Folge die mutmassliche Tatwaffe sicherstellen können," was all that Bernhard Graser of the force was willing to divulge to the Aargauer Zeitung on February 15th. (See "Fall der geköpften Katze Runa: Polizei findet die Tatwaffe.")

Far from being an unqualified good, that startling development raises far more questions than it answers. First of all, if the Polizei had been willing to have done their due diligence they surely would have found the weapon at the outset. Secondly, how did its presence escape the attention of the Rebmanns and their next-door neighbors for so long?

Those considerations segue into the third question of who it was that actually found it and under what circumstances. It possibly could have been that a kid retrieving an errant ball had accidentally stumbled upon it but that somehow does not seem all that plausible under the circumstances.

Fourthly, the identity of the tipster also is problematic. In the United States, and presumably Switzerland as well, the police allow all incoming telephone calls to ring for a long time so that they can trace them. By the time that they finally do pick up they already know the location of the caller and whether he is using a landline or a mobile device.

Letters likewise can be traced via their postmarks, the type of stationery used, the sender's handwriting, fingerprints, and other forensic clues. It is not always possible to make an arrest based solely upon such meager data but they do provide officers with numerous leads to pursue.

Fifthly and perhaps most perplexing of all, how did the Polizei determine that the weapon found either on or near the Rebmanns' property was the one that had been used in order to kill Runa? Since it presumably had been lying out in the cold, rain, snow, and ice for so many months, it is difficult to believe that it still could have had even trace amounts of blood and fur left on it that the Polizei could have used in order to have made a DNA comparison.

"If a body is left out in the sun and rain, its DNA will be useful for testing for only a few weeks," Slate reported on February 5, 2013. (See "What's the Shelf-Life of DNA?")

While it is certainly possible that DNA found on steel and metal objects could be considerably more durable, especially if it had been shielded somewhat from the elements by, say, lying in a culvert, that constitutes only half of the equation. In order to be of any use to investigators, that DNA would still need to be compared with some that had been taken from Runa's remains and there is absolutely nothing in the public record to even suggest that any was taken by either the Polizei or the veterinarian who performed the necropsy.

Sixthly, there is the grisly issue of exactly how that Runa was killed and how many weapons that her killer used in the commission of that heinous crime. The most logical starting point is that he trapped her and that usually requires a cage.

Given that Runa was said to have been a very friendly cat, it is remotely conceivable that she knew her killer and thus unwittingly walked into his lair but that is considerably less likely. It likewise goes almost without saying that it is almost impossible for a stranger to capture a cat with his bare hands.

The only other possibility that readily comes to mind is that she could have been killed by either a bullet or an arrow fired directly into her head and the decapitated afterwards. That possibility also could help to explain why that her killer did not return her severed head with her torso.

Jordana Rebmann at the Spot Where Runa's Torso Was Found

After the perpetrator had successfully lured Runa into a cage, he likely next took her into either his house or garage so that he could carry out his cleverly hatched plan in privacy and far removed from the prying eyes and ears of his neighbors. His next move likely involved opening her cage and then clubbing her over the head one or more times with either a hammer or some other blunt object.

Even in confined quarters a cat is still capable of putting up quite a spirited struggle and that possibly could account for the multiple external injuries and internal bleeding that Runa sustained. While fighting for her life, she also may have been able to have sunk her claws and teeth into her attacker and that is why it is simply unpardonable that DNA evidence was not collected from them.

It also is conceivable that he tortured her with pepper spray, pressurized hot water, or some other diabolical substance while she was still caged as amateur ornithologist Ernst Bernhard K. of München did with Andreas O's cat, Rocco, in December of 2010. (See Cat Defender posts of January 19, 2011, August 8, 2011, and August 17, 2011 entitled, respectively, "A Bird Lover in München Illegally Traps Rocco and Then Methodically Tortures Him to Death with Water and Pepper Spray over an Eleven-Day Period," "Ernst K.'s Trial for Kidnapping, Torturing, and Murdering Rocco Nears Its Climax in a München Courtroom," and "Ernst K. Walks Away Smelling Like a Rose as Both the Prosecutor and Judge Turn His Trial for Killing Rocco into a Lovefest for a Sadistic Cat Killer.")

Such diabolical treatment could have been meted out to her for hours on end until she finally lost consciousness. Once she had lapsed into that state it would have been an easy matter for her killer to have removed her from the cage and then used a knife, ax, or power tool in order to have dismembered her.

It thus would appear that her assailant employed multiple weapons in order to snuff out her life. That in turn calls into question the significance of the Polizei's recent discovery.

Looking at this matter from an entirely different angle, it also is conceivable that the story put out by the Polizei is a red herring designed to blunt criticism of its disgraceful failure to have solved this troubling case months ago. A far likelier scenario is that the killer once again returned to the Rebmanns' property and planted a weapon,  but not necessarily the one that he had used in the commission of this crime.

If there should be any credence to that line of reasoning, the next shoe to drop very well could be the depositing of Runa's head in or near the Rebmanns' garden at some future date. In that respect, it is regrettable that they have publicly disclosed that they have installed an alarm system and surveillance cameras.

If the weapon that recently came to light had been planted on their property, hidden and unpublicized cameras might very well have captured an image of the culprit. The same scenario would have held true if the killer had attempted to return Runa's head without knowing of the existence of the newly installed cameras.

As for why that he would choose to behave in such a fashion, there are at least two plausible explanations. First of all, he undoubtedly wants to inflict as much pain and sorrow as it is humanly possible upon the Rebmanns and, above all, to instill a sense of fear in them.

Secondly, he is a very emboldened individual who fervently believes that he is operating beyond the reach of the law and, given the shameful conduct of the Polizei, he is richly entitled to his feelings of invincibility. It accordingly would not be the least bit surprising if he were not laughing off his evil ass at this very moment at both the Polizei and the Rebmanns.

From the very beginning, the Polizei has lamely attempted to shirk its responsibility to fully and thoroughly investigate this matter by ludicrously floating the disingenuous theory that Runa could have been attacked by a wild animal and if this latest development has accomplished nothing else it finally has laid to rest such mindless and dishonest speculation. "Damit lagen wir richtig in der Annahme, dass der Kopf mutwillig abgetrennt wurde," Graser finally conceded to the Aargauer Zeitung. "Die Katze wurde also nicht von einem Wildtier oder durch einen Unfall getötet."

Even this latest development has not proven sufficient in order to get the Polizei to take this matter seriously. "Unsere Hoffnung ist nun, über die sichergestellte, mutmassliche Tatwaffe weiterzukommen," Graser pledged to the Aargauer Zeitung.

As any halfway knowledgeable individual knows only too well, hope does not solve criminal cases; on the contrary, doing so requires a commitment to do so and significant expenditures of both manpower and dollars. Since the Polizei is unwilling to do any of that, nothing has really changed as far as this investigation is concerned.

"Die Wahrscheinlichkeit ist aber klein, dass der Fall aufgeklärt wird," Graser acknowledged in his next breath to the Aargauer Zeitung. "Wenn dann bei solch aussergewöhnlichen Delikten kein Motiv erkennbar ist, sind Rückschlüsse auf die Täterschaft umso schwieriger."

On that last point he is completely wrong. For instance, the individual who killed and mutilated Runa and then dumped her torso in her owners' garden quite obviously not only hates cats with a passion but their caretakers as well.

Based upon an examination of prior crimes of this sort, the killer's modus operandi is easily recognizable as being that of a bird lover. Solving this case accordingly could have been as simple as identifying every ornithologist, both amateurs and professionals, who lives within easy walking distance of the Rebmanns' residence. (See Cat Defender post of December 8, 2017 entitled "The Abduction, Brutal Slaying, and Diabolical Mutilation of Runa Leaves Her Owner Devastated and Strikes Fear into the Hearts of All Cat Lovers Living in a Small Town in Switzerland.")

Graser additionally is guilty of ignoring the fact that a cat killer has been on the loose in Oberrohrdorf ever since 2014. For example, four cats belonging to twenty-eight-year-old Philomena Füglistaler mysteriously disappeared without so much as a trace between 2014 and late last year.

She also lived near the Rebmanns until last October when she wisely moved out of the neighborhood. (See Blick of Zurich, November 21, 2017, "'Wir haben keine ruhige Minute mehr!'")

That is simply too much of a coincidence to ignore. What appears to have happened is that once the killer had polished off her cats he immediately trained his sights on Runa.

He therefore can be expected to strike again and not only against any new cats that the Rebmanns may acquire but at those belonging to their neighbors as well. Just as it failed to protect Runa and Füglistaler's cats, the Kantonspolizei Aargau is on course to do likewise with all other feline residents of Oberrohrdorf.

In spite of all of that and the taunting that the Rebmanns have been subjected to, Graser stubbornly insists that cat owners do not have anything to worry about. "Bei allem Verständnis für die Verunsicherung sehen wir keinen objektiven Grund, sich Sorgen zu machen," he testified to the Aargauer Zeitung.

He accordingly does not see any reason for owners to restrict the outdoor rambles of their cats. "Wer eine Katze hat, weiss, dass es kaum möglich ist, deren Gewohnheiten zu beeinflussen," he philosophized to the Aargauer Zeitung.

It is almost superfluous to point out, but that is simply asinine advice. With such a diabolical killer on the loose it would be nothing short of insane for any owner to allow a cat out of doors without supervision.

Much more pertinently, since this monster is suspected of having killed five cats, the actual number of his victims easily could be much higher. That is because some owners do not even bother to either search for or to report to the authorities whenever their cats go missing. On top of that, the toll that he has inflicted upon homeless cats, which few people care about in the first place, very well could be off the charts.

As far as Rebmann is concerned, she has yet to come to terms with what has been done to Runa and her family. "Wir haben schon viele Sachen gelesen, doch so etwas haben wir noch nie gehört, geschweige denn erlebt," she admitted to the Aargauer Zeitung.

Even more shockingly, she is still unwilling to even so much as to entertain the notion that Runa's killer was one of her seemingly respectable bourgeois neighbors. "Wir wohnen seit vielen Jahren in Oberrohrdorf und pflegen ein gutes Verhältnis zur Nachbarschaft," she repeated for the umpteenth time to the Aargauer Zeitung.

Philomena Füglistaler with Photographs of Her Four Missing Cats

Not surprisingly, she does not have the stomach to see this matter through to the finish but, im Gegenteil, she wants to put it all behind her as quickly as possible and to get on with her life. "Wir müssen das Ereignis abhaken," she declared to the Aargauer Zeitung.

In doing so, she already has dismissed Runa's coldblooded and calculated murder as a random act committed by a crazy man. "Wir reden uns ein, dass Runa von einem kranken Menschen enthauptet wurde," she told the Aargauer Zeitung.

In all fairness to her, there can be no denying that the last few months have taken the will to fight right out of her. "Wir konnten gar nicht richtig um Runa trauern," she acknowledged to the Aargauer Zeitung. "Das Drumherum hat uns zu sehr beschäftigt."

Nevertheless, it would appear that she is attempting to do the impossible. On the one hand, there is not any conceivable way that she and her family ever can have any measure of closure unless Runa's killer is identified and brought to justice.

On the other hand, she is totally unwilling to embark upon a course of action that will culminate in achieving that worthy objective. In the meantime, she is placing both herself and her family in danger and that goes doubly for any new cats that she may bring into her home.

At the very least, she ought to consider the deleterious effect that leaving this matter unresolved is having on her children. "Sie (die Kinder) können weniger gut mit dem Geschehenen umgehen," she acknowledged to the Aargauer Zeitung. "Ihr Vertrauen in die Menschen ist nun ein Stück weit geschwunden."

Whereas it certainly is true that nothing will ever bring back Runa, apprehending and punishing her killer would at least allow her children to believe that there is some, but not much, justice to be found in this wicked old world. Doing so also could serve to teach them that it is not always possible to turn the other cheek.

"Remember that now you can have confidence in yourself always," Hercule Poirot counseled Norma Restarik in Dame Agatha's 1966 novel, The Third Girl. "To have known, at close quarters, what absolute evil means is to be armored against what life can do to you."

Even if Rebmann should have a change of heart and decide to see this matter through, the road ahead is going to be quite difficult owing to the fact that the trail has gone cold and most of the evidence vanished long ago. Moreover, she cannot expect any worthwhile assistance from either the Kantonspolizei Aargau or local politicians.

The situation is not completely hopeless, however, in that at least three possibly fruitful avenues of inquiry remain open to her. The most promising of which would be for her to hire a private dick and since she is employed as a mechanical engineer she undoubtedly makes good money and therefore should be able to easily afford such a worthwhile expenditure.

The first order of business for any shamus that she might retain would be to locate and interview Füglistaler and, since Blick did not have any trouble in locating her, neither should he. Specifically, he should find out from her exactly where she used to reside and the facts and circumstances surrounding the disappearance of her four cats. She also undoubtedly has her own suspicions and insights which she surely would be more than willing to share with him.

From the information supplied by her, the gumshoe should be able to map out a search area. Following that, he should endeavor to identify and thoroughly investigate all individuals living within that area.

If possible, all cat owners should be identified and interviewed because they, if anyone, would be likely to know the identities of all cat-haters in the area. Above all, gardens should be peered into for the presence of bird houses and feeders.

If nothing worthwhile is learned from those exercises, the search area would need to be expanded. With only four-thousand residents, Oberrohrdorf is a small city and that makes if feasible, if necessary, to place the entire town under scrutiny.

Secondly, if Rebmann should perhaps still be in possession of some of Runa's bedding or, considerably less likely, the Polizei still has her remains on ice, it might be worthwhile to put a bloodhound on her scent and to walk it around the neighborhood. Given the amount of time that has ticked off the clock, that would be a real long shot unless a suspect could be identified ahead of time and he is still in possession of Runa's head or has failed to thoroughly remove all of her blood from his premises.

The notion itself is not quite as far-fetched as it may sound, however, in that a Cocker Spaniel named Molly is currently employed locating missing cats for Pet Detectives in Guildford, Surrey. (See the Mid Sussex Times of Horsham in West Sussex, April 7, 2017, "Lost Pet Is Tracked Down by United Kingdom's First Cat Detection Dog.")

Thirdly, Rebmann might want to consider retaining the services of a cat expert and to have that individual deploy an undercover cat in the neighborhood. The cat would need to be equipped with some type of miniature tracking device that could be hidden either underneath its collar or in its name tag and its handlers could not afford under any circumstances to allow it out of their sight.

That would be a time-consuming, painstaking, and very expensive undertaking. Nevertheless, it is possible that after a while the cat might lead investigators to the residence of Runa's killer.

Although she was killed during the overnight hours, it is suspected that it was Runa's daytime activities that led to her demise. This exercise accordingly would need to be tried only during the daytime.

The first objective of this undertaking would be to identify a likely suspect and that could be accomplished by monitoring homeowners for violent verbal and physical reactions to the cat whenever it ventured onto their properties. Secondly, the next step would be to place that individual under twenty-four-hour surveillance. Thirdly, it would be necessary to either trick this individual into exposing himself or to skillfully trap him in some type of sting operation.

Ruses of this kind have been successfully conducted in the past. For example, in early 2006 Brooklyn district attorney Charles Hynes employed a cat named Fred in order to trap and arrest Stephen Vassall who at that time was practicing veterinary medicine without a license. (See Cat Defender posts of February 14, 2006 and August 17, 2006 entitled, respectively, "Special Agent Fred the Cat Goes Undercover in Order to Help Nab a Quack Vet in a Brooklyn Sting Operation" and "Brave Little Fred the Undercover Cat Has His Short, Tragic Life Snuffed Out by a Hit-and-Run Driver in Queens.")

If such a ploy should be tried in Oberrohrdorf, it is paramount that the safety of the undercover cat take precedence over making an arrest. The very last thing that is needed in this case is another dead cat! In fact, a robotic one might suffice just as well as a real-life one.

Besides being revolting, what was done to Runa was heartbreaking. It also is utterly shameful that the Rebmanns have been left hung out to dry by the authorities.

As horrible as all of that is, it is not all that materially different from how shabbily cats and their owners are treated everywhere by both despisers of the species and the authorities. The message thus is clear: owners and those who care about cats must help themselves.

Was noch schlimmer ist, crimes against cats are increasing exponentially and in severity all over the world. A large part of that increase is attributable to the frustrations of ornithologists and wildlife biologist over their inability to convince a skeptical public to support their clarion call to kill all cats.

As they have become more and more frustrated in their evil designs, their crimes against cats not only have become more graphic but they simultaneously have embarked upon a campaign of fear and intimidation directed at their owners and supporters. It accordingly is not going to very long before they commence actually attacking their persons and property.

Hiding one's head in the sand, turning the other cheek, and making outrageous compromises, such as selling down the river homeless cats, is not the solution. Supporters of the species desperately need to make a stand and that includes at the very least insisting upon their right to equality under the law and that the anti-cruelty statutes be religiously enforced.

Photos: Carla Stumpfli of the Aargauer Zeitung (Runa with Rebmann and Rebmann in her garden) and Ralph Dongli of Blick (Füglistaler).