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

Cat Defender

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

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Gladstone Joins Larry and Palmerston as Whitehall's Latest Resident Feline but the Chancellor of the Exchequer's Welsh Terrier, Rex, Is Waiting in the Wings to Put an End to All of Them

 Gladstone Arrives at the Exchequer along with Hammond's Red Box

"Gladstone can look forward to poring over budget scorecards, greeting visitors from around the world, but most importantly, setting his sights on the rodent population of the Treasury and assisting our pest controllers in keeping down the number of mice in our Horse Guard Road offices."
-- a spokesperson for the Exchequer
From the time of Humphrey's cruel banishment in 1997 until the arrival of Larry on February 16, 2011, not only was 10 Downing Street pretty much free of cats but all of Whitehall as well. (See Cat Defender posts of April 6, 2006 and July 21, 2011 entitled, respectively, "Humphrey, the Cat from 10 Downing Street Who Once 'Read' His Own Obituary, Passes Away at 18" and "Larry Faces Many Challenges and Dangers in His New Rôle as 10 Downing Street's Resident Feline.")

The one exception to that rule was a pretty black female named Sybil owned by Chancellor of the Exchequer Alistair Darling who spent an all-too-brief six months at 11 Downing Street back in 2007 and 2008 before she was given the bum's rush by cat-hating prime minister Gordon Brown. (See Cat Defender posts of September 19, 2007 and August 13, 2009 entitled, respectively, "After a Dreary Ten-Year Absence, Number 10 Downing Street Has a New Resident Feline and Her Name Is Sybil" and "Sybil, 10 Downing Street's Former First Feline, Dies Unexpectedly from an Undisclosed Illness.")

Larry, who toughed it out for five and one-half long and trying years as David Cameron's sorely neglected, unloved, and unwanted companion, was joined in April by Palmerston when the latter was adopted by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. (See Cat Defender posts of August 1, 2016 and August 8, 2016 entitled, respectively, "Unmercifully Maligned and Treated Like Dirt for So Many Years, Larry Nevertheless Manages to Stick Around Long Enough in Order to See the Last of David Cameron and His Uncaring Family" and "Palmerston Is Recruited for a Prestigious Post in Her Majesty's Diplomatic Service but Then Disgracefully Relegated to Makeshift Living Quarters Out in the Cold.")

The sometimes quarrelsome duo now have been joined by yet still another moggy in the form of an eighteen-month-old, black domestic shorthair named Gladstone who arrived at the Exchequer on June 27th. The decision to bring him on board was made by the department's John Oliver Frank Kingman who since that momentous undertaking has left public service in order to return to the private sector.

What, if any, impact his departure will have on Gladstone's future is unclear at this stage. The only thing that can be said so far is that the new chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, has heralded his arrival. "Looks like I'm not the only new arrival @hmtreasury -- welcome Gladstone!" he tweeted according to The Telegraph's July 29th edition. (See "Gladstone the Cat Comes to Whitehall -- but Will He Get Along with Larry and Palmerston?")

It also is conceivable that he may have played a role in the naming the Treasury's newest arrival in that while he was Foreign Secretary he supplied Palmerston with his moniker. The similarity in the the two cats' names could not possibly have been a coincidence in that whereas the Foreign Office's resident feline was named in honor of Viscount Palmerston III, who twice served as prime minister during the nineteenth century, the Exchequer's new cat is named in honor of William Ewart Gladstone who later followed in Palmerston's footsteps by serving as prime minister for no less than four times between 1868 and 1894.

Gladstone Formerly Was More Fittingly Known as Timmy

The political rivals often were at loggerheads and for that reason, among others, it is going to be interesting to see how well that the two toms get along with each other. So far, however, it has been all smooth sailing for Gladstone, even if the name bestowed upon him is more properly suited for a cat employed by Her Majesty's Diplomatic Service as opposed to one engaged in the vagaries of high finance.

Be that as it may, Gladstone is certainly a far more dignified name for a cat than either Adam Smith or Barclays ever would have been. Much more pertinently, no self-respecting feline ever has given so much as a tuppence for all the moola in Her Majesty's Treasury; a school of tuna would be an entirely different proposition.

"We are delighted to introduce our new cat, Gladstone, to the heart of British politics," a spokesperson for the Exchequer is quoted as declaring in a July 29th press release issued by the Battersea Dogs and Cats Home in south London. (See "Westminster Welcomes Its Third Battersea Mouser.") "We are confident that Gladstone will live up to the legacy of his namesake... and go down in history as one of the most impressive cats to roam Whitehall."

In that regard he certainly has his work cut out for him in that preliminary indications are that the slave drivers at the Exchequer plan on working him damn near to death. "Gladstone can look forward to poring over budget scorecards, greeting visitors from around the world, but most importantly, setting his sights on the rodent population of the Treasury and assisting our pest controllers in keeping down the number of mice in our Horse Guard Road offices."

Battersea, which earlier unloaded both Larry and Palmerston on the politicians, echoed those sentiments. "He's a confident cat who absolutely loves people so he'll have to tear himself away from his cat cuddles to get down to business becoming a marvelous mouser," the organization's Lindsay Quinlan said in the press release cited supra. "Staff at Battersea fell in love with Gladstone during his stay here, his big cheeks and big heart match his big personality and we think the staff at the Treasury will quickly fall for his charm too."

During his first few weeks at the Exchequer Gladstone, who sports an attractive red ribbon around his neck, was confined to an office with six bean counters. During that period, he bided his time by playing in Hammond's Red Box (used for transporting official documents), scampering across tables, desks, and computers, chasing flies, staring longingly out the window and, of course, resting up before tackling the long laundry list of chores that have been assigned to him. By this time, however, he should have been fitted with an electronic tracking device and turned loose to patrol the sprawling grounds of the Treasury.

In the precious few snatches of free time that has been left to him, Gladstone has turned to Twitter and Instagram for his amusement as well as to keep in touch with his ever-growing legion of fans. Other than that, almost nothing has been disclosed about his personal care and living arrangement.

Gladstone Initially Was Cooped Up Indoors with the Bean Counters

The only thing known for certain is that he will not be bunking with Hammond and his family at 11 Downing Street as Sybil did with Darling and his wife during her tenure at the Exchequer. A facilities and security team will, supposedly, look after his needs on weekends with Treasury staffers doing likewise on the days that they turn up for work.

Conspicuously absent from all the hoopla generated by his unexpected arrival upon the political scene has been any mention whatsoever of where exactly he is going to hang his hat and that in turn has led to speculation that he very well could wind up sleeping out in the elements like Palmerston. His personal safety is an even greater concern but, as best it could be determined, no one at the Treasury has been assigned the herculean task of making doubly sure that he is neither run down by a motorist nor meets with foul play.

Although the Treasury has been inexcusably reticent on both those issues, it has responded with alacrity whenever the subject of who is going to foot the bill for his upkeep has been broached. "He will not cost taxpayers anything," a spokeswoman for the Exchequer vowed to The Guardian on July 29th. (See "Gladstone the Cat Gives Treasury Some Purr-fect PR.")

That entire arrangement is so shameful that it borders on being criminal. If the Exchequer insists upon keeping a cat, a far more humane arrangement would be for it to invest a few taxpayer crowns in providing Gladstone with a warm, secure, and dry permanent place to live instead of forcing him to rely upon handouts from staffers for his daily sustenance. It also ought to appoint a paid guardian to attend to his needs and personal safety.

Any individual or group who not only would condemn a cat to live out in the cold but to callously turn him loose to roam the perilous, traffic-clogged streets of Westminster richly deserves to be arrested, charged with animal cruelty, and then jailed for a long time. The petit fait that it is precisely politicians and bureaucrats who are engaging in such reprehensible and inexcusable behavior only serves to make it all the more contemptible.

As if all of those very real fears were not daunting enough in their own right, Hammond is reportedly considering installing his Welsh Terrier, Rex, at 11 Downing Street in order to bedevil not only Gladstone but Larry and Palmerston as well. (See The Telegraph, July 29, 2016, "Is Philip Hammond About to Move His 'Cat-Hating' Dog in Next to Larry and Palmerston?")

If accurate, that certainly would explain why he has so adamantly refused to both take personal responsibility for Gladstone's care and to allow him to live with him at 11 Downing Street. Predictably, the uncaring and totally irresponsible feline exploiters at Battersea have so far not had a blessed thing to say regarding this potentially ominous development.

Ruthless Rex the Cat-Hating Welsh Terrier

As soon as Rex either chews up one of the cats or chases one of them out into the street and to his death underneath the wheels of a motorist there most assuredly is going to be an international backlash against both Hammond and Battersea. Cruelty, neglect, and the naked exploitation of cats on any level leads only to more of the same on other levels and in that regard it is long overdue that the politicians and bureaucrats of Whitehall and phony-baloney rescue groups such as Battersea were held legally accountable under the anti-cruelty statutes.

Contrary to what the Fleet Street crowd earnestly believes, this is not any joking matter; rather it is an issue of life and death as far as Gladstone, Larry, and Palmerston are concerned. Moreover, their precious lives most assuredly are not worth any less than those of the Hammonds and the representatives of the Batterseas of this world; au fait, those of the former are a million times more valuable than those of the latter.

Gladstone's predicament is made all the more deplorable in that he, like Larry and Palmerston before him, has had a rough life. In particular, he was found back in May hungry and wandering the streets of London where almost anything terrible can, and usually does, befall homeless felines.

Even more outrageously, his previous caretaker made absolutely no effort whatsoever to reclaim him after he, originally known as Timmy, had skyrocketed to international fame with his appointment to the Treasury. There is not any way of knowing for sure, but that certainly makes it appear that he was intentionally abandoned to either sink or swim on his own.

Instead of demonstrating compassion and understanding for all the deprivations that he was forced to endure while roughing it, Battersea libeled him as "a quite greedy" cat who needs to be fed in moderation in an interview that it gave to the Daily Mail on July 29th. (See "It's Pussy Galore! Now the Treasury Recruits Gladstone the Cat to Chase Out the Mice -- but Will He Join the Turf War Between Number Ten's Larry and Palmerston of the Foreign Office?")

Gladstone is most definitely anything but a "greedy" cat; au contraire, his seemingly insatiable appetite is merely a leftover side effect from the time that he spent starving on the street. Once he becomes accustomed to receiving regular and timely meals his eating habits should return to pretty much normal.

Provided that Hammond belatedly comes to his senses and does not proceed with his outrageous plan to install Rex at 11 Downing Street, Gladstone should be able to look forward to, hopefully, many happy years at the Exchequer. There also is not any obvious reason why that he should not be able to get along famously with Larry and Palmerston.

There may be a few spats here and there along the way but that is only normal where cats are concerned. Nevertheless, the interactions between all three toms need to be closely monitored in order to ensure that none of them gets seriously injured.

Photos: Battersea Dogs and Cats Home (Gladstone with Hammond's Red Box and on top of a table), Your Local Guardian of Sutton in Surrey (Gladstone up close), and Twitter (Rex).

Monday, August 08, 2016

Palmerston Is Recruited for a Prestigious Post in Her Majesty's Diplomatic Service but Then Disgracefully Relegated to Makeshift Living Quarters Out in the Cold

Young Palmerston Cuts Quite a Dash as a Diplomat

"He is definitely not a mole and I can categorically assure you that Palmerston has been regularly vetted. As for being a sleeper, he is definitely a sleeper, I am told very often in my office."
-- former Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond

Is the tiny section of Whitehall that is bordered by Downing and King Charles streets in the City of Westminster a sufficiently large enough area in order for two alpha tomcats to peacefully coexist? The world is about to find out one way or the other pretty soon now that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office has adopted a two-year-old tuxedo named Palmerston to not only serve as its resident feline but to unavoidably vie with 10 Downing Street's longtime cat, Larry, in a battle for turf, popularity, and prominence.

Named, appropriately enough, in honor of Viscount Palmerston ( Henry John Temple) who not only once served as Foreign Secretary but also twice as prime minister during the mid-nineteenth century, he arrived at the Foreign Office in early April courtesy of the Battersea Dogs and Cats Home in south London. No other monikers were reportedly even so much as entertained.

Considering the utterly disgraceful manner in which English politicians historically have pissed away trillions of pounds on both foreign misadventures and domestic special interests, it certainly would not have been any great crime for them to have invested a few taxpayer sovereigns in Palmerston's upkeep and maintenance but the diplomats would not hear of that. "Palmerston's domestic posting will have zero cost to the public purse as a staff kitty will be used to pay for him and all aspects of his welfur (sic)," a spokesperson for the Foreign Office confided to BuzzFeed on April 11th. (See "The Foreign Office Is Getting Its Own Cat and It's Called Palmerston.")

In fulfillment of that objective, a cake sale was held April 12th at the Foreign Office. Apparently, it never so much as crossed the minds of any of the highly-paid civil servants to take personal responsibility for Palmerston's minimalist financial needs; instead, they have insisted upon behaving like down-at-the-heel bums who cannot even afford to so much as part with bus fare to the office.

As it invariably always turns out to be the case, cheapness and callousness only beget more of the same and the proof of that is to be found in the bargain basement housing arrangement that the Foreign Office has lined up for its newest and most famous staffer. For instance, whereas he initially was allowed to bunk in the office of Permanent Under-Secretary Sir Simon McDonald, who also gave him his name, he now has been exiled to some kind of undefined makeshift shelter in the Foreign Office's courtyard. Unless this facility is at the very least located in a safe area, commodious, enclosed, heated, and waterproof, McDonald and the entire Foreign Office bureaucracy should be charged with animal cruelty and promptly jailed.

Palmerston and Permanent Under-Secretary Sir Simon McDonald

Even as such, to adopt a cat and then turn around and treat it far worse than bloodsucking farmers in the United States do their itinerant seasonal laborers is nothing short of shameful. On the contrary, Palmerston deserves to be afforded unfettered access to the indoors, either an office or a house, where he can feel safe, warm, and dry at all times and is not completely cut off from all human contact.

Predictably, this totally outrageous living arrangement has been wholeheartedly approved of by Battersea which has demonstrated time and time again that it will gladly sell any cat down the river for as little as a farthing. "We have worked closely with Battersea Dogs and Cats Home on Palmerston's deployment and they have inspected his new home, as they do for all pawtential (sic) new owners of their rescue cats," the Foreign Office spokesperson preened to BuzzFeed.

The Foreign Office's shabby treatment of him is made all the more unconscionable in light of the fact that his life to date has been anything but a bowl of cherries. The public record is far from complete but he apparently was found hungry and underweight wandering the forlorn streets of London sometime last year.

Initially christened as Leonard, possibly because he was found on the street that bears that name, he immediately was handed over to Battersea where he, presumably, remained until he was taken in by the Foreign Office. Based upon his prolonged incarceration, it would appear that the rescue group never broke so much as a sweat in an effort to place him in the loving, permanent, and secure home that he so richly deserves. (See the BBC, April 13, 2016, "Palmerston the Stray Cat Is New 'Chief Mouser' at Foreign Office.")

Now, his life has come full circle in that he has traded a meager existence on the mean streets for makeshift quarters in a courtyard. While it is always conceivable that he will recognize a discernible improvement in his circumstances, the odds bode against that happening and that is going to be even more so the case on all of those interminably long, cold, foggy, and rainy London nights when he is left to tough it out by his lonesome.

Although it is entirely possible that the Foreign Office has had cats before, it certainly has not publicly admitted to sheltering any of them in recent memory. Plus, with Larry firmly ensconced next door at 10 Downing Street there would scarcely appear to be much of a need for it to add one of its own. (See Cat Defender post of August 1, 2016 entitled "Unmercifully Maligned and Treated Like Dirt for So Many Years, Larry Nevertheless Manages to Stick Around Long Enough in Order to See the Last of David Cameron and His Uncaring Family.")

Palmerston Has Reportedly Picked Up a Little Nipponese

For whatever it possibly could be worth, the Foreign Office is adhering to the old familiar bromide that its premises are so overrun with mice that even professional exterminators are not up to the task of keeping them in check. "Palmerston is Her Majesty's Diplomatic Service's newest arrival and in the role of Foreign and Commonwealth Office Chief Mouser will assist our pest controllers in keeping down the number of mice in our King Charles Street building," its spokesperson told BuzzFeed.

In that respect, Palmerston has gotten off to a roaring start in that after only a little more than a month on the job he already had been credited with three kills. That in turn earned him a "more than satisfactorily" rating from then Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond who since that time has moved on to become Chancellor of the Exchequer in the government of new prime minister Theresa May.

Hammond's decision to recruit Palmerston also has garnered him high praise from the speaker of the House, John Bercow, who has his own mouser. "For five years we have had a first-class cat who has done the necessary (and) its name, of course, is Order," he crowed like a proud new papa to BuzzFeed on May 24th. (See "The Foreign Secretary Just Denied That the Foreign Office Cat Is an EU Spy.")

Nevertheless, Order's fine work has failed to silence some parliamentarians who still insist that both the Commons as well as the House of Lords are overrun with mice. (See Cat Defender post of November 24, 2014 entitled "Tory MP Anne McIntosh Calls for Cats to Be Brought Back to the Palace of Westminster in Order to Get the Rodent Problem Under Control.")

Another, albeit considerably less plausible, explanation could be that the diplomats simply like cats. "Freya's been missed so much and everyone's looking forward to having a cat around the place again," an unidentified governmental staffer confided to BuzzFeed in the April 11th article cited supra.

She, of course, was former Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne's peripatetic brown cat who lived with him and his family at 11 Downing Street from roughly June of 2012 until November of 2014 when she was exiled to Kent. (See Cat Defender posts of November 10, 2014 and November 13, 2014 entitled, respectively, "Freya, the Chancellor of the Exchequer's Resident Feline, Cheats Death Once Again When She Survives Being Run Down and Injured by a Motorist but Her Good Luck Cannot Last for Much Longer" and "Gutless Georgie 'Porgie' Osborne Gets Rid of Freya but in Doing So Lies About the True Reason Behind His Second Cruel Abandonment of Her.")

An Excerpt from Palmerston's Diary

Even if credible, the explanation afforded by the governmental source would tend to imply that Larry either seldom visits the Foreign Office or that is presence there is unwelcome. Furthermore, since he has lived next door for the past five and one-half years the diplomats certainly have had more than ample time in order to have put out the welcome mat for him.

The most plausible explanation therefore is that Palmerston, like Larry and all other cats shanghaied into the rough and tumble world of English politics, is being exploited by the Foreign Office in an effort to deflect criticism of its policies as well as to cast the diplomats in a far more favorable public light than otherwise might be the case. It also is likely that he was brought on board in anticipation of England's exiting of the European Union (EU) and thus assuming a much larger role on the world stage as an independent nation.

Besides sufficing as a more than able-bodied mouser in his species' oldest calling, Palmerston already has established himself as being very much the epitome of a forward-thinking, modern-day cat. For example, he not only is adept at using Twitter but also authors a diary in an internal newsletter that is published by the Foreign Office.

Most amazing of all, he reportedly is attempting to pick up a little Japanese which, sans doute, will serve him and the diplomats well whenever guests from the land of the rising sun come to visit. (See the Daily Mail, June 8, 2016, "'Hello People of Japan! Are There Any Mice Around?': Palmerston the Foreign Office Cat Hones His Diplomacy Skills by Speaking to His Twitter Followers in Japanese.")

Although generally speaking Palmerston has gotten off to a good start in his new job, it has not been all smooth sailing. In particular, ever since no less than five dons from Cambridge University were unmasked as KGB spies during the last century, the English have been, quite justifiably, obsessed with moles. Owing to her frequent visits to the Foreign Office, even Freya became unwittingly enveloped in a cloud of suspicion as being a sleeper and the same baseless accusations have dogged Palmerston almost his first day on the job.

"Has Palmerston been positively vetted by the security service (MI5) and scanned for bugs by Government Communications Headquarters," Tory MP Keith Simpson of Broadland in Norfolk pointedly asked Hammond on May 24th according to the BuzzFeed article of the same date cited supra. "Can you assure the House, and the more paranoid elements of the Brexiters, of Palmerston's provenance and that he is not a long-term mole working for the European Commission?"

Palmerston and Larry Duke It Out 

That was one concern that Hammond certainly was well prepared to put to rest. "He is definitely not a mole and I can categorically assure you that Palmerston has been regularly vetted," he averred to BuzzFeed. "As for being a sleeper, he is definitely a sleeper, I am told very often in my office."

While he was at it, he also took full advantage of the moment in order to take yet still another whack at an ax already ground down to the handle by the likes of Nigel Farage, who has represented southeast England as an MP in the European Parliament in Brussels ever since 1999, and he did so by ridiculing the work ethics of the Commission. "But unlike Freya, who went missing for two years, his attendance has been one-hundred per cent," Hammond crowed. "My experts tell me that pretty much rules out the possibility of him being a Commission employee."

It was not long after he had been exonerated as being a spy that Palmerston became embroiled in a series of well-publicized street brawls with Larry. The first one occurred on July 17th when the latter ventured onto the grounds of the Foreign Office.

The two toms scuffled briefly before Larry managed to pin Palmerston to the pavement. The victor then padded back to 10 Downing Street while Palmerston retreated to the inner recesses of the Foreign Office. (See The Telegraph, July 17, 2016, "Claws Out in Whitehall as Larry the Cat Takes on Palmerston, His Foreign Office Rival.")

There was not any apparent bloodshed although Larry later received veterinary treatment on July 20th for a limp that he had developed in his front right leg. For his part, Palmerston later was photographed with a patch of fur missing from his back.

It is by no means clear, however, if the injuries suffered by both combatants were the result of their misunderstanding. (See The Telegraph, July 21, 2016, "Larry the Cat Treated by Vet Amid Turf War 'Fracas' with Rival Palmerston at Number Ten.")

 Palmerston Is Pinned to the Concrete by Larry

Later on July 25th, Palmerston attempted to gain entry into the prime minister's residence but was thwarted by a bobby stationed outside who promptly gave him the bum's rush. A long-distance standoff between him and Larry ensued but it ended peacefully without violence. (See the Daily Mail, July 26, 2016, "Another Eviction from Number Ten! Boris Johnson's Cat Palmerston Is Shown the Door as He Tries to Sneak into the Downing Street Lair of His Arch-Enemy Larry.")

Although the Fleet Street crowd had characterized the scuffling between Palmerston and Larry as a turf war, that may not be a completely accurate description of it. Given his past history and especially his cruel eviction from the cozy confines of the Foreign Office, it is entirely possible that Palmerston is merely searching for the secure, indoor home that he has been denied for all of his existence.

If there is any truth in that surmise, the simple solution to this dilemma would be for the Foreign Office to now do what it should have done in the first place and that would be to bring Palmerston in from the cold by providing him with living quarters somewhere inside its sprawling complex. If such a policy change accomplished nothing else, it would significantly reduce the number of chance, and potentially violent, interactions with Larry.

That does not appear, however, to be among the options currently being considered by the politicians. "I have to say, I saw some reports in the media that (Larry) had been involved in a fracas with the Foreign Office cat, but I hope that they have now established a modus vivendi," the Tories' leader in the Commons, David Lidington of Aylesbury in Buckinghamshire, told The Telegraph in the July 21st article cited supra.

As far as it is known, that has yet to happen and, besides, intelligence and due diligence have shown themselves down through time immemorial to be much better palliatives than wishful thinking when it comes to resolving difficulties. The good news is that the fights so far have not amounted to much and that augurs well that the cats eventually will be able to work things out amongst themselves.

Since Battersea never would allow any intact cat to escape from its penitentiary, both of them most assuredly have been neutered and that expedient, in most cases, significantly curtails the aggressive tendencies of males. Plus, since neither of them is either overly large or muscular that would tend to limit the amount of damage that they are capable of inflicting upon each other. Perhaps most important of all, there are not any known fertile females in the neighborhood for them to fight over even if they should be so inclined.

Palmerston Is Denied Entry to 10 Downing Street by a Bobby 

Nevertheless, the interactions between them need to be closely monitored in order to ensure that they do not turn into life and death struggles. Should that occur, the safest way to separate them would be with a water pistol.

In extremely violent cases, it sometimes is necessary to physically separate fighting toms even though that involves risks. In that regard, scratches are not anything to be overly concerned about even though they certainly can sting for a while.

Bites on the other hand can result in painful, debilitating infections that have been known to drag on for more than a month. Sometimes a prompt and thorough application of hydrogen peroxide that is accompanied by over-the-counter antibiotics, such as Bacitracin Zinc, Neomycin Sulfate, or Polymyxin-B Sulfate, will suffice but at other times only prescription antibiotics are strong enough in order to ward off serious problems.

The key therefore when it comes to separating warring toms is not to get either bitten or scratched in the eyes. In furtherance of that objective, protective goggles and long, padded gloves often are necessary.

Although sporadic outbursts of this type of aggression may sometimes appear and sound as if murder and mayhem are being committed, it usually is best for both guardians and onlookers not to intervene unless blood is spouting and the fur is flying. It is entirely permissible, however, to attempt to distract the belligerents with either treats or some other alternative method.

None of those expedients may be necessary in this case owing to the fact that there is not any obvious reason why that Palmerston and Larry cannot eventually learn to peacefully coexist. They might even some day become friends.

Palmerston and Larry in a Standoff Outside 10 Downing

They were not, after all, always enemies in that Larry sent him a package of Dreamies® and a toy mouse when he first arrived at the Foreign Office. (See BuzzFeed, June 19, 2016, "Palmerston the Foreign Office Cat Was Originally Called Leonard.")

Furthermore, it is nothing out of the ordinary for cats to get off on the wrong foot any more than it is for individuals to do likewise. For instance, Larry and Freya once duked it out shortly after her arrival back in 2012 but, as far as it is known, there were not any further hostilities between them. (See The Telegraph, October 16, 2012, "Police Called to Break Up Violent Cat Fight in Downing Street.")

Transcending all of those concerns, Palmerston and Larry are pretty much in the same boat and need each other. In the newcomer's case, his original benefactor has been replaced by Boris de Pfeffel Johnson who now reigns as Foreign Secretary. Unfortunately, absolutely nothing is known about the transplanted New Yorker, who earlier this year completed his second four-year term as mayor of London, and his views regarding cats.

Larry likewise lost his protector, David Cameron, in July and his fate is now in May's hands. Although there have been some indications that both his position and home are safe for the time being, things can change in the twinkling of an eye at 10 Downing Street.

In that regard, it is well-known that Johnson dearly covets May's job and some political pundits have speculated that Palmerston's storming of the world's most famous black door was merely the opening salvo in what is destined to be a protracted battle to wrest power from her grasp. If so, the coup plotter's modus operandi would appear to be first to get rid of her cat and then her.

Regardless of how events ultimately unfold for both Larry and Palmerston, it goes almost without saying that the lot of all cats is an outrageously unfair one. First of all, they are denied any say whatsoever in either where they live or under what conditions. Secondly, they never are given so much as an inkling whenever those who have assumed dominion over them are about to pull the plug on their earthly existences.

Those sad realities are facts of life for both those that are famous, such as Palmerston and Larry, as well as for those who live out their brief lives in obscurity. Rather than striving to enhance their lives and status and thus to set an example as to how that all cats should be treated, the cruelties, neglect, and injustices meted out to those of the rich and famous serve only to underscore once again the sobering reality that in this world cats have almost no rights at all.

Photos: BBC (Palmerston up close and with McDonald), Twitter via the Daily Mail (Palmerston with a Japanese language book), BuzzFeed (Palmerston's diary), Paul Grover of The Telegraph (Palmerston and Larry fighting), and the Daily Mail (Palmerston being evicted from 10 Downing Street and his standoff with Larry).

Monday, August 01, 2016

Unmercifully Maligned and Treated Like Dirt for So Many Years, Larry Nevertheless Manages to Stick Around Long Enough in Order to See the Last of David Cameron and His Uncaring Family

Larry Is Still Hanging His Hat at 10 Downing Street

"Larry is staying. He's very much the Downing Street cat, not the Camerons' personal cat. He is a Downing Street legend."
-- a spokesman for the Cabinet Office

The momentous decision of the English people to bid a not so fond farewell to the European Union in a June 23rd national referendum sent shock waves throughout not only Whitehall but the world as well and that in turn culminated in the departure of Prime Minister David Cameron on July 13th. Numerous other heads rolled throughout the political establishment but once the dust had settled the most unlikely survivor of all turned out to be the prime minister's much maligned nine-year-old brown and white resident feline, Larry.

"Larry is staying. He's very much the Downing Street cat, not the Camerons' personal cat," a spokesman for the Cabinet Office told the print edition of The Philadelphia Inquirer on July 13th. (See "Larry Stays at 10 Downing.") "He is a Downing Street legend."

Cameron who, at least for the time being, plans on remaining in the House of Commons as a backbencher, wholeheartedly agreed with that decision. "He belongs to the house and the staff love him very much as do I," he declared to the Daily Mail on July 13th. (See "Mice Watch Out: Larry the Cat to Stay at 10 Downing Street.")

As nonsensical as both Cameron's and the Cabinet Office's reasoning appear to be au premier coup d'oeil, it is not without some small measure of precedent. For instance, when Humphrey wandered into 10 Downing Street back in 1989 he was allowed to remain there throughout the tenures of both Margaret Thatcher and John Major but neither of them was willing to provide him with a permanent home after their political careers went up in smoke.

The similarity in the treatment meted out to him and Larry ends there however because once the old snake charmer Tony Blair and his resident witch, Cherie, had gained control of the levers of powers in 1997 all the benevolence lavished upon Humphrey by both 10 Downing Street and the Cabinet Office went out the window much like a baby with the bath water. Almost as appallingly, there was not any hue and cry of protest to be heard anywhere on Whitehall concerning either the fact that the prime minister's residence was, most likely, the only home that he ever had known or his right to have lived out his remaining days there.

Instead, he was unceremoniously packed off to an undisclosed private residence in south London where he later died in obscurity in March of 2006. (See Cat Defender post of April 6, 2006 entitled "Humphrey, the Cat from 10 Downing Street Who Once 'Read' His Own Obituary, Passes Away at 18.")

As utterly reprehensible as all of that was, Humphrey is far from being the only cat to have been hideously used, abused, and then discarded like yesterday's newspapers by the politicians and bureaucrats who attempt to boss around the world from the comfort of their palatial residences on Whitehall. For example, in early 2008 cat and animal hater Gordon Brown ordered Chancellor of the Exchequer Alistair Darling to get rid of his cat, Sybil, who earlier had been brought down from Edinburgh.

Regrettably, she died shortly after her cruel exile at the undisclosed location of one of Darling's acquaintances. (See Cat Defender posts of September 19, 2007 and August 13, 2009 entitled, respectively, "After a Dreary Ten-Year Absence, Number 10 Downing Street Has a New Resident Feline and Her Name Is Sybil" and "Sybil, 10 Downing Street's Former First Feline, Dies Unexpectedly from an Undisclosed Illness.")

As recently as 2014, former Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne, who also fell from power with Cameron on July 13th, gave the boot to his long neglected cat, Freya, after she had lost out in a battle for his affections to his Bichon Frisé, Lola. The good news is that there is, apparently, life after Downing Street for some cats in that she is still alive today and believed to be residing somewhere in Kent. (See Cat Defender posts of November 10, 2014 and November 13, 2014 entitled, respectively, "Freya, the Chancellor of the Exchequer's Resident Feline, Cheats Death Once Again When She Survives Being Run Down and Injured by a Motorist but Her Good Luck Cannot Last for Much Longer" and "Gutless Georgie 'Porgie' Osborne Gets Rid of Freya but in Doing So Lies About the True Reason Behind His Second Cruel Abandonment of Her.")

The So-Called "Proof" of Cameron's Love for Larry

The deafening silence of the Cabinet Office in regard to the ousters of both Sybil and Freya can perhaps be explained by the fact that both of them, unlike Larry, were privately owned felines. That does not account in any way, however, for its acquiescence in the Blairs' machinations against Humphrey.

When all is said and done, the distinction that both Cameron and the Cabinet Office is making between privately owner and governmental cats appears to be more contrived than real. It does furnish, however, a rather convenient rationale for allowing both politicians and bureaucrats to shirk their solemn responsibilities to them.

More broadly speaking, the thinking and behavior of Cameron, Darling, and Osborne is radically at adds with that of all genuine fans of the species who never under any conceivable circumstances would even so much as countenance the very thought of abandoning their beloved companions. In his defense, Cameron insisted to the bitter end that he cares deeply for Larry.

"(I want to end speculation that) I somehow don't love Larry," he told the Daily Mail in the article cited supra. "I do, and I have photographic evidence to prove it."

The proof of his affection consisted, however, of only a single photograph of Larry sitting in his lap. Besides the rather obvious possibility that the photograph could have been staged for propaganda purposes, one tender moment spent with a cat does not prove fidelity any more than the cameo appearance of a solitary robin is a harbinger that spring is just around the corner.

Even more telling, there is considerable evidence to support the contention that Cameron never wanted a cat in the first place and he demonstrated that antipathy as far back as 2009 when he and the Tories were still in opposition by nixing the idea of adopting one. (See the BBC, July 29, 2009, "No Plan for Number 10 Cat -- Cameron.")

Once he had come to power, however, he and his cronies immediately recognized the public relations bonanza to be reaped by bringing on board a resident feline and as a result the then four-year-old Larry was adopted by 10 Downing Street on February 16, 2011. "I'm sure he will be a great addition to Downing Street and will charm our many visitors," Cameron proclaimed upon his arrival.

Despite the unassailable fact that Larry's acquisition had been motivated by the basest of political motives imaginable, both Cameron and the media insisted upon perpetuating the myth that he had been brought in to catch mice. That was a ruse that the sniveling buttlickers at the Battersea Dogs and Cats Home in south London, who earlier in January of 2011 had arrested him in the street and unjustly incarcerated him, were only too happy to go along with for, quite naturally, a price. "Larry should not have any problem getting the mice under control," the organization's Kristy Walker ballyhooed at that time. "I can definitely see Larry holding his own."

As things eventually turned out, the rodent infestation allegedly plaguing 10 Downing Street turned out to be the least of Larry's worries in that no sooner had he set his paws inside the premises than the back-stabbing, character assassinations, and general disparagement commenced with a vengeance foreign to even Whitehall standards. The trouble all began when ITV reporter Lucy Manning made a stink about being scratched after she idiotically had forcibly attempted to get Larry to pose for her.

Larry Warily Eyes Theresa May as She Arrives at 10 Downing Street 

Soon thereafter a peeler posted outside the world's most famous black door was photographed abusing Larry with his foot. That was quickly followed up by a seemingly never-ending stream of press reports calling into question his prowess as a mouser.

Cameron reportedly became so disgusted with Larry's alleged propensity to sleep while the mice played that he resorted to throwing cutlery at the intruders. (See Cat Defender post of July 21, 2011 entitled "Larry Faces Many Challenges and Dangers in His New Rôle as 10 Downing Street's Resident Feline.")

It even was feared for a while that he was about to be sacked. Thankfully, that never occurred but life did not get all that much easier for him.

There also were persistent complaints from staffers who had been scratched when they sat down on top of him. Being quite obviously either blind or every bit as mindless at Manning, they only got what they richly deserved but being totally unwilling to acknowledge their own faux pas they lamely attempted to pack off all the blame on Larry who, unfortunately, is unable to speak up in his own defense.

He later on was reportedly banned from the Camerons' refurbished flat following a £64,000 makeover because he allegedly was leaving cat hairs all over the place. "Poor Larry is being treated like some servant from Downton Abbey," Labor MP Kerry McCarthy of Bristol East complained in 2011. "It is shocking that after all the publicity he is not even allowed to set paw inside the prime minister's flat."

As if all of that unfounded criticism were not reprehensible enough, the baying hounds of Fleet Street even have begrudged him those few stolen moments that he has been able to spend in the company of Mark Wasil-ewski's cat, Maisy, of the nearby St. James's Park neighborhood. (See Cat Defender post of November 28, 2011 entitled "Larry Is Persevering as Best He Can Despite Being Constantly Maligned by Both Fleet Street and the Prime Minister's Duplicitous Staff.")

The torch has now been passed from Cameron to new prime minister Theresa May who will serve as Larry's nominal caretaker. Not a good deal is known about the fifty-nine-year-old clergyman's daughter who has represented Maidenhead in Berkshire in the Commons since 1997 and who most recently served as Home Secretary since 2010. (See The Philadelphia Inquirer's print edition of July 14, 2016, "It's an Upbeat Entrance by British Leader May" and The New York Times' print edition of July 21, 2016, "On a Day of Firsts, May Holds Her Own at Home and Abroad.")

The only thing that can be said for certain is that the aftermath of the Brexit vote is destined to consume a lion's share of her time and energies well into the foreseeable future and that could prove to be either a good thing or an ominous development as far as Larry is concerned. Most disquieting of all, the English media has been uncharacteristically reticent when it comes to May's views on Larry in particular and cats in general.

Qué será será. Larry Is Content to Live in the Present

As best it could be determined, the only recent public comment on the matter has come courtesy of the Tories' leader in the Commons, David Lidington of Aylesbury in Buckinghamshire, who told his colleagues last month that he could "completely reassure" them about May's good intentions toward Larry. (See The Telegraph of London, July 21, 2016, "Larry the Cat Treated by Vet Amid Turf 'Fracas' with Rival Palmerston at Number 10.")

Only time will tell how well that he is able to get on with the new tenants of Number 10 but if the nine-year-old moggy has demonstrated anything during his time spent in the political spotlight it is that he is a survivor. Hopefully, May will have the bon sens to realize that he is, arguably, the number one asset that she has going for her in the turbulent and uncertain days and years that lie ahead.

Although Larry in all likelihood is provided with an adequate supply of food and water, shelter, and access to veterinary care whenever he needs it, the proper care of a cat entails considerably more than those basics. Of particular concern in his case is his personal safety in that Whitehall, like virtually everywhere else nowadays, has its fair share of cat-murdering motorists, poisoners, thieves, and other assorted ailurophobes.

In that light, it is especially disturbing that, as far as it has been revealed, the Cabinet Office does not assign any particular individual the daunting task of looking out for his personal safety. Consequently, he is left to wander the perilous streets of Whitehall both night and day without the benefit of a chaperone and that can only be a prescription for disaster, if not death itself.

No matter how that his living arrangement is analyzed, it is impossible to come away with any other conclusion than that a gaggle of uncaring bureaucrats with their own political axes to grind are poor substitutes for a loving and conscientious guardian. Then there is the troubling question of what is going to happen to him once he has outlived his usefulness to both the Cabinet Office and the occupants du jour of 10 Downing Street.

In addition to the naked exploitation of cats like Larry by the politicians and bureaucrats of Whitehall as well as the media, the conduct of Battersea in this shabby business is simply abominable. Whereas any legitimate rescue group would put the needs, safety, and happiness of its cats first, it is only concerned with feathering its own nest by currying favor with the political elites.

Tant pis, absolutely no one involved in the least little way with Larry is willing to even acknowledge that sacred responsibilities accompany all forms of cat ownership. In addition to that, everyone involved is setting a simply disgraceful example of how a cat should be treated.

To put the matter succinctly, the politicians, bureaucrats, media and, above all, Battersea, either should face up to their responsibilities to cats like Larry or otherwise get out of the feline exploitation business once and for all time. That is not about to happen, however, because absolutely none of them are capable of even acknowledging that cats are morally sentient beings whose lives are worthy of being treasured and safeguarded; instead, they look down their disjointed schnozes at them as being little more than an endless supply of inexpensive political props to be exploited to the hilt and then afterwards to be gotten rid of in the quickest and most expeditious manner available.

It therefore does not seem unfair to consign all of those rotten apples to the same barrel that is currently overflowing with those coarsest of all souls who know the cost of everything but the value of absolutely nothing. Even more lamentably, Larry's distinguished service on behalf of 10 Downing Street and the nation as a whole has been to this very day both largely underappreciated and in vain.

Photos: Frank Augstein of the Associated Pres via the Daily Mail (Larry on the steps of 10 Downing Street and lying on the concrete), Twitter via The Telegraph (Larry and Cameron), and the BBC (Larry and May).

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Missy, Who Was Too Kindly Disposed Toward Humans for Her Own Good, Is Memorialized in Wood at the Bus Stop That She Called Her Home Away from Home for Almost a Decade

Missy Lives on in a Wooden Replica of Her at the Bus Stop in Leigh Park 

"Missy was always at the bus stop. Everyone that caught a bus from there knew her. Missy loved attention and was so friendly toward people who were waiting for the bus. I'm sure people liked stroking her as they waited."
-- Richard McCormick

It was a sad day back in early June when an aggrieved owner, local dignitaries, and assorted well-wishers gathered at the bus stop on Dunsbury Way outside the Leigh Park Housing Estate in Havant, one -hundred-thirteen kilometers south of London in Hampshire, in order to commemorate the life and times of a thirteen-year-old brown and white female named Missy. For the past nine to ten years, she had been a regular fixture at the bus patron shelter in front of the Leigh Park Community Centre
where she would bide her days sleeping on either the bench or in the laps of obliging commuters of Stagecoach South's number thirty-nine line.

It therefore did not take long before she had earned the sobriquet of being the "Bus Stop Cat." All of that is in the rearview mirror now and those who assembled at the old familiar bus stop on that solemn occasion were not there to take either a trip or even to socialize with her; rather, they had come in order to be on hand for the unveiling of a life-sized replica of her that had been carved out of sequoia.

It rests slightly to the side of the shelter and on top of a new oaken bench that was constructed by local chainsaw sculptor Chris Bain. A metal plaque fastened to it reads: "Missy the Cat Loved by All at 39 Bus Stop."

"Missy was loved by everyone in Leigh Park and now they have something to remember her by," Mayor Faith Ponsonby told The News of Portsmouth on June 7th. (See "Missy the Cat's Memory Lives on in New Sculpture.") "It's great to see how Missy brought this community together. It is typical of the people of Leigh Park."

There cannot be any disputing that she, for a variety of reasons, meant a great deal to so many people in the community. "Not a lot of people are allowed to have pets and I have concerns that we need to look out for elderly lonely people," she added to the BBC on June 7th. (See "Memorial Unveiled in Havant for 'Bus Stop' Cat Missy.") "For children, to stroke her was something they could look forward to every day."

Missy's owner, seventy-three-year-old retired railway worker and ex-serviceman Richard McCormick, was not only pleased that she had been immortalized but he also was humbled by the outpouring of support that the project had engendered. "After I had fed her every morning she would be out there on the bus stop welcoming everyone and being her friendly self," he told The News. "I can't thank everyone enough. We've been overwhelmed by the support, with donations coming from as far as America."

 Bain, Ponsonby, Cockram, and McCormick at the Unveiling  

Contributions additionally came in from as far afield as China and Australia so that in the end more than £5,000 were donated to the project. Since slightly less than £2,000 of that total were required for both the sculpture and the bench, McCormick and his sixty-nine-year-old spouse, retired factory worker Clara, have designated that the remainder be given to the RSPCA and The Cat and Rabbit Rescue Centre in Chichester, eighteen kilometers to the east in West Sussex.

It was not the McCormicks, however, who initiated the fundraising appeal but rather forty-nine-year-old Leigh Park resident Craig Cockram who came to know Missy through his rôle as one of Stagecoach South's drivers on the number thirty-nine line. "It's been amazing just how much money was raised, which allowed the bench to be built, and even raise some extra money for charity," he exulted to The News.

She not only made quite an impression upon him but she had an equivalent affect on many other drivers as well. "Missy was always there at the bus stop come rain or shine. I have been with Stagecoach for three years and Missy was there long before me, about ten years," he added to the London Metro on June 8th. (See "Animal-Lovers Raise £5,000 for Memorial of Beloved Bus Stop Cat Killed in Hit and Run (sic).") "People still talk about her. A few of the drivers talk about how she would sit with people and sometimes she would follow the bus before going back to sit down again."

Thanks to his efforts and those of others, Missy is therefore destined to live on in considerably more than just the memories of the riders of the number thirty-nine bus. "I shall look forward to sitting in the sun on the bench, alongside the carving of Missy, and chatting to Missy's friends," Ponsonby declared to the London Metro.

As halcyon as all of that may be, it never will be able to completely obliterate the horrifying reality that she would still be alive today and greeting commuters as usual if she had not been victimized by a simply diabolical act of animal cruelty. Specifically, back on January 29th one or more individuals are believed to have repeatedly kicked her about the face in a brazen daylight attack.

Rushed to an unidentified local veterinarian, she was diagnosed to have suffered not only a fractured skull but her jaw had been broken in two places. All of her teeth, except two, had been knocked out and she was hemorrhaging from both her mouth and one of her eyes.

Commuters Left Flowers and Messages at an Impromptu Memorial 

As it almost always turns out to be the case with such attacks, the McCormicks elected to have the attending practitioners snuff out her life as opposed to mounting a last-ditch effort to have saved her. "The vets did not know whether they could save the eye and she was in a lot of pain and the best thing was to put her to sleep but my mum and dad were distraught," their forty-eight-year-old daughter, Karen Wells of Waterlooville, nine kilometers north of Havant, told The Mirror of London on February 1st. (See "Heartbroken Commuters Pay Tribute to 'Bus Stop Cat' as She Dies after Brutal Attack.")

It therefore is impossible to know if she could have been saved. The only thing known for certain is that doing so would have been terribly expensive and that usually is a deal breaker for the vast majority of cat owners. Missy also would have been forced to have undergone not only multiple surgeries but an extensive convalescence as well.

It likewise never has been revealed either what was done with her remains or if a memorial service was held for her. That is not any trifling matter in that all cats deserve far better than to have their remains casually thrown out in the trash.

In the aftermath of her murder, commuters and residents of Leigh Park responded by erecting an impromptu roadside memorial in her honor that consisted of bouquets of flowers, messages of condolence, paintings, and children's drawings. Others turned to social media in order to express their grief and that in turn led to Cockram's effort to establish a lasting memorial in her honor.

Predictably, neither the pleadings of the McCormick clan nor those of Missy's dozens of admirers were sufficient in order to stir either the police or local animal protection groups to go after her killers. For instance, the Hampshire Police contented itself by appealing to the public to intervene and thus do its job for it.

Initially, it was unclear whether she had been kicked to death or run down by a motorist, but the severity and nature of her injuries quickly settled that issue in Wells' mind. "That cat was not run over, somebody has kicked her or done something," she declared to The Mirror.

One of the More Poignant Condolences Left in Memory of Missy

The galling reality that the culprits have gotten away scot-free with their hideous crime, quite understandably, still rankles Wells. "It is horrible. The person or people who did this need to be brought to justice," she added to The Mirror. "I know there will be people saying 'get a grip, it's a cat' but it's a living creature. You do not kick and attack a defenseless animal."

Her father was considerably less diplomatic. "The swine, how can anybody do that to a poor little animal?" he exclaimed to The Mirror.

It goes almost without saying that Missy's murder has had a traumatic effect upon the elderly McCormicks who cared for her the last nine years of her life. "It is not acceptable behavior, it makes me so cross to know not only what was done to Missy but how it has impacted on my mum and dad," Wells added to The Mirror. "I just want somebody held accountable."

Quite obviously, that is not about to happen. Even more deplorably, there does not appear to be any power on earth strong enough in order to persuade either the police or phony-baloney animal rights groups to take cruelty to cats seriously.

Although socialization is generally considered to be a good character trait for a cat, it also is indisputable that it is precisely the friendly ones, such as Missy, that are subjected to the most persistent and horrendous forms of abuse. "Missy was always at the bus stop. Everyone that caught a bus from there knew her," McCormick averred to The Mirror. "Missy loved attention and was so friendly toward people who were waiting for the bus. I'm sure people liked stroking her as they waited."

It thus would appear in hindsight that her attackers were laying for her. They waited until no one was around and then they methodically proceeded to kick her to death.


Missy

Cat owners and lovers in the neighborhood accordingly need to be vigilant, especially when it comes to the nefarious activities of young males. They have gotten away with killing Missy but that does not necessarily have to be the case with other cats.

Missy's murder also refocuses attention once again on the perplexing dilemma of allowing cats to go unsupervised while outdoors. Although there is not any satisfactory answer to this problem, the mere fact that Missy was able to have spent her days at the bus stop for the past decade without, as far as it is known, having been previously attacked attests to the fact that the area used to be a safe haven for cats.

All of that has changed with her murder, however, and residents therefore need to rethink the wisdom of allowing their cats outside without supervision. The situation would be entirely different if the police somehow could be prevailed upon to bring those responsible for Missy's death to justice but that is not in  the cards.

As far as she is concerned, only McCormick and his wife know for sure if they did all that was in their power in order to have safeguarded her fragile life. Anecdotal evidence suggests, however, that they had a difficult time of keeping tabs on her. "She was a very friendly cat, so friendly that sometimes my dad couldn't get her indoors because she liked getting all the fuss outside," Wells disclosed to The Mirror.

The Genuine Article Is Always Far Superior to Any Artifice

Along that same line, many devout cat lovers gladly would part with a king's ransom in order to know exactly what their beloved companions want out of life. The only thing that can be deduced from Missy's behavior is that she obviously was getting something at the bus stop that was missing from her life at home.

Generally speaking, cats that are fortunate enough to have owners who not only dote on them but also feed them well want to spend considerable time at their sides but even that is not always the case. Hopefully, the McCormicks did not either ignore or neglect Missy's pressing needs but only they know the answer to that riddle.

Even though the English dearly cherish their bus-riding cats, neither their motor coaches, depots, nor bus stops are safe venues for them. In addition to the risk of being run down and killed by bus drivers and other motorists, cats also easily can be either lost or stolen once they are abandoned to their own devices under such perilous circumstances. (See Cat Defender posts of April 19, 2007, August 27, 2009, January 30, 2010, January 25, 2012, and August 27, 2014 entitled, respectively, "Bus-Hopping Macavity Earns High Praise from His Fellow Commuters for Being the 'Perfect Passenger'," "Casper Treats Himself to an Unescorted Tour Around Plymouth Courtesy of the Number Three Bus," "Casper Is Run Down and Killed by a Hit-and-Run Taxi Driver While Crossing the Street in Order to Get to the Bus Stop," "The Innocence of the Lambs: Unaware of the Dangers That Threaten His Very Existence, Dodger Charms Commuters on the Bridport to Charmouth Line," and "After Traveling for So Many Miles on the Bridport to Charmouth Bus, Dodger's Last Ride Is, Ironically, to the Vet Who Unconscionably Snuffs Out His Precious Life at the Urging of His Derelict Owner.")

It is all well and good that the residents of Leigh Park have chosen to keep Missy's memory alive but at the same time it is important to bear in mind that a wooden sculpture is a poor substitute for the genuine article. Such acts, no matter how well intentioned, also serve to both camouflage and to ultimately dismiss from public consciousness other disturbing realities.

The most glaring of which is the inexcusable failure of all societies to take cruelty to cats seriously. The second equally disturbing truth is the abject failure of owners, such as the McCormicks, to properly provide for the personal safety of their resident felines.

In that light, the extra £3,000 that were raised for Missy's memorial arguably could have been better spent employing a private detective to have looked into her death as opposed to having gone into the coffers of a do-nothing animal protection group such as the RSPCA. Such an undertaking, if successful, would have perhaps not only spared the lives of other cats but it also would have sent a clear and unmistakable message to all cat abusers that such heinous acts are no longer going to be tolerated.

Cats as rare as Missy are not easily replaced and for that reason it is highly improbable that things will be quite the same ever again at the Leigh Park bus stop. For a brief interlude in time, however, she succeeded in transforming the mundane into the magical and no amount of either wood or fond remembrances is going to bring that back.

Photos: the London Metro (the memorial), Sarah Standing of The News (attendees), The Mirror (impromptu roadside memorial and Missy up close), and Craig Cockram (Missy asleep at the bus stop).

Thursday, June 23, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Patricia "Porous" Norris

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cooper Was Forced to Wear an Elizabethan Collar Following Oral Surgery


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cooper Was Repeatedly Caged, Bandied About, and Anesthetized 


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Besides, neither the RCAS nor Orbison had a valid reason for being in such a hellfire hurry because microchips are a complete fraud in that they not only fail to afford cats any protection whatsoever against the machinations of their enemies but they additionally have been linked to cancer. (See Cat Defender posts of May 25, 2006, September 21, 2007, and November 6, 2010 entitled, respectively, "Plato's Misadventures Expose the Pitfalls of RFID Technology as Applied to Cats," "FDA Is Suppressing Research That Shows Implanted Microchips Cause Cancer in Mice, Rats, and Dogs," and "Bulkin Contracts Cancer from an Implanted Microchip and Now It Is Time for Digital Angel and Merck to Answer for Their Crimes in a Court of Law.")

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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