Wednesday, June 07, 2006

A Cat With No Name

This is a story I wrote for our local paper about a group of abused animals. I just got permission to publish it here and it has just come out in our paper. The investigation is ongoing.

Midnight, April 24th. Waiting at the Conway Area Humane Society Sandy didn’t know what she’d see when the Berlin Police van pulled up to the intake room door. CAHS had received a call at 9:30 P.M. from the Berlin Police Department. A search warrant had been issued for an abandoned home, there were reports of animals left inside, and medical treatment might be needed, would they help? Yes, of course CAHS would help, and by 11:10 PM Sandy and Linda were ready and prepared for the worst.

12:30 A.M. the van pulled up. Nine cats, one dog. Ten emaciated, flea-bitten, dehydrated, exhausted and wretched animals. One cat lay still. His body packed in a plastic bag, starved to death, flea bitten with swollen, no longer achingly painful ears. He would never know the comfort of anxious, caring help, of freedom from pain, a full belly, and the gentle touch of loving hands. It was his unmoving position on a windowsill that finally alerted neighbors that something was wrong, very wrong, in the abandoned apartment. But their call came too late for him.

For weeks he had managed to survive in that hell hearing the sounds of normal life outside the windows, seeing rain that would ease his thirst fall out of his reach, crying for someone to open the door and set him free, only to die while others were rescued. What story would he tell us if he could, of their abandonment and imprisonment, neglect, abuse and slow starvation? What story would he tell of his treatment by the human race?
Sandy’s heart sank. Quickly the women got the starving creatures into the medical room and began administering subcutaneous fluid to hydrate the cats. ”They were all as weak as wet noodles,” she said. Linda and Sandy started giving them small amounts of food and assessing their condition.
They had eye and ear lacerations, ears completely packed full of ear mites, masses of fleas, facial lacerations and abscesses. They were filthy and matted (one gray cat later turned out to be pure white) One cat had a swollen ear and a hematoma. One full-grown cat weighed 2.8 pounds and the biggest was not even 5 pounds. (Compared to 10 pounds for an average adult cat). Jimmy the dog looked like a head on a skeleton. He had been chained to an oil tank in the basement when the police broke in and he had lost two thirds of his body weight and 80% of his body fluids.
”I have never seen anything like it,” said Sandy. “Those ear mites had to have been untreated from birth. And these cats are from nine months to five years old.”
All ten animals had been left for a month with no water and a bag of dry kibble. The cats sustained themselves by drinking from the toilet until it ran dry. At that point they were too dehydrated to eat the dry food. They were prisoners with no chance to escape or to try to help themselves.

Through the night Sandy and Linda kept a vigil giving the animals small amounts of food, fluids, flea and ear mite treatments and cleaning. And compassion.
Early the next morning Dr. Kettlekamp came in and checked the survivors, amazed that they had lived through the night. He was worried that Jimmy could not survive. Caregivers went to work, offering many small meals a day, administering fluids, bathing, cleaning and loving.

Tiny, so malnourished that when bathed some of her skin literally fell off, ear and facial lacerations, Tracey with a swollen left ear, Lucy, Spencer, Meeko and Pinky Lee, Sidney and Simon and Jimmy the Dog all-recovering in the safe haven of Conway Area Humane Society. They are still being treated for bacterial and yeast infections. Their eyes are clearing up. They are resting, accepting kindness. Some are friendly, some are shy. Jimmy, slowly gaining weight and energy, is playful and eager for attention, already doing his best to forget his ordeal. His barking is subsiding as he realizes that now he is being heard.
CAHS has legal custody of these poor creatures and can now adopt them out. All of them deserve a second chance and a loving home where they can go on to a new life. And as human beings, we have a chance to redeem ourselves in the eyes of those whose lives we have control over.
Tiny, purring loudly now rolls over for a tummy rub. And in the freezer at CAHS lays the body of one cat, being held as evidence for the crimes against him. One starving, flea bitten unknown cat. Unnamed, unloved, uncared for. Never to know the warmth of a lap, a loving home, an affectionate name and a pat on the head during his sojourn on the earth. What shall we name him?


~ J ~ said...

That story made me physically ill!! Very well written....I felt as if I could see each of them in my mind. You should post a warning tho....I am sitting at my desk at work bawling like a baby!

The lone kitty who didnt make it...I think I will call him "oliver".

I hope the person who did this is hunted down and made to pay for their actions....there are No excuses for that kind of thing!!

Magoo, Smudge, Bella & Dolce said...

Not good to make people cry at work. Excellently written story though.

I would have named him "Solo", since that apperas to be the way he lived and tragically died.

THE ZOO said...


Scooby, Shaggy & Scout said...

We are all holding our kitties a little tighter tonight.

The Meezers said...

Well, after 20 minutes of bawling my eyes out, I can see the screen enough to type. The fist name that came to my mind was Matthew - Gods Gift. Pehaps his story will move someone to adopt one of the others from the house - and that would be his gift to them.

auntie p said...

This is so atrocious! I'm sad that the poor helpless animals had to suffer so much for so long. I hope the police finds the people who did this.

Could you keep us updated on the progress of the animals please? Thanks.

Fat Eric said...

Third go at commenting here...Blogger doesn't want me to! Thank you for writing this up - abuse like this needs to be read about to raise awareness and save other animals. I hope if the police catch up with the people responsible they will throw the book at them.