Monday, November 19, 2012

Standing up to bad animals

A few encouraging tales of bad animals who are getting what's coming to them, for a change:

-A wolf found out the hard way not to stereotype people as easy victims. Trying to steal a calf from a Russian grandmother might have seemed like a cinch, but she wasn't having any of it. When she ran to defend her livestock, the wolf grabbed at her hand:
"I wanted to open his mouth and put my fist all the way there, all the way to his throat. But I could not open him. So I just left my hand, and the wolf was just clawing into it, pulling on it, pulling away like this. And then I took the axe and hit him on his head."
-Some women don't need an axe to defend their beloved animals - and here's a reason to keep subscribing to the paper copy of the newspaper that you probably never thought of. In Illinois, a woman let her 12-year-old Chihuahua out into the backyard and went to get the paper. She heard yelping, and returned to find him being attacked by two coyotes:
“I took my newspaper and kind of held it out like a sword, and I shooed it away — I beat the coyote away.”
 -And in England, one we need to keep an eye on: a repeat offender is under house arrest after disappearing for three weeks under suspicious circumstances.

Oscar the cat has earned a reputation after repeated attacks including one that put a 77-year-old man in hospital for a week. As is typical, his owner says Oscar is a sweetheart at home, and seems amused by his campaign of violence and psychological intimidation:
Owner miss Hughes joked that his ‘reign of terror’ started when she was regularly approached by dog owners who asked her to ‘call my cat off their dog’.
She said: “More recently a new neighbour had moved in to the street bringing four cats and a dog. The dog was terrified of him within days and the cats have long since stopped going outside because Oscar would just sit there and wait."
Oscar was even rewarded for his bad behavior a couple of years ago when he was asked to perform in an Ikea TV commercial. And as is also typical, some alleged experts have made excuses for the criminal. One theorized that his aggression might be due to a hearing problem which caused him to be easily surprised and disoriented when someone approaches, but even the owner was doubtful, saying that Oscar hates the sound of the vacuum and ‘when upstairs, he can even hear it when I open a sachet of food’.

As has been pointed out in connection with other British cat attacks, there's a law against dangerous dogs, but none against dangerous cats, so there was little authorities could do. So you have to wonder whether someone took the law into their own hands when Oscar disappeared, especially when one neighbor was quoted as saying, "People were hoping he would turn up in a body bag."

But Oscar was discovered to be living in another village when his bad behavior there - and a microchip - identified him as the famous fugitive.

So after three weeks on the lam, he's been returned to his owner, who seems to finally be taking the problem seriously. He's described as under "house arrest" and is no longer being allowed outside.*

Oscar's owner is reportedly also giving him a calming herbal remedy -- and planning to try to move to a house with a secure garden. But after her years of poo-pooing the problem, we'll be watching closely for updates on this story.

*Note that this is a much more serious sentence than it would be in the US: I've read statistics claiming that 90% of cats in England still are allowed outdoors and that shelters, opposite of US policy, may refuse to adopt to people who plan to keep cats indoors exclusively. And organizations like the RSPCA discuss keeping a cat indoors only in a way that makes it clear it's not the norm.

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