Monthly "Dessert With Don" meetings are always fun, a colorful exchange of ideas and information between powerful elected officials and any common citizen who shows up for free cookies like a stray cat looking for a handout.
But Monday's meeting was especially filled with emotion over this month's topic of Animal Control. The actions and fate of two individuals dominated discussion: Joy Mattice, the famous "cat lady of North Minneapolis," and another woman named Susan (I do not have her last name) are facing criminal charges for allegedly "ground feeding" stray cats in North Minneapolis.
Allegedly Did What She Freely Admits To Doing
That word "allegedly" applies only to Susan, the second woman charged. In extensive media coverage about the charges against her, Joy admits to feeding stray cats, click here.
Before getting into the nitty gritty of this meeting, including a particularly driven woman who was proposing some kind of "final solution" to the city's raccoon issues, I would like to put forward a fairly extensive disclaimer about Joy Mattice...
Viva La Revolution, Meow
Seventy percent of my friends don't like what Joy Mattice is doing. In fact, a few feel incredibly passionate about it including blogger Jeff Skrenes, a dear friend of mine. Ten percent of my friends don't give a damn one way or another. And twenty percent of my friends strongly support Joy Mattice's incredible efforts as a "cat Samaritan" even if they might sometimes quibble with her methods.
I find myself in that twenty percent. There is a saying about how no progress in the world is created by reasonable people. It is only "unreasonable people" who will upset the social order, commit civil disobedience, shout from the rooftops how the laws of a society are morally corrupt and need to be drastically revised if the end result of our laws happens to be HUNDREDS OF RAILROAD CARS PER YEAR of euthanized dogs and cats.
I hear people complaining about how Joy's efforts are causing an excess of cat poop in their feline-filled corner of the world. Well, I have read enough and seen enough in regard to our country's disgusting hidden holocaust of dogs and cats in this nation's pounds, animal shelters and (finger quote marks thingie) "humane societies." You have a problem with cat poop on the boulevard? Really? OK, I'll tell you what.
See that cute little kitty there? (Imagine a kitty, play along with me) I want you to take this needle full of lethal chemical, here--CRIPES, DON'T STICK YOURSELF WITH THAT--and I want you to walk over to that cute little kitty, grab him by the neck like a mama kitty, and STICK THIS NEEDLE DIRECTLY IN HIS HEART. PUSH IN ALL THE MEDICINE. Yup, it's a noisy process but he will be quiet soon enough.
There. Oh, you think you've earned the right to complain about the cat poop, now? Sorry, there are six more kittens under that porch plus a cute little cocker spaniel puppy and you, my friend, have a nasty and thankless job to do. Think you have it rough? Try doing this ALL DAY LONG at the humane society.
Legal Defense Of Moral Necessity?
According to Animal Control Manager Dan Niziolek, there will be a court proceeding on Thursday at 1:30 for Joy Mattice. I have been unable to find the information in MNCIS but Niziolek stated she is facing two counts of ground feeding, one count of theft (over an animal trap) and one count of assault. A woman named "Susan," described by some as a "partner" of Mattice, is facing a proceeding on December 13 over two counts of feeding and one count of terroristic threat. The last charge is apparently in "mental health court." Whether Susan is a "partner" of Mattice or not is open to question. It seems more like an instance of two like-minded people who are aware of each other's efforts and try not to get in each other's way. Then again, it might be sometimes they team up.
In regard to the charges of feeding, there can be little doubt Joy probably did what she is charged with doing and the only question is "can you document those particular instances on those particular days, enough to get a conviction?" There can be little doubt Mattice has been "ground feeding" cats. She's also catching cats in traps and having the cats "fixed." Fox-9 says Mattice fixes the cats "at her own expense" but I know Mattice also accepts and receives donations. I know this because I myself have been happy to publish information about where donations can be made, and I have even made a little "banner" for Joy Mattice which has been part of this blog for a couple of years.
Joy is doing what she's doing because she feels a moral imperative, arguably like draft resistor Chuck Turchick felt when he broke into the offices of a draft board in Douglas County, Minnesota. Like at least one member of the "Minnesota 8," Joy Mattice might make the legal argument of "moral necessity" for what she was doing. Will this fly? Only if you get lucky and have at least one other strong-willed "cat lady" on the jury willing to, oh gee, simply disregard the instructions of the judge and do their own thing.
But avoiding conviction is only half the struggle. Mattice is certainly receiving publicity over these charges, and publicity can mean more supporters for her cause. This story has the potential to "go national." Mattice is articulate and has a dramatic personality. She plays well to the cameras.
Yeah, this could go national.
Let Us Paws For More Coverage Of "Dessert With Don"
Let's leave aside Joy Mattice and Susan for the moment. Oh, we will get back to them, plus I'm introducing a new character called the Anti-Joy Cat Trap Lady And She Doesn't Like Raccoons Much, Either. (We'll call her the "Anti-Joy" for short)
Every time I attend a Dessert With Don, inevitably I learn some interesting nitty-gritty about how our city operates. For example, I learned there is a city ordinance (68.10) which says no property in the city may be used for selling dogs without a license. How exactly are citizens supposed to prove the litters of pit bull puppies being produced next door are being SOLD when they disappear into the doors of vehicles showing up at the property as quickly as the puppies are weaned? Yeah, I pressed that question quite a bit but didn't get anywhere. Animal Control is underfunded and understaffed like all the city departments. Hopefully one day the thugs selling the pit bulls are just stupid enough to hang a sign on their chain link fence. Then they'll get warned. The second time it happens, they'll get another warning.
But, oh, the THIRD TIME!!!!!
So the message was to call. To make reports. Over and over. Like dripping water wearing a hole in a rock over the course of centuries, you will get somewhere eventually.
Oh, and dogs tethered to one spot legally require a chain three times the length of their body. Everybody got that? Three times the length of the dog's body. Word is, though, some dogs in North Minneapolis died after the tornado. Their shade trees were gone but the dog's tether was still in the same place, out in the hot sun. Terrible.
Also, it turns out anybody in Minneapolis who has been convicted of a violent felony in the past 10 years isn't allowed to have a dog over 20 pounds. They must get a "prohibited animal permit." Click here for the ordinance, which covers a lot of ground but, yeah, it's buried in there somewhere. In fact, even if the animal weighs LESS than 20 pounds it could be designated potentially dangerous by the manager of animal control, just to make sure some felonious thug doesn't take steps to produce a particularly vicious teacup Yorkie.
And speaking of dog breeds, I also learned what a "morkie" is; part Maltese and part Yorkie.
Of course, my favorite "designer breed" is a Pottweiler.
Part pit bull, part Rottweiler. A Pottweiler. Perfect for guarding a stash of cannabis. OK, I just made that up but now watch somebody run with the idea.
Was This Woman Raised By A Pack Of French Fur Traders? Because She Sure Likes Catching Cats, Raccoons, And At Least One Possum
An older lady showed up at the meeting who had particularly strong opinions about Joy Mattice and Susan's outlaw cat feeding efforts. At one point, the older lady offered to pass around a photo of Susan so everybody would know what Susan looked like.
How quaint, I thought. I can't recall the last time somebody offered to show me a photo in hardcopy form that wasn't hanging on a wall or stuck inside a wallet. Do people still DO that kind of thing? Go to the drug store and get copies of photos and pass them around?
Holding one of her photos with her hands visibly shaking with emotion, the lady spoke of at least one run-in she'd had with Joy Mattice, saying she'd had her life threatened by Mattice and had sent out a "picture of her (Joy) and her license plate."
Keep in mind Joy Mattice is charged with stealing a trap. Whose trap, you have to wonder? Well, it sure sounded like the trap might have belonged to this lady, who is pictured below.
The lady spoke of how she had trapped TWENTY-TWO RACCOONS. In her opinion, the city should euthanize raccoons, particularly the ones she is bringing in.
Nobody, she complained, would take her raccoons. The city won't take them. The Humane Society won't take them. You would think DNR would take them, but they WON'T.
What is an ultra- successful raccoon trapper in Minneapolis to do with TWENTY-TWO LIVE RACCOONS?
Almost flippantly, the woman admitted she had probably violated game and fish laws by having the raccoons transported "across a major North/South river" and into another county.
Sitting there I thought, How is this lawlessness different than that of Joy Mattice? Here's Joy, who violates the law by feeding cats. But here's Joy's nemesis, who traps every stray animal she can get her hands on including twenty-two raccoons and one odd opossum. Determined to accomplish her compulsive mission to rid her neighborhood of raccoons, she causes these wild animals to be transported to another county and released; game and fish laws be damned. How is this so different than Joy's lawbreaking? It is simply two sides of the same coin, the woman who loves stray animals too much and the woman who HATES stray animals too much. But whose side would you prefer to be on? I find myself throwing in with the animal lovers.
But it sounds like the "Anti-Joy" is really after the CATS. What does she do when she captures a cat in a trap? She brings it right to the animal shelter, by god. And she's not happy there are people who hang around the animal shelter and make nasty remarks about folks who bring cats in traps.
The Animal Control manager assured her "those people" have been warned and if they go too far, well, some sort of legal steps will be taken.
Jokingly, it was suggested a program could be started to sterilize raccoons. When the Animal Control manager said that he looked over toward Dana Andresen of MNSNAP, who was there to promote her program which provides free sterilization services for low income pet owners.
Laughing acidly, Andresen shook her head. Her program wouldn't be sterilizing any raccoons. Trying to keep up with all the dogs and cats took every bit of their efforts.
In a follow up post I will be writing about Andreson's program, but for now I'll just say if you're a low income person and you'd like to spay or neuter your pet for free, then call
Soon this blogger will be making a little widget and permanently displaying this information. Think of me as Bob Barker from the Price is Right, only as a blogger. Remember to have your pet spayed or neutered.
But will I continue to display information about how people can support the kind cat lady of North Minneapolis, Joy Mattice, including helping with her legal expenses?
You're damn right I will. Because I am sick to death of dogs and cats being killed for the sake of our materialistic society's convenience and it takes somebody like Joy Mattice to push the issue to the front burner.
The only progress in the world is made by unreasonable people.