Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Community Emotions Run Red Hot Over Issue Of "Cat Samaritans" Facing Charges For Allegedly "Ground Feeding" Stray Felines In North Minneapolis...

Photo, blog post by John Hoff

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!!!!!

Watch out.

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. 


Anonymous said...

Does this woman have a raccoon problem because she is luring them with food into her trap? I've lived in this city for over 13 years and I've seen one raccoon. One.

The Hawthorne Hawkman said...

Look for a rebuttal blog post momentarily.

Anonymous said...



A program to sterilize the low income pet owners!!! Woo-hoo!

No. Seriously. I think they should expand into the thug market. Snip, snip, boys.

Johnny Northside! said...

Don't be acting out any of my colorful hypotheticals and putting the video on YouTube.

I'm just sayin'.

Anonymous said...

I think the woman has a raccoon problem b/c she lives near a place where Joy the Cat Lady does her vigilante ground feeding and so the raccoons are drawn there, too. Which is part of her beef with Joy and the ground feeding. And explains why she has such an abundance of raccoons.

I see lots of racoons around here. One time, late at night, I had 6 of them balancing on the top pole of my chain link fence feasting off the wild grape vine that grew there.

Johnny Northside! said...

To the anonymous commenter talking about the rarity of raccoons in Minneapolis. Well, I saw one in an alley about a week ago. Then again, I am a country boy at heart and I tend to spot critters.

Riddle me this. Isn't putting food in a trap technically a form of ground feeding? Or is there an exception written into the ground feeding rule that covers food in a trap? Or is food in a trap ignored as "diminimus" because the intent is not really to feed, but to lure?

Because I would tend to think a woman who has caught 22 raccoons, one possum, and an unstated number of cats in a trap must be one of the biggest "ground feeders" in the city.

Anonymous said...

We have personally taken in 5 stray cats (including one that was pregnant and had 3 kittens weeks later). We have used the free services to spay and neuter each one and continue to locate good homes for them. These cats all came from homes where assholes acquired them as kittens then turned them out on the street when it became apparent that the cuteness comes with responsibility.

It is beyond my comprehension how anybody can live in North Minneapolis and be so narrow minded and self absorbed as to see feral cats as a problem that has a major effect on their life.

The city needs to concentrate on dealing with REAL problems so that we don't have to live in a slum where this type of behavior happens.

Anonymous said...

We most likely have raccoons because we have so many slobs who don't know how to properly dispose of their garbage. Take a stroll down some of our alleys and you will be appalled.

Thank God we have cats to control the mice and rats!

Anonymous said...

Really? GDs are putting hits on all Mpls. and St. Paul police, and this is what is being discussed with Don? Time to fire his ass. My solution is to get rid of poor people in North, we then wouldn't have to deal with this problem. It's not the cats' fault, it's the POOR's fault.

Anonymous said...

In years when there were a few more stray cats around, I have had fewer squirrels in the yard and no mice find there way in the house in the winter. In years with fewer cats around, I have had more squirrels around and mice find their way into the house into the winter. I guess I fall into the catagory of "don't care" about this issue too much as I just figure I trade one kind of rodent for another.

Anonymous said...

No need to fire Don b/c he picked animal control as a topic for his monthly community forum.

For the record the topic and forum were picked and held long before the stupid gang hit was put out on police officers.

Furthermore, he has a different topic each month, all pertaining to different livability issues, different city functions, etc. Animal control and animal topics were the focus in general, with the manager of animal control as the main featured guest. Joy the cat lady and ground feeding just happened to take over as the dominant issue.

It's a damned if you do and damned if you don't think for politicians. If Don just picked "gang problems and homicides" as the topic each month, people would gripe that he doesn't do anything about OTHER livability issues. And when he picks a different topic, people gripe that there is gang problems and homicide.

Guess what. THERE ARE GANG PROBLEMS IN JUST ABOUT EVERY MAJOR CITY IN THE COUNTRY. It's not Don Samuels fault!!! The collective communities need to put their foot down and tell the god-damned gang members to STOP BEING GOD DAMNED GANG MEMBERS. Fucktwats. (the gang members, i mean) (s.m.d.h)

Anonymous said...

take out the cat lady, plain and simple. shove some cat litter down her esophagus and tell the bitch to quit ackin' so stupid

Anonymous said...

Just getting caught up with JNS posts. When I lived in urban Seattle, one time outside the house I saw 8-10 racoons. The one in front I think was a female in heat. They are not like lion prides. As to feral cats, almost all cats carry toxoplasmosis, most people too from interaction with cats and cat feces. Most have immune systems that suppress the nasty parasitic traits.

The elderly and immune compromised [chemo patients, organ recipients, and AIDS - HIV carriers] are particularly at risk, and it nasty as hell and lethal. Talk to some doctor serving an old folks home.

Other side of things, Anoka County an owner of five acres, part swamp, two horses and a barn with feed; he has "feral" barn cats, never in the house but fed to keep a pride intact much as the Egyptials worshiping cats because they stored grain, etc.

Farm cats; different stories. Cats that lurk around bird feeders; you have migrant birds that flock spring and autumn between tundra summer breeding fields, and gulf coast, the south, Mexico, etc.

Every year, millions of years, a species evolution/survival thing, with a brain smaller than a walnut and yet able to navigate 3000 miles each back-forth. Some asshole's cat kills them at bird feeders, set to help the migrant swarms. Bird people have websites, report sightings helping scientists review habitat and do predator-prey chaotic modeling; and house cats are not a natural part of that at all - an introduced species, not Lynx, not evolved with the badgers.

A Coopers Hawk, raiding a bird feeding area, that's thinning the population of the less fit and able and attentive. Part of nature's balance.

Sometimes Great Horned Owls can and will take small inattentive cats; and that's a form of payback.

Feeding feral cats? Some people are going hungry. Have a perspective. Donate to a food shelf instead.

Anonymous said...

Love you man, but I don't agree with you on this one...I hope the crazy ground feeding cat lady (and her ground feeding partner) get convicted. We have enough problems here with outsiders breaking the law because that think they can get away with it or that somehow are standard are lower.

Naysayer said...

Goodness gracious! If only such people were as passionate and caring advocates for the semi-feral children in the neighborhood!

The raccoon problem would be taken care of if we developed more urban habitat for foxes, coyotes, and maybe even bobcats. In fact, I locked eyes with a fox on West River Parkway just south of the Plymouth Bridge the other night while on my bike. My helmet spotlight locked with his laser-like green eyes, and we both stood motionless and stared at one another for about 30 seconds. When I broke my gaze, he instantly melted into the bushes. I admired his sleek coat of a well-fed predator, and we can only hope that he preys on immature coons.

Anonymous said...

I love the semi-feral children of the World and hope that one day they will eat all of the feral cats accordingly. Cool cat lookin' fo' a kitty, gonna' look in every corner of the city... you touch my raccoons and i will whup dat ass!