There has been a dramatic new development in the "Cat Ladies Controversy" this blogger previously covered, click here and also here. The cat lady known as "Susan" was arrested in the last few days and jailed.
Susan, whose relationship to Ultimate Cat Lady Joy Mattice is like that of Robin to Batman, or Hawthorne Hawkman to Johnny Northside, was reportedly near 111 22nd Ave. N., on the property of Atomic Recycling, LLC. Mattice claims she has permission to be on that property and feed an old orange tabby cat named "Leo" who has been around the property for as long as 12 years. However, "Dean and Dale" have a restraining order on Joy Mattice, and live around the corner.
Joy wasn't at the Atomic Recycling property this particular day. Susan was there. And Susan believed she had permission to be on the property...
Susan walked into the lot and was arrested by Animal Control Officer Lindsey Heron, spelling of name not confirmed.
Susan was in jail for eight and a half hours but bailed out for $50. During that time, Susan was unable to use her asthma inhaler.
"FIFTY DOLLARS!" Joy said to me, in a phone conversation yesterday. "That shows you how dangerous she is!" (Sarcasm font)
"Well, Joy," I replied. "To be perfectly fair, I've seen people charged with some fairly serious crimes bail out of jail for only $50."
Joy replied she didn't know that. I didn't bother to add I've also seen people get out of jail for no bail at all.
There is a lot more to the story. I've heard suspicions voiced of cats being poisoned. Joy claims some food is being analyzed to determine if it's been poisoned.
Key to this whole controversy is the fact "ground feeding" is illegal in Minneapolis. You wouldn't think it's a crime punishable by a fine to give stale peanuts to a squirrel, or toss a stray dog the remains of your overcooked bratwurst. Well, it is against the law.
And that's ridiculous.
I don't often think of feeding stray animals as a "right" that I possess, precious to me like my right of free speech or free assembly. But I do believe deeply in "critter composting." Items like bread or old pizza don't compost well. The best way to return these items to the earth is to give these items to creatures like birds or squirrels who convert that stuff into poop, which is the best of all fertilizers.
Increasingly, it bothers me to contemplate the fact something as simple and innocent as giving old pizza to squirrels is against the law. Sure, a lot of people don't like squirrels the way I do. With biscuits and gravy.
OK, I'm only half kidding. I ate a lot of squirrel growing up in a rural environment. By which I mean, of course, gray squirrels. Red squirrels have some kind of gland that makes their meat taste sharp. I've heard the taste of red squirrel compared to turpentine. Gray squirrels, on the other hand, have a pleasing richness to their meat though (like many wild animals) it requires slow cooking and being combined with carrots and potatoes to reduce the "gamey" taste.
So obviously I'm not exactly a fanatical animal rights activist. Few people are as devoted to sampling the tasty flesh of all God's creatures as I am, click here for example.
But that just means I'm a realist. I'm not as much of an idealist about this issue as Joy Mattice, whose idealism increasingly verges on martyrdom. But this ordinance bothers me. Why can't citizens of Minneapolis who WANT to feed animals be free to do so?
An ordinance against ground feeding sounds like an infringement upon my rights. Such an ordinance should be legally challenged.
I have asked a third party who is a witness to the events involving Joy and Susan to give me a written account of what is reportedly happening, including disturbing allegations of cats being poisoned. Hopefully that written account will make its way to me in the next few weeks.