Brevity isn't my strong suit. I'm more about documenting and being thorough. I'm not sure how far back to go because this saga has been going on for a while now. You know I already have several cats of my own. I also took in two special needs cats (FIV and leukemia) which must be quarantined from my own. I'm a responsible "pet owner," and all of mine are spayed and neutered. I also rescue cats. It started with Jane Austen, who I rescued from a storm drain, and later found her kittens under a shed. Thanks to New Beginnings, the kittens all found homes and Jane went on to have a sweet and cushy life, dearly loved by Thehya Pearson and her husband.
Then some time late this summer, I can't recall exactly when, I woke one rainy morning to find another mama cat and her kittens in my shed. I live in a town where the shelter won't accept cats (unless brought there by law enforcement), and there's a town ordinance that states, "If you feed it, it's yours." Well, fine. For the life of me, I can't understand why, if you see something running for its life, scared, hungry and alone, you wouldn't give it a meal and a place to rest. If you wouldn't, then I think there's something seriously wrong with you.
I have gone several rounds with animal control over what I perceive as a poorly run shelter with some lazy employees. I have had many conversations with our illustrious mayor about it. He usually follows up soon afterward with a picture in the local paper of himself holding a small animal, or posing with the shelter employees. When he is contacted with questions about what to do with the cats that citizens unwittingly become responsible for, he refers them to shelters in other towns. Those shelters only take cats from their own towns, so it's a Catch 22. I don't blame those shelters. They are all over-crowded and under-funded, and every day I applaud their efforts, especially Southaven, Hernando and Tunica, most of all. Knowing full well the shelter would not accept this current crop of kittens, I took them there, just to document that I tried. I then took them to the mayor's office and got the usual run-around. Then I brought them home and continued to feed them. I made a safe, warm, comfortable place for them in the shed, and ran an extension cord to it for a heating pad. For safety reasons all heating pads automatically turn off after two hours, so all winter long I have set my alarm and gotten up every two hours to turn it back on for them. I'm tired. I'm worn out.
I had already imposed on New Beginnings for help with Jane and probably burned my bridges with them when they temporarily lost her, so this time I asked for help from DeSoto County Rescue Society (DARS). They were wonderful, and paid for every single one of them to be spayed or neutered and brought some good quality food which fed them for a while. Not having a car, I was unable to participate in any adoption events they may have had. I never even heard of any. When I asked my sponsor if my kitties could go to PetSmart, from where a majority of these cats are adopted, I was told no, "because they don't like to be held." Nothing could be further from the truth. They crave affection, but they are wary of strangers. Jane Austen was terrified of strangers but she was adopted and now has a wonderful life. So here I am months later, still trying to find homes for these cats, and I must say that I am very hurt that some of you who live in my area couldn't be bothered to share their picture to help.
When these kittens grew, they climbed up on the fence and got in a tree to hunt. They also got on one neighbor's roof. She was very nice about it, and I'm grateful to her. But the neighbors on the other side are not so nice. I had previously had words with one who left her gorgeous yellow Lab outside in 12 degree weather overnight. I had tried to gently educate her about dogs and weather conditions. I bought him a nice bed for Christmas, but she wouldn't let him have it. I offered to help if I could. And finally I told her if she left him outside in those freezing conditions that I would call the police. She did and I did. So there's that.
Next door to her is the neighbor who is my current problem. Lab lady made a comment to me about this guy. I went to his house and asked him if he was having a problem with my cats, would he like to talk about it, did he have anything he wanted to tell me? He said no.
He used to work for the local P.D. Now he works for the sheriff's department. According to someone who knows him well, but whose name I shall protect, he's been a problem for many years. According to another person, his nickname is Stinky Steve. If you saw the pictures I posted of his backyard, you would see why. One night, Stephen Raines, that's his real name, pounded on our door. He said that a black and white cat had run across his deck and his dog broke through the glass storm door trying to get it. All my cats were in the house. I know the cat he's talking about. It's a sweet stray that roams our neighborhood and I figure steals what food he can from the foster / shed cats. That doesn't mean I'm feeding him or that he's mine. He said that he was going to set traps and catch my cats. Any idjit knows that if you bait a trap that an animal is going to come, and he managed to get two of the shed kitties. Maybe he should consider training his dog. And cleaning up after it, thank you. After I posted the pictures of his yard, Code Enforcement made him clean it. I don't know who called them, but I swear it wasn't me. I would have, but someone beat me to it.
To backtrack for a second, I have to tell you that I came home one day just in time to see Dan Smith, head of animal control, and his posse, get out of their truck and start chasing one of my personal cats who was sitting under the tree in MY yard, minding her own business and not bothering anyone. He said he had received a call. Someone continued to call them just about evey day. I suspect it was either the Lab lady or Steve. When he would come, he wouldn't find any cats because mine weren't outside and the shed kitties were all in the shed napping. On one occasion he found one of the special needs cats sitting on a lawn chair sunning himself. He sits there all day (in nice weather) with a blanket over him and doesn't move from that spot. Ever. And I know this because I am sitting inside the house watching him as I work. If I thought there was any chance at all of him going off and spreading his diseases, he wouldn't be out there. Eventually, it seemed Dan Smith had softened and was a pretty good guy. He even gave me a bag of cat food and told me he wouldn't mess with my kitties. Although I can't forget seeing him chase Lulu, I was all for extending the olive branch of peace. Nevertheless, I continue to be wary of of people who SAY one thing and DO another, and now I know my wariness was justified because the two kittens that Steve trapped were accepted into the shelter. The remaining cats are in a safe place, but I cannot continue to keep them.
HERE'S WHAT YOU'VE BEEN WAITING TO HEAR:
There's a fence that separates my yard from Steve's and the Lab lady's yard. Lab lady has a somewhat new fence, and it doesn't join my fence IN ANY WAY. There's a space of about eight inches between them. The separating fence is attached to MY house. I couldn't see giving Steve the convenience of using my fence to contain his dogs when he's being an ass and trapping my cats. So I went out and removed four of the boards. He called the police. An hour later, he bought new boards and replaced them. I called the police. The police tried to intimidate and bully me. A week later, which was last Monday, the police knocked on my door and arrested me. I will say that I am very grateful to Officer Galvert for being such a gentleman about it. I truly like him. The charges are Disturbing the Peace and Malicious Mischief over $1000, which is a federal offense and carries a sentence of 5 years in a federal penitentiary. I spent more than eight hours in jail. I was stripped naked, made to squat with my knees spread, and cough. Fun times. The lawyer will cost $1500. On top of that, I think Steve is probably trying to sue me. I am waiting for the post office to deliver a certified letter I've been unable to pick up.
My landlord is on board and trying to find the information about the property lines for me, but even if he does, I'm going to have to fork out an additional $500 to have someone come out and do a survey. And now I learn that even if it is my fence, there's a town ordinance that states if it's been there more than two years, it's also Steve's fence.
In addition to all that, my ex just bought a car and parked it on my driveway. Turns out that he has to apply for a lost title. The town came by a few days ago and ticketed it. I called them and told them what's going on with it. Today there is a new ticket that states unless it is licensed and inspected in two days, they're going to tow it. Do you think I'm being harassed? I have lived in eight major cities and a dozen small towns and this is the most fucked up place I have ever been. Small town Southern politics.
To donate to my legal fees / property survey, please go to http://www.gofundme.com/nfsnf4
|This is my fence|
This is the back corner of my fence, looking down into Steve's yard after it was cleaned. Notice that the section of fence beyond mine has a separate fence post.
That pretty much covers it.