View Full Version : OAPs, cats, the RSPCA and euthanasia...

15th Jan 2009, 15:37
I'm assuming that few who live in the UK have escaped reading about the 79 year old Birmingham woman found guilty of keeping 39 cats in squalid conditions (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/west_midlands/7830671.stm): Elsie Joyce Nash, of Kingsbury Road, Erdington, was serving a ban at the time on keeping more than two cats.
It was imposed after she was found guilty of keeping 75 cats in filthy conditions at her home in 2003.
Nash was found guilty of breaking the ban and cruelty charges at Birmingham Magistrates' Court.
She was told she may also be ordered to pay costs of about 100,000.
Sentencing was adjourned until next month.

On Monday, 12th January, the BBC reported (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/west_midlands/7825396.stm) that: At Birmingham Magistrates' Court Mrs Nash denied breaching the ban and 13 counts of cruelty.
A district judge was told that when RSPCA officers visited Mrs Nash's house in February 2008 they were overpowered by the smell of faeces and urine.
The court was told how some of the 39 cats were "clearly unwell".
Mrs Nash told the court she had believed the ban had expired.
The trial continues.

But Mrs. Elsie Nash's story truly begins many years before, in 2003 (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/2795645.stm). At that time, this 73 year old woman kept 75 cats at her home in Birmingham. The RSPCA assisted in her prosecution: RSPCA officers found the body of one cat that had lain decomposing on the landing of Elsie Nash's Birmingham home for up to six months when they raided it last year.
Some of the animals, which were mostly strays, were kept in rabbit hutches, while others roamed free in the rubbish-strewn terrace house on Kingsbury Road, Erdington.
Nash, 73, was banned from keeping more than two cats for five years and told she faced jail if she did not comply with the ruling.
Birmingham Magistrates' Court heard that 27 animals were found to be suffering from respiratory problems, 41 had dental disorders and others were noted to have cancer, feline HIV and skin lesions.
She also said she spent between 150 and 200 a week looking after the animals while surviving on a pension, income support and charitable fundraising.
District Judge Jan Jellema told Nash that, although she was an animal lover, the state in which she kept the cats was unacceptable.
"Anyone who has seen the video or photographs cannot fail to be shocked by the conditions in your home," he said.
Some cats were kept in rabbit hutches "I am sure it is distressing to many people that these cats were kept such awful conditions... but perhaps more disturbing was that the same squalor was the home of a 73-year-old lady," the judge added.
Nash was also given a one-year conditional discharge.

More poignant perhaps in the wake of the events of 2003: Speaking after the case, RSPCA Inspector Herchran Boal said she was disappointed that Nash was not banned from keeping any animals.
"It is going to be very difficult to check the amount of cats kept at the property as we have no power of entry."
"Prosecuting was definitely the last resort to resolve the issue and help Mrs Nash," she added.
"We would have preferred to have worked with her and assisted in re-homing the cats."
The RSPCA said it had spent over 80,000 caring for the cats since the raid in April last year.

Back in 2003, the UK courts, shouldered by the RSPCA, basically had their way Vs. a lone 73 year old pensioner (with obvious problems admittedly). Here we are again, in 2009, with the same protagonists VS. a lone 79 year old pensioner...?!

Let me remind you of what the RSPCA spokes-person had to say back in 2003: "Prosecuting was definitely the last resort to resolve the issue and help Mrs Nash," she added.
"We would have preferred to have worked with her and assisted in re-homing the cats." Presumably the initial 80,000 of public contributions dispensed by the RSPCA during those months in 2003 have blossomed...?!

But far from simply monitoring or even working with Mrs. Nash during the intervening years, once again, events come to a head...?!

What does the RSPCA have to say about the euthanasia of cats (http://www.rspca.org.uk/servlet/Satellite?pagename=RSPCA/Page/RSPCAFAQTemp&cid=1114778749342&articleId=1116592351705)? 14. Rehoming a cat to an outdoor environment should never be considered as an alternative to euthanasia if the cat is not suited to living in an outdoor environment or the home in which it will be placed is unsuitable under the rehoming rules.
. Perhaps, in her own somewhat delirious and/or warped way, Mrs. Nash truly believes that she is indeed helping these cats, especially considering the RSPCA's apparent attitude about cat euthanasia. Keeping cats in cages is obviously inexcusable. But I don't see any obvious problem if cats willingly choose to remain with their human-carer in inhumane conditions, provided they can still escape. Obviously, as a cat, and given the choice between RSPCA-sponsored euthanasia and living as a stray, the choiuce is obvious.

The difference between your average RSPCA official and your average older-age cat-lover may well be described as the difference between quite generous charitably-funded salaries (and future pension entitlements) and simply government-provided old-age pension entitlements. And prosecuting pensioners instead of helping them out (and the cats...?!)

I realise that euthanasia is standard practice in most of the USA. 2 weeks after a cat or dog enters an animal sanctuary, without claimants for ownership or adoption, it's deposed in a big container where they're all gassed into oblivion. The true horror is that the charitable foundations towards which we would all like to contribute have their darker sides.

15th Jan 2009, 15:45
How about euthanasia for Mrs Nash? Problem solved

15th Jan 2009, 20:10
I didn't think gassing was an accepted form of euthanaisa for cats in the USA.

I/V overdose of barbiturates is the standard method. Barbiturates are a brain stem/cardiac/respiratory depressant, so this is considered more humane as the animals become unconscious almost immediately before any other effects.

I don't see any problem with prosecution in any cases of animal neglect, particularly with long term or repeat offenders.

Advancing age has nothing to do with it - the woman is an adult for heaven's sake.

15th Jan 2009, 21:25
Does anyone recall the gassing of the cats at Benson in the late 70's?

As most RAF stations have, Bensons' heating was provided by the boilerhouse and that heat was ducted through pipes underground, These ducts were covered with paving stones. Over the years, some of the paving stones had broken allowing animals (mainly feral cats) to move in.

Inbreeding was the plan of the day. You name any biological error, we had it. The most strangest looking cats alive.

Eventually, they became a nuisance and were subsequently 'humanly' gassed.

Within a month, Benson was overrun with rats!

Isn't nature wonderful?

15th Jan 2009, 21:38
So is Mrs Nash Mad, Bad or both?

Or just a bit misguided.

Not her fault the law's crap.

15th Jan 2009, 22:02
In 2003, Mrs. Nash kept 75 cats.

In 2008, it was 39 cats.

Mrs. Nash may well be in need of some psychiatric help. Any individual of modest means would rapidly recognise that it would be impossible to properly look after that number of anaimals...? Considerng that it costs anywhere between say 100-150 to sterlilise a cat, with vaccinations costing 50-75 annually. Cats don't eat a lot admittedly, but when fed regularly, what I spend on the few strays I feed would easily buy me a new 42" plasma TV every 6 months though I try not to think about that.

But where was the RSPCA during all these years?

Over a period of many decades, the RSPCA and its affiliates have assumed an almost total dominance in animal welfare. millions are donated to these organisations annually, with their full-time employees, pension schemes etc. Whilst mainly anonymous individuals do what they can to help out the odd stray here or there and are the foremost bulwark IMHO.

Yet, a powerful organisation such as the RSPCA, feels justified in pursuing someone like Mrs. Nash. Instead of many other courses of action available to it. Mrs. Nash, you can't keep 75 or even 39 cats in a suburban house. We can help you (in keeping with the terms of our charter). But no, prosecution for cruelty (and the ensuing publicity and eventual donations) makes much more sense...?! :sad:

Unless I'm mistaken, mass-gassing of domestic animals is a regular (weekly) event in some USA refuges (or pounds). Their solution is to get rid of the problem once the mandatory couple of weeks required to identify the owner / reclamations has expired.

For some, pet cats and dogs are like TV sets. Not for others though.

PS. Today there are probably fewer than 3,000 tigers remaining in India. That's a huge country. Admittedly full of corrupt officials at every level. The salvation of the tiger will be assured once volunteers (why not paid volunteers like those of the RSPCA?) will be able to accompany each and every remaining tiger in all their movements. In the deepest parts of their brain, the tigers will recall that men once hunted with them, protected them as if they were members of their own family.

Domestic cats (or dogs) are not in any danger of extinction. The RSPCA would have you believe that without their actions, there would no longer be any pudicats that would tread on your keyboard when making posts on internet forums.

The RSPCA, like the Inland Revenue (which came first?) continue their existences, what they do is often surrounded by conjecture. Whatever their advantages vis-a-vis mankind and his existence, their defaults ensure that we should never take these institutions and their benevolent actions 'for granted'...

15th Jan 2009, 23:40
A district judge was told that when RSPCA officers visited Mrs Nash's house in February 2008 they were overpowered by the smell of faeces and urine.

Sounds like my student digs.

Is that Newspeak for 'owner'?

I think that Airshipmakes some very good points, in particular, how the situation festered. I imagine that the RSPCA will attract more donations with their newspaper advertisements of big-eyed, sad-looking animals alongside a report of a prosecution for animal cruelty. However, I don't know to what extent they could have monitored the number of cats present without intruding on Mrs Nash's privacy.

The more people I meet, the more I like cats.


17th Jan 2009, 22:03
Yeah, cats are great.

So what's the solution?

(To Mrs Nash et al, not to cats).

Did she just chose to ignore the ruling, or is she in need of help? Is the RSPCA really responsible for getting psychiatric help for people? Is anyone who mis-treats animals technically suffering from some sort of psychological problem? If not, who decides who gets prosecuted and who doesn't?