City the Kitty’s advocacy against declawing is entitled to the highest rung of First Amendment protection – ACLU

City the Kitty’s advocacy against declawing is entitled to the highest rung of First Amendment protection – ACLU

5/21/18

Many of you have asked about the details of how we were silenced for 5 months from a Personal Protection Order that was filed against us on November 30, 2017.
Since I don’t have time to reply to all of you about this, I’m attaching all the information that was involved with this case so that there is full disclosure about what happened.

This sad and draining situation has gone on long enough and we will now move on from this educational campaign, that involved this animal rescue, and will focus on educating the public in Michigan (and the world) about the facts about declawing so that cat owners won’t want to have their beloved kitties much needed toe bones and claws amputated.

We will focus on educating the public about the simple, commonsense humane alternatives to declawing like sturdy scratching posts, horizontal scratching posts, nail trims, deterrents, Soft Paws, Feliway, etc so that cat owners won’t want to have such an inhumane and harmful procedure done to their beloved kitties.

We will continue to shine light on how way too many declawing vets are deceiving the public and their clients about this inhumane and mutilating procedure.

I ask you to please take this path with me.  I want to thank all of you who really tried your best to respectfully educate those involved about the facts about declawing and about the easy, commonsense, humane alternatives to declawing. Education is the key to end this very mutilating procedure and we will never give up this mission.

I have never attacked or threatened anyone in my campaigns against declawing, and I always ask you to also never attack or threaten anyone.

It’s wrong. It hurts the cause. It often hurts me when you are mean or threatening.

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A declawing veterinarian in Michigan was the impetus in stripping City the Kitty’s First Amendment right to free speech for 5 months. And for the first time in history, the ACLU stepped in to help a cat get his first amendment right to free speech back. #CatHistory  Thank you to all the wonderful people who helped me with this situation and who care about the welfare of animals and about the right to free speech.

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This Animal rescue in Michigan declaws hundreds of cats each year, before they put them up for adoption.

Lori Shepler reached out to the declawing vet that is in charge of this animal rescue, Dr Marie Breuker with Fremont Animal Hospital, in 2016 and also in November 2017. These emails were in the PPO. Link to PDF with emails-  Dr Marie Breuker – Shepler emails

The opposing lawyer said, according to the transcripts on page 7 from the January 8, 2018 hearing, “a veterinarian who was contacted advised the director to file this. Petitioner v Shepler 1-8-18 Hearing Transcripts

In the March 21, 2018 hearing transcripts on page 20, the opposing lawyer said, “But then the veterinarian said she — their business was contacted by City Kitty and the veterinarians advised her to come up and file a PPO.”  Petitioner v Shepler 3-21-18 Hearing PDF

The petitioner said in this March 21, 2018 hearing on page 59, “She called my veterinarians and emailed my veterinarians over, and over again demanding that we stop declawing cats. My vet is the one that asked me to get the PPO because she said this is — we can’t conduct business like that.”  The petitioner’s testimony transcripts PDF Petitioner v Shepler 3-21-18 Hearing PDF

(Shepler never emailed or called any other veterinarian, that is affiliated with this animal rescue, other than Dr Breuker)

Here is the press release about the Personal Protection Order that was filed against Lori Shepler. City The Kitty Press Release

HERE IS THE LINK TO THE ACLU’S AMICUS BRIEF. ACLU’S AMICUS BRIEF

Link to Shepler’s Affidavit PDF Shepler’s Affidavit

Link to Shepler’s Motion to Dismiss Motion to Dismiss


Here are photos of the information in this PPO, which is a public record document.

(The PPO was not available in electronic form. The handwritten notes on the documents are from the petitioner or her associates)

Included in the PPO was the email correspondence between the petitioner and Lori Shepler. Click on this link to the PDF – Petitioner- Shepler Email Correspondence

According to Kim Horan, she had been to this store, a least a month before this animal rescue campaign started, to look at a cat that had been up for adoption for a year. She said she has no clue as to why someone would use her name like this and say she was recently there as a stalker. The photo in the screenshot was taken by one of the animal rescue’s associates.

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Included in the PPO was the email correspondence between the petitioner and Lori Shepler. Link to PDF of emails. Petitioner- Shepler Emails

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 More info submitted in the PPO
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Here is the PDF of the correspondence between the animal rescue’s foster person and Shepler that was included in the PPO. Link to the PDF Animal Rescue foster -Shepler correspondence

Link to Better Business Bureau complaint that was entered as evidence by Petitioner BBB complaint

(Lori Shepler never contacted this person who adopted a kitty from this animal rescue to ask her to file a complaint with the BBB)


Here are the transcripts from both hearings

January 8, 2018 Hearing for

Petitioner v Shepler 1-8-18 Hearing Transcripts

March 21, 2018 Hearing

Petitioner vs Shepler 3-21-18 Hearing Transcripts PDF

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For the record, the following information was submitted by Shepler in response to the 3/21/18 testimony by Petitioner and Foster person.

The opposing lawyer objected to this information being submitted, on the grounds that the hearing was closed on March 21.

The court rejected the information and sent it back.

 

  1. PDF link to Shepler’s rebuttal- PPO Shepler Rebuttal

      2) Below are the screenshots of all the posts that were done by City the Kitty

   3) This is the email that Shepler sent to the Newaygo High School art dept. teacher.

 


 

Here is the dismissal letter.

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Lori Shepler and Petitioner agreed to these conditions.

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I want to remind everyone to please take the high road and be respectful and try to educate people about declawing. When you are threatening or mean, it hurts the cause, it’s wrong, and as in this example, it hurt me.

We must keep educating the public about the facts about this inhumane, mutilating, and harmful amputation procedure so that they won’t want their beloved kitties health and well-being harmed for life.

Thank you for all your help and support. #PAWSNEEDCLAWS

Please thank the ACLU for helping our cause https://www.aclu.org/

 

 

 

Another Perspective About the Facts About Declawing

Another Perspective About the Facts About Declawing

This was on a post on the internet with facts about declawing from a senior veterinarian at a zoo.

 

My nephew is a veterinarian who specializes in cats both large and small – he’s the senior vet at a large municipal zoo. When I asked him his opinion on declawing, he wrote me a detailed answer on why it’s such a barbaric practice and gave me permission to publish it any time and anywhere I thought it might help. It’s a long answer, but I hope you will read it, it will help you understand the problems you may face with a declawed cat.

This is what he wrote:
“First, let us reflect on the fact that the US is one of the few remaining modern countries that still allows this practice. It has actually been outlawed in most other countries, because of the physical and psychological effects it has on the animal. In most European countries, and Australia, you would actually lose your license to practice vet medicine if you were to perform this surgery, where it is uniformly viewed as unethical and inhumane.

Where does this perception come from, you ask? Let us delve into that.

First, most vets do not take the time to go into detail about what is actually involved when people declaw their cats. Most people simply believe you remove only the claws, no big deal.

The reality is, you are performing an amputation of each digit, akin to amputating each finger and toe at the 3rd joint. this means, (as if simply pulling off the finger and toe nails would not be painful enough) is that this is a true bone amputation removing the bone that the claw is attached to.

Why this may not seem significant, we need to remember that cats claws are retractable, and they bear weight on the joint of the P2-P3 bones, where we are performing the amputation. This is important, because the retractable claws means you actually have digital flexor and extensor tendons that attach to the terminal bone which is amputated. The flexor tendon is of critical importance in all of this, as it is attached to the digital pad on the bottom of the toe.

This pad provides cushion when the animal places weight on the toe as it walks. when you amputate the terminal bone, known as P3, the severing on that tendon causes it to pull back, much like a rubber band that is stretched, and then cut. The tendon also shifts the position of that digital pad it is attached to, pulling it back as well.

This often means it is not in position to provide the cushioning it is intended to as the cat places its weight on that P2 bone. (imagine the difference between walking on sharp stones barefoot, as opposed to having sandals, or even flip flops to cushion).

In other words, there is now an increased level of pain in each step the cat takes. The only way the body knows to try to resolve this is to create more bone.

This leads to arthritis in the toes. So what happens when you have arthritis? You compensate in how you move, right? Which, guess what? Puts unnatural pressure on the joints you are compensating with, which means you are more likely to develop osteoarthritis in those joints as well, which is exactly what we see happen with cats.

Declawed cats have an increased incidence of degenerative joint disease (DJD) in the elbows and hips. Why isn’t this noted more, you ask?

Because cats are (pardon my language here) f—-g studs when it comes to pain! The behavioral adaptations to the condition often has to be pointed out to people, because cats simply will not show they are in pain, until they are in so much pain they simply cannot avoid showing it.

This comes from their life as an apex predator in the wild, where showing pain means you lose your territory, or your place in the pride. The signs are usually very subtle, but once you know to look for them, they become obvious.

The cat that used to jump to the top of the counter in one bound, now jumps to the stool first, then to the counter top. The incidence of cats with DJD is way under diagnosed, due to the fact cats simply don’t show pain.

The level of pain they deal with would have a human wheelchair bound, I might add. (humans, for the most part, are sissies when it comes to pain tolerance).

There have also been cases of pieces of the amputated bone being left in the surgical site, or the end of the P2 bone being shattered or fractured during the process of the surgery, when done with a pair of nail trimmers, as is common. This again results in long term pain, and bone changes leading to arthritis.

Imagine living for years with that rock you can’t get out of your shoe, except now you also never get to take your shoe off. There have been cases where the end of the bone is not fully removed, and you have the nail try to grow back, often in horrific fashion. (you can do a google search and come up with some intense pictures of this process).

There have also been cases of cats, due to the malpositioning of the digital pad I mentioned earlier, literally walking through the skin on the end of their toes, resulting in them literally walking on the exposed bone of their toes.

So, if their are so many reasons not to declaw cats, why is the US one of the last countries where it is still accepted practice to do so? There are several reasons, none of them a good reason to continue the practice.

1) Declawing vets are simply too lazy to try to educate their clients on the effects of declawing, And it is an easy surgery, that they make fairly good profit on.

2) Declawing vets feel as though they will lose the client to another vet if they do not perform the surgery. “if I don’t do it, the other guy will.”

3) Declawing vets use the excuse that it may lead to the cat being turned out or worse, euthanized if they do not do the surgery, because the cat may damage furniture. There are several issues with this most useless of excuses. First, wouldn’t they be the one to have to euthanize the cat? Everyone I ever worked for knew very well I refused to ever do a “convenience euthanasia” in other words, the animal had to have a medical condition, or was uncontrollably aggressive, in order for me to euthanize it.

Follow your own ethics, and this excuse goes away. Secondly, you can “teach” the owners to control the cats behavior. Use cat trees, perform proper nail trimming, use soft paws…..”

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