The central issue regarding the Mason bust and his arrest for animal neglect, was his alleged lack of providing adequate vet care for Mason’s cats/kittens. Then Boks says even LAAS apparently could not provide adequate vet care, therefore the kittens and cats had to be killed.
His conclusion was based on Dr. Rao’s (the West Valley Vet) opinion that the cats/kittens did not “appear to be receiving veterinarian treatment” and were irremediably suffering due to Rhinotracheitis or other upper respiratory infections, and therefore had to be killed.
By the way, one of the main concerns for Boks and the Task Force was that the kittens had Panleukemia and were killed. However, in the next sentence he said that the vet and techs were wrong, they screwed up the testing for Panleukemia, and subsequent professional testing proved the kittens did not have that disease. I certainly would like to know what “field testing” means and why they were wrongfully killed based on an unvalidated diagnosis.
On October 9th, 2007, the ACTF initiated an investigation. During this investigation Mr. Mason released six sick kittens to the Task Force. The kittens were field tested and the test showed positive for Panleukkemia. Additional samples were taken and sent to a lab because it is not uncommon for a field test to show false positive results. The results from the lab came back negative on October 12th.
Although the initial test results raised concerns that neighborhood cats may be at risk of a highly contagious and deadly disease, Panleukemia, this information only served to hasten the timing of ACTF’s visit to Mr. Mason’s house. This information had no bearing on the warrants served or the euthanasia of the six kittens. The kittens were humanely euthanized because they were irremediably suffering. The kittens were emaciated when received from Mr. Mason and were suffering with impacted rectums and crusted eyes, along with a respiratory infection. They had pale mucous membranes and were severely dehydrated. The oculo-nasal discharge was symptomatic of feline viral rhinotracheitis.
The kittens were suffering and did not appear to be receiving veterinary treatment. In fact, often, antibiotics such as Amoxi-drops (amoxicillin) are not even effective against viral rhinotracheitis. Twice daily subcutaneous fluid replacement and diligent nursing care is indicated and even then kittens often succumb.
Many of the mature cats and numerous kittens appeared to be suffering from various illnesses.
All the kittens rescued on October 11th were irremediably suffering and the only humane alternative was euthanasia. The veterinarian had to make the tough but compassionate decision to uphold his oath to end animal suffering and not let these kittens suffer any longer.
Let’s take a look at the medical issues Boks brought up.
First, Rhinotracheitis and upper respiratory infections are fancy names for the common cold or flu. The vast majority of kittens in Boks’ shelters have some form of upper respiratory infection. Most are not treated, most are killed by “compassionate” RVTs to keep them from “suffering” the symptoms of the common cold.
All of Boks bull is directed to a general audience not to the LA animal community who knows better.
Even a cursory Internet search revealed three sites dealing with rhinotracheitis:
“Rhinotracheitis is a fairly mild condition, even in its most severe form, as long as the cat receives adequate fluids and nutrition. It often runs its course in 7 to 10 days without medical intervention. The infection usually lasts longer when secondary bacterial infections develop. Rarely, FHV-1 causes death in young kittens and older cats.”
Treatment for an FHV-infected cat involves providing supportive care, including the following: Minimize stress (Make sure the room is warm, well ventilated, and well lighted. Some veterinarians recommend that cats are kept indoors while they are sick.); Make sure the cat is eating and drinking enough. (Offer foods that appeal to them.); Keep the cat's eyes and nose clean and clear of discharge."
In other words, most cats/kittens recover within 10 days all by themselves because rhinotracheitis is a cold. They are not irredeemably suffering.
“It is very common to obtain a kitten or new cat with a crusty nose, weepy eyes and a sneeze. We call these problems upper respiratory disease (URI) or feline respiratory disease complex and it is the most common infectious disease that veterinarians deal with. These problems usually resolve within a few weeks of good care and low stress but some cases linger. There are several organisms that can cause this disease. The most common is the rhinotracheitis virus.”
Animal Services provided absolutely no supportive care; they killed them. Mason was giving them Amoxi drops to prevent secondary infections as mentioned above, as well as twice daily applications of Terramycin to treat their “crusty” eyes. This is far more than Animal Services provided, and is consistent the Internet recommended supportive care (T.L.C.).
"I have found that this disease complex (Upper Respiratory Infections) responds better to simple T.L.C. than all the medications that I can dispense. Chicken soup is an excellent treatment for this disease. It can be fed through a dropper if need be to prevent dehydration and tempt depressed cats into eating. Sometimes pungent foods like sardines and tuna will be accepted when all else fails. Viruses are not killed by antibiotics so only in chlamydial, mycoplasmal and bordatella infections are antibiotics actually curative. I put most cats on antibiotics because I am never sure which pathogens are present and to prevent pneumonia and sinusitis in debilitated patients."
Boks just flat out stated they were irremediably suffering and had to be killed. That is the purist crap as you can see from these three Internet sources above. It is a mild condition, best treated with T.L.C., and which antibiotics are administered to prevent secondary infections, and Terramycin was administered to the kittens’ eyes. Maybe Mason was being neglectful because he did not give them chicken soup.
Did LAAS make even the slightest effort to treat these kittens? There is not one mention of any treatment administered, except killing them. Were any diagnostic tests administered? No!!! LAAS personnel at the arrest site told Dana Bartholomew that the kittens would be taken for treatment and then placement with fosters. Instead they killed them.
Rao’s decision to kill was really based on a lack of space, isolation facilities, and manpower. That is, he did not want to be bothered with them. LAAS refused to treat upper respiratory conditions, but they expected Mason to take them to a vet.
Boks alleges all the kittens were emaciated and dehydrated, but as the websites (All written by vets) above opine, these can be treated relatively easily without the dramatic medical care Boks states would have been necessary. This is hypocrisy at its worst, but very typical of Ed Boks.
Here is a link to all the photos taken at the Mason bust:
How many cats and kittens look sick here, even with a mild upper respiratory infection? Two, maybe four or five? There are two very healthy looking kittens in individual photos, and several very healthy adults. Several kittens in the group photos look like thay had some sort of discharge, while others look quite healthy. You must have adobe Flash to see these pictures. Download Flash: http://www.adobe.com/shockwave/download/download.cgi?P1_Prod_Version=ShockwaveFlash
The allegation that they were irremediably suffering, means they could not be cured. Boks said they often succumb even with the best vet care. That is, the only treatment that could be provided, according to Boks, was killing them. Therefore, what Mason should have done was kill the kittens himself as that was the only treatment possible in Boks’ own words, and the only "treatment" Animal Services provided.
Instead, Mason chose to treat them, which Boks apparently considered to be animal neglect.
NEXT POST: Boks numbers do not add up, the basis for the warrant, and whether there was any animal neglect according to the Boks’ cited California Penal Code 597b.