Wednesday, November 14, 2007

A cat killin in Galveston (and wild monkey bidness over in New Delhi)

As we've said in the past, a tried and true staple of the newspaper business is the "animal story."

Doesn't matter what kind of animal. Readers are inexorably drawn to any animal story. They get emotionally involved. Because they care. And they like animals (even though most of them eat them on a daily basis.)

There can be hundreds of people dead and maimed in a disaster, and it's the animal story that will tug at the heartstrings of the animal-lovin populace.

And so it is with the Cat Killer Trial in Galveston.

The bare facts are these: a bird lover (enthusiast? activist?) kills a cat that's been preying on birds out on the beach. The birds are endangered. Now he's on trial for cruelty to animals.

The case has drawn the attention of bird and cat lovers from across the land. Was the cat "feral," or wild? Or did it indeed "belong" to someone -- in this case, the toll-taker at the San Luis Pass Bridge in Galveston, who fed it and put out bedding and playthings under the bridge for the now-deceased cat.

The defendant sped away in his van after shooting the cat with his .22 rifle (armed with hollow-point ammo, no less), which would seem to imply consciousness of guilt. The bridge's toll-taker gave chase. Eventually, a cop searched the Cat Killer's van and recovered the smokin gun.

How big is this story?

Big enough for the mightiest newspaper in the Free World to cover it -- the New York Times.

And it's a good thing, too, cause while the local reporters from Galveston and Houston sat back in the courtroom and dutifully took notes during the trial's opening (sorry, CourtTV isn't there) the Times newshound had the temerity to just go up and ask the cat killer, hey, what was up with killing that cat, sir?

In an interview in a courthouse elevator during a break in the trial, Mr. Stevenson said heatedly that cat fanciers who have condemned him and sent him hateful correspondence “think birds are nothing but sticks.” “This is about wild species disappearing from your planet,” he said, adding, “I did what I had to do.” [link]

It was the second-most-mailed story out of the Times today, way more popular than another animal story about the thousands of wild monkeys and all the problems they cause (including the death of a deputy mayor) in New Delhi, India, which was the 10th-most-emailed story of the day.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The answer? Tasers. I can just hear "Shock the Monkey" playing in the background.