A 'rescuer' we can all agree on -- WARNING

alisonMarch 15, 2007

This moved on the local news last night. A woman who "had lost faith in the local adoption system" has systematically drowned over 600 cats and dogs in the last 4 1/2 years. According to one of the other TV stations coverage I heard, Maureen McLaughlin had a reputation for being a wonderful animal rescuer -- she took tons of animals in and everyone assumed she had found homes for them. (I don't know if she explicitly told folks she'd found homes for the animals, or they simply assumed it when the animals were no longer in her home.) Ironically, she told police she "has been in the animal rescue business for the last 16 years." There's no indication she hated animals, she simply thought there was no future for these unwanted animals and it was better for them to be put out of their misery.

On the Pets forum, quirkyquercus posted a news story about four woman who took two dogs from a home in the name of animal rescue. It's sparked some debate about property rights, animal rights, and taking the law into your own hands. While this story is pretty horrific, I think there are some similar issues. (Not identical, but similar.)

I think we can all agree this woman is a killer, and probably mentally ill, but she also sees what she's doing as "rescue". While her actions are much worse than the four women who stole two dogs from a woman's home, the defense is the same -- I'm acting on my conscience, and therefore I can break the law.

WARNING: There's nothing graphic in the story, but I found it pretty disturbing.

Here is a link that might be useful: NBC 4 McLaughlin story

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Yeah right you think there won't be people here to debate that one too? She should should be sentenced to drowning!

    Bookmark   March 15, 2007 at 4:27PM
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It says no laws regarding pet rescue - what about cruelty to animals! This woman deserves to be drowned herself.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2007 at 9:16PM
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I think the main issue is that she represented herself as an advocate for animals, a rescuer, and now it is found that she was actually killing them. There are certainly better ways to euthanize unwanted animals, drowning takes several minutes of sheer terror whereas a properly implemented lethal injection takes seconds.

Anyone can claim to rescue animals, there is no law to prevent people from making that claim.

I think it is cruel to tell owners who cannot keep their pet for whatever reason will be rescued when in reality she was only planning to kill it. Especially since people who contacted her went through the extra effort to ensure a good home for their pet instead of dropping it off at the local kill shelter or dumping the animal themselves or treating it poorly or whatever. The betrayal of trust is huge. If these had all been strays, I don't think there would have been such a huge issue (not that I agree with that though). But lying never sits well with the public, and it shouldn't.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2007 at 10:59PM
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Yeah right you think there won't be people here to debate that one too? She should should be sentenced to drowning!

Waterboarding. Like in Gitmo.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2007 at 11:17PM
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There are people like that that take in foster children too, scary.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2007 at 1:16PM
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Drowning is a very unpleasant way to die. It would have been far better for those animals to be in the shelter system, where they would have at least had a shot at being adopted, and then be put to asleep using medications that would cause no or minimal pain.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2007 at 11:39PM
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"There are people like that that take in foster children too, scary."

What's scarier is that people like that also reproduce offspring of their own to spread their psychotic DNA throughout eternity.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2007 at 7:54PM
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I think I could personally help drown that woman!How sick and how sad.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2007 at 2:42AM
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Now, now, that would be vigilantism and we aren't allowed to do those things.

Here it comes..

Here comes the debate!

Any second now...

    Bookmark   March 18, 2007 at 10:58AM
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Here comes the debate!
Any second now...

And yet...not.

Sorry, Q!

    Bookmark   March 19, 2007 at 12:35AM
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What really seems sick is thew ones who think its terrible to drown a cat but would like to assist in drowning a human!!! Now we see who is the REAL sicko.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2007 at 10:54AM
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Fancifowl, I think as someone who traps cats and shoots them while they are trapped you are of the same ilk as the woman who drowned all those animals. No wonder you are outraged that some people want to drown that woman. And just in case others missed your post because the original thread was pulled, here ya go:

RE: How many cats are too many?

Posted by fancifowl (My Page) on
Fri, Dec 22, 06 at 19:18

Somebody has fewer this week . I have shot 3 cats in the last 5 days, caught 2 of them in a box trap first. I am sick and tired of people letting their stinkin cats run loose, the males spray on our porch and the wood pile, it stinks. The wife cant let her cats out because the free roamers might be diseased and could be contaminating our property. I know there are a couple more and I will dispose of them too! It really makes me mad that I have to do the dirty work due to lazy , stupid, ignorant jerks. Just because we live in the country doesnt mean animals can roam where ever they want to. I have a real good idea where they originate and I should take the carcases and give them to her! I am real mad about this, have been for a couple years, I have tried to tell her she needs to do something and now Im thru screwin around. Same people have dogs that bark and get loose all the time to chase and kill wild turkeys and other wildlfe, the dogs are gonna go down too now.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2007 at 5:20PM
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just in case some one missed the facr they urinate on My prorch stinkong it up and the fact they KILL many fround nesting birds and the fact they could bring DISEASE to MY wifes cats. I never professed shooting the owners, just the stinkin cats. Which in fact, I DO NOT ENJOY DONT ENJOY DOING but am left with no viable alternative. So call the cops again, then I can complain again about the cats and they can go harass the owners again,who dont do anything about it anyways; all that instead of chasing bad guys.

Arent you able to make the distinction between cats and humans?? and you think I am bad??

    Bookmark   March 19, 2007 at 7:27PM
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Here is the difference: You do kill these animals, whereas those who posted above are not going to actually go kill someone. They are not seeking this person out and plotting their revenge.

These people are venting, you are the one actually killing.

You don't enjoy doing this killing? Really? I don't buy it! You said, "the dogs are gonna go down too now." That really does not sound like a comment a remorseful person would make.

Have you even tried any other options, have you asked for help or advice from others? Heck, if you trapped them why not take them to a shelter or try to find them new homes. Let me guess, because it is not your responsibility? (I guess it is much easier to shot 'em then take responsibility for their lives.) Again, hardly the actions of someone who is remorseful!

    Bookmark   March 19, 2007 at 7:39PM
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Wow - Adams has said it well. Fancifowl, don't you get it? Venting versus actually KILLING. I'm sorry - but you are sick. I'm glad you don't live next door. My cats stay inside but if I knew you shot a neighbors I would report you to the police.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2007 at 7:56PM
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Buy it or not adams, The facts are: I DO NOT enjoy it. I also do not relish the stink on my property, not do I enjoy the dead birds, nor do I like to see them killing the rabbits, not do I appreciate them bringing disease onto my property, not do I like them crapping in my grain bins.we have dogs and cats and a bunch of other animals too. I have tried to talk to several neighbors who I know let theor animals run wild. They are the irresponsible ones, not me. Our animals ARE under our control and never allowed to run the neighborhood. Nope, I trapped them and called the owners to get them which they did on several ocassions but I am not drivint 20 miles to a pound and be grilled with questions, and not reimbursed for $3 gas.
If you cant be a responsible owner/keeper, dont have the things, dont expct neighbors to put up with your sloven ways.
I dont mind the occasional wandering cat or dog, its the ignorant slobs who let them breed indiscriminatly and then allow them to take over the entire area having more kittens in other peoples property. Lazy, stupid slobs is what they are. end of argument.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2007 at 9:49PM
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by the way, I abhor the drowning of any animal, nor do I condone any wanton killing of any kind of animal.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2007 at 10:20PM
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And now Quirky steps into the ring!
Hooray it's a debate. I knew it would happen!

This dumb, cruel, lying sack of _, waste of subatomic particles deserves to get a taste of her own medicine. She's too dumb to function as a normal human being so why waste tens of thousands of tax payer dollars each year giving her humane treatment or handouts since she probably won't wind up in prison anyway.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2007 at 12:22PM
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I can understand why fancifowl is killing cats. Its a horrible thing to do, but it must be done. My folks are in the same predicament. They trap cats and if they are tame my mom will clean it up and find someone to take it or they take it to the shelter. People will actually put in orders, if you find an orange one, a calico or a spotted one let them know. If they are not tame, they are killed with a 0.22. Its a horrible thing, and my Dad hates to do it.
I would rather he shoot a trapped animal, where the shot will be dead on accurate, than try to shoot a moving one at large, where he might miss and cause pain.

If they don't control the wild cats the population explodes in a hurry. He doesn't have enough money to pay for lethal injection or spaying for every wild cat that shows up in their farm.

My aunt does pay for a vet to come out once a year and spay and vaccinate every cat that she can strap her in barn. They do put the sick or deformed ones down, rather than spay them.

Choices have to be made and sometimes they are tough and expensive...

    Bookmark   March 20, 2007 at 12:34PM
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20 Miles? Three Dollars? That's it?

Point Made.

You choose the easier path.

It looks like joepyeweed's family does the right thing by taking the tame ones to a shelter or finding a home.

The fact is: You probably don't care enough. Why not just say that, why make excuses for your actions. If you feel your actions need excusing, perhaps you should look twice at what you are doing.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2007 at 5:02PM
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Do you not have county animal control that serves you out in the country? They will come out and take all the unwanted cats you have captured and humanely euthanize them.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2007 at 6:11PM
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"They will come out and take all the unwanted cats you have captured and humanely euthanize them."

They will but its not free.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2007 at 6:22PM
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lets see, 20 miles round trip, 14 miles per gallon, you do the math. There is NO animal savers around here who make house calls??? If you do take them in there are too many questions and I have been told in the past, no room, keep them for a few days, right.
Hey, its not me who feels a need to make excuses, get real! Its those who let them run fre and wild reproducing all over the place who have excuses for their actions. : I like them to be free", I dont keep indoor cats", Nope, I just live in the real world where things are not always happy and gay, where I dont feel responsibility for some jerks actions and where I can take the proper action to be free on my own property. Its not hard to figure out; take care of your stuff, Ill take care of mine. If you are irresponsible, you and yours will have to pay the consequences. In other words, dont infringe upon my rights.

I think the worst offender of free running animals may be turning the corner, another neighbor just recently shot their dog when he saw it kill a wild turkey; he, and a couple other neighbors gave the negligent owners fair warning. They seem to now be willing to make some compromises and have pledged to be more responsible about their animals well being. thats good news.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2007 at 7:34PM
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I feel the same way jopyeweed.I live out of the city limits and there is no animal control here.yes the pound will take them,only if I catch them and that is fairly impossible.Believe me,we have tried.The one and only shelter here is full of cats and won't take any more,the nearest other one is more than 50 miles away,and no there are no rescue facilities anywhere near me.The stray cat population has exploded on my property and I can sympathize with fancifowl.These cats are wild and yes,I feed them because I do have a little bit of compassion! They pee/crap under and on my deck,kill birds,etc. and have multiplied over the last year from 3 to who knows how many! I can tell you that if my DH had owned a gun 6 months ago,there would still only be 3. A few years ago,before all the animal rights laws,a bullet was the way strays and unwanted/unwelcome animals were handled.I think a lot more humane than having hundreds of ferals running around multipling,or being left to starve.I have lived in the country all my married life and can't ever remember having the feral population problem that we have now.In my opinion the woman in this story is doing her best to curb the problem,even though some may think it is cruel and heartless.Think about it,what kind of life will these animals have if nobody wants them and how many more animals do we save just for the sake of "saving" their lives? How many more feral cats will be added to the already over run population just because someone thinks it is not "humane" to kill them? Let's be sensible!

    Bookmark   March 20, 2007 at 9:29PM
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What do you mean its not free?

Ok then just take the cats and don't euthanize them? If you say you have a stray cat come get it what do they tell you... to have your checkbook handy?

    Bookmark   March 20, 2007 at 9:39PM
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Petra..I agree. FF should marry the woman who drowns the cats. They would make a great sadistic pair, wouldn't they? .Cats are fabulous animals. It's the humans who are responsible for not spaying or neutering them. I have an young cat who will be one this summer. I rescued his brother and him at four weeks from a semi-feral mom. The litter who was born to her before this one are wild. But this cat is so intelligent and sweet and playful and affectionate. The others would be too as they all have the same genes but don't get to live the life my cat does. . Why should they be punished?

    Bookmark   March 21, 2007 at 2:46AM
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We have 3 cats, all Persians, all neutered and they are only out side under close supervision , naturally. 1 is 18 years old in April, 1 will be 13 this summer, and the ypoungest is coming 5; the dog, a English Shepherd is 16 in March. The dog os not allowed frre run of course but does get walked almost daily at least 2 miles.

sorry, that cat drowner sounds like a hag to me so I'm not intyerested. Ive been married for 37 years anyway, to a responsible cat lover & owner.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2007 at 10:45AM
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Who is they? In many rural areas, like the place where my parents live (probably similar to where fancifowl lives), there is no such thing as animal control. There is a sheriff with a gun or the DNR warden, with a gun. That is their animal control.

"Ok then just take the cats and don't euthanize them? If the feral cats are not euthanized; then they need to be spayed and vaccinated... which is also not free.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2007 at 5:46PM
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The latest on this case -- apparently the maximum penalty is a year and a half, whether it's killing the 3 cats she confessed to, or the 650 she'd claimed.

From the Associated Press:
A woman charged with animal cruelty in the deaths of five cats gave a videotaped confession in which she expressed frustration with the pet-adoption system and indicated some pet owners didn't deserve to have animals, a prosecutor said.

Maureen McLaughlin, 56, also said she knew what she did was wrong and knew the animals suffered, Assistant City Prosecutor Bill Hedrick said last night.

Assistant Public Defender Tanya Flanigan had objected to the bond, noting the charges are misdemeanors.

Franklin County Environmental Judge Harland Hale said he set the amount because McLaughlin fled to Mansfield and checked herself into a psychiatric facility after the first charge was filed following a search of her home. She was brought to the jail on Monday.

McLaughlin was interviewed March 11 by Franklin County animal control investigators following up on a call she made to Columbus police saying she had drowned a number of animals. McLaughlin confessed and told the investigators she may have killed as many as 650 dogs and cats in the last five years, Hedrick said.

She is charged with drowning three stray cats, as well as one belonging to her mother and another belonging to a neighbor who said she hadn't seen her pet since she asked McLaughlin to look after it in late February.

McLaughlin has been diagnosed with psychiatric problems, but she was aware that her actions were wrong and may be prosecuted on that basis, Hedrick said.

She faces a maximum 1 1/2 years in jail, whether she's convicted of killing three animals or 650, the prosecutor said.

Here is a link that might be useful: Cat Killer confession

    Bookmark   March 22, 2007 at 7:36PM
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one and a half years seems a little light... they should convict her of fraud...rather than killing animals...

    Bookmark   March 23, 2007 at 9:01AM
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They should convict her of murder and throw away the key.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2007 at 12:08PM
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The murder angle won't work. Murder is the intentional killing of a human being by another human being. If animals could be murdered, would that mean they could also be charged with murder?

Joepye might have an idea about fraud, though a slim chance. PETA did the same thing and nothing happened to them.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2007 at 2:12PM
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I haven't seen any indication she took money for the "rescues", or signed any kind of contract, so I think that would eliminate the posibility of a fraud charge. Pity; I think fraud is a felony!

Unfortunately, Ohio's animal cruelty laws are pretty week; killing a companion animal is considered a misdemeanor rather than a felony. I'm not sure why the article says the prosecutor says 18 months is the maximum she could recieve. From what I've seen the maximum penalty is $1K or 6 months in prison -- perhaps they only have three bodies? If she's taking them around to the metro parks to show them where she buried the bodies, perhaps this could be upped?

Interesting that she called the police herself. I wonder what prompted that? Conscience at last?

    Bookmark   March 23, 2007 at 2:38PM
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