Scientology and animal abuse.

Picture of dead cat

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The dead cat pictured above was found by...
Subject: Dead Cat on Minton Doorstep
From: bob@minton.org (Robert S. Minton)
Date: 1997/12/15
Newsgroups: alt.religion.scientology

My wife arrived at our house in NH a few moments ago to find a dead, but otherwise healthy looking, cat on our doorstep. Who do you suppose deposited this cat there? Bob Minton

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Here are other stories of dead animals surrounding critics of Scientology.
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Subject: My Cat
From: Arnie Lerma
Date: 13 Feb 1998

I have good natured black cat, with a white heart on his abdomen.:
(http://www.lermanet.com/images/arniecat.jpg)

When I first began scanning and uploading court records onto the net in 1994...
It was August 1994 - 3 months before the cult sent two goons in black to my house
(http://www.lermanet.com/cos/lerma.html) ( Washington Post Article Dec25 1994 )

He didn't come home one morning, so I went out looking for him
I found him under a bush.. He was bleeding.
Covered with dried blood
His neck had been cut.
I cleaned the wound, and dusted it with Doxicycline Antibitotic.

I then used my own 'take 'em to the vet test'
which is, if I can coax him to drink, and eat then
he's gonna live.... and he drank some canned tuna juice...
so I thought he was going to be ok.

He was 10 years old at the time.

Since then he is afraid of strangers.

Cut to March 1997 - While I was at the demo in Clearwater, he got very ill - acted as if he had been poisoned - a freind watching my home and caring for my cat became alarmed and took him to the vet.

The vet knew the reputation of Scientology -

but could find no poison within reasonable costs for tests....

My cat is still alive.

As am I.

Arnie Lerma
Raided and sued by the cult-o-psychosis called $cientology.
August 1995

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Richard Leiby, during RTC vs Lerma found a dead rabbit in his yard He had kids 4 & 5 or so years of age. ( RTC vs lerma, Wash Post, Richard Leiby, Marc Fisher, Digital Gateway ) 1995
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And then there's Duke, (http://www.xemu.demon.co.uk/clam/faq/woofglug.html) Judge Swearinger's dog - a miniature collie found drowned in his pool.. US vs Mary Sue Hubbard?

Andreas Heldal-Lund, with the famous Operation Clambake, got a dead pigeon.

Subject: Re: about that dead cat
From: "STEVE FISHMAN" xenu@ix.netcom.com
Date: Sat, 27 Dec 1997

1. The dead rats found on the doorstep of psychologist Margaret Singer of Berkeley, California in 1990 while she was preparing testimony in the Fishman/Geertz case...

2. The poisoning of Dr. Geertz's dog Nicki in 1987....

3. The drowning of Judge Swearinger's dog duke (1984?)....

4. The dead rabbit cut up in pieces and found on the doorstep of my house in 1993 while I was in the Dismas Halfway House....

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In the 80s, a major critic in Las Vegas, I think it was Janie Peterson, had someone come in to her yard and let her dog out. She never found the dog again. Paulette Cooper

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This short listing of animal abuse would not be complete without the following story. This story starts October 1997. It is about an Animal Sanctuary in Seattle Washington. Scientology worked hard to close this Sanctuary down. Why? Because it was being run by a critic of scientology.
This story ends on a positive note. The Sanctuary was moved to a different location and all the animals ended up safe. Now then, guess what? The man who played a key role in relocating this Animal Sanctuary was Robert Minton. The same Robert Minton that found the above pictured dead cat on his doorstep. Now then, is that an amazing bit of coincidence or what!
The articles that follow are not necessarily in any order.

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From: writer@eskimo.com (Robert Vaughn Young)
Newsgroups: rec.pets.cats.rescue,rec.pets.dogs.rescue,rec.pets.cats,rec.pets.dogs, talk.politics.animals,rec.pets,seattle.general,seattle.politics,alt.religion.scientology
Subject: Scientology attacks animal sanctuary
Date: 4 Oct 1997 07:50:42 GMT

THE SCIENTOLOGY CULT IS ATTACKING AN ANIMAL SANCTUARY

Hello.

My name is Robert Vaughn Young. My wife and I have been operating a small non-profit animal sanctuary in Seattle, Washington. Over the last two years, we have rescued and adopted out nearly 500 cats and dogs. That effort is now jeopardized because the Scientology cult is attacking the sanctuary and trying to get it closed down.

Why would a cult try to close down an animal sanctuary?

Please read on. It will take a few screens.

OUR ANIMAL RESCUE/SANCTUARY WORK

Our initial work started with my wife volunteering at PAWS (Progressive Animal Welfare Society, based north of Seattle, in Lynwood), by being both a foster home and helping with off-site adoptions. The effort was so successful that my wife, Stacy (the initiating and moving force), was featured in a news article and given an award from PAWS for the hundreds of cats that were adopted out through her effort.

As we continued to fill this need, our "foster home" grew faster and was more successful than we ever imagined or planned for. One reason, we discovered, was that there is no such sanctuary in Seattle. The closest is the Humane Society in Bellvue, an affluent community to the east of Seattle. The only thing in Seattle is Animal Control, the "Pound." So the word began to spread and our popularity grew. By "kitten season" (those in rescue work know what this means) our too-small home was bursting with felines. Very young kittens take up little space, until they begin to dash about under foot and up the wall. Children walking by with their parents would see the kittens in the window and would drop in as if we were a "petting zoo" and be surrounded with playful felines. (There is a lot of therapy to be found being surrounded by adorable kittens.)

We finally gave our effort a name, calling it Friends of the Animals Foundation (FAF), dba, West Seattle Cat Rescue or WSCR - pronounced "whisker." (We're not in the phone book under WSCR as we are operating from our home.) In July, we incorporated as a non-profit, with an eye to the day that we could establish an actual sanctuary. We are seeking 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status for FAF because we plan to provide sanctuary to other animals, one we can find and create adequate facilities.

To date we have adopted out nearly 500 kittens, cats and a few dogs. These animals were homeless, abandoned, sick, injured, abused, handicapped or destined to be euthanized. Here are some examples:

* Lionel - More than any other animal, Lionel was the inspiration for our no-kill philosophy. A three-year-old gray male tabby and an abandoned stray, Lionel was found in some bushes about a year ago by one of our neighbors who called us to help. Lionel was in a horrible, bloody condition, obviously hit by a car. We rushed him to emergency and were told that both front legs had been crushed and the side of his head was badly scraped, apparently dragged by the car. (We have no idea how he got to the bushes.) They said that he would definitely lose one leg and probably the other and recommended he be euthanized because such care would be too expensive. We made a decision which defined FAF/WSCR. We refused to kill him and found a feline orthopedic surgeon the next day who said he would try to reconstruct Lionel's legs. We had no idea how we would pay for it, but we agreed. After a five-hour operation, and 24 screws and two plates to hold the shattered bones together, Lionel emerged with two - repeat, two - of the most beautiful blue and yellow bandaged legs you have ever seen. (We still show pictures of him.) Then, hearing of his plight through a local news item, the West Seattle community rallied and Lionel's entire bill (about $3000) was paid by donations to the clinic and a large community weekend yard sale. The best news is that he recovered. He lost a few toes due to infection but he can run and jump and today he lives in a new home with two other cats adopted from us.

* Lily - blind due to a congenital defect and with an eye infection, Lily was to be euthanized but we took her in. She was treated and adopted out to a fine home where she lives happily today with another cat, proving that even blind cats can lead happy lives.

* Beauregard - a tall golden retriever who should have weighed over 100 pounds, he was skin and bones (only 63 pounds when weighed at the vet), and was barely able to walk, when he was found abandoned. After months of care and good food, he made a full recovery and finally weighed in at a healthy and robust 110 pounds. He now can run and play at his new Seattle home.

* Lucky - a black short-hair cat, she was found by a neighbor at a shelter when she was literally being taken from her cage to a back room for euthanization as "unadoptable." The neighbor adopted her on the spot, renamed her "Lucky" (for obvious reasons) and brought her to WSCR. We found a home for her one week later, which proved her name.

* Walter - a three-month old kitten, he was found trying to stay afloat in the middle of Lake Union. How he got there and how he survived for how long until found by a passing boat, no one knows. Hauled out, he was hypothermic but alive. They rushed him to us where he warmed up and recovered and now lives happily with a new family on solid land.

* Trey - a three-legged (hence the name), declawed Cornish Rex, Trey was found crying in a dumpster. Brought to us, we first thought he was feral (wild) because of his behavior but it turned out he was completely incensed at being deserted in a dumpster. We took out ads and posted notices around the area for weeks but no one claimed him. He finally calmed down and became an incredibly loving cat. He is still looking for a home.

Not all of those we take in are so distinctive, of course. Most are otherwise ordinary cats and kittens (and some dogs) that simply have no home and thus are susceptible to being killed. So we take them in or get them to foster homes until adopted. None are put down for lack of adoption. We have found homes for every animal taken in, even if it takes many months.

Our adoption policy (so you know we are serious) is rigorous but simple. No animal comes in without an examination by a licensed veterinarian and tested negative for feline leukemia and feline AIDS. As part of the adoption, the animal is spayed/neutered (if not already) and given their first shots. Those seeking to adopt are given an application to fill out and are interviewed to ensure they have the home and are serious about the adoption. We also require that the person agree to no declawing and should there be any problem, the animal is to be returned to us, and not euthanized or sent to the pound.

This is how we have adopted out about 500 animals over two years.

But we made one mistake: As valuable as our effort is - and there is only one group that disagrees with that - we didn't check the zoning regulations. That gave Scientology the chance they needed.

SCIENTOLOGY'S ATTACK ON THE SANCTUARY

One morning, our neighborhood awoke to find that someone had left a sheet of paper on every doorstep. It was anonymous but purported to be from a "concerned neighbor" and said our cats were a nuisance and urged neighbors to complain to Animal Control and the city. (It should be noted that the WSCR cats are all kept indoors. Our three cats are allowed in and out and there are a number of other outdoor cats that belong to neighbors.) A special anonymous letter was attached to our door saying that we better get rid of the animals or else.

We soon identified the attack as coming from Scientology when a private investigator, David Lee, began to call around Seattle, using the same allegations that appeared in the anonymous flyer. He also told people he was investigating us for "animal abuse," trying to plant seeds of doubt about us in people's minds. He said he was working for LA Private Investigator Eugene Ingram, widely known to work for Scientology attorney Kendrick Moxon. (Moxon is the lead Scientology in-house attorney. After Ingram was thrown off the Los Angeles Police Department for his connections to drugs and prostitutes, he went to work for the cult. He is wanted in Florida for impersonating a police officer.)

There was no doubt a campaign was being orchestrated against us. After no complaints to the city in two years, they were pouring into city officials on a daily basis. Calls were made to various Seattle City offices, including Animal Control, from people who asked to "remain anonymous." According to officials we spoke with, the callers (there are apparently only two) said the house was filthy and our cats were diseased with "open sores." Besides calling various agencies, they also called city council members to complain that the agencies were not acting fast enough against us, urging political pressure. At least two offices responded.

Under such a barrage, Seattle Land Use visited and did an inspection. He had no objections to the state of the house or the grounds. (We have a 5x5x18 outdoor enclosure that resembles an aviary, with driftwood and shelves for cat climbing and sleeping. The cats can access if from the house through a cat door/window.) The section of Seattle law being used says that a residence cannot have more than three small animals. Anyone walking by could see we had more than three. It was hardly a secret. When we asked if the fact that the animals are transitory (between homes) made any difference. We were told it does not, unless we get a variance to the zoning code, which we cannot do since we rent. So we were issued a citation, giving us 14 days to comply (get rid of the animals) or to respond. He would not tell us who had complained.

The next day, Animal Control visited us, unannounced, saying they had received numerous complaints about animals with "open sores" and "filthy conditions" etc. We invited the officer into the house. The officer commented how clean it was, how it smelled very nice, that the cats were well-behaved and that he saw no abused animals, let alone any with "open sores." (This was the second visit by Animal Control. During an earlier visit, the officer reported the cats were fine and there was no odor to the house.) Despite the fact that the environment was completely contrary to the complaints, he gave us citations for having 10 extra unlicensed adult cats. (Kittens did not count.) We have 14 days to pay the fine ($50 each) or request a hearing. He would not tell us who had complained.

To show further how we are being harassed, we also had a visit from two county mental health workers who asked for Stacy. They said they had a call from a "concerned neighbor" (anonymous again) who said a Stacy was acting erratic, not eating and was "collecting cats." It was obvious that they were there to see if Stacy should be committed. We invited them in to see that the information they had been given was completely bogus. (They too had been told the house was filthy and the cats unhealthy.) We also explained our role as witnesses in a Scientology homicide case. (See below.) They left, apologizing.

In the meantime, there has been more harassment every day, ranging from abusive telephone calls to anonymous hate mail. (Yes, we report it.)

WHY IS SCIENTOLOGY ATTACKING A SANCTUARY?

There are three reasons.

1. Scientology learned that my wife and I may be key witnesses in a prominent homicide case (featured in Newsweek and other national media - see below) in which the cult is the defendant.

2. Scientology is terrified of a rumor that my wife and I were recently interviewed about them by "60 Minutes," a hard-hitting investigative show that, with 30 million viewers, is the most-watched program on American TV.

3. Scientology has apparently heard that the German federal government wants me to testify about the cult's crimes and abuses before a parliamentary body.

For you see, between my wife and I, we spent 35 years in the cult. I became the cult's national spokesman as early as 1977. (See the NY Times Index.) We fled the cult in 1989 and have been willing to speak out about the abuse. Scientology does not like that. The cult is notorious for terrorizing anyone it fears, from ex-members to federal judges, as an attempt to intimidate them. In the words of Scientology founder, L. Ron Hubbard, "find or manufacture" enough threat against the person to cause them to "shudder into silence." It is Scientology's "fair game" law. (see below)

That is why our animals are now under attack by this cult. Scientology knows how important our animal rescue work is to us. They were unable to silence us so now they are seeking to "find or MANUFACTURE" enough threat to the innocent animals, hoping we will "shudder into silence."

Can one go lower than threatening an animal sanctuary?

SCIENTOLOGY AS A "MAFIA-LIKE" ORGANIZATION

There is no scarcity of proof that Scientology terrorizes people.

As Time magazine pointed out in their 1991 cover story, "The Thriving Cult of Greed and Power," Scientology is a "hugely profitable global racket that survives by intimidating members and critics in a Mafia-like manner." (See below.)

In a 1984 civil case, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Paul Breckenridge, Jr., after listening to months of testimony about the cult said, "In addition to violating and abusing its own members' civil rights, the organization over the years with its 'fair game' doctrine has harassed and abused those persons not in the church whom it perceives as enemies." (For more, see below.)

That is why Scientology is threatening innocent animals. They want to intimidate and frighten my wife and me. They know that we will not sacrifice these animals and so -- like terrorists taking hostages -- they came after the innocent and the defenseless. They know that our first task is to protect the animals and that is what we will do.

The other purpose is to intimidate and influence our friends, neighbors and supporters, to make them back away from us, to apply more pressure to us. However, it has had an opposite effect. Many are outraged at the tactics and have increased their support.

WHAT WE ARE DOING IN RESPONSE

The State of Washington has a "public disclosure" law and we have begun filing requests to get the records and reports.

As far as the animals themselves, we will protect them. They will not be abandoned and we will not give up our work. While dealing properly with the various citations, we will find a new location for them so that our work can legally continue, by whatever miracle. (If anyone has a lead - especially in unincorporated King County, even temporary - let me know.)

In the meantime, as I write this (Oct. 2), I received a call that David Lee is in Seattle, making his rounds and asking questions about our animals - clevery pushing and citing the "complaints" already planted - and our private lives.

I want the world to know the extremes that this cult of thugs will go to. Scientology already has a reputation for harassing Netizens, as well as the media and others. Now let Scientology add a new credit to their list of abuses: innocent animals.

Robert Vaughn Young writer@eskimo.com

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And here is a report by Robert Minton:
Subject: Sleeping with Cats in Seattle; + A Young Update
From: bob@minton.org (Robert S. Minton)
Date: 1997/11/22

I've just returned from Seattle tonight and I'm pleased to report to all interested parties that Stacy and Vaughn Young are alive and well, as are their cats and their animal rescue operation--Friends of the Animals Sanctuary. I spent brief parts of several nights sleeping in the cats new home on a beautiful island in the middle of Pugent Sound.

Widget, Mufasa, Jack, Phillip, Trey, Therese any many more cats too numerous to mention (and to be honest too dark to identify at 3am every night) managed to enliven my sleep but in no way could possibly detract from my visit with the Youngs--two of the most wonderful and loving people you could meet. Their cats are cared for in a manner truly befitting the king of beast; and, I am personally happy to have been able to have purchased this property on Vashon Island which will enable Vaughn and Stacy to continue in their dual roles of rescuing animals and people from the victimization inflicted by uncaring humans--be they $cientologists abusing their members or critics as well as people who no longer have need of a kitty.

The "church" of $cientology has already demonstrated their willingness to try and attack these cats in their new location and have them and the Youngs eased out of Vashon Island just like they successfully did in West Seattle. Yes, David Lee--a detective working on behalf of the "church" already admitted to having trespassed on the property in a discussion with a real estate broker who handled this property purchase on my behalf. He was just "having a look around". Having seen firsthand the devotion the Youngs have for their cats--let the "church" of $cientology be put on notice that any time they cause the Youngs' cats to meow, the internet and animal lovers everywhere will ROAR!!!!!!!!!!!!

My sincere thanks to Vaughn, Stacy and all the cats for their generous hospitality. Yawn!!! Before I go off to sleep I should mention that the Youngs have quite a few boxes to unpack yet--their computer amongst them, so it may be a little while before we hear directly from them. But, they are well and thankful for the many supporters, friends, neighbors, and complete strangers who have rallied around them as their cats and themselves have been subjected to abuse at the hands of the "church" of $cientology.

Sleepless in Boston, Bob Minton

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A post by Grady Ward:
Subject: Re: ANIMAL KILLINGS: PROOF SCIENT. NOT INVOLVED
From: grady@promisecreepers.org (Grady Ward)
Date: Wed, 17 Dec 1997 14:25:17 GMT

> But these are just isolated incidents. You can't blame an entire church for
> the misdeeds of a few.

Of course you can when the misdeeds are systematic and not condemned by the criminal cult when exposed. The cult is aware of the dead cat allegation yet has chosen to remain silent rather than condemning this sick act of attempted intimidation. Why is that?

Kobrin has also never apologized for the RMGROUP.
Eugene Martin Ingram nor the criminal cult of scientology has apologized to my mother for lying to her. Nor have they apologized to the Humboldt Bank of Arcata, California. Note that in both instances Warren McShane, president of RTC, admitted under oath their connection to the persons responsible for the frauds, that in both instances the people defrauded were in no way critics of the criminal cult of scientology.

No one has ever apologized for killing Lisa McPherson with the scientology "tech." No one. This speaks volumes of the degradation and fear within the criminal cult. "No one suddenly became depraved." -- (Juvenal a.d.ca.60-ca.130)

Now the cult continues to try to intimidate by involving families and children even though they have nothing to do with criticism of the criminal cult of scientology. Why doesn't the cult stop and issue apologies and declare that this behavior is not acceptable as scientologists? Why doesn't it?

Note that Eugene Martin Ingram continues to be employed despite overwhelming evidence of criminal mischief, wire and mail fraud. Now why is that?

The evidence is indeed overwhelming that someone involved in the criminal cult of scientology -- possibly directed by "Rear" Admiral David Miscavige -- was directly involved in laying a killed cat at the door of Robert S. Minton in Sandown, NH.
Maybe they think this will shudder him into silence?
Maybe they mistake our resolve for the weakness and cowardice of their own members?
Grady Ward grady@promisecreepers.org

———

Subject: Thanks to Bob Minton (SBY)
From: sby@eskimo.com (Stacy Young)
Date: 18 Jan 1998

Stacy Young here. I 'm sitting here in my office with several of the cats whose lives were saved by Bob Minton.

There is Rachel, the black kitten with white feet who jumped onto my desk on 60 Minutes and was the real star of the show. Someone found her when she was less than a month old, sitting alone in the middle of a park, close to death from an upper respiratory infection. She's healthy now and very happy.

And there is Charlotte, who looks like one of the cows on the side of the Ben and Jerry's ice cream truck. She and her sister Allison were thrown out of a crack dealer's cadillac into the street when they were three weeks old. Someone saw it happen and scooped them up before the oncoming traffic ran over them. You'll never meet more affectionate cats than Charlotte and Allison.

And Mufasa, a beautiful orange long-haired cat who was rescued from another shelter when she was a kitten. She's Bob's favorite. She loves to put her front paws around his neck and give him kisses all over his face.

There are a lot more cats who are safe and happy here at our beautiful sanctuary thanks to the miraculous generosity and compassion of Bob Minton. I will be forever grateful to this kind-hearted man who took pity on the plight of these animals and saved their lives.

I am sickened (although not surprised) to see the lengths to which Scientology is willing to go to try to destroy Bob Minton. I cannot stop them from spreading their lies about him and his family. I wish I could, but as long as they can hide behind their false cloak of religion no one will be able to stop their terrorism. All I can really do to help him is to stand up to Scientology's bully tactics myself, expose what they're doing to us, and offer my help to other people who are being harmed by this criminal organization.

I have spoken publicly in other arenas but never before on ars. Now it's time.

Many of you know about Scientology's harassment of my husband Vaughn and me from Vaughn's posts and others. But I want to tell my version. We have been the target of their campaign of harassment and character assassination since we began speaking out in 1993, and it has been horrifying to discover firsthand what this terrorist organization masquerading as a "religion" is willing to do to silence its critics. Vaughn and I both held high positions when we were inside, but even in our positions neither of us realized how utterly corrupt and vicious this group really is. I have been face to face with their dark side now, and I know that I have seen the face of pure, psychotic Evil.

The harassment of us increased dramatically this fall. Three things happened that were probably what caused DM to order us taken out: 60 Minutes interviewed us, the German government asked Vaughn to testify about Scientology, and we started helping Ken Dandar on the Lisa McPherson case. Until then, the harassment had always been directed at slandering and libeling us, breaking us financially, or threatening us in various other ways but it was always an attack on us personally. But suddenly, this fall, the target shifted to our sanctuary animals.

All of our neighbors in West Seattle had been very supportive of the rescue work we were doing. They would bring stray cats and dogs to us and ask us to help find homes for them, and we always did. Some of them even adopted kittens from us. But this fall a man moved into an apartment right down the street from us and immediately began complaining to our landlord about our rescue work. Then our landlord's assistant began receiving calls from someone who said he lived in our neighborhood but who would never give his address and whose phone number was bogus. He falsely claimed that he had been in our house and that it was filthy and the cats were all sick. The landlord's assistant knew this was not true because she had been in our house. She defended us to this man and let us know these calls were coming in and that she was sure the man was a Scientologist.

Our neighbors and our landlord had weathered earlier onslaughts from Scientology -- the whole neighborhood had been leafleted with a 15-page smear about us, Eugene Ingram had gone door to door spreading lies about us, and all the neighbors had stood by us when we were picketed.

Then an anonymous letter was left on all of our neighbors' doorsteps asking them to complain to Animal Control about our rescue operation. Our neighbors knew it was from Scientology and it only reconfirmed what they already thought: that Scientology is a hateful organization. But we also received an anonymous letter on our own doorstep, and ours contained a direct threat against our rescued animals. At that point we began to be very concerned for their safety.

When the anonymous letter campaign failed to influence our neighbors, Scientology increased the pressure, and it soon became apparent that their plan was to get us arrested for felony animal abuse and to get all of our animals confiscated and killed. Our veterinarian was visited several times by David Lee and told that we were under investigation for animal abuse, that our animals were being kept in filthy conditions, etc, etc. Fortunately our vet had been to our house a number of times to treat the animals and knew Lee was lying. The vet thought there was no question that Lee was trying to make a felony case against us to get us arrested. David Lee visited many other people related to our animal work and tried to spread the same lies, but no one believed him because they all know how much we care about the animals and the degree of care we give them.

So Scientology increased the pressure even more. Animal Control, the Department of Construction and Land Use, and Seattle City Council all became the targets of a phone campaign against our sanctuary. They were constantly being phoned about us, and even though Animal Control made repeated visits to our sanctuary and repeatedly found that the reports they were receiving were false, the phone campaign was successful in bringing pressure to bear on the city so that they finally ordered us to get rid of the cats.

This was disastrous for me. Getting rid of these cats would mean taking them to the pound, where many of them would surely have been killed. We are a sanctuary. This means that we take in many cats that would be killed outright if they were taken to the pound. They are sick or injured, and most shelters aren't set up to provide long-term care for a sick or injured animal. I had nursed some of these cats for months. There was no way I was going to risk having them killed.

Our only other option was to move, but where could we go? And what landlord would rent to someone with a cat sanctuary? We searched high and low for a place in an area that was zoned for what we were doing, but we couldn't find anything.

I was exhausted from the stress of their constant harassment and frantic with worry about what would happen to the cats. Then one night two women showed up at our front door at about eight o'clock. I stepped outside to see what they wanted and they both looked me up and down in a very peculiar way.

"Are you Stacy Young?" the plump one asked in the tone of voice one uses with a child. She handed me a business card that identified her as being from the Department of Mental Health Services, Commitment Section.

"We've received some calls saying that you've lost quite a bit of weight recently and that you've been -- well, uh -- collecting cats," the plump woman told me, very gently, and instantly I realized what was happening. Scientology was trying to have me committed.

I called Vaughn outside and told him what they had said. We looked at each other in disbelief and then I turned to the women, who clearly were not witnessing what they had expected to see.

"Do I look too skinny to you?" I asked them, holding my arms out. I am definitely not underweight by any means. The women shook their heads, frowning.

"And as for 'collecting cats,' let me take you inside and show you our cat sanctuary," I said, and ushered them into the house. It was spotless, and several very healthy cats lounged on a cat tree in the living room. The two women muttered to each other that it certainly was clean, and the cats looked just fine.

I told them all about our rescue work and the sanctuary, about finding good homes for the cats once they were ready to be adopted, and then I explained about Scientology's harassment campaign against us. The two women were horrified, and extremely embarrassed about having come to our house. They explained that the calls had been anonymous and the people had clearly lied, saying I was crazy, that my house was filthy, that all the cats were sick -- the same old story. They admitted that they had come out to determine if I should be committed, and that they were ready to begin the process even though they had received nothing but anonymous calls.

They ended up apologizing to me as they left, but the incident left me badly shaken. What frightened me was that Scientology could so easily manipulate the mental health bureaucracy that these women had actually been ready to commit me.

It was the last straw for me. The next day we had another surprise inspection from Animal Control and another notice from the city. Then we got a notice from our landlord, delivered apologetically by his assistant who explained that he was now being sent notices by the city. The letter said we had until the end of the month to get rid of all the cats. The end of the month was two weeks away.

That night was when Vaughn posted his briefing to the net about what had been going on. Scientology had finally found our vulnerability. We were willing to put ourselves at risk but we couldn't risk the lives of the animals. We were literally at the end of the line. We had no idea what we were going to do. All I knew was that I was not going to surrender these animals. I had made a commitment to save their lives and somehow I was going to live up to that commitment.

And then a miracle happened. Bob Minton called. He called a few days after Vaughn posted his briefing. Neither Vaughn nor I had ever met him or ever even heard of him before. All he said was that he didn't feel Scientology should be allowed to terrorize people the way they were doing to us and he wanted to help us. What could he do to help, he wanted to know.

From time to time in my life things have been so bad that they couldn't go anywhere but up, and this was one of those times. I told him the truth.
"What we need is a sanctuary for our animals," I said.
And Bob Minton replied, "Well, I can help you with that."
I had never met this guy before and knew nothing about him. But I knew that I had nowhere else to go, and no one else to turn to, and no choice but to believe this stranger who was offering to help us.

He never asked any questions, never questioned our motives, never asked for any proof of who we were or what we were doing, never made any demands of us at all. He just believed in us. He helped us find sanctuary for our animals and put them out of the reach of the Scientologists.

He came to visit us after we moved to Vashon Island and we met him for the first time. After a few days we had become great friends, and I am sure we will be friends for a long time. Bob is a kind-hearted, generous, down-to-earth person who is profoundly concerned about the harm Scientology is doing to people. There is really nothing more to it than that. Now Scientology is trying to destroy him because he has helped people like Vaughn and me, and others who won't let Scientology's terror tactics silence them. But he isn't going to stop trying to help people, and I want to do the same thing.

I want to offer help to others the way Bob Minton offered help to us when we desperately needed it. So I have this announcement to make to all Scientology staff members, and especially to Sea Org members:

I know what it is like to be in there and to feel you have nowhere else to go. I know how terrifying it is to think of what will happen to you if you leave. But I want you to know this: I can offer you a safe place where you can catch up on your sleep and you can talk to people who will understand what you've been through and can help you get your life started again in the real world. We will help you recover from this nightmare called Scientology. Please call us, or contact us in whatever way you can.

Our phone number is 206-463-6809. Our address is 19731 Vashon Highway, Vashon, WA 98070. My e-mail address is sby@eskimo.com. Vaughn's e-mail address is writer@eskimo.com.
Stacy Young

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