by Joseph Buddenberg
In July 2013, a bobcat living in a filthy rusted cage was liberated from the clutches of an aspiring fur farmer. The animal was never recaptured — a victory in the war against wildlife.
For this and other actions on behalf of fur-bearing animals I would later be arrested by a team of FBI agents and sent to federal prison.
This is what the U.S. Government calls terrorism.
The communique read:
“In the early morning hours of July 27, the Animal Liberation Front visited the
property of Shelli Frazier in the town of Plains, Montana, completely surrounded by the beautiful Lolo National Forest.
Frazier applied in 2006 for a permit to imprison bobcats on her property in a fur farm that she hoped would eventually grow to sixty cats.
Despite already making a living breeding horses, she perhaps felt that this could be a lucrative side business. We arrived at her unpublished address determined to correct her mistake, and watch her investments run free into the wilderness.
Exploration of the site revealed that the force of economics had already precluded any need for the force of boltcutters – strewn about this disgusting and decrepit property were large empty cages, the rusted remains of Shelli Frazier’s dreams.
It was not until we checked every single run in an empty cat hutch tucked at the back of the northern lot that we found the tragic consequences of her business ineptitude. In one of the runs, huddling against the back wall, surrounded by rotting food, mildewed wood, and his own feces, was a lone bobcat.
The sight of a creature so majestic in a state so pathetic cannot be done justice
with words. We have yet been unable to determine why Frazier kept him and him alone, but if it was a sense of sentimentality, it certainly was not evident from his
treatment. Emaciated and filthy, his beauty was evident even through the matted fur and traumatized stare, with his bushy jowls and black ear tufts. To be in such proximity to this creature, staring into his haunting yellow eyes, changed every member of our cell. We could only speculate as to how he had suffered and what he had seen, but we could know with certainty that he deserved a shot at freedom. We opened his cage and left.
Shelli Frazier is not the only cruel human ever to keep such noble cats in tiny cages in Lolo National Forest.
More than two decades ago, Rodney Coronado visited Cole MacPherson’s bobcat prison in the town of Lolo just an hour’s drive south of Plains. MacPherson’s farm was Frazier’s fantasy – a shed of sixty pacing, neurotic, traumatized large cats. Though he was forced to close shop around 2005, the ALF still keeps tabs on MacPherson – today, he continues his dental practice in Missoula. This should be a lesson to Frazier. If you ever again hold wild creatures captive on your land, we will breach it to free them.
Animal Liberation Front”