The myth of kitten killing Madore


A screenshot of “Kitty McNuggets” featured in a Connecting Clark County ad.

Not long ago, a fellow reporter approached me, giggling.

She asked me if Connecting Clark County, the political action committee formed to take on Republican Councilor David Madore in District 3 and Republican candidate Eileen Quiring in District 4, had actually accused Madore of suggesting killing kittens as government policy.

I sighed, head in my hands. This is peak politics, America. It’s all downhill from here.

Connecting Clark County has raised $156,871 to take down Madore and Quiring, and to promote Republicans John Blom in District 3 and Jennifer McDaniel in District 4. You’ve probably seen a series of cable television ads targeting Madore in recent weeks, but some of those ads have a few problems.

Take, for example, one claiming Madore suggested cats be taken to “coyote country” to be turned into “Kitty McNuggets” as a cost-saving alternative to contracting with the Humane Society for Southwest Washington. Complete with an image of chicken nuggets with a meowing kitten head shopped on it top.

If you’re cringing, don’t worry, I am too.

The problem is, that isn’t exactly how that went down. In a July 2013 board time, when the then Clark County Commission was discussing the county’s Feral Cats Program, it was Tom Mielke, a Republican retiring at the end of this year, that said when feral cats are spayed or neutered then returned “we feed them to the coyotes.”

Madore, giggling, said “they become Kitty McNuggets.”

At a later board time meeting, when Animal Control Manager Paul Scarpelli was further explaining the feral cat program, Madore asked where feral cats are returned. When Mielke said north county, referring to Clark County’s rural northern section, Madore responded by calling it “coyote territory.”

While there’s certainly something crass and fratty about the Clark County Commission getting together and having some LOLs about stray cats being eaten by coyotes akin to “Kitty McNuggets,” it doesn’t appear there was ever a time that Madore actually ever advocated for the county turning cats over to be eaten by coyotes.

Then there are other problems. In an ad promoting Blom, the state flag waves across the screen as a soothing female voice and soft music play. But you can’t do that. It’s illegal to use the state seal, which is on the Washington flag, in political advertising.

And an ad promoting Jennifer McDaniel has the candidate’s name spelled incorrectly on multiple occasions as “McDaniels.”

Remember that by law, the PAC cannot collaborate with McDaniel and Blom.

These are not cheap ads. Public Disclosure Commission reports show the PAC spent $75,000 with Burnett Media Group in West Linn, Ore., on advertising.

I pointed out the flaws to David Nierenberg, an investor and philanthropist who is the manager and main backer of the PAC. He thanked me for the note and later said some changes were being made to fix the ads.

“I would prefer that our messaging be as close as possible to flawless,” he said. “Sometimes busy people, working against tight deadlines, are going to make honest mistakes.”

“I will say this,” he went on. “Our honest mistakes pale in comparison to the outright lies created and disseminated by the other side…”

Elections are fun.

Don’t forget to get your ballots in by Tuesday for the primary election. Polls close at 8 p.m. and we’ll be bringing you live updates throughout the night.

Kaitlin Gillespie

Kaitlin Gillespie

I'm the education reporter at The Columbian. Get in touch at or 360-735-4517.

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