Wednesday, May 18, 2011


Having a pet is a responsibility - as we all know, they're not just decorative window dressing.  They require food, exercise, mental stimulation, and need supplies such as leashes, harnesses, litter, bags.  They require vet care, and our help to keep them healthy and safe.  It is not cheap, and if a person cannot afford to do it right, then they shouldn't have an animal at all.  It really infuriates me to see people shirking their responsibility.  It seems like we're surrounded by examples of people who either don't know any better, or do know better but just don't care.

Some recent examples:

Girl at the checkout at the grocery store, after seeing me buying kitty treats and litter box deodorizer:  "We have too many cats.  We're just going to have to take some to the Humane Society because they just keep having babies."  Said in a self-satisfied tone, as if dumping unwanted, overbred cats at a shelter was a virtue instead of something to be terribly ashamed of.  I admit that I didn't reprimand her like I wanted to...   I was simply too dumbfounded.  In hindsight, I wish that I'd asked her if she'd ever heard of spaying and neutering.  Because gosh, it isn't rocket science to figure out that if left to their own devices, cats ARE NOT GOING TO PRACTICE SAFE SEX.  Geez.

I am shocked at how many cats come into the shelter because they'd been locked and abandoned inside of an apartment, with no access to food and water, when the tenants/cat owners left.  Wha?  In what world do these people live, that this is considered to be acceptable?  One elderly cat was left in a cat carrier on her front porch.  You have to wonder what is going through these poor kitties' minds.

Bryan Hutcherson, brilliant wit that he is, literally starved a puppy to death because it "was too stressful and costing too much money to feed him."  So...  you just stop feeding him, Bryan?  Period?  It never occurred to you that this was...  I don't know... EVIL?  You didn't have enough empathy in you to watch the poor pup slowly starve to death and feel bad for him?  And his girlfriend just sat there and watched him do it, which makes her no better than he is.

And most of us have probably heard of Patrick the pitbull puppy that was nearly starved to death, and when he didn't oblige his "lovely" owner by starving to death, she threw him in a garbage bag and sent him down the garbage chute.  Fwoof!  No more dog to have to take care of, la la la.

I'm going to come out and say something that makes a lot of people uncomfortable, but I'm tired of sugar-coating the truth:  I hate people like this, especially the last three.  The people that were okay with abandoning a cat didn't care if that cat lived or died.  Maybe they hoped that the cat would be rescued in time, maybe not, but regardless, they were willing to take that chance with a little life that they were responsible for.  As for the two dog people, I don't believe that they simply made a mistake... it was something that they willfully and deliberately chose to do over time, and there were plenty of opportunities for them to change their minds before it went too far.  A dog doesn't starve to death overnight, after all.  I think the only remorse that these self-entitled nitwits are capable of feeling is remorse that they were caught and that there are going to be OMG CONSEQUENCES. (Though most likely, not harsh enough, but that's another post.)

It's past time that we as a society embrace the idea that if we are going to exploit animals for food, entertainment, companionship, whatever, then we have responsibilities.  We have created a world in which most domesticated animals will never be able to thrive without us, so we have a responsibility to provide for them, and to give them the best life that we can possibly provide.  To protect them from predators, starvation, and yes, even their own base desires to procreate in a way that will be ultimately harmful to them.   This doesn't mean that we let them breed and breed and breed and continually dump off the ones that we love the least at a shelter.  It sure as hell doesn't mean that we stop feeding them because it's too STRESSFUL (What the hell kind of fragile person thinks that feeding a dog is stressful?)   And we certainly don't toss them in the garbage when they've ceased to be amusing.

As I've shown in my illustration with the girl with "too many cats," I don't have a lot of respect for people that dump animals off at the shelter.  But it's 99,999 times better than starving them to death.  It at least means that those cats aren't going to starve to death, so there is SOME acknowledgement of responsibility there.  I wish that the others had at least done the same.  I have no idea of why they didn't take their animals to a shelter if they were unable or unwilling to provide for them.

Patrick the pit bull (the one that was thrown into the trash chute) got lucky.  He survived his ordeal and got enough media coverage that people from all over want to adopt him when he's healthy again.  He will go on to have a good life.  Snoop, the first dog, wasn't so lucky, and came to a horrible end, no doubt wondering what he had done wrong to have food so cruelly withheld from him.

I'm not sure of where I'm going with this, I only know that seeing stories like this hurts my heart, and makes me want to get out and DO something to protect these animals.  A blog post isn't much, but it's something.  It's better than hiding my head in the sand and pretending that it isn't happening.  And maybe that's a good enough start...  for now.  Maybe the day will come that I can personally swoop in and rescue an animal from an abusive situation, but for now, I will blog.  And I will support and cheer on those of you that are more actively involved with rescuing animals from abusive situations.


  1. Well said!! I (Helen) work for the RNZSPCA (New Zealand's SPCA) and we see so much of this all day, every day. it is heart-wrenching and people NEED to desex their animals!

  2. I think the most important thing that we can all do is to stand up and say that we feel it isn't okay, and to vote for leaders who will influence the change that we are looking for.

  3. It always astonishes me that people can do horrible things to pets and then go on with their lives as if they did nothing wrong. I guess in their minds, it's 'just a dog'. I hate that phrase.

    I've been following Patrick's story since the first days after he was rescued, and just a few moments of looking at his photos and videos, you can see he is far more than 'just a dog.' He is a living, breathing, feeling creature, and I am keeping my fingers crossed that his story helps set some stricter penalties for similar cases.

    Good blog! :)

  4. Pets are not disposable! Dogs, cats, rabbits, ferrets, horses, and any other animals are not accessories or toys!
    Penelope was bought so they could "sell the kittens and make money" she was beaten, burned and starved. She was so afraid of people she bit and scratched. It took a lot of love and time to turn her into a decent cat. Kozmo was left in a plastic bag on a doorstep. Bob was abandoned too young, as was her sister Sam. eventually their mother was rescued too!
    I don't understand how people can do that - I worry about their children.
    I don't have a lot of cash, but I donate to local foundations, I give them my art as auction items, I paint pet portraits for their calendars, I buy an extra bag of food and drop it off.
    Sorry about the rant! It hit too close to home.
    Nellie's Mom

  5. My thoughts exactly. Hurting any animal deliberately is EVIL. It is mind boggling and terrifying how many people actually think like animals are just objects and can be tossed aside at a whim. Animals live in a human world, where we are suppose to take care of them and sadly most never really do. Too many of them are being hurt in the most unbelievable ways and for what? I don't know because I can't think like that. It is beyond my comprehension and it is scary that we live in a world where animals are tortured to their deaths.

    I wish I could save them all too. :(

  6. Exactly!!!! It makes mom crazy. In fact, she went hunting for kittens last night and one neighbor played 20 questions with her trying to figure out why she duh?? Let's see - catch them now and find them homes. Not catch them now and HOPE we trap later before they have MORE kittens. goober.... What really makes mom nuts is the blatant disregard "I didn't realize they were starving" or "I didn't realize the collar was imbedded". We say let the punishment fit the crime....start putting cages out in from of the statehouse building and putting the animal abusers in there and let them think about it for a while.

  7. That's part of how I got Sheba. The previous owner had to offload three rotties. Two were easy sells to good homes. They were typical rotties, independent and full of the usual rottie characteristics. Sheba was not. She was previously abused by her first owner. She is fearful of people, nervous, needy, not confidant, and one heck of a handful. Who in their right mind wants a 'broken' rottie?

    Well... I can't let a fellow freak get shipped back to a rescue where there is little chance of adoption, can I? Not to mention a fearful needy dog in a lonely cage for extended periods? It would do bad things to that poor dog.

    So, as you well know, I took her in. It's not easy... I'm kind of not allowed to travel, as I can only have one person take care of her. It's not fair to the dog, and I refuse to back down from my responsibility. I have only left her once per year for a convention, and that was only a weekend.

    I also know full well that my house isn't exactly ideal for a rambunctious rottie. I am the only human in the house, I have to work weird hours and also have some activity in evenings. I am, however, trying my best to give her a good home where she is as fulfilled as I can make her. I miss so very much in terms of activities, but it was a choice I willingly made. And it is very much worth it.

  8. The state of being that would permit such atrocious cruelty scares me to death. It seems possible, to me, only if the person doing such things has become completely cut off from the world of feeling. Cut off from, unknowing of, any world wider than just their own petty devices and desires.

    These people have become dulled. Stupid. Indifferent. Surely that's what helps them sleep at night. Stupid indifference (and who knows what other substances, in many cases) masks, dulls, the intolerable rage and aggression that must be lurking underneath.

    That's an awful, potent cocktail. Any cruelty becomes possible. This is not "just" cruelty to "animals." This is just plain cruelty.

    And there's nothing plain about it. Such people have become dangerous to all life unlucky enough to be within their reach. The acts are a desecration. Opposite to the beauty, of care and empathy for others, by which human beings are ennobled. Woe! Woe!

    So spending time and company with people like you and your readers, who join me in caring for the miracle of life that is, in my case, the Very Strange Cat who shares life with me, is the healing antidote I myself need. Otherwise, I can't endure the scars I bear, myself, from having suffered just this kind of stupid cruelty. Inflicted on me by another person who so suffered, and on and on it goes.

    Thank you, all of you, for your care. For your having the imagination to see, the understanding to appreciate, that all life needs attention and care.

    You, we all, have the power to heal. May we all use that power well. With it, life blossoms. Becomes beautiful, where once it was dreadful. Wonderful! Wonderful!

  9. I completely understand where you are coming from, especially when some of the stories we all hear are so horrific.

  10. I can watch humans being hurt or injured and feel sad but just can't bear to watch or read about any animal cruelty, reading any stories like these plays on my mind for hours. Sadly it's the same the world over, or worse in some places...the more I see of people the more I love my dogs as the saying goes. xx

  11. I seriously want to slap some people.

  12. I knew that speaking this message to this crowd was "preaching to the choir." Not a single person reprimanded me for my strong feelings on the matter, which has actually happened out there in non-blog-land. Out there, you get things like, "It's just a dog," "It's just a cat, what's YOUR problem?"

    Anita, I'm saddened to hear that you too have suffered at the hands of someone so incapable of empathy, though am heartened that you have not let it destroy you.

    These people that would abuse an animal, I'm sure are quite capable of doing the same to a human being, given the right circumstances. It's heart-breaking, and yes, terrifying. And maddening.