Ameliorating Cruelty



“People speak a lot today about the banality of evil, but not all evil is banal. Some of it is carefully structured and well-thought-out. That’s where the real danger lies.” – Alan Dean Foster

Massachusetts has very tough animal cruelty laws. If people are caught abusing and/or neglecting animals, they can face jail time and stiff monetary fines in some cases.

Recently we had this following incident and if it is ever figured out about who put the sack of puppies in the river, he will be in big trouble with the policemen who have been diligently working to solve the cruel crime. Meanwhile, many more people than this number of puppies rescued want to adopt one or more of them.

On a related note, one of my friends adopted a dog that had been put in a sack with her puppies and the person or persons who did this action shot at the sack for target practice as it floated downstream in Tennessee. Can anyone imagine the sort of mentality behind doing this action rather than take the mother and her babies to an animal shelter?

A fisherman downstream from the would-be dog killers saw the barely floating sack and waded into the water to nab it. When he opened it, he was horrified.

All the puppies were dead and the mother was hardly alive and, aside from being half drowned, she had several bleeding gunshot wounds, which he immediately plugged with cloth.

Grim and in shock, the fisherman ran to his car with the sack and his fishing pole. He wrapped the mother in a towel in the car seat next to him, put the sack, which was dripping blood and water that he could clean up later, on the car floor and sped off to the vet that he uses for his own pets. Fortunately the veterinary clinic was close by.

So he ran into the clinic while loudly stating something like “Animal emergency. Prep for surgery. Gun shot wounds and half drowned dog.”

Boy did the staff all move lightening fast! They quickly weighed the half-dead mother dog to see the amount of anesthesia to give her and learned that she had not long ago given birth. They learned of her rescue and the death of all baby pups.

On account, they decided to subsume half of the cost for tending to the mother, including in recovery, and the rescuer said that he would take care of the other half. However, it wasn’t necessary since many people in the region donated money to the clinic for her care after learning of the event, which covered all vet care costs and, additionally, provided money for her future care at a no-kill shelter.

The no-kill shelters are wonderful places! Indeed my daughter volunteered at a no-kill shelter in MA during high school and she found the happening great fun! … One gets to play with animals all day — kitties, hamsters, gerbils, guinea pigs and other kinds indoors and play with dogs outdoors in the fenced-in yard. And as a volunteer or worker in such a place, you get affection back in spades as you pet and interact with the animals while they get needed exercise, stimulation and tenderness, which makes them feel valued and loved.

Anyway, my friend, upon hearing the harrowing story of the mother dog, cried and adopted her. She was skittish, sometimes shook from fears and was not trusting of most people. Would anyone blame her for that? After all, she had some sort of dog version of PTSD, I suppose.

If a stranger came into the home of my friend, she would back into a corner growling. So I looked her in the eyes when I first met her, but didn’t get close and I said, “I love you. I am sorry about what happened to you. You are a good girl and you have a good life now. I wish you well.”

I used a certain caring tone of voice and went and sat on the sofa to discuss some matters with my friend. Low and behold, the dog, a few minutes later, came very slowly up to me while crouching. I didn’t look at her then, but slowly drooped my arm and hand over the couch edge for her to sniff.

She did so and then jumped up on the sofa to sit next to me. So I was glad to have gained her trust or, at least, partial trust. … I just wanted her to be calm, comfortable and happy, as well as not disturbed by my presence.

Aside from this particular dog, I saw another formerly abused animal one time. It was a horse awarded to a friend of mine, a woman with a small haying and horse farm, by the state of MA and taken from his abusive and neglectful owner.

The horse was found knee-deep in manure, had sores all over its body, had a hoof infection, and was emaciated and half-starved. it was found since neighbors of the owner had called animal control officers about the stench from his barn.

My friend spent the time to put antibiotic salve on the wounds, injected him with healing drugs, feed him, watered him, etc. She also put him in a fenced in paddock with young nice horses to try to socialize him. Yet it was a no-go since all that he did each day except when eating or drinking to was put his chest against the fence and wave his head back and forth without looking at anyone or anything. In short, he’d been too traumatized and was clearly out of his mind.

Well, it just goes to show you that you can save some like the sacked puppies and my friend’s dog. For others, you can only do so much to help them while hoping that they will heal emotionally over time.

All considered, it seems to be the same general process whether someone attacks animals, the natural world so as to make a gargantuan profit or members of other religious, racial, caste, cultural and social class groups. It seems the same general process whether done on a one to one person scale or when it involves a huge number of others, such as happens when a whole country of people are harmed and assaulted.

This is so since the intention, whether sadism is involved or not, is to tear down, destroy, hurt and sometimes even kill if not for sport, then for hatred and a sense of sick self-empowerment for one’s own presumed superior position.

Accordingly, the identities of the assailed ones are maligned, belittled and put down. Their worth is considered negligible and the result is that nothing ultimately positive comes out of the interaction — only some degree of destruction and misery.

My closest friends know this understanding deep in themselves. So they work tirelessly to express values opposite to the ruin and sometimes carnage of others. Indeed, they relish working to end social, environmental and political injustice. Some also work to protect domestic and wild animal rights.

What an amazing group they are! How heartening as they provide hope for positive changes rather than being indifferent or vituperatively disparaging of the animals, other life and people different from themselves!

With their outlooks in mind, I especially like the punchline in this amazing short video. It that “a compassionate world begins with you.” It sums up a certain stance in life perfectly!

Sally Dugman is a writer from MA, USA



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