Whilst working for an animal “rescue” organisation,
I responded to a telephone complaint of cruelty
in which (the caller stated) a dog had been injured,
but whose owners refused to take it to a veterinarian.
Calling at the luxurious – opulent, luxurious – house,
an older, overweight dog could be seen limping inside.
The woman told me that her husband …
“would not spend money on an animal”.
And then she told me why.
Over the course of a few days, the woman
(under threat of charges of cruelty by neglect)
was obliged to surrender the dog to the SPCA.
X-rays revealed that the limp was from a fractured leg
that had never been treated.
With the animal in considerable pain, it had ‘healed’ over time:
and now, there was nothing more that could be done.
“Well, I will just take the dog back home now” I said
to my boss.
“You will not!” she said.
That dog is not going back to those people.”
That statement haunts me to this day as that “Rescue Society”
refused to return the dog to its plush-carpeted home –
albeit with callous people;
and instead, placed it in a concrete box
without toys or any type of mental stimulation.
The shock, the incredulity, the inability to comprehend –
that must have been going through that poor animal’s mind
torments me to this very day.
I sicken inwardly, to recall the one time when the family
and their lawyer, arrived at the SPCA to argue (fruitlessly)
for their dog to be returned.
The dog was in what passes for a “kennel”
at these places and, upon seeing the family
emerge from their car in the parking lot,
limped quickly to the end of the stark concrete ‘run’ – and,
at the chain-link gate, gave a little hop with clearly visible glee
at the very sight of them.
I will never forget its utter dejection as they finally
had to walk away again, and leave him in the cold isolation
of that concrete confinement.
Within two weeks, I was no longer
in the employ of the SPCA.
The realisation that … I … had put him there
has haunted me these ten years;
and I wake at times, overcome with guilt and despair
that I had been the one to have taken the dog
from that opulent home.
I never would have guessed that – when the injury
was revealed to be years old – that dog would not
be allowed to return to its comfort;
but had to spend its life in the solitary confinement
of that horrible concrete box.
( The dog, I would later find from their Internet Site,
spent ten months in that disgusting box that the SPCA
dares to call a ‘kennel’, before it was ‘fostered’.
Had he not been, I was prepared to write a letter begging
to be allowed to adopt him – although certain
that those people would do me no favours. )
I had quit, in vocal disgust via letter,
at the apathy that was daily exhibited
by those who call themselves a rescue society.
After 12 weeks, that tragic dog had been
the last travesty that I could take from the ‘SPCA’ –
Cruelty from owners; cruelty from “rescuers” …
and the animal left to exist in misery either way.
It would have been far better for me to have left the dog
in the opulence of that luxury house,
rather than have it tormented
in the misery of an SPCA … “kennel”.
I despise myself today, at my own wilful ‘blindness’
in being ‘caught up’ in “the work” of animal rescue.
I simply never thought that they would refuse to return the dog,
once it was revealed that the injury was so old.
The unavoidable confusion of that affectionate dog
– to wonder what it had done wrong
to deserve to be put in concrete isolation –
will afflict me and prey upon my conscience,
until the day I die.
That had been the first and only time
that I have encountered cruelty from neglect,
amongst people who lived in wealth and luxury.
It was the first time I had encountered the Mormons.
Mormons ( it seems ) maintain that an animal is to serve man;
which means – to minds that are brutal and callous enough –
that, Mormons …
… do not have to provide medical care to any poor animal
that is cursed enough to find itself in their … “care”.
The old proverb could not be any more direct:
“A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast;
but the tender mercies of the wicked, are cruel.”
Arriving on this side of the Atlantic a few years ago,
I took work with the SPCA, driving and investigating
various complaints made by the public.
But it was when in the office, that I became
filled with trepidation that all was not “as it seemed”
at this SPCA.
I frequently overheard conversations
between staff and people who came in to adopt animals
– only to be told that there were none
matching the description that they were seeking.
This – I knew – was a lie.
The staff of two women (my own age) were, it seemed evident,
far too filled with a sense of their own self-importance
and decision-making ‘power’ over others;
and quite enjoyed making instant judgments
upon whomever entered the premises.
The most mind-wracking, prolonged abuse
that I have ever seen with my eyes,
was in witnessing the existence of dogs
who have been “rescued” from abusive homes
– to be then put into confinement without bed or toys,
in those concrete boxes
which were outrageously termed “kennels”.
Here, the animal existed with absolutely
NO mental stimulation, for 23 hours a day
– their only relief being IF a dog-walker
happened to choose them for a walk that day.
Concrete walls, concrete floor, no view,
save that of the mentally-tortured animal
in the “kennel” opposite.
It drove me to despair: seeing the lacklustre eyes,
the constant look of defeat: of being past all hope.
And here were the two women on staff
telling people that there were no animals for adoption.
The contempt held by those ‘in office’ was unbelievable:
One Friday afternoon, an older couple
had managed to adopt a dog … only to return
on Monday morning – their faces stained with tears,
and red from crying:
they were here to bring the dog back.
For two days, the dog – now freed from its
mind-altering confinement, and overwhelmed with sights
and sounds – had run rampant in their house,
finally jumping through the glass window
of their living room.
Heartbroken, they had to admit
that they could not keep the dog.
With barely concealed derision, the woman behind the counter
– my … “colleague” … officiously got the adoption papers
and impatiently scribbled on them.
As the distraught couple tearfully left the office,
the woman huffed loudly, turned to her co-worker and said:
“WHAT were we thinking, ever imaging that people like THAT
could handle a dog?!!”
I was disgusted: fuming – and let them know it.
“At least, they TRIED to do something kind”, I said.
The pair of them looked at me and sighed audibly
with evident disgust.
Running down to the parking lot,
I thanked the couple for doing their very best;
hugged them both; and wished them well.
Bringing the matter up to the manager
only made it plain that nothing would be done:
It was me – and not the staff – who was seen as
the one “with a problem”.
A letter, then sent to Head Office,
resulted in an official memo being sent
to my boss, directing her to inform me that
… ‘tell him his last day will be May 4th.’
When it is a crime to speak the truth;
when any business, organisation, or nation
regards moral decency … as treason;
when one can be punished for questioning lies,
corruption, treachery – then that society
( whatever else it may pretend )
is a totalitarian regime.
And folk such as me,
will find no home
in such a place.