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 the owners refused to take it to a veterinarian.
Calling at the luxurious – excessively opulent – 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.
THE MORMON DOG
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.
With an indignant tone, she bellowed: “You will not!”
That dog is not going back to those people.”
That statement haunts me to this day.
That “Rescue Society” refused to return the dog
to its plush-carpeted home (albeit with callous people)
placed it in a concrete box
without toys or any type of mental stimulation.
The shock, the incredulity, the inability to comprehend –
what 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” – two walls
of cinder block, fronted by a chain-link section
that looked out on the parking lot.
Seeing his the family emerge from their car, the dog
limped quickly to the end of the stark concrete ‘run’ – and,
at the chain-link, 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 cold isolation.
The Guilt will live with me for the rest of my life.
Within two weeks, I was no longer
in the employ of the SPCA.
The realisation that … I … had put him there
has haunted me for more than ten years now;
and I wake at times, overcome with despair
that I had been the one to have taken the dog
from that opulent home.
I never would have guessed that – once 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.
That poor 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 he was ‘fostered’.
He 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.
He had been confined for ten months after I quit.
It would have been far better for both dog and me,
to have left him in the opulence of that luxury house,
rather than have him tormented
by the misery of an SPCA … “kennel”.
I despise myself today, at my own wilful ‘blindness’
in being ‘caught up’ in “the ego” of animal rescue.
I could never have imagined
that they would refuse to return the dog,
once it was revealed that the injury was so old.
The inevitable confusion of that affectionate dog
– to wonder what it had done wrong
to deserve to be put in concrete isolation –
never stops preying upon my conscience.
That had been the first and only time
that I have encountered cruelty from neglect,
amongst people who lived in wealth and luxury.
As to the “Reason” that the woman had given me
for her husband refusing to spend money
to have the dog’s injury treated … ?
Well, that 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 …
… have no moral responsibility to provide
medical treatment to any poor animal that is cursed
enough to find itself in their … “care”.
As the old biblical proverb states:
“A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast;
but the tender mercies of the wicked, are cruel.”
But such are the perversions of religious cults
in which the dictates of a “prophet” take precedence
over anything declared by the God
whom they claim to acknowledge.
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 – 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 so, quite enjoyed making instant judgments
about whomever entered their fiefdom.
The most mind-wracking, instance of prolonged Abuse
that I have ever seen with my eyes,
was to witness the reality of dogs who had been
“rescued” from abusive homes …
… to be then put into confinement without bed or toys,
in those concrete boxes
that 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, and (if the sliding
door had not been raised) 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:
the sense of being past all hope.
And HERE were the two ‘mature’ women on staff
telling people that there were no animals for adoption.
THE ELDERLY COUPLE
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”.
My letter, sent to Head Office, resulted in a reply
being sent to my boss, directing her to inform me that
… ‘his last day will be May 4th.’
When it is a crime to speak the truth;
regards moral decency … as treason;
then it is – (whatever else it may pretend)
a totalitarian regime.
Where folk such as me,
will find no home
in such a place.
[ Continued in Part 2: Margaret and “Ginger” ]