• Barry KuKes

Talking About Pets: Are some people so cruel or just that stupid?

Updated: Apr 21

Last week I saw two disturbing posts on Facebook both related to animal abuse and cruelty. Well-meaning friends and associates were compelled to include me on these posts they received because I work for a humane society, and maybe they felt I had some magical power to eliminate cruelty in the world or to fix stupid But as we all know, you can’t fix stupid, and cruelty is hatred focused on the helpless, which goes back to the time of Cain and Abel.

The first post showed a woman putting her cigarette out in the eye of a puppy. Who in their right mind does this to a puppy? (The key words being “right mind”) Are people so cruel that they have no respect or compassion for a helpless animal? Now, keep in mind, many posts on Facebook are not real and the only intent of the poster is to get reactions and then the data is collected and analyzed. I am hoping this cigarette post was not real, but sadly there are people this cruel.

The second post, which does appear to be a real post, is where we get into the “stupid” category of the human race. The image shows a dog who was frozen to death. She was in one of those plastic igloo-designed doghouses meant for indoor use or in areas like Florida. The dog and her five puppies, who also froze to death, were inside the igloo doghouse in the western part of North Carolina, where snow and freezing temperatures in the mountains are very common. Someone went out of their way to secure a doghouse for the dog and her puppies, so there appears to be good intent, but to not bring the dogs into a warmer, above-freezing location was pure ignorance. My only hope is that the pet owners were somehow detained or physically unable to help the dogs, but in many cases like this, the owners are intoxicated or incapacitated from some other self-indulgent behavior.

Freezing temperatures are just as dangerous to animals as intense heat. Leaving a dog in an unattended car when it’s 95 degrees is a death sentence for the dog even if the length of time is as little as 10 minutes. Freezing temperatures do not affect an animal as quickly as intense heat, but a dog or cat left out in the elements overnight when temperatures are below zero, accompanied by 30-mile-an-hour winds, can also be a death sentence.

Are the lives of some people so busy that they forget they left their pet or in some cases, their child in their boiling hot car? Are some people so cruel that they take pleasure in hurting a defenseless animal? Unfortunately, the answer to both questions is yes. Many abuse cases come to the humane society. Animals who are intentionally burned, cut, blinded, have broken limbs and worse, if you can imagine. Research and studies have shown that mass murderers usually have a history of animal abuse which, over time, escalates to the abuse of women and children.

If you see someone abuse an animal, call the police. It’s against the law. The definition of abuse is “treat (a person or an animal) with cruelty or violence, especially regularly or repeatedly.” We, being of sane mind and lovers of animals, need to protect the helpless from the monsters among us. If you are an animal lover and will treat the animal like family and protect it, then please go to a shelter or rescue and save an animal from an abuser. If you have lost a beloved pet and have decided to not have a pet again because of the pain and loss you feel is too much to bear, think about the animal adopted by the abuser. Think about their pain and suffering and how someone like you, a real animal lover and caregiver, could have saved the animal from the demented mind of the abuser.

Giving a homeless animal a home is just the first step to giving the animal a life. Many animals who come to the shelter are very despondent and withdrawn. They don’t want to be by anyone and are very unsocial. Yet, someone believed in the animal and gave them a loving home. Months later, the pet parents sent us an image of the dog or cat cowered in their kennel the day they were adopted and then, a recent picture of the pet smiling with bright eyes, a spark in their soul, and love in their heart. Save an animal from an abuser today. Remember, adopt don’t shop.

Barry KuKes is the community outreach director at Halifax Humane Society. He recently published a collection of his columns titled "Why do People Have Pets?" which is available at amzn.to/2RWr2d4

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