These drivers are so alien to me that it is a painful mental struggle to find the mindset. But I don't want to be dismissive of it because, at the end of the day, that is where I believe we have the greatest opportunities for change.
In some way I can "understand" abuse. Whether you have an uncontrollable temper or you are threatening or implementing abuse of an animal to scare and control a spouse or child, I can see where this is coming from. I don't condone it but I can fathom it. Hoarding too, I understand. Many of these people feel they are actually doing right by the animals. They feel they are giving them a better life than they might have at a shelter or on the streets. Yes, they don't have a clear picture and but their motivations are generally good.
But there is one huge category I cannot wrap my head around and that is neglect.
I was reading a story today from the ASPCA about a poor pup left to suffer for weeks in an abandoned home. The dog was forced to eat refuse - ketchup packets, razors, wood chips - as it tried to fill it's empty stomach.
The article states:
It was a devastating discovery. Last January, ASPCA Special Agents arrived at an abandoned Bronx home to find the emaciated body of a dog lying lifeless among piles of garbage and feces. A thorough investigation by our Agents led to the arrest of Cherika Alvarez. The 30-year-old was charged with abandoning her one-year-old Pit Bull, Alizé, mid November 2009.
A necropsy proved that the emaciated dog ate nothing but razor blades, bits of plastic, wood chips, garbage and ketchup packets for weeks before he died.
“This was a clear-cut case of severe and inexcusable animal neglect,” says Stacy Wolf, ASPCA Vice President and Chief Legal Counsel for the Humane Law Enforcement. “The necropsy established in horrifying detail what this dog ingested in a futile attempt to stay alive.”
Last week, with strong evidence at hand, Judge Robert Sackett found Alvarez guilty of animal cruelty. She now faces up to one year in prison and a $1,000 fine at her September 28 sentencing.
These cases render me completely baffled. From dogs and cats left in abandoned homes or outside to starve to the animals with fur so matted it's ripping their skin to the ones covered with ticks so thickly they are being bled to death, I don't get it.
Neglect to me is willful. There are no excuses. You can't afford to feed or care for your animal or you have to move and can't bring it with you? Take it to a shelter, call the animal control and let them know it's been left. Do it anonymously if you have to. Can't afford to take your pet to the groomer, get a pair of scissors and trim them yourself - scissors are what a dollar or two? Heck, borrow a pair if you have to.
There is NO EXCUSE for neglect!!! Do these people not care? Then why did they get this animal in the first place? Are they psychopaths that enjoy torturing animals (there is a HUGE correlation here, by the way)? Can we use this as a basis for mental evaluations?
I just don't get it. Not sure I ever will. How can I understand so I can help prevent this abuse?
For now, Take Action!
If you suspect an animal may be the victim of neglect or abuse, please report it. Visit the ASPCA Report Cruelty FAQ to learn how to report cruelty in your neighborhood.