Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Both ends of the spectrum of animal abuse

Apparently there was a video released yesterday showing a Marine allegedly throwing a puppy off of a cliff while another Marine off camera coos in a childlike voice,

"Oh so cute, so cute little puppy."

The puppy is motionless but sounds of yelping can be heard as the puppy is tossed off the cliff until, finally, a thud.

I have not seen the video because I have no desire to watch that happening, and I won't post it here. Just the idea sickens me.

Marine officials are investigating the matter, whether the video is even real and if it is what action should be taken against the soldiers.

If it is real this is an extreme case of abuse, where an innocent animal is needlessly killed in a horrific way. Unequivocally. I don't think anyone can dispute that.

But what about the other end of the spectrum?

My friend Major Bedhead has a post up about a neighbor of hers with two dogs. One, a small toy dog, seems to be well taken care of and lives with the family. The other, a larger retriever looking mix, is forced to live in the basement where he is fed (I don't know how often and if it's adequate) and sometimes watered (though she says the dog is heard dragging his empty bowl around) and is forced to eliminate on the basement floor. He is never taken out and has little contact with his "family".

Is this abuse?

You bet your bippy it's abuse. To me there's little doubt about it. Unfortunately, this type of abuse happens more often than you might think and it's very hard for humane officials to do anything about it because, technically, its not considered to be abuse.

Intentional cruelty is when a person actively abuses an animal and it usually indicates a serious human behavior condition. In the case of the Marine, anyone who can throw an animal to its death needs psychiatric help pronto because who knows what other violent acts that person is capable of. The most common type of abuse of animals is neglect. The ASPCA describes it as, "denying a companion animals the basic necessities of care, such as food, water or shelter." It doesn't say anything about compassion or kindness.

But imagine a scenario where the players were a bit different: Switch the dog with a child. A child is forced to live in a basement. She is given food and water everyday, though probably not enough. She has a roof over her head but is given no attention. She has nothing to stimulate her intellectually. She is not loved or hugged. No one talks to her. And she is forced to live in conditions where her bed is inches away from where she is forced to eliminate, on the floor. Is that abuse?

You don't have to answer that.

So what's so different? Why is this animal who wants nothing but attention and a kind hand, maybe some tasty kibble, some clean water and a soft bed, subjected to that type of blatant abuse and it doesn't raise the ire of an entire community. Where are the news reports for this dog? Is it because the dog cannot speak? He cannot protest his living conditions so, therefore, it's legal for it to continue? Someone please explain this to me.

Maybe if enough people spoke up for the animals who cannot speak for themselves this wouldn't happen as much. Major Bedhead got quite a few comments from people who told her to call the proper authorities and report this neglect. If you know of someone who is treating their dog in this way you can visit the ASPCA website to find a list of the agencies in your area that you can call.

If you find yourself in the situation where you just can't care for your dog any longer, either financially, physically or emotionally, I urge you to give the dog up for adoption. Contact a local shelter, rescue organization or humane society and let someone who can care for the dog do so.

Dogs are companion animals who were bred to be with us. Denying this animal the most common courtesy of our affection is senseless. You wouldn't treat a child this way, you wouldn't treat a fellow adult this way, so why would you treat a defenseless animal so poorly?


tracey said...

i 100% agree with your post. i had heard about the marine-you tube story this a.m. and couldn't imagine. it made me sick to my stomach to even think about. throwing a puppy off a cliff and tethering a dog are all terribly inhumane to me. i never could see how one family with more than one dog could have one inside and one forgotten about. that just doesn't make sense. as one who worked for several years in a humane society, and also has a wonderful three-legged husky mix rescue dog, i just don't understand the world we live in sometimes. if you don't want the responsibility of a pet, just don't get one!

motherbumper said...

People that do these sort of things don't have any respect for life. Why why why would you abuse someone who loves you unconditionally? To feel powerful I guess. What a sick way to feel "good" about yourself.

mamatulip said...


I heard about this video this morning and thought of you immediately. Like you, I can't bring myself to watch it. The thought alone makes me feel queasy -- and to be honest, I'm more of a cat person.

I have always said that if people aren't willing to stand up and be responsible pet owners they shouldn't have pets at all. I used to live beside people who had a very large dog that they kept outside until about 2am. They'd let the dog inside sometime in the wee hours of the morning and then let him back out at dawn, where he'd stay all day long, spring, summer, fall and winter. It drove me crazy, and my protests fell on deaf ears (yes, I did approach them about their dog...not only was the barking keeping us up at night, I really felt it was animal cruelty).

Anonymous said...

I can't watch it either.

We'll see how this plays out - if they find out WHO is responsible for this video and if the dog was real.

People have little regard for animals, and have some people just act with stupidity.

So sad.

flutter said...

I just don't get how people can be so willfully cruel.

I just don't.

Unknown said...

I wonder what has happened to people that they can behave that way or treat another living thing in that manner. It's scary.

Blog Antagonist said...

I won't watch that video either. I can't.

My il's have two dogs. One, the toy poodle, is the most pampered creature on the face of this earth. Honestly, they lavish more attention on that dog than on my kids.

The other, a beautiful, sweet, well behaved collie whom they found wandering in the woods behind their house, is not allowed to come inside. She is given food and water, but she is obviously desperate for human interaction.

I told husband I think it's abusive.

Diminutive One loves her and spends most of his time playing with her when we visit. I wish we could take her.

Fairly Odd Mother said...

I remember babysitting a family that kept their dog tied up outside or in the basement. Never played with her, talked to her, acknowledged her as far as I know. I wish I knew then what I know now. That poor dog still haunts me.

And that video? I can't watch it but I am thankful they made a video b/c maybe now there will be some sort of punishment for their cruelty.

foop said...

This kind of thing is much much much too common. And it's infuriating when people say "it's just a dog". Even if you don't like animals, you should care.

Per the "Abuse Connection" page on pet-abuse.com:

If you break it down to its bare essentials:

"Abusing an animal is a way for a human to find power/joy/fulfillment through the torture of a victim they know cannot defend itself."

Now break down a human crime, say rape. If we substitute a few pronouns, it's the SAME THING.
"Rape is a way for a human to find power/joy/fulfillment through the torture of a victim they know cannot defend themselves."

Now try it with, say, domestic abuse such as child abuse or spousal abuse:
"Child abuse is a way for a human to find power/joy/fulfillment through the torture of a victim they know cannot defend themselves."

Do you see the pattern here?

It's important for all of us to say that we will not tolerate animal cruelty and neglect in our society. This is the twenty first century for jeebus sake. We can do better.

OK, soapbox now being retired for the night...

foop said...

Meant to add a thank you, Chickybaby, for posting it.

Lisa said...

I really wish that it was legal to subject these kind of people to the same bullshit they subject an animal to. And I would like to personally push the man who'd do that to a dog, off of a cliff. But first, I'd like to "fix" him -- without any pain killers.

There was a dog recently in St. Louis that was shot repeatedly and had chemical burns all over it. A woman decided to leave her husband. She took the kids. She didn't have any place for the dog, so she let him at home for the night. The next day, she came back and found her beloved dog on the basement floor in horrible pain. The husband got pissed, so he took his anger out on the dog. She rushed the dog to the vet but they had to put the poor pup down. It was blind in one eye from the chemicals and had immensely suffered. There were pics of the dog on the Humane Society's site. It is horrifying and sad to see the poor animal. Brings me to tears just thinking about it. I cried on/off for days and barely ate or slept. How could someone be so cruel to such a sweet animal? How?

But yes, even people who ignore their dogs -- that is horrible too. I can't imagine. A dog, especially if you put the time and love into the animal, can be such a good-natured, loving addition to the family. I can't imagine our lives without our Abbeydog.

Lisa said...

P.S. In volunteering at the Humane Society in our area for a few years, I learned that when police find out if a person is abusing other family members, the tip off the animal agencies to see if the family pet is also being abused. And if the HSMO finds out an animal is being abused, they tip off the police. Apparently spousal/child abuse goes hand in hand with animal abuse. Sad.

Abbey is a rescue dog. She was neglected. So sad because she's the sweetest, most loyal pup.

Girlplustwo said...

you are such a good soul, love.

Avalon said...

Amen Mrs. C!!! As you know, 3 of mine are rescues and I am actively involved in rescue. For those of us who are animal lovers, might I also suggest donating old towels, blankets, sheets,the occasional bag of food and best, some time to the local shelter. I can't do much because of working full time, but I do occasionally help with grooming and transport, and 10 per week, the cost of 2 Starbucks is taken from my paycheck and donated to my rescue of choice.

Many years ago, my neighbor bought a Beagle puppy with the intentions of training her to hunt with him (right). He left her outside day and night with no shelter.Animal Control would do nothing because she was inside a locked yard with food and water.The final straw was when I looked out and she was huddled under his truck to escape an ice storm. She was less than 1 year old. Magically, later that day, she disappeared from his yard, and I'm certain she found a wonderful and loving home. He never even bothered to look for her.

Manic Mommy said...

I can't watch it either but two thoughts:

1. These guys have guns.

2. Did something occur in their training or deployments to make this acceptable in their minds?

Obviously, the guy holding the camera is equally responsible.

Mandy said...

I had a hard time reading your post because just hearing about animal abuse makes me sick to my stomach. I couldn't read through all the comments either for the same reason. Did you know that psychopaths generally abuse animals in their youth? Maybe a strong comparison, but I definitely feel that there is something intrinsically wrong with a person who can't feel kindness and sympathy for other living creatures.

kittenpie said...

Who would want to see that? How very twisted. But you are right - you occasionally hear stories of children treated this way, and there is huge outcry, while dogs can be treated like this with impuity, it seems. How sad not to be able to open your heart to another creature and do right by them, even if they are not perfect. Should it be our duty, every one of us? Now I'm getting all chokey-uppey.

Namito said...

In addition to what fooped said...one of the ways in which abusers terrorize their victims is to threaten to hurt their pets. Some actually do.

Spot on with the connections, grrl.

Anonymous said...

It is like all the people who get rid of animals because they are moving!

WTF! So if I have to move to a new place....do I take the adult only apt and ditch the kids???

Jeff and Charli Lee said...

I've never understood people who get a dog a then just keep it locked up all the time. What's the point?

foop said...

For anyone who's intersted, the ASPCA Pledge to Fight Animal Cruelty:


ms blue said...

This just breaks my heart. It should be easier to stop cruelty in all these forms to defenseless animals. Who raises people that cannot see how wrong their actions are? That's a scary thought.

NH Yocal said...

Hearing of this breaks my heart in a million pieces. Some people are so sick. I can't believe people can treat dogs, kids or anything like this. As for that Marine, that really scares me. These are people who are trained to kill enemies, not poor little dogs!

Anonymous said...

Catching up on my blog reading. Really. I'm not stalking you.

Just don't look out your kitchen window.

Wink, wink.

There was a case of animal cruelty that is in the news in these sticks of the world. A couple of teens broke into a house to rob it, vandalize it and in the process thought it would be great fun to take the family pet, a sweet lap cat and put it in the microwave.

They turned it on and left.

Imagine the horror that little old lady found when she discovered her sweet pet in the microwave.

The offenders were caught and are currently in trial but I can only hope they actually get punished. Harshly.

Animal abuse is not something to be taken lightly. It sickens me.

Thank you for writing about this.

Major Bedhead said...

I called the MSPCA tonight about the dog next door. I don't know if it will do any good but I've reported it, both to them and to the landlady. I don't know what else I can do at this point.

Unknown said...

I can't watch the video either, but awesome post.

Don Mills Diva said...

I could barely read this post becaue animal abuse makes me feel so terribly sad and worse so terribly powerless. And you are right neglect is a terrible form of abuse as well.

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Robert said...

you are such a good soul, love.