round and round...

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

And then this happens...

Sometimes my faith in humanity is bolstered by something seemingly insignificant - the smile from a stranger, the kind gesture (holding a door, helping someone pick up their spilled handbag contents, etc.). I feel reassured that we're going down the right path as people and we're doing right by the planet and all the beings we share it with. Despite the war, the hunger, the crime we inflict upon each other on a daily basis, I have hope. But then something terrible happens and I question our entire species and wonder how there can be those among us who are beasts with no regard for life.

My recent posts have been very dog-centric. Unintentional, though it may be.

Yesterday we New Yorkers were alerted to a disturbing discovery up in Yonkers. 2 dogs were found by a gas station's cleaning lady. She opened the lid of the dumpster to throw trash in and, to her horror, found 2 dogs. One looking up at her, just staring, unable to move. The other, dead, frozen stiff, practically on top of the living one. These pups were pitbulls, they had been used either as bait for other dogs who had already been tortured into being fighters, or used as fighters themselves. (this is a photo of them, although you cannot fully see the poor, blonde, dead one)

Dog fighting is a serious crime, it's a felony in every state except Wyoming and Idaho (hellooooo? Get your acts together, WY & ID!), and punishable by 4 yrs in prison and a $25,000 fine in NY. How anyone could take an innocent animal and torture it until it becomes vicious is beyond me. The true vicious beasts are the "humans" who perpetuate this type of backwoods, ghetto, lowbrow, criminal, and depraved "entertainment". There are people who will tell you that certain breeds are innately nasty and mean and are meant to fight. Those people are wrong. No domestic canine is born with bloodlust. Some breeds have more natural aggression, but even those breeds are not born killers.

I am the proud caretaker of what some would consider a vicious breed dog. Duke is a Brazilian Mastiff - a fila brasileiro. Some people use these dogs as guard dogs, to intimidate strangers and protect their homes. In fact, in the UK you are prohibited from owning a fila unless you obtain the court's permission because they are classified as "fighting dogs". Hmm... I wonder how they got that reputation? I can assure you it's from irresponsible and callous humans who, for centuries, have trained dogs like Duke to be killers and fighters.

Ours, however, is nothing but sweet and, ironically, the only time he has ever shown aggression toward a dog or human is when some sick minded guy in our neighborhood jerked the chain (thick chain, not leash - evidence of "toughening up" a dog to make them stronger and meaner than their natural disposition) attached to his pitbull's neck and told Matthew they should see if the dogs would fight each other. Duke didn't take kindly to either the guy or his obviously aggressive dog. He lunged and Matthew crossed the street. Isn't it interesting that the only aggression to come out of my dog was provoked by someone wanting to dogfight? Interesting and telling, I'd say.

What is wrong with some people? Why are some people insistent on violence as a means to make themselves feel more powerful? Are people really that shallow, that immature, that emotionally devastated that they see nothing wrong with beating animals into submission and then throwing them into a ring to see which one can kill the other first? We wage war as nations. We commit crimes as individuals.

Saturday morning Matthew and I are going to a local animal shelter to photograph the new rescued dogs they have available for adoption. The photos will go up on the shelter's website in the hopes that someone will see them and want to make them part of their family. We're going to try not to bring home a brother for Duke. I'll let you know how it goes.

Be the change you want to see in the world. Please.

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9 What people are saying:

Blogger SaoirseDaily2 rambles...

The picture broke my heart, so sick and wrong! There is a special corner in hell for whoever did that to those two dogs. Doesn't surprize me about Idaho - they are definitely wierd in many ways over there. That's nice your are taking pictures in hopes for successful adoptions will take place. Both of my shihtzus are rescued babies.

1/09/2008 09:21:00 PM

Blogger Sandra rambles...

Thank you for posting this, you eloquently said what I feel about this issue. Sadly even the dog that lived may not be adoptable after what he's been through, which is so heartbreaking. I wish there was more we sane people could do, but so many of these operations are run so covertly, that's the problem. Even with most states having felony laws, it still isn't enough to deter these assholes, so what does the penalty have to be to get them to stop?!

1/09/2008 09:33:00 PM

Blogger Melissa rambles...

saoirsedaily2 - You're so right about the special corner in hell. I'm glad your pups have you.

Sandra - After I posted this I took Duke out for a walk and we ran into a guy who lives a couple blocks down. He has 2 pits and 2 yorkies. The pits always pull him down the sidewalk and I've thought he was just lax about leash training, sort of looked down my nose at him. Well, he was out with only one of the dogs tonight and we chatted for a minute. Both pits are rescues. He found one tied to a tree in the park in our neighborhood, bruised, bloody, skinny as a rail. She was a fighter. Now I know why she pulls him, she was trained to do it. I suddenly had a whole new perspective and now really respect this man and his dogs. I'm going to try not to be so judgmental this year. I can obviously be way off the mark.

1/09/2008 10:16:00 PM

Anonymous Anonymous rambles...

This is the second story I heard today of cruelty to animals. As both an animal lover and a "human being," I am often disheartened and frustrated by the continued disregard for the rights of animals.

A co-worker's husband refused to allow her to take her dog to the vet to have her pups delivered this morning when it was evident that she had been in distress for almost two days. They all died by the time she was able to take them after he left for work this morning.

Both her story and yours are powerful and poignant reminders to us all about "being the change you want to see in the world."

1/09/2008 11:49:00 PM

Blogger Melissa rambles...

cajunvagan - That is truly awful. Your coworker's husband needs a reality check. So many people don't take their pets to the vet because of the cost and it's such a shame.

1/10/2008 11:54:00 AM

Blogger Patti rambles...

I sincerely hope there is a special place in hell for people who are cruel to animals. I just can't stand it. Even after Maddie was attacked I don't bear ill will toward the dog.

1/11/2008 11:00:00 AM

Blogger Retro Girl rambles...

This breaks my heart and makes me feel physically ill. I cannot for the life of me, understand why anyone could ever ever be cruel or harsh in any way, shape or form to an animal. I love animals and dogs so much.

Your post was so well written, is exactly what I feel about the sort of monsters who do this with/to animals. People who are cruel to animals are also cruel to other humans. They are seriously mentally depraved, and yes, they feed on this for a sense of power to make up for their short-comings. These types need serious psych. help! (Did you know that almost all serial killers have a childhood history of animal torture and cruelty?)

There needs to be more education for the public on animal cruelty and neglect - and what people can do to help stop it. People also need to be responsible pet owners and spay/neuter, obey leash laws, and get training when well.

I pray the remaining pup can be adopted and can have some semblance of a peaceful happy existence. Bravo to you and MT for photographing this pup and telling his story. *HUGS*

1/11/2008 02:59:00 PM

Blogger Melissa rambles...

Oh, retro - it wasn't me who took the photo. I wouldn't have been able to stand there with a camera, I would have been wrapping him up in a blanket and stuffing him in my car. We're going to the shelter tomorrow morning to take pics of the pups that are new to the shelter so the staff can post the pics on their site and places like Not nearly as traumatic as taking pics of those poor pits up in Yonkers. But still, Matthew has already told me he'll probably cry when we leave the shelter tomorrow. He wants to bring them all home to be with us. One of the many reasons I love that man.

1/11/2008 05:28:00 PM

Blogger Melissa rambles...

OH! And Patti, sheesh, girl I've been thinking about you these past couple days. Let me just say that it's amazing and wonderful that you are such a kindhearted woman. You really are. Most parents would understandably lose the ability to be rational when it comes to their child's attacker. Kudos to you for being humane. You're a good human. :-)

1/11/2008 05:30:00 PM


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