Over and over and over.
In the 46 years I have been in Atlanta, I have not grown numb to the amount of animal abuse I have seen with my own eyes, or on TV. It seems this behavior is common in communities that are deemed ‘poor’, but in my experience, it’s not poverty that makes animal abusers, it’s a moral depravity and ignorance. If you don’t agree…you tell me. It’s a tolerance and an excuse factor of people living in these neighborhoods. It’s a disregard for the life of anyone else, or anything else, except these abusers and their own families.
Some people wonder why there is so much violence in Atlanta and surrounding cities: robberies, hit and runs, random killings, road rage, rape, etc. To me it’s this disregard for life. I believe it starts with animal abuse. It’s so easy for people to either ignore and make excuses for this behavior. I have seen it over and over with children and adults in this SW Atlanta area. It starts many times with animal abuse and goes on to child abuse.
A few years ago, a Section 8 family down the street, she in a wheelchair and he half-blind, had some beautiful puppies. One of them died, and the 12 year old kid of theirs threw the puppy out in the weeds. My son saw this, we called the police and animal control. Police did nothing about the puppy, but the Animal Control officer told us that she had seen so much of animal abuse after 13 years that she had to quit for her own sanity. She had come to hate people and she no longer wanted to be around this environment. She quit and moved out of Georgia. However, the Police finally listened to the complaints of other residents and investigated this house. These two people were busy packaging cocaine in their basement. They moved to another part of Capitol View. The cocaine operation stopped, at least at this house.
They had a dog there that neighbors said had been tied up on concrete to a fence the entire winter. What little food it was thrown was mainly junk, scraps. After this police business, they stopped even feeding it, and must have let the dog go. He ran up the street and I after it. A neighbor hid the dog for a few days until we could get him shaved. “Sparky” came home with me, a beautiful English Field Spaniel, of undetermined age, with terrible teeth. Sparky was with us for almost 5 years before he died of cancer., the first day of Spring, 2011. I loved that dog to distraction. I still do.
Yesterday I was in a hospital waiting room amongst a bunch of women. Some one started talking about her recently deceased dog of 10 years. One woman casually said: “I hate animals.” She wasn’t kidding. I stuck my nose in and said: “I hate people.” People laughed but her statement went deep with me.
I’ve known and been around poor people for the years I have lived in Atlanta. Poverty is no excuse for animal abuse. I’ve known poor people who lavish love and attention on their pets, not abuse. One of my neighbors loves his cat, “Lady” with the same affection he shows his children. Lady follows him all over, waits for him on his steps, and he is very proud of her. One morning, around 6:30am, he called me because Lady was doing ‘poorly’. Asked if I would exam her. I have become the local ‘vet’ for a number of my neighbors. That’s fine with me, because I used to be a surgical vet tech many years ago. I don’t turn any animal away from my door.
Lady was fine, and he did take her to a vet later that day, but I am touched by his genuine love for his friend. I trust people who show affection for their pets. I know that they are not touched by the moral depravity I see so often in this city.
I have written often about our household: Now, four dogs and eight cats in residence. There is also “Walter” a cat deserted by neighbors who just moved away and left him. Walter was named by my husband for a dead neighbor. Walter has moved in with us, and he’s welcome. Gally (Galahad) is now 12 years old: I found him at the end of a driveway, when he was approximately 4 months old. He was pink. His coat was gone because of mange. He just lay there, in 92 degree weather. I left food for him, went to Kroger, came back and he was still in the same position as when I first saw him. I decided he was mine: I put him in the back of my car, drove home and fed him soft food. We, my son and I, gave Gally a bath because he had huge fleas on him, but then decided to immediately take him to our vet. Gally had a temperature of 105 so he was put outside and we sprayed him with a garden hose until his temp returned to normal. He was on the verge of brain collapse. hew as also only 24 lbs. at 4 months. Obviously a large dog IF he lived.Fulton Animal Control again got involved and took their other dogs. These dogs were put down because they were totally unsocialized. They were just ‘backyard dogs’, chained up.
Again, ignorance and contempt for life.
The Animal Control officer cried when she saw Gally. This was a relatively new officer, overcome by what she saw on a daily basis. Gally didn’t walk for almost a month. We had to carry him outside and he just wanted to lay under a chair in the grass. It took a long time for Gally to recover, but he’s a wonderful dog. He smiles.
Gally and Daphne…Daphne is 4, was found dumped on I75 exit north of here. She came from the Fulton County Animal Control when she was 3 months. A German Shorthaired Pointer, who has a bay like the Hound of the Baskervilles. GSPs are alarm dogs.
Today, Gally is a 90 lb . mostly German Shepherd, a couch potato and a wonderful family member. I took Gally back down that road and spoke to the ‘men’ in the driveway. “There was something wrong with that dog. He wouldn’t eat.” Yeah, you bastards didn’t feed him. They were very surprised to see how beautiful Gally was, and that he had survived. A year later, their house completely burned to the ground.
This fall we adopted Mia at the Fulton County Animal Control. We had only 3 dogs, and it felt rather ‘light’ around here. Mia had been found near our neighborhood, in an industrial area. She was pregnant, heartworm positive and had burns on her neck. She was very afraid of men. Obviously she had reason to be afraid. They had her in the pound for 4 months which was unusual. All the handlers there had fallen in love with her: if a fight started in the compounds, Mia was sure to run the other way. We didn’t see her the first time around the pound. They had to point her out. The employee called her name and all the other dogs rushed forward to set up a howl. Mia just sat back and shivered in excitement. Mia is an English Staffordshire pit bull terrier. When we brought this 4 year old home, she sat in the front yard while our 8 cats came and investigated this new dog. She showed no aggression at all towards the cats. They, however, slapped her around. Mia just turned the other cheek. Now? The cats climb on the couch to arrange themselves around her and on top of her.
MIa, in bed with a mob cap on.
Recently, there was a video of a young woman, named Deangelo Polain in Decatur, a city next to Atlanta, who was walking holding a small dog by the neck and punching it in the face. Someone turned in the video and this 18 year old woman was finally arrested. PETA offered a $5000 reward for her arrest and conviction. Atlanta has a anti-abuse law on the books but I haven’t heard of it being enforced. Maybe with that football player, but it takes a lot of media attention and public outrage before these things go to court. I’ve taken a former neighbor to court three times for animal abuse, beating a puppy. This drunk bastard beat this 3 month old puppy with a stick and almost strangled her. They were very surprised and pissed when I yelled at them to stop. “Ain’t none of your fucking business, bitch. ” Well, it was and is, and they didn’t get a pass. This toxic family finally moved away, but this case was never finalized. I don’t think that people take these things seriously. It’s more an attitude of ‘what can you do? People do these things around here.’
Two years ago, a block away, a dog was shot 7 times and thrown in a dumpster. Someone finally called the police, but the dog died. Years ago a number of us fed a large red chow, called “Big Red”. He had been shot by the local drug dealers as they left the area. Crippled in the legs, he recovered by himself, but we never were able to catch him. My son, Christopher, was able to pat him and Big Red seemed to trust him. We would troll the neighborhood looking for him, leaving him food. He disappeared one winter, probably died in the woods behind our street.
Nine years ago we saw a little, half-grown kitten laying on a ledge of a porch. This man had a lot of cats, but he didn’t feed them. He also had dogs, that a number of friends had rescued. We stole that kitten, and today Kiki is a beautiful, wonderful, affectionate cat. He’s a trip and sleeps on our bed when he gets the chance. They have their own room with lots of blankets, but Kiki prefers our bed. Mostly sleeping across Fred’s head. Fred is very allergic and has to take monthly shots. But he loves these guys.
Your valuables are safe with me, but if you abuse your animals, or they look hungry, they are mine. And you will never, ever, get them back.
A neighbor, who isn’t a bad guy, just loud and sometimes drunk, two years ago came to my gate and said “There’s a cat on my porch. I hate cats, I’m going to poison him.” I went up there and a 3 month old kitten came straight up to me and pleaded to be picked up. He obviously had been dumped on our street. In a thunderstorm, Sasha and I ran home, he tucked under my shirt. Sasha is huge: not fat, just big, muscular. He is on the kitchen patrol: he lies on the counters and watches me cook, making his suggestions for dinner. He’s a chow hound, and is hilarious to watch. A dear friend from Canberra, Australia has visited twice in the last two years and has bonded with him. When Nick leaves, Sasha goes and continues to sleep in his bed until I wash the bedclothes. Sasha is very vocal, and when I am on the phone with Nick, Sasha seems to know and bats the receiver. Nick has two of his own cats. Sasha is named after his Sasha.
Each of our pets here has a story. They are all strays, or abandoned, or have suffered wounds from abuse. What we do to rescue the animals in Atlanta pales to what friends here do to alleviate the suffering of the local pets. I don’t understand people who lose a dog or cat (usually their only pet) and say “we just can’t replace him with another yet.”
WTF??? It’s not about us, the humans. It’s about the population of starving, abused animals out there. There, (at least here) is always room for one more.
Can you understand why I can say “I hate people”. ??
Or perhaps, it’s just that I love animals.
Someone famous ( attributed to M. Gandhi, though it isn’t in his works…) said:
“a civilization can be measured by the treatment of its animals”.
Atlanta has a long way to go before it’s civilized.
Mimi, found at 3 months down on the corner of Stewart Avenue and University. Our resident clown. Now almost 6 years old.