Sunday, December 29, 2013

NO Place For Animal Abuse

One of the things I grew up with in my life as a kid was seeing just how animals were treated if they weren't 100% obedient.  Please note though that obedience may not mean what you think it was.  Of course, we as kids weren't treated any better.  Obedience meant you did whatever the "masters" wanted at any point in time, even if it meant one thing in one moment and something else in the next.

Time and time again I heard and witnessed the phrase "I'll Teach Them A Lesson" by members of my family.  In this post, I'm more speaking out for the animals.  If the dog or cats didn't do exactly what some member of the family thought they should do, they were disciplined and taught a lesson.

These lessons were taught in the way of the cats being hurled up into the air as they went sailing out the front door.  More severe lessons were taught by closing the cats in the basement door or drowning them in a river.    Of course there was the normal beatings that they would get in my house for just about anything.  A cat in my house didn't dare jump up on a table or counter.  That was like a major sin unto God.  Apparently God condoned this type of behavior in our house.

The dogs were not immune to the lessons either.  Shoes would be thrown at the dogs, or they would be held by the collar while they were beaten and kicked for whatever crime they committed.  Sometimes they would be locked up for a long time in the garage and tied to a chain to show them just who was boss.  Its important to note that we were not supposed to go out and see the dog until the imposed sentence was served.  I would sneak out and take the dog part of my meal and water.  Heck, the dogs would even be shot at as they ran down the road.  If all else failed, it was up to our father (the patriarch) of the family to have my younger brother go out and shoot his dog because he didn't like the dog.

It didn't just stop there either.  I saw my father transport livestock driving a semi-truck and when he got mad because those animals wouldn't load on a truck quickly, he stuck the (F'in) hotshot stick up their backside and gave them a shot of electricity. Oh how I wanted to use that hotshot stick on him more than once!  However, I couldn't let on to the anger that I held inside because if I did, my life would be in danger and I'd be the one beaten.

I still remember how my father smiled when I got home from college one time telling me he had fixed our ram (male sheep) from ever again knocking us into the fence.  The ram we had liked to do that.  If you know anything about male sheep, they get possessive of the females they are around and any other "male figure" becomes a threat.  They try to put you in your place.  I got used to it and while it was a nuisance, it didn't bother me that bad.  In a million years, the action of this ram would not have warranted me taking a two-by-four and beating the ram silly until he could barely stand up. When he shared that news with me, I walked away full of rage.  I so badly wanted to find that two-by-four in that moment and see if I could do the same to him.

Way back in the early days, I remember seeing my older brother teach a frog a lesson.  After all, the only crime the frog committed was that it was in the wrong place at the wrong time.  So my older brother took his bicycle tire and ground the frog into his death.  Of course now, my older brother is saved and baptized ONCE AGAIN in the Baptist Church so maybe his God has forgiven him again.

My intent is not to knock anyone's religion but many of these things were done with justification of God and yet, the words that were taught to us conflicted the action we saw bestowed upon the animals.  In any event, these humans (a.k.a my family members) could do these horrible things to the animals and then run back to church and act as if God thought everything was okay with them. 

I still can't stand to see people hunt, kill, maim, or abuse any living animal.  I'm not sure what it does for people that do these things, but I don't find it the least bit appealing.  Seeing pictures posted just about brings out the worst thoughts in me.

I still remember when I was overseeing a farm many years ago and one of the caretakers kicked one of the pigs to get her to stand up.  I looked at him with growing anger in my eyes and said, "If I ever see that again, I will kick you so hard you'll never get yourself back up".  The guy was much bigger than me, but at that point, I could have taken on anyone.  When he started to talk back to me, I just looked at him and said, "If you know what's good for you, you will stop right there!" You just don't abuse and hurt an animal in front of me or with my knowledge of it.  I will lose my cool quickly.

For me, I love our cats.  We treat them with respect.  We never hit them to discipline them.  We never treat them like they are pieces of you-know-what.  We honor and respect them.  Outside of a couple of times, we've never had problems with these kittens.  They are good-natured, well behaved and full of love.  I think NOT hitting or abusing them is the key.  We just love our cats and they know it!

If you love animals and I mean truly love them, they will do the same back.  If you treat animals as your property - they will not have any respect for you. Most animals I can walk up to and they trust me from the moment we meet.  I've never had a problem with animals because they know my heart.  Animals can see through your rhetoric and actions and they know instantly just who you are deep inside.

The people who tormented and abused the animals I grew up with are still functioning in society and they never had to answer for it.  The laws didn't protect the animals in their care.  They only gave lip service that God loved all things, when in fact they like many, don't even begin to understand what that means.  They have been "saved" by God over and over again so to them, all these things don't matter.  I get so tired of these bible thumping people that don't begin to practice what they believe and preach.

I just read a blog post by a friend on "Archbishop Desmond Tutu Speaks Out for Animals" and the following quote says it all.

In his first major statement on animal welfare Archbishop Tutu says “Our dominion over animals is not supposed to be despotism. We are made in the image of God, yes, but God – in whose image we are made - is holy, loving, and just. We do not honor God by abusing other sentient creatures.

To this day, I am still haunted by the screams of animals gasping for their last breath of air.  When I was a kid, I hoped the animals would rise up and rule the humans.  There isn't a day that goes by that I don't think about what happened to these animals I once knew.

If all you know how to do is hit your pets and treat them as if they are subservient to you, then by all means go and find someone that will care for them and not abuse them.  If you think posting pictures of you "killing animals" is good for all to see, then please throw your camera away. 

Animals have as much a place on this earth as do humans and it is not our role to treat them with the same hatred that many spew upon others.  Animals deserve better.  Animals are our companions and fellow journeyman through life.

I don't often talk about some of these things because it still brings me much anguish and pain when I think about my pets of years gone by.  The veterinarian that was with my dog when she died, cried with me on the phone because the buckshot was still lodged in her legs years after my father shot at her.  The buckshot that was the result of him getting upset at her.  She is the larger dog (Doberman Pincher) pictured in the picture on this post.  Her name was Princess.

The other dog in this picture was the one that I found out many years later from my younger brother, that because my dad didn't like his dog, he was forced to go out and shoot it and bury it.  You talk about having to deal with rage when I found that out?  Her name was Dutchess.  I can only guess what that did to my younger brother.

While I would love to help stop animal abuse, I don't think I could come in contact with someone that abused animals without ending up in prison for what I would do to them.  Animal abuse brings out so much rage in me and I struggle to this day to deal with that.  There is so much of this that takes place in our world and all too often we as a society close our eyes to the horrors.  My only hope is that I can give the animals my voice and my words to help protect them and make this world a better place.

Rest in peace Princess, Dutchess, Blackie, Charcoal, Smokey, and many others...  You're never forgotten.

Blog Post And Images (c) 12/28/13 by Don Shetterly

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