Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Hoarding. Abuse. Neglect. The Worst of These.

I spend a lot of time thinking about the reasons why of how people hurt, use and abuse animals.  Abuse comes in so many forms and it is my hope that, if I learn the motivations or the rationale, that I can be better prepared to stop and prevent it from happening to other animals. 

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.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Kickstart some Compassion

I'm a big fan of Kickstarter, Happy Herbivore and compassion, so I love it when all three of those things come together (especially when it involves cute jewelry).

Our favorite Herbivore is doing a Kickstarter turning her adorable Herbie elephant logo into a sterling silver necklace.   Well, you better believe I was on-board!

Check out her project video here to learn all about it.
Her Kickstarter is fully backed but you can be sure to get your necklace by pledging still.  The program is open until September 1st.  And not only do you get the necklace but all the proceeds are going to benefit the Elephant Sanctuary.

Don't wait, reserve your Herbie today!!!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Veggie Dogs Redux

Back in January we started feeding our pups a grain, bean and veggie filled dinner and they are really thriving on it.  Well, they also get carrots for treats and there are these great sweet potato treats we get them too.  While we give them other veggies from time to time, we just found out how much they love a new treat - collard green stems! 

Both Badger and Oona crunch them right up.  Badger likes both leaf bits and stems while Oona is more about the crunchy stems.  These are now fun treats to give them anytime.  We don't have to worry about fat, salt or who-knows-what-else in commercial "treats".

Our dogs eat more veggies than most people do, especially compared to some kids we know!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Making Me Sick - Bear Bile is Torture

This is one of the saddest and most stories I've ever read or had to post.  But it's traumatized me so much that I'm sitting at my desk at work crying my eyes out over the pain, fear and desperation that these poor animals endure in the torture that is a bear bile farm.

Asiatic "moon" bears are kept in tiny cages, mainly in China and Vietnam, and they stick a metal tube into their stomachs or gall bladders and take their bile daily.

The process is so horribly painful that the bears are fitted with an iron vest, as they often try to kill themselves by hitting their stomach as they are unable to bear the pain.

The cages are so small they are crushed to near death.

But a media source in China just released the following heartbreaking story:

The Chinese media has reported on an extraordinary account of a mother bear saving her cub from a life of torture by strangling it and then killing itself.

The bears were kept in a farm located in a remote area in the North-West of China. The bears on the farm had their gall bladders milked daily for 'bear bile,' which is used as a remedy in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).

It was reported that the bears are kept in tiny cages known as 'crush cages', as the bears have no room to manoeuvre and are literally crushed.

The bile is harvested by making a permanent hole or fistula in the bears' abdomen and gall bladder.  As the hole is never closed, the animals are suspect to various infections and diseases including tumours, cancers and death from peritonitis.

A person who was on the farm in place of a friend witnessed the procedures and told Reminbao.com that they were inhumane.

The witness also claimed that a mother bear broke out its cage when it heard its cub howl in fear before a worker punctured its stomach to milk the bile.

The workers ran away in fear when they saw the mother bear rushing to its cub's side.

Unable to free the cub from its restraints, the mother hugged the cub and eventually strangled it.

It then dropped the cub and ran head-first into a wall, killing itself.

Many TCM practitioners have denounced the use of bear bile in their treatment as there are cheaper herbs and synthetics that can be used in its place.

Bear bile is traditionally used to remove 'heat' from the body as well as treat high fever, liver ailments and sore eyes.

I can't understand the horror and heartbreak of this story and have to denounce the use of animals, all animals, as often as I can.  The images from these "farms" is beyond horrible.

More than 12,000 bears are currently suffering in these cruel conditions in Asia’s bear farms.  The World Society for the Protection of Animals is leading the fight against these farms.   If you can donate or speak out, it will help to shut these down sooner.