For the last two weeks, I have sat quietly. I have observed quite a few things making me profoundly question the state of animal welfare in our country. I feel lost and yet, I feel outraged.
Two weeks ago, 64 dogs were killed in Clayton county, GA. They were killed because the county CHOSE not to treat their virus. The same virus numerous other county shelters ARE treating. Canine Influenza Virus (CIV) is making its way through the states. Right here in my home, Chicago, we have been battling it for months. Dog parks, grooming facilities, and shelters have all been plagued by CIV and forced to close doors and halt business.
But the illness is a virus and with proper medication, can be cured. The dogs can go on to live happy, healthy lives. We don’t kill people just because they get strep throat.
The irony is that the vet who killed the 64 dogs, happened to report that she told the county she would medically treat the dogs. The county chose to kill them anyway. 64 dogs who would have made amazing pets. DEAD.
Thousands of people have “liked” the facebook page honoring the 64 lives. Thousands of people are angry.
For fun, I googled, “atrocities in city shelters.” Instantly, my screen was filled with horrific stories of starvation, beatings, killings that went wrong. The stories were gruesome and ugly and quite frankly, the acts that had been displayed were illegal. Yet, only a few of the city shelters appeared to change. Only a handful, changed leadership.
Just a few months ago in Chicago, an animal control officer left a dog in a van without food or water for 6 days. The case is still under investigation and the officer is still working. If a citizen had done the same thing, his dog would be taken away and he would be facing sentencing.
Why are we, as a country, allowing municipal shelters to do whatever they want? As taxpayers, we own the city shelter. The employees work for us. We have a fundamental right to demand better.
Let me switch gears to another issue that is keeping me up at night. Recently, two things happened in the last few days that have left me wondering what the hell is wrong with people. Last Wednesday a group I know who works to educate people on the truth about puppy-mills was denied entry into a parade because they were deemed controversial.
Normally, this group enters into parades to peacefully hand-out pamphlets, walk dogs looking for homes and throw candy. They are never violent. They don’t hold signs or chant obnoxiously. They walk in the parade to educate and to find homeless dogs homes. How on earth is that controversial?
Another group I know, who protests as often as they can in front of a pet store who sells puppies from puppy-mills, is being threatened by “a few” people who feel their protests should be considered unlawful.
Unlawful to peacefully protest? It is a civil right. Freedom of speech is a fundamental belief in America. I am fairly certain it is one of THE reasons people live here. One of THE reasons people flee their own countries to migrate here.
I think why I feel so angry is that these groups are simply exposing a TRUTH. They are not lying and yet, people want them to be quiet. People are willing to shut them up at the expense of a civil liberty?
The two issues I am grappling with are practically juxtaposed. On one hand I have government brutally killing innocent animals and no one holding them accountable. On the other hand I have taxpayers willing to gag people from exposing the truth. City governments willing to fight against freedom of speech simply because they are afraid of the truth.
What is it about the truth that people don’t want to hear? I get that no one wants to see dogs dying, or suffering, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t happening.
I am so angry at the ignorance in our society. I am so tired of the apathetic approach taken by people to such horrors in city shelters. People are so desperate that they are willing to take away fundamental rights and no one, besides animal people, seem to give a shit. (The Ag Gag bills in states are really no different. People are willing to deny the truth, to remain blinded, just to save their profits.)
I started an animal rescuer, I became an animal advocate and I feel myself ranting like an activist.
My compassion always lies with the animals. But, my fire is now fueled from the desire to protect my basic rights – especially when I speak ONLY the truth.
Why is my advocating for the truth a detriment large enough to put civil liberties in jeopardy, while the actions of the culprits, the people mass breeding dogs and selling sick puppies for thousands of dollars, are no big deal?
When did the truth become unlawful?