Thursday, January 24, 2013

What The Hell Are They Thinking?

Take a good look at this guy. His name is Randal Hart. He slit his dog's throat and dragged her into the woods to die -- right here in Northern Florida! Full story here. The good news is that the dog is OK has been adopted by the police officer who found her. But the lingering question is: What the hell was this guy thinking?!
As an animal control officer, I ask that question a lot. Just yesterday I had a call that made me want to shake the dog owner -- preferably by the throat -- and ask "What the hell dude?!" (I didn't. BTW, NOT choking people is a major stress in my life.) Anyway, I got a call about a dog that was "very skinny." The dog's owners even admitted that the dog was "a little thin." The dog was emaciated! I could see every bone in it's body -- ribs, spine, hips. The owners said that the dog had been that way for a month or so, and they intended to take it to the vet when the got paid (9 days later), but they didn't have any money. (Curiously, they did have an iPhone!) And both owners are 50+ pounds overweight, so there's food in that house somewhere!

I got a bunch of lame excuses, a few crocodile tears, and possession of the dog, but left feeling utterly frustrated. Had the owners called my office when the dog first got sick, I would have told them about Saint Francis Animal Hospital's Christmas Credit program. The dog could have been treated immediately while the bill was deferred for 90 days. If that had been my dog I would have done everything I could to get vet care for my dog. I'd eat beans and rice for a month and hock my iPhone if necessary. I'd collect aluminum cans and sell my plasma. Truth be told, I knew Roxy and Jedi needed their annual check-ups, tests, medications and licenses this month. I expected to spend $200 at the vet's office. I volunteered to work Christmas Eve/Christmas and New Year's Eve/New Year's so I would have the overtime to pay for it. I chose to give up time with my friends and family so I could care for my dogs.

So this opens up a whole host of introspective questions: Am I abnormal? (Well, yes, but I'm just talking about being a pet owner here.) Am I holding other people to unreasonable expectations? Is it unfair to assume people care for their animals in the same manner I do? Why do I let other people's apathy upset me so much? Why is it illegal to choke stupid people? What do you think? -- K