Sunday, June 15, 2014

Beware of Animal Lovers

Warning: I feel another rant coming on!

When did "Animal Lover" become synonymous with "Stupid Idiot"? I can't count the number of times I've dealt with asinine situations only to have an indignant person tell me "I'm an animal lover!" Like that makes difference. Here are a few examples:
  • A guy found a very skinny, sick cat on his doorstep. He offered it food but the cat wouldn't eat. So what did Guy do? He opened the cat's mouth and tried to shove food down it's throat. Not surprisingly, the cat bit him. Then Guy panicked -- "What if it has rabies?" -- and called Animal Control. We impounded the cat and it died during quarantine. So we had to decapitate it and send it's head to the lab (this is the only definitive way to tell if something is rabid). When asked why he stuck his finger in the mouth of a stray cat, Guy responded "Because I'm an animal lover." P.S. The cat didn't have rabies. And if Guy had called me first, I would have taken the cat to the vet. It probably would have been euthanized, but at least it wouldn't have had to die alone in quarantine two days later.
  • I have several hoarders in my tiny town. They each have at least 20 regular cats that they feed, plus a dozen or more that just come by for a free meal. Hoarders' houses smell like dirty litter boxes. The stench from the door will knock you back; I don't know how people actually live inside. I try to help Hoarders by removing sick animals, getting adult cats fixed and finding homes for kittens. Yet every time we get things down to a manageable amount, Hoarders suddenly get more cats. It's frustrating. These people know it's unhealthy. They know the neighbors are fed up. But they just won't can't stop. Why? Because they're "animal lovers." And they're crazy. Really. They're crazy.
  • I got called to a strip mall. There was an English bulldog locked inside a car. The car was in full sun and all the windows were rolled up tight. The complainant said that the dog been there for at least 20 minutes. I could see the dog panting heavily, his tongue was bright red, and he was frothing at the mouth. My infrared thermometer said that the inside of the car averaged 102 degrees and was rising. I was trying to get a police officer to come out to break a window when the owner strolled up. (Mind you, I had been there for 10 minutes; the dog had been in that hot car for at least half an hour.) I had Owner pull the dog out and gave it some water. Then I wrote Owner a ticket for cruelty. She couldn't believe it because she "loves" her dog and "would never do anything to hurt him." Want to know the reason all the windows were up? She paid $3000 for the dog and was afraid someone would steal it. Because that's worse than dying from heat stoke.
  • Here's a personal example: I was at a dog show. A friend of another club member asked if she could pet Jedi. I said sure. (He was relaxed and had been touched by a hundred different people all weekend.) But instead of reaching out and scratching his chest or shoulder, Friend decided to grab Jedi by the muzzle, lean over him and stick her face in his face. Before I could say "What the hell are you doing?" Jedi barked and lunged, muzzle punching her in the mouth. (I'm sure he felt trapped, but I wish he would have just growled.) Jedi didn't break the skin, but he did leave a big bruise and gave her a fat lip. I corrected my dog and asked Friend if she was okay. She said yes, and told me she was "an animal lover." (I didn't see how those statements were connected, but was too upset to say "What?") Then Friend proceeded to tell me that her cat had jumped on her shoulder and peed down her back that morning. I guess he didn't realize she was an animal lover.
  • People who claim to "love" their animals surrender them to me all the time because they can't -- or won't -- pay for necessary vet care. Or a pet deposit. Or flea/heartworm treatment. Or food. Seriously.
I'm here to say that "love" is not enough. Love is not a substitute for responsibility or common sense. I literally cringe when someone tells me they're "an animal lover." Please, if you're truly an animal lover, SHOW me, don't tell me.

* And on a side note: I'm going to choke the next person who looks me in the face and says "I could never do your job because I'm an animal lover." Are they implying that I'm not?
Okay, my rant is over. You may now return to your regularly scheduled program. -- K

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