Perhaps you heard on the news that boys set a cat on fire. I will venture an educated guess that the cat was probably friendly and docile, trusting humans completely, and that the boys probably laughed while that poor creature screamed wildly in front of them. If those boys had inside themselves the will to set an animal on fire and watch the torture they perpetrated on her, then they probably laughed.
From our work in the streets I know that torturing of animals goes far beyond the occasional instance appearing on the news. For every one victimized animal we hear about, thousands of others suffer similarly. In the streets we see the ones-sometimes still alive, sometimes tortured to death -- that don't make the news and whose torturers will never feel the sting of any punishment.
Last week a woman called because her two children brought home an injured cat. The woman and her kids knew the cat -- he'd "belonged" to someone in the neighborhood who moved away and left him behind. Over and over and over this same act of covert cruelty goes on. People move away leaving behind animals, sometimes locked in a room or basement, sometimes tied to a radiator, sometimes just let go outside. Whatever the condition of abandonment, one thing is certain: a dependent animal has been handed a death sentence by people who couldn't care less. The cat these children brought home is a rare exception.
I offer the highest praise for this woman and her children who didn't ignore an animal badly needing help. The children, acting on behalf of another living being who couldn't help himself, exercised a special gift their mother handed down to them-a compassion-fueled conscience. In contrast to the wicked boys who tortured a cat to death, these children went out of their way for an animal in pain when it would have been much easier to ignore him.
When her kids presented the injured cat to their mother, she began making calls to humane organizations she hoped would help her. Call after call yielded the same result. Unless she could come up with at least $200.00, she was on her own. As with her children, this woman could have chosen the easier path and put the cat back outside. Out of sight, out of mind. Instead, she carried on the good will her children had begun; with the welfare of an injured animal at stake, she continued making calls (and being turned away). Until she called us.
We're not a large organization with a lot of money, but we could not turn our backs on an animal who might have broken legs. Frankly, I don't know how anyone involved in humane work could do that and sleep at night, but I'm sure I couldn't count the times people have told us that no other group would offer assistance.
The veterinarian who examined the injured boy said he had two broken hips as well as a leg broken in two places. She explained that repairing a broken hip is not an easy job, rehabilitation is slow and does not come with a guarantee of success. She said that a broken hip is extremely painful, but two? The prognosis is not optimistic, but an animal who has endured what you and I cannot fathom is, at least, in the right place. We need the expertise of a specialist's opinion to determine how to proceed in this case, so until tomorrow afternoon when the specialist will examine our cat, the veterinarian can ease our boy's pain with a sedative.
In the streets we rub shoulders with wickedness far more than with the good, but an example of one family's stouthearted dedication to doing the right thing, refusing to look away when an animal in pain had no one else to help him, this example of two youngsters and their mother marching past the obstacles blocking the way of goodness deserved to be shared, even if it is overshadowed by the hideous evil we humans do to animals every day. What we encounter in the streets eight hours a night, six nights a week is example after example of neglect, abandonment, cruelty, illness, and injury. That is why we return to the alleys night after night -- the animals need us there. In areas dangerous for people as well as animals, we're on the frontlines fighting for a cause we can't ignore because we've looked into their faces and know, though we're fighting a strenuous uphill battle, our cause is worthy. They are worthy.
Please participate in our fall raftle. In doing so, you will make possible our nightly trips to the streets and all our efforts to lessen the suffering of so many animals -- we cannot do it without you.