As an animal lover, I suppose it’s self-torture to watch Animal Planet’s Animal Cops. But I love that show. I certainly don’t enjoy seeing the suffering, but it warms my heart to see both the people who work to help the abused and neglected and abandoned animals and also the success stories with wonderful happy endings.
Ninety-nine percent of the time, I can watch the show without any problem. But there was an episode on last week that got me. I had to turn the channel.
I went home for lunch last Monday because Chris goes into work at 5:30 on Monday mornings, which means Lily (our miniature pinscher that we rescued in November) is in her crate all night and then gets about a half hour in the morning before going back in for another eight hours unless I go home and let her out at lunch time. There isn’t much on at that time on the few channels I get, so I turned on Animal Cops.
What were they doing, at that very moment? Raiding a dog fighter’s property. I won’t go into detail about what they found. I’ve seen other episodes featuring dog fighting rings, but this one in particular was just beyond brutal. I don’t know if it was the place they were specifically, the condition of one specific dog they showed, the undercover police video of an actual fight they played (not the most sensitive parts, but enough to bother me) or the description they gave of how this “business” works. All I know is, whatever it was, I suddenly felt sick to my stomach and tears formed in my eyes.
I turned the channel. Anything was better than that. I even watched a few minutes of Paris Hilton’s British Best Friend. I’d much rather feel superior to this socialite bored to tears by a reading from William Shakespeare’s Hamlet by a seemingly very talented young British woman than be brought to tears by helpless animals being horribly mistreated. (Paris, by the way, said the performance was “boring” and she felt like she was “back in high school.” I guess money can’t buy taste, although I’m pretty convinced Paris’ lack of culture is as much an act as Jessica Simpson’s supposed lack of intelligence.)
Eventually, my brain couldn’t take the nonsense anymore and I turned back to Animal Planet. Thankfully, the nausea-inducing scenes were over by then. They’d moved on to someone who didn’t seem to understand that owning horses meant you had to, you know, take care of them.
Then, they went to court about the dogs. The “owner” showed up at the very end of the hearing claiming first that the powers that be misled him regarding the hearing’s start time. And then, and this one is a doozy, he insisted the judge should order the dogs returned to him because not only was he an innocent breeder who couldn’t control what those who bought his puppies did with them, but that the bleeding, injured, broken, too-skinny dogs investigators found on his property were dogs he “rescued.”
Oh yes, folks, you read that right. The man was not a dirty, rotten, nasty, evil dog fighter. He was, in fact, an animal-loving rescuer. I don’t use the term “hate” loosely when it comes to people. I may casually say I “hate” a certain food (meaning how it tastes) or a piece of
literature that was just terrible. But I don’t “hate” many people. So when I say I “hate” people who harm animals, you can believe I mean it.
I think our laws concerning the prosecution and punishment of those who harm animals are woefully lacking. You can almost bet the farm that someone who would willfully harm an animal wouldn’t hesitate to do the same to a person.
And, possibly the only thing keeping that individual from harming another person is that the laws are more stringent and the punishment heftier. They can get away with doing the unthinkable to an animal. And an animal can’t put up as much of a fight as another person. Or get away. Or call the authorities.
I am so very thankful for the men and women who work in animal rescue. I love that Animal Planet highlights their jobs. I don’t know how they keep their cool under the circumstances they have to deal with. The main reason I could not go into that line of work is I know I couldn’t stay calm and professional in the face of some of the people I would have to deal with. I’m glad others can. Because the animals, who love us unconditionally, deserve it.