Confronting Animal Abuse

Forgive me while I self-indulge in using this blog as a way to write myself through a conundrum.

This morning, my husband was driving me to the barn.  We were engrossed in listening to a sci fi story we had been following for a couple of weeks.  Across the highway, some movement caught my eye, I turned and saw a young man brutally beating a dog on a leash.  I begged my husband to turn around (asking him to make a U turn on hwy 1) he saw the look on  my face and asked what was happening even as he had started the illegal turn.

“That guy is punching and kicking a dog.”  I said.

“I saw him out of the corner of my eye and I thought he was digging a hole.” He answered as he accelerated toward the scene of the crime.

“That’s how hard he was hitting that poor dog.”

We pulled up as the guy, a fellow in his early 20’s, white, with a hip haircut, was shaking an older pit bull and demanding that the dog “look at him.”  I rolled down my window, with my hand on the door and told him that he needed to stop beating the dog. I was upset and loud (imagine that).

“Lady, you need to mind your own business.  This dog just tried to kill a cat.”

“Dude, you have no right to beat any dog like that.”

“Look lady, just go your own way and call who ever you need to call, allright?.”

“Oh, you can bet that I will.  I’m going to call and you know it.”


We pulled away and I called the local police.  It seemed like it took forever and I was shaking like a leaf.  The dispatcher had me describe the situation, asked if there were any weapons, told me clearly not to approach the suspect and that he was sending an officer out.

We parked for a cup of coffee to calm our nerves.  I was still shaking and we were collecting our thoughts.  I thought with satisfaction that a police would stop the guy and….

and what?

If he scolded the guy and the guy really is an animal abuser, he would just take it out on the dog and not in view of the general public.  If the cop took the dog into custody, who is going to adopt an older, cat killing pit bull?  What if this guy was just trying to stop the dog from killing cats so that he could keep the dog?  Maybe it had already killed cats that were pets to him or people that he cared about?

I’m struck with the knowledge that, had I “done nothing” like the other morning commuters, then presumably, I would be complicit with the animal abuse.  But by yelling at this guy and then siccing the cops on him, did I perpetuate the abuse indirectly or did I rain down police activity on a guy having a bad day and trying to right a wrong with an aggressive dog?

I’m asking our readers to chime in.  What would have really made a change for this dog?  What would have made a change in this guy’s violent behavior?  What can we, as citizens do to make real change when confronted with brutality?


One Reply to “Confronting Animal Abuse”

  1. Joell, I commend you for what you did and think you were very brave! How horrid to abuse any dog or animal for that matter, even if it killed a cat…..I am sorry, but some dogs have that predator/prey instinct and it is just natural for them…no amount of abuse or hitting is going to make that go away. That is not to say that it was horrible for the poor cat that was his victim, but it is ultimately up to the owner of the dog to keep him/her in control or contained. That dog would possibly be just fine in a loving home with someone who could supervise it and did not have small animals. I don't know all the details of the situation that man and dog were in, but my should never abuse or hit a dog…never. Good for you that you took the time to stop and try to make a difference, and I am sure you didi!!

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