Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Shocking Act of Animal Cruelty

Last night I was up much later than usual. I was standing in my kitchen with the light off, looking out the window. I saw a man walking and a small animal walking near him. He moved closer to it and was watching it. I thought it was someone taking his little dog out for a late night walk. Then, the man ran over to the animal, jumped up into the air and came down on it. As I stood there, frozen in horror, the man stomped the animal to death. I ran outside and stood on my porch under the porch light staring at the man. I can’t express how horrified and shocked I was. Considering that a link between animal cruelty and violence toward humans has been well established, running outside was perhaps not the safest thing to do, but I wasn’t thinking clearly.

I’ve never seen such an alarming display of brutality in my life. I stood there staring at the man as he turned to walk away. He saw me staring and turned back to say, “Dead opossum.” Still completely shocked, I said, “Oh.” I quickly recovered myself and then said, “So it’s okay to do that to a opossum?” He just kept walking.

I stood there frozen, trying to process what I’d just seen. It happened in an open alley next to my house. It was dark and I couldn’t see the man’s face, what he was wearing or any identifiable aspects. By the time it occurred to me to call the police, he’d already left the alley and I hadn’t seen which direction he’d gone. I wasn’t even sure the animal he’d killed was actually a opossum and not a cat or dog. Would that have made a difference? Maybe a little, because of the trust factor. Dogs and pet cats trust people, for the most part. Stomping any animal to death is an act of extreme violence, maybe more so when it’s totally unprovoked. Doing it to a companion animal who has no reason to distrust or fear humans adds an additional layer of betrayal.

Opossums, on the other hand, have a different handicap when it comes to avoiding dangerous humans. Everyone knows that opossums “play dead” when frightened, which may be a workable strategy to avoid animal predators but is less effective against humans – to say the least. What many people aren’t aware of is that the opossum has no control over it. When they're attacked, they fall over and appear to be dead or to have fainted. They can’t help it. Unfortunately, they remain awake and their cognitive function is not hindered.

Of course, I was trying to make myself less appalled and more able to go to sleep by rationalizing that at least it wasn’t a kitten or a puppy, but it really doesn’t matter. The fact is, that man viciously killed a defenseless animal. I can only hope that knowing someone saw him do it will prevent him from doing it again.

1 comment:

Melody's Unchained! said...

That is absolutely sickening. I won't even kill a bug, unless I absolutely HAVE to.

To harm a defenseless animal is beyond cruel. Poor thing.

One thing to say... Karma