A few years ago, one of my neighbors lost his home to foreclosure. I was walking past his empty house and stopped to chat with a group that had gathered there. Apparently, the family had taken their belongings and moved out. But they had left their pets behind. There were several cats and dogs still on the back porch. We all shook our heads and offered up comments like “What kind of people would DO something like that?” While we were all standing around badmouthing him, the former homeowner drove up – to feed the animals. When confronted by the angry mob, he explained that he hated to leave his family’s pets behind, he had no choice. The apartment they were forced to move to didn’t take pets (and if one did, they probably couldn’t afford deposits for all of them.) He called the Humane Society and rescue societies, but they wouldn’t take them unless he paid a hefty “relinquishment fee.” Which he couldn’t afford since he clearly didn’t even have the money to pay his mortgage.
And then I felt bad. This man had just lost his HOUSE! He had a wife and children to look after. Yet he was still trying to take care of the animals as best he could. We were all worried about a bunch of dogs, where was our compassion for the PEOPLE who had just lost their home?
The concerned neighbors got together and made a few phone calls and were able to find homes for all of the animals. I have no idea what happened to this man or his family. But I thought about him when I saw a story in the news last week. A man in North Carolina was arrested on animal cruelty charges – for abandoning his fish after he was evicted from his apartment. That’s right, authorities arrested a homeless man for cruelty TO A FISH!!!! Apparently, the fish was left behind after he was evicted and by the time it was found in “deplorable conditions” it had developed “hole-in-the-head disease,” caused by parasites. The accused man was released after charges were dropped because the state law on animal cruelty does not cover fish.
Don’t get me wrong. I love animals. I have 3 cats currently lounging around on a velvet chaise while I’m at work earning the money to buy cat food. If that tornado had hit my house last Sunday they would have found me dead in the living room while trying to coax the crazy one out of the fireplace. But as much as I love animals, I recognize that human life is more important.
I don’t know this North Carolina man. He may be a total jerk. And if you’re going to keep an aquarium you should take proper care of it. But if he was evicted, he was having financial problems. And if you’re on the curb with all of your worldly possessions, it’s probably harder to find a couch to crash on if you’re toting an aquarium around with you.
I’ve noticed there’s a big thing with all the Persian cat rescue groups I follow on Facebook. that they’re bringing in cats from Kuwait and other Middle Eastern countries that have been abandoned. We pay hundreds of dollars for them here in America, but there are herds of Persian cats running loose on the streets of Kuwait. Again, I love Persian cats. I adopted three of them from the rescue society. But I seriously can’t believe that with all of the homeless pets in this country that we’re paying thousands of dollars to fly more of them in from overseas. Stephen Miller should look into this. The saving grace is that all this money was voluntarily donated by cat lovers (as opposed to my tax dollars that were taken from me involuntarily and given to Planned Parenthood so that they could murder human babies.)
More people were outraged when Michael Vick returned to the NFL after spending time in jail over the dog fighting ring than over any of the players who have been arrested for domestic violence. Don’t even get me started on Ray Lewis. After a woman in California was killed by a mountain lion, people set up a GoFundMe account – for the orphaned lion cubs.
Animal lovers will tell you that animals are more worthy of our compassion than people because they are innocent. That may be true in some cases. Probably not for the dogs who chew people’s faces off, but for most of the others.
It’s not as if this is a choice: animals OR people. Animals are God’s creatures and we should care for them too. I just think that we should have a little more compassion for the people.