Thursday, January 05, 2012

The Hard Truth From Orlando

I went to Port Orange last weekend. Saw a poor starving hound some SOB hunter had abandoned on Osteen Road . I could not persuade the thing up to me and didn’t have enough treats to sustain it. I did call the ASPCA to report it but I doubt anyone will come to get it. Beautiful animal; white with pale brown spots – and the bones pushing out from under its hide, desperately prowling by the road and watching each vehicle as it passed.

I used to see that all the time up in North Central Florida. Bastards would abandon their dogs in the woods because “that dog don’t hunt,” or it was gun-shy, or they didn’t want to keep it past hunting season, or they stole the dog to use it for hunting season and then dumped it. These dogs don’t survive. They starve to death slowly and hideously unless they’re lucky enough to be struck by a car and instantly killed instead of crippled, maimed, to die an even more painful death by the road.

Sportsmen, my butt. They’re neither sporting nor men who perpetrate this kind of evil. I think hunters should have to have each dog licensed, micro-chipped, collared with GPS, and registered before they get a hunting permit and then the dog has to be produced at the end of the season, either to the regulators or ASPCA for certificate of surrender, or they never get another hunting license again. The viciousness of these people astonishes me. I don’t care if they hunt. I don’t care if they shoot Bambi’s mother to cull the herd. I care if they are irresponsible and cruel.

And you’ll always hear some other hunter who DOES take care of his dogs, has them numbered, tagged and trained, who protests regulation. Well, he’s the exception to this ugly little subculture. Ask any guy who goes out hunting and he can tell you the name of one or more from his hunting clique who has abandoned or does abandon or will abandon a dog in the woods to die. It’s that common.

And the other thing that astonishes me is that it’s most common in areas that are overloaded with churches and the usual Come-To-Jesus hypocrisy. It is hypocrisy. Not because they hunt and are members of the NRA and like to shoot Bambi’s mom. It’s hypocrisy because if they really believed in being compassionate and kind and the sanctity of life, they’d never abandon any animal to a slow death when there are so many more reasonable, legal alternatives – if they weren’t too damn lazy and mean to take them.

If I believed in Hell, I’d want to go there and work for the Bad Guy in that ice-cold level of Hell reserved for traitors, which is where these so-called sportsmen and hunters belong. They’ve betrayed their dogs’ trust in them. They’ve betrayed the best friend most of them could hope to have. They’ve betrayed their four-legged benefactors. There is no salvation for anyone whose heart is so cold he commits this crime – much less does it every hunting season. I want to see them suffer a sentence like that they passed on these poor animals – an agonizingly slow death of hunger, cold, loneliness and misery.

That poor hound still haunts me. I’m going to start traveling with an extra leash and dog food in the car in case I run into another lost creature. I hope to salvage what I can. Vicious Michael Vicks’ dogs were largely saved and went on to good, loving homes; there’s no reason these poor devils can’t be rehabilitated and given to decent people who will show them the kindness, comfort and companionship should have been theirs from the beginning.

And from my heart of darkness, I’m going to pray for a pandemic that makes all dogs precious and few, so that they can never be considered disposable by anyone ever again.

     Florida Cracker

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