“He who is cruel to animals becomes hard also in his dealings with men.We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals,” wrote German philosopher Immanuel Kant.
History is full of quotations, anecdotes and tales about the value of animals in our lives and what our relationship to animals of all kinds says about us.
Stories of animal abuse always hit me particularly hard.
I spent much of my life terrified of dogs, a fear I can trace back to my childhood and the day I was bitten by my best friend’s little dog as I walked down the hallway to grab another Barbie doll.
To combat my fear as an adult, I decided to get a dog, a little black and tan Yorkshire terrier named Johnny. Johnny, who never weighed more than 8.8 pounds, changed my life and that of my entire family. He made us better people and brought endless joy to our lives, despite his penchant for pushing his ball under the sofa and making us retrieve it.
Johnny, who passed away in 2012 at age 14 in human years, converted me and today I am one of those dog ladies, you know the kind with coffee mugs, refrigerator magnets and even a shower curtain espousing the virtues of dogs.
That’s why it was painful for me to read our story today about the mistreatment of some 400 animals on a Laurens County farm.
“In what is being described as the largest animal seizure in South Carolina, hundreds of emaciated animals were found on a property in rural Gray Court, South Carolina,” the story explains.
Among the animals found were 12 horses, 30 dogs, four hogs, three piglets, eight rabbits and about 356 chickens. A large barrel contained dead chickens, and more dead chickens were found on top of a cage.
The horses had overgrown hooves, the dogs had fleas and worms, and roosters were tied to the ground with leashes. There was no access to water.
Animal abuse cases baffle me. Given human nature, they probably shouldn’t, but they do.
My hope is that the animals seized find new, loving, humane homes and that those responsible for their suffering pay some price for what they have done.
If you have animals that you cannot care for, simply ask for help. Reach out to your local animal shelters or humane society.
There is no reason to let them suffer.