Mike Firesmith on Animal Welfare: The Tortured Dog

Posted on September 23, 2013


By Mike Firesmith

Back in the 80’s my friend Eli stopped a man from beating a dog. Eli took the bat away from the man and from all accounts nearly killed him. Eli then took the dog and that dog died ten years later, still afraid of most people, but still loved to the end.

Sam, my Elder Mutt, was found nearly dead of starvation, dehydration, neglect, abuse, and was hours away from being too far gone to save, but save him we did. That was twelve years ago back in July, and Sam is a Happy Hound, but there are still some times that he fears people.

You have to decide for yourself if you want to go on with this….


Continue reading this post at The Hickory Head Hermit.


Mike Firesmith is the Hickory Head Hermit who lives in the woods of South Georgia with three dogs and a keyboard. His writing reflects a love for nature, a love for dogs, and a love for the craft of writing.  See more of his work at The Hickory Head Hermit!


Lila’s note:

I’m pretty sensitive about animal welfare.  I’m almost physically incapable of reading or hearing the details of the horrible things some people will do to their animals.  I readily confess that I skipped the graphic parts of Mike’s story and did not click the links, but it is important to spread the word, as he reminded me.  Animal abuse is never acceptable; anyone who thinks it’s okay or somehow manly or – the worst – fun to cause suffering to living things is a dangerous person unfit for society.  Animal rescuers see the worst of the worst and keep going back to get those living, feeling, helpless beings out of harm’s way.  They have my greatest respect.

But I’m just too easily and too deeply upset by such abuse.  When it comes to animals, even minor things get to me.  After our elderly cats finally died at ages 18 and 19, we got two adult shelter cats.  One of them had been dropped off at the shelter at age 3 (at least that’s the estimate).  She was so scared of everything – imagine her confusion, suddenly taken from whatever home she had known and stuck alone in a bare cage in a completely strange environment – and to make matters worse, she had been declawed, and has a large scar and ragged ear.  We took her home where she promptly hid in the farthest corners of the house for a few days.  Hubby would retrieve her and set her on a bookshelf in the living room, where she seemed to feel a little more protected and could observe things, and the other cats (a feral cat moved in soon after) helped draw her out.  She decided we were okay in her book, and became more friendly and playful, but 1)  she is afraid of anything you carry in your hand, especially brooms, and 2) because of the missing claws, she can’t walk or play normally and repeatedly falls off of things.  People don’t realize just how crippling declawing is.

Every time she scurries away from a broom, or when I see her playing so clumsily or endlessly chewing at her missing claws, her relatively minor story burns me up.  When I hear of outright animal torture just for jollies, I am on fire.  I can’t read the details; I will absolutely explode.  Mike is right that such people are a menace to everyone.  Our jails overflow with potheads when they SHOULD be focusing on violent, cruel, dangerous people.  People who like to abuse other living things are pretty squarely in that category.

If you’re like me, you might not be able to handle facing all the details of animal abuse firsthand or even secondhand.  But you might think of donating to animal rescue groups.  Or you could push for legislation to end puppy mills, dogfighting, cockfighting, and other abusive practices.  If there are feral cat colonies in your area, you can push for local groups to support a Trap-Neuter-Return program to help prevent an overpopulation of unwanted kittens.  Or…  you might just think of adopting a stray or shelter animal and providing a loving home.  Every animal in a loving home is one more safely out of the hands of abusers.