Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Real Torture

What is torture? Sometimes we as humans toss that word around so casually it loses its impact.

"It's torture sitting through another one of these long, boring presentations."

"Don't torture me with that delicious smell of cinnamon rolls while I'm on a diet."

Those instances might not be pleasant, but they come nowhere near the torture that some human beings can inflict on other living creatures.

The definition I'm using for today's post, according to, is "the infliction of intense pain (as from burning, crushing, or wounding) to punish, coerce, or afford sadistic pleasure."

Photo from Idaho Humane Society website
This is the aftermath of torture. This dog, a small pit bull bred especially for fighting, is one of 64 dogs rescued earlier this spring from a dog fighting operation in a rural area of Idaho. They were only discovered after a person, or persons, killed a 61-year-old man, his 32-year-old son, and the son's 27-year-old wife, all who resided at the property. The young couple's infant and toddler were both found alive and unharmed.

The people who were killed were in the business of growing and selling marijuana, and also raising and fighting small pit bull dogs. Law enforcement stated that this was not a random act, and it was also not a robbery. They found $95,000 in marijuana plants and cash in the house. Whoever killed these three people had another motive.

Credit KPVI
The dogs lived in horrible conditions, freezing in winter, baking in summer. It was thought that while some were fighting dogs, others with sweet temperaments were used as bait dogs, attacked and killed to keep the attacking dogs mean and blood-hungry.

The Idaho Humane Society (IHS) took on the responsibility of assessing and caring for these dogs. One had to be put down immediately due to severe injuries and nonstop seizures. Bad Rap, the organization that rehabilitated Michael Vick's fighting pit bulls, came out to help with the dogs. Other regional animal shelters offered to take dogs at the IHS to make room for the pit bulls.

When all was said and done, eleven dogs had to be put down because they could not be rehabilitated. Another dozen were soon put up for adoption with carefully screened families. Some were sent to outside dog rehabilitation facilities. And the rest remain at IHS, still being cared for and evaluated in the hopes that they will also find loving new homes.

My daughter works at IHS, and here are a few pictures of her with some of the pitties. As you can see, they are soaking in the love and affection from staff and volunteers.
These pit bulls were bred to be small, as many fighting dogs are. Here is one little girl who is basking in an embrace. 

This picture is so sweet, but sad at the same time. This little dog looks scared, but is simply trusting that she won't be hurt anymore.  (Idaho Humane Society website)

And my daughter getting some love from another of these "fighters". She fell in love many times over...

And I love this video from IHS – this is the first peanut butter (and Kong toy) that this dog has ever had.

So this is a happy ending for many of these dogs. But it came at a price, and adjusting to a life with a soft place to sleep, plenty of water and food, and love instead of pain, will take time.

For those of you who think pit bull dogs (which are actually several different breeds of dogs) are inherently more dangerous than any other breed, I urge you to do your own research. And realize that many dogs seem to look like pit bulls, but actually are other breeds altogether, and are often mistaken in news reports.

For those of you who think mistreating animals is a trivial act – that a slap on the wrist will do just fine – again, I urge you to do some research. Many evil people in our society had a history of animal torture when they were younger. If someone is able to tear the wing off a bird, starve and beat a dog, mutilate a cat, or otherwise torture and kill any one of God's creatures, will they have any regard for human life and well-being? 

Please, be kind to one another. Not just to other people, but to all living creatures. How we treat the least among us is a reflection of who we are in the very depths of our souls. 

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