New Mexico's Pet Resource SUMMER 2006


by Richard Fagerlund

I will never understand the human race. We are the most callous species on the planet when it comes to animals. There are morons who get their thrills forcing animals to fight in public. Usually dogs and roosters are used for these activities, but if these nitwits could figure out how to do it, they would force other species to fight as well.

There are people, who have too much time on their hands, who set out leg-hold traps on public land to see what kinds of animals they can deliberately cripple. They often catch our pets in their mindless traps. And this is actually legal in our society.

There are people who shoot anything, bird or mammal, so they can decorate their homes with the body parts of the animal. One, now deceased, UNM professor had a house full of dead animals he killed, from an elephant, down to little birds. Talk about a haunted house! Apparently he never saw an animal that deserved to live, but because he had a lot of money, the university named a building after him.

Even more intolerable are the corporations that abuse, misuse and torture millions of animals every year for profit. These animals, who are sick and pumped full of chemicals, are sold to the rest of us as hamburgers and chicken wings for our dining pleasure. One chicken corporation, according to USA Today, claims his chickens run free in barns and are not kept in cages. They keep over a million chickens in 64 barns. Quick math will tell you that is approximately 15,600 chickens per barn. All these chickens are breathing stale air and standing around in their own waste, as there isn’t any room for them to move very far. The bird flu is devastating the poultry industry in Asia and it is only a matter of time before it does the same in our country. Poultry treated inhumanely will have compromised immune systems and will be more susceptible to many diseases, including bird flu.

But there are people who have even blacker hearts than the folks mentioned above. After all, most of those people abuse animals only for fun and profit.

The worst of the lot are pet owners who abandon or neglect their animals for whatever reason. When they can’t afford their pets or can no longer care for them, they quit feeding them or just dump them somewhere rather than giving them to a shelter.

Recently someone took a blind, old, crippled little dog and abandoned him in the desert to fend for himself.

What possesses someone to do that? More importantly, what does the little, old dog think? I imagine the dog thinks, “I should die,” as he walks, lonely and abandoned in the hostile desert. He cries at every strange obstacle in his path and at every strange sound. But he doesn’t give up. He keeps thinking, “My master will come. That is why I don’t want to die.”

The dog has been walking for days. No one gives him a bath now, and no one takes him into their home, so he cries. No one feeds him or gives him water and he cries some more. He is reduced to drinking his own urine. No one pets him or loves him, and he still cries and he still waits for his master to come.

Eventually the little, old dog is found by a child. He is hungry, emaciated and crying. The child’s parents take the dog to an animal shelter where he will surely be put to sleep, alone, unloved and never knowing why he was abandoned in the desert.

All is not lost. My wife Holly, who has the purest of souls, spots this little, old fellow at the Albuquerque Eastside Animal Shelter and brings him home. Never again will this old, blind dog, who we named Tuki, lack for love or attention. He is blind, has arthritis and a bad heart, but he will live happily ever after, no thanks to some scumbag who dumped him in the desert to starve to death or be eaten by coyotes. He slowly walks around the house, occasionally bumping into things, but our other cats and dogs love him.  The cats rub up against him, and the dogs play gently with him.  He sleeps between us at night and eats almost anything we put in front of him.  He is a blessing in our home.

Finally, I have to acknowledge the love and affection the people at the Eastside Animal Shelter have for the hundreds of unfortunate animals that come into their care every week. It takes a strong heart and a powerful soul to work in an environment surrounded by homeless animals. God bless them.

Richard Fagerlund, B.C.E., University of New Mexico, Albuquerque 87131 (E-mail:; Cell: (505) 440-8288;; HOME ADDRESS--send bugs here: P. O. Box 1173, Corrales, NM 87048)

It is the heartless exploiter of animals, not the animal protectionist, who is being irrational, showing a sentimental tendency to put his own species on a pedestal. Richard Ryder

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