About a month ago, I saw a young man sitting on the ground in front of the Rite Aid in Santee, California. I figured by his clothing he was probably homeless, but as I got closer he didn’t ask me for any money, nor even notice me, but I noticed that he had a cat with him on a leash.
When I came back out and got into my car, I sat there for a few moments watching him play with his cat. You could tell the cat was very happy and didn’t even care about the leash and the man was gentle and adored the cat. I knew that they were helping each other. I also knew that the man probably felt responsible for the cat and gave him a reason to live. This was no missing cat or lost homeless man as they had found each other.
Then this morning I read a story from the Associated Press about Daniel Dockery who was a recovering heroin addict in Phoenix. His cat, Scruffy had a deep cut and he took him to a Arizona Humane Society, so the cat could be treated. The staff told Daniel that the cost was $400 to treat Scruffy. Daniel was homeless, he didn’t have the money. Daniel’s mother offered to pay, but the clinic would not accept credit cards, but the clinic said if Daniel signed papers surrendering Scruffy to them, he would be treated and put into foster care.
More to that story, but I want to go back to the previous day about an article by WLTX news about Roland, a Bassett hound who went missing last week from Columbia, South Carolina and returned a week later with an arrow in his side.
Roland’s owner could not afford to treat him, so Dr. Terrance Hunter at Cheatham Animal Clinic told the owner that he could sign the ownership over to him and he would foster Roland after he recovered.
Dr. Hunter was criticized for his actions and many felt he should treat Roland and just giving him back to the owner, but he said, “The complete story on Roland was not released for reasons we won’t go into, but be rest assured that the best decision was made in Roland best interest,” said Dr. Roland.
Reading between the lines and noting that Roland was suffering from malnutrition, you know that he sincerely was doing the best for Roland.
But, for Daniel and Scruffy, they were not so lucky to find such a kind-hearted vet at the Arizona Humane Shelter. Once Daniel signed the paperwork and left, the shelter put Scruffy to sleep.
“Now I’ve got to think about how I failed that beautiful animal. I failed her…That’s so wrong. There was no reason for her not to be treated,” said Daniel.
He is right, there was no reason for it.
“If he had been able to pay, Scruffy would have been treated at the facility where he brought her,” said the spokesman at the Humane Society.
Leaving the conclusion that the reason Scruffy was euthanized was based soley on money.
But, the core of the issue is not they euthanized Scruffy it is because they lied to Daniel. They said they would fix Scruffy and give him a home, but instead lied to him and put Scruffy down. They never gave Daniel the chance to get some cash together to pay the bill or find another veterinarian, like Dr. Hunter, that would have kept his word and surely fixed Scruffy and possible give him right back to Daniel.
Instead they saw not only Scruffy, but Daniel as something they could devalue, because Daniel had no money. Plainly, at this Humane Society the all mighty dollar dictates whether you live or die.
And, sadly, dollar signs blinded the veterinarian and staff to the fact that Scruffy and Daniel were partners in life and supported each other and made this harsh world a little bit easier for them to navigate. The staff didn’t care to know that the relationship between Daniel and Scruffy kept Daniel off drugs for the longest he had ever been clean. They didn’t know Daniel rescued Scruffy when he was a kitten and hand fed him, and probably saved his life. They didn’t consider that this simple cat and man gave more to each other than the world was able to give them.
There is a lot of injustice in the world and it is sad to see, that for some, it goes as deep as the indifference for the feelings of a homeless man and the life of a cat.
Click here to go to Arizona Humane Society Facebook page to read comments about the incident.