When Our Defenses Fail Us

Posted by Stephan Otto, ALDF's Director of Legislative Affairs on February 17, 2009

Some months back, I was sent a video of men taunting a crippled dog in a foreign desert. They were laughing as they pelted the dog with rocks. Their victim, already suffering miserably, tried her best to escape the vicious onslaught.

These scenes were horrifying to me on many different levels, and I instantly knew the images of this sadistic act would haunt my mind for a very long time.

Those of us working in the field of animal law invariably develop internal defenses to help us cope with the deluge of cruelty cases we encounter on a daily basis. Without these defenses, most of us would likely not be able to effectively do this type of work for very long. However, despite our best efforts — and usually just when we think we’ve seen or heard of every variation of cruelty and are clinging to the hope that we are sufficiently inured — a new case will come our way, like this poor, suffering dog in a faraway land, and vividly remind us of the utter depths of depravity found in the criminal mind. When it comes to cruelty, the criminal’s capacity for it too frequently knows no bounds.

While we loathe each time our defenses fail us, in some respects, the raw emotions that these cases evoke are important reminders. Reminders that cruel, cowardly acts can and still do occur everywhere. Reminders of just how much animals desperately need our support to help make our society one where they receive the respect they so rightly deserve, and one where those who violate this respect receive the punishment they deserve.

As horrific as those images in this video were to watch, I was able take some solace in the knowledge that ALDF and our tens of thousands of supporters are here, committed, and working together to make a difference for both the animals of today and those of tomorrow.