PLEASE NOTE: There’s a picture below that is very disturbing, but for people who are concerned about animal suffering and homelessness, it’s important to face the tragic reality of the overpopulation crisis and its consequences. Animals can’t afford to have people look away.
Her name was Big Girl, but there was almost nothing left of her. She was so still, so slight, and so cold to the touch that field workers thought that she was already dead. But the tiny 6-month-old pit bull was still alive. Barely.
Big Girl never knew the love and care that we wish every dog experienced; by the time we arrived, she had endured prolonged, incomprehensible agony. When we found her collapsed on the ground, she weighed less than the chain she was tied to. She had clearly been starved—she was a pile of bones and had raw, mostly hairless skin with absolutely no body fat. A veterinarian later told us that Big Girl’s stomach contained nothing but dirt, leaves, a piece of corn cob with two kernels on it, and a piece of dry, caked fecal matter. Big Girl had been left to suffer for so long that she had begun to decompose. Four different generations of maggots were eating away at her body. When we gently peeled her off the ground, she moaned. She could not see us or hear us, but we hope she knew that we were there to help her.
We sent Big Girl off to heaven with kind words and a gentle lethal injection. We wished we could have ended her misery much, much sooner. Those who condemn open-admission animal shelters and organizations like PETA for having to euthanize sick, injured, dying, and unwanted animals must look closely at the source of the overpopulation crisis—people who breed animals, those who neglect and abuse them, and consumers who choose to buy animals from breeders and pet shops instead of adopting from their local animal shelter.
No one hates the ugly reality of euthanasia more than the shelter workers who hold the syringe. Sometimes, especially when animals have known no kindness and are suffering, the best that we can offer an animal like Big Girl, Asia, and others is a painless and dignified release from a world that showed them no love or compassion.
P.S. The man responsible for Big Girl’s horrific condition (as well as that of another dog, who suffered from a vaginal prolapse) was charged and convicted for the condition of both dogs, and he was prohibited from owning animals.
Written by Jeff Mackey