Letter: Always stand up for the animals

Published 2:21 pm Sunday, August 5, 2018

I was driving to work earlier this week, passing one of Albert Lea’s major businesses, when I saw something flying toward my car from the side. I managed to only react with a small jerk of the wheel — staying in my own lane — but, honestly, I was startled enough that it might have been worse. It was 7:30 a.m., and traffic was brisk enough that there really wasn’t room to swerve.

It turned out to be an animal — specifically a cat — that came flying at my car after being thrown into the road by the person doing the lawn care for the major business. I didn’t stop at that moment but returned to the scene as soon as I could take a break from my job. I have so many problems with this incident that I don’t know where to begin. I am hoping this letter will be printed in order to present a perspective that many people may have never considered — and with that new perspective, begin treating animals with more humanity.

I understand that a large part of any community may not consider themselves animal people and go through their lives not giving the plight of cats and dogs (and many other animals) a second thought. There is a big difference between not having pets or being an animal advocate and being cruel and insensitive.

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I returned to the scene to retrieve the cat, and took him to a local vet clinic to have him cremated with the respect he deserved.

I was so angry about the incident — it was nearly two hours before I could get back to the scene, and the cat wasn’t showing signs of being dead for very long, so I was horrified to conclude that he may have been alive when tossed, like garbage, into traffic. What if a kid in another car saw that happen? What if that cat was someone’s pet, just lost and not found yet? Even if he was already dead, why treat any creature with such disrespect? Would it have taken any longer to gently lay him on the edge of the grass, safe from being repeatedly run over  — until it was only an unrecognizable pile of meat?

I stopped in to talk to a manager of the business. I didn’t blame the business for the actions of their sub-contractor, but wanted them to know what kind of person they had working for them. The first woman I spoke with was appropriately horrified, but ultimately, the big boss didn’t really care.

I am deeply disappointed and disturbed by the idea that so many don’t understand we have a responsibility to care for those that cannot stand up for themselves. Worse yet, we have people out there who are actively savage to defenseless cats and dogs. The only fix, I believe, is for all of us to stand up and be heard — stop people who are abusive, push for stiff penalties for those convicted of abuse and contribute to the good fight in whatever way you personally can — with adoption, fostering, contributing or by simply treating any animal you encounter with compassion and respect.

Tawni Hammer

Clarks Grove