The Good, The Bad, And The F***ing Bizarre #1: Human Kindness And Animal Cruelty

First, the bad.

So, you’re given a puppy as a gift from a lover, who, in the course of time, becomes an ex-lover.  But you know the puppy is blameless in this and keep it and take good care of it, right?  Alternatively, perhaps you feel that the puppy is a painful reminder of the relationship, and decide to give it away to someone who will take good care of it.  Both are perfectly reasonable courses of action (and good reasons not to give pets as a romantic gift).

“Reasonable” is apparently not in Krystal Lewis’ vocabulary.

According to the Muskogee County (Oklahoma) sheriff’s department last month, Krystal had a friend, one Austin Mullins, kill the Jack Russell terrier given to her by an ex-girlfriend, by shooting it 10 times with a .22 pistol.  Aside from the friend’s poor markmanship (or sadism, but I didn’t want to think about that), I think he showed extremely poor judgment in agreeing to kill the puppy.  While the court-appointed psychologist is there for Lewis’ competency hearing, they should probably take a crack at Mullins too.

So.  Puppy’s dead, painful relationship reminder removed, problem solved, right?

Oh no.  No, no, no.  Just killing the puppy because she didn’t get along with her ex-girlfriend wasn’t good enough for Lewis.

Get ready.  Take a seat, and try not to eat anything before you read the next part.

Ready?  Do not proceed until you are.

All set?  Here we go.

After it had been shot 10 times, Lewis skinned the puppy and placed the hide on a board to cure, with the intent of making a belt out of it.  She was going to make a belt out of a slaughtered puppy.  Let’s skip the competency hearing and just go to the “my client is batshit insane” defense strategy.  Not that I’m certain that defense will succeed, but, given the details of the case, I could see it working well.

There are, occasionally, stories I read that even I cannot believe, and I’ve seen (and been) a lot of of strangeness in my life.  This would be one of them.  This would also be an occasion upon which I cannot think up a punishment vile enough for a criminal, which is also quite rare.

(By the way, this is only the second-most horrific story I’ve read in the past month.  The first is so gruesome I don’t even want to talk about it.  You can read it here.)

Now, the no-doubt-extremely-welcome good.

Raising thousands of dollars to feed the homeless is awesome.  Doing it through can collecting and small donations in two months is amazing.  Doing both while being a five-year-old is incredible.

Phoebe, a five-year-old girl from San Francisco, did it. After seeing a homeless person on the street, a sight which most of us adults have learned to either tune out completely or disregard after tossing some change their way, Phoebe decided really do something.  She started by writing 150 letters to friends and family members, requesting they give her soda cans to turn in for money, which would be given to the San Francisco Food Bank.  After 50 initial repsonses, word got out and donations of cans and cash started coming in to her daycare.  When possible, Phoebe took the time to respond to every single donation, no matter how small, showing she has excellent manners in addition to a huge heart.

Last month, Phoebe handed the results of her efforts over to the executive director of the SFFB in a handmade, hand-coloured (and hand-stickered) pencil box.  The total amount? $3736.30, which will feed 18,000 homeless people, according to the director.  (I’d love to know where they do their shopping.)

Little Phoebe is truly an inspiration, proof that kindness and compassion need not be limited by age and that, while one cannot perhaps not solve a large issue alone, every little bit helps, and great things can come from small origins.  If this story doesn’t touch you, you have no heart at all and should probably change your last name to Scrooge.  That, or your name is Snidely Whiplash and you should probably untie the screaming woman and get her off of the railroad tracks now.

By the way, what have you done to help others today?

Now that you’ve cried tears of pity for a puppy and joy for big-hearted little girl, it’s time to sit back, relax, and say, “WTF?”

On Friday, July 24, police in Dearborn, Michigan, entered a home from which a very strong odor had been emanating.  Neighbours had made complaints about the odor before, but this was the first time officials had managed to get into the home.  What they found had them reaching for the respirators.

The poor police officers found trash stacked “from floor to ceiling in places, and feces and urine” everywhere in the house.  That’s a pretty sharp contrast from the “neatly cut lawn and manicured bushes” outside of the home, providing yet another reason not to trust people who value appearance over substance.

They also found dogs – lots of them.  112, to be exact, all chihauhuas or chihuahua mixes, which took three days to be rescued from the house.  112 dirty, feces-covered, flea-infested, long-nailed dogs.  Interestingly enough, the dogs were in relatively good health, according to a spokesperson for the Dearborn Animal Shelter.

Well, those dogs were.

The 150 dead dogs found in the freezer were, obviously, not doing as well.

The resident of the home, who has not been named, was taken to a hospital for observation and could face America’s first death penalty for animal cruelty, given the extraordinary number of charges he’ll be looking at if he’s found mentally competant to stand trial.   He apparently does suffer some mental impairment from a childhood illness, and lived in the house alone after his parents moved to Florida.  Puts kids throwing a party while their parents are on vacation into perspective, doesn’t it?  “Well, sure, little Jimmy’s party caused $15,000 in property damage, but what the hell, at least he didn’t keep 150 dead dogs in the freezer.  We only found three, so we got lucky there.”

Out of curiosity, how loud, and how unimaginably annoying, would the sound of over 100 yapping chihuahuas be?  If he wasn’t batshit insane when he got the dogs, he almost certainly must have been after a month or so of that.

But, you know, what the hell.  At least he didn’t make belts out of them.

******************

And that does it for this installment of “The Good, The Bad, and The F***ing Bizarre.”  Please join me for another installment as soon as I read more stuff that blows my mind, assuming I survive the massive bender required to wipe the bad and bizarre from this installment out of my head.

VS – 7.27.09

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