If an Arizona Humane Society had had a better or more flexible credit card payment policy a cherished cat would not have been euthanized (actually killed) by the Society. This mini-tragedy comes down to facilities to pay for treatment and the attitude of staff to demonstrate some flexibility, compassion and common sense. It is a reflection on society and it is a harsh and unforgiving one sometimes.
This is not current news. The story in USA Today is dated: 12/28/2011. However the problems and attitudes behind the tragedy are timeless. As usual it is not all one-sided. Life is not black and white but grey. There is a lot of middle ground. For that reason the story is interesting.
Daniel Dockery (49), a heroin addict who has spent a lot of time in prison, raised a cat from kittenhood. He called his cat Scruffy. Scruffy helped him take control of his heroin addiction. He had formed a close bond with his 9 month old cat.
Scruffy was injured. I am not sure how. The injury was not life threatening. It was treatable. Dockery took his cat to the Humane Society’s Campus for Compassion for treatment. Note the word “compassion”. He could not pay personally but his mother could and she offered her credit card details over the phone or, failing that, to pay in cash within 24 hours.
This was unacceptable to the “compassionate” and “humane” society and they insisted Dockery sign over ownership of his cat on the basis that Scruffy would be treated and I presume rehomed. That must have been a tough decision for Dockery but he agreed for the sake of his cat.
Neither treatment nor rehoming happened. Scruffy was killed. Just another one of thousands. Although in defense the society’s Stacy Pearson said:
“The Humane Society took that cat with every intention of treating the cat and putting it in foster care”
That is the story in essence. There was a great willingness and decency about Dockery’s behavior. Not bad from a person who seems to be seen as “bad”. The people who are supposed to be seen as good, humane and compassionate were anything but. Things were turned upside down. This happens quite a lot in life. Things are not what they seem to be.
Dockery was distraught. He said:
“Now I’ve got to think about how I failed that beautiful animal,”
Another important aspect to this story is that animals can be so important to people who have difficulty relating to the human world.