There was outrage last week when it was reported an animal had been castrated at a Georgia high school. I became interested in this case because Toccoa, located in Stephens County, is only one county over from where my maternal family lives. I covered the story here on Examiner, as it wasn’t announced whether a cat or dog was involved. We now understand that it was a cat.
The actual act of castration was conducted by the science teacher but the students participated in holding the cat. The students were accomplices.
I also understand that the cat belonged to the instructor at Stephens County High School and was taken into their Animal Science (agriculture) class. During this class it was held down by the students and castrated, without benefit of anesthesia. Bryan Dorsey, Superintendent for Stephens County Schools, says he was notified of the situation, and has made the following media statement
“We have had high school administration looking into one, our first concern, about the safety of our students, making sure there were no protocols we need to be checking on there so that is being done. We are making sure we review the curriculum and appropriate protocols with our staff. We want to make sure that is also being done. Concerning any further questioning of the staff member involved, that person has chosen to resign, so we are not able to follow up with that. The teacher that resigned was Mr. Hebert.”
While Dorsey believes there is a place in an appropriate farm setting for students to learn the proper procedure for castration, it shouldn’t take place in a classroom. Dorsey goes on to say that the behavior isn’t condoned.
The Toccoa-Stephens County Humane Shelter Director Jeff Roberts says Animal Control has reached out to other state agencies to investigate the incident. Local agencies are conducting their own investigation. There is the issue of whether animal cruelty charges should be filed against Mr. Hebert.
Can you imagine the mental, as well as physical anguish, inflicted upon this helpless cat? I can’t imagine the fear it experienced from being held down by a bunch of strangers. The pain of being castrated without anesthesia of any kind. To me, this was a sadistic act that was performed not only on the cat, but on the students in the class. A lot of students are hesitant these days to dissect a dead animal, much less a pet like many probably have at home.
I wonder how many students spoke out against this, and were chastised, belittled or ignored. How long will these students have nightmares about that day? Will any of them require counseling? These are all valid concerns the parents need to take up with the school board.
As for the readers, please comment on whether you believe animal cruelty charges are needed for this despicable act.