Saturday, April 28, 2012
Good Deeds All Around
I helped save a sad horse and two adorable dogs. And all I had to do was gripe on Facebook. It’s an amazing world that way.
My house sits on the edge of an allotment, and just across the street is a house that sits outside of it. It used to be a farmhouse when this area was an undeveloped farm, although the land was mostly wooded, and some of it was mined back in the day. The allotment has some restrictions, like no outbuildings or clothes lines or crap piled up in the yard, but across the street, it’s anything goes, apparently.
The man who has lived in this house for several years is the grandson of the farmer who built it, and it was passed down three generations to the degenerate who has let the thing go to hell. OK, to be fair, his mother wasn’t much better. When she owned the house, she would decorate the lawn for the seasons and then leave everything up all year—Christmas lights, a plywood cutout of Santa riding a rocket, a hay bale with pumpkins in various stages of decay, plastic Easter eggs hanging from the lower branches of the scraggly trees. Trick-or-treating kids would walk an arc around the place to avoid it on Halloween.
What the son has done that the mother did not was put a horse on the property, a corner lot that is smaller than an acre; and the horse had to share this tiny space with two sheds, a trampoline, a rat-infested brush pile, a dog pen, assorted cars, sometimes a camper, dirt bikes, an old dune buggy, and heaps of trash.
The neighborhood went nuts over that horse, and not just the people in the allotment. All kinds of people went to township meetings to complain, but nothing was ever done to save the horse or our property values. All this complaining did was make the filthy slob dig in his heels, paint unfriendly messages on the outside of his fence, like “MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS,” and curse us all in drunken rants while roaming his back yard, hiking up his pants as they slipped below his massive belly and stepping over piles of horse manure that hadn’t been shoveled in a year.
Well, the tides turned when this friendly neighbor lost his house to foreclosure. I wish that on no one, but there are consequences to your actions, and he didn’t lose the house to downsizing or a failing economic system. He lost it due to his own erratic and irresponsible behavior. Losing his house wasn’t a shock to us, but what was a shock is how he moved out. He just left. And not only did he leave behind a crap hole for the bank to deal with, he left behind the horse and the two dogs trapped in a pen with no food or hay or water.
Several immediate neighbors took action as soon as they realized what was going on, that the animals were starving, and they banded together to buy feed and hay and dog food and took turns caring for the animals. This went on for a few weeks, with no concern from the animal owner even though he would occasionally stop by to haul some crappy lamp out of his house or fetch a pillow or something.
But then a few days ago, one of the neighbors saw me outside playing with Big Puppy and waved me over to the crap hole and to the abandoned horse. He told me the whole saga about how the animals had been abandoned and who was caring for them. He wondered if I could do anything to help, what with my influence at the local newspaper. To be clear, I have no influence at the local newspaper, but I do have Facebook, and I complained there.
The very next day, one of my dear friends, Juli, who is a horse owner and animal lover, came over to check on the poor animals and to take photos. She showed me how the horse had developed a skin infection, which is why the thing had big bald spots, and that it was clearly depressed. Juli took her pictures straight to the Humane Society, which had previously approved of the horse’s living condition, to show them what had happened to the animals.Those photos and Juli's impassioned plea did the trick, and they were on the case.
The next day, the idiot guy agreed to let a neighbor find homes for his animals—she had already lined up people for that—but it was too late. The Humane Society arrived with crates and a trailer and hauled off the animals, and now they're going to site the guy for animal abuse and abandonment. Interesting bit of information—the man is a deputy with the county sheriff, so I wonder how being sited by the Humane Society will affect his job.
Like I said, I wouldn’t wish bad things like foreclosure and job loss on anyone, but there are consequences to your actions. I’m just glad the animals are now being fed and cared for and that people are lining up to give them good homes. All I did was complain in this scenario, but other people stepped in to take care of the animals and to report the abuse. Good deeds all around.
at 11:37 AM