This past August, some AR people contacted me about wrongdoings at the Fairfield County Dog Shelter, and asked me to write an article exposing the activities there. It was bad enough that dogs were being gassed there when the shelter was never even at capacity, but when I learned that the gassing was being carried out incorrectly, that animals were coming out of the gas chamber who weren’t completely dead, and that witnesses were claiming that as a result, some of the animals thrown in the incinerator were still alive– I didn’t waste any time putting an article together.
As you might imagine, my article created quite a stir. Readers were outraged, and rightly so. Many of them called and emailed the county commissioners demanding an end to the gassing. Some of them got completely carried away and allegedly called in death threats. I’ve since discovered that an administrator on the news site where my article appeared removed the article, presumably because of the crazy fracas.
Remember those trolls that I wrote about in my last blog post? They didn’t waste any time either. They condemned me for inciting violence and accused me of fabricating the story. Their “proof” that the story was a “hoax” was that no other news outlets had reported dogs being burned alive at Fairfield. Furthermore, they took issue with me because I did not reveal my sources. Although the article is now offline, I stand behind what I wrote, and the people who came forward with the story.
Fairfield isn’t all that unique; there are terrible shelters all around the country. One thing that most of them have in common is that local rescue groups work very hard to gain an “in” at those shelters. They build a relationship–however tenuous–so they can save as many animals as possible; animals that otherwise wouldn’t have a chance. They do what they have to do and say what they have to say to maintain a relationship that allows them access to the animals. They avoid doing anything that might jeopardize that relationship, which is why the people who came to me had asked to remain anonymous, and why I honored their request.
As for my readers, I have no control over their actions or words, and it’s absurd to think I can control them. The trolls took issue with me for making that statement too…suggesting that I should soothe my readers so they wouldn’t fly off the handle. One of the trolls ultimately commented that he didn’t understand the reader’s reactions to the article. He didn’t understand why people were outraged to the extent that they made death threats or why the comments on the article contained so many cries for violence against the perpetrators.
In my opinion, that’s the indisputable proof that those trolls don’t give a crap about animals, and that they are not animal advocates in any sense of the word.
The comments on my Fairfield article (and on the subsequent follow-ups) weren’t unique. Any place you find an article about a case of animal abuse, you will find readers’ comments that call for eye-for-an-eye justice. As for why that occurs, I believe there is a very logical explanation…which you can read in my next post.
The trolls supposedly called the Fairfield shelter after my article appeared and asked if they were burning dogs alive there. Not surprisingly, the shelter staff and commissioners denied it. (Although why they thought the people allegedly committing the abuse would admit it, is beyond me.) Interestingly, the trolls did not ask the shelter to stop the gassing, a fact that underscores their complete lack of concern for animals and animal welfare.
The most important thing about all of this, is that after more than ten years of trying to stop the gassing at Fairfield, the shelter stopped gassing. In fact, that is probably the only thing that matters. It was the result of steady pressure from the AR people who had come to me, the public outcry as a result of the article, and a little late help from the Ohio SPCA that got the job done.
And in the event that you don’t think that stopping gassing is a big deal…in the event that, like me, you’ve been led all your life to believe that gassing is humane…then you should educate yourself and watch this video. This is not the Fairfield shelter, but is a clip from the HBO documentary “One Nation Under Dog,” and it shows a gassing. I’ll warn you ahead of time that if you choose to watch it, you will never forget it — and you might just end up becoming a champion to stop gassing at shelters wherever it is still the accepted form of euthanasia.