I’ve been involved in companion animal rescue since 1987. The past five years or so, I’ve channeled that passion into animal advocacy. As I’ve made the transition into advocacy, I’ve noticed a strange phenomenon. When a rescue group or advocate begins to really start accomplishing things, haters suddenly come out of the woodwork, raise their ugly heads and start campaigning to bring the group down with false accusations. I’ve seen it happen over and over, and it’s happened to some truly amazing groups that work around the clock to make a difference.
This past July, I suddenly found myself a target of just such a clique of haters. When I confided in my friend, Dawn, about it…she said “Congratulations, girlfriend, You have arrived.”
While I appreciated her sentiment and words of support, it’s not what I signed on for.
Those of you who know me personally, know that I struggle daily with depression. I walk a fine line between being a fully functional human being and tumbling headlong into a pit of debilitating despair. It is difficult enough looking at the photos of abused and tortured animals that cross my desk daily and advocating for them, without the added stress and anxiety caused by a group of Internet trolls.
And these people are relentless. I do not know them, and they do not know me, but they seem to have made it their goal in life to post defamatory and libelous lies about me and some of the people in rescue/advocacy that I have a lot of respect for. I was not their initial target, but because I defended the other people and groups they were trashing, they now consider me fair game.
These haters – these cyber bullies, they are not even people in the AR community. (well, one is. One has a pet advocacy page on Facebook, but she spent the better part of its early existence doing nothing but bad-mouthing reputable rescues and advocacy groups. When all you do in AR is bad-mouth other groups, that’s not being an advocate. That’s being an asshole.) But these others…they are not in the AR community. They have just begun to paint themselves that way to gain the ears and attention of others that are in the AR community, and that’s for the express purpose of spreading lies about the rescue groups they are targeting. But under that false facade of ‘advocating’ what I really think this clique of haters wants is for animals to die.
They have attacked two rescue groups and an advocacy group that I have a lot of respect for.
The purpose of their attacks is to create a mistrust of the groups they write about and stop people from donating to them or the causes they promote. What do they hope to accomplish? To “take down” these groups. A rescue group without donations cannot operate, and if they cannot operate, animals die – mission accomplished.
As I mentioned above, they have been attacking me since the middle of July. They have accused me of everything from inciting death threats to Internet fraud.
I finally asked them at one point what exactly they wanted from me. I’ve done nothing of consequence to any of them, except criticize their disgusting attack blog. I was told that they want me to sever my ties with, and take a stand against a specific group. And apparently, they will continue to bully me until I do as they say. Well, I don’t take kindly to bullying. And I don’t take kindly to people spreading lies about me.
The animal advocacy site that I write for is a great platform. It has a built-in readership of about half a million people. My articles there have influenced the sentencing of puppy killer Jeff Nally. They have helped stop the gassing at Fairfield Shelter. They have informed pet owners about tainted pet treats; mobilized people to sign petitions that advocate for elephants, ask for stricter sentencing in animal abuse cases, and demand federal investigations of crimes of cruelty; they have educated readers about zoo and circus cruelty, poaching of ivory, and the dog meat trade. From what I can tell, my articles have been making a difference. Why would I want to stop? I am an animal advocate. I am relevant. I educate, help, and build.
What would be gained if I caved to their pressure?
Animals would suffer.
To the harassers, the haters, the bullies and trolls:
You are nobodies. You are insignificant. You are irrelevant. You do nothing but hurt and destroy. Crawl back under the rocks you came from, like the worms and insects you are.
I have important work to do.