I have read numerous online statements from Charlotte-Mecklenburg AC & C employees and supporters denying there was any abuse indicated in the shameful photos posted on Facebook. “No animals were harmed” seems to be a common sentiment as well as “If this is abuse then everyone who dresses up their pets in Halloween costumes is guilty of abuse too”.
I would like to clarify my opinion on the matter: These photos indicate abuse. Comparing them to photos of pets in costumes is a false equivalency. Just because the cat didn’t have the knife stuck through his leg does not mean “no animals were harmed”. The fact that at least some folks at this shelter and those defending the photos can not see that this is abuse is perhaps indicative of a larger problem, I don’t know.
Let me put it this way: I think we can all agree that dressing up your kid in a Halloween costume – even one that some might consider “inappropriate” in some way – and taking a photo is not abuse. But say your kid’s been missing for a week, you are frantically searching for him, hoping he hasn’t met some untoward end when you find out a good Samaritan picked him up off the street and brought him to the city homeless shelter. Then you find out that while at the homeless shelter, the staff dressed him up in an inappropriate costume, took pictures of him and posted them online with “funny” captions. How’s that grab ya?
You would probably complain that you, as a taxpayer, pay these people’s salaries to protect and serve members of the community in need – not “play dress-up” with them for laughs. You would want to know what right do these workers have to use the homeless people in the shelter in such an inappropriate manner and whether they realize all of these people could be – now or at some point past or future – loved by a family member or friend. You’d be appalled to think that the people you are paying to provide care for those most in need don’t seem to appreciate that the homeless have value and a right to life, respect and care. You’d demand accountability from your city officials. You’d go to the media, write letters – do whatever was necessary to effect change at this place.
Now imagine how you’d feel if these same homeless shelter workers who posed your kid for inappropriate photos and posted them online turned around and said YOU were the problem. That YOU were making a big fuss over nothing. Sure, maybe they showed poor judgment but hell, he’s just a kid and it’s not like they burnt him with cigarettes or anything. Your kid was not harmed and people dress their children up in dumb costumes all the time so what’s the big deal? Why don’t YOU stop being such a pain in the ass and just shut up already?
These cats were not living in someone’s home, being well cared for and loved, and having a costume put on them for some funny photos. They were, in fact, homeless cats who may have been someone’s beloved pets at some time and/or perhaps would be in future. These cats had no voice to protest, no means of escape and were completely reliant upon the city shelter staff to protect them from harm and take care of them until their owners could be found or until they were adopted by new owners. If they were feral, they should have been neutered, ear tipped, and returned to their managed colonies. Under no circumstances should they have been posed for inappropriate photos and killed. But that’s exactly what local taxpayers paid the staff at CMPD-ACC to do:
Cats shown in controversial pictures taken at the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Animal Care and Control facility in west Charlotte were euthanized, but it’s unclear whether that was before or after the pictures were taken.
In an e-mail to Channel 9, a Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department spokesperson said “the cats were deemed unhandleable and unadoptable and were euthanized after a required holding period of 72 hours.”
Who deemed them unadoptable – the clever photographers or the people still defending the photos? And are those the same people who killed them?
Get it now?
Added: Local news station spoke with a shelter employee today who said if you’ve ever put your pet in a Halloween costume you’ve done the same thing as the people who sedated shelter cats, posed them for pictures and killed them. She also produced a ferret and said the hair loss in the photos was “natural”.