Updated: September 20, 2012 9:58AM
Dear Ollie, I am horrified at what I witnessed while driving near a railroad yard in Gary. Three children, who appeared to be about 13 years old, were chasing a tiny dog.
The game was clear: Chase it, catch it and then throw it up against a train car.
I immediately stopped the car and captured the dog. Their statement to me, as I slammed the car door shut was, “We’ll just find another dog to terrorize.”
I wasn’t sure what should happen next. The little Chihuahua mix’s jaw was hanging to the side. I passed the Humane Society of Northwest Indiana on U.S. 12 in Miller and stopped in because it just seemed like the right thing to do.
Shelter director Freida White was at the front desk and when she saw this poor animal in my arms, she said, “We must help this baby. Give him to me.” I left the shelter physically shaken by the experience but confident that this dog would receive the best care possible.
Dear Anonymous, On behalf of concerned animal lovers everywhere, thank you for the intervention.
My woman human phoned Freida at the Humane Society, and she brought us up to date on this case.
The cost of medical treatments for this dog will be in excess of $2,000. Fortunately, someone from the Valparaiso community has stepped forward to foster the dog and run a fundraiser to get him fixed up as good as new. I will keep my readers posted on his progress.
Here is the greater worry. Since the 1970s, research has consistently reported childhood cruelty to animals as one of the first warning signs of later types of delinquency, violence and criminal behavior.
Albert DeSalvo, the Boston Strangler found guilty of killing 13 women, shot arrows through dogs and cats he trapped as a child. Columbine shooters Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold boasted about mutilating animals for fun.
According to some psychologists, there are three types of animal abusers. A preschool child who has not developed the cognitive maturity to understand that animals have feeling are not toys; a child who intellectually understand that is not OK to hurt animals but abuses animals as a response to witnessing violence or abuse in the home; or teens who abuse animals while engaging in other antisocial behaviors.
Sometimes the animal abuse is in conjunction with a deviant peer group while other times it may be used as a way to alleviate boredom or achieve a sense of control or just getting a “high” watching another living creature suffer.
I am very worried about the future of these three boys but am more worried about the animals and people whose paths they will cross.