For the second week in a row we have seen animal cruelty on a level that has reduced us to tears and preoccupied our every waking thoughts. Some of you will have seen images of our one of the animals on our Facebook page. We've kept the details of the crime deliberately vague so as to not jeopardise investigations but also because of how utterly distressing it is. When I told one dear friend about the dog she welled up in tears there and then; testament to just how disturbing the crimes were.
Tomorrow sees the admission of another hideous cruelty case, this time a cat. I'm a little lost for words as to how to describe what the poor animal went through. What we know is that the cat was physically harmed on more than one occasion and someone intentionally placed cable tie around the neck to cause pain and suffering. At the point of rescue the cable tie was so deeply embedded into the cat's neck it had to be surgically removed. I can't help but think that someone was gradually tightening the cable ties to cause as much suffering as possible.
It defies reason why anyone would want to inflict such misery and pain to an innocent creature. The correlations between these cases and recent child abuse cases in the media are apparent. Depravity is something hard to accept exists on this level in our society, but indeed it does. Thankfully it's something most of us rarely get to witness at first sight but there are a team of people who have to deal with this on a regular basis. The special police departments that investigate sickening crimes and the RSPCA inspectorate clearly share so much in common.
One of my favourite artists is Hogarth. He was at the forefront of the development of British Art in the 1700s. He was best known in his day for topical prints, which functioned like newspapers but carried moral messages in an almost tabloid-like manner in a bid to penetrated all fractions of society. One of the print series I cherish is the Four Stages of Cruelty. The story is so relevant in these times that it may well have been conceived in this day and age. If you are unfamiliar with the story and images take a look at this link: it will undoubtedly send a shudder down you as you consider the contemporary nature of these images.
This set of prints were part of Hogarth's Modern Moral Series and it demonstrates that even over 260 years ago the preoccupations of society were much the same as they are today. The difference being was back in the 1700s there was no such thing as the RSPCA, let alone a police force.
I thank myself lucky that we live in these modern times and that we have such wonderful frontline staff that do the job they do. I'm so glad we live in a society that has both a police force and an organisation that is dedicated to investigating animal cruelty.
In an ideal world it would be a statutory body, like you see in some states in America, being responsible for investigating animal welfare complaints, and paid for by the government and tax payers money. Instead it is left to a charity that is restricted by money (it operates entirely on public money) to do the best they can to investigate and uphold the law; it doesn't entirely make sense to me.
What I do know is that the RSPCA does what it can and to the best of its abilities with the resources that it has. I am, above all, grateful to my inspectorate friends who spend each and every day coping with such horrific sights, verbal abuse and threats. Money does not buy this level of dedication, passion and compassion does. Thank you to you all.