Tuesday, 19 June 2007


Have you seen this vid for Trentemoller’s song ‘Moan’? It’s sweet… and so is the song. I can't get it out of my head.

The vid is dedicated to the first dog in space, Laika (Russian for ‘Barker’). They sent her up there knowing she would die; they’d rushed preparations to be THE FIRST to send a living animal into space and so didn’t set it up so she could return. She was a stray. They sent lots of others up after her.

Here's a pic of the real Laika ->

It seems I’m surrounded by images of animal cruelty lately. There was something on the news last night, but I couldn’t hear it. I only saw kangaroos and some blood on the ground, so I ‘got the picture’.

Perhaps it was to do with recent attacks in a NSW National Park:

One kangaroo had been decapitated, one had been beaten to death and one had had its eyes gouged out and been left with a joey still alive in its pouch.

In addition, kangaroos around Perth are being shot with arrows and left to die.

Such stories leaved me overwhelmed with sadness. I read a woman’s blog a few weeks back. Whilst on a stroll about her neighbourhood she had seen a deer get hit by a car. The young woman driver stopped. The deer was severely injured but awake. The woman said she hoped it had died quickly and peacefully. That’s nice, I thought, but why don’t you know!? Do you mean you just walked away; left it??

I don’t understand...

My last boyfriend told me of how he once saw, on a busy road, a Port Lincoln parrot dragging the dead body of its mate to safety, to get it off the road. (Does this beautiful parrot have more compassion than the woman above?) It’s an image that always makes me cry. It says so much.

On 7.30 Report last week they had a story about how many women are often too scared to leave an abusive partner, as they fear for the safety of their pet/s. Most people know of the link between abuse of animals and abuse of people. Now there’s additional research:

[A] Monash University study showed just over half of family violence victims reported the perpetrator had also abused the family pets, and many women said they had delayed leaving a violent relationship out of concern for their pet's welfare.

RIC HOLLAND, CHIEF EXECUTIVE, LORT SMITH ANIMAL HOSPITAL: We had a dog that had clearly been punched in the face with severe facial injuries and broken limbs. Probably it had been struck with a cricket bat or a baseball bat.

DR SASHA HERBERT, LORT SMITH ANIMAL HOSPITAL: The male owner said that the dog had run through a plate glass window to get to him. I suspect the dog had been thrown through the plate glass window rather than having run through it itself, or it else it was so frightened that it was running from something rather than to something.

JUDY JOHNSON, EASTERN DOMESTIC VIOLENCE SERVICE: The threats to the pets are used as a controlling mechanism by a perpetrator to say, "Look, remain with me. If you leave I will do such and such. I will either shoot the dog, I'll strangle a cat, I'll skin the guinea pigs, and when I find you and the children eventually, I'll do the same to you".

LISA WHITEHEAD: Those threats against the family pets may never be carried out, but they're powerful coercive tool used to trap women and children in the web of domestic violence.

… Disturbingly, the Monash University study also found a third of the women living in crisis accommodation delayed leaving the family home out of concern for their pet's welfare.

… most domestic violence refuges can't accommodate pets, and few animal shelters offer respite care for more than a week or two, leaving women and children little choice but to leave their pets behind.

Thankfully some people are doing something about this. There’s now a Pets in Peril program. Animal Aid is working with Melbourne's Eastern Domestic Violence Service and various vet clinics. They’re able to take care of abused women’s pets for a month or more. It’s a wonderful thing that they’re doing; and it’s hideous that it needs to be done.


I’ll leave you with a story I’ve hastily put together – it’s based on true stuff btw. (‘Hastily’ cause dwelling on all this is making me too sad! Absolutely MUST have a cheerier post next!!)


Rivka (Hebrew, meaning: place to hide from harsh circumstances)

From outside I hear a growling scream, ‘You bitch! I’LL FUCKING KILL YOU RIVKA! FUUUCK! What’s this? What’s this? What the fuck’s this Rivka? Stupid dog!’

Sitting inside I feel sick. Rivka must have chewed something of his again. I don’t move. I hear the thick, heavy chain being pulled through the supportive beams of the floor beneath me. He’s taken her beneath the house, an old Queenslander with an open room underneath. In my mind I picture him dragging her by the collar across the lawn and along the cement. Now he’s looping the chain through the beam above his head. I can feel it reverberating through my feet. I hear his thundering growl, ‘Stupid fucking bitch!’ Did I hear her whine? I know he’s attaching the chain to her collar. My stomach twists and flips. The chain will be tight enough, holding her high enough, that if she moves her feet will leave the ground. She can’t move. I wonder if she can breathe OK. He’ll leave her there for hours. I try to think what I might say to encourage him to take her down - without making him angry. At the same time I hope he won’t come inside. I don’t move.

Poor Rivka. Sometimes when he ‘goes off’ at her I try to ignore it; even feel relief it’s her and not me. She’ll tremble and look at me with beautiful dark eyes. They’re naturally outlined with Kohl liner, reminding me of Cleopatra. Hiding, crouching and quivering, she looks around her, not knowing when he will attack.

A part of me wants to scream at him - to chain him up. A bigger part wants to hide in a dark corner and curl up, close my eyes.

On a couple of occasions I’ve heard him throw her down the stairs. She’ll try to hide at the top of them, near the front door. The first time it happened I somehow managed to say, ‘Don’t throw her down the stairs Dean,’ softening any offence by explaining that if anyone saw him they could report him. He didn’t get cross; he seemed to understand.

But I didn’t understand him. I was trying. At times he could be caring and supportive. If I cried - and it helped if I wasn’t crying about him – Dean would hold me for as long as it took. Usually he wasn’t so patient. He was always feeling pressured and stressed. He seemed to consider himself a judge of every person on Earth, as though it were up to him to put everything right. He spoke of peace; of the awful people in the world and that such people should die. He said America should burn. Dean never saw himself as being hypocritical. He explained, ‘I am the living paradox.’ One time a man gave him a parking ticket. Dean looked the man in the eye and softly growled, ‘I hope you get cancer. I hope you get cancer and die.’

Recently, during the holidays, we’d stayed in a farm house rented by friends of his. The owner rode his pretty brown horse up to visit one day. He told us to keep our dog chained up, that the farmers shoot dogs as soon as they see them on their property. We had heard this. Dean’s friends’ dog had already gone missing, and another had been found shot dead before this. The farmers would shoot their neighbours’ dogs even if they were nowhere near their livestock. The old man looked over at Rivka who was madly barking at his horse. I told him how lovely his horse was. The farmer said he’d had her for thirteen years, a good enough work horse, the only one he has left. I asked her name, as I liked her and she was often near the house. ‘She doesn’t have one,’ he said.

During our stay at the farm the owner took a dislike to Dean, and our barking dog. He and his wife came to tell Dean we could no longer stay on the property. I couldn’t hear what was said, but I suspected from the tone of Dean’s voice that he was insulting the old farmer and his wife. After this Dean frequently repeated, in a deep gravely voice, that he would kill him. In savage detail he’d explain how he would at least smash his kneecaps, would do it in front of the man’s wife. He thought she deserved to die too. He repeated his various, intentioned acts of violence but I can’t remember them. It’s easier not to.

I could hear him coming up the stairs now. I quickly stood up from the table, trying to think what I could say. I decided to go to the bedroom, maybe I’d read a book… or I could turn on the tv…

I’d only taken one step when he came in. I turned and looked at him. He stared down at me.
I took a breath and said, ‘I hope everything’s OK…’ and immediately regretted it.