Dusty the cat is alive and well

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

On the internet this was a really big story over the past day and a half, maybe not so much in "real life" (tv, on the street, newspapers). About a day and a half ago people were alerted to two videos on YouTube that featured two brothers in their house tormenting a cat of theirs named Dusty. By tormenting I mean slamming the cat into the wall, beating it with their fists, holding it up to the showerhead and turning the water on, and it was obviously not the first time because the cat had adopted a very submissive posture where he just took the beating and did nothing more than yelp out a few times.

As you can imagine, the video was sickening and outraged a LOT of people. Don't forget that the internet has a whole site (amongst others) dedicated to people amusing themselves with pictures of cats (that apparently sold for a few million $, so this is some serious traffic), which makes the posting of a video of you beating a cat not only very cruel, but also mindnumbingly stupid. All of a sudden everybody was out for blood, and by following one clue to another they eventually found out that the kids were living in Lawton, Oklahoma, found their school, their address, the police and local news received phone calls non-stop, and very quickly law enforcement found the perpetrators and saved poor little Dusty the Cat, who is alive and injured but has been taken to the vet and will I assume be given to a loving home (a few hundred people already want to adopt him so it won't be hard at all to find a good place to live).

Local news has quite a few videos related to the incident including this most recent one. The kids will face charges today and they're investigating to see how prolonged the abuse was and whether they abused other animals as well. So the story has a happy ending and it's good to see justice served so rapidly.

One interesting thing though is the preponderance of comments online to the tune of "hey, why are you all so enraged about the beating of a cat but not (Darfur/Congo/human homelessness/etc.)? Well, besides the fact that there's no law on the books saying that in order to be outraged at A you first have to express your much larger outrage for B, there's also this fact which I wrote on Reddit:

People generally feel more outraged about a situation where the victim clearly has no choice in the matter and no way out, which means children and animals. Kids have no idea how to leave abusive homes and animals can't communicate their problems to others, so that's why people feel so much rage when something bad happens to them. All poor Dusty could do to protect himself was try to stay out of sight, which is just a horrendous way to live. With adults it's more of a "okay, let's work together to get you out of this abusive situation. Step 1, you need to get out of the house and into a shelter, step 2 get a restraining order..." kind of reaction as opposed to blind rage.
That's the difference.

It was kind of funny to see the local news all excited about the attention though. The first news broadcast regarding the event also included a mention of the record traffic coming in to the site, apparently far and beyond any sort of attention they received before. Reporter Robert Richardson is probably pretty happy with the sudden national profile.

Edit March 4: here's an update on Dusty and Patches. They're doing just fine now.


Anonymous said...

I was so surprised when I heard about this!
Thank god Dusty is safe!

Anonymous said...

this time is worse!!!



Anonymous said...

I am glad Dusty is safe and I hope he finds a nice home with the love and care that he deserves.

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