Monday, May 18, 2009

This Is Justice?

Disturbing, unhappy news came to light recently in regards to an animal abuse/hoarding situation here in the Phoenix area that has been in litigation for a long time. Involving upwards of 40 or more rabbits and other animals, some evil, deranged individual had kept them in appalling, miserable conditions until the local animal control authority was able to go in, seize the poor animals, and take them to a shelter. While most people would think that would be the end of their suffering and tribulations, sadly it was only the beginning.

The abuser was charged with multiple counts of animal cruelty. The rabbits went to live in small, cramped individual cages at the shelter in a back room of the facility. Because of the charges and the legal wrangling, they had to be sequestered there in "protective custody" and became known as the "PC bunnies." They had no names, only numbers and descriptions. There were many different breeds, but a lot of longhaired angoras and lionheads, and you can imagine what condition their fur would be in after months of little or no grooming. There were also Rexes, Netherland dwarfs, mini-lops and other mixes. Probably at least 30-40 bunnies, who were condemned to this damnable state of legal limbo in July of 2007 and have been there ever since.

The animal shelter was able to talk the abuser into occasionally relinquishing ownership on one or two of the rabbits so they could be put up for adoption and find a real home and family. Brambley Hedge Rabbit Rescue took several of them and found adoptive families right away. But the evil hoarder stubbornly resisted releasing many more of them, in spite of their great adoptability. She and her dirtbag attorneys fought tooth and nail within the legal system to delay and derail all attempts to get any of the rabbits away from her and into a better place.

All this time, nearly two years, the rabbits languished in this back room of the shelter in their tiny cages, unable to run and play outside, with only very cursory and limited human interaction. I don't fault the shelter for this, because of the overwhelming tasks they have caring for enormous numbers of unwanted animals; as far as I'm concerned, the abuser is 100% responsible for creating this horrible, shameful situation, and then doing everything possible to thwart the efforts of those who want nothing more than to give the bunnies a chance at a relatively decent life.

The news came a couple of days ago that the abuser has been declared mentally incompetent to stand trial. This means that all charges against her are being dropped and the rabbits will have to be returned to her. I could not believe this when I heard it. What kind of "justice" system is this when someone who is too mentally impaired to answer for their abuses and cruelties, and yet will have the innocent animals returned to her for even more cruelty?? If she is too incompetent to stand trial, how can she competently care for 40 or more rabbits? This whole situation makes me violently ill, and if the "justice" system in this country wonders why so many people have no respect for them and hold them in the utmost disgust and loathing, the answer is right here.

It was my great privilege to be allowed to visit the "PC bunnies" regularly over the past six or seven months and provide them with much needed grooming and social interaction. A number of rabbits were very fearful and mistrustful of humans, but many of them were absolutely sweet and friendly, and were desperately starved for a kind, soothing voice, a scratch of the ears, and some good combing and brushing. Of course you can't help but fall in love with them. They are utter, total victims in this entire, sad, awful story. What is going to happen to my "PC bunnies?" They were put in a dangerous, unhealthy and cruel situation by the stupidity and evilness of a hoarder, and now an equally evil, uncaring and ignorant legal system is going to put them right back into that situation. There is no way this can be considered "justice," when the critical health and welfare of 40 innocent animals is denied in favor of the "property rights" of a mentally disturbed hoarder who, if there was indeed any "justice" in this life, would be serving a very long sentence in prison.

It is not "justice" by any stretch of the imagination, and the abuser, their legal representatives and everyone associated with the "justice" system deserve to be held in the highest contempt possible. Likewise the legislators of this backward, ignorant state who have enacted laws that treat animals as "things," instead of living, breathing, valued entities. It is my fondest wish that someday, somehow, they will be held accountable for their despicable actions. They all deserve to be locked up in a cage in a back room somewhere and forgotten.

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