4 comments on “A Sad Story of Cruelty and Abuse

  1. Dear Mr. Hardin,

    I have enjoyed your past articles on the marijuana industry in southern Humboldt but am confused by your editorial posted today on the Lost Coast Outpost, “A Sad Story of Cruelty and Abuse.” I see your point when you talk about the abused dog, Mr. Nobody, being a metaphor for the plight of our homeless population. But I do not see the same context in which you are using this metaphor; that it is ironic that we condemn the animal abuse but not the cause of the animal abuse, which in this case, you argue that homeless people are all severely abused and punished for just trying to survive (and that is what we should be focusing on, instead?)

    First of all, do you really believe, as you point out in one of the last sentences, that this act of animal cruelty was staged as a poetic metaphor? If so, then you are giving a whole lot of credit to Mr. Cole because I do not believe he is purposefully abusing his animals to demonstrate the ills of society in respect to the treatment of the homeless. It is interesting that you see the abuse of an animal, a living being that cannot speak up or fight for itself, as a metaphor and not simply as what it is: abuse.

    Secondly, you say you are not condoning his behavior but then you go on to sympathize with the abuser, asking how many times he has been called a “bum” or a “scumbag.” Of course, that ran through my head when I learned about this man and his history. But without knowing his life story, how can you use examples as a reason to sympathize with? There comes a time in one’s life when you cannot continue to blame your past or others for your misery. Yes, homeless people do suffer and are ridiculed and abused. (Your first example of homeless folks being “asked to move along” is weak at best in describing abuse). But does the case of this dog really need to become a metaphor for this?

    And lastly, your final statement on why you love cats; because they “would never put up with that shit,” makes no sense. Mr. Cole has been seen with a cat carrier in his possession and it has been reported that he had custody of a cat after his dog was taken away from him. A cat, nor a dog, has any choice then to put up with the hand of their owner(s). Both are considered possessions and can suffer to great lengths before the law can get involved because the owner has a lot of rights to their possessions and the abuse has to be observable and documented so law enforcement can even do anything. This is what is so important in this case, after years of people reporting the abuse they witnessed, Mr. Cole is finally found on videotape and that is the reason why his dog was finally taken away from him.

    Like all forms of abuse, (animal, child, elder, homeless, etc…) if it is in the public’s eye, it should go reported. If one is able to safely intervene, please do so. No one that I have spoken with on this case wants any harm done to Mr. Cole. Like most cases of abuse in general, the abuser was also a victim of abuse at one time. We are interested in not seeing this person with an animal in our community again. Many of us are advocates for the homeless as well as the animals. We too have suffered from seeing the horrendous acts of cruelty this person has inflicted on their animals in public spaces. We as citizens deserve the right to speak up for the voiceless and for ourselves and the safety of our community. While the court case is ongoing, I ask that you refrain from writing about this issue. Save it for the verdict. The plight of the homeless in our society is a whole other issue and neither is deserving of being used as a metaphor for each other.

    Thank you to Kevin Hoover for actually covering this story! And no thanks to you for your mocking it!

    Animal Advocate

    Ps: Cats AND Dogs are wonderful. Not one shall be favored over the other.

    • Thanks for your long and thoughtful comment. I do not condone animal abuse of any kind, whether it be against defenseless pets by cruel people, or against defenseless people by a cruel society. I don’t think we will end cruelty to animals until we learn to treat each other better. Abuse breeds abuse. That’s my point.

      PS. Cats rule, dogs drool.

  2. I think your story is perfect. Animals get a lot more than humans do anyday. Want a dog park, bingo Bango it’s here, and the city and county leaders are volunteering to pick up the dog shit. It’s cold outside please bring the pets in and leave the humans out? That’s what’s happening in Humboldt. Animals before humans. Everyday I see a humans packing way more than they can carry due to criminalization on the poor. Nobody cares about that? What is wrong with us?
    Humans should rule but don’t because they are human? We are a messed up society when we treat animals better than we treat our citizens in this county. Move over Dog that are toasty warm in those shelters, winter is coming and we need a place so we don’t die!
    Human Advocate

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