Just a Dog: Understanding Animal Cruelty and Ourselves

By Arnold Arluke | Go to book overview

5
Marketers
Celebrating Community

The cat-in-the-dryer case did not have the right ingredients to be picked up
by the media. To get really extensive coverage and a strong response from the
public you need a victim and a happy ending, and an animal that is saved in
some way. Even though the kitten case was really disturbing—someone
butchered it alive and threw it in a dryer where a little boy found it—it was
not a real good media case. It’s disturbing, but unless you can show an actual
animal that people can identify with and have this animal helped in some
way, it’s almost too gory.

—Media affairs staff

USUALLY AFTER TRAGEDY destroys a community there is an outpouring of grief and support from survivors to reestablish social bonds. However, sometimes there are tragedies that have no community to restore a sense of order and meaning after loss of life or property, and the survivors pay for this void (Brison 2001). If there is no community to begin with, tragedy occurs in a social vacuum, as happens when death strikes isolated people. There is no one to reaffirm and support core community beliefs and standards of morality, no one to tell the survivors that their former identities are still honored and respected, no one to mull over the meaning of the death or recall memories of the deceased, and no memorialization—the person or event is forgotten. There is no healing.

This scenario often applies to the humane community when animals are egregiously abused—severely neglected and abandoned, enduring prolonged suffering and an agonizing death, or burned, beaten, crushed, drowned, poisoned, shot, or otherwise intentionally tortured. Few people would deny that these are extreme cases of “cruelty” that go well beyond routine violations of the “food, water, shelter” requirement of the cruelty code or what agents might describe as a bullshit complaint.

Although there is significant harm to animals in these cases, most of the time only a small number of people beyond the complainants and abusers themselves know that something untoward happened.

-147-

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Just a Dog: Understanding Animal Cruelty and Ourselves
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Just a Dog iii
  • Contents v
  • Introduction - Just a Dog 1
  • 1: Agents Feigning Authority 21
  • 2: Adolescents Appropriating Adulthood 55
  • 3: Hoarders Shoring Up Self 85
  • 4: Shelter Workers Finding Authenticity 115
  • 5: Marketers Celebrating Community 147
  • Conclusion - Cruelty is Good to Think 183
  • References 205
  • Index 217
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