Monday, June 27, 2005
  Last night sucked. Really bad.
WARNING: Quite long and very sad.

I went to sleep nice and early last night, beat from another weekend of diving.

I woke up at 11 or 12 because a lady was sitting on my neighbor's steps, yelling. Lots of profanity, lots of anger.. apparently her brother was left to die in an orphanage by himself because her mother was too busy at the bar with her policeman boyfriend. Repeat 1000 times. She was basically outside my bedroom window, so there's no way I could sleep through it, but she was scary and crazy so I didn't want to try to talk to her. I called the police and they said they would come but they never did. A while later, she had quieted down and I had a cat outside wanting food. I stepped out my door and she sat up. It totally freaked me out; she was SLEEPING on the steps. But, she just watched me as I gave a handful of food to the cat and hurried back in.

Fast forward to early this morning.. 5 a.m., I'd guess.
I woke up because the damn cats outside were going at it again. When I snapped out of my dream, I realized that it was a dog I was hearing. A dog and a cat.

I flew out of bed and for the front door. When I got to my porch, I could see a cat crouched down and and surrounded by a big pit bull and a fluffy chowlike dog. I screamed and the fluffy dog ran away. The pit bull stayed. The cat I was the neighborhood all-black cat. There are two, actually, but one is very pretty. This one looks as if it's had a harder life. I remember the first time I saw the cat, about a month ago, I thought for a moment that it was Lucy, until I realized how far from Davie I was. So here were the dog and the cat, the cat laying on its back and staring up at fear at the dog.

I stood at my front door screaming and screaming at the pit to leave the cat alone. My first instinct was to run out there and grab the cat, but I've read way too many stories about people being ripped apart by dogs so stood there, helpless and screaming.

Just as my mind started racing, taking inventory of what I had outside that I could throw, the dog obeyed and backed down. He stood in the grass, trailed by a tie-up leash he somehow had liberated from its base.

By now, two of my three neighbors were at their front doors. One called the police for me. I was standing in my underwear and an inside-out, zippered-up sweatshirt, but had to stay put because the dog WOULD NOT LEAVE. Every few seconds, it would start to look in the cat's direction, and I would yell at him until he returned his focus to me. At this point, the cat was laying in the grass.

I started to get upset because I wanted to go get the cat but couldn't dare to approach the dog. I was already out of safety range, standing on the sidewalk, but felt pretty secure the dog wouldn't hurt me unless I tried to get between him and his new toy. I yelled for the neighbor to call the police again and kept wondering why it should take so long - the police station is literally within two miles.

My other neighbor kept whistling for the dog, which was just pissing me off. I had it where I could see it, and wanted it to stay there for when the police arrived. In very un-Staceylike fashion, I told him to knock it off and everything was OK where it was. And anyway, the owner of this dog was GOING TO PAY FOR THIS CAT'S VET BILL, goddammit.

When the pit was just laying by himself in the grass, I softened. I had not forgotten what he had done, but.. damn, that's a dog I'd happily go up and pet if I had seen it anywhere other than attacking a defenseless cat in my front yard. When I would yell at him to stop looking interested in the cat, he'd put his head down, as if he knew he had been bad. The cat at some point tried to crawl away, which was horribly pathetic and terrifying at the same time - I wanted to go get him but was now even more worried that the dog's interest would be renewed.

Then out of nowhere, he looked off towards the street and skipped away.

I ran over to the cat, who was soaked from laying in the wet grass. I ran my hand over and under his body and looked at my hand in what light I had to relievedly see that he wasn't bleeding. But he had something oozing out of his mouth and was gasping for breath.

From the moment I saw the two dogs standing over the cat, I had accepted that a trip to the emergency vet was in my future. But looking at this pathetic creature, I decided to give him a moment to pass if that's where he was headed; I didn't want his last minute to be filled with jostling around in the arms of a human he wouldn't normally let touch him. I laid in the grass by him, rubbing his little head and telling him he'd be OK, hoping to god I wasn't just scaring him more.

Then the gasps stopped and I collapsed in the grass, sobbing. Then another breath.

At that point, I went into action, picked him up, and balanced him on my chest as I ran into my still-dark house. I set him on the cats' rubbermaid-container bed and looked for pants while the neighbor lady tried to find the number for the vet. My cats kept trying to investigate this poor creature, wet and smelling of pee. "LEAVE HIM ALONE!" Every few seconds, he'd gasp for breath again. Big, painful gasps. And then he stopped.

It was at the moment I realized he was dead that I heard the police officer outside my door. "Ma'am?"

I picked up the cat on his little bed and brought him onto the porch.

I told the officer what had happened and he went in search of the dog, who was now out wandering our cat-rich neighborhood. Great.

I spoke with my neighbor for a few minutes, and then the cop returned. It was the dog of the guy at 2300. He had it fenced in but the neighbor opened the gate. And then he prepared to leave.

"You're not doing anything?" He said he couldn't since there was no victim. "How about the CAT?" "The cat can't be considered the victim, and since it lived outside and doesn't have an owner.." "Fine, say I'm the owner then." "I can't do that." I was so so so so so mad and fought with this poor police officer for five minutes about how unjust this was. He finally gave up: I don't make the laws!

He called animal control for me to collect the cat since I didn't know what to do with it. I sat next to it on my bench and waited. After 10 minutes or so, Officer Marino came back. Apparently he went and reviewed the laws to see if there was anything he could do, since he saw how upset I was. He could write him up for not having his dog on a leash and I was put down on the citation as the owner/witness. Ahemahem, Stacey. I am welcome to attend the hearing. He then started speaking with me candidly about the whole thing. The dogs are behind a four-foot fence, and there are three of them. They are all chained up and neglected. The owner is probably a drug dealer. But there's really nothing we can do...

I was still awake when the sun came up and the cat lady next door came out to do the morning feeding. I went over to tell her the bad news and realized she was calling for the cat. See, she does a morning roll call every day before she puts down the food to make sure everyone gets some. "I don't know where Jesse, Ricky, or Tarzan are." "Ricky's a black cat?" So that was Ricky. She cried and I felt awful for her.

It's an awful shame that these strays have to live like they do, but the fact that one had to die that way? What an awful, awful way to go.. and then to have to go through whole minutes laying five feet from the dog that hurt him? I feel awful I couldn't have scooped him up and carried him off, to at least let him die in peace.

On top of that, the reason this whole thing happened is because some asshole chains up his dogs. That's the best way to ensure you'll have a killer of a dog - chain him up and ignore him.

I was so relieved to see Catherine this morning and to know that Fluffy spent the stormy evening tucked into my cozy home. Fluffy actually LIKES dogs - loves to rub against them in that affection-showing way.. I am so grateful they're okay. I just hope to god that the other cats were all under a car someplace when this crazy bear of a dog got out of his yard.

I am so sad today. :~(

The part that kills me is that I have always defended pit bulls. And I'm sure there are still plenty of nice ones out there. But to see one in action? All I could think of was my cats with lizards. My cats CANNOT CONTAIN THEMSELVES if they see a lizard. That's how this dog was with the cat. The cat was just its plaything, and he could not contain himself unless he had a Person there, YELLING AT HIM TO LEAVE IT ALONE. That's scary. I have no doubt that had I turned my back to go get my phone or pants, both of which were very much desired at the time, he would've pounced right back on the dying cat.

How can someone rest easy knowing we have one of those in our neighborhood? And knowing that the reason the dog left is that his owner came for him, whistling so quietly we never noticed him? It kills me that this bastard saw four people standing in a circle around his dog in the dark and never thought to see what was going on. He probably knew it was something bad so sneaked off with his dog to avoid the trouble. Asshole.

aww, that is so sad! :( sorry you had to go through it. pit bulls scare me. i'm sure there are nice ones out there, but the nature of the dog on the whole seems scary to me. :( poor kitty.
I love cats - we have a lot of them here and they are quite safe. Pit Bulls give me the creeps - I like dogs but they are closer to another and meaner species. James
That sucks but you were there and that is what makes you so damn special!
I am soooo sorry to hear about that! Sounds like a horrible experience. I probably would have done the same thing (but I think I would have put on pants first).
A horrible experience but nice to know that kitten had an angel with it the last few minutes. Also for future reference, just skip the police. Just call animal control, tell the the bad dogs either attacked you, or are in inhumane conditions. They will remove the animal and cite the owner. - Brian
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I'm Stacey. I'm a 31(!)-year-old Wisconsin girl living in sunny South Florida. The highlights in my life are my lovely boyfriend, my aloof cats, my adorable/adoring stepdogs, my two lumbering tortoises, select family members, being outside, being underwater, taking pictures, yadda yadda. Stay tuned for lots of babbling!

Location: Fort Lauderdale, Florida, United States


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Making a difference

A small boy lived by the ocean. He loved the creatures of the sea, especially the starfish, and he spent much of his time exploring the seashore.

One day the boy learned there would be a minus tide that would leave the starfish stranded on the sand.

When the tide went out, he went down to the beach, began picking up the stranded starfish, and tossing them back into the ocean.

An elderly man who lived next door came down to the beach to see what the boy was doing. Seeing the man's quizzical expression, the boy paused as he approached. "I'm saving the starfish!" the boy proudly declared.

When the neighbor saw all of the stranded starfish he shook his head and said: "I'm sorry to disappoint you, young man, but if you look down the beach, there are stranded starfish as far as the eye can see. And if you look up the beach the other way, it's the same. One little boy like you isn't going to make much of a difference."

The boy thought about this for a moment. Then he reached his small hand down to the sand, picked up another starfish, tossed it out into the ocean, and said: "Well, I sure made a difference for that one!"

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