Justice?

DISCLAIMER: This story is purposely NOT accompanied by photos, even though my camera plays a major role in the story. That’s because the police have the photos and I don’t know if I should share them, even here. I bet that got your attention, huh? ALSO, the story isn’t really a happy one, especially for the poor animal, but it does attempt to illustrate the power one’s camera can have if kept on hand.

The other day I was parked in the parking lot of a local City Park. I was going to wander the hillsides deep in the park looking for photo ops. While I was sitting in the car enjoying my coffee and waiting for the rain that had been intermittently falling all morning to lighten up, I looked a few dozen feet down the lot and saw a man exit his small pickup truck and walk around the front to the passenger door. He opened the door and I saw him next release a tabby cat into the parking lot. What happened next happened so fast that I didn’t have time to grab the camera, and now I’m glad.

The poor cat, who was obviously being dumped, ran across the lot toward a retaining fence of chain-link. When s/he realized that it could o no further, s/he turned and bolted at full speed across the parking lot and into the boulevard. S/He was immediately hit by a car going at about 45 or 50 mph and killed instantly. 10 seconds before or after and s/he would have crossed the entire boulevard unharmed. The timing was unfortunately uncanny. At least it was quick.

Meanwhile, the asshole who released the cat stood by and watched. Showing no emotion, he simply walked back around to the driver’s side of the truck to leave. By then, I had grabbed my camera. Luckily, the 200mm lens on attached and I shot away, wishing it was a high-powered rifle. I got a good shot of the asshole, his truck, and the license plate as he pulled out of the lot and left. He actually passed the dead kitty on the road as he left. I didn’t care at all if he saw me.

As soon as he left, I worked up the courage to go to the kitty and make sure it was dead and not suffering. I knew it couldn’t have survived the hit because I heard it clearly as well as saw it. It was a solid hit and that poor baby probably never knew what hit it. Scant comfort, I know, but still . . .

Anyway, I sacked-up and took a shot of the poor baby laying in the gutter because I had a plan. I went back to my car and made a beeline to the local Police station. It is absolutely illegal to abandon animals in California and I was going to turn this motherfucker in. I think the officer who took my report was quite the animal lover because his jaw tightened visibly as I told the story. He was a tough, scary, macho type cop, but obviously pissed as all hell. We were sitting at his desk and he took the SD card and viewed my photos. I asked him to CUT and paste them, as I didn’t want to have to see them again, but he copied them. I have since deleted them. He also took a second to scan through some of the recent shots on the card. I think he liked some of them. I briefly told him about my Redbubble site, etc and he wrote the info down. Maybe he’ll see this, too.

Anyway, he explained to me that the punishment is really just a glorified slap on the hand, but a visit at home from the police might be difficult to explain if he had a spouse and/or kids.

I said something to the effect that I wish I had 5 minutes alone with an asshole that would do something like this to an animal. I would show him what it was like to have the last moments of his life be full of terror and fear and to let HIM experience getting hit by a car. I just wanted to push him into traffic. I also told him about fantasizing that my camera was a high-powered rifle. He smirked and told me that sort of behavior is frowned upon, but he understood completely and thanked me profusely for caring enough to take the time to file the report. He also told me he would contact Animal Control to make sure the poor kitty was removed from the street.

It sure doesn’t seem like a lot, but it was SOMETHING. I suppose I could have followed the asshole, but that might have ended badly for ME. I know the police will do what they can.

I always have my camera on hand. I’m glad I did in this case, especially, because I would not have been able to see the license plate clearly without the zoom lens. He may not be punished enough to learn anything, and certainly not enough for MY satisfaction, but he WON’T get away with it.

That’ll have to suffice.

19/November/2012

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