Warning: This post contains graphic, immature and inappropriate language. Because after being MIA for 3 months, that’s how I should start a post.
Yesterday, I somehow got involved in a situation wherein a
moron lady was trying to trade her five month old pit bull puppy for a Playstation 3 with games (it was specified that the game system must work, so points for thinking ahead, I guess).
The screenshot of the woman’s post/ad had gone viral, and it popped up in my mini-feed. I won’t post a picture of it here, because it will just further inflame an already volatile situation.
Now, normally, I don’t get involved in this kind of Facebook drama, because I have enough drama with my own shelter/rescue work, but this dog happened to be somewhat close to me and even closer to one of the Pennsylvania SPCA’s branch shelters, so I thought I would try to see what I could do to help, if anything.
After reading about the post on a pit bull advocacy group, I decided to give joining the group where the ad was first posted a go. Because it was a local Pennsylvania trade/sell/free group, I thought I had a good shot of not looking suspicious. I was almost immediately accepted to join.
Boy, was that a happening place.
By the time I got there, the original post had been deleted, but the screenshot was being shared and re-shared. I spent a good bit of time reading through hundreds of comments and was able to find out that the woman who supposedly posted the dog, had not posted the dog, but her husband had, or something. The dog maybe-I’m-not-sure-could-have-possibly-didn’t-might-have bitten her husband, and he was mad (or not mad) at the dog and posted the ad, using her Facebook.
I did find out for sure that the dog was in fact a pit bull puppy that the husband had purchased for $10 (so, class points on that one, because I’m sure NOTHING shady was going on in that transaction) and was a “purebred blue nose.” Even though the dog was red. And there’s no such thing as a purebred pit bull. But you know, details…and stuff.
I also found out that the dog warden had been called about a bazillion times, had gone out to the house, found the dog in good condition, and the family was going to keep him. The “state game warden” (because that makes zero sense) was going to monitor the situation though, so good news. I guess he’ll swing by while he’s hunting down poachers and baby seal killers, or something.
Now, among all this very confused, mixed up, finger pointing, convoluted and sketchy story, I found a few different types of people, all of whom should probably shut the hell up when it comes to a dog who may be in very serious need of rescue.
Alex Andes recently wrote a great article about this sort on Victoria Stilwell’s website positively.com which you can read here. In summary, this is the harmless but slightly irritating sort that you get in the dog rescue/social media world who will comment on every single dog or cat in need of rescue and say things like, “Somebody save this baby.” Or “God bring an angel.” Or “Can’t someone do SOMETHING?” Other variations of this sort include the type of person who will lament, “If only I didn’t have… [9 cats, 3 dogs, live in Gibraltar, etc.]” Like I said, they’re relatively harmless, but not very useful. I normally just shrug them off and try to ignore them, but because they’re not really doing much of anything (most of the time they’re not even hitting the SHARE button on Facebook) I wouldn’t mind if they shut up.
Haters gonna hate, am I right? Look, I do sympathize with haters. I mean, trying to trade a dog for a Playstation 3 is kind of a shitty thing to do, but spewing your hate all over the internet is not being helpful to the situation. Spreading negativity is just not nice. And if you’re telling the person who is trying to trade the dog what a terrible human being he/she is, you’re going to be met with defensive hate or the person is going to go off the grid. Defensive hate doesn’t help anyone, and the person going off the grid sure as hell does not help the dog. If you can’t find the person, the authorities will have trouble finding the person, and the dog won’t get help. Worst case scenario, the person can redirect his/her frustration with you onto the dog and the dog could get tossed out onto the street, abused, or dead. The haters need to shut the hell up, for the well being of the dog.
Instigators come in a few different forms. Sometimes, they come in the form that is just trying to bring some comedic relief into the situation. They’ll poke fun and mock and joke, but all they’re really doing is trying to be funny in a situation that isn’t funny and they’re pissing off people on both sides, which makes the cauldron really start to bubble. To all these kind of instigators I want to say, “Too soon, man, too soon.”
The other form of instigators you get are the people who bring the conversation back up once it has already died down. If the drama is dead, for the love of God, Leave.It.Lie. Go write a blog about it (guiltily raises hand), vent about it on your own Facebook page, but PLEASE don’t bring it back up in the same hateful thread.
There’s really just no other word for this crowd. This is the crowd who in the thread tends to have the worst grammar, the worst spelling, a weak understanding of the English language, and a mouth that would make a sailor’s jaw drop. They’re also the people throwing out the insults and the threats and even if they are usually more bark than bite, they can make these situations very serious. In this particular thread, there were a few of them, calling one another “sluts” “whores” “retards” “disgusting pieces of shit” “trailer trash” and some things I can’t even stomach to type. These people are not only not productive, they’re a deterrent to anyone with the right intentions who might want to step in and help. For example, a local rescue in this situation declined to send their volunteers to try and rescue the dog because people like this had gotten so threatening on Facebook that the rescue felt it was a safety concern for their volunteers. It doesn’t help that there were ignoramuses on both sides who were discussing their choice in weapons. Scary shit. I don’t blame the rescue.
In the end, none of the above is productive. This puppy did not get rescued, and I can only hope that this family seriously reconsiders their choice of “venting” or whatever it was they were doing and does take good care of the dog. I have since heard that the proper authorities were actually contacted, and I hope they continue to monitor the situation, as I will, and if I can at some point step in and help, I’ll do so, but in the meantime, I have not said a word, because I have nothing productive to contribute to the conversation.
If cooler heads had prevailed, someone would have quietly slipped in, sucked up his/her revulsion with the concept of the “Playstation Puppy” as I’ve named him, offered the lady what she was looking for or thrown her a couple hundred bucks, pulled the puppy and gotten him to safety. Or a group of people could have discussed this via private message, or another closed group, raised the funds, and gotten the dog out that way. Instead, all that came out of this was hatred, name calling, confusion and a puppy with a fate unknown.