Yesterday evening I had a lesson in standing up for what you believe in and knowing what to do when you’re called upon to act. Whether it is speaking up for the environment or pets, I refuse to be all-talk.
Last night my boyfriend and I were having our weekly Sunday dinner at a little hole in the wall sports bar, Hurricanes, just down the street from our home. We love it because they have great beer, seafood and you can sit right out on the street.
All of a sudden a black pick-up truck screeches by us, and slams on his breaks. A man in another car is violently honking his horn, drawing attention to the man’s small black lab that is now dangling from his leash out of the back of the man’s truck bed. As the man proceeds to put the pup back in the truck bed I realize there’s not one, but 3 small dogs. Everyone is sitting outside the restaurant staring, clearly appalled, but silent. In an instant I stand up and scramble for a pen to take down the man’s license plate number while everyone else sits by, a few people mumbling grievances under their breath and shaking their heads.
At this point I can’t believe the audacity of the man in the black truck. With witnesses sitting by watching I raise my voice,
“You’re kidding me, what are you doing? Your just going to put him back their again? Buddy, what are you doing?”
It all happened in a matter of a few brief moments, but at this point my blood is boiling and my face is hot. The man looks up at me and then hurriedly gets back in his truck. As he drives away the small lab’s head is once again poking out over the side of the truck and he looks as though it won’t be long before he is once again dangling over the speeding pavement by his neck. A second later I’m dialing information for the number to Animal Control.
Once the ordeal is over I look up at my boyfriend who, like the rest of the restaurant patrons, hasn’t said a word or even moved from his seat and is staring at me. I become even more enraged. Finally, my boyfriend speaks, “I, I didn’t know what to do. What did you expect me to do, get up and slug the guy?”
I can’t really blame him. No other witnesses spoke up either. My boyfriend is generally a quiet guy, but he’s an animal lover, an eco-activist. I guess you never know how you’ll react until your values are put to the test. I think it’s important to think about what’s important to you and what issues/atrocities you’re willing to speak up for.
I now have animal control stored in my cell phone. The man in the black truck was probably never stopped, and what would happen? Driving around with a dog in your pick-up bed is not illegal in Florida, but I still feel that I did the right thing by speaking up. We were witness to animal abuse. Maybe it gave the guy a little more perspective on how to treat pets, maybe it made some of the other witnesses think about their idleness and lack of responsibility, either way I know I walked the walk yesterday and I’m proud.
Florida County Ordinance: TRANSPORTING ANIMALS IN OPEN BED TRUCKS
Persons transporting animals in an open bed truck must insure that the animal is safely and humanely restrained (at a minimum with double tethering for dogs) so that the dog may not break the plane of the truck. County Ordinance 14-49