I sat in the hallways of a courthouse recently waiting for my turn to testify in a custody case. You might be surprised to learn that, as a Child Protective Investigator, I am far more likely to have to testify in a custody dispute than in a criminal trial.
As I listened to the families in the case in turn berate each other and then me, it struck me once again how some people make me feel sad.
Yes, a mother or father may have been a drug addict or suffered from untreated mental illness or was abusive several years ago, but if TODAY they’re taking appropriate care of their children, I am not going to remove those kids from that parent. And I’m not going to apologize for my actions. Tons of research shows that children do best with their parents. So if a parent is doing nothing wrong today, I would be the abusive one to remove the children from that home.
It’s not so very different with some people who “love animals”, and talk trash about topics they really don’t know much about.
Like when they see one strategically placed advertisement from a group they’ve never heard of before and decide that HumaneWatch has the goods on the Humane Society of the US, then refuse to support HSUS. If they’d just first bothered to Google HumaneWatch, they’d learn it’s fronted by a lobbyist for the puppy mill and animal agriculture industries.
Or those that freely send money to people they meet on Facebook that are doing “good work for animals,” only to later learn they were really sending money to a hoarder or con artist. Hey, it’s your money and you can give it to whomever you please. But if you REALLY want to help animals, don’t you think that money would be better spent by a legitimate rescue working hard every day to make your own community a better place? My philosophy has always been that if the locals won’t support a rescue, there might be a reason for it.
The other thing I realized sitting in that courthouse hallway is that zebras don’t change their stripes. Haters gonna hate no matter what, and it’s not worth me wasting my energy trying to argue with them.
It hurts my heart to realize many families teach their precious children that love is conditional. These children will pay for the sins of their parents, and many will pass that lesson on to their own children. It also hurts my heart to see the number of animals that are harmed thanks to assistance of those who think they’re doing something good.
Today I know I can’t save the world, because the world simply can’t be saved by the people it needs to be saved from.