For our fiscal year which just ended June 30, the SPCA’s Humane Investigations team responded to 981 reports related to animal cruelty or abuse. I have mixed feelings seeing that number, and imagine you might as well. Is that number heartwrenching or comforting?
Here’s my take. On one level, seeing 981 truly sickens me. We live in a county famous for being pet friendly and we live in a time where people care far more about their pets than they ever have. Decades ago, dogs lived in the yard, maybe with access to a garage if they were lucky. Today, many dogs share homes with their people, even beds in some cases, and have their own social media followers! Despite all this, we receive, on average, nearly 20 reports of animal cruelty, abuse or mistreatment every week.
The SPCA for Monterey County advises our community for their safety and the safety of our wildlife to please leave baby deer, known as fawns, alone. So far this Spring, the SPCA Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation Center has received 11 fawns and six of them were healthy babies taken from their mothers unintentionally. While two were successfully reunited with their mothers and two are still in our care, sadly, two did not survive their encounters with humans.
Mother deer leave their babies hidden and alone in a safe space during most of the day, often only visiting them during dawn and dusk. These fawns are not abandoned; the mother is likely out of sight watching you. If you find a fawn lying quietly in the grass leave it where it is, stay back and out of sight, and keep dogs as far away as possible. The mother will not return if she senses people or dogs are too close. If a fawn has been picked up or handled, gently place it back in the exact place where it was found, or within sight of that spot. Stand back several hundred feet, and wait for the mother’s return (which could take hours).
Update: A suspect is now in custody. Our investigation identified a suspect who was arrested early this morning in Salinas and booked into Monterey County Jail for animal theft, animal cruelty, arson, and possession of controlled substances. Thank you all for your outpouring of support. We will keep you updated as more information is available. Your donations make all of this possible – we simply can’t do it without you. Thank you!
The SPCA for Monterey County is local and independent. We aren’t a chapter of any other agency and we don’t have a parent organization. Everything we do to help animals and investigate over 800 reports of animal neglect and cruelty every year is only made possible by our donors. Thank you!
Original Story: On Tuesday, March 27, at 9:30 am, a Soledad Police Officer found a severely burned black and white American Pit Bull dog on Metz Road just outside the city limits of Soledad. The dog was immediately transported to a nearby veterinary hospital and humanely euthanized due to the severity of his horrific injuries.
It was later learned that the dog was stolen from a home in Soledad.
The name Marie Aronson isn’t familiar to many of you but she’s special to the SPCA. When I walk through our adoption courtyard where potential adopters spend time getting to know our dogs — where the magic happens — I pass a bench with this inscription: “In Honor of Deputy District Attorney Marie Aronson – Champion of Animal Rights.” Marie’s co-workers, colleagues and friends made a generous donation for the naming rights for a bench to memorialize her shortly after she passed away last year.
Marie, as a member of Monterey County’s District Attorney’s Office, prosecuted animal abuse cases for 15 years. When she first arrived at the DA’s office in the 1980s, she “self-identified” as an animal lover and protector, and actively pursued cases that SPCA humane investigators built and submitted for prosecution.
Longtime residents may remember a widely publicized animal abuse case in the mid 1980s where a little dog was sealed in a box and tossed over a cliff in Carmel. This wasn’t Marie’s first case, but among the first to receive significant publicity and it helped local residents understand our mission included investigating cases of abuse and cruelty.
I entered a new world this week: my Nextdoor community. For those unfamiliar, Nextdoor is a private social network for your neighborhood. As their homepage states, it’s “the best way to stay informed about what’s going on in your neighborhood—whether it’s finding a last-minute babysitter, planning a local event, or sharing safety tips.”
You can also use Nextdoor to “catch” a porch pirate. I know, because my wife did it. We were driving to San Diego just before New Year’s and my wife received a message on her phone alerting her to activity at our front door. She immediately accessed the app that goes with our Ring system, then spoke with our unwanted visitor through the monitor on our door as he was ripping through packages left on our porch. “Hey, what are you doing…I’m calling the police. Right now!” Too bad for him, the packages contained New Year’s decorations and he apparently didn’t see himself using the cheap sunglasses in the shape of “2018.” Still, we felt violated.
Before contacting the police, we contacted our neighbor down the street, which was better. She hopped in her car, found the schmuck walking down the street, rolled up next him, then accosted him. She’s tough! She got great photos of him, asked for his name (which he gave!) and told him to stay out of our ‘hood. We took that photo plus the footage from our Ring monitor and handed it to the Sheriff’s Department, and posted the video footage of him from our porch to our Nextdoor site. An avalanche of messages followed, including some from people who confirmed his identity.