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My sons witnessed animal abuse. - Page 6

post #101 of 126
Quote:
Originally Posted by Crunchie View Post
OP, sorry your kids had to see that. I'd be rather, um, ticked off that my family member did that in front of my child. I agree, there was probably a better way to end the animal's life and, certainly, the kids didn't have to be around to see it.

A quick word on "humane" methods of dealing with nuisance animals: live trap and release is not humane. It only makes humans feel better. Most of these kinds of animals--such as squirrels and raccoons--are very territorial. Dropping them off 10 miles away in some wooded area--likely another member of the same specie's territory--usually only results in the trapped/released animal being attacked, driven off, and eventually starving to death. It is not humane at all.
this is far from the only humane option offered in the thread, but I do agree to use this option in a humane and legal way you need to contact the authorities who can let you know the locations that are safe to release the trapped animal (safe for both the animal and for the person releasing the animal as well as it being a legal location to do so)
post #102 of 126
Quote:
Originally Posted by purplemoon View Post
And if a parent doesn't want to share that information with their children this should be respected!
:

I suspect some of my posts are coming off like I agree with the OP's stepdad, so I want to reiterate that I don't think it was even remotely okay to take the boys along when he knew the OP doesn't want them exposed to this.
post #103 of 126
Quote:
Just curious, but do all people who feel the need to kill to keep them at bay also feel the need to bash their head repeatedly with a stick in order to kill them? I think that's the part that really lost me on the whole "the guy was trying to be nice" and "he was only protecting his land" I don't argue he was protecting his land, but I dont think that he was only doing that. And with him doing it in front of the kids when their mother said not to makes it clear that he is the type of person that will kill an animal for more then just one reason.
Bashing an animal's head in is the quickest and most humane way to kill without using bullets or electric charges. In this situation I don't think it was a good idea to try to shoot the squirrel at close range with a rifle while the kids were standing there. I am assuming he used the biggest stick he could find instead because he didn't want to do so. I also assume since it took him several blows to kill such a small animal that this isn't his usual method.

When I have to kill an animal (rarely since I don't hunt or trap) I twist the neck or smash the skull as I do not have any equipment that would work any faster. Breaking the neck by hand isn't an option with a wild animal since it will bite and scratch. This may be something that's personally scary or disgusting to some but I can assure you I do not enjoy it and I am trying to minimize pain, not cause it.

I absolutely think body-gripping traps are inhumane and disgusting. Before I had cats (who kill their prey in an unbelievably inhumane way, but I try not to think about it) I used live traps to catch mice. You can build your own 'live traps' easily using a plastic wastebasket with food in the bottom and ramp up the side - once they jump down, they can't jump back up. But live-trapping and releasing is not a long-term solution. We have a vast overpopulation of most 'pest' animals and killing them (live-trapping and a quick kill is my preference) is the only way to reduce your problems with them long-term.
post #104 of 126
OP - Here's what I think. Take it or leave it.

Your Dad is a hunter. That's who he is. Hunting may very well be all he knows, and what he is proud of. He may not being doing these things to disrespect you, but out of total habit.

So, he leaves gun magazines and gun magazines (two different things here) lying around the house. Bullet shells in ziplocs. (You can reuse the shells - perhaps he collects them and does just that?) Maybe he doesn't just "put" these things out or "keep" them out for the boys to see - maybe they are always there and so much a part of his life and his home that he doesn't even really notice them, or think that they might be a problem. In other words, it may not be done to spite you.

Or, perhaps, he thinks (and rightfully so) that this is his home. He shouldn't have to hide everything when family comes over. I certainly don't make my hubby hide all his gun magazines and gun magazines when guests come. There's nothing shameful in having them and no reason why he needs to conceal them. If people are uncomfy, they don't need to come back. Same with him carrying a weapon. If people don't like the fact that my DH is wearing his gun in his home when they visit, he shouldn't have to take it off - they just don't need to come back. (I'm not being snotty here).

As for the boys seeing what they saw, if this is all your dad knows - this hunting thing - maybe it was all just done in total innocence. He took the boys for a walk, along the way he checked his traps (and perhaps he wasn't even telling them he was checking them - he may have just glanced at them and moved on without making a big deal of it). Or he may have told them that the traps were there to kill the pests just as people use traps to kill mice and rats in their homes, etc. In other words, it wasn't a big deal to him and it probably didn't even dawn on him that it would be a big deal to you or to them (lots of men just don't think like women do.)

ANyway, then he came across the pitiful gopher. At that moment, perhaps his mind was only on ridding that animal of its suffering, and that's what took over. I know plenty a hunter and farmer who have no qualms killing animals but DO mind seeing a suffering one. He probably didn't think "Oh, here's a dying animal! Let me show the boys how fun and manly it is to beat the life out of one!" I'll bed he was more likely thinking "Oh, good God. The thing is suffering. Boys, this won't be pleasant and I'm sorry but this animal is in agony."

And mommysarah5 : Multiple beatings with a stick doesn't equal being inhumane or enjoying what you're doing. It only means that the first swing wasn't hard enough or direct enough and now the animal is suffering even MORE, so better get the job done to put the animal out of its pain. If the stick wasn't very big, it isn't unreasonable AT ALL to think it may have taken a few hits. And it's not fair to presume he enjoyed it. As for sending them back to the house while he took care of it, maybe it wasn't safe to do with other traps in the area or who knows what.

I think we should presume the best of a person rather than the worse, esp when we cannot read hearts and know another's intent.
post #105 of 126
Quote:
Originally Posted by rhubarbarin View Post
Bashing an animal's head in is the quickest and most humane way to kill without using bullets or electric charges. In this situation I don't think it was a good idea to try to shoot the squirrel at close range with a rifle while the kids were standing there.
but that just really goes back to why he brought the kids with him in the first place. : What other methods are there, if bashing is the 3rd most humane way, I wonder? Because anything else I would consider torture and then death, not just killing.
post #106 of 126
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sancta View Post
And mommysarah5 : Multiple beatings with a stick doesn't equal being inhumane or enjoying what you're doing. It only means that the first swing wasn't hard enough or direct enough and now the animal is suffering even MORE, so better get the job done to put the animal out of its pain. If the stick wasn't very big, it isn't unreasonable AT ALL to think it may have taken a few hits. And it's not fair to presume he enjoyed it. As for sending them back to the house while he took care of it, maybe it wasn't safe to do with other traps in the area or who knows what.

get a bigger stick. don't bring the kids with you in the first place. don't bring children into a yard that so trapped it's dangerous for them to walk back to it themselves. Aside from that, your opinion is that beating a living thing multiple times with a stick to the death is not inhumane, but I disagree. I'm pretty sure they wont be changing the death penalty to beating with stick on head till death anytime soon, not that I think their current ways are humane either. I'm not saying her step dad is a bad guy just because I don't agree with the way he killed that animal, so I don't understand the relevance of assuming the best in people. I tend to think ALL people have good in them. And all animals too. That's just my opinion, and it's okay with me that not everyone agrees.

I'm sure he's a really great guy, despite the fact he showed animal traps to his step daughter's kids after she was clear with him that she didn't want them to see that stuff. Part of his life or not, he didn't need to show them that. And how convenient he waited to do so until she was out of the house. But my point is really only that there ARE other options, I respect that other people don't use them, and to be frank I don't care if no one wants to respect that I personally wont resort to killing an animal, and if they want to think that means I'm doomed to animals taking over my yard and house then they can think that all they want, but it simply isn't my reality and never will be, even if I am a tree hugging, animal loving, hippy freak about my approach to pest control
post #107 of 126
OP - Another thing I want to mention, is that you definitely should talk to them about what they saw. Even though you don't agree with hunting, and even if you think that the way he killed the animal was inhumane, to your children it could look like animal abuse if the purpose of the kill isn't explained to them. (you know, they see grandpa hitting an animal over the head with a stick till it's bleeding out the nose dead takes on a different meaning in the context of because he was killing them for tearing up the yard and the trap didn't work so he put it out of it's misery. Without knowing the latter, that very much would be animal abuse. (If your post had read a neighborhood killed trapped an animal and beat it over the head til it died then I think people would call that animal abuse - but since it was because he was trying to keep his yard nice looking then it wasn't animal abuse.) And of course, feel free to let them know those aren't the only options and not something you personally would do at your own home, but I think it takes on a different meaning if they understand why your step dad did that, instead of just seeing it be done. I don't know how much he explained to your kids during the process... so maybe he already covered those bases. Sorry your step dad even put you in that situation in the first place
post #108 of 126
I think it's possible that the multiple head bashings are being mis-interpreted. I know if I was killing an injured animal and a big stick was the most quickly available method, I would hit it hard enough the first time that it would probably die, however, since there is a chance it wouldn't die the first time I would strike multiple times without stopping rather than stopping, and potentially having the animal suffer while I decided whether it really was dead or not. Does that make any sense? What I'm getting at is that it is possible that the multiple whackings were for humane reasons, not out of incompetence or blood lust.
post #109 of 126
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sancta View Post
OP - Here's what I think. Take it or leave it.

Your Dad is a hunter. That's who he is. Hunting may very well be all he knows, and what he is proud of. He may not being doing these things to disrespect you, but out of total habit.

So, he leaves gun magazines and gun magazines (two different things here) lying around the house. Bullet shells in ziplocs. (You can reuse the shells - perhaps he collects them and does just that?) Maybe he doesn't just "put" these things out or "keep" them out for the boys to see - maybe they are always there and so much a part of his life and his home that he doesn't even really notice them, or think that they might be a problem. In other words, it may not be done to spite you.

Or, perhaps, he thinks (and rightfully so) that this is his home. He shouldn't have to hide everything when family comes over. I certainly don't make my hubby hide all his gun magazines and gun magazines when guests come. There's nothing shameful in having them and no reason why he needs to conceal them. If people are uncomfy, they don't need to come back. Same with him carrying a weapon. If people don't like the fact that my DH is wearing his gun in his home when they visit, he shouldn't have to take it off - they just don't need to come back. (I'm not being snotty here).

As for the boys seeing what they saw, if this is all your dad knows - this hunting thing - maybe it was all just done in total innocence. He took the boys for a walk, along the way he checked his traps (and perhaps he wasn't even telling them he was checking them - he may have just glanced at them and moved on without making a big deal of it). Or he may have told them that the traps were there to kill the pests just as people use traps to kill mice and rats in their homes, etc. In other words, it wasn't a big deal to him and it probably didn't even dawn on him that it would be a big deal to you or to them (lots of men just don't think like women do.)

ANyway, then he came across the pitiful gopher. At that moment, perhaps his mind was only on ridding that animal of its suffering, and that's what took over. I know plenty a hunter and farmer who have no qualms killing animals but DO mind seeing a suffering one. He probably didn't think "Oh, here's a dying animal! Let me show the boys how fun and manly it is to beat the life out of one!" I'll bed he was more likely thinking "Oh, good God. The thing is suffering. Boys, this won't be pleasant and I'm sorry but this animal is in agony."

And mommysarah5 : Multiple beatings with a stick doesn't equal being inhumane or enjoying what you're doing. It only means that the first swing wasn't hard enough or direct enough and now the animal is suffering even MORE, so better get the job done to put the animal out of its pain. If the stick wasn't very big, it isn't unreasonable AT ALL to think it may have taken a few hits. And it's not fair to presume he enjoyed it. As for sending them back to the house while he took care of it, maybe it wasn't safe to do with other traps in the area or who knows what.

I think we should presume the best of a person rather than the worse, esp when we cannot read hearts and know another's intent.
So true. Every word.
post #110 of 126
Quote:
Originally Posted by quietmama View Post
First off, my mistake, I did some research and although my step-dad (Grandpa) calls them ground squirrels they are Pocket Gophers. Here's an image: Pocket Gopher. So, yes, they are definitely more harmful than ground squirrels.
They look a lot like a hamster.

Quote:
Originally Posted by quietmama View Post
There is a lot of background to my relationship with my step-dad that might help you understand why it seemed very inappropriate to me that he took the boys to check the traps and killed the gopher in front of them with a stick.

Growing up my step-dad has always been a very avid hunter. Deer, Elk, Cougar, Moose, Turkey. He lives in the middle of a National Forest and it's an itty-bitty town where 90% of the population are hunters. It's definitely one of the main reasons people live in this town. So, long ago, my step-dad and Mom (I call them my parents because my Dad passed away when I was 21) asked me to get a moose permit. In Idaho you can only get one moose permit per lifetime and my sisters, my Mom, and my Step-Dad all got moose permits and used them. My family eats mostly meats that they have hunted. I do not have a problem with people hunting responsibly for meat and I don't have a problem eating it but I never would be able to kill an animal myself. I've always had a very sensitive spot for animals and have never been one that could deal with witnessing an animals death. My parents, especially my step-dad, really wanted me to get a moose permit and I have always said "No Way." So, this was always "a thing" for my parents.

Whenever we go for visits there are all kinds of Gun Magazines laying around and my step-dad keeps the shells to his bullets so my boys can "play" with them. This is something I have asked him not to do but he seems to always have the magazines conveniently placed and the bullet shells in a nice zip-lock bag laying around. A little obvious.

I could go on and on about many things that he does to try and get the boys interested in hunting. Last time we were there I was gone for about 3 hours and I found out that Grandpa opened his gun safe for the boys to see his guns while I was gone.

I've talked to him about this and he knows that I do not want the boys interested in hunting and killing animals at this early of an age. Ideally, I don't want them interested at all but if when they get older, they take gun safety courses and are really wanting to learn to hunt then I will let them learn from Grandpa.

So, for this incident to happen the one time I leave the house is what really makes me upset. He does think we're "crazy liberals" (his words) and feels like the boys are missing out on an important part of childhood and that they'll be "real" boys if they experience hunting and killing.

I talked to my Mom on the phone last night and she was talking about our next visit and I did say, that we won't be able to come back if this was to happen again.

I know the boys are probably really confused about the situation because my dh and I have always talked about respecting animals. We talk about how animals have feelings. We talk about that they are born from a Mama just like the boys are born from a Mama. We really work hard in building compassion for all living things and showing them the connection of animals and feelings. The main reason we got our 8 chickens this summer is to teach the boys how to care for animals and how much love they can bring to our household.

So, I'm sure it's very conflicting to them to see a live animal hit multiple times with a stick until it's nose is bleeding. I understand that my step-dad did this to relieve this animal from the harm that the trap did but I do not agree that my boys should have been out there checking traps and witnessing an animal being killed with a stick.

The part that is so frustrating is that this seems to conveniently happen when I'm out of the house.

Does that help explain my feelings in my first post? I should have clarified more....

I appreciate all the ideas for talking with the boys about it. It's really helpful to hear ideas for how to explain Grandpa's behaviors compared to how our family feels about killing animals.
It does seem rather suspicious your step dad seems to coincidentally need to include your sons in his hunting/trapping when you're gone and unable to prevent the activity in their presence.
post #111 of 126
Quote:
Originally Posted by mommysarah5 View Post
but that just really goes back to why he brought the kids with him in the first place. : What other methods are there, if bashing is the 3rd most humane way, I wonder? Because anything else I would consider torture and then death, not just killing.
I think everyone who has responded to this thread agrees that what this man did was inappropriate. He knows his stepdaughter does not want her children to be exposed to animal death and in taking them to check his traps, he was choosing to go against her wishes and do it anyway. But I think the OP would have been as or nearly as upset if he had shot an animal in front of them, or if he had only had to club it once. The method isn't the issue, or even part of it IMO. The fact that an animal was killed in front of them when she had told him before she didn't want that to happen, is.
post #112 of 126
Quote:
Originally Posted by rhubarbarin View Post
I think everyone who has responded to this thread agrees that what this man did was inappropriate. He knows his stepdaughter does not want her children to be exposed to animal death and in taking them to check his traps, he was choosing to go against her wishes and do it anyway. But I think the OP would have been as or nearly as upset if he had shot an animal in front of them, or if he had only had to club it once. The method isn't the issue, or even part of it IMO. The fact that an animal was killed in front of them when she had told him before she didn't want that to happen, is.
I totally agree, but I do think that it IS important to go over with the child the reasons why he did it. They saw it, and you can't take back what they saw, so now it DOES have to be explained. If they don't understand WHY he did that, then how does it look to them? What would you make out of someone doing that to an animal just for the heck of it? If the children weren't explained about it in the moment, then I do think it should be explained to them. And in doing that, the OP can also explain why she feels it wasnt the best way and what she thinks is the best way and share her family values with her children at that time. JMO of course.
post #113 of 126
Yeah, there should be a lot of communication with the kids about this (sounded like the OP was already talking to them a lot). They are doubtless extremely confused about the whole thing although thankfully, from what the OP said it doesn't seem like they are traumatized. And it's most important that this doesn't happen again! If that means they can't spend unsupervised time with Grandpa that's a shame, but I wouldn't hesitate in this situation. He might not understand what a big deal this is since he's probably been killing animals since he was the same age as these kids, but he's going to have to learn to understand, and respect this family's boundaries.
post #114 of 126
I think that what the grandfather did was wrong. (at least in having his grandsons watch when he knew their parents would not approve or at least knew that there was a high probability that their parents would not be pleased) I don't think that killing pest animals is in itself a bad thing nor do I think that hitting it with a blunt object is the worst approach.

Off topic: If you wanted to put a "positive spin" on this situation this may be a good time to talk about invasive species and how one can increase the predator population in areas so that fewer incidents of this sort of activity have to occur. Call me crazy but I could use a few more foxes around here to get my local squirrels and I would jump for glee if the Canadian geese population could be checked a bit....Also a good time to talk about animals and disease I guess, horses and possums anybody? Zoonatic disease chats? Everything may be born of a mama but some animals are places where they ecologically shouldn't be and even though this may not be one of those times it is worth mentioning. Ugh, just writing it makes me think it may be easier to just deal with the killing of the trapped animal incident.

On a side note: Also I would personally be very wary of having domesticated cats running around my area but that could be because of my love of toads and tree frogs and the rather horrible incident involving my neighbor's stupid cat and the tree frog who lived by my front door. (after spending 3 years working on amphibian friendly environments and trying to get the frog levels to come back up in my area after being seriously depleted I am not pleased by people who let their cats free range through my yard, last time I checked this is a non-native predator, keep it in your space and don't feed it unless it's yours! Yes, I am the crazy frog lady...)
post #115 of 126
Quote:
Originally Posted by lula View Post

On a side note: Also I would personally be very wary of having domesticated cats running around my area but that could be because of my love of toads and tree frogs and the rather horrible incident involving my neighbor's stupid cat and the tree frog who lived by my front door. (after spending 3 years working on amphibian friendly environments and trying to get the frog levels to come back up in my area after being seriously depleted I am not pleased by people who let their cats free range through my yard, last time I checked this is a non-native predator, keep it in your space and don't feed it unless it's yours! Yes, I am the crazy frog lady...)
OT as well, I live in a state designated "bird sanctuary" and have seen (very sadly) firsthand very severe damage that domestic house cats cause (if let outside off leash). Many cat owners have no second thought about allowing a cat outside, thinking it cruel to keep it inside... but it has GREATLY effected our bird area. We have peacocks here, wild parakeets too and so many other neat birds. But by law, there is nothing currently that we can do to keep domestic cats from killing the babies of the protected species here. If a dog was doing the killing, it would have been captured and euthanized long long time ago. Its a loophole in the system... and our lovely mayor has cats, and she hates dogs. Its all SO obviously twisted.

I can't wait and will not stop fighting for the day when cat owners are held responsible for the damage they cause. And are not led into the belief that cats are not hunters and that they most definitely can and DO cause serious havoc upon a natural local ecosystem. Cat owners, really, check out leashes (as all other domesticated animals need by law - its a glitch in the system that cats haven't been outlawed running wild yet) and fenced in runs, etc... they cause serious damage when you let them out. They hunt. Unless you're on a farm and its their job to kill "pests", think about your local animal population.

Uh, sorry, this topic really bugs me b'c its blatant discrimination. Maybe a S/O needs to happen.
post #116 of 126
I'm open minded. share with me why cats are the only living thing who should not be permitted to live outside. I like all animals personally, but I'm not God so I'm not going to sit around saying which ones should be allowed to live outside and which ones should be forced to stay inside.

I mean come on, how about the damage we humans do to our environment, and we do that from being INSIDE!
post #117 of 126
The problem with cats is that many, many, many are dumped off at parks and/or are not spayed/neutered and thus they breed and they THRIVE in the wild. There are undoutably thousands and quite possibly millions of stray, wild 'house cats' living in the USA which are decimating the song bird & amphibian populations. Decimating them. They kill birds not just to eat, but for fun. Because over the centuries they've been breed to be hunters and to hunt constantly. One housecat can kill several birds in a single day - multiply that out to a year and multiply that out to how many frigging cats are loose, and you realize why they are SUCH a problem when it comes to wildlife.
post #118 of 126
Quote:
Originally Posted by mamadelbosque View Post
The problem with cats is that many, many, many are dumped off at parks and/or are not spayed/neutered and thus they breed and they THRIVE in the wild. There are undoutably thousands and quite possibly millions of stray, wild 'house cats' living in the USA which are decimating the song bird & amphibian populations. Decimating them. They kill birds not just to eat, but for fun. Because over the centuries they've been breed to be hunters and to hunt constantly. One housecat can kill several birds in a single day - multiply that out to a year and multiply that out to how many frigging cats are loose, and you realize why they are SUCH a problem when it comes to wildlife.
hmmm, my cat came from a shelter, already spayed. she killed bugs and the occasional lizard that I've seen. I just don't think it's my place to decide who gets to live outside and who should be forced to live inside.
post #119 of 126
Quote:
Originally Posted by mommysarah5 View Post
hmmm, my cat came from a shelter, already spayed. she killed bugs and the occasional lizard that I've seen. I just don't think it's my place to decide who gets to live outside and who should be forced to live inside.
Unless you're watching your cat 100% of the time that she's outside, or she's contained in some way, it's quite likely that she's killing a LOT more animals than you realise. I've seen documentaries where they attached a camera to a cat to find out how it spent a day, and it killed about a dozen animals in one day. The owners had been unaware that it killed anything. My parents used to let their cat out a lot and she was an ecological disaster. Since she didn't eat the short tailed shrews (they're venemous and give cats a sore stomach) it was quite obvious she was a prolific hunter. Short tailed shrews are beneficial where my parents live. The toads dissapeared too, and she used to kill bats occasionally.

By all means let your cat spend time outside, but if your cat is loose and unsupervised during that time you are supporting the indiscriminate killing of the local wildlife, including many beneficial species. If your child was running around killing the wildlife needlessly you would take steps to prevent it, so why not take similar steps with your cat.
post #120 of 126
Quote:
Originally Posted by rachelsmama View Post
Unless you're watching your cat 100% of the time that she's outside, or she's contained in some way, it's quite likely that she's killing a LOT more animals than you realise. I've seen documentaries where they attached a camera to a cat to find out how it spent a day, and it killed about a dozen animals in one day. The owners had been unaware that it killed anything. My parents used to let their cat out a lot and she was an ecological disaster. Since she didn't eat the short tailed shrews (they're venemous and give cats a sore stomach) it was quite obvious she was a prolific hunter. Short tailed shrews are beneficial where my parents live. The toads dissapeared too, and she used to kill bats occasionally.

By all means let your cat spend time outside, but if your cat is loose and unsupervised during that time you are supporting the indiscriminate killing of the local wildlife, including many beneficial species. If your child was running around killing the wildlife needlessly you would take steps to prevent it, so why not take similar steps with your cat.
but you can't tell me why I should interfere with mother nature by forcing an animal to stay inside against its will? I love animals but my cat is not my child. I also don't have to force my children to stay inside with me, nor is it in a child's nature to kill animals. Cats are felines, just like cheetahs and tigers, but because they are smaller we should keep them all inside and suppress their nature, why? Like I said, I'm not God and I'm not doing to try to play his role. He created felines with that nature. Thats His choice.

I think of it this way. Initially my cat was an outdoor cat who was taken in by a shelter then re-homed to me. For months that cat ended up staying indoors, eventually she became an outdoor cat. She sits on the front porch and runs around in our yard and comes back. Sometimes she kills a lizard. She usually just lays by the door though. Shes killed less animals then the only outdoor cats. Indoor/Outdoor isn't good enough for you though. You think we should cage an animal that was supposed to be outside all the time. We domesticated them. They used to be outdoor animals, thats their nature, and we are trying to control nature so there can be more of the animals we like? I'd just as soon let nature run its own course. I would never keep a pet who didn't want to be in my home. I don't own them, they just live here.
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