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My sons witnessed animal abuse. - Page 3

post #41 of 126
Quote:
Originally Posted by ShadowMoon View Post
Not everyone that grows up in the country and farms deals with pests in the same way. I know many people that try to live in (their version of harmony) with their surroundings. There are ways to ward off pests without killing them but I do understand some people would choose lethal ways. I also don't think you are going to change your step-dad's mind about how he does things.

You already have some excellent advice about how to talk with your boys about what they saw and maybe how to avoid seeing it in the future if they would like that.

Sorry you had to deal with that. And also, ethics vary from person to person. If done responsibly, live trapping and relocation is very ethical to me and much more humane. Local animal control and Departments of Fish and Wildlife can help people with this and many encourage it. Again, I do understand others points of view on the matter. However, ethics and morals are very debatable and are very personal and should be argued respectably.

To the OP, good luck with this issue, I'm sure it will turn out fine!
Amen

On a side note, I once saw a squirrel fall out of a tree. Falls under the "nature scenes you rarely see" category. It was in my step-dad's grandma's backyard, and as much as I love the tiny critters, it was a bit funny (the squirrel was okay). We also had a lot of squirrels in the last apartment complex we lived in. The complex was set up so that it surrounded 2 pools, some tennis courts, and other amenities, there was a lot of grassy area and trees. There were quite a few birds and squirrels, and it was very peaceful to sit out on the grass with my kids and watch the birds and squirrels, I've always enjoyed watching squirrels scamper up trees even since I was little, they are just really neat animals to watch. I've always felt a huge peace towards animals, and they have always been peaceable with me :
post #42 of 126
Quote:
Originally Posted by mommysarah5 View Post
Amen

On a side note, I once saw a squirrel fall out of a tree. Falls under the "nature scenes you rarely see" category. It was in my step-dad's grandma's backyard, and as much as I love the tiny critters, it was a bit funny (the squirrel was okay). We also had a lot of squirrels in the last apartment complex we lived in. The complex was set up so that it surrounded 2 pools, some tennis courts, and other amenities, there was a lot of grassy area and trees. There were quite a few birds and squirrels, and it was very peaceful to sit out on the grass with my kids and watch the birds and squirrels, I've always enjoyed watching squirrels scamper up trees even since I was little, they are just really neat animals to watch. I've always felt a huge peace towards animals, and they have always been peaceable with me :
I think it just comes down to things being viewed differently depending whether you live in the city or the country. I live in the city and really like feeding the birds and watching them but if I were to live in the country and those birds were eating my crops then I wouldn't be so keen on them.
post #43 of 126
Quote:
Originally Posted by Learning_Mum View Post
I think it just comes down to things being viewed differently depending whether you live in the city or the country. I live in the city and really like feeding the birds and watching them but if I were to live in the country and those birds were eating my crops then I wouldn't be so keen on them.
but you assume I lived in the city as a child? I attended school in a "city", and I live in one now, but I grew up in the country. My neighbors owned a farm (mostly corn) and he used to give us fresh corn when we helped him. My previous boyfriend I spoke of, whose father hunted, lived on a farm as well. My grandmother, who I spent summers with lived in the country as well and had a huge garden in her backyard. My grandfather taught me how to grow tomatos - they were the best too, you could eat them like apples. The first one that was ripe he brought to me at camp.

We lived where you would go fill up your own spring water. Living in the country does not mean you get rid of squirrels by killing them.

When you live in the country, it just makes more sense to grow your own food, or purchase from your neighbors. A trip to the market was just not practical like it is when you live in the city and can go to the stores.

To clarify - my family lived with my grandparents until I was 9, then we moved to the city into a townhouse, but I still visited my grandparent who lived in the country. They didn't have a farm at the time, just a garden, but they once did keep livestock, and my grandfather used to hunt, but that was before I was born or at least before I can remember.
post #44 of 126
Thread Starter 
Thank you for all the discussion and all the replies. I think I'll clarify a few points so maybe you can all get a better perspective on why it is so upsetting me.

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.

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.
post #45 of 126
Quote:
Originally Posted by SandraS View Post
Life in the country is different than life in the city. Period. It isn't all rainbows and butterflies. Grandpa did nothing wrong, it was by no definition abuse, and frankly, the boys will not be scarred from it.

If the boys ever want to buy some acres and live in a rural setting, they're going to have to do the same thing. What grandpa did is a drop in the hat compared to some of the things my husband and his six brothers and sisters had to do to survive on their hundred acres, and none of them are damaged from living that life. If anything, they're enriched.
Yup.
post #46 of 126
Yes, I totally get where you're coming from. Your step-dad is just disregarding your feelings about this and that is a big problem. It does seem rather 'convenient' that they happened to check the traps while you were out.

As I said before, I would take your lead from your boys. If they seem to need to talk it out, then be there, if they don't seem to mind then I would let it go (with them) at the moment. It seems like you're doing a good job of teaching them your values and morals and honestly, they're more than likely to tell Grandpa that what he's doing is not right.

I definitely think you need to talk with your parents. What your step-dad is doing is not cool at all. I personally hate guns (we're not a big gun country so I've never really been around them) and I wouldn't want my parents letting my kids play with shell casings (doesn't that just seem dangerous anyway? I mean, what if they found some live casings and played with those?) esp. when I've told them not to. That I think is the major issue here.
post #47 of 126
Quote:
Originally Posted by quietmama View Post
Thank you for all the discussion and all the replies. I think I'll clarify a few points so maybe you can all get a better perspective on why it is so upsetting me.

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.

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.
Thanks for opening up. I understand where you are coming from.

I really don't agree with his idea that you being against personal use of guns and hunting makes you liberal. He must not know what that word means lol. Anyway, his hunting habits and approach to killing the gopher aside, what he did as far as your kids were concerned was wrong. I'm glad your kids didnt seem to upset by it, but I think you have every right to be mad that he has disrespected your wishes (again - and this time in such an extreme way)

Yes, I can see how gophers could be much more of a pest then squirrels. How long has he been trapping and killing them? If it's been going on along while I wonder why he hasn't sought out another solution.
post #48 of 126
I wholeheartedly agree w/mamadelbosque and SandraS.

The only thing I'd have done differently is eat the squirrel after killing it. :


My kids recently were involved in the process of killing and butchering and processing 40 or so feral pigs that were trapped by their grandfather and kept in a pen at his house til we processed them. My kids helped butcher them. They helped get the guts out, and helped grind the meat and package up and freeze what wasn't ground. They also helped to make several of the meals we've eaten since then out of our very full freezer of meat. These pigs otherwise get shot and dumped for the birds and other critters to eat (recently the government shot and dumped over 300 of them). They are pests and dangerous ones at that. So should we just have dumped them? Or should we have taken the opportunity to enrich our children's lives w/the chance to learn about where food comes from, how to obtain it for themselves, how to butcher and process it, and then how to store it and cook it? Now it's time to hunt the squirrels that have gotten fat off the corn that had been fed to the pigs while they waited to be butchered. If we don't hunt the squirrels, they'll eat the garden.

If you can't handle it, or don't want your kids seeing it, make yourself more clear to your stepdad or don't take them there.
post #49 of 126
Quote:
Originally Posted by Learning_Mum View Post
Yes, I totally get where you're coming from. Your step-dad is just disregarding your feelings about this and that is a big problem. It does seem rather 'convenient' that they happened to check the traps while you were out.

As I said before, I would take your lead from your boys. If they seem to need to talk it out, then be there, if they don't seem to mind then I would let it go (with them) at the moment. It seems like you're doing a good job of teaching them your values and morals and honestly, they're more than likely to tell Grandpa that what he's doing is not right.

I definitely think you need to talk with your parents. What your step-dad is doing is not cool at all. I personally hate guns (we're not a big gun country so I've never really been around them) and I wouldn't want my parents letting my kids play with shell casings (doesn't that just seem dangerous anyway? I mean, what if they found some live casings and played with those?) esp. when I've told them not to. That I think is the major issue here.
I agree.

and for what it' worth, we are a gun owning household and I support the second amendment. I just think there are responsible and irresponsible ways to use guns. And sticks for that matter too.
post #50 of 126
Oops, I missed part of a post, but see it quoted in the pp's post.

If he's disrespecting your parenting, then you are going to have to stop taking your kids around him.
post #51 of 126
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chicky2 View Post
I wholeheartedly agree w/mamadelbosque and SandraS.

The only thing I'd have done differently is eat the squirrel after killing it. :


My kids recently were involved in the process of killing and butchering and processing 40 or so feral pigs that were trapped by their grandfather and kept in a pen at his house til we processed them. My kids helped butcher them. They helped get the guts out, and helped grind the meat and package up and freeze what wasn't ground. They also helped to make several of the meals we've eaten since then out of our very full freezer of meat. These pigs otherwise get shot and dumped for the birds and other critters to eat (recently the government shot and dumped over 300 of them). They are pests and dangerous ones at that. So should we just have dumped them? Or should we have taken the opportunity to enrich our children's lives w/the chance to learn about where food comes from, how to obtain it for themselves, how to butcher and process it, and then how to store it and cook it? Now it's time to hunt the squirrels that have gotten fat off the corn that had been fed to the pigs while they waited to be butchered. If we don't hunt the squirrels, they'll eat the garden.

If you can't handle it, or don't want your kids seeing it, make yourself more clear to your stepdad or don't take them there.
while I personally couldn't take the life of another animal, I have no problem with it being done in that way. to make food, to eat and not waste, that I have no problem with. Of course, I still wont eat the meat of an animal I know has been killed inhumanely.
post #52 of 126
Thread Starter 
Quote:
How long has he been trapping and killing them? If it's been going on along while I wonder why he hasn't sought out another solution.
Unfortunately, it's been going on as long as he's had a yard and/or a garden. He usually shoots them but I feel like he wanted my sons to see how traps work and to also be apart of the killing of an animal.

This is how I feel now, after this happened. The more I think about it the more I feel like he planned to trap the gophers while my sons were there.
post #53 of 126
I think the real issue here is the fact that your step-father is refusing to respect your wishes during your visits and is disregarding your parenting style. Thank you for clarifying and I hope there is someway to get him to respect your wishes as his stepdaughter. Again, sorry you have to go through this. For now I think that the best you can do is keep the open dialogue with your boys and keep living and teaching the values that are important to you and your family. Peace~
post #54 of 126
Quote:
Originally Posted by quietmama View Post
Unfortunately, it's been going on as long as he's had a yard and/or a garden. He usually shoots them but I feel like he wanted my sons to see how traps work and to also be apart of the killing of an animal.

This is how I feel now, after this happened. The more I think about it the more I feel like he planned to trap the gophers while my sons were there.
That is sad. See to me, if it was more about his yard then his interest in hunting, then he would have long ago started looking for a better solution for warding off the gophers. Just my two cents of course. From what you said I got the vibe from your initial post that he had done this with your kids intentionally.
post #55 of 126
PS- this must be a really hard situation for you, because your kids look up to himand he probably has a lot of good he can offer, so I can understand why you haven't already stopped bringing them over there. I see why you want to find a solution. Plus, it's not like its just him, you are visiting your mom when you go there too. What a cruddy situation to be in. It's hard when you have to balance one moral system against another (killing of animals versus importance of loving family despite their downfalls) I'm sure you will find the right decision to this seemingly impossible dilemma.
post #56 of 126
I agree that grandpa not listening to you when you put up boundaries when it comes to your children is the larger issue. Over the long-term, I think that too needs to be addressed, and frankly, it seems he's only gotten sneakier when you've spoken about this with him in the past. For me, that would definitely be a major violation of trust.
post #57 of 126
Uggg, that was really nasty of him (the not-respecting-your-wishes part, not putting the animal out of its misery). Why oh why can't he have enough imagination to find other things to show the boys? What about gardening, building a campfire, building a lean-to, tracking, orienteering, etc.... there are so many outdoorsy, macho things that there must be lots of things that everybody involved would be happy about!
post #58 of 126
Quote:
Originally Posted by rachelsmama View Post
Uggg, that was really nasty of him (the not-respecting-your-wishes part, not putting the animal out of its misery). Why oh why can't he have enough imagination to find other things to show the boys? What about gardening, building a campfire, building a lean-to, tracking, orienteering, etc.... there are so many outdoorsy, macho things that there must be lots of things that everybody involved would be happy about!
Yeah, this is a really good point. Maybe you could encourage him to take them camping for a night and teach them how to find food and water and build fires. You know, like kids, tell him what he *can* do and not what he *can't* do? Or maybe you could reach a compromise where he teaches the kids to shoot but they're only allowed to shoot at inanimate (ie: non-living) targets?
post #59 of 126
The problem, IMO, is your step-dads attitude towards your wishes. Not his trapping/killing of gophers. Honestly, if it was me and my FIL/MIL/step-dad/step-mom/whoever was doing stuff like this, I'd just never leave my kids with them alone, period.

Do encorage him to do other stuff with them, but I'd certainly not trust him to take them camping/overnight/anywhere without you along. Its just a trust issue. And if he & your mom can't be trusted to be left alone and following your wishes for a couple hours, then how could you possibly trust them to have them overnight??
post #60 of 126
Quote:
Originally Posted by Learning_Mum View Post
Yeah, this is a really good point. Maybe you could encourage him to take them camping for a night and teach them how to find food and water and build fires.
If it were my kids, I wouldn't let him take them anywhere. He's already shown he will willfully do things behind the mom's back.
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