Of the few years that I have written and published in Vallarta Opina, this is, perhaps, the saddest and most grateful chronicle of all. Those who know me know of my love for animals in general and cats in particular. For almost 6 years I have been living with a tuxedo cat named Bigotes who was born here in the house and we have been companions since then.
Far from the image of the cat lovers' intellectuals, she has been for me a first-rate pet, sometimes shy, but always grateful and affectionate to me. About a year ago another kitten we called Negrita came to the house. We fed her and she stayed with us.
Soon she had a litter of cats: Orejas y Trompas. The names are insignificant and only serve to describe the main characteristics of the animal: whiskers, ears, horns. Nouns that are both superlative adjectives. The huge mustache on this one, the protruding ears and muzzle on the others. We fed them all. Added to the quartet was a cat with green eyes, gray, fat, which I called Moco - the only non descriptive name - because my mother said Mona, but when we realized that he was male, became the Mono (Monkey) and then Moco.
They sleep on the street. Mustaches is in the house. Although they have sometimes entered the house to meow, they never sleep inside. They are feral, but docile cats. They lie on their backs and look at me. A couple of months ago, a feeble woman, oblivious to her limited height and strength, was walking her two large black dogs that got loose and attacked Negrita. She was killed on the spot. The attitude of the lady at the time was not to punish her animals and stated "I am calm because I did nothing."
At that moment I felt the impotence of being someone who has always respected people and women and I refrained from telling her that she had committed a great mistake and a crime by allowing her animals to kill mine. She left without worrying if money was needed to cremate or if she had left a litter. Three cats that I did not have time to name appeared that needed to be fed.
A New Attack
Last Monday, at eleven o'clock at night, I found myself reading the memoirs of Vasili Záitsev, the Red Army sniper who was the headache of the Nazis. On page forty, I heard barking so loud that it made me stop reading. I looked out the window and two Labrador dogs, one black and one light brown, were attacking one of my cats. Tucked under a white van, the dogs were attacking from the sides. I shouted at them. I threw a bottle of Coke glass that crashed into the garage (I live on a second floor), but the breaking glass did not frighten them. I went back to my room quickly for my keys, my knife and a stick. I went down screaming and brandishing my homemade weapons hoping to catch the attention of the dogs that, for that moment, were already carrying the poor cat away: one by the neck and one by the groin in the middle of the street. I shouted with all my hatred: "Grab your dogs, hijos de puta!" But no one helped me. I tried to chase them and ran down the avenue with no sign of being scared. On the way back I found Orejas lying on the floor, panting, full of drool, disheveled and with eyes wide open. I told her I was going to take care of her.
There I was half a block away, shirtless, with a knife in one hand and a stick in the other. Fortunately, a police patrol passed; I told them of what had just happened and looked for the dogs in the surrounding streets. They came back when I had already taken the cat to move it to the curb. They did me the favor of helping me call the Green Patrol (la Patrulla Verde) which is the specialized unit of police for animals that provides assistance in these cases, as in the sighting of crocodiles, iguanas, and so on.
When the officers of the patrol arrived, I explained to them again. They immediately pulled out a cage and loaded my cat. They offered me help. I was told that emergency phone 066 considers these situations as a police emergency and that their duty was to help the animals. At that moment dazzled by fear and rage: I had never seen a dog, two dogs, in my life, that attacked with such rage and fury an animal as small as a cat; I did not understand what they were saying. They offered to take me in the patrol vehicle to a vet. We went. On the way I saw a duck in the box of the van. The duck had been found full of Resistol 5000. They saved him. In what world and in what society have we become that someone would fill a harmless duck full of glue, and who lets loose his terrible dogs to attack any animal on the street with such fury and hatred?
At the hospital, the veterinarian made every effort to save Orejas. He gave her a tranquilizer, put on oxygen, put her on serum ... The cat had no visible wounds, apparently the attack was done with the dogs' jaws. However, her lungs were collapsed. The most terrible sound of the night was the drumming of her chest at the moment of breathing, the gasping and the difficulty of catching air. The moan. In a few minutes the cat died in my arms, when I told him to endure, to be strong. Died. I had to pay the vet's bill. During this tragic episode, both the doctor and the officers insisted on the responsibility of the owner of the attacking dogs: I had to pay; And that a dog when it attacks another living being is never again meek.
They did me the favor of returning me to my home. I told them that I was a writer and that I would write as a thank-you for them. They liked the idea. Here I am telling you the heroism of the Green Patrol, its responsibility and willingness to help me as any animal owner and the animals themselves that need it.
The Green Patrol (la Patrulla Verde)
The Green Patrol is a specialized unit of the Puerto Vallarta Police Department, in charge of attending to everything related to animals in the city. According to what they told me, they are in charge of rescuing the crocodiles that the rains carry to the different points of Vallarta; They capture snakes, raccoons and all the fauna that leaves its surroundings and is lost in the streets. The stories they told me go from the funny and "normal" like the horses that leave the ranches and graze on the cobblestones to the cases of people who poison or drug dogs and cats. They take care of everything.
They have three groups: A, B and C. There are only six officers in the service of the unit. Cases such as that of my Orejas cat attacked by two loose dogs (serve this space to denounce that the large number of garbage bags on the streets of the city attract all kinds of animals and create problems as described), the duck with glue and many others are the daily bread for officers who have to deal with our winged and four legged friends.
Had I not been aided by the Green Patrol, I would not have been able to make the effort to save my cat. Officials informed me that few people know about their work and I wanted to write this chronicle at once crude and real, to warn the community that we have protection by the authorities for cases like mine and like many others that are neglected in the city.
The Green Patrol attends 24 hours a day and responds to emergency calls to 066. Here I record my great gratitude to his noble work and I urge everyone to know what they do and make use of their services.
Responsibility of Owners
Speaking with the officers, they told me, among many things, is the need to make people understand that dogs should always on a leash. I get it. The dog is a hybrid of coyote, wolf and everything a biologist can explain ... in short it is a wild animal, which although domesticated, can always return to its primitive instinct to attack and eat smaller animals. We all know. The less lucid will say that a dog is not responsible for an attack because it is his instinct. That is a half-truth: So much is the owner responsible for letting his animal, like the animal (in this area we all agreed including the veterinarian, the police and a server), because the dog that already attacked once is very likely to return to attack. Another cat, another dog, a child?
Do two angry dogs, with all the violence of their kind, need to attack a child so that society understands the need to keep them on the leash, to educate them, to feed them and treat them well to prevent them from being violent?
I love the animals. My father is a veterinarian. All my life I have lived with animals: cats, dogs, fish, turtles, pigeons and so on. I consider them part of my family. I love them, I take care of them, if I can help a defenseless animal I do it. When I am alone and I see a dog or a cat I speak to them. Nowhere in this chronicle do I express my repulsion or hatred toward animals. I write this to touch the hearts of readers and beg them to be aware that animals at one time or another can become wild and attack and kill. He who loves animals will understand that love must be a commitment to care for both the animal and other animals and men of society. To the few that come to read me, I hope you understand my pain and remember, as I have remembered all this day before writing this chronicle, the sentence of the Babylonian Talmud, which says, "He who kills a life is as if he killed all World / He who saves a life is as if he saved the whole world." Let us save the animals from other animals and everything. Let us save ourselves. Let us love our pets by preventing them from becoming prey to anger and instinct. Thus, we will live in a more orderly and more connected society with animals.
Translated and edited by Team Angels
Read the original in Spanish at Vallarta Opina
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