• Trying to confront man who beat his dog in London Fields

    Aug 29th

    I’ve just seen a man hit his dog in the park, not once but twice, whacking it viciously round the head.

    I’ve not felt this mix of fear and anger since secondary school comprehensive when Clint (the really tall one who went through puberty two years before everyone else and whose family had flirtations with the law) threw a bike D-lock at my head when I refused to give him ten pence at the back entrance to school.

    Baby carrot used to fight off baby bunny

    I ducked the lock as it whizzed past my ear but still I felt a wimp for not retaliating. I tell myself now that Clint came to school with a sausage in his lunchbox, I came with nothing but a baby carrot. But still I feel I should have retaliated. I wish I was better with bullies.

    The man with the dog was, dare I say it, young(ish) and black, and his dog was, dare I say it,  a white staffie (staffordshire bull terrier) on a chain. I don’t write these stereotypes but they seem to walk around here. It was a fairly big dog but it had the floppiness of youth – longish ears, uncordinated back legs. When the man first hit the dog I stopped and watched but didn’t do anything. When he did it again, thirty seconds later and with a nasty swipe to the face I ran after him.

    ‘Excuse me!’ I shouted with way too much politeness

    He carried on walking.

    ‘Excuse me!’ I said again.

    ‘WHAT THE FUCK DO YOU WANT!?’ he screamed without turning around.

    His stride was long and his grip on the dog’s chain was a fist.  Call me an amateur sociologist but I suspect his violent behaviour was not so much to do with the dog as with a long chain of nasty events that receded into his past. Either that or he was upset about the breakup of the Eurozone. You can never judge.

    ‘Can you NOT hit your dog!’ I said running after him, suddenly feeling like I was about to present him with a very small carrot in a very large lunchbox.

    He turned round to stare at me. ‘Is it YOUR fucking dog!? IS IT!???!!!!’ His features were all sharp angles.

    I wanted to say: yes it is, we are all interconnected but it would have been like trying to convert a meat eater by gently slapping them with wet broccoli.

     

    ‘No, but I don’t want it hurt’ I said.

    ‘FUCK OFF….fuck off, fuck off, fuck off, FUCK OFF!’ He shouted and then he stormed away, before stopping abrupty and, just in case I didn’t get the subtlety of his argument : ‘FUCK OFF YOU CUNT!!!!’

    I followed him down the street some more, at this point crossing that invisible line of  fear and risk that I never crossed as a child at school. He snapped round to look at me. I stood thirty metres from him,  I had my hands on my hips (like some outraged old washerwoman I’m afraid), but I wasn’t going to move. He stared at me for a long while in silence, seething. If someone had appeared with a flute and played ‘the good, the bad and the ugly’ theme tune it would have been extremely annoying …

    It was too much for him. He started coming back at me shouting.

    I mean, what the hell am I meant to do now?

    I had no phone or camera on me, so I couldn’t take a picture of his face for a record and nor could I ring the police. He wasn’t interested in logic and I doubt he wanted to discuss the eurozone crisis.

    I walked towards him as he strode towards me,  then as we got closer, I turned at the next road junction towards home. I waved at him, meaning to say ‘forget it mate, i’m not interested in a fight, I know there are gangs around here and I’m not in one’ but it probably looked like I was giving him some ridiculous come on, so I then regressed to- as it were –  ducking the flying D-lock and I jogged off home.

    I now feel I’ve let that dog down and let myself down. But in my pounding heart I doubt there is not much more I could do – steal the dog from the owner? What then? The dog pounds in london are continuously putting staffies out of their misery because no one wants them, would that be better?

    I called the RSPCA and they said there is little they could do, but perhaps next time I follow him home and report his address. Yeh, right, or perhaps I could just ask him his postcode there and then

    ‘E8 1, 2, FUCKING 3 YOU CUNT!!!!’

    But I also feel something else, a little more tricky than just that I let myself down.

    And what I feel is…. THAT I FEEL.

    Previously, I’d have seen this scene and been upset but got over it fairly quickly. Now I’ve seen it, I tried to act and my failure to make a difference has made me feel unbearably sad and ….somewhat guilty. I feel all these things bristling on my skin like a recent nettle sting.

    Is this what compassion is?

    Does it entail all these other feelings of frustration, guilt, sadness, anger? I thought it was just a warm glow. Is this why I’ve avoided getting in touch with doing anything (or doing nothing) about  the suffering of animals, because it’s not particularly nice to be involved.

    But something tells me I’m going to be feeling a lot more of these….what can I call them….feelings in the future. I’ll look out for the man in the park.

     



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    4 Responses to “Trying to confront man who beat his dog in London Fields”

    1. The wise move is to observe and report
      Putting yourself at risk to save an animal
      is counterproductive.
      The dog on the chain has teeth and can defend himself
      against the man if he chooses.
      The person who called you a cunt IS A CUNT.
      First rule is to make sure you are safe
      Second rule is to assess any situation before you
      intervene.
      Third rule is to be prepared before you intervene
      Have your phone take a video take pictures and then
      contact the authorities
      People get hurt or killed for nothing in London
      make sure as you go about that you are not one.
      The blog seems to be a bit unbalanced and I am hoping that’s not a reflection of the person writing it.
      I would say to you join the RSPCA and volunteer your time there
      leave the rescuing to the professionals.

    2. Thanks for your concern. You are right, I must be careful and not be propelled to take action. It’s hard when you are trying to make a difference. I’ll look out for him and try and report him

    3. Glad you got the essential information.
      We see your posters and applaud your intention.
      Sadly there are people on the streets who pose a much greater threat to the average person then any animal in distress.
      Now all that taken on board.
      There is a group of semi feral cats that live on an estate by the canal up on Laburnum Street. They are being fed outdoors by a very old black pensioner. They always hang out very close to her door.
      There is one particular small striped tabby cat with a massive matted clump of hair on her back. She is very wary of humans it would be nice
      If some one could catch her and clip the fur.
      Probably could use a check up at the vets too.
      If you cross the road from the Haggerston station
      and walk down the street to the red brick wall and then turn left at the 1st gap in the wall. You will see the first house on the right is where they hang

    4. Thanks for this info. Shortly back in uk and will check it out , all the best

      Martin

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