Mistreat your animals and someone might take them from you.
Allen (not his real name) is driving north out of Virginia in the middle of the night, with stolen property in the back of his van. But Allen isn’t a criminal – in fact he normally would never dream of breaking the law.
The “property” he stole is a dog he calls Flash. Allen doesn’t particularly want Flash – in fact, in a few hours he’ll drop him off at a stranger’s house and never see him again. “I couldn’t just stand by and do nothing,” he explains. “The owner was plainly neglecting the dog, but the police wouldn’t do anything about it.”
For over a year, Flash had been tied to a tree in front of someone’s house. “He was sick and malnourished,” says Allen. “More than once I saw [the owner] kick him for no reason at all.” Allen had repeatedly tried to get the owner to take better care of the animal, or to give it away to someone who would. Finally, he took matters into his own hands – in the dead of night, he took Flash off his chain and drove away with him.
Within an hour, Flash had a new license tag and was being treated by a veterinarian who knew better than to ask questions. Pictures of the dog were put up on animal rescue websites, asking for someone to adopt the dog. A couple in New York offered to take the dog, and animal lovers in states along the way agreed to provide transportation.
Nobody can say for sure how many animals like Flash are ‘rescued’ every year – receiving stolen property is a crime, so rescuers tend to stay in the shadows. But a growing number of empty collars attests to their work as more and more animals find their way to loving homes.