When someone runs over or injures a person with their vehicle, according to laws in every state, they must stop and render aid as well as immediately report the accident. Failure to do so is called a ‘hit and run’ and can result in serious jail time, especially if the person injured dies. Sadly, this law (which is also under Transport Code in most states) does not apply in the same manner to animals run over by cars; a sad fact that I became acquainted with just today.
I had a cat that I rescued, a very sweet cat who had been abandoned by someone in my neighborhood. She became pregnant and because I was a friendly face when I’d go out walking at night, she brought her two kittens to my patio last December. I kept one, and found a home for the other. The question then was what to do with momma cat? I had her spayed and got her vaccinated. She would live with me until I could find her a loving forever home. The only problem was that she was used to being outdoors and refused to stay inside 24/7. I began working on keeping her indoors longer and longer, but she still insisted on going out after about eight hours inside. Her way of being insistent was to claw up the carpet in front of the sliding glass doors and yowl. I couldn’t seem to break her of that, but could only modify it by placing one of the many phone books that gets delivered to my home in front of those doors. She learned to scratch at the phone book, then turn and sit on it while giving me the look that said “I want to go out, now!”
Gigi’s training was a work in progress. Because of her need to be outside, I placed a collar on her with her rabies tag, her name, and my number inside the collar. I wanted to make sure people knew she belonged to someone and could always be identified.
Monday morning, around 4:30 a.m., she let me know, in no uncertain terms, that she wanted out. I stumbled to the door, gave her some ear scratches, and told her “Be a good girl, and stay out of the street. Love you, and I’ll see you later.” I had never seen her go into the street by my complex. Usually, she just hung out by the patio, the neighbor’s house or on top of my car. Still, I was always concerned about her safety, and completely aware that I needed to get her trained to be indoors for good before anything happened to her. My city has leash laws that apply to cats, too. That was another concern.
Gigi didn’t come back home at lunch like she usually does. She didn’t come home for dinner. I spent all of Monday night calling for her. I slept a few hours, and awoke to calling her again on Tuesday morning. No Gigi. I decided to call the local animal shelter to see if they had picked up a cat, thinking maybe someone had complained and called them. I knew if she’d gone to the animal shelter, they would have called since she had I.D. Sure enough, they had picked up a cat on Monday morning, around 6:00 a.m…..that had been run over.
Someone had run Gigi over. Her back legs were shattered and, according to the AC officer, she was still alive, trying to crawl with her front paws back onto the curb. She had been laying in the gutter. The officer said she had no collar on, and when he took her to the animal hospital, they checked for a microchip (lesson to all! Microchip your pets.) Whoever had run Gigi over had also stopped, saw she was still alive, and instead of walking across the street to the police department that was right there, removed her collar so she couldn’t be identified, and then left her to die.
At the animal hospital, with no pet parent to call, the veterinarian assessed the severe damage, the pain she was in, and made the decision to euthanize her. Gigi died without me there to at least hold her paw and tell her how much I loved her. In trying to do the right thing by her in her own time table, I’d failed her.
In Texas, even if the driver could be identified, the most he/she could be charged with is animal abuse, which is a misdemeanor. It’s a trifling charge that would amount to a small fine not even worth the life of such a wonderful cat.
Gigi lost her life; a very short one, because I couldn’t bear to see her unhappy about being kept indoors. I just wanted her to be happy. She’d known what it was like to be loved and part of a family for a short period of time. She had become my nap buddy, and she got to see her son, Sammy, every day. Not every cat can say that about one of her kittens. All my other cats are strictly indoor cats, but now, I will take them to get microchipped, …just in case.
Transport codes on failure to stop and render aid should apply to animals. An accident is an accident, but deliberately removing a pet’s identification and leaving it to die is criminal.
If you agree, contact your state representatives and demand tougher laws for animal hit and runs. For Congressmen, click here. For Senators, click here.
Follow me on TWITTER!
Download HARVEST, a sci-fi short story from author, Michele Gwynn, available on Barnes & Noble online for NOOK, Kindle, and Kobo eReaders.
Continue reading on joltleft.com Idaho woman seeks felony animal cruelty legislation – National animal rights | joltleft.com joltleft.com/animal-rights-in-national/idaho-woman-seeks-felony-anim…
All articles by Michele Gwynn are under copyright and cannot be re-posted whole without written consent by the author. Partial re-posting with a link back to the original article is permitted. For consent, questions, or comments, email [email protected]
Did you like this article? You can get the very next one delivered directly to your email by clicking “SUBSCRIBE” at the top of the page. Thank you for caring!
More from Michele Gwynn: Ms. Gwynn is also the San Antonio Sex & Relationships Examiner. Her humor in explaining “the unexplainable” goes hand in hand with her candor. She has even interviewed celebrities for her column, and a former UN Ambassador and Broadway stars of The Jersey Boys for local San Antonio newspapers.
While comments are welcome, SPAM is not. All spam comments will be deleted immediately. Please abide by the joltleft.com rules for appropriate language on all comments.