the things people do

Walking my dog in the damp and drizzle today, I glanced down the shallow embankment, and noticed a dead animal in the brush. All around it, the bushes had been trampled. It was the size of a small deer, but its gray–perhaps once white–fur was shaggy, and from a distance it looked like it had the thick toe pads of an alpaca. There was a deep, pink gash in its long, twisted neck, as if someone had taken an axe to it. It didn’t look like it had been attacked by a dog or cougar — because then its corpse would’ve been made a meal of. It would’ve been ragged.

Ironically, the corpse was deposited just across the road from where I once enountered a big, mysterious pile of dead carp. Large carp–the orange kind you find in garden pools, swimming around lazily. These had been dead for maybe a couple of weeks, and had lost their color, and most of the smell. What were they doing by the side of the road, under the oak trees?

As this economic disaster continues, the people in this rural area have been selling their properties at a loss, and selling the animals they collected during the years when everyone was living on illusory funds, and dreams of a life in the country with animals. The property down in the vale, in view of my living room window, is now vacant (as is the property next to it), and the horses, alpacas, dogs, and pot-bellied pig are gone. Some people, however, just ditch their property, and the animals too, until someone reports starving horses in an ex-neighbor’s field. Such reports are getting more commonplace. Twice, different renters next door have moved out in a hurry, leaving a chained dog to fend for itself for several days and longer, until I wonder what the hell happened, and call the landlord or SPCA.

I wonder what happened to the young alpaca. Maybe it got sick, and the owner decided to kill it. Maybe the property had to go, fast, and the animals too. No bullet to the brain, no burial, just a whack with an axe, then leave it out for the coyotes and raptors in a ditch by the road? Surely there are better ways to dispatch an unwanted animal.

I don’t know. I don’t get it–the things people do.

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