I Drove A Car Last Night

*WARNING*GRAPHIC CONTENT* (This poem is about cruelty to animals. This is sadly a true story. The police are not providing animal control services, though they get county funding to do so. There is a small understaffed & underfunded nonprofit clinic here but our only vet is away for a family emergency. My wife & I volunteer to foster dogs since the clinic legally can’t house any animals, and there is no shelter on island. The police department have a dozen empty kennels they are supposed to use & are funded to use, but they turn people away who call about abandoned and stray animals. We had 18 foster dogs when I left the farm last night, now we have 19. I wish we had 20. So it goes…)




(Written June 11, 2019)

I drove a car last night

for the first time

in over a year

and when I got where I was going

my eyes welled with tears.


I drove a car last night

and my eyes cannot unsee

the sight of mans inhumanity

that I saw as I walked 

up to a near-lifeless dog

with half of his brains

dangling from his head

left there to die

but still far from dead.


I drove a car last night

though my conscience

makes me ride a bike

but when a frantic man called

appalled at what he’d seen

I grabbed a knife

and got in the car.


I drove a car last night

and it took all of my might

to do what had to be done

and for the first time

in a very long time

I wished that I had a gun.


I drove a car last night

and the dog still had life in his eyes

and I was thinking

how we could get

back to the farm

and stabilize him

but he had more brains

out than in

and if this isn’t a sin

there is no God.


I drove a car last night

because the police came

and saw the condition of this dog

and thought nothing of the sight

as they filed a report

about a dog bite on the son

of the man who ran home

and got a knife,

not to take the life

of the dog 

but to act out scenes

from Hollywood horror movies.


I drove a car last night

and I’m sick to my stomach now

just thinking about the sight

that I can’t unsee

but I’m grateful

that I was able to free

this poor, poor, precious dog

from such pain and misery

no longer tied

to a three foot chain

no longer owned

by people so inhumane

no longer lacking food

and lacking love

I buried him

at midnight last night

and planted a tree above him

and he’ll nourish the roots,

trunk, branches and limbs.


I drove a car last night

because I had to euthanize one dog

and rescue his sister

a beautiful blue nose

who kept licking my arm

on the way home

but before I left

the scene of the crime,

the traumatized Samaritan

who called my wife and I

gave me a hug, thanked me

and said he’d called the police

weeks ago

because they get paid to run

animal control

but they said

“leave the dogs where they are”

that is, chained up

and abandoned

in an empty yard

and though this neighbor

struggles to pay his bills

he visited the abandoned dogs

every single day

and filled their food and water

and he ran out of his house

to what he called

the most awful screams

he’d ever heard

and as he got there,

the father of the boy

who was bitten by the dog

on the three foot chin

in the empty yard

dropped the knife

and didn’t say a word.


I drove a car last night

because where I live

the police take money

from the county budget

to provide animal control

but don’t do a anything

to control animals,

don’t take in abandoned animals

and apparently don’t put animals,

chopped up and suffering

with more than half of their brains hanging out,

out of their misery.


I drove a car last night

and I’m not mad at the man

who attacked this poor dog,

maybe morally he has a right

to kill the dog, maybe not,

I’m not here to argue that,

I’m just sad for the man

and sadder for his son

because if the man got a gun

and shot the dog

the dog would have died instantly

but I’m sad that the man

wanted to see the dog suffer,

and how much pain

must the man be in in his life

to want to see any creature suffer

and I’m not mad that the police

didn’t charge this man

with animal cruelty

in the first degree, a felony

in the state of Hawaii,

I’m angry that the police,

who can’t try to blame

raw emotion

like the father can,

saw this dog

with more than half

his brains hanging out

and left him there

to die a slow, painful,

cruel, lonely death.


I drove a car last night

and on my ride home,

with a lifeless body

in the trunk

and a beautiful dog

riding next to me

on her way to freedom

I wondered how a man

could be so cruel

and how the police

could be so cruel

and then I thought about

the world we live in

where cruelty to humanity

is something we all see on TV,

how bombs fall

overseas, constantly

and how the police kill

black and brown people

with impunity

and we’ve all seen it

for so long

we’ve all grown up

hearing war songs

and learning that violence

is always the only answer

to any perceived wrongs,

like a dog

on a three foot chain

abandoned in an empty yard,

scared and scarred

from abuse and neglect

biting a child that steps

into the tiny bubble

that the dog exists in.


I drove a car last night

and right now, all I can do

is hold my dogs tight

and fight for a better world

where neither man nor beast

is treated inhumanly.




About soitgoes1984

I live on a small island in the middle of the Pacific ocean in the Hawaiian Kingdom which is currently illegally occupied by the American government. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
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