Ditching the Hot Potato: On Animal Cruelty in Cuba

Kabir Vega Castellanos

HAVANA TIMES — A few weeks ago, my parents picked up a 15-day-old puppy from the street. They found him on the sidewalk, outside a house where dogs where barking ferociously in response to its desperate whimpers. It couldn’t see anything, as its eyes were glued shut by a cold, or walk. It barely managed to drag itself across the ground, its intestinal parasites making it writhe in agony.

The first night, neither my mother nor I were able to get any sleep. The animal was suffering and whimpering terribly. We thought he wouldn’t make it to dawn.

But the puppy survived. Then, we feared he might not be able to walk again, as it couldn’t hold up its head well and would tip over its left side every time it took any steps. We feared he had some neurological damage or worse, canine distemper.

At Old Havana’s Laika veterinary clinic, they injected the puppy with vitamins, calcium and Vigantol. His improvement since has been astonishing. It can already walk without tipping over and even play.

Those who have any doubts about the existence of consciousness in animals could learn a lot from the psychic traumas that abandonment caused this little animal. If he wakes up in his box and it takes us a while to hear his calls, he goes into a state of panic. His heart starts racing and his eyes cloud over with profound sadness.

It’s only taken him a few days to become familiar with us. Even when it had trouble walking, it would still approach us to show us signs of affection.

We already have a dog and several cats (all picked up from the street), so we can’t keep him. I would like to get his picture out with this post so that a kind-hearted person will adopt him.

I can’t stop thinking about how easily so many people leave animals behind on the street, ditching a problem that they are fully responsible for and leaving it in the hands of sensitive people, whose lives become all the harder because of it. Dogs in heat abandoned on the street have become a common sight. Sometimes, you see people watching the male dogs fight and then mount the female dog, as though it were a porn movie.

No one cares what will become of the litter of pups later. Most pups die because of the intestinal parasites the mother passes on to them, and they do so slowly and horribly. Some are run over by cars, or starve when their mothers are unable to feed them. All the while, they are at the mercy of anyone who wants to vent their frustration and even their sadism on a weaker being.

The day after my parents brought home this puppy, there was a downpour that lasted several hours. I simply cannot understand what goes on in the mind of someone who abandons a living being out on the street a few steps away from their home, leaving them to the mercy of the elements.

How many more reasons do we need to finally approve the Animal Protection Law we were promised in Cuba?

6 thoughts on “Ditching the Hot Potato: On Animal Cruelty in Cuba

  • Gracias, Kabir, por salvar la vida de esta tierna criatura. Ojalá encuentres otra alma generosa que la pueda adoptar. Déjanos saber, por favor.

  • it is a criminal offence here in Canada to leave a dog inside your car without water and the charges were brought on by the same aspects of those that are current in Cuba, people need to understand that animals have rights to, good luck in getting the government to put a law into order that will also protect their own animals if they have any.? best wishes

  • Animals need to be protected and there needs to be shelters for those who are strays.Unfortunately the problems in Cuba are immense and people need a big influx of housing and accommodations. Animals will have to wait unless the people start to be more hospitable to these helpless creatures. Yes the nimal Protection Law will be a positive start to helping these creatures.

  • I want to add my thank you to Kabir as well. It is so nice to hear from people who do care about other beings. Many in Cuba seem to care, but do little to help, and the government doesn’t give a whit about dogs and cats. It’s disgusting!

  • One of the most heart breaking memories of my visits to Cuba, is the neglect and treatment of dogs I seen. I do hope an Animal Protection Law is on the horizon.

  • Thank you Kabir – on behalf of the puppy as well as myself – for your kindness and thoughts. I would adopt him myself, if I were not on the other side of the world. Your call for the Animal Protection Law to be approved deserves the support of everyone, and I hope this will happen soon.

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