Riptide the dog is a survivor. His story speaks of the worst of humanity, and the best. And his resilience says volumes about the animals we have sworn to help, protect and defend, wherever and however they may be suffering. Whatever we can do for them, it’s worth it.
At the Humane Society of the United States, it’s true that we promise to fight the big fights for animals. That’s been fundamental to our mission for as long as we’ve been around, and when we win big for animals the impact is widespread and lasting. But that’s not to say that we don’t recognize and appreciate the small everyday successes achieved by staff members, partner organizations and supporters. That’s the case with Riptide, the subject of a cruelty investigation in Minnesota.
An official from St. Paul Animal Control first responded to the report of a dog, abandoned, malnourished and covered in maggots, roped to a tree with a ziptie embedded to the bone in his mouth. He had been there for who knows how long, but this little guy had survived a lot of suffering.
We stepped in with a reward offer that we sponsor in dozens of cases nationwide every year. We fund anti-cruelty rewards because they give a boost to local animal care and service agencies and societies, they gain the attention of a concerned public, and they produce results and convictions. We’re hopeful that the reward will generate some leads that help to identify the perpetrator responsible for Riptide’s suffering. If apprehended and convicted, the individual(s) who hurt Riptide could face felony level penalties of up to two years in jail and/or a $5,000 fine.
Minnesota animal advocates Jim and Mary Schwebel read about our reward posting and pledged to increase the reward amount to $10,000. We were gratified by the Schwebels’ decision, not least because one of the reasons we make such public commitments is our faith that supporters will recognize the value of our approach, and the resulting outcomes, and contribute the funds that sustain our work to help animals.
Of course, Riptide needed immediate help and attention, and he got it. The veterinarians who treated him found it necessary to amputate one of his rear legs, but the good news is that Riptide is expected to make a full recovery and eventually find placement with a loving home.
The organization taking care of Riptide raised more than $20,000 for his continued care. Left for dead by someone, he’s now got a shot at a real dog’s life. Our hats are off to St. Paul Animal Control, for its great response work, the Animal Emergency & Referral Center of Minnesota, which provided veterinary care and treatment for Riptide, and the foster group Rescued Pets Are Wonderful, which is looking after him. Here’s a video featuring Riptide; he’s a little shy, but as you can see, he’s eating well!
In the course of our work, we hear about and report many great animal rescue outcomes in which we and/or partners in the field have played a part. Riptide’s story, and his rescue, stood out for me as a sterling example of the kind of cooperation we should strive for—and celebrate—in humane work. I’m grateful to the animal care and service agency personnel, the veterinarians, the rescue group and the donors who came together to make the biggest possible difference in this dog’s life.
P.S. Happy World Elephant Day, everyone. We’re very involved in the campaign to promote peaceful coexistence with this imperiled species, especially through our work on immunocontraception for elephant herds in Africa. We’re also investing in advocacy, education, policy and regulatory reforms, and ivory-demand reduction programs to help elephants. Catch up with our ongoing work here.