Making & Losing Friends

There are few certainties in life, but on Facebook there’s one that’s guaranteed. Anytime we post a graphic story or photo of abuse, a parade of people de-friend us.  Those de-friendings often come with private messages that usually start with “we love your page” followed by the big “BUT.”  They then go on to say they depend on us to entertain and make them smile, not horrify and depress.  In the beginning, we used to comment on the fact we had just lost friends, but have since become immune to it all. We’ve also stopped trying to defend our actions.

Truth is, there are days when after seeing story after story about abused, neglected and dumped animals – we have to shut down Facebook and walk away for our own sanity. We’re also the first to admit that sometimes we’ll post a video that we can’t bear to watch ourselves.  However, if posting that video, that image or that story can identify a perpetrator or get help for an animal in need, we’ll gladly give up a few hundred or a few thousand friends.

The most recent one was a Twitter image of a young woman holding a cat by its tail with the caption “LMAO.  I hate cats.”  In addition to showing that she lacked any heart or conscience, this not-so-bright bulb did it while wearing a local team’s t-shirt.  Within moments, people had not only identified her, but also contacted local police.  Shortly afterwards, we received a message from the police in that jurisdiction that they were investigating.

A similar situation happened in Maryland earlier this summer when someone messaged us a video they had stumbled across online.  Not only were they horrified to see a group of teens abusing a kitty, they recognized one of the faces.  After calling the authorities and getting no response, the person contacted Soft Side for help.  In this case, we did not post the video, but we did tell the story and asked viewers if they had any direct contacts to that county’s police and animal control.  Within minutes, authorities from that county messaged us asking for more information.  As luck would have it, one of our viewers had done a screen save – this proved critical since the video was promptly removed once people’s outrage went viral.  A few weeks later, we were heartened to learn that charges had, indeed, been filed.

Did we lose a few friends that day?  Probably.  Would we do anything differently if given the chance?  Not a chance.   While it’s true that our campaign is all about encouraging people to discover their soft side, we believe that sometimes that requires a cold, hard look at reality.

2 thoughts on “Making & Losing Friends

  1. Animal advocacy is one of the most passionate – both love and hate – missions I’ve ever seen or felt. I’ve had to accept losing friends both from my normal life before I drank the kool-aid as well as those don’t agree with my views or actions now. Quite simply, you have accomplished your goal of making the world better for animals, while you and they can also better tonite.

  2. I frequently hear the same comments from friends. Most people are ignorant to animal abuse and/or dog fighting. Awareness is educating those who don’t see it, don’t live in the communities full of it, don’t volunteer with animal causes, etc. The pictures and films are hard to view at times, but the exposure IS needed! These animals have to have a voice through us. You are finding abusers, helping them to be prosecuted, saving the lives of other animals who could have been victimized and making society aware of what is going on and needs to be fixed. These are just a few reasons. Bottom line….I’d rather lose a Facebook friend then possibly losing another animal’s life to abuse/cruelty!

    THANK YOU x1000000 for all you do <#

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