On a beautifully sunny day in Tampa, Florida, two men discovered a young
male raccoon while they were exploring an area on the Hillsborough River.
The two men grabbed a shovel and began beating the helpless animal over
and over until his rear legs and back were broken. As he screamed in pain,
they grabbed him by his battered back legs and tossed him into the river.
A kind couple who witnessed this atrocity came by in a boat and scooped
him up as he was going under water for the last time. Because their attention
was focused on getting this frightened and injured animal help, they had
to prioritize and ignore their overwhelming desire to go after the pair
who had so cold-heartedly and savagely beaten the animal. As the terrified
raccoon lay bleeding and crying on the bottom of their boat they raced
"Sonny" as he became known....was brought to our shelter where
immediately provided pain killers and supportive care so he could "painlessly"
undergo an examination and we could determine the extent of his injuries.
While the severity of his injuries clearly meant that Sonny could never
be released, it did not spell out his demise and our medical staff decided
against euthanasia so that Sonny could overcome his painful youth and
replace it with a loving and nurturing life.
Although he would never walk normally again, Sonny's injuries soon healed
but his heart took much longer. For the first year, he remained terrified
of all humans but seemed to respond openly to those who provided his daily
care. He also seemed to want more and more attention, and that is exactly
what he got. His spirit was so strong and his personality so endearing,
he became an unoffical mascot for our shelter and an ambassador to visitors
both human and animal alike.
He is a ball of energy who displays all the enchanting and playful characteristics
of any normal young animal and has learned to compensate for his physical
impairments by making up for them with his crafty ingenuity. He gets into
things that he knows he shouldn't and doesn't want you to pass by without
a healthy neck scratch....but he is a happy, well-adjusted raccoon.
No one will ever know why anyone would want to intentionally inflict such
pain and committ such a despicable act on an innocent animal but it is
good to know that in this case.....the animal overcame. Sonny will happily
live out his days at our shelter where he snuggles with his buddy Snooty,
teases the cats, helps himself to the doggie treats and enjoys his "Number
1" status with our Shelter Director Brenda.
If you witness an act of animal cruelty, we urge you to contact your
local police department AND Humane Society and pursue prosecution to its