Charlie Seiga Weekly BLOG 18 ‘LIBERATION NOT DEATH’
21st September 2014
On hearing resent news regarding the burning alive of those innocent dogs that had already been rescued from cruelty and were supposed to be in a safe haven in the Manchester Dogs Home whilst awaiting someone kind to come along and give them a happy home .
I believe a teenager was responsible for deliberately causing the horrendous, agonising death of these poor animals.
A week of two before this event there were reports of one person breaking the legs of a pup so badly that the poor little dog had to be destroyed and the other reported of another young scumbag who took great delight in punching a young dog to death. How brave were they? Aren’t they hard cases… causing so much diabolical pain and suffering to defenceless young animals who, given the chance, would give unconditional loyalty and unwavering love to any human being.
Our gang got up to all kinds of unruly behaviour; a bit of this and a bit of that, if you know what I mean. When we were young kids though, we never sunk to the levels of sick, depraved acts of cruelty upon defenceless animals who could not escape.
This is a story of a gang of young kids in 1951/53. Read on to see the vast difference in our behaviour compared to that of some of today’s sick bastards….
One Saturday morning I along with my two younger brothers; Billy and Jimmy decided we wanted a little dog. I knew my old fella would go mad about this; us bringing a dog home and into our house. He would start shouting and would probably give me a back hander, but I didn’t care because we all wanted a dog. So, we decided to visit the dogs home; there would be plenty of dogs there to choose from.
Up until then we had never been to a dogs home. We saw the odd little pup down at the market but never a dogs’ home.
This dogs’ home was situated on the outskirts of Liverpool city centre. There was a big field adjacent to the home and a long cinder path that ran alongside the field.
As we passed through the large wire gates of the building we began to get really excited, especially Billy and Jimmy; after all, we were going to get our own dog.
The three of us entered the building. There were rows and rows of cages down each side which all contained stray dogs. Obviously, a lot of them had been picked up from roaming the streets. Others had been dumped there by their cruel owners. It was a dismal looking building inside, with cage after cage of abandoned dogs. I felt so sorry for them and so did my two brothers. The dogs’ sad pitiful eyes looked out at us as if pleading for us to take them home.
Some of them jumped up at the bars and barked. They all seemed pleased that at least someone was paying attention to them.
My brothers were running up and down looking at all the different dogs in the cages. Jimmy, having only looked at a couple of the dogs had already stopped at one cage pleading, ‘can we have this one Charlie? I want this one.’
Then my other brother Billy had found one he wanted and was shouting. ‘No! No! I want this one!’
Then they would go to another cage and completely change their minds saying, ‘No, I want this one!’
In the end I said to them both,
‘We can only have one, not one each… just one!’
I was looking at the dogs myself and as I walked along the cages I happened to peer into one particular cage where a small solitary little dog, of brown and white markings, was sat at the very back of it looking all forlorn and sad. I started to speak softly to the little dog and it started to wag its tail looked up at me with its sad little face and sorrowful eyes. It was a little bitch and it looked like a cross between a jack Russell and a fox terrier. I shouted Billy and Jimmy over and they too looked at the sad little dog in the cage. I said there and then to them, ‘we’ll have this one,’ and then in unison they said, ‘Aaawww.’
Just then, as we had just made our decision, the man in charge; the dog warden, appeared from nowhere. He wore a brown overall and he looked a malevolent brut of a man wearing a permanent scowl on his face.
He approached the three of us and spoke in a cold unemotional voice,
‘This one’s no good to you, it’s a bitch. Before you know it, this little mongrel will be having pups.’
Our Jimmy looked up at me puzzled. ‘A bitch?’
‘It’s a little girl dog.’ I replied.
Then once again in unison they both said, ‘Awww.’
In those days there were no questions asked if you wanted to take one of these dogs home. You didn’t have to pay for them either; they were free. The dogs home were just glad to get them off their hands.
‘Yes, we’ll take this one please.’ I said.
He shook his head maliciously with a disapproving look.
‘You do know all these dogs are getting put down don’t you?’
I was shocked. I hated the thought of that. It made me feel sick that all those lovely dogs would be put down.
Then he walked into the cage to the little dog who was still cowering in the corner and he picked it up by the scruff of his neck.
Then he passed it to me saying gruffly with a smirk on his face, ’this is one lucky bitch!’
I took the dog off him as quickly as I could. I had a zipper bomber jacket on, so I unzipped it and put the little dog inside then zipped it up again. All you could see was its little head. We stood for a moment and looked at all the other poor dogs in their cold dank cages. As we passed them all on the way out it looked as if they were all saying ‘Aww, take us with you too.’
The dog warden began to lose his patience with us because we were dawdling. He more or less shouted at us.
‘Come on then, I’m locking up now for the weekend. We are closed tomorrow; it’s Sunday.’
He led us to the gate and we made our exit. I remember glaring at this warden angrily (if looks could kill). I hated him. He locked the gate behind us and we made our way home. We walked long cinder path together laughing and singing the number one of the day, by Leta Rosa.
‘How much is that doggie in the window the one with the waggley tail!’
I couldn’t stop thinking about that dog warden. He reminded me of my old fella; mean and miserable. I thought those poor dogs have only two days to live. They will be getting put down on Monday morning.
The three of us were so excited when we got home. We walked into the house and found my Mother and old fella there with my sister Dee, her husband Joe and our baby Joe.
I unzipped my coat and put the dog on the mat by the fire. Funnily enough, it walked right over to my old fella wagging its little tail.
‘What the bloody hell have you brought that in here for? We can do without that… a scruffy looking dog running around the house.’ My old fella reacted exactly as predicted.
That’s all it took for him to put the dampeners on everything. I just looked at him and he looked at me.
‘I don’t want that in this house.’
We all protested. I was beginning to stand up for myself a little. ‘All my friends have got a dog so why can’t we?’
My Mother said to him, ‘what’s up with you?’
And my sister Dee looked at him as if to say, ‘don’t be mean.’ My brothers and I started to play with the little dog and soon everyone was petting it. It looked so happy to be out of that dog cage and in a warm and happy home. We had saved her!
It was Sunday morning, the day after my little brothers and I had been to the dogs’ home. Every Sunday our crowd used to gather on our back field; behind our houses. This field was another of our favourite meeting places.
Most of us, especially the Catholics, had to go to church on Sunday because the Priests would let your Mother and Father know if you didn’t go. For some kids that could be a hard thing especially in school on Monday morning.
However, my three pals; Tucker, Spider and Yatesy and I were past all that and this Sunday it would be different altogether. I couldn’t stop thinking about that evil looking dog warden. I just wouldn’t put anything past him when it came to any cruelty to those poor dogs which he had caged up. Any freedom we could give them no matter how short was better than leaving them in that hell-hole of a place that they call a dogs’ home.
As we sat around on the field. I told them the story of what had happened with this little dog and how the dog warden treated the defenceless dogs that were still caged up. I told them that I wanted to crash the dogs out. At least they would be free and they could wonder wherever they wanted to… and hopefully they could avoid being put down.
My three pals were all up for it so we headed off down to the dogs home. I had an old crow bar with me and Yatesy had a broken piece of metal that could be used on the gate.
We approached the building where the dogs were confined. We found that the front gate was only on a small padlock. The lock was easy to snap off as it was rusty and not very strong. All the dogs started to bark and yelp when they heard us break open the gate. We could hear some of them whining.
We made it to the next door which was the entrance to the actual building. All the caged dogs were still making a lot of noise, barking and whining. However, when they saw us enter the building most of them started to jump up at the sight of us, it was almost as though they knew we were good people and were there to set them free. I turned to my pals.
‘Come on, let’s hurry up, just in case.’
So Tucker and I went along one side of cages and Yatesy and Spider did the other side. It was easy to open the cage doors as they were only on a small latch.
We all began petting and stroking them. They were really excited as we freed more and more of them.
Eventually we were surrounded by happy, licking, jumping dogs. Yatesy slipped on the floor and some of the dogs were licking his face as if they were thanking him for their rescue. Little Yatesy was just as happy as the dogs, in fact we all were!
‘Let’s get them all to the main gate, we haven’t got much time.’ I said.
We tried to get the dogs to do as they were told. When we opened the door to the building there was pandemonium; there must have been fifteen to eighteen dogs all shapes and sized and colours and breeds.
We finally got them to the main gate. I looked back into the building.
Yatesy, have we got them all out? Have another quick look to make sure.’
Then I looked at my three pals. ‘Are you ready?’
Before I opened the gate we started counting down. 1…2…3. I flung the gate wide open!
As the dogs ran out there was a little straggler; a small, slow dog that couldn’t keep up with the others. As it passed Spider he said to me, ‘that’s the last one.’
He looked at the slow little dog and it looked up at him as he started to stroke it. Then he picked it up and said to me. ‘I’m taking this one home with me.’
We all ran across the open adjacent field including the freshly liberated dogs. Funnily enough, it backed on to a park. We shouted and whistled for the dogs to follow us. Then Tucker said to me,
‘What are we going to do with them all?’ My friends looked at me for an answer.
‘I don’t know, what do you think?’
We all burst out laughing and ran with the dogs across the open park. Tucker and Yatesy decided they now wanted a dog each. The dogs were beginning to scatter in all directions and it was so funny seeing Tucker and Yatesy running after a dog each. How brilliant though to see all those dogs free.
We all headed home that Sunday feeling great, my three pals carried a dog each.
From that day to this I don’t know what happened to those dogs but I hope they all found somewhere nice to live and never got caught and locked up ever again.
I would have loved to see the look on that dog warden’s evil face when he came to open up on Monday morning and finding all the dogs gone. Serves him right the cruel bastard!!
This is taken from my new book ‘It’s Hard To Be Good’