Tags: shanty town

25 Apr 2008, Comments Off on Friday Dogblogging: Sad

Friday Dogblogging: Sad

Author: Helen

I got another distressing image, or set of images, through the email: a friend sent it to me with a link to a petition to exclude Guillermo “Habacuc” Vargas, a Costa Rican artist, from the 2008 Bienal Centroamericana Honduras.

I won’t show the accompanying images because they are so sad, and it won’t help its subject, a dog called Natividad, who was allegedly trapped in a shanty town by children paid by Vargas to do so, and then tied with a short length of what looks like elecrical cord to a bare room in an art gallery, with nothing between his skeletal body and the bare floor. He was left like that without food and water until he died. Some accounts state that the dog was able to see and smell food.

As always with these things, I went straight to Snopes. Unfortunately, the bare details seem to be true, although the exact nature of the dog’s treatment seem murky enough for them to put a question mark over it. Here’s an article by the WSPA, which seems a fairly respectable source.

Confusion reigns about whether the dog actually died in the gallery as stated or escaped within a day and disappeared, but I’m not really interested in that; the photographs demonstrate how horribly he, or she, was treated.

The “artist” has come up with various explanations justifying this “installation”, some of them less chickenshit than others. To bring home the hypocrisy of the viewer, who would walk straight past the same dog if they saw him in the shanty town. True. I would add also that we see starving humans daily via the media, now that electronics have made us a (cliche alert) global village, and do we instantly take action? No. or seldom. But ultimately, I find these excuses as inadequate as Vargas’ moral compass. Once that little dog is in our hands we have a duty of care, if only to euthanase him. And animal abuse is a psychological pointer to violent crime.

Among Vargas’ ever-changing stories is that the “installation” is a kind of puerile payback for a burglar or thief called Natividad, who apparently was apparently killed by a rottweiler; therefore the dog was named Natividad, and “Remember Natividad” was the name of the “work”. If he really came out with that one, I have no words. Get him to a psychiatrist, and quickly.

It might be a good idea to sign the petition. Have a great Anzac weekend – I’m off the Apollo Bay Music festival.