Molly fostered and adopted rescued dogs. Name a rescue organization in the greater St. Louis area, and she’s likely been involved with them in some capacity. She was even featured in a photo exhibit, “I Am a Rescuer”. The professional photographer captured many heart warming happy images of her, with her son and a very good-looking, healthy-appearing pit bull-type dog.
In the photos sunlight warms her vividly red-tinted locks, her son’s heavily gelled faux Mohawk and the dog’s handsome brindle coat beneath not one, but two heavy collars; muy macho, si? She apparently had decided on an “edgy” look for them at the photo shoot.
By itself, trying on a new image — especially for the honor of being featured in a photo series about adopted rescued dogs and their families — isn’t a big deal. But the image of herself as a rescuer, which Molly projected to the community, was as false as her dye job.
She adopted dogs, all right … and then starved them to death.
At least two are known to have died, one just a puppy. Another narrowly escaped the same horrific and agonizing end, but was severely emaciated — starved, and also full of worms — after six months with Jolly Molly, Rescue Hero.
The rescue organizations involved in the adoptions of the two dead dogs are reeling. The repercussions of this were felt all the way to Chicago, where the puppy’s story had begun.
In the bitterly cold winter, investigation of a report of animal neglect led to the discovery of a mother dog tethered to a porch, with no food or water, and only minimal and inadequate shelter. She had tucked her solitary male puppy into the warmest possible corner of it, and somehow kept them both alive in sub-zero weather. They were brought into Chicago’s animal control and the call went out for any available rescues to pull them.
When a rescue “pulls” a dog, or dogs, they have a Freedom Ride. In most cases, loving homes are found for them and they have a second chance at the life they deserve. This particular freedom ride was cheered all the way down Interstate 55 as this brave momma dog and her little pup headed for sanctuary and a brighter future.
With all of her “rescue connections”, from which Monster Molly had detailed knowledge of how rescues go about screening potential adopters as well as several references who hadn’t yet caught on to the fact that she was a walking fraud and animal abuser, her application to adopt the puppy stood out. She could talk the rescue talk, and did so with chillingly convincing, Machiavellian deceit. No red flags. For these seasoned rescue professionals with many years of experience in the darker side of human nature, there were no gut feelings that something was hinky. The puppy went home with Molly.
A few months later, the puppy was dead. As it turned out, this was the second starvation death of an adopted dog on her “watch”, and she evidently had learned from the first not to take the remains to a vet with a story of sudden illness lest she be called out as an abuser. The puppy’s body was not recovered. She claimed it had been hit by a car. And suddenly all references to the pup on her FB page vanished, as if he had never existed.
Did she really imagine that a puppy who — with his sweet mother — had won hundreds of hearts from Chicago to St. Louis, whose rescue and adoption were celebrated, would be forgotten because she disposed of his little tormented body and deleted a few pictures? (The one below is not hers.)
What can be done about her, will be done. But the questions that are keeping many of us, active rescuers as well as supporters, awake at night are — how? And most importantly, why?
Why adopt a dog, if you’re going to then neglect it and not feed it and it eventually dies while you’re out there portraying yourself as a rescuer?
A possible answer: It’s not the dog that’s wanted. It’s attention and admiration. There’s a word for that particular pathology: Narcissism. The dogs are means to an end, not the end itself. Somewhere along the way, a connection to normal morality and empathy becomes unplugged.
One wonders what a child of such a narcissist has seen, behind the closed door of the home. There is a puppy; it is not fed. It cries. Does the child ever question this, and if so, what is he told? And perhaps most important: What is he learning about abusing animals that he will carry with him into adult life?
If we cannot fathom the thought process here, it’s because we are trying to apply rationality and decency to a person who does not operate on either plane, but is diabolically clever in donning whatever mask will do to feed a bottomless need for attention.
Monsters do not reveal themselves as such. They will rationalize and deflect and emote far more effectively than you or I in order to justify their actions. Monster Molly is no different. Even now, as she tries to elude questioning by law enforcement, she is in survival mode and will come out swinging when she’s caught. And the lies she tells then will potentially exonerate her, because that’s how convincing these people are.
My friends in rescue: She totally snowed you, and you are attuned to the nuances signaling that something isn’t quite right. Those in the legal system, by and large, are much less so. And they are constrained by laws which do not address animal abuse with penalties proportionate to the acts committed.
The rescue community here is doing everything possible, but she could walk … or never be charged at all. Justice for Dandelion isn’t dependent upon this particular monster’s conviction, though. It’s not ultimately the rescues’ responsibility to keep all of their adopted dogs safe from abuse, but ours. The community at large.
We can observe. We can actually SEE. And then decide to act. Molly lived in an apartment house, for heaven’s sake. How thin are those walls? How many people came and went, and knew of this woman with the dogs? What did they see and decide wasn’t any of their business? What did they hear and decide not to get involved? Do they know, now, that she starved dogs in that apartment and that at least two of them died? Do they wish they’d said or done something sooner because “they had a feeling”?
Dandelion’s justice, and his legacy, will come from that inaction changing to action. It’s not just up to the rescues to “screen better”, they already screen extremely well, and with Molly’s inside knowledge of how to make that look good I’m not sure how any rescue could have done any “better”. And while a more effective means of shelters and rescues sharing “do not adopt” information is a good practice, a person would end up on such a list only at the expense of a dog’s suffering — in effect, potentially protecting other dogs but too late for at least one. So it’s up to us in the community as well.
Narcissistic abusers fear one thing: Exposure. Let that sink in.
Then decide whether, if given the opportunity, you can be a voice for other helpless dogs that Dandelion and Treasure did not have, a voice that will help to shine light on the things done in darkness.
UPDATE, 06/12/2014, 5:00 P.M.: I was shocked, to put it mildly, to find that this post has had over 5,000 views today. This is a just small personal blog in a lazy backwater of the ‘net. I don’t even update it regularly, just write when something motivates me. I think the most page views I’ve ever before today was less than 30. A response like this would be a writer’s dream … except that I wish, with all my heart, that what compelled me to write never had happened, and this small blog was still gathering dust.My heart goes out to those in rescue — some of whom have responded below — who felt gut-punched and betrayed when all of this came to light. All I can say to you is, you can still trust your judgment; this was an off-the-charts aberration that no one could have anticipated. Keep going. The dogs need you. In truth, they need us all.