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Bikers with Heart

Story ID:4081
Written by:Suzana Margaret Megles (bio, contact, other stories)
Story type:Period Piece
Location:variou New York usa
Year:2008
Person:various
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What comes to your mind when you hear the thunderous noise of motorcycles
ridden by usually hefty and sometimes beefy men wearing sunglasses and sporting
tattoos on their muscular bare arms? You probably think - Whoa - let's get out of
their way. Bikers may justifyably have gotten a bad rap in the past, but I think this
perception is changing now with recent accounts of their involvement in good works--
including serving as honor guards at military funerals or riding their bikes to promote
some worthwhile charity.

And so, when Jan, who is the head of the American Chapter of Catholic Concern
for Animals (founded in the UK in 1929) sent me the link "RESCUE INK " which
sported pictures of 5 very tattooed and ominously-looking men, I just wondered --
what was this all about? I would soon happily find out.

Rescue Ink admits that you may find them hanging out at a hot rod show, tattoo
parlors or hitting up the blacktop together on their bikes for a little road trip, but
for them the main thing that brings them together is their love of animals. In their
spare time they rescue and find homes for abandoned and abused animals. They
say they do it because they cannot stand by while anyone mistreats an animal!

I was impressed and couldn't wait to read more. I learned that they try to step in
where existing animal welfare agencies cannot because of limited resourses. They
also try to augment the work of local shelters who they know cannot possibly address
the volume of problems they face daily.

Based in New York, they feel their zero tolerance of abuse and neglect to animals is
growing every day from coast to coast --reaching out to more and more who are joining
them in their efforts to address abuse or cruelty to animals. They will intercede
when informed of abusive situations, and if they cannot convince people to do the right
thing, will even buy the abused animal if thats what it takes to stop the abuse.

MIKE TATTO heads the list of the short bios and photos of these dedicated and committed
bikers. Described as scary looking, he nevertheless has a heart of gold. I liked him
immediately because he is a strict vegetarian. A former bodybuilding champion, Mike
takes care of the needs of his family members and entertains the residents of nursing
homes playing guitar in his band. He has a dog, 2 cats and fish.

BATSO loves everything about cars --especially custom made cars. Now retired from auto
biz, he still loves to tinker with them. He is also a dedicated martial artist and weight lifter,
who holds a Connecticut state record in power lifting. He developed his lifelong love and
respect for animals after caring for sheep, goats and poultry. If he can do something to
stop an animal from being abused, he will. His closest animal friends now are Inky, a
rescued pit bull who had been abandoned and an iguana named George.

BIG ANT is big all right at 6'1" and weighing 320 pounds, but the name "Ant" is puzzling
until one realizes it stands for Anthony not the tiny insect. He learned respect for
animals from the farms in Italy as well as on the streets of Brooklyn and Queens.
His huge size is intimidating, but as a family man with a wife and son, he is known to
be caring and helpful. He and his son who shares his love for animals take care of a
dog, a cat, a turtle, two rabbits and a well-populated fish tank. All of the animals were
rescues. Though he can be warm and funny, he can also be scary if the situation
calls for it. He believes that animal abusers are weak and he will not tolerate them.

GEORGE (G) is a tall, muscular black man who learned compassion early. In his rural
Connecticut home, he would use popsicle sticks to set the wings of injured birds. Today
he is an industrial firefighter and owns his own landscaping business. He loves the
outdoors and naturally loves spending time on his very fast bike. G and his son have
spent much time visiting the local ASPCA shelter and dairy farms. Because of this
influence, his son now aspires to be a veterinarian. The family owns an English Bulldog
and a German Rottweiler. G agrees with Big Ant and says that only weak people are
animal abusers.

SAL started early in life with his concern for animals by volunteering his time as a
teenager rescuing cats with the Humane Society. Today he has a special fondness for pit
bulls, and has been actively involved in their rescue and adoption-- especially those who
had been used for fighting. He has found loving homes for scores of these formerly abused
dogs. His motto in this regard -- "Only a fool would think dog fighting is cool!" He makes
his living in the high-rise construction industry as a cement worker.

BIAGI is a retired boiler mechanic. He loves to work on bikes and cars and can fix or
improve anything which runs with an engine. As for animal rescue, Biagi has spent over 30
years saving dogs with the help of many great rescue groups in NY, NJ, PA, and CT. Although
he cares for the welfare of all dogs, he admits that he is a Rottweiler guy and his favorite
is his 11-year old Rott, Duke.

ANGEL - the "pet Investigator" has solid credentials after retiring as a detective investigator
from the N.Y.P.D. Angel learned to care and respect animals as a youngster spending summers
with his family in Puerto Rico. Angel is married with three grown daughters. He loves raising freshwater tropical fish and hanging out with his best pal Cris - a 6-year old Bichon Frise.

DES is the cat expert. He was born in Columbia, South America and came to New York at
age nine. At an early age he became interested in playing Judo which led to his study of
Kung Fu. Living on the streets of Jamaica Queens, Des learned if you weren't tough you were
a victim, and he would prove nobody's victim. He got a motorcycle at age 18 and with it the
mobility and freedom to travel beyond his neighborhood. Today with Resue Ink he is considered
the resident feline expert. He has dedicated years to the well being of homeless cats in Manhattan.
He also ran the TNR (Trap, Neuter, and Return) Shelters and feeding programs.

RON has some pretty amazing skills in Close Quarter Combat Hapkido. He also trained with
the Special Forces and is a member of Action Magazine's Martial Arts Hall of Fame. But this
Renaissance man will tell you that he is most proud of his accomplishments in caring for and
saving animals with independent rescue groups. He also can add to his "animal care" resume
years of work at numerous ranches personally caring for everything from wounded ducks and
dogs to mules, horses, and goats.

Now whenever I hear the roar and thunder of motorcycles and see the macho men with bare
tatooed arms and wearing sunglasses - whether they are or not a part of RESCUE INK, I will
always think of the men described above who along with their love of motorcycles and the open
road have found time to address animal cruelty. God bless them. They are truly special people.

Had they been in Grenada, Mississippi in March of this year, I'm sure they would have been
in the forefront looking for the dastardly individual (s) who poured either boiling water or a
caustic substance on the top of a little dog's head, which rolled around her ears and streamed
in a burning path down her back and legs.

Found by Cecil Kirk, he at first thought the young dog might have been attacked by coyotes
because she was missing so much hair and skin. Luckily, the In Defense of Animal (IDA)
Sanctuary was nearby and he rushed her there. Director Doll Stanley immediately got
her veterinary help.

The vet sedated her, shaved her hair and removed as much of the dead and decaying skin
as possible. They named her Phoenix because she did indeed arise from a fiery trauma.
Although she whimpered and shook the entire first night, the feeling is that if a large part
of her burned area heals in two weeks, she will make it. (Haven't heard anything - will go
to the IDA site to find out). But the picture of her giving Director Stanley a lick and a kiss
is heartening and reassuring. Phoenix, you are in my prayers. I also pray that the sick
individual who did this to you is caught and punished. I also hope that Mississippi has updated
its animal cruelty laws. Otherwise, if caught, the guilty party will only get a slap on the wrist
for a very, very sick and cruel deed.