Rescue Ink Goes Public
Everything is a situation. Every animal abuse, every dime spent on medical care and every second spent on their choppers, roaming the streets of New York. For this burly pack of tattooed men known as Rescue Ink, the mission is simple â€“ get the animal out of harmâ€™s way.
Solving the situation is not so much a mantra as it is a lifestyle at Rescue Ink, a non-profit animal rescue organization, which operates through public donations. Their daily routine consists of meeting at the clubhouse in the morning, going over pet abuse cases (the organization wrestles with 200 to 300 help requests per day) and deciding on the most heinous case to address in person. Several cups of coffee later, a plan is hatched to execute the rescue mission.
â€œItâ€™s coordinated chaos,â€ G, Rescue Inkâ€™s seeming pack leader, chuckles.
At 40 years of age, married, with two kids and a dog, George â€œGâ€ Perry comes off as somewhat of a jaded animal rights crusader. Heâ€™s been exposed to the grotesque world, where frail dogs are tied up to trees and domestic cats are shot with gun pellets. Heâ€™s sick of it, as are his six buddies that comprise Rescue Ink, so they are taking matters into their own hands â€œby any means necessary within the means of the law.â€
â€œYou donâ€™t send the Boy Scout if there are bad guys,â€ Perry declares with his heavy Brooklyn accent. â€œWe never said we were angels. Weâ€™re just there to help, and weâ€™re on your side.â€
Itâ€™s the detail, the red tape, the legal jargon, the minute inefficiencies that motivate him to confront pet owners who have difficulties providing their companions with proper care. Along with their most intimidating member Anthony â€œBig Antâ€ Rossano, who measures 6â€™1â€ at 320 pounds with sleeved tattoos, Joe Panz and the rest of the brawny crew, Rescue Ink isnâ€™t paralyzed like larger organizations such as the ASPCA, SPCA or Animal Control, when it comes to getting their hands dirty. They go straight to the root of the problem, uninvited, and nip at the source until they can agree on a mutual agreement to get the endangered animal(s) in safe harbor.
Unorthodox? Certainly. But the pack of guys is nimble on their Harleys and could care less about being sued, so they put themselves on the line instead, even if it means digging into their own pockets.
â€œGoing from place to place, itâ€™s costing us gas, itâ€™s costing us time,â€ Perry says. â€œAnd then, once we get the animal out of the situation, we have to get him evaluated, we have to find him some shelter. He might need medical evaluation. And if he canâ€™t pass the evaluation, we have to put him in our sanctuary â€“ thatâ€™s costing us anywhere from $1,500 to $3,500 a dog. Do the math.â€
â€œYou gotta remember, with this economy, when thereâ€™s money problems, the first one that suffers is the animal,â€ Rossano chimes in.
Now, with backing from the National Geographic Channel as they record their every move on camera for the new show Rescue Ink Unleashed, the crew hopes to tap into a larger pool of public donations to fund their on-going efforts.
â€œWith the economic times being the way they are, everybodyâ€™s crying for help,â€ Panz admits, â€œso weâ€™re just spread very thin, trying to help everybody out.
â€œWe get money to pool out of our pocket to get gas. We pool our money to eat. We go to rescue some horses and weâ€™ve got to come up with $500, but you know, whoâ€™s got $20? Whoâ€™s got $7? Whoâ€™s got $100? We come up with the money and then weâ€™re like, â€˜I canâ€™t believe we just spent our gas money. How are we gonna get home?â€™â€
Rossano, Panz and Perry recollect themselves. They donâ€™t want to dwell on the fact that they are financially strapped. They care about public image. They donâ€™t want to be known as the â€œmost famous broke guysâ€ with floating IOUs, not because they care about how theyâ€™re individually perceived but rather, because they donâ€™t want Rescue Ink losing credibility over this. Theyâ€™re passionate about saving lives and donâ€™t want to tarnish their objective.
Itâ€™s one thing to say that the premise of their show and their mission is to provide another civil service draped in tats and muscles a la â€œDog the Bounty Hunter,â€ but there lurks an underlying major influence that propels these men â€“ most of them fathers themselves â€“ to point the limelight at another prominent issue.
â€œIt all starts with the animals because people tend to abuse things that canâ€™t speak or nobody can find out about it,â€ Pantz emphasizes. â€œTheyâ€™re the ones that get it first.
â€œThe bad thing is youâ€™ve got all this abuse out there and the kids see this. They see the animal abuse in the home and it desensitizes them. When they get desensitized and they see somebody beating on a dog, or killing a cat or doing something like that, it desensitizes them enough that the next time they have an argument in the schoolyard, they tend to try to emulate whoever did that to the animal. Itâ€™s a bad progression and these are the things that weâ€™re trying to stop. Abuse is abuse in any form.Â Itâ€™s still abuse.â€
If the juxtaposition of tough, scary-looking, inked, biker dudes speaking out about child welfare and animal cruelty seems slightly daunting, if not out of kilter, thatâ€™s because it is. Itâ€™s what makes them so intriguing and itâ€™s precisely why they help animals.
â€œAn animal doesnâ€™t care if you have money, if you have tattoos, what you look like, what kind of car you drive,â€ Perry says. â€œHeâ€™s just lookinâ€™ at you, like â€˜Thank God, somebody showed up.â€™ Getting that animal out of a bad situation and putting him somewhere where somebodyâ€™s gonna care for him, what else could you ask for?â€
Read a review of National Geographic Channel’s new show Rescue Ink Unleashed.