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Tuesday, April 30, 2013

A tale of two dog stories

When we think about Animal Control, we think of one thing: Protection.
There are times when humans need protection from certain animals and there are times when animals need protection from certain humans. And that is how it should be. Sadly, it isn't. These days, it is much more about politics, covering your ass and political correctness. Like many things in our society these days, the systems and agencies we have out there to protect us actually do more harm than good.
I read two interesting news items this week. Both about dogs. But really, it is more about people. And how we don't want to accept our own responsibility as humans and make accountable those who take on a responsibility to care for these animals, and thus, we blame or take advantage of the animals. That is something that I think has to stop. 

First story.

 http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/dog-stranded-car-6-days-article-1.1327016

There really isn't much to say or debate about what happened to Zipper, a tiny puggle who was left alone, locked in a car, in a parking lot for 6 days, no food, no water. In my mind, this is criminal behavior and should result in commensurate punishment. And secondly, I hold both the girlfriend and the boyfriend responsible enough that neither should ever get near this dog, or any animal again. One is simply a heartless criminal. The other is grossly negligent and obviously indifferent and careless.

Zipper, a tiny puggle (pug-beagle mix), looked lean and jumpy when security guards found him trapped in an abandoned car without water or food in a West Seattle parking lot early Sunday morning, police said.
"The dog appeared frightened and was shaken and appeared to be in distress," said Detective Renee Witt of the Seattle Police Department.

The car had been in the shopping center parking lot for at least six days, one of the guards told police. But it's unclear how long Zipper was stuck there, local station KOMO reported.
The guards fed Zipper, then officers gave him to Seattle Animal Shelter workers, who said the tiny puggle could have easily died from heatstroke in the vehicle.
"Even on a relatively cool day it can get deadly in there for them," said Don Baxter, manager of the shelter's animal care and volunteer programs.

Zipper was left in the care of the vacationing owner's boyfriend – neither have been charged.
"We're going to have a conversation with this individual," said Baxter, "try to educate them about the proper care for the dog and let them know that it's not acceptable to leave a dog inside a car on a warm day like today."
Police are still trying to determine how long Zipper was actually stranded in the car without food or drink. The length could determine whether the man entrusted to care for Zipper is liable to criminal charges.
"That's a big concern for us," Witt said, "and that would actually be animal neglect."

I am not sure that educating this individual is the answer. What kind of person needs to be told that leaving a dog or cat alone in a hot car without food or water for 6 days is unsafe? You can't teach common sense of this nature, certainly not to a grown up. I would think that the guy who did this knows exactly what he was doing, and he just didnt care about the dogs welfare.
The first and only consideration should be 100% protection of the future welfare of the animals. And animals. That obviously isn't the case here.

Second story.

Did this dog hurt the child? No, he did not. He nipped at him. Does anyone, including the owners, think he is dangerous? No. And they want him back. Are other neighbours complaining? No, they are not. Then I dont think this is a matter for anyone other than the family.

Rufus, a beagle, bit a couple’s four-year-old child on the lip, but the child’s mother, Nikki West, says the puppy isn’t aggressive and it happened to be excited about his new food.
When West took her son to the hospital, the boy only needed a few stitches, but she filled out paperwork deemed necessary whenever an animal bite is involved.
This led to Animal Control taking the dog and labeling him dangerous.
Under state law, Rufus had to be put on the euthanization list.

http://blogs.tampabay.com/news/transportation/florida-u-turns-on-international-drivers-license-requirement/2112724 

Florida is an ignorant state, in terms of government anyway. They routinely put down all sorts of dogs just because of breed. Recently, they also made laws that would likely keep tourists away. This, when a big part of their states survival depends on tourist dollars. So, it is not in any way shocking that they would insist on putting down a puppy who bit the lip of a child. I have had many dogs in my life, all of them great family dogs, who were tame, who at one time or another nipped at me a bit. Nobody ever made a big deal about that. Because it isn't. They never attacked anybody out on the street and nobody was legitimately afraid of them. If I thought they were in any way dangerous to the public, I would have done something about that. Nobody in my neighborhood ever complained, because there was nothing to complain about. But, if I had to go to the hospital for a stitch, in some regions, I now realize that my dog could have been put down, even though I didn't want that, nor did anybody else. There is something wrong about that. Very wrong.
A puppy bit a 4 year old child on the lip because he interfered with him eating his food. The puppy didn't then jump on the child and attack or seriously hurt him. What will be gained by putting this dog down?
Nothing. 
Here is what is likely to happen. The next time a family has to fill out that form, they either will lie, or say it was a stray dog, or they won't go to the hospital at all. What good does any of that do? Again, nothing. 
You cant teach common sense. In both cases, dogs are being made to suffer because people won't use common sense. That has to stop. I don't know how we stop it, but we have to stop it. There are enough problems in this world. Making animals suffer for humans stupidity goes against all common logic. And it makes no sense.



In one case, the shelter is holding the dog in need of help, yet will be considering returning him to the people that showed clearly they are not capable of caring for him. In the other case, a dog who responded the way just about any dog would, especially a puppy, by protecting their food, is being held and likely euthanized when nobody at all thinks that is necessary. Not even the dogs owners whose own child was bitten. 
Why don't we treat the crimes against animals in the same way we treat the crimes against children. If you left your child locked in a car for six days, no food, no water and exposed to extreme weather elements, not to mention possible kidnapping, how would the law treat you?
And why dont we treat puppies like children? We don't randomly kill children who get in meaningless fights and who are generally harmful. Why should we treat animals differently,  especially when they are only acting how you would expect an animal to act?
Would you give a death sentence to one child for punching another, likely doing significantly more damage to that child than the puppy did? Of course you wouldn't.
Would you return a child to the parents who left them in a locked car for 6 days with no food or water? Of course you wouldn't.
Something is seriously wrong with our society when this sort of thing keeps happening and we let it happen. Just another case of letting people represent us when they actually don't represent us.
And that would be fine, except animals don't get to vote. We domesticated them. They now rely on us because of that. And we have failed them.
Miserably.    

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