Thursday, July 2, 2009

135. Animal cruelty is unconscionable

Leaving for vacation and not sure what to do with the dogs? There is, of course, the option of taking them to a kennel, asking family and friends to dog sit, or maybe even giving the neighbor kid a few bucks to watch over them. The other possibility, the one only a heartless, soulless Columbus firefighter would choose, is to take them in the basement, tie them to a pole, and fire eleven bullets into them.
Have a leisurely garden with those precious flowers that a pesky fawn insists on nibbling at? Again, one could choose to put a small fence up around it, feed the fawn, or get over it and plant something that deer will not eat. The other possibility, the one only a selfish, wretched, evil person would choose, is to grab a shovel, beat the fawn to death and then put it out for the other deer to see.
Running late and forced to stop for that annoying parade of Canadian geese? One could patiently wait, offer a couple toots of the horn, or even get out of the car to get them to pick up the pace (as my wife has done). The other possibility, the one only an impatient, cruel Oak Point motorist would choose, is to run one over a goose to what, “teach them a lesson”?
Have dozens of farm animals that you cannot afford to care for any longer? One could certainly ask the community for help, offer the animals to a shelter, or voluntarily surrender them to officials. The other option, the one only a wicked, brutal ignorant Grafton farmer would choose, is to do nothing but stand there and watch them starve to death.
The headlines have been horrific and for the people that care about animals, it is difficult to tolerate. Similar to my previous column about chained dogs, it is nearly unfathomable that so many people can act so cruelly to largely loving defenseless animals. I do not understand the pleasure that some people feel in watching an animal suffer or die. Is it a feeling of domination? Of superiority or power? Perhaps it is a psychological transference to compensate for shortcomings in their otherwise pathetic lives.
I do not often offer such harsh tones, but I have no respect for people that engage in the cowardice of harming an animal.
These headlines coincidently came to focus as Pamplona, Spain engaged in their miserable, archaic tradition of the “running with the bulls,” which draws national attention each year. The event leads bulls past a cheering crowd and “brave” runners into the bullring to meet the matadors and their almost certain death. The event is described this way by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals:
Each year, more than 40,000 bulls are barbarically slaughtered in Spain’s bullrings. Most foreign visitors who witness a bullfight never wish to see one again. They are repulsed, disgusted and saddened by the cruelty of the spectacle.
At best, the term “bullfighting” is a misnomer, as there is usually little competition between a nimble sword-wielding matador and a confused, maimed, psychologically tormented and physically debilitated bull.
This absurd event has now seen fifteen people killed since 1924. I am sorry to say, and quite honestly, I am willing to accept as many deaths as it will take to end the event—because, as we know, our conscience is only measured in human deaths.
Columbus Fire Chief Ned Pettus Jr. has recommended that the firefighter who killed his dogs be fired.  The firefighter, who volunteered to take anger management courses, pleaded guilty to animal cruelty and was sentenced to 90 days in jail. Despite bragging about what he had done, his lawyer now says that he is “extremely remorseful.” The most ridiculous part of the agreement is that he is prohibited from having a pet for five years. It should be forever.

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