Thursday, July 18, 2013

206. Kitten killer was a coward

Like many people, not only in Lorain County, but across the country, I was appalled at the shooting of five kittens by a North Ridgeville Humane Officer. I was emotionally sick and angry for about a week. For those who endear themselves to any sort of animal compassion, the event is unconscionable.

At this point, there is no reason to revisit the incident itself. Many people have shared their feelings of outrage (or support) over the event. I will add though that I was just appalled at the cowardice exhibited by the police chief and mayor in their reluctance to discipline the Human Officer— his poor judgment was inexcusable.

North Ridgeville has changed its policy on feral cats, basically acting like a child and essentially saying, “If you don’t like the way we do it, then you can do it yourself.” The city will provide traps for residents instead of responding to calls. Responsibility and accountability is apparently as fleeting as the cats themselves.

The entire occasion has been a source of embarrassment for the city—one that will be known for some time as the place where they needlessly shot five harmless kittens.

The issue that everyone should support is the capture and spaying or neutering of feral cats. The rate of reproduction for feral cats can be overwhelming. Had that family in Ridgeville caught the “momma” cat and had her spayed before she gave birth to a litter of kittens, none of this ever would have happened.

We can be so shortsighted in our perspectives.

Although the vicious hissing of six ounce kittens is laughable, it does lead us to another underlying issue of this story. Human beings continue to be intolerant of the natural world. We’ve sterilized our lives so that many favor the eradication of all natural inconveniences—whether it is the grubs that eat our lawns, deer that cross our roads or the local residence of feral kittens. We don’t tolerate bugs or odors or hissing either. We’re a “kill everything” society.

For us there is a place for animals—in zoos or parks. And in cartoons, videos and cute chain emails. Our compassion is so selfish that we even often mistreat our pets—asking them to lie in the corner or be quiet until we command otherwise. That other, “wild animals,” are abused should not come as a surprise.

And, of course kittens hiss. When you are a six ounce kitten living amongst human beings and other potential predators, what other measures of protection do you have? Using the hissing of the kittens as justification for their execution is simply ignorant and absurd.

Finally, many people have responded that, “it’s just a few kittens, who cares?” They argue that there are more important issues to worry about, like drugs, jobs or the poor— and that the entire discussion is a waste of time (and media attention). The argument of relativeness is a weak one—one that can be made in almost any situation based on one’s interest or perspective. After all, I might respond that those people are just a human being, one of seven billion on the planet—and suggest they get over themselves.

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