Dog advocates have backward priorities

July 20, 2014 • Editorial

When I saw a proof of a yet-to-be published newspaper advertisement last week with a big headline, “R.I.P. Fallen Angels,” and little boxes with pictures of faces, at first glance I thought they were the faces of children who had died at the hands domestic violence or veterans who had died while serving our country.

I was shocked and amazed when I realized they were pictures of dogs, not people. While I am an animal lover, as a Christian I am offended by this ad and the statement it is trying to make because, in my opinion, it mocks the sanctity of human life. Dogs are animals, not people, and to make any claim that their lives are as important as humans is simply wrong.

How do I know this? God said so.

Animals are to fulfill the needs of man. As stewards of the earth, we are to control their numbers so disease and sickness does not kill them off, control them in a way so that they are not harmful to humans and to protect them from over-killing and abuse.

The problem lies in that some people do not understand that there must be a balance — some people either over-protect or under-protect animals. In the recent dog-mauling incident, we likely have a situation in which animals have both been under-protected and over-protected — under-protected by the negligence of a local rescue who allowed a group of pit-bull mixes to escape from their pens and attack [auth] 9-year-old Colby Prince and over-protected by the extreme reaction, both in Roswell and nationwide, to city’s actions to establish a policy to prevent a similar vicious attack from happening.

The city did place a short-term suspension on third-party rescue groups taking animals from the shelter and some dogs were put down because of that act. However, I think this was a measured and responsible response to what have could have been a fatal tragedy. Colby’s father, who happens to be a city police officer, shot and killed one of the dogs attacking his son and wounded another. If not for Colby’s dad being a cop who knew how to use a gun, Colby may been have injured much worse or even killed.

I have heard that although Colby is doing fine now physically, he is still afraid to go down to the horse shed where he was attacked.

I find it disheartening that the same people who are so concerned about the lives of animals seem so indifferent to both the physical and emotional pain that this child has suffered. Nearly all these people are women, and I have to wonder how many are mothers or grandmothers and how they would feel if this happened to their child or grandchild.

I can’t understand why they have expressed so much opposition to the city requiring third-party shelters to sign a letter of agreement promising that the animals would be properly cared for and allowing a city animal control officer to inspect the shelter to ensure that it complies with the city’s policies, or, if the shelter is out of town, allowing an officer from that city or county to do the same.

Comparatively, county health departments do random inspections with restaurants, cafeterias and kitchens in nursing homes and none of them are crying foul that their Fourth Amendment rights are being trampled.

It would seem the only reason a rescue would not want to be inspected is because it’s not really a rescue. Like one of the city councilors told the newspaper, there are good rescues and there are “crappy” ones.

When my sister’s female beagle, Marge, got old and sick — she already had a fairly advanced case of heartworm when my sister found her as a stray — and had to be put to sleep. My sister was able to find another beagle, Max, through a beagle rescue group. Max is the happiest, friendliest beagle you could ever meet. That was a good rescue group.

On the other hand, I have seen an example of the worst-case scenario while I worked in South Carolina.

About 20 or 30 dogs were brought to the county animal shelter after the sheriff’s department raided a residence for animal hoarding.

Not only were all of the dogs emaciated, but most had severe cases of mange and were covered with fleas. If you tried to pet any of these dogs, they would cower away because they were afraid of people — likely from cruel treatment received under the hands of their owners, who claimed they were keeping so many dogs “because we loved them.”

The shelter workers and humane society said they had no choice but to put the dogs down. My feeling after seeing this was the dogs would have been better off if they were euthanized BEFORE they were taken in by the animal hoarders than be kept alive under such inhumane conditions.

Again, as the stewards of God’s great earth, we must establish a balance when it comes to the treatment of animals.

No one is going to convince me that the lives of dogs are just as important as humans. I believe that in God’s eyes the life of one human being is infinitely more valuable than the lives of all of the dogs in the “Fallen Angels” ad.

I’m sure there will be some who will ridicule me for my beliefs and post nasty comments about me on Facebook, but I feel compelled to publicly stand behind my beliefs.

Although I work for the newspaper, I did not ask the advertising department how much the “rescue” people paid to place that ad. I am sure, however, that what they spent could have paid for the spaying and neutering of several animals, contributing to the solution to the problem. Or, perhaps, they could have donated the money to the Prince family to help pay for Colby’s medical expenses.

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