Saturday, December 5, 2009

This dog is dead

While the largest dog fighting raid in history has received well-deserved national attention, including coverage in TIME magazine, the death of seven of 12 confiscated dogs went practically unnoticed in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

The dogs were rescued in November from the property of Ruben Hedgemon, all in varying degrees of ill-health, all tied down with large logging chains.

Flash forward - seven of the dogs were killed. Not because they hadn't recuperated physically. Not because they were human aggressive. Because they were dog aggressive. The only news story to cover this case makes a point to mention four of the five who were spared the needle are "mixed breeds" but, hey, one's a "pure" whatever.

Things have gotten better - ten years ago, not even the five remaining dogs would have been spared. But people are still screwing these dogs over at every turn - failed by their breeder, owner, shelter, society. The dog pictured is dead, even though she exhibited extreme human friendliness during a stressful and inappropriate parade in front of media immediately after her rescue. That indignity was repaid with death.

Don't misconstrue my reaction as an aversion to euthanasia. I fully understand there is a reality outside of my own heartfelt desire to see every dog in a home or appropriate sanctuary. There are bills to be paid, animals to feed, kennels to clean, and a struggle to find even the most adoptable animals homes. Few people are jumping at the opportunity to adopt a happy-go-lucky pit bull, let alone a battle-scarred one.

Still, I can only feel the wrongness of killing healthy animals who's only crime is that they have various levels of dog intolerance. By that logic, 75% of the dogs I know, most of whom are not American Pit Bull Terriers, should have been killed a long time ago.


EmilyS said...

2 steps forward, one step back...

thank you for remembering the ones who still don't get a chance, even while so many are...

jonzak said...

Well put. I completely second your post.

Jennie said...

Watching Animal Planet Cops last night (which showcases my very own PSPCA) I couldn't help but cringe when seven out of eight dogs rescued from a theorized dog fighting operation were "humanely euthanized" for "dog aggression" issues - without even being given a real chance. These were dogs that were clearly lovely with people, clearly loving and sweet and so happy to be rescued. Every time the rescue community to which I belong has this debate, I have to shut the computer down and walk away because no matter how much I understand that there are logistical constraints, or that from a purely consequential standpoint MORE dogs can be saved if we kill those who will take up more resources, it makes me physically ill to see dog aggressive or selective dogs be put down without being given a chance at rehab - or a chance to simply live within the constraints necessary. I think it hurts almost as much to see people who are normally such impassioned advocates of rescue agree that "if a dog does a), b) or c), then I would put him down immediately, no questions asked."

Instead of yelling, I kiss my fosters in their impish little faces and tell them I'm so sorry for everything.