Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Doing The "Wrong" Thing for the "Right" Reasons?

A man in Florida recently liberated three dogs from a shelter, because he feared they would be killed. The shelter, the Humane Society of Pensacola, is a no-kill facility and does not euthanize for reasons like space or breed or age.

One of the dogs saw an open door and moseyed on through it. She was greeted by a woman who thought the stray Pit Bull belonged to a neighbor. They spent the day together, bonding. When it was apparent the dog did not belong to her neighbor, the woman searched on craigslist and found the Humane Society's ad about the missing dogs. She returned the dog, Peppa...then realized how awesome Peppa is and adopted her. The shelter waived the adoption fee. Peppa has been at the shelter for more than a year.

No word on the fate of the other two dogs.

I have the same feelings of sorrow when I see a stray dog I cannot catch dart in and out of traffic as I do when I see a dog at a shelter I know kills more than it adopts. There is a part of me that would not mind seeing all these animals set free. And there is that conflicting part, saying that life on the streets ain't no walk in the park.

Mostly I believe the system needs to be changed. That we can avoid (rare) situations like this one by changing how we perceive modern animal sheltering. We do not need to kill healthy animals, period. That most dogs with "behavioral problems" are dogs who simply need redirection and guidance, not a death sentence. That barring any illness causing significant suffering, dogs can be medically treated and rehomed.

While I do not condone this man's actions, I admire - if what he says is true - the source of his illicit acts. They come from a place of passion and righteous indignation, of seeing an injustice (even if in this case there was none) and not just turning away. There are a lot of ways to face oppressors, most of them are legal and some require stepping across the bounds of "law" and doing what is, in the face of all obstacles, morally just and right. That is not the case in this situation, of course.

At the end of the day, I am happy Peppa is in a home. And I hope the two remaining dogs are found safe and sound and their happy ending comes soon. Every dog deserves that.

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