A puppy in California almost met an incredibly horrific fate yesterday after his 78-year-old owner tied him to train tracks in the hopes that a passing train would crush him. The train engineer saw 10-month-old Banjo, a poodle-terrier mix, just in time. The dog is fine and up for adoption, but the owner is allegedly "too senile" to be charged with animal cruelty.
The man claimed he and his family didn't know what else to do. Does that sound senile to you? It sounds INSANE, yes. But it doesn't sound like someone who was having trouble thinking. The reality is, animal cruelty is every bit as horrifying as cruelty to humans.
Most of the time, there is a correlation, too. What a person would do to one living creature, he might do to another. I realize the debate could rage over whether it's ethical to eat meat, etc. But I think we can all agree there is a massive difference between eating a hamburger and tying an innocent puppy to a train track to be crushed to death.
Here's an idea: Don't have animals you can't care for. And if you do, the LEAST of your responsibility is a.) to spay or neuter them and b.) to find them a good home or shelter should you be unable to care for them.
Tying them to train tracks? Is not part of that.
When I was a kid, my friend's father took a bunch of kittens he found in a back alley, tied them up in a sack, and tossed them in a river. I was so struck by this and so horrified that her father justified it, as though he was doing the right thing by these kittens who would have been feral on the street. People have some seriously insane notions about what constitutes cruelty. The only way to stop that is to punish people who do cruel things.
We don't seem to take animal cruelty all that seriously in this country. If a man tied an infant to the tracks, would we say he was "too senile" to be charged? As a mom to both human and animal children, I obviously know that my human children take precedence and I would give up my life to save them. I might not do the same for my puppy (sorry, Rocky), but that doesn't mean I don't think cruelty to either my kids or my dog is OK.
They are on the same level as far as I am concerned. A cruel person does cruel things to creatures who are weaker. I have no sympathy for a person who can think clearly enough to tie a dog to train tracks. At the very least, he ought to get some kind of mental help.
Do you think people ought to be punished for hurting animals the same as if they hurt humans?
Image via FuLinHyu/Flickr