The Year of Moving Forward

The Year of Moving Forward
At our 4 person wedding reception in DC

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Western Tribune Column re: Animal Abuse

The Bessemer Neighborhood Association met last night and I will be posting some information about the meeting in a day or two. In the meantime, here is my editorial response to the animal abuse that is ongoing in Bessemer. Please forward this link to any animal lovers, especially those who would be willing to take part in a protest in front of city hall with their dogs on leashes. I am not sure that is the route we will take, but it is an option. There is a meeting tonight of local veterinarians and others with Jacque Meyer of the Greater Birmingham Humane Society. Something will be done.

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Animal Abuse Won't Be Tolerated Here

Recent revelations about the abuse of animals in Bessemer’s Animal Control facility should spark outrage in our city. The horrible picture of the burned pit bull in last weeks edition of this paper only reinforces my assertion that widespread crime is being ignored here. This fighting dog was set on fire by a rival gang member, a gang that also raises dogs to fight.

But we also know that dog fighting has close ties to illegal drug use, prostitution and violence. More dog fighting problems are reported here in Bessemer than in any other part of the state. This demonstrates a lack of morals and ethics in this city.

Let me be clear. Dog fighting is animal abuse. Animal abuse is a felony. Even owning, keeping or training a dog with the intent to fight is a felony.

From the community standpoint, this is a moral problem. Nobel Peace Prize recipient and humanitarian Albert Schweitzer said “Anyone who has accustomed himself to regard the life of any living creature as worthless is in danger of arriving also at the idea of worthless human lives,” and statistics back this up. One study shows that animals were abused (usually by a parent) in 88% of homes where children are abused, and another study shows that 71% of women (who also had pets) seeking shelter at a safe house reported that their partner had threatened, hurt or killed their companion animals.

From the city’s standpoint, this is an ethical problem. When the department head in charge of Animal Control ends their lives by shooting them rather than by humanely euthanizing them he is acting unethically. When he commits acts such as allowing the burned dog to lie in pain without treatment or relief for 24 hours, he is acting unlawfully. This is 2007, and using the Wild West tactics of shooting an animal when other more humane options are available is unacceptable. Allowing an animal to lie in pain is unconscionable. And to ignore the problem, as the administration has done, is also a breach of ethics.

As a veterinarian, I am appalled that there is not better oversight of Animal Control operations, but as a human being I am disgusted that the problem has been overlooked for so long. Anyone interested in helping to solve this problem let me know. The Greater Birmingham Humane Society and local veterinarians will use their power and resources to help reverse this problem. Dogs and cats are to be loved and cared for by their owners, and many are looked upon as members of the family. That is how is should be. That is how it will be.

1 comment:

Russ said...

How terrible. Just keep us posted on what action to take. Thanks for all you are doing for us as residents of Bessemer.
Martha Brown