It’s terrible to think of the final moments for the couple in Oglethorpe County killed by a pack of dogs. And the pain that their family is experiencing now is of the worst order.
Meanwhile, people can’t help but discuss this event. It is a truly shocking incident that garnered national attention.
I think back to the creation of the Madison Oglethorpe Animal Shelter, where those 16 animals were taken to be euthanized Aug. 18. For years, the worst-case scenario has been a part of animal spay and neuter discussions. Now, sadly, there is a local case that demonstrates why those fears were valid.
Of course, we talk about animal control all the time. Should we have an animal control department or not? In fact, it’s one of the hottest blog topics you can put on the Web in Madison County. But animal control discussions generally focus on the officers, the calls and complaints.
What’s too often omitted is the greatest form of animal control we have — spaying and neutering. This is true population control. The aggressive pack that never exists can’t pose a threat.
Shelter director Susan Fornash preaches this repeatedly. And she has good reason. She saw 600 animals come through the door of the shelter in June and July. Not all can find a home for adoption. If owners took the time to spay and neuter pets, the shelter wouldn’t face that awful task of euthanization so often. And there wouldn’t be so many strays roaming the county.
Fornash dealt with media all day last Tuesday, and she stood by the shelter runs that morning as I knelt down by the dogs with a camera. She talked to them in a nice voice, offering comforting words at the end of their sad lives. They would be put to sleep later that day.
It seemed hard to believe as I clicked away that these animals did what they did. They took no notice of me. A couple of them slept. A puppy laid its paw on its mother’s back. But these animals were in poor health and despite their docile demeanor during the few moments I was at the shelter, these animals demonstrated an aggressive nature toward people and animals while at the shelter. They were clearly not adoptable animals, Fornash said.
A few days ago, these animals took on a pack mentality. They were brutal in the worst way. There was nowhere for those dogs to go, but asleep.
But the paradox is that they were innocent, too. These animals were the product of someone’s negligence. Will there be some form of criminal charge for that wrongdoing? We’ll see. But this ought to serve as a wake-up call to those who think that spaying and neutering is a needless expense. No, it’s a real form of public safety.
Of course, we have a great need to look for the positives in tragedy. I can’t pinpoint why, but sometimes that bothers me. I guess I think about a family losing loved ones in the worst way. And the sadness that accompanies such an occurrence is profound. The hurt and horror are far beyond all condolence we can offer, or any positive we can make out of it.
But I do hope there is a consequence to this sad thing. I hope more people will do what’s right, so we can avoid what’s so terribly wrong with this picture.
Zach Mitcham is editor of The Madison County Journal.
I wonder if part of the problem is our elevation of animals to (almost) the status of humans. Fifty years ago, a police officer in rural areas who saw a pack of wild dogs would have been expected to shoot them. For that matter, a land owner would have been within his or her rights to dispose of stray animals that wandered onto the property. Not now, thanks to . One of the problems with animal shelters is that they are so expensive to maintain. It's crass, but a couple of shotgun shells would do the job. However, that last statement is so ridiculously politically incorrect that there are some people who would be calling for me to be shot for writing it!
Good editorial, by the way, on a current topic. I much prefer commentary on current events as opposed to strolls down amnesia lane.
no you are just not understanding that resources are precious and not unlimited.
hope family of deceased sues person feeding these dogs.
09/18/09 at 09:22 AM
Why is the OP a jerk? Because he states that we ought not elevate dogs to human status? Perhaps because you think it's cute to put sweaters on dogs and therefore, a humanized dog is a happy dog.
I too reject this "the dogs are innocent" mentality. True, a dog doesn't have the cognitive ability of a human being. Is that what defines innocence? I think it's an anthropomorphism to refer to dogs in this manner. A dog does what it does. There is no more guilt in it than there is innocence. An aggressive dog should be killed. Personally, I think a moderately annoying dog should be killed, but then I see dogs as fulfilling a human purpose, hence their original domestication.
I just really don't understand all this desire to make dogs seem helpless and innocent. Seems kind of juvenile and moronic to me. But then, I find logic useful.