This might feel like we’re jumping on the bandwagon, but we’ve been discussing this on and off for weeks. First with the case of the dog that “mauled” the child in his own backyard and now lately with the dog that had its ass kicked by that cat when he tried to attack a child.
To get to the point we’re trying to make with this article first we need to talk about Real Dog People vs. Dog Lovers. We consider ourselves Real Dog People (you down with RDP? Yeah you know me.) Of course, we love dogs. More than we love people, most of the time. We also aren’t stupid. We know there’s a line. We know dogs, almost as much as we love them and that’s the difference between RDP and Dog Lovers. Dog Lovers LOVE dogs. They’re the people that come up and lean over a nervous dog, cooing in a baby voice and just asking to be snapped at. They’re the people that assume every undersocialized dog in a shelter was horribly abused and every slightly scarred pit type thing was a bait dog. They really do have the dog’s best interest at heart… or at least what they consider the dog’s best interest. Rather it actually benefits the dog or not remains to be seen.
That brings us to our point. We have a question for all the Save Mickey type folks out there. What about the nice dogs? What about those fantastic loving dogs of all breeds and mixes that have never bitten a person, the ones who die while you tie up funds and space saving a dog that will live toothless in a concrete box for the rest of his life? Do those dogs not also deserve life?
We aren’t getting sappy here (Well, we aren’t trying to.). We’re asking a serious question. We also aren’t being inconsiderate of the dog. In fact, we’d say that we’re very much considering the happiness of these dogs, much more than those who fight to save them… only to have them stuck in a 4×6 kennel run for the rest of their lives. That’s no life for a young physically healthy dog.
So, naturally, the outrage over the recent lab/chow mix has us confused. In case you’ve fallen behind on your viral video watching, here’s the video.
The average person watching this video probably laughs at the cat going after the dog. Anyone dog savvy has an entirely different opinion though. To RDP, we see something disturbing. We see a dog that is quite obviously stalking a small child. This wasn’t a fear bite, this wasn’t even a guarding bite. The child wasn’t speeding by on a bike, he wasn’t teasing the dog. He was peddling around in his own driveway and the dog clearly spotted him from quite some distance and began stalking him. This was a dog with extreme prey drive that stalked the boy, grabbed him, shook him, and attempted to drag him off. This is a dog with zero bite inhibition who meant serious harm to that child.
Now let’s talk about what the Dog Lovers saw. Go peruse any story related to this and you’ll find all sort of victim blaming and discounting of the dog’s actions in the comments. Should the dog have been confined? Yep. Should it have been trained? You betcha. Is it still a seriously scary dog even taking into account those “human” elements? Absolutely. And yet, there are hordes of Dog Lovers begging the SPCA to save this dog and rehab him, even offering their own hard-earned money for his continued care. It should be noted that in this case, the Bakersfield SPCA ended up euthanizing the dog (the right choice, in our opinion) despite the public pressure to save him.
So, again, we have to pose the question. When there are so many truly wonderful, truly adoptable dogs in shelters that are euthanized every day because of lack of space or money, why are so many “rescue” people focusing on saving this one animal? We can’t save them all, but we fail to see why we should save one that poses a serious safety risk at the expense of throngs of others who ended up in shelters through no fault of their own. And even if we could save them all, should we? As animal lovers should we really be warehousing these dogs for an indefinite fate in a shelter with public funds? While truly damaged and dangerous dogs are few and far between, they do exist, and even if this were just poor socialization and management, the damage has already been done. It’s a dangerous precedent when the indignation over the justifiable euthanasia of a dog who’s launched an unprovoked attack on a child garners more offers for adoption and help than the friendly dog a few kennels over. Where is the outrage when that dog gets euthanized? And the stable friendly dog in the kennel next to that one? And the next one? Where are the candlelight vigils and Facebook campaigns? How many spaces can dangerous dogs take up in shelters? What happens when there’s no space for any stable dogs, do we open another shelter? Is this really what animal rescue will come down to? We sure hope not.
*It is worth noting, since the time this article was stated, the Lab/Chow mix has been euthanized. Kudos to that shelter. Let’s hope it sets a precedent.