Saturday, July 24, 2010

Heroism forgotten, mauling not

His name is Thor, and despite the toughness of his name, he's a marshmallow. When a fire started in Thor's home, he barked to wake his family, and then he grabbed the bassinet where the family's three-month old baby lay and dragged it to the front door.

"It sounds like the real hero here is the family pit bull," said Frank Connolly, assistant executive director of the Elkhart County Red Cross. Source: WSBT-TV

If not for Thor, the family, including the baby, would have died.

But Thor didn't make major headlines. Hardly anyone remembers him or what he did so very recently.

The nation, however, is talking about dogs (identified as Pit Bulls, but we don't know for sure what they were yet) that mauled a two year in Concord, CA -- dogs that rarely (if ever) got to sleep inside a home with the family. They were left outside or in the garage, isolated, undersocialized, nervous around strangers since they weren't walked outside and rarely exposed to new people or new places.

Because some other dogs, somewhere else, that were never really treated as family pets killed an unsupervised child that wandered into his grandparents' garage (a child that was almost a stranger to the undersocialized dogs, especially the dog described as most aggressive), dogs like Thor who get to sleep inside and, in their spare time, save families and babies from burning buildings, will pay a horrific price... as will their owners.

Dogs are simply dogs. It is up to the Human species to do right by them, since we have chosen to bring them into our world. Embarking on a campaign to villify creatures that are incapable of truly understanding right from wrong and completely rely on us for their housing, feeding, training, and socialization is not only wrong, it's cruel and stupid.

The Human species needs to get its act together -- and not by banning or villifying animals that aren't as intelligent as we think we are. We need to ensure that children like Kate-Lynn logel (killed my malamutes), Kyle Holland (killed by a labrador/husky mix), Krystal Brink (killed by sled dogs), and Nicholas Faibish (killed by a Pit Bull type dog) are remembered, not because of the breeds they were killed by, but because of what they have tragically demonstrated.

Animals are animals. If we don't do right by them, if we don't treat them humanely, socialize them, train them, and (if need be) humanely euthanize the ones that just aren't safe, then both species will pay the price.

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