Editorials, Opinions

Our View – Canine cruelty abroad immoral, wrong

While many people in the United States enjoy the company of a domestic pet and dote upon them as any other cherished family member, those living in China have recently had to relinquish this pleasure as more than 50,000 dogs have been beaten, hanged or otherwise killed in an attempt to ride Mouding, a county in Yunnan province, of a recent rabies outbreak. Although rabies is a horrific disease leaving many of its victims confused, agitated and hallucinatory, these brutal killings are absolutely wrong and certainly detrimental to the emotional well-being of the people living in China.

Pets play a tremendous role in family life, especially in the United States in the past 50 years. Where it was once common for the family pet to sleep outdoors or not be included in family activities, many pet owners now consider it inconceivable for an animal to be excluded from family functions and even share their own bed with their furry friends. Dogs rarely fulfill utilitarian objectives, like herding sheep or hunting birds, as they once did. Now their main purpose is to offer us companionship and affection.

People see their pets as an extension of their family and develop deep emotional bonds with them. The Chinese government is not only depriving their citizens of establishing these meaningful relationships, but is taking many pets from their families in brutal, cruel ways, offering $2 for pet owners to come forward and assure their dogs will be hanged, according to an article in the Aug. 8 issue of The Wall Street Journal. Pet owners who do not step forward and allow their dog to be hanged face a harsher fate, often have their pet snatched away and beaten in the street.

While this behavior may seem normal for the communist nation, who for decades has shunned its citizens from owning pets, even the United Kingdom has recently been making news for its unkind behavior toward one of its canine companions. According to an article in the Aug. 4 issue of the New York Times, a London museum was considering putting to death a Doberman pinscher left in charge of guarding the museum who, in the middle of the night, became a bit spunky and tore up a million dollar collection of teddy bears.

It is absolutely absurd that a country as progressive as England, with an extensive range of rights groups, would ever consider something so foolish as punishing a dog for behaving like a dog. Instead, the person who left the dog in charge of something as tempting to a dog as teddy bears should be the one to face some kind of punishment.

Although our devotion to animals may become a bit extreme at times, animals have become an important part of our families and society, and rightly so. Animals offer us companionship, trust us absolutely and are extremely forgiving, asking for little in return. Rather than subject them to extreme abuse or treat them as a disposable object, we should allot them the consideration and respect they have earned.

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