I am horrified, as is everyone else. But this incident does bring up several questions — separate from the fact that these sadists deserve the firing squad.
First, every culture of humans, at the top of the food chain, decide over time which animals are food and which are pets. You can see photos of skinned dogs hanging on racks in China for sale at grocery stores; in India, cows are sacred;, etc., etc. A Vietnam vet who flew me in a helicopter group tour on Maui and watched us interact with the Australian cattle dog we met in Hana commented that that dog would have been food for most of the Vietnamese, with no decision-making required about whether the dog was food or a pet. Most of us know what ducks suffer at the hands of breeders to create the pate we so adore, and how calves are made anemic so their flesh is whiter than healthy cattle, thus creating delicious veal. Yet we continue to eat those meats. After I saw “Babe” (about 10 times because my son was young and he loved it), I vowed never to eat pork again. Embarrassingly, this lasted only a few months. Some “game” hunters (geese, deer, etc.) actually eat what they shoot; others kill them just for fun. In the West, anyway.
I have begun to believe that so many of these animals below us in the food chain are in fact sentient beings that I should become a milk-and-egg vegetarian. I haven’t done this, for a number of selfish reasons.
So, the “pet-or-food” conundrum is not answerable at this time, at least for me. Realistically, the world of humans simply cannot become vegetarians and vegans.
Second, EACH CULTURE MUST OBEY ITS OWN RULES ABOUT ANIMALS. In this country and most of the West, dogs are either pets or working animals who are cherished for the love and service they provide. This is ingrained in us from early childhood. And though we all know that there is an undefined group that does not agree with this ethic (Michael Vick, e.g.), those who do not act within it are punished and animals are saved.
What this couple did to that loving (and shocked) poor dog is not just cruelty, it is totally outside the boundaries of Western human behavior. It is psychopathic sadism, pure and simple.
So, the larger issues aside, these two need to go to jail, and in my opinion, for a long time. This is anti-social, psychopathic behavior,and though they need to pay society back for this, I have no sense whatsoever that jail time will change their attitudes. Nor do I think that this kind of real sickness can be addressed “psychologically.” They will be mean-spirited, sick people regardless of what happens to them as a result of this one incident.
It’s easy enough to say that they are a danger to society, that most serial killers start with animals, and that these two will see jail time. But that begs the real question:
What do we do with this kind of sociopath in our culture?
Third: Murderers (of humans) are pariahs in our society, and pay the price. Murderers (or abusers) of animals that are not considered livestock or game are treated as pariahs as well. However, “murderers” of livestock and/or game, are simply businessmen or sportsmen of various kinds. This is our culture, our ethics, strange and irrational as it may seem.
So this couple will go to jail, because somehow they have ended up outside the big circle of morals and ethics that 99% of our population believe in; and they will be punished, as examples to the rest of society. This process has been extant since the beginning of civilization.
The question still remains: Why — in our enlightened society today — do we need a “Humane Farming Association,” for example? Do we treat the animals that are considered food with the respect they deserve? (See “The Last of the Mohicans,” and listen what the Indian hunters say to the deer they have just killed for food. They apologize…) We do not. Slaughterhouses are abattoirs of cruelty. But this is all right, because they’re FOOD. Do that to my cat or dog and you’re going to have to deal with me.
How do we fix this? Or can we? I just don’t know.
I’d appreciate input on both questions.
Oddly enough, yesterday was the ten year anniversary of the Michael Vick “Bad Newz Kennels” raid. What followed was some of the most despicably disgusting revelations I’ve ever struggled to read.
There are dog ”owners” and dog “people,” I’m one of the latter. If you need to ask what the difference is, you’re one of the former. My nearly 12 year old Golden Retriever Hurley, (named after Hurley, WI, where I got married the only time I ever will) is without question the best friend I’ve ever had. I picked her out of a litter of 9, by rolling them all over. While on her back, she locked on to me with those “Seabisquit” eyes, and that was it. If ever I thought there would be some harm to come to her, I would do whatever it took, not batting an eyelash, to prevent it from happening; I’ve no doubt whatsoever she’d do the same for me.
This post reminded me of a time when I should have intervened. I was loading some mulch into my car, while Hurley patiently waited and watched anticipating our next adventure, as a woman walked past with her dog.
The dog stopped to sniff something and she kicked it. It cowed and tried to get away and she said in a voice that literally dripped displaced anger and meanness “do you want me to kick you again?”
I’ve played and replayed that in my mind over and over I don’t know how many times, thinking how that dog probably endured a life of constant misery, wondering what it had done to deserve such a lot, occasionally getting something fleetingly positive from its owner, only to have it lapse back into the same old/same old.
Dogs are emotionally honest, unconditionally loving, and have short, forgiving memories.Unless you happen to be on Hurley’s meticulously developed ‘route’ of neighbors and Odana Hills Golf Course golfers who she successfully, and with aplomb, works for treats; then you’re permanently penciled in. That woman’s dog deserved a hell of a lot better than it was getting.
Next time something like that happens I’ll step in, especially after reading this, and Hurley will be cheering me on.