Tonight's sermon: When Good Pet Owners Go Bad
I have an acquaintance here in Snobville who I'll call Wanda. Wanda's daughter went to a sleep-over at the home of a prominent local surgeon. This surgeon is keen on a breed of purebred dog called the Rhodesian Ridgeback. The breed in question was created in Rhodesia, principally to kill lions.
During the course of the sleep-over, Wanda's daughter was cavorting with one of the doctor's Rhodesian Ridgebacks. The dog turned on her and bit her savagely. The surgeon, being a doctor, did some doctoring to try to hide the severity of the puncture wounds. But, I'm not sure how much later, Wanda took her daughter to a plastic surgeon and found out that the wounds were deep and would leave scar tissue that would never go away.
Needless to say, Wanda went to the police with this information and tried to have the dog in question put down as a menace. Wanda was unsuccessful. The local judge (who lives across the street from me) ordered the surgeon to install a fence around his property and put the dog in a muzzle when it went outside.
Some time after that, another of this surgeon's pack of four Rhodesian Ridgebacks charged a little boy out walking with his father. The little boy's mom was a prominent news anchor in Philadelphia until her son was born. Now the story got bigger. Another angry mother, demanding that these dogs be curtailed with due diligence.
One thing led to another, as it always does, and the various anti-Rhodesian Ridgeback complaints wound their way into county court. There the judge ruled that the surgeon could remove his fence and un-muzzle his dogs. The girl who got bit deserved it -- so said the judge -- and the business with the little boy wasn't serious at all. Just a dog being a dog.
Snobville is an old suburb, and the yards are very small. Mine is so tiny I don't even own a teeny iddy biddy dog. I can't imagine a dog being satisfied with my outdoor space and the twice-daily walk. I have to agree with the aggrieved moms that this town is not the proper environment for purebred dogs whose initial purpose was to kill lions.
What bothers me the most is that this surgeon is unapologetic for his canines. Maybe you can see his point of view, but I can't.
I love my cats and my parrot. I even put my parrot out on the porch in the summertime, where he could bite the moron child who stuck fingers into the cage. However, if my parrot bit a kid, even if it's my fault for putting the parrot outside, I would have the parrot put down. People come before animals in my book.
(I am fortunate that Decibel the Parrot announces his intentions before he carries them out. Otherwise I would never put him outside to begin with.)
It's my opinion that a biting dog should be put down, except in cases where the dog was being killed itself if it didn't defend its life. And certainly a person with the education it takes to be a surgeon should examine his priorities and not load his house to the plimsol line with dogs bred to be aggressive.
What do you think, reader? Should a dog that has bitten a teenager deep enough to scar her for life be allowed to roam the streets of Snobville, even on a leash?
I'm going to file this post under morons, not because I don't think anyone should own a Rhodesian Ridgeback, but because I think if you're going to choose to own four Rhodesian Ridgebacks, you should damn well get an acre of ground and a nice stout fence, liberally plastered with "Beware of the Dog" signs.
As much as I love all living things, if a dog charged my child, I'm afraid I'd ply the old Louisville Slugger with extreme prejudice. Which makes me a moron, too, I guess.