I just read one of the most beautiful articles about dogs that I’ve ever seen. We who love dogs do not understand how some people can treat them so badly. It angers us to no end. If we could we would take every single abused and neglected dog away from the horrific lives they live and then snatch the people responsible for their pain and suffering and make them pay by tossing them in a the smallest, dirtiest, coldest kennel we can find and supplying them with nothing but the exact same treatment they were inflicting on the dog. There isn’t enough jail time in the world to satisfy us, there isn’t a fine big enough to make them pay for what they’ve done that will ease our heartache. There aren’t enough “I’m sorry’s” to make us forgive them.
Unfortunately, if we followed through on what we’d like to do – the law would put us all in jail. To bad the law doesn’t step in often enough or quick enough to save the lives, hearts and spirits of those dogs who have been treated with cruelty. There aren’t enough people to save all the pets that need saving. I can’t tell you how many times my husband and I have said “If we could we would take them all.” I dream of the day I can move to the country, perhaps a farm with lots of room and heated out-buildings. I’d fence in every acre and then start bringing in every single dog that needs saving where they could live in warmth and safety and be fed and loved until the day they die. I know there are many more animal lovers with dreams just like mine. We also know that this isn’t reality and so sadly, we come back down to earth with a jarring thug.
Why does the law consider dogs to be property? Because they have owners? Children have owners … they’re called parents! Children are not property. Children live, breath, eat, cry, laugh, hug you, love you … property can’t do this. Property is your car, your home, your yard, your computer, your purse, your coffee mug … THINGS are property. A dog is not a thing! Things don’t feel pain, they don’t need to be fed, let out to potty, walked and played with. Although we all have our favorite possessions, we don’t love these things as we love something that lives and breathes. Things can’t slobber kisses all over your face, climb into bed with you and warm you up when it’s cold. Things can’t keep you company. Even though they don’t talk back and they don’t really understand what we say – dogs listen to us like they do. To a dog lover, our dogs are like our children, they are a part of our family. Can you say that about even your very favorite possession? Just because we own a dog and are responsible for it – doesn’t make it a piece of property.
When children are treated with cruelty – suffering from neglect and abuse – there are agencies that step in and remove the children. The law steps up and levers penalties on the abuser. No, these consequences aren’t enough either but what happens to people who abuse children is a lot more severe than what happens to people who abuse animals. By a certain age children can speak, they can tell a trusted person about their abuse – animals can’t. People who care must be their voices. Although many times it’s difficult and children can’t speak until they’re a few years old – those that are abused do have a greater chance of receiving help. When adults see evidence of abuse in a child they’re more likely to do something about it. Abused children are more likely to be seen because they go to school, they’re seen in public unless of course they are the ones that are hidden away. There are less people able to see animal abuse because it’s easier to hide an animal than it is a child and less people who are likely to speak up when they see an animal being abused.
I could go on and on … this is a topic that never leaves my mind. Those commercials for the ASPCA make me cry. I know what they’re showing us is not Hollywood – it’s real. I look at my own dogs … well cared for, well fed, loved and cuddled umpteen times a day and I’ve told them many a time “You don’t know how good you’ve got it.” I know they don’t understand, but I do. I’d like to say it helps but you know what? It doesn’t help enough – because my heart still breaks and the tears still fall for all the wonderful dogs out there living in filth, starving and being beaten.
I’d like to share the article I just read. There is a print button at the top of the page. Print it for yourself, hang it on the fridge, make copies for your friends and relatives, send the link to others. The more information like this is shared the more of a chance less dogs will suffer. Please read and share I Am a Dog Not a Thing.
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We – the human species – still have a lot to learn. Historically speaking, and by all means I don’t mean to offend anybody but it took us like what? 1700 years after Christ to abolish slavery and give rights to women? With this speed, I wouldn’t be surprised if in the year 3000, animals in general, not just dogs are still being treated as property, that is if we are still around by then. Just something to think about …
You are so right! Then you have to consider things like what Governor Walker and others like him are trying to do and set back 60-80 years of the progress we *have* made. Thank you so much for dropping by and adding to our blog! We hope to see you again here soon!
That which you attribute to dogs (pain, needs, etc) is just as real for the livestock we use and eat every day. As emotionally attached as we are to our pets, a dog is every bit as much livestock as any other animal is. You are describing the issues when you assign greater-than-livestock to something that is livestock – you start obsessing over it, getting emotionally stressed over other people’s behavior. A cow, pig, dog, sheep, chicken, turkey, wild animal, domestic animal, these are *all* property and things. The only real difference is *this one is my pet* and *that one is not my pet*.
It is my position that the healthy perspective is that animals which are not someone’s pet are as abstractly livestock as any animal wild or domestic. The world is not fair – not to us and not to animals – and some of them will feel pain and deprivation even wild animals do!
So care for your pets, love them and treat them well. But realize that if you try and regulate what people can do with animals-similar-to-your-pets, you are falsely applying the term ‘pet’ to ‘livestock’. That will imperil both our meat food supply and the rights to pet ownership itself.
Dogs ARE property, there is nothing magical about the species of canis familiaris that gives them one iota of rights beyond any other non-human species in the world.
Lest you think me not a pet owner, I am. My pets are my world to me, I cuddle them and pet them and take them on walks constantly – my two german shepherds get raw meat to eat and sleep on my bed with me. I will defend my right to live with them to the death, I love them and they make life worth living.
But a dog that is surplus, or owned by somebody else? Surely I would treat them differently *if they were my pets* – but they are not my pets! I do not love them. As sad and frustrating as it is to see, it is their right as humans to make their mistakes and as long as we have our property rights as they are set up, to do what they wish with their property. As somebody who lives in a property rights society I need to tolerate the fact that there are people who will not treat their property as I treat mine.
I agree that the world should change. But fundamentally – not by some arbitrary declaration that dogs are more than other animals.
The world is not fair, and you will destroy yourself trying to impose justice on the universe.
I’ve got my job cut out for me just maintaining a semblance of justice in my tiny sphere of influence, after all.
David with Akando the white, and Banshee the sable
I’m sorry David but I cannot think of dogs as livestock. To me livestock = farm animals. No matter what the species, no animal should have to live a life of cruelty. I’m an animal lover, not just a dog lover. If I had a farm with livestock I would love these critters, too. They would be treated with respect, warmth, kindness and yes, I’d even hug them. I don’t consider livestock to be property either. To me property is something that does not breathe and is not alive. Would I invite a horse or cow into my home? No, but I’ve heard some people that do. Other than horses, I personally could not own livestock because I know why they are raised – to be killed. I couldn’t do that so I have to leave that to people who are able to deal with that.
Do I love someone else’s dog as I love my own? No, I do not know their dog and to love a critter as much as I love my dogs I would have to know the dog – but I would love them simply because they are a dog.
I know I cannot change the world or the people in it. No matter how hard the people who work in rescue try, ridding the world of animal cruelty will not happen in my lifetime. I’m hoping it will happen in my Grandchildren’s generation – I don’t see it happening in my children’s lifetimes either.
Thank you for sharing your point of view. Hope to see you here again sometime!