Friday 16 May 2014

Should a dog who attacks a toddler be euthanised?

Animal Action Should Not Distract Us From Self-Analysis

The amazing story of the tabby cat, Tara, who went to the defence of a 4-year-old toddler, Jeremy, has moved on to the question about whether the dog who made what appears to have been an unprovoked attack should be euthanised.

Actually, we should refrain from using the word “euthanised" because quite obviously if people want to kill this dog because they think he or she is vicious and nasty and undomesticated then they should use the word “kill" because the dog is quite healthy.  Euthanasia is used in the context of a humane killing of a terminally ill animal.

Despite the unpleasantness of this dog attack, I do not believe that the dog should be killed.  The focus, really, should be on how this dog was brought into the world, how the dog was socialised and what sort of environment the dog is living in.  The focus should be on people, initially, rather than the dog.

Although, of course, in America there is an obligatory 10 day check to see whether a dog who makes an unprovoked attack has rabies.  I'd be extremely surprised if this dog is rabies.  If he has rabies he will be killed and his brain will be analysed.

No matter what the outcome, the dog will be euthanised and something in my gut tells me that it is wrong. At the end of the day this sort of situation is a people problem.  People control the number of domesticated animals in the world and people control whether those animals are domesticated or not. The bottom line is that this whole episode is of people failure and not the failure of one dog to behave in a domesticated manner.

The big success belongs to the domestic cat!

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