Killing dogs is never acceptable

Published 4:29 pm Friday, February 15, 2019

dog is a man’s best friend. That’s what I’ve been told my entire life and I believe that. So, I simply can’t understand why some people think it’s acceptable to shoot a dog, just because they were annoyed that one came onto their property.

I got my first dog when I was seven years old. It was a golden lab that we named Shiloh. She was my companion, the one that never questioned the dumb things I did growing up. She watched me head to college with a little less pep in her step, wagging her tail and following me to my car as I left. When I came home for a holiday during my senior year, I walked into my parent’s home and Shiloh was so excited, but couldn’t walk well, and practically dragged herself to me.

It was painful to watch and my parents said they wanted me to see her one last time before they took her to that dreadful, final veterinarian visit. That was even more painful.

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Losing Shiloh was just like losing a member of the family. I was upset over it for a long time, but I knew ending her suffering, medically, was the right thing to do.

If somebody would have shot and killed her because she wandered too far onto another’s property, I don’t know how I would have handled it. I would have been distraught to a point I am not sure I can comprehend.

Recently in Chambers County, there was an incident at a dog hunting club — a club where dogs help hunters flush out deer in the woods.

It’s my understanding that when a deer is sighted, the dogs chase after the deer to bring them out into the open so the hunter has a clear shot.

While engaged in this action, dogs sometime break the containment of the property they are supposed to stay on. This happens, well, because they are dogs. They can’t read signs. They can’t tell what property they are on. The owners are supposed to keep an eye on them, and most do with GPS collars and whistles, but in the heat of the action, it can be tough to know exactly where dogs are.

There are rules set in place for when a dog gets onto another property. Game wardens are in place to enforce these rules.

However, in the aforementioned incident, there was a hunter who decided it was best to shoot two dogs who got onto the property he was hunting instead of trying to reach the owner by reading the dog’s collar or calling the authorities.

Currently, animal cruelty is a misdemeanor in Alabama and most places around the country. There has been a federal bill introduced into the U.S. Congress to make animal cruelty a felony countrywide.

I hope it passes. I understand mistakes happen, but in talking with the Alabama Dog Hunters Association, it is evident there are too many instances where hunters are irritated by a dog on their property and feel they have the right to simply shoot and kill it.

They shouldn’t.

I hope this bill gains some traction and with fair amendments, get signed into law.