The recent extensively reported incident, which was captured on video, of the tabby cat, Tara, who with great courage and passion saved a toddler, Jeremy, from a savage attack by a dog should not distract attention from some critical self-analysis.
For me, the cat’s behaviour was that of a mother protecting her vulnerable kitten from a predator. I’m sure that that is the correct analysis. Jeremy and Lara have been close buddies since Jeremy’s birth.
Elisa recently reported on the examiner.com website that the unprovoked attack was by the neighbour’s dog, an eight-month old labrador/chow mix.
I’m sure that we are all very impressed by the behaviour of Lara. She did something a lot of people would be unable to do. But what about the dog?
All the reports are that the dog will be euthanised after a ten-day holding period to check whether he/she has rabies. I suppose this is standard procedure in America after an unprovoked attack. I will be very surprised if the dog has rabies but I will not be at all surprised if the dog is euthanised.
Before I go on, let’s be clear. The dog will not be euthanised. The dog will be killed. I think it’s time to stop using the euphemism “euthanised” which applies to the humane killing of a terminally ill animal.
On the basis that the dog does not have rabies, which is a reasonable presumption, why should we kill the dog? Every domestic animal will behave naturally under the environment in which he or she lives. And the dog’s character is formulated from newborn puppy to adulthood and all that is managed by people. So on both counts there should be some analysis of the behaviour and actions of people in creating and raising a dog that for some apparently unknown reason attacks a 4-year-old toddler. Of course, there may be some inherited traits which make this dog unexpectedly aggressive but once again that is down to people: dog breeding either deliberately or carelessly.
Killing a dog is punishing the dog. If there is to be punishment in this highly unfortunate incident then surely it should be directed at people or at least questions should be asked.
In a post a little while ago I stated that, sometimes, there was not enough focus on what happened to the victims of animal abuse. In this instance the roles are reversed. I want to know what is going to happen to the people involved in raising a dog which becomes dangerous and, in effect, undomesticated. In truth, I know it will be nothing. When a dog, without provocation, attacks a child we should first of all look to ourselves for the reasons why it happened.
What do you think? Should the dog be killed even if he is healthy? The answer is quite possibly, yes, because the problem – a dangerous dog – cannot be unravelled.