Thursday, December 13, 2007

Animal Hero or Dognapper?

The trial began Wednesday for an animal rights activist accused to stealing a dog she claims was being mistreated by her owner. Thought the defendant, Tammy Grimes admits to taking the dog the defense is not acknowledging the crime to amount to theft. While the law states that animals amount to personal property and subject to theft, the animal rights activists claim "dogs are much more than that".

Terry Nelson-Bunge, the State College representative for Dogs Deserve Better, said she believes Grimes had no choice but to take the dog.

And now I ask you: who's more annoying animal rights activists or cops? Usually, I would argue cops (you know, the fear, the bright lights, the abuse of power) but this time? I just don't know. No choice but to take the dog? That just belies a complete misunderstanding of what the word choice means. Seriously.

Original Story


Nicholas Hall said...

I fully agree. She had the choice to wait until Animal Control arrived later that day. She elected to take matters into her own hands and now she faces the consequences.

Monica C. Schreiber said...

Actually, a distraught neighbor had tried for 3 days to get Animal Control to come out. As so often happens, they never showed. She turned to Tammy and Dogs Deserve Better in desperation. Tammy may have technically broken a law here, and she has admitted that, but I think her actions will eventually vindicated. Common sense dictates that a dog - a sentient animal - is not "property" in the same way a chair or a car is "property." That's why we have laws (albeit weak ones) that give animals some minimal level of protection from abuse. All over the country, states and cities are starting to pass laws against the practice of 24/7 chaining, realizing that chaining a dog to a broken down old dog house for 15 years (as was the case with this dog) is a hideous form of abuse. I agree that people can't go around taking dogs that they "think" are being mistreated. This was an unusual situation where the dog was dying. Time was of the essence or the animal was going to continue to suffer and die in the mud. Many compassionate people would at least THINK about doing what Tammy did. Few would have the guts to do what was morally right, even if the law went the other way. Not to equate this with the civil rights movement, but when Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat, she also broke a law. Reason and compassion have a way of prevailing in the end.

Nicholas Hall said...

The fact remains that had she not done what she did, Animal Control would have handled the issue when they showed up later that day. It is easy to say that they didn't show up, like always, but they did eventually. Animal Control is overworked and underfunded in every part of the country in which I have animal related contacts. You can't expect perfect timely service when they don't have the resources for it. If you take issue with the poor timing, then do something about it. See to it that animal control receives better funding.

Dogs Deserve Better is not a government agency or an agency which is contracted by the government to handle animal control related issues so they have no legal entitlement to remove someone else's dog from the property based on their diagnosis of the dog's situation. That is why she is on trial. It is vigilantism, and it leads to a whole mess of social problems.

The problem with what you believe common sense dictates is that common sense is not truly common when it comes to moral and ethical questions. It varies based on social aspects in a person's upbringing. Currently the law views dogs as property, although they are protected more so than someone's car, they are still property. The protections that are provided by them require a government agent to determine if abuse is taking place. If you don't like that than you are free to attempt to change the law as you are already trying to in regards to chaining dogs.

Speaking of chaining dogs, I don't see why every response someone from DDB does always tries to link what she did with the fact that in certain areas laws are being passed to prohibit dog chaining. Regardless of if certain areas of the country are considering it is abuse, my understanding of the laws in that area is that is not abuse. So it raises the question of if she took it because she felt it was abused solely because it was chained. I understand the dog was arthritic and could barely move, but it was 19 years old, that happens with an old dog. My understanding is the dog was not dehydrated or suffering from malnutrition, so it had to be getting adequate food and water.

I love animals, and I do not like it when they are abused. But it is not my place to take things into my own hands. Had I been in her shoes, I would not have left the dog their, but I also would not have taken the dog with me. I would have remained there until either animal control arrived or until the owners came home. I would have ensured the dog was as comfortable as possible and had access to water and food. If animal control got there I would see to it that things were taken care of. If the owners got home I would have had a conversation with them. That is what I am legally allowed to do.