Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Should Stray Dogs Be Put To Death?

"As a result, Flagler County animal control officers are putting residents in that community on notice — wandering dogs could lead to the owner being fined. If an owner can't be determined, the dog will be taken to the kennel. Officers will be patrolling the area daily, Voigt said. After a dog is brought to the shelter, it will be assessed to determine whether it is adoptable. If not, it will be euthanized, she said"

It is one thing to capture a free roaming dog. It is quite another to kill it.

First, shelter evaluations are, on average, not valid representations of the temperament of any dog. The staff aren't qualified to make the assessments, and they are evaluating extremely stressed dogs and expecting them to act like a Disney movie cartoon dog. The evaluators are often not much more qualified to assess temperament than the checkout person at the local pet store.

Second, if the owner can be found, it is irrelevant what the dog's temperament is, provided the dog hasn't been involved in some kind of crime. Give the dog back. Killing the dog is, in my opinion, a taking of property by the government without due process, and unconstitutional. This can and should be challenged in court. It is not clear, in the article, whether dogs with known owners, who want their dogs back, can get them back. That should be spelled out.

The stray dog problem in any city is a problem. Draconian solutions only de-legitimize the efforts of animal control. If the punishment doesn't fit the crime, then it is immoral and will be defied. Innocent dogs will be condemned to death by the government.

I think the government had better re-think what they are doing. Could you live with killing an innocent dog, knowing you are incompetent to make that decision, and knowing that the owner is going to be harmed, as well? Most sane people couldn't kill a dog like that. It won't pass public scrutiny for long.

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