There was a big moral/ethical discussion today.

On Tuesday the staff came to the clinic and found a very old, very sick St. Bernard tied to a stake in the yard. (Neither the stake or the dog had ever been seen before.) She had a bucket of food and a bucket of water left with her. As of now we aren’t sure if she is saveable but we are trying.

Opinion at the office is divided between two camps.

1. This dog has been neglected for a long time. However, someone at least brought her somewhere where they figured she would be taken care of instead of just letting her die where she was. Let’s do what we can for her and not try to track down her people.

2. Her people are evil and need to be punished. We should contact the newspaper and ask if anyone knows anything about a sick dog that suddenly isn’t around their neighborhood anymore. Maybe someone would recognize her from a picture. Then the people responsible can be charged with cruelty.

I’m an argument number 1 person. I look at it from a “people are stupid” point of view. I see things at times that I could probably turn in for cruelty. But I don’t turn people in because in order for me to see the animal it had to be brought in for treatment. I give people lectures at times but I don’t want them to be afraid to get medical help because they are afraid of being turned in. I think that people who seek medical treatment aren’t the people who need to charged with cruelty. The truly cruel don’t take their animals to the vet.

Some of the staff are solidly behind argument number 2. They want to see people fry for the condition of the dog.

What do you think?

5 Replies to “A dilemma”

  1. “The moment there is suspicion about a person’s motives, everything he does becomes tainted.” –Mahatme Gandhi

    The simple truth is that we don’t know the circumstances of the situation, or that of the dog’s owner/s. Why assume the worst? Why not instead assume that the person/people bringing the animal to the facility did the absolute best to his or her ability? Even Gandhi, perhaps the universe’s greatest animal rights activist, would show compassion and reserve judgement 🙂

    Excellent, though-provoking post!

  2. I am with #1. It’s possible the neglect was from not enough money for proper treatment. They may have the money for food and basic check-ups, but not for expensive medical work. Therefore, they probably held out to see if they could nurse her back to health themselves, but when they saw her only getting worse, decided it was best to part ways and take her to the people that could help her in the only way they could afford. That is much more responsible than just letting her die. I bet there are several cases out there where the animal just dies because people can’t afford the care.

    I think neglect isn’t always done out of not caring. I’m choosing to pass up some medical stuff for myself because of the cost of it.

  3. Working in the field myself I’d have to agree with you. I’d do what I could for the dog and try to find a new home for him/her. The people were wrong letting the dog get into the kind of condition, but at least they did bring it to a veterinary hospital where they knew it would be taken care of.

    Who knows, maybe it was a very poor family who couldn’t afford veterinary care and didn’t want the dog to suffer. At least they were kind enough to leave it with a bucket of food and water.

    I’ve seen cruelity cases come in before and, to me at least, this isn’t cruelity. It’s more like a cry for help from a family who obviously couldn’t care for the dog the way it needed to be cared for. At least they didn’t dump it off at a kill shelter.

  4. I’m with you. What is most important at this point is to bring that dog back to health, then find her a family who WILL love and care for her. I also agree that if you penalize folks for seeking help, they’ll stop seeking help when they need it, and that’s the real crime.

  5. Call the cops, put flyers all over the place, put their phone number, address, and picture in the papers and on TV, call their employers, bring them to court, bar them from ever having pets again, and run them out of town.

    Ok, maybe I’m going overboard a little. But the only way cruelty and neglect will cease is if those who perpetuate these crimes are punished appropriately. If nothing is done, they–and others–will continue to treat their animals in inappropriate manners thinking nothing is wrong with their treatment of their pets.

    We have to start somewhere. This is a good place.

What Do You Think?