Saturday, March 12, 2016

What a Friend we have in Dog

On the weekends I run many different errands. Over the past weekend I stopped at the vet to retrieve some medicine and specialty food for my German Shepherd. While I sat in the reception room waiting for my order to be fulfilled, I noticed that there was another gentleman there with his dog. His dog was a male 14 year-old Beagle. That is positively ancient for just about any dog. This Beagle was completely blind. He had suffered some sort of disease that required his eyes to be removed. The medicine (or maybe it was just the age and stress of surgery) had also caused his fur to turn completely white. Nevertheless despite his advanced age and blindness the beagle was still lively, running around to sniff everything. Obviously this was a bit problematic because he would often bump into things or me. This is probably why his owner had the Beagle wrapped in a thick doggy-sweater in order to minimize bruising. Talking to the owner I could see that he had a lot of love for his dog. He described changes that he and his family had made to their daily routine, two story house and yard in order to ensure that their dog could go about his daily affairs with a minimum of discomfort. The man's face shone with love for his pet. I thought this was interesting because in the old days for many people dogs were more utilitarian than they are today. Down south my grandfather had Beagles which he used to assist him in hunting. I don't think people forty or fifty years ago would have been willing to spend thousands or even hundreds of dollars on extreme health measures for an old dog. People probably would have done a quick cost-benefit analysis which placed high emphasis on the costs and not so much on the benefit to the dog. Obviously veterinary science has improved since the sixties but even so we view our pets differently than we used to do. This man was willing to spend no small amount of money on surgeries and medicine to save his dog's life and ensure that his dog would be as comfortable as possible in the short time that remained to it. I think that is a good thing.

Although we may view our pets more favorably than we used to it seems as if police officers are more frequently looking for reasons to shoot and kill our pets. There is a continuous stream of stories about police officers shooting dogs on private property regardless of whether the officer is in danger of being bitten or not. I think too many police officers get off not just on killing animals but from the pure power rush of messing with people. Society needs to do a better job of screening people who apply for any job where the worker can exercise legal or physical power over other citizens. The Hupp family called the police to their property to deal with a dispute with a neighbor. Apparently the police officer doesn't like dogs. Tiffanie Hupp ran to stand in front of a police officer who was on the verge of casually shooting her family's chained dog, after the dog ran towards the police officer. The police officer attacked and arrested Mrs. Hupp. She was charged with obstruction of justice. She went to trial after refusing a plea deal. The officer lied and claimed that Mrs. Hupp menaced him with a crossbow, something which the video clearly shows was not the case. Fortunately Mrs. Hupp was acquitted of the false charges. Even more fortuitously she wasn't shot. It should be clear to most rational people by this time that there is a culture of bullying and sadism that occurs in too many police departments. I suppose what you think of Mrs. Hupp's actions depend at least in part on what you think of dogs. I don't think that volunteering to sacrifice your life for that of your dog is a particularly smart move but neither could I stand by and watch some preening thug with a badge kill my dog just because he felt like it. Something would have to be done right then and there. The fact that the officer was going to shoot Mrs Hupp's dog and tried to confiscate anything which could have been used to record his actions shows once again that too many cops use their badge not to serve the public but to bully it. The fact that Mrs. Hupp was willing to risk her life to save her dog and prevent her children from seeing the dog killed shows once again how much people love their dogs.
A West Virginia woman who stood between her dog and a cop who was about to shoot it was acquitted by a jury of obstruction charges on February, 29th, 2016. West Virginia state trooper Seth Cook testified that he was not afraid of the dog, but was following training that required him to kill all dogs that approach him, even if it was chained and wagging its tail as Buddy was doing in this case. 
And because Tiffanie Hupp tried to stop him from doing so, she was arrested...
Cook had just talked to her neighbor’s and had stepped onto her family’s property when Buddy began barking and approaching the officer, reaching the end of its chain.That’s when Hupp’s husband, Ryan Hupp, 25, began recording.
“If it wasn’t for him recording, there’d be nothing,” Hupp said.“He knew about police brutaty before I did. But that’s why the camera is shaking, because of the adrenaline. When they read those words ‘not guilty’, we were relieved. It’s hard to describe the feeling unless it’s actually happening to you. Justice is good, though.”
As Buddy approached and began barking at Cook, he pulled out his gun on the dog. And that’s when Hupp stood between the two.




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