Doomsday awaits innocent dogs | AspenTimes.com

Doomsday awaits innocent dogs

Dear Editor:

Have you heard about breed-specific legislation yet? If not, you will. It is running rampant around the world and has been in the news a lot lately. Two of the most recent pubic stories have been about a dog in Ireland named Lennox and a dog in Montreal named Wicca. Both are now dead. It’s not because they killed or maimed someone, but because they acted like any regular dog – and looked like a pit bull.

I think about Wicca (“Save Wicca” on Facebook), and Lennox (“Save Lennox” on Facebook) and all the other dogs who have been unnecessarily yanked away from their families and put to death for behaviors that are common to all dogs, and I am brought to my knees in sadness. Breed-specific legislation and discrimination doomed them to an untimely and unfair death. It was not their actions that caused this death sentence but instead their look and their lineage, a stereotype.

Either of these dogs’ actions could have been any one of my Labradors’ and probably one of yours, regardless of breed. After all, who among us dog owners has not had our dog(s) at one time or another, in their innate effort to be protective of us, bark aggressively at a passer-by, another dog, a kid on a bike or skateboard, or slipped its collar or leash and barked at a neighbor or someone at our door?

But what if you live in a town, city or state that has laws that say that just because your dog just happens to look like a pit bull (even if it’s not a full or even a partial bully breed), that it could be yanked away from you and destroyed without any trail, any due process just because it exhibited one of those behaviors and has the “right” look. Someone got scared and maybe even scratched by your dog, and now your dog has a death sentence, and you can’t do anything about it!

Now think about how much you love your dog. If you love your dog like I do mine, it is like your child, and you would do anything in your power to protect it. How would you feel about having to say good-bye to your dog, having to surrender them to the courts, knowing they were going to be destroyed for being a dog? It doesn’t matter that it is a good, well trained dog, a service dog, a therapy dog or if it is fully licensed and always leashed. The only thing that mattered was that it acted like dog and resembles a pit bull. If it were one of my girls, I would be beyond devastated and would probably run to the furthest corner of the globe to protect my “baby” from an unjust punishment.

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Thousands of dogs and their families have been brutally yanked apart and destroyed because of a stereotype. Like all stereotypes, it is cruel, wrong and unjust. We have to make our laws punish the deed, not the breed. Pit bulls and those that look like them cannot be victimized any longer. This has to stop. Talk to your local leaders, your lawmakers, join the movement, make a choice, help create a change and save lives!

And in the meantime, hug your dogs. Their love is a gift to cherish. They are not here for long, but their presence in your life is a present from Heaven, and together, we can create a change and end breed-specific legislation!

Lisbeth Oden

Aspen