Save the dog, shoot parents(?)
Vail Daily, Vail Colorado COIf it were not for my unwavering confidence in mankind as a species, I’d swear my headline above is what some of you people would actually prefer.Either way, what we have here is not a problem to communicate, but a dog named Max, loved by some and loathed by others, that allegedly (until a court rules otherwise) attacked and mauled 2-year-old Zoie Palmer in a Singletree yard July 21.For the record, no one involved disputes whether it was Max’s fangs that tore Zoie’s face.Zoie has since had numerous surgeries and will have more, her face marked to some degree for life, along with psychological scars for years to come. Meanwhile, Max sits in doggy jail awaiting a trial that will determine his ability to again live in the old neighborhood or anywhere else, for that matter.Reading the signed letters in the paper and all the anonymous nonsense on the Web site, it appears that the only real issue folks seem to care about is this: Who is to blame?Maybe it’s just me, but I do not see the point in assigning blame at all. It was a horrific tragedy, plain and simple. Incriminating one side or the other helps neither. I have friends on both sides of the issue, each frantically composing valid arguments for one outcome or another, but none accomplishing anything other than extremely emotional expressions of frustration. It’s either “FREE MAX!” or “SAVE THE CHILDREN!” They all mean well. They all wish to help facilitate changes to make sure something like this never happens again. But none appears able to look any further than the scheduled March conclusion from our legal system. And contrary to some babble, at this time there are no lawsuits involved, just the owner, Donna Griffin, facing charges of owning a dangerous and vicious dog, which could result in a hefty and people jail time.I’m looking at it this way: Suppose a senior citizen lost control of their car and careened into the Palmers’ living room, causing similar damage to Zoie or other family members. This does, unfortunately, happen a few times each year across the country.Would some of you yell to, “Put the old geezer down before he does it again!” while others shout, “Give him his license back; it’s not his fault!”?Of course not (although I’m questionable about a few of you). The point is if choosing between a dog’s life or a human’s, as long as they are not named Osama or Adolf, the biped will win every time. Perhaps a more crucial distinction to understand is how differently this issue would be handled if the little girl’s injuries had, forgive me for even writing this but, proved fatal. Just because some dogs act like they are human at times, they are not, nor should they be accorded the same rights. Besides, they never “act” human. That’s merely our perception of how they react to a particular stimuli, usually provided by us in the first place.If the attack had been deadly, very few of you (save for a handful of extremist PETA members) would dare speak out in support of Max. And I hopefully assume that even the one goofball (deserving of this year’s coal-based fruitcake Christmas award) who said Social Services should remove Zoie from her parents would keep his or her trap shut. I mean, really, how many brain cells does one have to destroy before truly thinking that ripping a child away from her parents during the neediest time in her young life could possibly be a benefit? Some folks are just truly warped.Anyway, a couple of points are obvious to me:A financial burden for the dog owner will never help Zoie sleep at night.A jail sentence for the owner would accomplish as much as sending Rumsfeld to Guantanamo. A dead Max will not repair Zoie’s face. A fenced-in Max will not help neighbors with children sleep at night, but if he moved to my neighborhood, my child would not be allowed outside. And I can honestly tell you that if she were my daughter, Max would already be pushing up doggy daisies. And if he were my dog, Max would never be seen in Happy Valley again.So I freely admit to possessing no clear answers or even suggestions, other than the part about not assigning blame. I just don’t see a benefit for either side.Therefore, at this point, I wish nothing but the best of luck to both families, but especially to Zoie. With all respect to a dog, the little girl deserves quite a bit more.Richard Carnes of Edwards writes a weekly column for the Daily. He can be reached at email@example.com
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