THE EDITOR: I read with absolute horror that the three young men who hung one of their pets, a dog, from a tree received a paltry fine of $400 each to be paid over a three-month period. The explanation given was that they “acted out of compassion because the dog was in pain.”
I have spent the past few days trying to locate the definition of compassion, because in the English language which I learned at school, nowhere did it state that compassion meant inflicting pain on any living being. The definitions I found are:
To recognise the suffering of others and then take action to help. Compassion embodies a tangible expression of love for those who are suffering. It involves allowing ourselves to be moved by suffering and experiencing the motivation to help alleviate and prevent it.
The facts of the case are:
1. Madison was Samuel’s pet, therefore at some point he must have loved this animal whom he left at the pound three times and every time Madison came back to him. Dogs are loyal that way.
2. The men admitted they killed the dog on April 11. It was a Saturday.
3. The accused took a piece of cable wire and placed it around the dog’s neck and hanged the animal from a tree. This is what you do to a living being that you have supposedly loved and cared for as a pet?
4. Those who viewed the footage will never get the picture out of their minds of one of the men watching the dog hanging from the tree and smiling – because apparently that it what you do when you are showing compassion. You watch and smile while this living being has the air choked out of it, probably breaking its neck in the process from struggling for air, and this is funny. You even film it.
Defence attorney Ainsley Lucky cited the Dangerous Dog Act as stating that if a dog is progressively vicious/violent to anyone it is considered dangerous and must be put down. And further, Madison had been struck by a car and was injured and its temperament was changed.
Did anyone ask why the dog was rummaging through people’s garbage and became a nuisance? No. Did anyone ask how the dog managed to be struck by a car? No. Why was she allowed out on the streets to roam? Why was the owner not charged for failing to ensure his “vicious/violent” dog was properly fenced in? How is this being responsible?
Samuel stated, “I decide to hang the dog because it was interfering with people garbage.” He decided to hang the dog.
Did the learned judge not read and hear these statements? Was the footage shown of Madison being tortured to death? I am struggling to understand how a mitigation plea of compassion could even be argued or accepted? This was downright cruelty and animal abuse.
It is unacceptable that this is the outcome. Are Samuel and his friends going to be assessed psychologically? Do they just pay this fine of $400 each and find another dog? Is Samuel going to be allowed to have another pet?
I am a firm believer in Gandhi’s words, “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” This tells me everything I need to know about my beloved country – we do not care! We have failed Madison and every other animal that is being abused, poisoned and killed by humans – and the law allows this.
Remember that violent crimes are out of control – but let’s just call it compassion. Also remember that the fine for failing to wear a mask is $1,000 – but kill an animal in cold blood, it’s just $400. We are truly lost.