By Guest Blogger Ron Hevener
Mother Nature and common sense tell us not to get between two dogs that are fighting, but, usually, it’s wasted advice. Few of us can stand by when dogs are settling their differences with their own kind, especially if one of them is ours. So it was when Steven pulled Bella off a Shih Tzu during a routine walk and, in the heat of the fight, she grabbed his pants.
At first, it almost sounds funny (a vacationer in Cape Cod, struggling with his own dog as she pulls off his pants). But, what happened next wasn’t funny at all. As the other guy hurried off, a police officer was driving by and witnessed Steven scolding Bella.
“What are you doing, slugging that dog!” he demanded.
“Excuse me? I was not slugging my dog!” Steven said, surprised. “I would never ‘slug’ my dog.”
“Yes you were. I saw you slugging that dog in the face!” Clearly, it was a matter of the vacationer’s word against a hometown cop. As Bella looked on in confusion, Steven was written up and told that there would be an investigation.
Two days later, police arrived where he was staying, and they took him away in handcuffs. He was jailed, required to post bail, and hire an attorney. One of them asked for a $5,000 retainer.
Have we gone overboard with laws for animal protection? All we have to do is look at animals, themselves, for the answers. Is Bella afraid of Steven? Does she cower around him? Does she act like she expects to be hit? We don’t need laws or courts to tell us these things.
At the time of this writing, Steven and Bella are home, but they have a court hearing coming up. If he was such a threat to her – if they were really worried about a dog being hurt – don’t you think Bella would have been taken away from him? Maybe this isn’t really about dogs. Maybe it’s not about animals at all.
Are such laws being correctly understood and applied or have our beautiful animals been used to get something on the books that hurts them worse than anyone ever thought? The court is treating this as a felony. Does any of us realize what a felony conviction does to someone’s life – and to the animals that depend on him? Is this how dog lovers want laws against animal abuse to be interpreted and carried out? Bella lacks for nothing in her life.
When her canine mate, Jenny, was sick, Steven paid thousands of dollars to save her. Does over-zealous law enforcement mean we must pay for lawyers, have our reputations smeared, lose our jobs, lose our pensions and go to prison for training dogs not to bite? It’s true that animals don’t speak our language, but they do learn by example. And, as anybody who sees a spoiled kid throwing a temper tantrum in a grocery store knows, so do we.
Animals do not stand alone in our society. They cannot be born, raised, trained or cared for without someone who takes on that responsibility. What happens to Bella now? What happens to a dog in whose name such laws were passed if she loses Steven – the one she loves and depends on because a law meant to protect her ends up wrecking her home and destroying her life instead?
Author/Artist RON HEVENER specializes in animals and the romantic, adventurous people who love them. Mr. Hevener’s collectible figurines and the prints from his novels (“Fate of the Stallion!” … “The Blue Ribbon” … “High Stakes”) are now bought and traded throughout the world. Today, Ron Hevener’s illustrated animal stories are published regularly in magazines, newsletters, newspapers and on websites around the globe. He is currently on tour – speaking at bookstores, libraries, theaters, schools, gift stores, pet stores, dog shows, art shows, horse shows and public events. “Life is a movie,” he says. “On With The Show!” … www.RonHevener.com