When people acquire a pet they often overlook the responsibility that goes along with ownership. If there’s one thing the case of Buddy the dog proves is that life for all living beings is so fragile and it doesn’t take much for a healthy animal to become an unhealthy one requiring medical intervention or, in Buddy’s case, euthanasia.
We are not saying Buddy’s former owners are bad people and we’re not trying to point an accusatory finger of blame at anyone involved in this matter. What’s important is that a beautiful dog had to be put down because it was in need of emergency medical attention.
While law enforcement agencies and the SPCA often receive complaints regarding the condition of many dogs, cats and other pets, they often don’t have the power to act because of the way regulations are presently written. Unless they know beyond a shadow of doubt that there’s abuse or neglect, there’s really not much they can do to legally seize an animal.
Both Agriculture Minister Keith Colwell and Cumberland South MLA Jamie Baillie say they want to see the laws strengthened to protect animals like Buddy, and we can only hope both elected officials keep their word to help those animals in distress get the help they need before they become victims of abuse or neglect.
Colwell is correct when he says sensible legislation is brought forward that’s enforceable. As those with animal rescue agencies have long said, there’s no sense having tougher legislation when there’s no way of enforcing it. Baillie is right to say that saying nothing can be done is no longer acceptable.
Putting tougher rules in place that protect animals from abuse and neglect is important, but so is educating people on the responsibilities that go with owning a dog, a cat, a horse or any other member of the animal kingdom.