On Pit Bull ‘Attacks,’ Naughty Cats and Other Topics

This vintage typwriter is our featured image.

The longer I live, the more I hate people.

Alexandra Bogdanovic
Founder/owner of In Brief Legal Writing Services, Alexandra Bogdanovic. Photo by N. Bogdanovic

OK, that’s not entirely accurate. Let’s just say the longer I live, the less tolerance I have for human stupidity. And considering I that I never had much tolerance for that in the first place, that’s saying a lot.

So you’re probably wondering what triggered this little rant. Well, a few things to be honest. The first is a news story about a pit bull that recently “attacked” someone on a New York City subway. I put the word “attacked” in quotation marks because I wasn’t there so I don’t know exactly what happened. From what I can gather from the news accounts (which I would never rely upon to draw a conclusion) the owner claims the dog was provoked. Others dispute that. Authorities say the dog is a known menace.

Based on limited information, all I know is this: Something triggered that animal. Perhaps (and I stress perhaps) the person who got bitten did deliberately or inadvertently provoke the dog. Or perhaps the dog was simply stressed by being in a crowded, claustrophobic, noisy environment. Perhaps it was scared, or overstimulated by being in that subway car. I mean, let’s be honest. Riding the New York City subway is stressful for a human. Imagine how overwhelming it must be for any animal.

No, I am not making excuses. Frankly, I think the whole entire situation is inexcusable. I don’t care if it really is a “service animal” (which is another topic for another blog). That dog should never have been put in that situation. Ever. Period. End. Of. Story.

Allowing that to happen  was clearly a recipe for disaster. It was irresponsible. And it was sad. It was sad because that owner should have known better — and if he didn’t he never should have been allowed to have the dog in the first place. It was sad because human stupidity may very well cost that dog its life.

Bad cat, or stupid people?

But that’s not all that’s bugging me. I’m also annoyed about a recent Facebook conversation with one of my cousins. To sum it up, she made a post about the action she planned to take against a neighbor’s cat that had used her garden as its personal latrine. I believe she mentioned the use of a  “super-soaker”  at least once.

Don’t get me wrong. I understand why she’s upset — especially since she has young children and there is clearly a double-standard regarding dogs and cats in her community. However, the point I made when I joined the discussion is that the cat is just being a cat. I seriously doubt that it has any malicious intent. That being stated, I as I also told my cousin, the owners are being irresponsible idiots by letting the cat run around unsupervised. In other words, don’t blame the animal. Blame the people.

As pet owners or pet “parents,” we are responsible for our animals. As long as they are in our lives, we are responsible for all aspects their health and well-being. We’re responsible for keeping them out of trouble… and like it or not, we’re responsible for their behavior. After all, we’re the ones with the consciences, and ability to reason. Allegedly.

This time a pit bull was the victim

This vintage typwriter is our featured image.

Every once in a while, I come across a story that makes me cry. This week I found two.

A Real Tear-Jerker

The first one was an article I found on Yahoo.com. To sum it up, the story is about a man who was afraid of pit bulls — and was scared to death of what his wife’s pit bull-mix might do to their newborn baby. As it turned out, the pit bull-Lab cross loved the little girl. As they grew up together, the bond between the girl and her dog got even stronger.

But one day, everything went horribly wrong. The man, Greg Heynen, claims some neighborhood children poisoned Zack — the pit bull-cross who faithfully followed his daughter to bed every night. Zack died and for the first time, Greg’s daughter didn’t have her faithful companion by her side as she climbed the stairs at bedtime.

That’s when Greg’s own dog, Sam, stepped in. Somehow sensing the little girl’s distress, Sam escorted the little girl upstairs that night — and continued the tradition until his death six years later.

Needless to say, a lot of people commented on this story. Some of them said it made them cry. Others expressed outrage that children killed Zack. One even said that they should be poisoned as well. Others said they should be thrown in jail. Most agreed they should be punished in some way.

I agree. If these children deliberately poisoned Zack, they should be punished to the fullest extent of the law. If permitted under state law, I would charge and try them as adults. Not only did they (allegedly) kill an innocent animal — they robbed a little girl of the rest of her childhood with her best friend. They robbed the Heynen family of a loyal and loving pet.

More importantly, if this was a deliberate act, these children demonstrated the depraved indifference characteristic of hard-core criminals. This is no exaggeration. Scientific studies provide irrefutable proof that children capable of harming animals can and sometimes do grow up to become serial killers.

Leo’s Story

The other story is one that hits closer to home. In fact, it’s about one of the dogs at the animal shelter where I have volunteered for almost three years.

Take me home! A dog up for adoption and an Adopt-a-Dog volunteer. Photo by A. Bogdanovic
An Adopt-a-Dog volunteer with a dog up for adoption at the annual Puttin’ on the Dog show in Greenwich last September. Photo by A. Bogdanovic

At this point, Leo, another pit bull-mix, has been at the shelter almost as long as I have. He came to Adopt-A-Dog in Armonk, N.Y., after a Good Samaritan spotted him by the side of a busy highway and rescued him in the spring of 2014.

He’s such an awesome dog that everyone at the shelter thought a family would adopt him pretty quickly. But a couple of things seemed to work against him from the beginning. For one thing, he will do best in a home with older teenagers. Secondly, he will be happiest in a household without any other pets.

The good news is that he’s thrived in the shelter’s enrichment and training program. He loves agility and he loves to swim, so he’d be a perfect companion for someone who needs a training partner!

You can learn more about Leo by clicking on the “What’s up at Adopt-A-Dog?” link in the sidebar here at inbrieflegalwriting.com tomorrow. You can also visit his profile page on the shelter’s website.

Finally, if you live in the New York metropolitan area and are interested in learning more about Adopt-A-Dog, you can also visit the shelter during our open house and adoption event on Saturday, April 23. The event, at 23 Cox Avenue in Armonk, N.Y., will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. We look forward to seeing you there!