I think I have a genetic predisposition to like animals more than people. The story yesterday about the rescue of dogs from a dog-fighting rabble – I won’t dignify the vile people by calling it an “enterprise” – cheered my soul. My disciple of Jesus nature tells me all people can be restored to the fellowship of Man through faith and repentance, but I have difficulty with animal neglect and abuse – I think it indicates how a person treats other people.
Living during 1990 in a military housing complex south of Bolling Air Force Base, I witnessed the best of young military families and on a couple occasions, troubling situations. Once a toddler was retrieved in the middle of the night from the street by the security patrol. Security went door to door to find the parents. The spouse of a deployed service member was shocked when they knocked on her door. And the following year, as I walked my dog, I would often see a dirty, white shepherd tied up day and night under stairs. I reported it to the housing “mayor” and to the District of Columbia animal shelter where I volunteered in my off-time. Animal Control officers went out to investigate and took possession of the dog. THAT set off a firestorm of jurisdictional tussling! The “mayor” berated me that they couldn’t simply come onto Navy property and seize something akin to a person’s lawn mower. His wife berated him for equating a neglected dog to a lawnmower. Big Navy wanted to know why another jurisdiction was involved when Naval District Washington should have investigated. In the end, the estranged, angry spouse and her deployed military husband got family counseling, rules for pet ownership were codified, and everyone settled down. The dog was not returned to the family for several weeks – while it was fed and given veterinary care, with a promise for periodic oversight from the animal control officers.
In the last thirty years a lot has changed regarding educating and supporting military families about communication, child-rearing, deployments, and pet care. I would imagine however that oversight is more effective when there is both a stick and a carrot for compliance. But in the case of civilians who engage in animal “sports”, employers are far less intrusive. That’s where the community needs to “see something, say something”.