Whoever is righteous has regard for the life of his beast, but the mercy of the wicked is cruel.
– Proverbs 12:10
Almost assuredly, “every dog has its day”. And, we have come to understand from this that the lowliest and unluckiest of us will at some time come into his own glory. So convinced are some of us, we revel in the thought that every dog will have his own day.
Well, literally, every Barbadian canine and fellow creature are having their week – National Animal Week. But it is not all glorious –– for man or animal.
At a time when we should be celebrating fully the highest good of animal care, we have to be reminded of the gross evil treatment meted out to our four-legged companions, in particular our dogs. Department head Curtis Thompson, of the Animal Control Centre, could not help but lament how some dogs were being abused, neglected, abandoned, and even brutally and unnecessarily killed by their very owners.
We were forced by shock –– and a sense of social responsibility –– to carry a report just yesterday on the unkempt and unsanitary conditions in which six dogs were being kept at Small Town in St John. Among the offences their owner had committed were not providing enough water for the animals –– one of which was housed under an abandoned car and another in an open trailer; keeping most of the dogs in cramped kennels; and having the canines wallow in their own faeces and urine, thus breeding disease-carrying flies.
In this case, the proper sanitizing of the areas in which these dogs were were kept was markedly absent. Thus, leftover dog food and faeces lay around –– an environment ripe for the spread of the perilous lepto organism.
It cannot be emphasized enough that poor sanitary practices with one’s animals can have grave consequences for one’s own health and that of one’s neighbours. Assistant Control Officer Benjamin Licorish, who was investigating the Small Town abuse report, couldn’t have made it clearer.
“We are our neighbours’ keepers, and what we do on our premises can also affect our neighbours . . . . When you have high instances of flies . . . they can go on your (neighbours’) food and spread disease.”
Of course, the offending St John dog owner was instructed on how he might upgrade is canine facilities –– failing which he will lose his pets to the Animal Control Centre. Hopefully, these Small Town dogs will shortly have their day.
Elsewhere this week, dog talk took on a happier tone under much more salubrious conditions. Control Officer Licorish had his hands full of primary school pupils eager to learn of the proper care of dogs (and other household pets). And he obliged.
Dogs require first of all an understanding of their nature by their owners, then personal attention, proper and consistent feeding and water, training, and love. The pupils of West Terrace and Good Shepherd Primary schools would have learnt these lessons well on Tuesday, with the courtesy of Mr Licorish and team.
It is at this stage of childhood the practice of careful treatment of animals must be introduced and reinforced, that the established good habit may not wane in adulthood. To boot, such a behavioural pattern can engender in us considerateness for and kindness towards our fellow man.
It is not untrue that people who abuse their own animals will not abuse yours too –– and you personally as well. Abusers know no boundaries. By their dogs ye shall know them.