Thursday, September 27, 2007

Canis domesticus has suddenly leaped onto the endangered species list. Owners of unlicensed dogs now facing a tenfold increase in fines for the offence have devised a brilliant workaround their predicament: abandon their dogs before the revised law kicks in.

How ironic that a law revised to offer more protection to our pets has resulted in more cruelty to them instead. Couple of issues here: rigid, over-reactive laws designed more to punish than help the situation, and people who would rather save themselves and their money than be responsible for their own pets.

But it's the latter issue that probably caused the former. As people who are urbanizing over what used to be natural habitats of other species, we've been losing sense of our interconnectedness with the plants and animals that form more than just the backdrop of our existance. When they get expensive or inconvenient, we get rid of them like we get rid of garbage.

But a punitive law with such a heavy penalty isn't helping make this situation any better. All the more we've made keeping pets an even more expensive proposition. No one wants to pay for an annual license. They are going to want to pay a $5k fine even less.

Law and punishment won't solve a problem if we don't address the root causes of the problem. Penalizing people isn't going to make them respect their responsibilities. Some dumb idiot abandoned what looks like a pomeranian which somehow wound up on the central divider of the TPE! Charitable assumption: dog somehow ran across the highway from wherever it got abandoned. Uncharitable assumption: dog got abandoned where it got found, owner hoping that a passing vehicle would put the ex-pet out of its misery.

Why do we feel the Govt is always controlling our lives when what we've got is really what we deserve? A little more thoughtfulness towards our fellow beings, people, please! We don't need a Draconian legal system to keep us in line, just a measure of common sense and a little empathy towards others, human or otherwise.

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