Johnson City Press Friday, July 3, 2015

Leaving animals at shelter shouldn't be criminal

March 17th, 2014 10:09 am by KATHRYN M. BERRY

Leaving animals at shelter shouldn't be criminal

There was a recent story about 20 dogs in poor condition being placed in drop-off boxes outside the Washington County/Johnson City Animal Shelter. Shelter Director Debbie Dobbs called it an act of cowardice, but I beg to differ. Making the rounds on Facebook is a video from the Tazewell (Va.) County Sheriff’s Department showing an older man leaving a dog chained to a bench outside the shelter there and officials asking for public assistance in identifying him.
We have laws stating it’s alright for a mother to abandon her child at a police station or hospital with no fear of prosecution, and the animal shelter put those cages outside there for a similar purpose for animals.
And yet there was an editorial in the Press favoring the creation of a state animal abuser registry. There was a case of animal abuse a year or so ago in Johnson City and when it was heard, the courtroom was standing room only and there were picketers and news crews outside. Most murder cases here don’t get that much public attention.
The gentleman in the video in Virginia, as well as the people who dropped off the 20 dogs in Johnson City, ultimately did the right thing. For whatever reason, they chose to place these animals in safe and loving hands.
I, too, am a dog lover — owning four of them myself. But I think when we as a society begin to place more priority on our pets than we do our friends and neighbors, we have our priorities slightly out of order. Yes, it would’ve been nice if they had included medical histories on each dog, but I would venture to guess their fear of being sent to jail or tried in the court of public opinion probably shaded their thinking.
At least they had the decency not to drop them off in some strange neighborhood or rural road where they would be running loose.



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