The Washington Times-Herald

Columns

December 15, 2012

Being Humane is only Human

WASHINGTON —

I hear the noise every night, a sad, lonely dog barking and it breaks my heart. Two houses down the street from my house sits an Alaskan Malamute tied to a five-foot leash at all times, no matter the weather. The Malamute has a plastic dog house for shelter, and his chain that is connected to the porch on the side of the house.

This poor animal’s entire life is confined to a five-foot area. Keeping an animal confined to this small space is cruel punishment. Monday night, the low temperature was 25 degrees, and sure enough he was out there crying, pleading for some attention, but alas no one comes. I couldn’t imagine leaving any animal outside during the winter when temperatures are routinely 30 degrees or below from December through February.

Dogs are social animals, they get infinite joy out of interactions with fellow dogs and its owners, unfortunately this beautiful animal will never experience that feeling. Since moving to Washington in August, there hasn’t been one day or night that this dog wasn’t tied up. This type of lack of respect for the well being of a dog is not something I am surprised at, but more a glaring deficiency in today’s society.  The owners of this dog would be better off giving the Alaskan Malamute to an animal shelter, at least that would give the dog a chance at going to a loving home.

While this behavior towards this dog is not violent abuse, it is a form of abuse. Barking and crying isn’t a form of disobedience, but a cry for help. The trending lack of compassion for their own animals, owners of these animals have no reason to change its ways, because animal abuse/neglect laws are so lenient to any violators that these innocent animals are really the ones who face the worst kind of punishment.

Last week then IU-sophomore Christopher Gugliuzza inquired about adopting a three-month old orange cat named Lennox at the Bloomington Animal Shelter. Lennox couldn’t be adopted since he was already in the process of being adopted by another individual. Gugliuzza immediately left the shelter with Lennox in hand to go back to his apartment. While in Gugliuzza’s custody, Lennox was subjected to physical abuse at the hands of the IU sophomore. He admitted to Bloomington police that he slapped, threw and tied a computer cord around the neck of Lennox. Lennox was later left for dead in a wooded area by Gugliuzza, but miraculously Lennox was found and will make a full recovery.

In addition, Gugliuzza admitted to killing another cat, Misty about two months ago. The reason for the deceased cat’s killing at the hands of Gugliuzza was that the cat inadvertently scratched him while sleeping.

The good news is Gugliuzza was charged with two felonies, unfortunately he would face at most six years in prison for the attacks on Misty and Lennox.  His depraved and psychotic behavior toward felines is something that has to be stopped permanently. He’s clearly shown he has a penchant to harm kittens and adult cats. He needs to be banned from ever owning any animal for the rest of his life. To truly make a dent in the world of animal abusers, the laws need to be much stiffer. How would Gugliuzza feel if he had to endure the same kind of abuse that Lennox and Misty went through, for the simple reason that he had strength and power over them.

The basis of having laws is to deter individuals from committing crimes.

Look at Michael Vick, probably the most infamous animal abuser in the world today. Vick only received 21 months in federal prison, and three years later is allowed to adopt a dog again. If a person like Vick can get off relatively easy then what is to deter Gugliuzza from abusing a few cats.

This argument comes down to the fact that the majority of people view animals, especially cats and dogs as something to play with, and can be thrown away just as easy. So often when it comes to animal abuse I hear a statement that brings me great sadness, “Who cares, it’s just an animal.”

Cats and dogs should be viewed as a member of households. Dogs, more than cats, give unconditional love every day of their lives, no matter what.

The defiling, and abusing of this special relationship is one of the most inhumane acts that people perpetuate on a daily basis.

If you’re going to treat your pets this way, why even adopt a pet. Hundreds of animals find great homes every day via Craigslist, it’s not as if there is a shortage of people wanting to take in these animals.

Obviously, the treatment of these cats and the Alaskan Malamute just two houses down from my home are far different situations, but they both display a disturbing behavior in animal abuse. Dogs should be part of your family, not just something to stick outside like a piece of trash, and cats, especially kittens are some of the most selfless loving creatures we have on this planet. To take advantage of this kindness is to show the darkest aspects of depravity in society.

Until we as a society change this way of thinking, the sad, lonely noise will continue each night.

•••

Dennis is a sportswriter, Mustang enthusiast and New York Yankee fan. You can contact him at dglade@washtimesherald.com.

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