We’ve had some super cold days here in San Antonio lately. You know the kind – freeze warnings abound. Articles are everywhere about how to wrap pipes. Let’s face it, we are not familiar with super cold days/nights in South Texas.
That’s fine with me.
However, I heard something on the news the other day that really disturbed me.
Evidently, there were something like 120 tickets/fines given out to owners who didn’t protect their pets during the cold. That means that dogs were left chained outside. (There’s a new law against chaining a dog outside in San Antonio.) The fines, which were normally $300.00 are now around $1200.00.
Let’s all agree that anyone who would leave their dog chained outside in 15 degree weather is a scuzbag, be they male or female. (What is the female version of scuzbag?)
So, here comes the police or the SPCA or the animal control police (not sure who issues the tickets) and gives the scuzbag a $1200.00 ticket. What do you think happens to the dog? Does the amount of the ticket make the owner suddenly feel all warm and fuzzy toward the poor animal? I doubt it. And I don’t think the owners have an epiphany of: “Well gee, Mabel, maybe I ought to treat ol’ Fido a bit nicer.” Nope.
I think the law of unintended consequences comes into play. It was evident that the owners considered the dogs a liability, a pain, and an imposition BEFORE they got a ticket. I can’t help but wonder how many dogs are abused, abandoned, or just plain killed AFTER the ticket.
Instead of ticketing, I wish we could simply remove the dogs from that environment. However, while hundreds of people in San Antonio are striving to make us a no-kill city we’re not there yet, so the dog’s ultimate fate wouldn’t be appreciably better if they were rescued.
One of our neighbors reported a similar situation a month ago about a house a few blocks away. Forty-five people showed up on their doorstep one evening, demanding that the owners treat their dog with more kindness. The owners immediately brought the dog inside and ceased chaining him to the privacy fence. I imagine that they were shocked by the hue and cry. I don’t know how the dog is being treated now, but I can guarantee you that people are watching.
Maybe that’s the answer. Public shaming.