Bea­gle bar­bar­ity in South River

The Compass - - FRONT PAGE -

Colum­nist Dar­rin McGrath writes about a dis­turb­ing in­ci­dent of an­i­mal cru­elty in South River in­volv­ing a bea­gle dog. McGrath makes a pas­sion­ate plea for dog own­ers to treat their an­i­mals more hu­manely.

Fall is my fa­vor­rite time of the year. The weather has cooled from the heat of sum­mer, the flies are gone and the fall woods are a rain­bow of beau­ti­ful colours and rich smells.

One rea­son I par­tic­u­larly like the fall is that the rab­bit hunt­ing sea­son opened on Satur­day, Oct. 9. I planned my vacation so I would have two weeks off in Oc­to­ber. I love it. I’ve been run­ning my two bea­gles to get them in shape for the hunt­ing. They can start rab­bits very near my cabin and I de­light to hear them howl­ing on hot scent or catch sight of a flee­ing brown bunny.

A few years back I penned a book about rab­bit hunt­ing and bea­gle own­er­ship called “ Hound Dog.” I wrote that book to try and raise aware­ness of the ne­glect and abuse many bea­gles ex­pe­ri­ence. I’m sad to re­port that my book didn’t change the world.

You see, I was flip­ping through the Buy and Sell Mag­a­zine ( Is­sue 700 - Oc­to­ber 8th) when I no­ticed a bea­gle up for adop­tion from the St. John’s SPCA (page 67). I took off my glasses to read the fine print and was shocked to read the fol­low­ing: “ Freck­les is in­cred­i­bly timid, but won­der­fully sweet. He is an in­tact bea­gle cross who was found on a beach in South River with a chain wrapped around a rock in an iso­lated area.”

Just imag­ine some­body leav­ing a beau­ti­ful bea­gle on a salt-wa­ter beach chained to a rock. The in­ten­tion was to drown the dog with the high tide.

Imag­ine the ter­ror and horror the dog would have ex­pe­ri­enced as the tide slowly rose and he was un­able to es­cape. What a hor­ri­ble death some­one planned for this poor dog. Aban­don­ing the dog to drown was un­nec­es­sary, cruel and heart­less. There were many al­ter­na­tives open to the owner. Groups like Bea­gle Paws, the SPCA and Heav­enly Crea­tures would have gladly ac­cepted the dog and worked to find a good home for it.

Bea­gle Paws, as its name sug­gests, spe­cial­izes in the res­cue of un­wanted bea­gles such as Freck­les. The group was founded in 2002 by Sheila Lewis, Denise Au­coin, Barb Carew, and a few other women. In a re­cent in­ter­view with The Tele­gram, Lewis said that since 2002, 1,200 bea­gles have been adopted through the or­ga­ni­za­tion. For sure most of those 1,200 bea­gles would have been put to death with­out the ef­forts of Bea­gle Paws.

One as­pect of the bea­gles that Bea­gle Paws has been try­ing to ed­u­cate peo­ple about is the fact that bea­gles make great pets and are not just for hunt­ing. In fact, that was one of the points I pressed in “Hound Dog.” My bea­gles live in the house with me and go hunt­ing, too.

Un­for­tu­nately, some folks have the dis­torted idea that you must keep a bea­gle out­side for it to be a good hunter. How­ever, my dogs are proof that a bea­gle can be a house-pet and a hunter.

Of the two bea­gles I cur­rently own, Tiny and Ranger, Ranger is my best hunter and sleeps on the bed each night with me. She is a very timid dog and hides when my broth­ers come to visit. She is afraid of ev­ery­one ex­cept me. She is re­ally a one-man dog. She is even re­luc­tant to hunt when my broth­ers or bud­dies tag along.

When I read of a timid bea­gle be­ing chained to a rock on a des­o­late beach in South River, I im­me­di­ately thought of my own dog Ranger and how ter­ri­fied she would be if she were in that po­si­tion. I know there are many bea­gles from South River to Car­bon­ear. If you de­cide you can’t keep the dog, or are un­able to care it for please call the SPCA, Heav­enly Crea­tures or Bea­gle Paws. Do the right thing and give the dog a chance by turn­ing it over to an an­i­mal care group.

On the mat­ter of pet wel­fare, I was glad to re­ceive an e-mail from Linda Gal­way in Car­bon­ear. She is a re­tired teacher who is af­fil­i­ated with a group called A Tail or Two, which was started by Ju­lia Harrington. The group is concerned with the wel­fare of pets in the greater Car­bon­ear area. I’m sure Linda and Ju­lia were hor­ri­fied to learn of this bea­gle left to drown on a beach in South River.

My God, it’s hor­ren­dous to think some­one left a dog chained on the beach to drown in quiet South River. I won­der what the anti-seal­ing groups like Green Peace and the In­ter­na­tional Fund for An­i­mal Wel­fare say about this case?

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