Beagle barbarity in South River
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?