Dogs de­serve bet­ter, says writer

The Compass - - OPINION - — Rhonda Par­sons writes from Har­bour Grace

While I un­der­stand an­i­mals are abused ev­ery­where on the planet, walk down Wa­ter Street or Har­vey Street in Har­bour Grace and you will wit­ness many dogs sen­tenced to life im­pris­on­ment with no pos­si­bil­ity for pa­role.

While th­ese dogs have done noth­ing wrong and have never com­mit­ted a crime, they’re sub­jected to a pun­ish­ment worse than death — life at the end of a chain.

Many of th­ese dogs are chained up 24 hours-a-day, 7 days-a-week and some re­main in­car­cer­ated like this their en­tire lives.

I have been vis­it­ing my fam­ily for years in NL and have wit­nessed many dogs on Wa­ter Street chained. They never go for a walk or to my knowl­edge played a game of fetch. They never en­joy a ride in a car and have never known a mo­ment of love.

Fam­ily mem­bers and peo­ple in the com­mu­nity just walk by them, with tails wag­ging briefly when shown some com­pas­sion by a passerby. They quickly re­al­ize that it is short-lived.

Th­ese an­i­mals wake up each day to the same hor­rid con­di­tions and noth­ing to look for­ward to, not even a friendly pat on the head.

Th­ese dogs en­dure liv­ing in all sorts of weather and, for the most part, just sit by their dog house wan­der­ing around the same area of the yard. A life of ut­ter lone­li­ness. I find it dif­fi­cult to com­pre­hend why any­one would ac­quire a dog and then choose to ig­nore the an­i­mal for the rest of his or her life.

Dogs are mem­bers of the fam­ily. They are loyal, pa­tient, af­fec­tion­ate and sen­si­tive. They are non-judg­men­tal and pro­vide un­con­di­tional love, some­thing most hu­mans are not ca­pa­ble of do­ing.

Dogs are al­ways there for you, yet for some of the fam­i­lies who own th­ese beau­ti­ful sen­tient be­ings are sadly not al­ways there for them.

An­i­mals ex­pe­ri­ence the same feel­ings that hu­mans do such as pain, fear, joy and sad­ness.

Dogs chained or penned for ex­tended pe­ri­ods of time suf­fer from im­mense psy­cho­log­i­cal dam­age. They bark in­ces­santly out of lone­li­ness, bore­dom and frus­tra­tion. Th­ese poor dogs be­come de­pressed, sad, with­drawn, and as a re­sult, many de­velop ag­gres­sive be­hav­iour.

Aside from the se­vere emo­tional and so­cial de­pri­va­tion th­ese an­i­mals ex­pe­ri­ence, they will also suf­fer from ex­po­sure to ex­treme tem­per­a­tures, med­i­cal ne­glect, de­hy­dra­tion, and par­a­site in­fes­ta­tion.

Th­ese dogs are forced to eat, sleep and de­posit their own waste in a sin­gle con­fined area.

Chain­ing a dog 24 hours-a-day is sim­ply cruel and bar­baric. It is an un­ac­cept­able treat­ment and should be banned.

As pet own­ers you are re­spon­si­ble for their well-be­ing and it is up to you to care for and look af­ter your pet the same as you would any mem­ber of your fam­ily.

Life is pretty bleak for those an­i­mals liv­ing out­side.

Peo­ple need to ed­u­cate them­selves and treat their an­i­mals with love and re­spect. They are liv­ing, breath­ing crea­tures that de­serve love and to be cared for. They are not a lawn or­na­ment.

This goes for all an­i­mals, if you plan on own­ing one, be will­ing to make the com­mit­ment.

There are re­spon­si­ble dog own­ers in Har­bour Grace who I have wit­nessed walk­ing their dogs. Th­ese dogs are loved and well cared for.

How­ever, I find it a bit ironic that ev­ery year there is the Con­cep­tion Bay Ken­nel Club Dog Show at the S.W. Moores Me­mo­rial Sta­dium in Har­bour Grace. Sadly, not too far away from the doors of the sta­dium, you will hear the cries of those dogs lan­guish­ing at the end of a chain.

Now cats? Well that’s another story.

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