Treat Animals Right

It has been said, “The greatness of a nation [community] can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” Certainly those are words Fairfield’s Council should embrace as it ponders amending the County’s animal care standards to address tethering, shelter and other aspects of animal care. However, if that paradigm needs further support, Council offers plenty of other, unacceptable, reference material to guide their rulings on animal care.

The Bible should always be our first source for behavioral guidance. Proverbs 12:10 provides clarity on this issue: “A righteous man cares for the needs of his animal, but the kindest acts of the wicked are cruel.” We are all keenly aware that, throughout the Bible, God provides many commands to be wise and good shepherds of His gift of animals.

If the Bible is not guidance enough, The Humane Society of the United States provides earthly advice on pet care standards, particularly for dogs. In their own words, “The HSUS believes that dogs are part of the family. We recommend that all dogs live indoors, receive regular exercise, adequate attention, food, water and veterinary care. Dogs living outdoors part or all of the time should be provided with a safe, escape-proof enclosure with proper shelter, where they may express natural behaviors.” These standards are, for most, pretty much common sense minimum standards of care.

The HSUS also reminds us:

“Tethering is not only bad for dogs—it is a high risk factor for serious dog bites and attacks. Dogs unable to retreat from perceived or real threats can act out aggressively when approached. Dogs tethered for long periods can become highly aggressive. Dogs feel naturally protective of their territory; when confronted with a perceived threat, they respond according to their fight-or-flight instinct. A tied dog, unable to take flight, resorts to fight, perhaps attacking any unfamiliar animal or person who unwittingly wanders into his or her territory.”

Also weighing in on the cruelty of tethering , the American Veterinary Medical Association states, “Never tether or chain your dog because this can contribute to aggressive behavior. “Never thether” is a good starting point for just and safe animal protection legislation.

Lastly, but most importantly, Council members have their own conscience to guide them. I believe God has programed our conscience to shine a light on that which abuses what He has created. It is up to us to heed that light. That should be enough to motivate Council to demonstrate to the world that Fairfield is better than its recent spate of animal cruelty cases.

That should be enough for Council to do right by our animal friends.