Apparently my rep as a troublemaker and activist has made ‘friends’ (FB friends is a kind of odd idea, right?) think I should be involved in caring about all God’s creatures. So I have been linked to and prodded through e-mails to care about and protest the planned upcoming demise of one Lennox, a Belfast dog that shall be euthanized soon even though there appears to be worldwide concern about his fate. Lennox looks sweet enough (though it depends on when the pictures were taken, a fact also true for both George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin).And it does seem a bit unfair to euthanize the dog when no actual mayhem has resulted.
A couple of things:
First, I live in NYC, where epic battles rage about dogs and dog ownership. Many times in NY, a dog becomes the centerpiece in an attempt to evict someone from a rent-stabilized apartment, or even a Condo or Co-op. Having done some door-to-door work several years ago, I can say that there are numerous apartments in the city that house some REALLY SCARY DOGS. It’s one thing to own such animals when you’re out in the boondocks–quite another in an apartment building. Many apartments now institute ‘bark tests’ among prospective residents’ pets, and a noisy dog can cause one’s eviction in most buildings. It is therefore not a shock to me that in a crowded city like Belfast, the local politicos decided to inveigh against Rover. Especially if Rover has (unbeknownst to passerby) been bred to attack. Does Lennox look scary? Would I knock on the door if Lennox was inside? Probably not. If I live in a city, is being afraid of pit bulls part of the price I have to pay to live in a city? The city fathers of Belfast (and New York) have tried to say ‘no’.
So… other problem here is that although I would never call myself a ‘people person’, I tend to take the alleviation of suffering OF PEOPLE as a prime directive. That said, the government of Ireland seems to me to be a much more benevolent one toward people than what we have in, say Texas. Or, more recently, Georgia. I’d like to say that all these folks sending me notes about Lennox were equally adamant about these apparent miscarriages of justice that sent human beings to their deaths. I’d like to say that, but I can’t. In this country, we treat pets at least as badly as we treat poor humans. But Lennox has almost as many signatures on his site as, say, Leonard Peltier. And that kind of rubs me the wrong way. There’s a site to boycott travel to Belfast? Really? People cook dogs alive in China–where’s the ‘Boycott electronics from China’ site and how many hits?
I guess what I’m trying to say is that as an activist and public pest, I get lots of requests for help and involvement. And this is not just via the internets machines–as you can see, there are plenty of people in the US languishing in our jails who need comfort. I’m a bit cynical about the outpouring of genuine outrage about Lennox and his situation, when I can’t get any outrage about, say, war crimes in Fallujah, or the Al Amariyeh cruise missile attack during Gulf War I.
And yes, I own pets. I think it would be cruel to own a dog in a city this crowded and complicated, but we do have sea monkeys. If you’re living in a city and you can’t spend a lot of time at home, sea monkeys are a great pet. They’re not smart enough to reflect on their precarious state. They all kind of look the same. It’s hard to notice if a particular one dies. And (thanks to my lovely wife’s ingenuity) we named them all variations on Eric. Erick, Erica, El Rico, Erik, La Ricca. They all act the same when they’re fed, they all swim around in entertaining ways when I blow bubbles. So don’t call me an animal hater.
I wish Lennox and his owners good fortunes and I hope the courts change their minds. But I wish his many supporters would give a bit more love to each other and those two-legged creatures in need. Just sayin.