Recently, a child in Natuashish was attacked by a dog. The child was hospitalized with facial injuries. Not only will this child carry some physical scars for a while but there will no doubt be some emotional scars as well. The reason the incident happened was the dog was roaming free. The animal was put to death after the incident — but was it the animal’s fault?
I live on the Northeast Avalon in a picturesque bustling town called Portugal Cove-St. Philip’s. My property tax rate is close to the highest on the Avalon, I am not connected to town water or sewer and the pavement on my street has more potholes and cracks than Kellogg’s has cornflakes. The town cannot afford an on-duty animal control officer, but in a few years I will have access to a $25-million town recreational facility.
My neighbour is a golden Labrador retriever and she has two other neighbourhood friends who regularly visit her. Together they roam town streets almost daily. They bark at joggers, watch over the Canada Post mailboxes as people gather their mail, they run out in front of vehicle traffic and they delightfully leave deposits on lawns throughout the neighbourhood. The dogs cannot read, they are unaware of town bylaws and they are nothing more than innocent creatures of habit. Unfortunately, though, as we have recently learned, the innocent creatures sometimes do the unexpected.
As was the case in Natuashish, when the unexpected happens the innocent suffers. As was the case in Natuashish, the innocents are almost always a small child and the animal.
A child will get mauled and a dog will get put down because of two irresponsible acts. One is the morally dysfunctional idiotic act of the dog owners allowing the dog to roam free, and the other is the uncaring callous and negligence of town officials that is evident from the lack of enforcement of town laws.
As is evidenced by their actions, the humans that call my neighbour their pet could care less about the safety of the dog or children that live and play in the neighbourhood. The town council and town officials are so wrapped up in finding and spending $25 million in tax dollars that they don’t even see or smell the doggie-doo on their shoes. I hope it never happens, but when the doggie-doo becomes mixed with a child’s blood, they may try and hide their culpability. But it will be too late.
I hope that if and when the day comes and the news story will be about a child in this town, that there will be punishment for the real criminals and not just the innocents.
Portugal Cove-St. Philip’s