A questionable definition of animal rights
By JOHN WADE Special to QMI Agency
Last week, a stranger attacked me. She threatened me with a fine for leaving my dog in our van for more than half an hour and was completely outraged that I had not left a window open. She told me I should never be allowed to own dogs.
I chose not to open a window that day due to the temperature and the wind. Other days, I open several windows and sometimes use a window fan.
I had never heard of such a law, so I went straight to the Humane Society to inquire. My attacker was wrong. There is no law about the length of time an animal can be left in a vehicle. A dog owner can be fined if a dog is found to be in distress.
I routinely take my dogs with me wherever and whenever it is appropriate (not too hot a day or too long an outing). They love to join me and I believe they benefit from the extra attention, training, exercise, stimulation and company they receive when we are out and about.
Since my assault, I am afraid to take my dogs anywhere. It was horrible being attacked that way and now I am worried that some vigilante is going to break into my vehicle to "rescue" my dogs. Please comment. -Anonymous
Dear Horrible Person:
How unlucky for you. You have come across something that only occasionally rears its unattractive head in the wild, the Wild-Eyed, Flush-Faced Humaniac. The Humaniac is thought to be an offshoot of the human race and its identity can be confirmed more from its behaviour than its appearance. They believe, "Everyone may love animals, but no one may love them more then I do". Whoever they set their sights on as less worthy must be attacked with verbal and sometimes even physical abusive.
As is the case with many humans, they similarly believe that animals should always be treated with kindness and respect. Some go even further and believe that everything from amoebas to apes are entitled to the same rights as humans. I once thought that must mean that they felt that humans are especially special. However, you experienced firsthand that only Humaniacs are special enough to qualify for humane treatment; mere humans may be freely abused. Do not take it personally. They do not even seem to get along with each other. This may be why you never see a breeding pair.
There were quite a few sightings a few years back. They seemed particularly prone to throwing paint at women wearing animal skins. Scientists were puzzled, as the paint-throwing compulsion seemed to not be triggered by the more accessible leather-wearing bikers.
If it makes you feel better, I too am a horrible person, as I have always taken my dogs with me whenever possible. I use common sense too. Meaning if it is too hot or too cold, I leave them at home.
This reminds me of another Humaniac characteristic. These hero wannabes are devoid of common sense and cannot be reasoned with. For the record at least, make a calm courteous attempt to assure them that your animal is fine and if your phone has a camera, snap a shot of them and remind them, there are laws that address property damage and harassment.
Let me conclude by stating the obvious. In the event that a person does come across an animal in true distress, call the authorities. If this is not possible or timely enough, then do what you have to do and what you are prepared to defend doing.
John Wade helps dog owners through his books, workshops and telephone consultations. If you have a question email him at email@example.com.