MAGGIE: the dog who changed my life

MAGGIE: the dog who changed my life
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Thursday, December 30, 2010

Shocking Animal Cruelty in Other Countries - Can We Change It?

Imagine you are out walking your dog, and an official grabs your dog's leash and beats him to death as you watch, horrified and helpless. According to the Shanghai Daily Newspaper, it happened in Mouding county in Yunnan province in southwestern China in 2006. 50,000 dogs were slaughtered over five days in a government-ordered crackdown! Their reason for the bludgeoning deaths? Three people died of rabies. Only 3 percent of dogs are vaccinated against rabies and each year more than 2,000 people die from rabies. How about vaccinating dogs rather than clubbing them to death? Where are your hearts, China? Your compassion?

China is a country where dog meat is eaten; dogs have never had an easy time there. The county police chief led killing teams that entered villages at night in this massacre. They made noise to get dogs barking, then beat them to death. Owners were offered 63 cents per animal to kill their own dogs before the teams were sent in. Can you even imagine?

Ironically, Mouding is famed for its Buddhist shrines -- what's wrong with this picture? Not my take on Buddhism by any stretch. Couldn't the government have prevented this cold-blooded, violent, brutality by creating a program to vaccinate dogs against rabies? Read full story at My understanding is the slaughter of innocent dogs has not stopped with this one city. PETA recommended a boycott of Chinese products. I'd say that's the least we can do.

Rescued from Puerto Rico and adopted
Similarly, imagine living in a public housing complex and having animal control workers show up at your door, seize your dog or cat, drive away with her and throw her off a 50-ft. bridge to her death. In a brutal incident last October, 2007 in Barceloneta, Puerto Rico, this is exactly what happened to dozens of dogs and cats. This incident in Puerto Rico received a lot of international attention and outrage, but perhaps not enough. Keep in mind that Puerto Rico is a territory of the United States. So they ARE under our animal cruelty laws. But obviously they are not enforced by anyone, including our government. This outrageous incident prompted a visit to Puerto Rico from Kim Intino of the Humane Society of the United States in December, 2007 to meet with tourism officials to determine how to address the island’s abundance of unwanted animals. My understanding is that the HSUS is supporting several spay/neuter initiatives on the island. This is where it starts -- to prevent overpopulation, but the existing animals need more! Children are raised thinking this heinous treatment of animals is fine. We have to change that! People in Puerto Rico need to be re-educated regarding humane treatment of animals since abuse is so common.  Read more about this incident in USA Today here.

Clearly, many cultures do not respect animals or share our love for pets. Most countries in the Third World don't have laws against animal cruelty. Mexico is one of them.  Muslims regard dogs as unclean and owners may have their pets confiscated while on a walk. In parts of Asia, cats and dogs are skinned alive and boiled. Sadly because children are indoctrinated in these forms of violence to animals in many countries like Puerto Rico, they find animal cruelty to be a 'normal' aspect of life. It is so important to teach them, through humane education, that there is NOTHING normal about animal cruelty -- to teach them to love and respect precious animals instead!

Canadian born Steve McGarva has first-hand experience with animal cruelty in Puerto Rico while living there for two years. Stay tuned for my next blog post that tells his story, including video footage, of his shocking discoveries about animal cruelty while living on the "Island of Enchantment," and what he did and continues to do about it.

What can you do? Pressure the tourism industry and government to continue developing humane programs. For example, if you visit Puerto Rico (or any other tourist destination) and are disturbed by the sight of homeless dogs, it can be effective to let the tourism agencies know that. Suggest the solutions of spay/neuter, legislation, and humane education, NOT eradication. Support local groups that are focusing on spay/neuter, such as PAWS in Isabela, Puerto Rico. Find groups that are offering spay/neuter and humane education trips to these countries such as the group McGarva started, the Achates Legacy Rescue Foundation, and join them.

Animal cruelty in our own country with puppy mills, dog fighting, and so much more is bad enough. What do you think? Can we change animal cruelty in other countries?

Posted By:
Dawn Kairns 
Author of MAGGIE the dog who changed my life A Story of Love
"They stay in our lives for a while, leave footprints on our hearts, and we are never, ever the same." -- Author Unknown

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