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On Violence Towards Dogs

When I see people hitting their dog, I always say something.

The Cycle Of Abuse Continues

I once saw a woman whack her dog on the head because the dog ran away after she dropped the lead. What followed was this conversation:

Me: Please don't hit your dog. Your dog doesn't like being hit any more than either of us like to be hit.
Woman: I've been mistreated in my life too.
Me: So then you know very well how awful it is to be mistreated. You didn't deserve to be mistreated, and your dog doesn't deserve to be hit either.

Sadly, she wasn't convinced of my argument, and kept defending her supposed 'right' to hit her dog.

Come To Me...So I Can Hit You

On another occasion I made a similar point to a man who had a rolled up newspaper in the air telling his (reluctant) dog to come to him.

I said to him: "If I told you to come to me so that I could hit you, you wouldn't come, would you? So it's not surprising that your dog doesn't want to come to you knowing he'll be hit."

Luckily this man immediately saw my logic and stopped threatening his dog. He simply put the newspaper away, called for his dog to come to his side and the dog came willingly.

Violence Is Everyone's Business

Another time I was at a vet's waiting room and witnessed a man smacking his dog in the face. I asked him to stop. The man told me that his dog was misbehaving so he had to hit him. I replied that it wasn't necessary to hit the dog.

"My mother used to hit me, and I'm okay," he said. "Anyway, it's none of your business."

"Actually, it is my business," I told him. "You're in public so, in fact, it's everyone's business." He clammed up after that and didn't continue to hit his dog.

Speak Up For Those Who Can't Speak For Themselves

I can't say with any certainty that my words had any lasting effect on any of the above people. I guess that's something I'll never know unless I encounter them in the future. But what I do know is that I did the right thing by speaking up.

So there are two points to take away in all of this. One, is that there's never any excuse to hit a dog. And, two, you must always speak up if you see someone hitting their dog.

Sure, the person won't always listen to you, but that's not the point: the point is that you have a moral duty to say something when you see violence towards a dog. You never know - because of you they just might start to think in a different way in the future.

Post Script

A word about violence: while this Dog Blog is called On Violence Towards Dogs, I'm opposed to violence towards any animal. In my mind it's not good enough oppose violence towards one species of animal, yet condone violence towards other species. For more on this topic, go to the Animals page of my other website.

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Adopt a homeless animal instead - they all deserve a second chance

It's estimated that 130,000 dogs and 60,000 cats are killed every year in Australia because there are not enough homes for them all. And the global numbers amount to millions upon millions every single year.

Puppy mills are a major contributor to the terrible problem of overpopulation. Puppy mills are essentially 'dog factories' where dogs are forced to churn out litter after litter, with no thought for the welfare of the dogs and all thought for profit. The dogs live in appallingly dirty, cramped conditions all their lives, and when they no longer serve their purpose they're killed, dumped or sold to vivisection laboratories.

Petshops fit into the picture because puppy mills are generally where petshops get their animals from. Furthermore, having animals in shop windows encourages impulse purchases, and adding an animal to your family should be a conscious, careful decision - NOT one to be made while shoe shopping.

Breeders contribute enormously to the tragic statistics above too. And it doesn't matter whether they're professional breeders or backyard breeders, and whether they breed for profit or not, because while there are homeless animals sitting on death row in shelters, any and all animal breeding is utterly irresponsible.

Now, here's where you come in. You can either be part of the problem or part of the solution. You can either buy animals from puppy mills, petshops or breeders and be part of the problem. Or you can adopt from a shelter or rescue organisation and be part of the solution.

If I haven't convinced you, visit your local shelter to see the homeless animals. Let their innocent faces convince you that adopting is the only responsible choice to make.

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