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Love dogs but love the people more

By Zhu Yuan | China Daily | Updated: 2018-01-13 09:00
Russian President Vladimir Putin takes his dogs, akita Yume (front) and Bulgarian shepherd Bafi, for a walk in a snowy forest outside Moscow, March 24, 2013. [Photo/IC]

People have the right to love their pet dogs. They also have the right to show their concern for even stray dogs.

Nevertheless, they have no reason to launch an online campaign against a policeman who killed a stray dog that had injured one person, bitten another and posed a threat to more passersby.

In Changsha, the capital of Hunan province, police received a report saying a stray golden retriever had injured a pedestrian and attacked another who, thanks to his "thick clothing", escaped physical injury. The stray golden retriever, even though it was chained to a railing on the pavement, could have bitten unsuspecting passersby if no action was taken. Worse, if the dog was afflicted with rabies, some of the victims could have contracted the disease and even lost their lives.

Therefore, there is no doubt that the dog needed to be put to sleep. The job was assigned to the policeman, and probably his only drawback was that he used a stick to beat the dog to death. He didn't have a gun with anesthetic bullets which could have rendered the dog senseless, and allowed a veterinarian to determine whether it was suffering from rabies and possibly send it to a dog shelter.

The policeman later explained that he did not use his handgun, because if he had missed hitting the dog, the bullet could have ricocheted off the road or the pavement curb and hit a passerby.

No sober-minded person would deny that the policeman did the right thing, and it was his responsibility to choose the method to kill the animal.

To the policeman's surprise, some people who claim to be dog lovers have made up stories to suggest he tortured the stray golden retriever for several hours before it died. The so-called dog lovers searched the internet to acquire the policeman's name and address, in order to humiliate him by putting funeral wreaths at his door and publicly burning his photograph.

Two of the dog lovers have been reportedly detained by police for what they did to shame the police officer, which they rightly deserve. Some dog lovers still believe the policeman should not have killed the dog, because they consider dog to be man's best friend.

However, they turn a blind eye to the fact that a dog with rabies could bite anybody and the victims might not survive without getting a prescribed dose of antidote in time.

What they also do not want to accept is that some people actually abandon their pet dogs when they no longer want to keep them because they cannot afford or want to pay for their medical treatment, or consider them a burden on their family. And that's the reason why even pedigree dogs are sometimes seen roaming the streets without receiving anti-rabies injections and thus pose a threat to the general public.

Dog lovers are entitled to love their pet dogs in the way they choose to. But they should not expect other people to do the same, especially if a dog poses a threat to the public.

I don't believe such people's love for dogs is real. If it were, why don't they adopt stray dogs as pets? Why don't they get the strays inoculated with anti-rabies vaccines to ensure public safety?

More important, they should profess the same kind of love for other people. That they assume they occupy the moral high ground because of their love for dogs and point an accusing finger at others betray their selfishness and hypocrisy.

The author is a writer with China Daily.

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