Dagny McKinley: Value all life

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— I feel the need to express my concern regarding the article “Dog shot outside of Yampa” in the June 2 Steamboat Today. I would like to ask the landowner who shot Mr. Bubbles where his compassion is? If we have such little regard for animal life, how much regard can we have for our own lives? How small of a person is the landowner that he feels no pain or sorrow at taking a life? How would the landowner feel if his son or daughter stepped onto another person’s property to chase a piece of paper that had fluttered out of their hand only to be shot in the head?

I understand ranchers’ concern regarding their cattle and threats, but since when are ranchers able to step outside of the law that other people in this county have to abide by? According to the article: Animal control officer Cindy DelValle said that, in general, ranchers are permitted to shoot domestic dogs if they feel they, their livestock, their domestic animals, children or property are in harm’s way.

If a dog puts my dog in harm’s way, do I have the right to shoot it, or do I have to call animal control or the police to deal with the matter? I don’t understand why ranchers don’t have to follow the same rules. If their livestock are stressed to a point where the rancher loses revenue, then the dog owner should have to pay fines to the rancher, not lose a life.

As a society, I think we have too little regard for life — animal and human. When we are able to kill dogs at will, what’s next? A child who wanders onto the property to pick a flower? How much would this town rebel if a human life was taken? Why don’t we value the lives of animals? Why are theirs less than ours?

I agree that we need to respect other’s property. However, having a license to shoot any dog that strays onto their property with no apparent just cause is disgusting to me. Every life should be valued.

Dagny McKinley

Steamboat Springs

Comments

francinefrank66 4 years, 6 months ago

Thank you Dagny for your support, I appreciate your well-thought out letter.

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aichempty 4 years, 6 months ago

I have owned ten dogs in my life, four of which lived long lives (over 12 years) and four that are still around (all of them cast-offs rescued from stray status to family pets).

I took my dog on a walk at Stagecoach reservoir and he ran into a pasture to chase a cow. It happened once, and I never allowed it to happen again. The solution was a 15 foot leash with a spring-loaded reel.

If the rancher had been around when my dog chased the cow, he'd have been 100% justified in shooting my dog. It was my fault the dog was out there running loose. I was lucky, I learned something, and my dog died of old age nine years later.

When a dog threatens people or livestock on your property, the law allows you to shoot the dog. The rancher who shot the dog in this case was justified under the law. We don't know how many of his cattle have been chased or harmed by other dogs in the past. I can't imagine that he'd go around shooting dogs on sight just for fun. If he does, then he's a cruel ba$+ard and deserves whatever comes to him down the line. On the other hand, we don't know how many dogs have been turned out by people leaving the area, unable to take them to the next home. That's how I got my four rescued strays. How many abandoned dogs has this rancher had to deal with over the years, how many calves have been killed (this is the time of year, ya know?), and how much time and money has the rancher lost to dogs in the past?

Both sides have a beef in this controversy (pun intended) and both sides have a reason to complain, but to put the responsibility of caring for someone else's dog on a person who was protectig his property and livestock is unfair and unrealistic. If the dog's owner was not visible and attempting to control it, how was the rancher supposed to know that it had an owner, and wouldn't end up in a pack that would attack cows and calves when he wasn't around?

The lesson to be learned here by all is that dogs should be under direct control as required by law, and it's the owner's responsbility and risk if they are not.

I truly grieve for the loss of a treasured pet, and know exactly how I would feel in the same situation, and that's why I have gone to the trouble and expense I have to contain and protect my own animals.

I know two people who were attacked by loose dogs. To them, every loose dog is a threat. That's how human nature works. It's called post-traumatic stress syndrome, and it's real, and dog owners need to be aware that their dog presents a real and direct threat to other people, period. Whether or not a loose dog harms someone is irrelevant; the threat of harm is there. Under the law, the threat is enough justification to shoot the dog if it's on the landowner's property.

Love your dog enough to protect it; don't trust other people to have the same concerns. They have their own things to worry about.

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