Opinion/Editorial Piece by
Tammy S. Grimes, founder, Dogs Deserve Better
question a society where those who step up to save a dying animal
are arrested and prosecuted; yet those who allow an animal to
suffer and die in their very own yards are rarely brought to justice
and seldom even charged with more than a minor infraction.
am slated to stand trial for theft and receiving stolen property
for aiding a dog who lay chained, unable to stand, and dying in
it's owners' yard for three days. May 21st I am back in court
to choose a jury in Hollidaysburg, Pennsylvania.
May 21st is also the day the Good Mayor of a town in Minnesota
goes back to court for a crime involving his chained dog. In this
case the defendant sentenced his "wire-haired hunting dog"
(we'll call him Wiry for short) to death
by freezing in sub-zero temperatures, with only a feces-laden
crate for shelter. He is charged NOT with animal cruelty,
as one who has any faith in the justice system would expect, but
instead with failure to provide proper housing,
a 'petty misdemeanor' charge.
'petty misdemeanor' charge is even less for KILLING his dog than
my 'misdemeanor' charge is for SAVING a dog.
say they heard the dog crying for help. None came.
heading to archives, the comment section on the Good Mayor's news
story at sctimes.com numbered 105 comments and still climbing,
indicative of a story that raises serious moral and ethical questions.
One of the more pressing questions on people's minds was "If
the neighbors heard the dog crying, why didn't they step up to
person identifying him/herself only as Fed Up stated the story
was indeed true, as he/she had personally heard the dog's cries
for help. Indignant questions of "Why didn't you DO something"
met only with silence from Fed Up.
one embroiled in the same ethical/moral dilemma that Fed Up faced,
I truly empathize with his/her plight. Since my arrest,
I have endured personal onslaughts of my character from the district
attorney, police chief, and other organizations as well as from
strangers, new-found enemies, and former friends. They
range from mild (she broke the law, period) to the irrational
(all the evidence is faked, any eighth grader with photoshop could
have created both the photos and the video—fyi, my son is
in eighth grade, but insists he has NO idea how to work photoshop,
so I've proven that one wrong, thank God...)
Up was caught in a moral dilemma, and had to make a choice between
his/her own personal safety and the safety of the dog. We
know which choice Fed Up made. He/she now has to live
every single day with the guilt created by this decision. Fed
Up may well endure nightmares and go to the grave with the guilt
of Wiry's death heavy on his/her conscience.
what I've had to endure at the hands of local authorities as a
result of my decision to save Doogie, I can certainly understand
why someone would not choose to act to save the life. How much
worse would it have been for Fed Up to save the MAYOR's
dog? The Good Mayor would have plenty of community pull, and Fed
Up would be tarred, feathered, and hanged by daybreak, any thoughts
of Wiry's mistreatment and impending doom completely forgotten
and rationalized away by authorities and community members alike.
They would all wonder what got into that darn neighbor, usually
such a nice, quiet citizen...why would Fed Up suddenly go berserk
and start stealing the private property of the Good Mayor? It
would make no sense in a justice system centered on dogs as nothing
more than property, having no feelings or right to life in and
myself was duly notified by the Upstanding Police Chief that if
I ever came near his dog, he'd put a slug in my a**. He also stated
in the Daily Collegian that my video could well have been faked,
that he could take his dog out, drag it through the mud,
and get horrible-looking video like that too. But Mr.
Police Chief, would not that very act of dragging your best friend
through the mud actually constitute abusive behavior on your part?
As you probably have no fear of being prosecuted, I can see why
you would feel free to envision such a form of torture for your
we force our nation to evolve, acting as a Good Samaritan for
dogs on chains will be a "damned if you do, damned
if you don't" kinda' thang. If you DO step up to
save the life, you may well be the one arrested; and if you don't,
you will live with the poor creature's death on your head for
all eternity. Not a pleasant choice by any stretch of
am certainly not the first to take action to save a dying chained
dog. I may be the first to get such compelling evidence
of the crime committed against the dog, to fight for the right
of a dog not to die on the end of a chain, and to stand for my
right to act as a Good Samaritan. I won't be the last.
Up is not the first to let fear stop him/her from saving a life,
and Fed Up will not be the last.
Good Mayor and Doogie's owners are not the first and will not
be the last to get away with animal cruelty by allowing their
dog to die on the end of a chain. They are merely links in a chain
of abuse that has been ongoing for centuries, and which only we
up to US to make these kind of Americans a dying breed. It's up
to US to stop tolerating the abuse, start enforcing laws protecting
animals, and create stronger laws limiting chaining for man's
best friend. Every social movement succeeds ONLY when
the people stop letting fear get in the way of taking the necessary
action. When the people stand up, the power shifts from
abuser to right action. Laws change, tolerance of social injustice
consider myself lucky, despite facing charges, that I am not in
Fed Up's shoes. I know Doogie would thank me if he could, and
nothing man can do to me could take that away from me. I
wake up each morning knowing I did as Jesus would have done,
and Doogie's life being extended almost six months in a loving,
caring environment is more than all the proof I need.
never made it through the night; dying a cold, sad, lonely, frightening
urge everyone placed in the horrible position of Fed Up and myself
to push fear aside, to do whatever it takes to save the life.
If time is not of the essence, fight hard for authorities to take
the necessary life-saving steps. Don't back down to authorities
if they act like you don't know what you're talking about or you
should mind your own business. If the dog is suffering and death
is imminent, that is EVERYONE'S business!
they refuse to take the plight of the dying animal seriously or
do not respond at all to pleas for help, realize you are on your
own, and that life is depending on YOU. You may be the only lifeline
that dog has, please do not toss it aside lightly.
life mattered. Wiry's life mattered. Every life matters.
S. Grimes, founder, Dogs Deserve Better
want to help DDB with financial support.
can now accept donations over the phone using a major credit
card at 1.877.636.1408.To
donate by mail, send check or money order to P.O. Box 23, Tipton,
PA 16684. Thank you!