By Clyde Davis: Local columnist
This column is perversely dedicated to the hero who, in a jacked-up white pickup truck 4X4, tried to run over a Chihuahua on Manana last week. Somewhere between Main St. and Martin Luther King, you displayed your lack of humanity in front of, not only my wife, but presumably other motorists.
I know this little dog. He hangs out in his front yard, not harming anyone. Fortunately, he was able to dodge your inane attempts to end his life. I’m dedicating this to you because you gave me a chance to write on something I haven’t addressed in a while — cruelty to animals.
I once had an eighty-pound Chow who was overprotective and “unopposed to violence,” as Chows tend to be. I’d love to give you the chance to meet him, in a locked garage.
Cruelty to animals, as most educators and sociologists would attest, is a red flag when present in children. By this, we mean the unaltered behavior. It may be a tendency in some children to bully animals, but if the behavior is not stopped, it opens the door to a child perceiving that he or she can get away with this, that it is morally acceptable.
My grandson once came back from Florida with tales of a friend who liked to dissect frogs. We came to understand that this did not mean dissecting frogs which were already dead, but actually killing the amphibians and cutting them up.
Assuming that the parents would be putting a stop to this, we were dismayed to learn that this was apparently regarded in that family as normal boyish behavior.
What comes next — hanging cats in trees and using them for target practice?
If we view creation as sacred, then cruelty to animals is not only stupid, it is an offense to the Creator.
It is not only bullying, it is sacrilege. It echoes cruelty to other human beings, as well as being immoral in its own right.
I am not opposed to hunting, nor to fishing, nor to rodeo — regular readers of this column are aware of that; nor am I a vegetarian. But logically, those positions have nothing to do with cruelty to animals. To draw such a comparison fails the test of analogy.
Cruelty to animals — the sadism that supports cockfights, dogfights, or deliberately running over an animal in the road.
Example: Taking a rooster’s natural tendency to defend his territory, and perverting it into a fight to the death. Or a dog’s desire to please his “pack leader”, and turning it into a blood bath.
No, Michael Vick, many of us do not respect you. You may have served your sentence, and you may be a fine football player, but the jury is still out on whether you are much of a human being.
Like any other action willfully hurting another, cruelty to animals reflects a cowardly perspective and a seriously limited mentality.
Only when it is treated as the deviant behavior which it is, and properly punished, will the balance be fair.
Clyde Davis is pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Portales and a college instructor. He can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org