Stop shooting dogs!

By Paul Viau | May 11, 2012
Photo by: File photo I DIDN'T KILL YOUR CHICKENS — Lay down your arms. Dogs are not a menace, they are man's best friend.

I must warn my readers that this column is a departure from my normally light and occasionally entertaining looks at life in Western North Carolina.

This column contains some violence, and is about adult content of the most shameless kind. It hits close to home. And that hurts.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’ve been a pretty happy camper since my wife and I moved to Waynesville. I’ve gotten involved in the community, work (if you can call it that) for the hometown newspaper, and everywhere I go, I meet wonderful people.

But recently, a number of those people — too many — have told me similar stories of how a neighbor shot their dog. That’s right, just flat out pointed a gun at their family pet and pulled the trigger.

The shooters all claim that the dogs were “killing their chickens.” Most dogs I know are happier with Alpo.

Now I must admit that I have little experience with rural living. And I understand that farmers and ranchers have to deal with “pests” of all kinds. But are guns the only way to handle varmints? I don’t think so.

And are dogs really pests? I have trouble with this, too.

Did you know? Dogs have long been considered "man’s best friend." More than one-third of American families own dogs, and there are some 80-million pooches in the U.S. — helping sightless people live better lives, working hand-in-hand with police officers, visiting the elderly, herding sheep or just quietly lying by their owner’s side, lowering their blood pressure.

The thought of someone shooting any of those dogs really raises my blood pressure, and I’m currently a “cat person.”

My wife and I recently adopted a cute little kitten named Marissa from Sarge’s Animal Rescue Foundation. (I’m sure you’ll be seeing her picture often in the pages of The Mountaineer.) Sarge’s is doing a wonderful job of saving dogs and cats, and helping the community deal with dog and cat overpopulation.

In my humble opinion, Sarge’s way of dealing with the problem is way better than guns.

As you may have read, a large dog recently bit me in the Ingles parking lot. He lunged at me from an open car window as I got out of my car. I suppose I could have picked up a gun and shot that dog on the spot. But I didn’t, I wouldn’t, and I couldn’t.

I don’t own a gun. I’m proud of that. But I also recognize that as Americans, we have the right to bear arms. But we don’t have the right to shoot dogs.

Stop shooting dogs. Dogs are someone’s pets — and even turkey's can be friends to humans, too. I still am troubled by the way Animal Control handled the needless killing of Waynesville's Thomas “Jake” Turkey.