In yet another example of placing an animal above a human there is an online petition to save the life of a dog that mauled a four-year old boy. The attorney for the dog, John Schill, stated in an interview that the babysitter should be held responsible, not the innocent dog. Yet it was the animal, not the sitter, who mauled the child. Four year old Kevin Vicente was bit in the face, resulting in serious injuries that will require months, if not years, of reconstructive surgery. The attack has left the child unable to swallow and he had to go home on a feeding tube. He is also unable to open one of his eyes.
Unfortunately the animal that viciously attacked young Kevin was a pit bull, this brought out the pit bull owners and pit bull lovers who have decided that this animal needs saving. For the simple reason that pit bulls have a bad reputation, people have come out in droves; almost 40,000 in fact have signed a petition for a stay of execution on the animal. While it is true that pit bulls and certain other breeds have a bad reputation for attacking children and other animals that doesn’t negate the fact that this particular dog attacked this particular boy. It is not as though a random pit bull or a random dog for that matter is being put down. The animal that is supposed to be euthanized is the same one that attacked the child.
Guadalupa Villa was at the scene when the attack took place and filed the petition to have the animal put down. She did so because she was worried for the safety of other people. Schill, the attorney for the animal, says that the blame is being wrongly placed on the animal and it should be placed on the adult who was responsible for watching the child. In witness statements, however, Villa says that the child picked up a bone that was lying on the ground near the dog and that is when the animal suddenly attacked the child. Villa also says that the babysitter, a friend of hers, took amazing care of the child and she cannot understand why people see the animal as a victim.
After the Marius Giraffe incident last month the New York Post looked at whether people were more sympathetic to animal abuse than to human abuse, as it would seem. Their results were a little shocking. In the study they had 240 students look at four fictitious events where an adult, an infant, a puppy, and a dog were all viciously beaten with a baseball bat. The students then were asked to rate the stories by how much they were effected by them. The students said that the baby, the puppy, and the dog all affected them more than the adult human.
The New York Post hypothesizes that people are less sympathetic to human violence because the victim is so distant from them. The way the news portrays a human victim is different from the way that it portrays an animal victim. That doesn’t really explain however why there is more sympathy and a petition to save the life of a dog that mauled a four-year-old boy than the child himself. Here readers are confronted with the harsh reality that a small innocent child is horribly attacked, sent home on a feeding tube, unable to swallow or close his eyes, and yet some people out there instead of feeling sympathetic to the child will feel rage that the monster who did this to him is going to be punished.
Taking the tact of the dog’s attorney, if the child was attacked by a human, if a human had bit his eye, had molested him, the outrage would be there that the “human” should be punished in the severest way possible. That was Schill’s argument at least, that people would not be making the same demands for justice had this child been attacked by a person instead of an animal. Yet Schill is wrong. When people attack children, there is an overwhelming response demanding justice. Readers can make the assumption from Villa’s report that the babysitter tried to save the little boy from the dog. So should the babysitter be punished instead of the animal? Should she share some of the burden of responsibility? Readers can assume that the owner of the animal in question was also the babysitter so perhaps she holds the responsibility of allowing a small child near a vicious animal, still the animal should hold the bulk of the responsibility. It has been common practice for a long time now that when an animal attacks a human to the degree that this animal has, the animal is put down regardless of species.
When there is a petition to save a dog’s life, a dog who mauled a four year old boy, it embraces this ideology of a culture of death. The value of a human life should be more than the value of a dog’s life. In some parts of the country that is still the case, yet there is the occasional story were a child is viciously attacked and people mourn the animal that did the attacking rather than the innocent child who was hurt.
Opinion By Rachel Woodruff
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