By Seth Love:
Animal control has been on the news a few times this year in Las Vegas. Not all of the news is nice, or gently—but, it is telling.
The first was back in March of this year when Onion, a beautiful Rhodesian ridgeback, killed Jeremiah Eskew-Shahan—a one year old infant. The family had had this dog for six years already; she was always patient and always kind, even when the babe was no more than a newborn. The decision for how to continue with this incident is still in the process of appeal.
The next happened only a few weeks ago: when on July 12th, 2012, two chimpanzees escaped from their enclosure, and one had to be shot. “‘Typical story. Primates just don’t make good pets,’ said Toby Goldman, a veterinarian who previously examined both chimps and was summoned to the scene to help tranquillize C.J.” (washingtonpost.com) This has led to a new issue to try to ban exotic pets within Las Vegas, NV—headed up by Senator Manendo. Decisions are yet to be heard, but luckily the remaining chimp, a female named C.J., was placed in a proper sanctuary.
Finally, a few days after the chimpanzee shooting, two sixteen year old boys were charged with, as stated in the local news:
“… [A] plea deal, admitting to one count of felony animal cruelty in order to have other charges against them dropped.
The teens, who have been in custody for 20 days, will remain in custody for 10 more days. Upon their release, they will remain under house arrest until school starts, and remain under parole supervision for the next 12 months.
The teens will each be monitored by GPS and be subject to random drug tests. They will be required to complete 200 hours of community service each, part of which will include working with Clark County Animal Control. They also must write letters of apology to an animal welfare organization.
The teens will undergo counseling and are not allowed access to weapons or driver’s licenses. They are not permitted to use social media, cell phones or computers during their one-year probation.
The two teens are not allowed contact with each other or any witnesses in the case.
The judge ordered the teens to be monitored until they are 21 years old.”
(Channel 13 Action News, KTNV)
At least we had a decision about that one, justice for a few kin of our earth who cannot speak. Humans are the dominate species on this planet; we all know this. Do we necessarily have to show it anymore, our strength and command over the species and environments around us?
I had another sort of concern for an animal a while back. A few months ago (perhaps November of last year) my brother and I noticed a stray, un-collared dog running around our local park, obviously lost and scared—perhaps a beloved pet. My brother called the Las Vegas City Animal Control in order to report the seemingly disoriented dog. The conversation with the dispatcher went as follows:
“Yes, sir,” the dispatcher said.
“I liked to report a stray dog at Prosperity Park.”
“Do you have the dog in your possession?”
“No…he’s in the park.”
“Is he confined to an area then?”
“No, he’s not.”
She paused for a moment. “Well, unfortunately, because of the likelihood that the dog might not be there, in someone’s possession, it may not be needed to send out someone out. However, we will do a courtesy drive through the neighborhood. What are the major cross-streets?”
My brother and I followed the dog for about an hour, trying to herd it from busy streets like Rainbow Blvd. Eventually we lost the little terrier mix, and we could only hope and pray for its safety. I would do the same for any person or animal. An old saying I think is rather pertinent here, “Do unto others as you would want done unto you.” An ‘other’ does not necessarily have to be human.
These instances made me curious, as well as other problems I have seen myself about how animals are generally treated within Las Vegas, both within neighborhood and city. I would like to address these issues in the further weeks to come. This article serves as my introduction. An introduction into the problem of animal safety, control, and rights: a problem Las Vegas, NV rarely puts as necessary. The enforcement of the leash law, for one, at public parks is rarely—well, I have never seen it enforced other than by concerned citizens.
So am and glad Senator Manendo is behind banning exotic animals with in residential areas; too bad that might be as far as it will go. Las Vegas is a city of entertainment, we live off of others fun—and even our own—and, animals are entertaining. The strip has a long standing relationship with shows and events revolving around the wonder of our fellow animals: the Shark Reef and Dolphins, King Arthurs joust at the Excalibur, the tigers and white lions, Wayne Newton’s horses—to name a few. These have all helped to immortalize Vegas in history.
Animals have always been slightly histrionic here, and I believe that is part of the problem.
Our actions toward animals, in general, can be represented in actions done today. The same Senator Manendo was walking his beagle. While on the walk they approach other citizens with a pit bull. The pit bull charges and attacks the beagle while the owners of the pit bull do not pull back, and Manendo fears and pulls for the life of his own dog/loved-one. The pit is finally in custody at the request of Manendo, as any sane dog owner would do. Yet, the local news made no mention of the owners. And, if this were not a senator, would the same outcome have happened? That is, I look at just daily interactions between citizens and their pets, and even leashed laws are enforced. The same laws that might have protected Manendo’s beagle. And furthermore, the entire national plea—started by the many incidents of the years concerning the ill-omened misnomer toward pit bulls—is that the animal is not at fault; the owner is.
As human beings copulate more and more, and populate cities more and more with ebullient giggles and pedantic screams, we must remember the other species were here first—we have displaced them. We not alone on this planet and shouldn’t act as such.
Thus, it is a pity that the issue of animal control is only mentioned under hushed-tones; at least it would seem that way in our City of Sin. Only when tragedy darkens our hustle-bustle (like two teens drowning helpless kittens) do we dare to talk about our earthly kin. After all, humans often have to remind ourselves that we are indeed animals. Although we can speak and solve problems, recognize minute differences and adapt accordingly, we are still animals. We are their brothers and sisters.
More will come on these issues of Animals (within the local Las Vegas Setting) in the weeks to come.