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Grandmother left dog in severe pain...because she was lonely

Pauline Spoor, gets little sympathy from me
(Source)

One of my readers shared this article with me, and as an animal love i am enraged. It isn't often that i write an article and stay firmly on one side of an argument, but in this case i find this pet owner abhorrent. What makes it worse, is the Mail is orchestrating a disproportionate amount of sympathy when people like this deserve, regardless of how humiliating it is, to be punished. 

This 71 year old was given an electronic tag for animal cruelty. Despite her Labrador's pain from severe arthritis conjunctivitis she refused to have him put down as she relied on him for company. She said she was humiliated by the electronic tag, and is quoted as saying "I’ve never hurt an animal in my life. To be given a tag, I thought was disgusting". 

Well i find her disgusting. I can appreciate that she relied on her dog for company, i really can. You may remember my article on how i had to give away my kitten. I loved my little girl, and relied on her a lot for company just like this 71 year old, Pauline Spoor. I had been having numerous operations, and coming home to my cat was the only thing that kept me going. Just like Pauline I had limited mobility, and Meowey (my kitten) kept me company. But at 8 months old she was ready to take on the big wide world, and my flat didn't give her the space a big kitty needs. So i found her a new home, and let her go. It was one of the hardest things i have ever done, if you read the article i posted just after she left for her new home you will see how i felt. Despite how much it hurt, it was the selfless thing to do, it was the right thing to do, and it would have been crewel of me to have confined her in my flat after she had been spayed, and had the stitches out. I look back at it as a hard decision, but a good decision and am proud of myself for making it at the right time.

However, Pauline Spoor was more concerned with her own feelings than the fact that her dog was in severe pain, and that really does disgust me. It is right that she got punished in court, and in many ways i feel that it's right that she feels humiliated for what she did.

I know that i started this article by saying i was staying firmly on one side, but i am going to stray slightly. Despite my disgust at Ms Spoor, i do thing that a tag was an inappropriate punishment. She posed no threat to her community. What's worse is that she is now confined to her house in the evenings and overnight at a time when she is feeling vulnerable due to the loss of her dog. The court should have taken account of the reason for her ignorance, loneliness. The humiliation, and the paying of court costs was punishment enough for this stupid woman.

Dexter. Left in severe pain,
and helpless to do anything about it
(source)
Maybe the court felt this was a good opportunity to make an example out of her. Maybe they wanted to send out a message that animal cruelty will not be tolerated, regardless of age. Maybe the court also wanted to send the message that a selfish motivation, no matter how much sympathy it generates, will not form a defence.

The headline, if you haven't already seen it, is "Grandmother convicted of animal cruelty and made to wear electronic tag... for being too upset to put elderly dog down". And the paper, if you hadn't already guessed, was the Mail. The Mail have once more fallen at the first hurdle, getting its facts right. It is clear, even from their own story, that this 'Grandmother' wasn't convicted and tagged for being too upset to put an elderly dog down. She was convicted for forcing her dog to suffer due to her own selfish motivations. It is like saying "Ollie convicted of murder and forced to stay away from home while in prison...for worrying that my knife set wasn't getting used enough. She disgusts me, as does anyone who harms animals. 

To conclude this rant, i want to link this article with the one on assisted suicide i did last week. My source reader shared this article as a comparative piece on the moral and ethical factors on assisted suicide. The biggest issue that it raises, for me is;

Is someone who advocates euthanasia in animals a hypocrite if they do not advocate it in humans? 

Are there any other issues that it raises?