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shelter dogs
first birthday party
university medical center
drastic change
extreme case
controversial issue
pet owner
animal rescue
Dog Shelters
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Dog Shelters

Have you ever wondered how perfectly good pets end up in dog shelters? One extreme case is the plight of Onion the dog. Onion is a six year old Mastiff/Rhodesian ridge back who awaits his fate in the Nevada shelter, Henderson Animal Control and Care Facility. Onion's fate seems to be sealed unless Nevada Supreme Court decides to take up this case.

Onion is what some would call a cold blooded killer who many would have very little compassion for. It seems this one hundred twenty pound beloved family pet turned killer in a tragic moment at a baby's first birthday party. The one year old little boy, Jeremiah Skahan crawled to the dog then pulled his fur to bring himself to a standing position. Onion grabbed the child by the face and shook him .Jeremiah died later at the University Medical Center.

Onion was turned over to Henderson Animal Control by owner, Elizabeth Keller who is also the baby"s grandmother. The city was to euthanize the dog as is the procedure under the city's vicious dog ordinance, until a group called the Lexus project intervened. At this point Lexus is hoping the Nevada Supreme Court will hear the case. Meanwhile, Onion will await his fate at the city's animal rescue shelter.

In less sophisticated times in our society a dog would have been taken out back and shot for a much lesser offense. Although this is not a pleasant topic it is evidence of the drastic change in the way people view their pets. There is also a large move towards establishing legal rights for our pets. This may be a controversial issue especially when it involves the loss of human life.

I am both a pet owner/lover and a grandmother and I must say when it comes to this issue for me the line is very clear. My dogs are a great source of companionship and yes I love them they are my pets. However, I can make a very clear distinction as to their importance and place in our family. My grand children are living, breathing human beings and their health and well being comes long before any pet I will ever own.

As pet owners in today's society I think it is past time for us to determine not only our pet's place in society but their place in our families. It is also past time for us to take responsibility for our pet's action. We can not defend them as being an unknowing animal on one hand then hold them up as something of an equal to human life. We can not have it both ways.

It all comes down to once again pet ownership responsibility. We need to be constantly vigilant when it comes to assessing anything that remotely resembles aggressive behavior in our pets. Know what the characteristics are of the pet that you are considering adding to your family. Understand if the pet you are thinking about is a good match for a family with children or would they be better suited to a one person family. Determine why you want a pet before you get one. Are you looking for companionship or are you more interested in protection. Not saying you can not have both in a family pet just some types of animals are better suited for different lifestyles and families. It is also important to understand your pet's breeding and history especially if they are not a puppy or you are considering looking for your new pet in dog shelters.

The point I want to make is that every pet owner needs to be a responsible. I am not saying that accidents never happen because we all know they do. Nor do I mean to diminish the importance of our pet's place in the family. My personal opinion is there are far too many tragic situations involving pets which happen with entirely too much frequency in our society. I for one am not sure that the answer to this is to give animals legal rights which may result in years of costly litigation, leaving the poor victim with even more to deal with.

Yes, animal rescue shelters are a wonderful resource in many ways but the responsibility still lies with us as pet owners, long before we make the decision to take our pet home. Pet ownership is a serious responsibility and a decision which should by no means be made on the spur of the moment nor taken lightly. Even with precautions there is no guarantee the pet we choose will be a match for our family it may however decrease the chances of a problem.


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