Las Vegas Sun

October 31, 2014

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Letter to the editor:

Killing dog won’t bring child back

Our legal justice system, which considers mitigating circumstances, makes me proud to be American.

If our judges ruled by an “eye for an eye,” capital punishment would be a common, not rare, verdict for those who killed accidentally.

Our justice system tries to protect some animals that humans endanger. For example, staged dog fights are illegal. Legal protection is payback for “man’s best friend,” a mammal that instinctively protects and sometimes saves human lives.

Some Americans have supported an “accused” dog named Onion all the way to the Nevada Supreme Court. This dog was a family’s beloved pet, until one horrible day, as the pet slept, his best buddy toddler fell and “struck” Onion. He woke up, biting. The child died.

Onion’s owner is grief-stricken, but she wants him to live the rest of his life at a Colorado animal sanctuary. Some people are demanding euthanization: “an eye for an eye.” They deny equal rights to dogs.

What would Solomon say? I doubt that he would overrule Onion’s owner.

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  1. This case gives an insight as to how pencil-pushing bureaucratic drones waste taxpayer money. Onion could have been sent to the sanctuary where he would have simply lived out the rest of his natural life. Instead, time and money were wasted with court battles. Of course, those making money over the fiasco, the lawyers, have to be pleased. Their meters are running.

  2. I don't believe they had dogs in Solomon's time. What do you think?

    Carmine D

  3. Dogs have been man's best friend since time was recorded. Commenter Bradley Chapman's own personal account is absolutely moving. The sad story about Onion should make adults more aware of the fact that all living organisms have an instinctual reflex, as was in the case of the toddler grabbing and jerking Onion's hair and scalp and Onion awoke in a reactionary reflexive behavior. Poor Onion is grieving the loss of his family and home, and faces an uncertain future.

    Those who understand and have experience with animals know that they have emotions, and in many cases, exhibit compassion and love. Animals can also be trained or conditioned to behave in certain ways.

    In the case of Onion, his owners remanded him, then once they gone their emotions in check, asked that he be placed in the sanctuary. Their wishes should be respected. Something is terribly wrong with the City of Henderson in spending Taxpayer dollars in exploiting this case. Unbelievable!

    Blessings and Peace,
    Star

  4. 1 word K-gogi

  5. NLV-Indep13: I disagree and agree.

    The disagree: "That anyone would waste time and money defending this dog or supporting him in a "sanctuary" is abhorrent."

    If people want to fund a sanctuary, who has the right to deny them? Not me, their decision "...neither picks my purse nor breaks my arm." (T. Jefferson)

    And the agree: "And when will the animal lovers finally figure out that big animals and small children in close proximity do NOT mix?"

    Perhaps the discussion has targeted the wrong being(s) to be put down. I doubt that Onion was alone in deciding where, and among whom, he was to sleep.

  6. chuck333: I'm glad you expressed the "dissenting" opinion on this, so it can be directly addressed. I am hoping that the publicity and therefore, public discussion, that this matter has generated will make people aware of animal rights, not just pet/human SAFETY issues.

    To address your comment: You questioned whether Onion's primary owner, the grandmother, did sign the paper (release) that the "Animal Control" rep foisted on her, right after the incident. That, actually, is one of the main points on Onion's side. The grandmother says that it was signed under duress. I gather that this legal war started with Animal Control asserting its control/POWER.

    Personally, I am willing to donate my taxpaper money to "curb" Animal Control's power. I think that this will be helpful case law to prevent such Animal Control "verdicts" in the future. It baffles me that this case had to go as far as the Supreme Court, but I am very thankful it did.

    In the future, I hope that legal authorities will seriously question the judgments of all so-called experts, such as Animal Control, when they pronounce judgments.

    Regarding the question whether there were dogs in Solomon's time. All I know is that one of Solomon's judgments pertained to his deciding which of two women (who both claimed to be one baby's mother) was the mother. He stated that the only fair way to decide was to cut the baby in half. One woman agreed. The other woman who didn't was given the baby.

    We all wish it weren't, but it's too late to save the grandson. But, another precious life is involved, here. I think that if the grandmother who would have given her life for her dead grandson is willing to spare the life of Onion (the family member that accidentally took a life), the rest of us should be able to forgive, also. Onion's behavior in every other instance of his life proves that he didn't mean to do it.

  7. To Bradley Chapline: I can't imagine a more memorable, significant, tender example of a "misunderstanding" than yours. Thank you.

    It reminds me of my last four-legged, furry kid "who" started nipping me when I petted him early in the morning, even though I had done that for the thirteen previous years. The vet pronounced that he had advanced kidney disease.

    By the way, how do people expect pets to TELL them something's wrong!....I do know, though, that pets/animals that are severely in pain, cry, as humans do.

    When pets suddenly are not themselves, because of accidents such as Onion's, "accidents" on the carpet, etc., experienced animal owners know to look beyond the surface, as we would with a human who was out of sorts.

    To add to an above comment I made about Solomon's wisdom: I see a connection, because I think that Onion's placement decision just requires common wisdom, not legal appeal after appeal. But, again, that's "what it took" this time.

    Just as the real mom in Solomon's judgment wanted what was best for the baby, Onion's owner (Grandma) instinctively and actually knows the truth of the situation (more than anyone else). In this particular case her judgment to spare her pet's life should be given priority over the release that she signed under duress, transferring ownership to Animal Control.