Friday, March 7, 2008

Street Dogs

I recently read Street Dogs by Traer Scott. Street Dogs is a book of photographs on dogs living alone or in packs on the city streets of Puerto Rico and Mexico. The pictures were very good. Many of the dogs pictured had suffered terrible wounds but the pictures were not ghastly. The photography was excellent to catch the dogs beauty. It would probably been much easier to take pictures that show the pain the dogs suffered, than to show how the dogs are still good looking.

In the introduction and mini biographies the book tells of some of the cruelties done to the dogs. The book mentioned how people had poured boiling oil on dogs, cut them with knives, burnt them with cigarettes, and a group of teenagers purposely running over a mother dog and her puppies with their car. While not something I did not already know about, the casual cruelty of people always surprises me. I really do not understand how or why people do horrible things like the above mentioned stuff.

I understand eating dogs, though I wouldn't. People need to eat, dogs are edible, and it really isn't any worse than other stuff people eat like pigs, dolphins, etc. I have even seen an argument for eating dogs that makes sense to me, though I don't agree with it. The argument was that since many shelters are over crowded and will kill the dogs anyways. Those dogs instead of being buried or thrown away can be fed to people.

I understand abandoning dogs. People get dogs and find out they do not have the ability to take care of them. People have financial problems and can't afford them. People are lazy. People become injured and no longer are able to care for them. People think that the dogs have a better chance running in the wild then they do at shelters. In some cases the dogs may very well have a better chance in the wild than at shelters. Some shelters particularly government run shelters in third world countries (and some even in first world countries) are over crowded, under funded, and do kill a large percentage of the animals. Though it did surprise me to learn that there were/are 200,000 to 300,000 street dogs in Puerto Rico.

I do not understand people's cruelty and probably never will. Don't the people have empathy for the animals they are abusing. I definitely do not want to know any people who can abuse animals. If these people abuse and mistreat animals they likely will abuse and mistreat fellow human beings.

The book was not all about the mistreatment and abandoning of dogs (and did not mention eating dogs at all). The book really was about how loving and social dogs are. It is amazing how dogs can still be trusting, kind, and playful with humans even though they suffered hardships, injury, and abuse by humans. It did mention some touching stories about dogs for example mentioned a pack of dogs that befriended a human and when the human was threatened by another human the pack went to protect the guy.

The book also mentioned the good people and organizations are doing for dogs. People giving hand outs to street dogs, restaurants giving scraps to the dogs, providing medicine for the dogs, etc. Educating the populace that abandoning and mistreating dogs is wrong and giving alternatives to abandonment. People adopting the dogs and spending money to send the dogs to the USA for adoption. Since there is a demand in some places for small dogs and puppies.

If you like dogs; I recommend you purchase this book. A part of the proceeds also goes to help dogs.

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