LETTER- Blame the pet owner

I just read your May 18 cover story, "Claws and effect," and I feel that the application of the term "animal cruelty" to the shooting of a neighbor's pet cat on your own property is somewhat inappropriate. Pets can be terribly pestiferous to other people who do not want them on their property. Why is it considered reasonable for people to be forced by the negligence of pet owners to have to put up with unwanted pets in their yards? 

Delegate Rob Bell brings up Mosby, the Staunton dog that was allowed to travel five miles (!) from home (with another dog owned by the same person) chasing wildlife and was shot as he was undoubtedly making an annoying ruckus outside a man's house. It is not clear to me that this man could be accurately described as an abuser of animals, especially if this was not the first time that this dog had come around barking. It's the owner– who did not care enough to keep Mosby safely at home– who should bear the responsibility for the dog's death.

When pet owners allow their cats and dogs to roam all over the neighborhood, they're shirking their responsibility to care for the animals they profess to love so much. Their pets could very well be run over by a car or killed by another animal. If someone truly loves a pet as much as he does a child, then he should keep it inside or allow it outside only under supervision, just as he would (I would hope) a child.

When Delegate Rob Bell, or Commonwealth's Attorney Jim Camblos, or anyone, equates the killing of a pet that is being pestiferous with a person who cruelly tortures an animal– any animal– for no good reason, they are barking up the wrong tree. Can anyone really dispute how annoying it is to listen to dogs barking?  Should George Seymour really have to put up with cats scratching his expensive car? These people can ask pet owners to keep their animals home, but pet owners do not usually change their habits. 

It's sad that a pet had to pay such a terrible price because of owner negligence, but that's the bottom line. If you care about animals, convince pet owners to take proper care of their pets by keeping them home where they belong.

 Marlene A. Condon