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Column - Cowards hurt pets

What goes around comes around and I strongly believe that people who intentionally hurt other people's pets are in for a world of hurt someday.

Last week, the Echo Press ran an article about a dog that was reportedly shot, possibly at close range. Thankfully, the dog survived.

I'd like to think most people who read about it were disgusted and baffled by such a senseless act.

It's certainly not the first time a coward has hurt an animal around here and, unfortunately, it's probably not the last.

What kind of person would shoot a dog? Or hurt someone's pet in any way?

I envision it's a person without a soul and definitely lacking compassion.

I get it, there are exceptions for everything. I know there are vicious animals out there.

There are animals that attack people and other domestic animals. Something has to be done to protect a child from being mauled, or to stop a cattle herd attack because it's your livelihood. It's awful, but I think that attacking animal should be contained or destroyed.

However, I'm afraid there are more vicious people out there than vicious pets.

And I get it - animals are animals... they're unpredictable. If you don't know a dog or cat, ask the pet owner if you can pet the animal. Use some common sense - the animal is just as leery of you.

And I get it - people definitely need to keep track of their pets. I wholeheartedly believe that animals should not be allowed to wander. It puts the animal in danger of the jerks who are likely to hurt them. Plus, it's awfully disrespectful to your neighbors if your dog pees on their petunias, or your cat pounces on birds at their suet feeder.

Even if you're a responsible pet owner, you know they can get away from you from time to time.

If you encounter a wandering animal, chances are someone's looking for it - or should be.

Please, do the decent thing and check the tag and call the phone number or, if you'd rather not approach the animal, call law enforcement. Or, at least yell at the animal, "Hey, get out of here!" to scare it away from your property. Do your part to keep that animal safe.

If you are a responsible pet owner, you shouldn't have anything to worry about, right?

Now, to the people who intentionally hurt other people's pets, I have a few questions, because really, I'd like to try to understand:

• What in the world is going on in your head?

• What prompts you to level off a weapon on a dog that walks up to you wagging its tail?

• Does it even register on your right-versus-wrong radar that it is wrong to hurt a pet?

• How do you justify your actions?

If you have ever hurt someone's pet, I'm sad for you. You are likely suffering somehow and you've taken it out on a defenseless pet. It's cowardly and I'm pretty sure you know that. I hope you find a cure for what it is that ails you before you hurt or kill another animal.

If you have had a pet hurt by someone, I am deeply sorry. There must be some peace in knowing karma gets people who harm pets. Then, forgive that cowardly person who hurt your animal - they are sick and sad and desperately need help. Pray for them.

Pets bring so much joy to so many people and I know I am not alone in that sentiment. I truly believe that I speak for the silent majority.

Please be a responsible pet owner and if you know of someone who has intentionally hurt someone's dog or cat, turn them in - they're much too cowardly to come forward on their own.

Amy Chaffins

Amy Chaffins is a journalist working for the Echo Press newspaper in Alexandria, Minnesota.

(320) 763-3133