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Ummm… What’s There to Think About?

Depressing images from this morning’s New Zealand herald.  The lead story on the internet version of the paper is entitled ‘33 dogs massacred in ‘rifle-killing frenzy‘.

I’ll let you look over the depressing facts yourself.   I’m interested in the legal aspects of the case.  Consider the following facts set out in the Herald – keeping in mind that the Herald ‘facts’ are not necessarily actual ‘facts’:

Yesterday, holding back tears, [the owner] described the sounds of his dogs being shot – sounds that echoed off the quarry walls for 20 minutes.

“They were screaming, making sounds dogs just don’t make. When one was gone, the others knew they’d be next, but they had nowhere to go.”

In all, 23 pups and young dogs, which slept in the owner’s truck, were shot, as were a male and female dog living in a van wreck and eight adult dogs housed in a kennel. They were shot through the grating.

Four pups hiding under their mother in the van survived, as did two other dogs the shooters didn’t see.

These six were taken to the owner’s workshop in Wellsford, but one later died. None of the dogs had been registered.

Pretty despicable stuff, all arising out of a dispute between neighbours over actions taken by the dog.

Almost is frightening is the last paragraph of the story:

SPCA executive director Bob Kerridge said two investigators had visited the property and would determine whether the dogs suffered before they died. A decision would then be made on whether to charge the gunmen. Wilful ill-treatment carries a penalty of up to three years’ jail.

Ummm… Bob, what’s to think about?   Continue reading

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Guest Post: ‘I Want to Hug You and Squeeze You into Itty-Bitty Pieces!’

by Daniel Meyrowitz

Daniel is a 4th year student at the University of Auckland, doing conjoint degrees in Law and English Literature and is currently a student in Animals and the Law.

Warner Bros creation Elmyra Duff of Tiny Toon Adventures is both amusing to watch and interesting to think about as a tool for social critique. Elmyra is modeled as a sort of female version of Elmer Fudd, ‘wabbit’ hunter and arch-enemy of Bugs Bunny. Instead of resorting to obvious forms of violence, as Elmer does, Elmyra chooses rather to love animals, although the net result of animal suffering is probably the same in both cases. Elmyra, however, is far more complicated in her motives and methods. Elmer Fudd hunts rabbits. It is simple and without equivocation. Elmyra, complete with her iconic gerbil skull placed in the middle of her hair ribbon, is a potent symbol for a more ubiquitous form of animal abuse. Elmyra’s abuse is pernicious, owing to the fact that it masquerades as animal love. Elmyra is a pet owner and collector. Elmyra loves pets. We all love pets. But all that love comes at a cost.  Continue reading

Companion Animals, Abandonment, and Legal Analysis

The Question: ‘What could I write?’
As a law lecturer who teaches animal law, it is extremely common for me to get questions from students about potential paper topics.  Equally often, students make outright statements, along the lines of ‘I have no idea what to write for a final paper!’  Students often think that everything worth writing has been written.

This usually makes me laugh!

Continue reading

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