The Law and Animals

This article has me feeling very conflicted.

While I am thrilled there are people that are advocating for animals and saving them from horrible fates, I wonder if there can be repercussions that we don’t anticipate.

Not all “bitey” dogs need to be PTS, I think we can all agree. And I think even in most of the worst scenarios, it is the people - not the animals - at fault.

That seems to be what he is arguing…and on some level I agree. As a horse person there is a lot I forgive that I ascribe to prey animal behavior (or similar).

But he extrapolates that to a concerning degree.

Whether we have dogs, cats or horses, shouldn’t we assume they should act accordingly? Yes and no? I am not sure. That said, I think this line of thinking opens a lot of doors… doors I am not so comfortable with.

I think there have to be limits… but what then? Also, animal litigation is bound to find us too…

What think you, COTH?

I have a good friend who has taught Animal Law and also been defense on some dangerous dog cases.

Remember that when a lawyer takes on a case, they are 100 per cent committed to winning that case, and may make a career of taking on difficult cases. The legal system is adversarial. In a dangerous dog case the defense lawyer does their best to defend the dog, and the prosecutor or pound official in bylaw court does their best to get it euthanized. The job of the lawyer is to be extreme and perhaps to push for changes in law and procedure.

Lawyers do not write laws unless they are elected to public office or hired as staff by a legislature. That’s a totally different perspective where you have to look at the big picture and write a law that all stakeholders will agree on.

Nothing wrong with this animal rights lawyer taking a string stance in defending hard cases. He’s not actually in a position to rewrite laws.

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Good point!


the trend could easily become a train wreak

Regarding horses/equines the there is/are concerns of both Overweight Riders and Horses. Both are a touchy subjects but both are animal welfare topics

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As someone whose (on-leash, small, docile) dog was nearly killed twice by off-leash dogs, I think this is horrible and irresponsible. I understand lawyers are paid to do what they do, but this is a man with a clear agenda I don’t agree with–I believe some dogs are too dangerous to rehabilitate.

It’s easy to say “a vicious dog is a human’s fault,” but often the person or dog who suffers the most (sometimes with the loss of life) isn’t the one responsible for the dangerous behavior.

Also, sometimes genetics and the neonatal environment, as well as early socializing, can be too much to overcome. I don’t believe in stigmatizing any breed, but when a dog has a history of aggressive behavior, it’s doing no one any favors to protect the dog. Least of all other dogs who may also be harmed.


I’m with you IH. Up to the point of not stigmatized a breed. Some breeds deserve to be stigmatized.


Yes, and regardless, this man is defending dogs who have attacked–including those with fairly little provocation:

It is not remotely a feel-good story. The case involved an enormous dog in Nevada named Onion, a 120-pound mastiff-Rhodesian ridgeback mix. Onion killed his owner’s 1-year-old grandson after the child stumbled and startled the sleeping dog. Mr. Rosenthal and a local lawyer argued that the dog was not vicious but had reacted the way any animal might when startled.

I mean, I guess to be “fair,” the grandparents didn’t want the dog euthanized, but still…

Who the hell crosses a mastiff and a Rhodesian Ridgeback, for God’s sake? They knew what they were making.

Words fail me.