In and of itself, that story is hardly unique. What causes it to stand out from the typical story is the gravity of the neglect and the leniency of the punishment.
On Thursday, the dog owner, Douglas Pattison, was fined $250 for the death of a 10-year-old Shih Tzu named Tiny that had been in his care (if care is the right word). Pattison was also barred from owning another pet for three years.
But it is the nature of Tiny’s death, not to mention his final days on earth, that is compelling. In August, the dog was found barely alive and wandering the streets of the city. It is unclear whether Pattison had turned the tiny dog out, but according to the article, its “fur was so matted and filthy that maggot-infested abscesses had developed on the dog’s skin.” In addition:
It also had extensive dental disease and was so severely dehydrated that internal organs were affected.
Veterinarians tried to save the little pooch. They treated Tiny for severe skin abscesses and other ailments. But he was so ill that they had no alternative but to euthanize him three months later.
Here’s the kicker. Shih Tzus are expensive dogs. And they must be bought since they never turn up in shelters. With some Shih Tzus selling for over $1,000, Pattison’s fine was roughly one fourth the cost assigned to the dog’s life.
What is more is that in three years time, he can walk into a pet store and buy another dog to neglect.
Dogs deserve better. And people like Douglas Pattison deserve much, much worse.