Belfast Telegraph

This thug needs to be charged with animal cruelty

Alex Kane

By Alex Kane

Anyone who has shared their life with a dog (you never really 'own' a dog of course) will know the bond at the heart of the relationship.

It is as close and as important as the bond that exists between you and the human members of your family and friendship circles. It is rare for a dog to betray that love and friendship.

Indeed, when the going is really tough and some people you might have relied on to have your back are not to be seen, you'll still hear the gentle breathing of the dog as it lays its head upon your lap and offers silent, yet wonderful comfort.

Most people, even those who have no particular fondness for dogs, would ever kick or abuse a dog; or any animal for that matter.

The normal reaction is to regard a dog or a cat as someone's friend and then hold out your own hand in friendship and respect.

That's because we understand the role they play in the lives of millions of people, particularly the elderly and the lonely.

Over the years - and in many places across the world - I have seen homeless people sharing a few bits of their own food with the only companion left in their lives: their dog. And even though the dog may be old, cold, uncomfortable and undernourished, it will remain at the side of their human.

I have also seen many buskers with a dog at their side as they entertain a crowd or just a few passing strangers.

Sometimes the dog is part of the act. Sometimes it just sits there, just keeping an eye out for trouble. When I used to canvass years ago in elections, I was struck by the number of people living on their own, with only the dog or cat as their live-in companion. "He keeps me sane," was how one man described his Labrador.

Only a moronic brute would kick a dog across a pavement. Only a brain-dead thug would imagine that inflicting an act of appalling violence on any animal was acceptable. Only a person with no understanding of love, friendship, loyalty or basic decency (normal human qualities) would think it reasonable to deliberately hurt any animal. Thankfully, this sort of behaviour is still rare enough to attract news headlines.

I don't completely accept the argument that every single animal abuser will, at some point, transfer their moronic brutality to a human; but there is a mountain of evidence which suggests that the vast majority of people who do inflict cruelty on animals will inflict it on humans, often women and children, at some point too. And that's why the person who kicked the busker's dog across the pavement needs to be named and charged with cruelty. The name needs to be in the system; assuming, of course, it isn't already there.

There is no excuse for animal cruelty. There is no excuse for cruelty, full stop. Who, in their right mind, even if they happened to be drunk or angry at the time, would see a dog with a busker and think, "I know, I'll kick that dog as hard as I can across the pavement"?

Of course, no one in their right mind would do that: which is why it is so important to find the person who kicked this dog. It wasn't even that dog in particular, I suspect: any dog would have done. Crucially and worryingly, maybe any person would have done. Maybe any person would do next time? If the 'satisfaction' comes from the kick and the cruelty, then maybe it won't matter next time if it is the busker or someone else who feels the kick. The thug who kicked the dog is a potential danger to any of us.

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