The Inhumane Society

by Fred Dungan

Because I myself was born an unwanted mutt without a pedigree who was adopted into a good family, I prefer to get my dogs from the pound. I went down to the County Animal Shelter two weeks ago and picked out what I thought was the perfect dog for me—an alert black labrador mixture male approximately 9 months old who looked like he was very much in need of a good home.

He was out of the cage and we were all ready to go home when we ran into a problem. It seems that they had a regulation dictating that doggie couldn't go home until after he had been neutered. I offered to post a hefty bond that would be forfeited if I didn't return to have him neutered (I intentionally forfeited the bond the last time I adopted a dog), but the policy had changed and this was no longer an option.

The practice of spaying and neutering pets originated from good intentions. Nobody wants packs of feral, potentially rabid animals roaming the streets and feeding from trash cans in urban neighborhoods like it used to be when I was a kid. I just think that the Humane Society has of late been going to extremes. There are no stray dogs where I live. In fact, there is a growing shortage of dogs that is reflected in the price that people ask for when they advertise them in the newspaper. "Free to good home" is a thing of the past. It is not unusual in Southern California for people to pay $200 for a good dog without papers.

Just where does the Humane Society get off? How come a private organization with an agenda has so much influence over the County's tax-supported animal shelter? I bet these frigid old biddies can't stand the idea of their pets having a better sex life than they do. That would explain why they insist on cutting out everything (female dogs get a complete hysterectomy and males don't fare much better), instead of simply giving them a tubal ligation or a vasectomy.

Who gave the Humane Society the right to play God? Is this the way to thank our pets for their faithful service? I agree with Abraham Lincoln that people who would abuse and enslave others deserve to have it done to themselves. How would they like it if doggie bit theirs off? And don't give me that BS about how it's best for the dog because it isn't the dog's decision to make and if it was, you can bet he would opt to remain intact. Is this any way to treat man's best friend?

Did I mention that my minister drove me to the pound? And although her own male German Shepherd is unneutered, she vehemently sided with the animal control people. In my attempt to rescue doggie from a fate worse than death, I may have went a bit overboard in that I told the Animal Control officers and my minister what I thought of people who butcher pets. Remember, these are the very same people who murder dogs and cats in decompression chambers (their lungs turn inside out) to save the price of a lethal injection. Humane? I don't think so. Dictator Saddam Hussein got a more humane execution than docile, obedient pets who have done their best to please their masters get.

There is a sanctuary in Kanab, Utah, where abandoned pets live out their lives. That is much better than the Humane Society has them doing now. If you want Fido put to death, then you should have to take him out back and put a bullet in his head—the way they did it in the old days. The trouble with the Humane Society is that they make it far too easy for us to do something which we know in our hearts is criminal. How can we butcher and murder our pets and manage to keep from choking when we call ourselves a superior species? Worse yet, what does it do to us as a society when we repay an animal's unconditional love by sanctioning a bestial act. The problem isn't with the pet so much as it is with owners who let their dogs run loose. Why harm dogs for doing what comes natural? There are far better, less invasive ways of animal birth control than spaying and neutering which do not upset hormonal balance or lessen drive. The Humane Society needs to reevaluate their policies and update their modus operandi. The key word is “humane.” I'm not saying that the Humane Society is wrong, I just think that they can do a whole lot better.

While we are at it, let's talk about some of the other rampant abuses. Since dogs aren't usually allowed to hunt for themselves, they are stuck with what we feed them. Have you ever read the ingredients on the back label of a can of dog food? They are disgusting, sickening and inhumane. No wonder dogs turn over trash cans in search of food. I would sooner eat from a dumpster than eat meat by-products, which is the code name for inedible parts such as ovaries, hooves, intestines, snouts and aborted fetuses. As if that isn't enough, another prime ingredient in dog food is brewer's rice. The Association of American Feed Officials says brewer's rice consists of “the dried extracted residue of rice resulting from the manufacture of wort (liquid portion of malted grain) or beer and may contain pulverized dried spent hops in an amount not to exceed 3 percent.” Poor doggie is being forced to eat Budweiser. How could we be so cruel? Of course, what pet owners really want to know is if dog food is harmful. Not only is it dangerous, it is sometimes poisonous. Recently, a number of brands were recalled due to wheat gluten made in communist China that was contaminated with plastic. Also, dog food has a long shelf life and does not need to be refrigerated. That's because it is loaded with chemical preservatives such as butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA), butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT), and other stuff you wouldn't feed your worst enemy, let alone your best friend. Next time someone tells you that table scraps are bad for dogs, ask them if they would like to try some dog food.

Actually, today's canned dog food is far better than the Dr. Ross or Vets brand eight percent protein dog food from the mid-Twentieth Century whose primary ingredients were water and yellow corn. Nowadays, dogs get fed more nutritious meals. Beef, pork, and chicken are the primary ingredients.

In 1971 the undergraduate fees (California's legislature was hesitant to term it tuition) at University of California at Irvine increased significantly, forcing me to cut my food budget in half. Because I was single, my application for Food Stamps was summarily rejected. Reluctantly, I cut my food budget by substituting canned dog food for hamburger. The following recipe dates from that austere time.


The Best Spaghetti You Ever Ate

1 pound of durham seminola spaghetti
6 garlic cloves
1 22.5 ounce can of dog food (filet mignon or T-bone flavor)
2 green bell peppers
2 onions
1 can mushroom pieces
1 small can of tomato paste
1 small can of tomato sauce
1 teaspoon black pepper
3 tablespoons of curry
3 ounces of soy sauce
5 tablespoons of dark molasses
2 tablespoons Italian seasoning
1 packet of Del Scorcho taco sauce from Del Taco

Boil spaghetti in a stock pot for 11 minutes. Drain in colinder and set aside. Brown the dog food in a 12 inch diameter cast iron skillet. Add 8 ounces of water. Add the other ingredients to the resulting mixture and simmer for 20 minutes. When the sauce is finished, mix it with the spaghetti in the stock pot. Makes 6 servings.


The Revenant

by Billy Collins

I am the dog you put to sleep,
as you like to call the needle of oblivion,
come back to tell you this simple thing:
I never liked you—not one bit.

When I licked your face,
I thought of biting off your nose.
When I watched you toweling yourself dry,
I wanted to leap and unman you with a snap.

I resented the way you moved,
your lack of animal grace,
the way you would sit in a chair to eat,
a napkin on your lap, knife in your hand.

I would have run away,
but I was too weak, a trick you taught me
while I was learning to sit and heel,
and—greatest of insults—shake hands without a hand.

I admit the sight of the leash
would excite me
but only because it meant I was about
to smell things you had never touched.

You do not want to believe this,
but I have no reason to lie.
I hated the car, the rubber toys,
disliked your friends and, worse, your relatives.

The jingling of my tags drove me mad.
You always scratched me in the wrong place.
All I ever wanted from you
was food and fresh water in my metal bowls.

While you slept, I watched you breathe
as the moon rose in the sky.
It took all of my strength
not to raise my head and howl.

Now I am free of the collar,
the yellow raincoat, monogrammed sweater,
the absurdity of your lawn,
and that is all you need to know about this place

except what you already supposed
and are glad it did not happen sooner—
that everyone here can read and write,
the dogs in poetry, the cats and the others in prose.

This page last modified on July 21, 2016.