Ignorance will soon claim another innocent life- the failing of our inept justice system yet again. It is the unusual setting surrounding this un-heard of case that makes it so unique. In the end, you must be the judge- should this animal really die? Is it truly the fearsome ‘danger to society’ some may have you believe, or simply another unfortunate victim?
Yet another court order passed, another judgement final, another dog is to be destroyed. Why? The unfortunate animal was found emaciated and abandoned, feeding off its’ dead owner’s corpse, at their home in Waterloo, U.K.
Should He Die? Buster’s Story
‘Dangerous Beast!’ This is likely the first thought going through your head, but look a little deeper. The dog, named both ‘Butch’ and ‘Buster’ in court papers, did not kill his owner, but resorted to this ‘cannibalism’ (for lack of a proper term) only as a last resort- to stay alive, a thing people have done in the past as well. I ask you- what should it have done? What options were available, other than a slow and agonizing starvation?
I can also tell you- having studied animal behavior for over 15 years- it is very unusual for any dog to simply ‘pounce’ on their keeper, a longtime member of their pack, their family, the minute they cease to live. Unlike the common house cat, who would likely not give a seconds’ thought to devouring once- beloved owner’s corpse, dogs will often wait nearby, starving. Buster may very well have lasted for days without nourishment. The animal being in such poor condition at the time should attest to the suffering the poor creature was forced to endure.
The Struggle For Buster’s Life
A fierce legal battle ensued- Merseyside police vs. various local animal rights activists; a battle to decide the dog’s fate. The Worcester-based Senior Staffy Club challenged the police’s claims that the dog was a danger to everyone around it. An experienced veterinarian (Dr. Waterloo, below) was called to examine the animal, ultimately deeming Buster to be a normal, friendly companion, just as deserving as any other.
However- local police were met with resistance from the 35 pound traumatized animal (because we all know police have such a spotless reputation when handling dogs), and deemed it a threat to be eliminated. Recorded video of the Veterinarian’s interactions with the dog were submitted in court but dismissed as irreverent by District Judge (and self-proclaimed Canine expert) Wendy Lloyd, who ruled the dog “does constitute a danger to public safety” and said the video was an “assessment which falls well short of what I would expect”.
The constable held the squirming animal down, applying obvious force, Buster attempting to wriggle free. When he lifted the dog to transport, the constable was bitten.
I have to interject. Really? And you blame the dog for this?
A point was made- the police unlawfully seized the animal upon arrival at the residence. However, again Lloyed flexed her mighty judicial powers, dismissing the clear violation of law as ‘seizure of evidence’.
It was also pointed out- this has happened before in rural areas. It is not uncommon for animals to feed off of their deceased owners when left alone for long periods of time.
Mr. James Cullen, representing the police, commented-
When pressured, the dog did not act in a safe fashion. Something very serious could happen.
Again, what did you expect?
What dog breed was Buster? A Stafford-shire Bull Terrier, conceived in 19th century Britain as an agile fighting breed. Just because they were bred to fight other dogs does not mean they are bad with people; in fact, as nearly any educated enthusiast would agree- these dogs have severely misunderstood reputations, and are in fact some of the absolute best family dogs an owner can find. Anywhere.
Buster’s Story in Perspective
Buster not only lost his owner, a person he had lived with for who knows how long; he (a pack animal) was forced to live alone, feeding off of the remains of his dead owner to stay alive! Instead of releasing the animal to the accepting care of trained professionals well accustomed to rehabilitating dogs like Buster, the decision was made to simply end his life.
What do you think? Should the dog live or die? The judgement has been passed, but only recently; he yet lives (4-18-2016).