Bentley Collins of Dillon, South Carolina, was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter and three counts of keeping unconfined dangerous animals in connection with the death of Matthew Davis in November 2006. The dogs involved were euthanized about a week after Davis’ death.
Collins was ordered to not obtain other dogs. He defied the order. Today, four of his dogs are at the local animal shelter. They are “good” dogs in that they have not behaved viciously toward people. Nevertheless, they probably will be put down unless adopted in a hurry. (Read the article.)
The dogs are in custody because their owner is a killer — a killer who killed a child by misusing dogs. But is it fair to the “good” dogs? I believe that the answer is a firm “no.” It is not fair to these dogs at all.
But that is how it is. Throughout the USA, most cities do not do a great job of licensing dogs and dog owners. The owners frequently break the laws by allowing their dogs to run at large, defecate on other people’s property, and bark without justification. Even when dogs bite humans, the animal control departments don’t act reasonably because they usually do nothing at all to the bad dogs and their bad owners.
We let bad people ruin their dogs, use them in a way that harms other people and other people’s property, fail to train, socialize and maintain them in a healthy condition. We have such insufficient laws to control the worst of it that our only solution is to kill the animals of these bad people. This is medieval justice at best. Strong laws against bad owners would minimize the number of injuries and be more fair to good dogs.