Just recently I saw something online that really upset me. I am sure many other people saw it too. It was the video of a homeless man in Paris, France being separated from his dog.
I have to admit that I have become a bit desensitised due to the myriad images that are flying around the internet these days. I care deeply about the issues going on in this world, but if I reacted violently to each one I could easily drive myself into a state of serious depression. That would be a very unproductive state to be in, so I choose not to do that. Instead, I choose to voice my concerns and let my feelings out that way.
Having said that, back to the homeless man and his dog!
What I saw and heard
I have little to no knowledge of the back story of this particular incident, and am reluctant to trust news reports as stories tend to change according to who is telling them. So I can only go by how the video made me feel.
In the clip that I saw, two people who were reported to have been animal rights activists decided (or were instructed) to separate a homeless man and his dog. It was taken from him forcibly and he ran behind them wailing, begging for it to be returned to him. There were onlookers who, for whatever reason, didn’t go to his rescue.
What I read about it later
- That there is a problem with people on the streets using animals to get money from passers-by.
- The animal rights group concerned don’t think that homeless people should have dogs and the puppy has now been put up for adoption.
- I also read that animals that don’t get adopted are frequently put down, so there is no guarantee that the puppy will actually live.
- That the man wasn’t homeless but a gypsy and the puppy was his livelihood.
- That the two month old puppy was not vaccinated and was drugged to keep it quiet.
- That there was a third person who was handed the by now terrified puppy who ran off with it, while the other two stopped its owner following.
- That onlookers did try to intervene but to no avail.
Those are the different ‘facts’ that I read in various news reports, but who can tell what the truth actually is. I haven’t provided links because this story is easily accessible via search engines.
Burden of Proof
The questions that immediately come to mind are:
- Was the puppy drugged? Was it showing signs of ill-treatment and was it malnourished?
- Was such cruelty towards the man warranted?
- Why were the man’s rights seemingly irrelevant?
- Had he been observed mistreating the dog in any way which warranted such swift and merciless intervention? If so, isn’t it likely that some member of the public would have intervened on the dog’s behalf? There would surely have been animal lovers in the vicinity.
- This act was caught on camera, but is this a regular occurrence on the streets of Paris and beyond? Are homeless people and gypsies a target for this kind of treatment? If so, why?
- What had this man, homeless or gypsy, done to attract the attention of the animal rights group?
- Were three members of the animal rights group just strolling by, or were they in the area specifically to separate this man and his dog?
- Did they have identification on them to prove who they said they were? Did they show it to the man so that he knew where his dog was being taken?
There is usually a better way to deal with many situations, and I think that the outrage this has caused bears that out.
If animal rights activists do indeed roam the streets in order to remove animals from possibly dangerous situations, then why not have someone along with veterinary experience who can verify if the said animal is indeed badly treated and in danger. They could also be prepared to vaccinate it in accordance with the law and maybe leave behind a few tins of food and a tin opener for good measure to ensure the animal has a good meal. Surely this would be a more humane approach rather than just grabbing the dog and running off down the street with it, thereby upsetting both man and dog. Aren’t animal lovers meant to make animals feel safe and secure, rather than frightening the life out of them?
I have observed people who live on the streets who have much loved animals as their companions. That puppy might have been the only friend that man had – who can tell! Dogs also form strong attachments to their humans. Most people I know who own dogs refer to them as members of the family
This situation has really brought to mind that we all have to be careful not to get into our own opinionated positions of ‘righteousness’ and completely ignore other points of view and trample on people’s feelings. ‘The road to hell is paved with good intentions’ as the saying goes.
I have great respect for the people who risk their lives in going undercover to prove cruelty to animals, and who then inform the world what is happening. That takes tremendous courage – hats off to them.
However, three people taking a puppy away from its owner doesn’t have quite the same ring to it. The fact that the man was apparently living on the street somehow makes it worse in my eyes because he is in a visible state of vulnerability. To my knowledge, if an animal is being mistreated within a home there has to be some legal reason to enter before the animal is rescued. This begs the question – do the homeless have any rights where animals are concerned?
As I stated at the beginning, I have no definite knowledge of this individual case, only what I’ve read and seen, but I think it highlights a very serious problem within today’s society – the total lack of humanity that some members of it have to put up with on a daily basis.
If this situation had been approached from the stance of kindness and respect for both the man and dog, then this would undoubtedly have had a very different outcome. Kindness matters!
Your opinions and comments are welcome. Do you have knowledge related to the subject of this article? If you would like to comment please use the box below.
Sue is the Founder of Soulfully Connecting. She has spent over 40 years on her spiritual journey which, amongst other things, included training as a medium, hands on healing and travelling with a shaman. She trained for 3 years as a graphologist and for 23 years has been a reader specialising in graphology and tarot – 14 of those years were spent participating in festivals both at home and abroad.
The idea behind Soulfully Connecting is to demonstrate that there are other ways of living which can heal the earth, the animal kingdom and ourselves. She is passionate about people having freedom of choice, which is only possible when they know about all the options.
Sue is a member of the 7 Graces of Marketing community, the core purpose of which is to promote ethical marketing.
Twitter – @soulecting and @soulfullysue