In the grand scheme of things, considering what is going on in the world, with the economy and problems in our city, I'm not sure why a story about a pet gets so much attention and seems to pull at the heart strings but it does. And from the moment I read about Freetown's decision to euthanize Skippy, a four year old Golden Retriever, I felt it was wrong. The town wants to destroy the dog on the assumption that he is a vicious animal. They base this on the fact that Skippy has twice attacked his owner's granddaughter. I admit that sounds damning but the child is toddler who was not properly supervised around a dog that was not accustomed to being around children. After the first incident the owner was told to have Skippy neutered and to keep him in a quarantined area, after the second attack it was revealed that wasn't done.
So the town has stepped in and the dog is to be destroyed. This despite the fact that granddaughter was only temporarily staying in the home and despite the fact that precautions were not taken that should have been. The town has been presented with multiple options that would allow for a more merciful handling of this situation. Skippy's breeder, who is in Canada, has offered to take him back. Certainly a move to Canada should leave Freetown selectmen feeling safe? But no that idea has been shot down. The Lakeville dog officer, after working with Skippy and believing he can be trained to be a good pet, offered to take him but that offer was also rejected.
But the momentum to free Skippy is growing! Just the other day I learned of a Facebook page that has been established to "Free Skippy", that page is gaining attention and has already been mentioned on WSAR and now in a story on the Herald News!
A few posts back I stated that I was a big supporter of our local animal shelters and I am. I've looked at dogs to adopt in local shelters and online and I have found many where the dog has been assessed as not being suitable for a home with children. These shelters and organizations don't line these animals up like they were at Auschwitz. They simply make sure to place the dogs in homes that where they can succeed and be good pets. I believe that is what should be done here with Skippy. An organization the Center for Animal Rescue and Education has forwarded a proposal for Skippy's release. They would foster him, neuter him, assess him, and prepare him for adoption. They would release Freetown of any responsibility and agree not to adopt him to anyone who has children or anyone living in Freetown. It's a proposal that I would urge to the Board of Selectmen to accept.
That Facebook page is urging people to tell the Freetown Board of Selectmen to reconsider their decision and rescind Skippy's death sentence. You can do that by contacting the Freetown Board of Selectmen (contact information below) or by attending today's Selectmen meeting (2/17/2011) at 5:30PM at the Freetown Elementary School Library. Also show your support to that Facebook page, comments on the Herald News, call into WSAR, and of course feel free to leave your comments here.
Lawrence N. Ashley 2011 Chairman
Jean C. Fox 2013
Lisa A. Pacheco 2012
Elsie A. Soares Administrative Assistant
3 North Main Street
Assonet, MA 02702
Fax: (508) 644-3342