Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Why animal protection laws in Oregon are so important

Liam the pug resting on the couch
I can't imagine smacking an innocent dog like this.
Apparently, other people can. 

I have (inadvertently) been listening to the news quite a bit lately, and I'm struck by how many republican candidates are claiming that small government is the answer to the world's problems. Here's a snippet from Ron Paul that demonstrates this idea: "Personal liberty is the purpose of government, to protect liberty, not to run your personal life, not to run the economy, and not to pretend that we can tell the world how they ought to live."

Now while I understand that a smaller government may have its place, I also have a small bone to pick with this idea. Small government depends on a public that behaves well. We could all mind our own business if there weren't other people around us that behave reprehensibly. And when it comes to animals, I think a strong governmental stance is absolutely essential. 

Consider this case I read about this morning: A Gresham woman is accused of causing a skull fracture, rib fractures and a cheek fracture in her 3-month-old puppy. She denies the charges. Police report, however, that this woman has also been accused of similar crimes in the past.

If we all chose to look the other way, with our small government ideals intact, people who were accused of hurting animals could simply walk away without punishment. Our laws would be designed to protect individual freedom and keep costs low, not to protect the most vulnerable in our society. I shudder to think what that would mean for these animals. 

One reason I love to live in Oregon is that we do have strong laws that protect animals, and those laws allow prosecutors to step in and charge people with felony counts when they're accused of egregious animal abuse. I'm glad that my tax dollars go toward animal protection. This is good government, even if it is big government, and I support it wholeheartedly.