Turkey Week brought headlines of the nearly-forgotten beagles confiscated from the Vick property. The media (ew) is just eating it up: The poor damaged things are making their way from a shelter straight into adopters' homes. Happy news, if it wasn't tainted by the sensationalistic comparison of "gentle beagles" to "unstoppably violent" pit bulls. Our pit bulls.
Unstoppable violence is a term usually reserved for gut wrenching reports of bloody sectarian civil wars or systematic genocide in far away places - or - the deeds of evil men who torture innocent animals. But, for dogs? Dogs that have been evaluated and given a seal of approval, no less?
I like beagles. They're cute as can be with their stubby legs and floppy ears, and busy, bossy personalities. My first dog was a beagle named Casey Jones Ratdog Reynolds. But even with those Disney-ish looks, beagles are still every bit as capable of being irresponsibly owned as other dogs... Just this month, a beagle attacked a young girl in Texas, requiring emergency surgery. Her mother said, "You always think it's a Pitbull or Rottweiler. It doesn't matter what kind of dog it is, you never know when this will happen to your kid." Another reminder that stereotyping your demons can open you up to a painful reality check. Read: Beagle Attack
Don't blame the beagle, though. He didn't know that America expects more of his kind. He's only a dog.
After news came out that the kinder, gentler dogs were getting adopted in Virginia, we heard from a dog owner who wanted to share her story of Bishop, a beagle who was nearly killed by other dogs. She wanted folks to see how silly the whole good breed, bad breed campaign is. In her words:
'I had the pleasure of meeting Bishop when I took care of a barn of horses at a Hunt Club in Connecticut. A kennel of approximately 30 beagles was situated next to my barn. Occasionally I was asked to fill in for the girl that feeds them. The girl warned me ahead of time that these were all kennel raised hunting beagles, and that they were not raised as pets. She told me there may come a morning when I find a dead beagle that had been attacked by the others. Thankfully I never did!
When working in my barn, I would occasionally hear a fight break out, and would dash into the kennel to break it up. After the third or fourth time, I noticed it was almost always the same beagle I was saving. Bishop.
One day, to my horror, I found the dogs had trapped him inside, pinned him in the corner with his back against the wall, eyes like saucers, screaming his head off with approximately eight beagles tearing at his body. He had been housed with those beagles, all uncastrated males of varying sizes, ages and temperaments. The injuries were extensive, and Bishop had to be hospitalized. They tore at his stomach and his hind legs. His testicles were almost completely ripped off of his body. He needed several stitches and drains over these areas, and to be castrated the rest of the way.
Bishop survived his injuries, and found a loving home with me. He lived to be 13 and a half, and I am pleased to say, as the least likely to survive, he outlived every one of those dogs! He passed away a couple of weeks ago of old age, I miss him terribly.
I believe Bishop was attacked not because of his breed, but because he was raised as a hunting dog kept in a survival of the fittest atmosphere.
The photo attached is of Bishop and his pit bull friend Gentle Ben, whom we fostered. Both dogs are now sitting side by side in heaven where ignorance, prejudice and abuse do not exist.' - Beth Connelly
Thank you Beth for that reminder. And rest in peace, Bishop and Gentle Ben.