We were horrified last night, to learn from the news of a husky being shot just outside Melbourne on ANZAC day.
The family were only a short distance away, at their car, with their little boy, when another car pulled up and fired at their dog. She was wearing her collar and ID tags and had run from her owners' car towards the new vehicle. She was being called back by the owners, who had been attempting to put her lead on her when the new vehicle had passed. The shooter, despite claims that he thought it was a wild dog, made no attempt to check on the animal, to take the body for bounty payment or anything else, that a legitimate cull might have involved. In fact, it wasn't even a clean kill, as the poor dog dragged herself away from the road and into the nearby trees before she died.
Despite the dog owners collecting a license plate, the police have not charged the "hunter". He has admitted killing the dog, without a qualm, for shooting a family pet within sight of its people. No apology has been made, no offer of compensation. My heart goes out to that family and their two year old boy, who was devoted to his dog. Such a traumatic, senseless thing for them to try to come to terms with.
This tragedy speaks to the broader issues of gun control, being hotly debated here and elsewhere around the world. Gun enthusiasts have long maintained that hunting and culling of animals are an important and essential reason for guns to be held. In Australia, guns for hunting are not the assault rifles that are being used so horrifically in the US, but more traditional rifles. In Australia, legitimate gun sales involve careful licensing of the weapons. Most Australians are proud of our moderate approach to gun control. However, I FAIL to understand for a minute how a person who admits to shooting a family pet under these circumstances can walk out of the police station with their gun license intact. If a person ENJOYS killing so much, surely they are a risk to society at large? A person who will shoot at a dog, illegally, from a car, in sight of its owners is surely on a path to becoming the monsters who stalk America's schools. Do we need another Port Arthur massacre?
My thoughts today are with Peppa's family. No one should have to suffer through something like this.