Griffiths / When it comes to dogs…

“As a society we can mostly agree we don’t like seeing chemical weapons used on dogs, and especially dogs that are tied up,” writes columnist JOHN GRIFFITHS

WANT to know what feels great? Being part of an angry mob baying for blood on the internet!

I should know, I’ve led plenty of them and been a part of quite a few more.

Policeman pepper sprays dog

Justen Storay’s dog, Laps, being pepper sprayed by a policeman while tied up in a Griffith backyard.

Normally, everything in this world is just so difficult. We all disagree on what is a problem. The few people who can agree that something is a problem don’t agree on what the solution is.

Society can roughly be broken up between a large majority who would prefer not to have to think about anything beyond what to have for lunch, and a troubled, arguing and confused minority who think their opinions matter.

But every now and then, something happens that we can all agree about.

Recently, on, we had the footage of Justen Storay’s dog, Laps, getting pepper sprayed by a policeman while tied up in Justen’s Griffith backyard.

Sure, there’s the troubling aspect of who exactly has CCTV of their backyard while police molest their bull mastiff, and why police are raiding a house in relation to a dangerous driving offence.

But, in general, we can put that aside because it doesn’t matter.

Apart from some very troubled individuals, as a society we can mostly agree we don’t like seeing chemical weapons used on dogs, and especially dogs that are tied up.

People, well, on people it depends. But dogs? Definitely not and we can all get righteously angry buoyed up by the knowledge that, at long last, we are not alone.

It’s a good feeling – and a dangerous one.

Following hard in the footsteps of the dog video, another emerged of a tubby buffoon in an over-tight Raiders jersey wetting himself on an ACTION bus. Oh yes, bring on the righteous anger! That poor woman with her children! The handbag!

On a roll, a local radio station found itself looking for the next sensation.

Aha! A dog! (we’ve established we all like dogs, right?) And it’s locked in a car! (We don’t like dogs locked in cars, right? Never mind that in this weather it’s no threat to health). And the car is filthy! (Poor dog?)

Ah, wait, hang on a moment. To this trained eye, not a million miles away on the curve of screaming desperation from living out of a car, it looked like some poor bastard was not quite so reduced by the cruelty of the world as to be surrendering their dog to the RSPCA or Domestic Animal Services, a death sentence on a short delay.

So should any of us dog owners become separated from family and friends or find ourselves in an abusive relationship, it’s not hard to imagine it’s our dog locked in our cramped car, distressed because some sticky beak is trying to take video of it while we’re in the shops buying dog food.

By all means, when it’s warranted, let’s enjoy those rare moments when the community can all agree on something.

But let’s not surrender our faculty for critical thinking, or our compassion for the unfortunate. If, for no other reason, that we all might be next.

John Griffiths is the online editor of


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