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Discussion About the Article:
Violent Role Models:
George Bush Sr. and the United Methodist Church

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Comments by Mike Shaw
8 July 2001

Dear Roger,

In your letter to Don, you make many assumptions that in my opinion should not be mixed together.  First, you assume or should I say, mix a number of situations that are unrelated.... example; you mixed chaining, caging, boxing or imprisoning companion animals to keep them from harming wild animals.  I think there is a big difference between putting a dog on a chain or fencing the yard from that of putting him or her into box or cage.

The truth is, there is no need to box, cage or imprison.  To be sure some times we need to put a fence around the yard to insure the safety of our pets and the lives of other animals and people.  However, many people put a fence around their yard to keep others out and for the safety of their children.  Are we to say that they have boxed in their children or imprisoned them?  Further, it is true that some are on a chain, but many people put their children on those leash things when they take them out (when very small).  I have also seen classes of small children walking to an event from school that are all tied by a long rope.

My dog is no more caged than I am.  He is never in a box and if he gets ill, we have the means to have him treated, where as if he were in the wild, he would not get treatment.  My dog is never chained because I have a fence, however, during walks he is on a 25 foot leash ('tis the law) besides it is for his safety as well.

I know of many, many dogs that sit in front of their homes without chain or fence and they would never run after anyone or other creature, thus I feel it is wrong to assume that companion animals must be treated this way.  Again, I can only speak from personal experience which tells me if you are to have a companion animal you must spend time with it and teach it.  An animal that knows love and feels secure will be a calm and peaceful animal.  (they may bark at strangers who come into their space, but that is a good thing).

It is early Sunday morning just before church and prior to my writing this, I put my dog out in the yard to run.  He is, as I am writing, sitting only about 2 feet from a dozen birds feeding on the ground beside him. The birds have gotten use to him being their over the months.  We have two interesting birds... one female sparrow that has no legs at all. She comes in like a humming bird and flops down on her belly to eat. Another young starling has only one leg and neither of these birds seem upset that my dog sits there.

Peace, Mike Shaw

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