A perspective on priorities
Aug 21, 2012 | 986 views | 0 0 comments | 27 27 recommendations | email to a friend | print
I want to qualify myself in this column before it even begins. I love animals. I always have. My family and I have raised two rescued dogs. Right now, my wife and I are feeding a stray cat, and trying to find a home for her current kitten and a litter on the way before we get her spayed.

I just think, as a society, we have lost perspective on animals.

Case in point, Michael Vick. We all know what Vick did. What he made his dogs do. It was disgusting and a very ugly thing. He received a sentence of 23 months in a federal prison. The NFL suspended him indefinitely in 2007 and lifted it in 2009. We were all outraged and were right to be angry. He deserved all that he received and more.

To make this apples-to-apples, let me discuss another NFL player of acclaim. His name is Donte Stallworth, a wide receiver who has played for several teams, most recently signing with the New England Patriots for the 2012 season. On March 14, 2009, he was driving in Miami Beach, Fla., and struck and killed a pedestrian named Mario Reyes.

Stallworth’s blood alcohol content reportedly measured at 0.12 at the time of Reyes’ death. After a plea agreement, he served 28 of a 30-day sentence in county jail. He was also suspended for a year. Where was the same outrage we righteously felt for Vick and his dog fighting? A man was dead, and his killer served less than a month in jail?

I live in Paducah. The city announced it was going to remove a man-made island in a man-made retention pond in Noble Park. The island is used as a roost by park ducks, all domestic and imported species. We’re not talking migratory waterfowl.

Overnight, there was a Facebook group working to raise as much as $100,000.

Here in Marshall County, there is controversy over the animal shelter and Humane Society. I’m all for animals, but let’s take stock.

Both McCracken and Marshall counties have other problems. Last year, McCracken County had a community of homeless people living in tents in a forgotten part of the Littleville Rail Yard. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics lists Marshall County’s unemployment rate for June 2012 at 8.4 percent. That’s not the worst, but ask anyone looking for work if that’s good.

Where’s the energy for people? There is an epidemic of domestic violence. Maybe we should worry about homeless people before we worry about homeless pets. I’m not saying animals don’t need a voice. They do. Let’s just make sure we keep our volume in line with the need.

I’m all for helping animals. Adopt a pet from a shelter or a rescue group. Being a responsible owner means more than chaining a dog to a tree, and occasionally putting out some food. Get your pet spayed or neutered. Support reputable shelters and rescue groups if you can’t have a pet in your home.

Just remember, though, somewhere, and probably much closer to you than you want to believe, there is a human, a neighbor, someone’s brother, sister, father, mother, daughter or son that needs help. Maybe they need a place to stay while getting their lives together. Maybe they need to get out of an abusive home. Old or young, they could be hungry and or homeless. Let’s be outraged too, about our fellow man.

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