Vauban was my last Chesapeake Bay Retriever we had to put down. I should have euthanized him earlier but I did not. He was injured in an accident and the vet had to amputate the his injured leg. In addition, he turned into a mad dog that was difficult for anyone but myself to control. He would bite you without the least bit of provocation. Despite his madness we loved him and we worked with him for months in the vain hope that we could “rehabilitate.” him. Instead, what it took was for him to madly attack our neighbor’s child and bite her hand when she attempted to pat him.
His attack was not provoked and justifiably he had to be eliminated. We waited the requisite 10 days in order to determine in he had rabies, which he did not, fed him his last meal and then dropped him off at the County Animal Shelter for execution (at the time we were too poor to pay a private Veterinarian. I felt sorry but my head told me it was the right thing to do as the animal no longer recognize anyone.
The last dog we had to put down I did so myself. Our veterinarian allowed me to inject the barbiturate that arrests breathing. Although an odd request she understood that I was ultimately responsible for putting our dog, KD, to sleep. I did not want to foist yet another execution onto my vet. I took personal responsibility for that decision so I should not have to rely on someone else to carry out the deed.
My first dog I had to put down I did so out of mercy and to end the suffering caused by his evisceration by a badger he tangled with. After shooting the dog in the head I killed the badger. Now I know it was the wrong thing to do as the badger was just trying to survive and I believe my dog attacked him. At the time I wanted revenge and since my .357 magnum held 6 rounds I had 5 left after euthanizing my dog.
Having read the ongoing debate surrounding the upcoming execution by firing squad of convicted murderer, Ronnie Lee Gardner, I found myself thinking of the animals I had to put down in my life. I am old enough and well informed enough to know that what separates human beings from our closest living relatives is miniscule. We are animals period. No matter what the anti death penalty advocates would have you believe there are many amongst us that are too dangerous to house. In fact they are so dangerous they have to be “put down.”
I thought differently years ago when I was involved in the Amnesty International campaign against the death penalty. With my wife I attended the vigils outside the Utah State Prison where the so called “Hi Fi” killers would soon be put to death. As horrendous of a crime that these humans committed, I still did not believe they deserved the death penalty. I knew the statistics surrounding the debate vis a vis innocent people being executed and I knew that the punishment was not a deterrent. In addition, I knew that the cost to incarcerate a person for life was cheaper than going through the appellate process if the death penalty was sought.
However I have had friends shot and either wounded or killed in the line of duty and if the people that are guarding convicted killers are at risk of seriously bodily harm and death then, like the dogs I had to put down, society would be better served if they were executed. In these rare circumstances the evidence is overwhelming as to their guilt so the likely hood of executing an innocent person is virtually zero.
You, I hope, noticed I said virtually zero. When there exists even a hint of doubt as to a convicted persons guilt the law should err on the side of caution and impose a life imprisonment sentence. I personally do not want the blood of an innocent person on my hands. Which leads me to my concluding remarks.
If you are either too afraid or too coward to pull the trigger or push the plunger for a lethal injection you have no business asking others to do your dirty work. I would not relish the opportunity to shoot Gardner but I would be willing to do so if I had too. Just like I put my dogs down.