Justice For Rocky

To The Reader’s Forum:

A local family had to suffer through a very unfortunate incident in the City of Jamestown this past weekend. The end result was the loss of a 10-year-old family pet at the hands of a Chautauqua County Sheriff. I will leave it to you, the readers, to educate yourselves on the details of this incident and I will leave it to the family to tell their own story about what happened (see “JUSTICE FOR ROCKY” on Facebook). The purpose of this letter, however, is to encourage the community to put pressure on our local and county officials to ask for a change in how our law enforcement deals with animals.

Per the Chautauqua County Humane Society’s website, “If animal cruelty is suspected, residents should call their local police department. Once investigated, if the situation is found to be authentic, the Humane Society will assist in the aftermath.”

My question is this: if an innocent family pet can be executed on the spot because it is feared as a threat, how will our local, county, and state law enforcement officers handle delicate investigations of animal cruelty with which they are tasked? The same question can be asked about animals found in homes where other criminal activity is suspected and investigated, often in an abrupt and dramatic fashion.

Animals that are victims of abuse or otherwise scared of their immediate surroundings do not always obey commands and they do not think rationally. They do, however, deserve a second chance to be handled, cared for, and evaluated by appropriate staff and trainers before their fate is decided.

Shouldn’t our law enforcement officers be required to take proper training on animal care and handling within Chautauqua County so no healthy animals are killed based on a subjective decision? I know that we have an incredible group of men and women working around the clock to keep our community and families safe. I have never and will never question that or take that for granted. However, the term “family” extends to our pets and companion animals as well (as defined by the NYS Agriculture and Markets Law). We should know that they are also safe in this community we call home.

To the family that lost their family member, you are in our thoughts. I couldn’t imagine losing my Boxer or any pet in this way.

Edwin Rodriguez Jr.

Bemus Point