Teaching by example

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, June 1998:

Sheryl Lee Feik, of Hastings,
Nebraska, facing 56 counts of possessing unlicensed
dogs, four counts of harboring vicious
animals, and four counts of allowing dogs to
run at large, and by-the-book veterinarians
and wildlife officials in Lorain County, Ohio,
have in common that they broke children’s
hearts in early May.

On May 1, Feik’s two Siberian
huskies broke loose and reportedly for the
third time molested the animals at the nearby
Rural Ranchers 4-H barns, who were under
care of sixth grade students at Lincoln
Elementary School. This time the attack went
beyond harassment. Four sheep, 15 ducks and
ducklings, four chickens, a goat, a turkey,
and a rabbit were fatally mauled––bringing
home to their caretakers prematurely the climactic
lesson of most 4-H projects, that the
animals with whom the children have bonded
must be sold to slaughter, according to 4-H
exhibition rules, and that therefore they must
learn not to bond with “livestock.”
On the evening of May 5, near
Avon, Ohio, Emily Milum, age 12, thought
she found five abandoned puppies. She
checked them several times, and when no
mother appeared, took them in. Her parents
took them to a veterinarian in North Ridgeville,
who advised that she couldn’t keep them
because they might be coyotes. Roy Hartm
a n, senior naturalist for Lorain County
Metro Parks, took the litter into custody
pending a look by Ohio Division of Wildlife
officer David R. Shinko, who pronounced
them coyotes, said Ohio law mandates that
they be killed, and had a veterinarian whom
he wouldn’t name kill them by lethal injection.
“The most important thing for you to
tell the public is not to handle wild animals,”
Shinko told Cleveland Plain Dealer r e p o r t e r
Sandra Clark, managing to miss point #1, that
Milum didn’t know they were wild animals,
and point #2, that in picking up an apparently
abandoned litter, Milum tried to do an act of
kindness, for which she was “rewarded” with
complete betrayal of trust by adult authorities.
Two more cases
Approximately 150 students at
Walsh Jesuit High School in Cuyahoga Falls,
Ohio, walked out on April 17 to protest the
dismissal of religious studies teacher Stephen
D a v i e s – T i g h t, 51. “The students said members
of the private school’s administration are
uncomfortable that Davies-Tight discusses animal
rights and other controversial issues in his
Faith and Justice class,” reported Katie Byard
of the Akron Beacon-Journal. Walkout organizer
Catherine Carlson, 18, collected nearly
500 signatures on a petition in support of
Davies-Tight, noting his vegetarianism and
courage of conviction as positive examples of
application of faith to daily life.
Of the 80-odd members of Dallas
Boy Scout Troop 890, “about 10 to 15
declined to participate” in hatchet-killing
chickens, supervised by 40 parental volunteers,
on an April 16-17 wilderness camping
trip, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram r e p o r t e d
on April 23. Instead they complained to higher-ups,
and got support. “Scouting’s position
is that killing an animal isn’t part of any Boy
Scouts of America program,” said R o b
H o f f m a n of the BSA Circle 10 Council,
which supervises scouting in Oklahoma and 13
North Texas counties.

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