Europe’s newest teen sensation is no heartthrob. This blonde high schooler disgusted the world a few weeks ago when she tossed a bunch of approximately six-week-old pups into a river in her hometown in the backwoods of Bosnia.
But what’s the big deal? Millions of dogs are euthanized every year here in our very own U.S. of A. Why the outcry over this particuar brand of euthanasia?
Here’s some background on this story:
In the video, which has been taken off from YouTube, the teenage girl was shown throwing the puppies in the river, one by one. During the video, the teen laughed as she said, “Does it swim?”
After the media exposure of the case, she and her family were questioned by local police. According to the local source, the girl went back to school and her everyday activities, but is under medical treatment.
"She vomits every time she sees the reports on the TV," a source close to the family stated.
While her act caused a mass outrage on the Internet, since the Bugojno’s streets are full of strays, the local people didn’t get that upset.
Indeed, though the Bosnian law predicts a fine for killing or torturing animals, in range from 15 to 5000 Euros, no one has ever paid a penny for such acts.
Yet, how can we really stand in her shoes? She’s too far away, geographically and culturally, for a reasonably close extrapolation of what she might have been thinking, right? Maybe so, but the cushy American suburbanite within me has no trouble condemning the act, the attitude, and — yes — the person.
Because anyone above the age of reason should know better than to blithely throw puppies into a river.
From my POV, tossing any terrestrial animal — mouse, kitten, rabbit, pup or otherwise — into a body of water with the intent of drowning them is unduly harsh. Yet, even then, I can get it. If that’s your cultural norm, bag the critters and lob ‘em in. Get it over with. None of that eeny-meeny-miny-moe crap — never mind the smirk and running commentary for the cameras. That’s where I draw the line.
But there’s a larger point to be made here that kept nagging at me when I watched this video a couple of weeks ago. It’s the one I mentioned earlier:
Discounting her obnoxious, near sociopathic attitude, how is this brand of killing any different than what we do here in the U.S.? What makes our clinical, two-injection protocol any higher and mightier than lobbing a critter into a rolling river?
It’s these issues that keep me up at night. And though this story is old, going on a month now, it’s not just the power of the Internet that keeps this story fresh. No, it’s more than that. For me, even the crassest cross-cultural stories of animal cruelty have a way of reminding me that we’re really not so different.
Consider that the kind of mass killing we undertake here in this country is nothing to be proud of. And the manner in which we’ve grown complacent about the scale of it? It’s arguably no better than drowning kittens in a bag.
Ultimately, I’d like to think this creepy teen and her revolting solution to pet overpopulation might actually serve a useful purpose. After all, drowning pups in a Bosnian river might reasonably serve to hold up a mirror to our collective cognitive dissonance on the subject of killing unwanted animals in our very own shelters.
Dr. Patty Khuly
P.S. On that note, those of you in South Florida should join me at the no-kill conference being held all day, October 9, in Ft. Lauderdale. Come hear Nathan Winograd speak his mind. Whether you’re no-kill inclined or confusedly on the fence, it’s an excellent opportunity to learn more about what we can all do to curb our nation’s animal-killing habit.