I learned today that a couple of months ago, my local SPCA killed Baxter, the lovable Saint Bernard. OK, he wasn't my dog, contrary to what that headline says, but he could have been. Should have been.
You see, the SPCA deemed my family unfit to adopt Baxter (and for all intents and purposes any dog) because we have two children under the age of 12. I kid you not.
No matter that my wife and I have a history of caring for rescue dogs, including difficult ones, stretching back a quarter century.
No matter that our kids are used to having dogs, and know how to behave safely and appropriately in their presence.
Never mind that we've never had a major incident with any of our canines, and that they've never harmed anyone (or have come to any serious harm themselves).
Never mind that we have a verifiable record with our veterinarians, stretching back many years, showing that our dogs punctually and without fail received the necessary shots and any other medical care they needed.
And never mind that we would have signed a waiver absolving the SPCA of culpability if an incident did happen.
No. The SPCA of Hancock County, in Trenton, Maine, told us they have to do what is in the best interest of the animals. Baxter's "history" was unclear and so they couldn't vouch for him. Apparently, "the best interest of the animal" meant not allowing us to give him a loving home. And it means that, not long after the SPCA rejected our candidacy and actually threw us out of the shelter (you can read the whole sordid story here), they killed him.
Can you believe that? They decided that ending his life was better for him than letting him come home with us.
To use a Vietnam-era reference: In order to save the dog, they had to destroy him.
By the way, here's a fun fact. The SPCA in question bills itself as a no-kill shelter. I'm sure that label is quite the money-maker come fundraising time. It just doesn't happen to be truthful, as Baxter's execution shows pretty irrefutably.
I wonder how many Baxters — abandoned dogs with prospective new owners who would've loved to take them home — have ended up on the pile of animal carcasses that the SPCA habitually produces.
"Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals." What a sad, horrible joke that name has become.