Thursday, January 15, 2009

Why We Fight

Today, My wife and I celebrate the newest addition to our family:

Leena was just a few weeks pregnant with this little guy when she was bitten by unknown dogs, and then forced to take rabies shots to protect her life. Unfortunately, her pregnancy test a week before the first rabies shot gave a false negative, and we discovered her condition two days after we had the first shot administered.

Because we had no idea what sort of impact a rabies vaccine has on a six-week old fetus, we were appropriately panicked. Of course, once we went to the doctor and he did the appropriate background research with the CDC, we were put at ease. But the psychological damage of this alone was brutal.

(Note: I want to add on an aside that neither my wife nor I are part of the anti-vaccine pseudoscientific crap you see on television; in fact, as vice-president of Texas Citizens for Science, I actively advocate the use of science-based medicine over pseudoscientific woo any day. As far as I am concerned, the Center for Disease Control knows far more about vaccines that Jenny McCarthy.)

But what if my wife was not attacked while walking a dog? What if she was walking with a four-year-old child in tow? What if it was you or someone you know walking down a street in their own neighborhood that was attacked by some dog? How would you feel if the owner ran off before you could identify him/her? How would you feel knowing that dog had attacked someone else in the past, but the law provided you no protection and no consequence for the owner?

I have no problem with any person owning any sort of dog they want. But like a car, a gun, or even having a child, there is a tremendous amount of responsibility that comes with the privilege. If you want to own a pit bull, then so be it; but if it attacks someone, you must be responsible for the actions of an animal in your care. If you can't be responsible, then the law must provide penalties to deter such dangerous behavior.

It looks like we might be able to shine a bit of light on this story again due to a happy coincidence at the hospital today. An update will be coming soon with more details...