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March 8, 1999 - March 21, 1999
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Animals Are People Too


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By David Oliva
Guardsman Staff Writer
Published Mar. 8, 1999


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Pretty odd, one usually hears of a mad dog attacking a person or maybe an uncontrollable circus animal loose and attacking people. Surprisingly, the shoe is on the other foot, the tables have turned, or any other adage that’s appropriate for this situation.

On a tuesday morning, 18-year-old Sonny Anderson evidently attacked a few petting zoo animals at Hayward Park. A security guard at the site was the first person to notice any suspicious, or should I say, stupid activity. This leads — begs — one to ask, "What in the world is this inept individual’s story?"

This is not the first time I’ve heard of an incident of this nature, and this is certainly not the last story I will come across that remotely resembles an event such as this. In hindsight, any act of ill will toward anything is generally considered bad taste. But to direct these feelings, and to act them out, toward animals is utterly appalling and repulsing. And this is for the simple fact that just like basically anything else on God’s green earth, the afflicted are living organisms. And along with being a living organism comes having genuine emotions and feelings. Being who I am and the way I am, I believe most of these individuals that decide to take this road in life (and it’s a pitying excuse for a road of life) are people who are probably thinking, "Oh good, this would be a perfect way to work out my personal aggressions; being that a mere animal does not have the ability to tell human beings its experiences: good or evil ones," or maybe another sorry excuse such as, "I’ll get a few of my friends or I’ll do it alone if I have to, but I’m doing it for thrills, for the hell of it."

Another part of me, a very different part, tries to empathize with such people. I find myself analyzing their condition; or at least attempting to determine the possible origin or cause of their condition. Maybe it’s due to a broken home, a dysfunctional home — in either case, the condition and situation would be, in some sense, almost opaque or obtuse, and therefore lightly excusable.

Some subjects pull me in countless directions, and yes, this is one of them. To even try to understand something like this is crazy. Let’s just say that, trying to understand a sociopathic act such as this instance bemuses me. Yet, even having established that, there are so many reasons for these types of occurrences and with that comes many possibilities. And I will not rule out any possibilities, unless there is circumstantial evidence, of course.

However, of this I’m sure, cruelty to animals is as serious as cruelty to a human being. Anyone found guilty of violence to animals should receive the same punishment as a person commiting violence against a human. Yes, there are slaughterhouses and things of that sort, but hopefully people can distinguish between an act of cruelty and an act of service.

With the help of a couple of my peers, we’ve come up with an alternative solution to simply jailing or confining offenders of this crime. We propose that violators be entered in a program with the Society of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. This program would be designed to help the individual relate to and appreciate animals. We believe this sort of thing can produce self-awareness and empathy toward other species in the universe.


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Copyright 1996-1999 City College of San Francisco. All rights reserved.  Articles by Guardsman staff writers are copyright by The Guardsman, a student-run publication of the Journalism Department of City College of San Francisco.  Material supplied by University Wire is used under license from that organization.  University Wire stories are copyright by the originating college paper and author.  Material reprinted from City Currents is used with the permission of the Public Information Office, City College of San Francisco.