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As a Father — A Letter to the Editor

Dear Editor,

As a father, my heart goes out to the parents of the toddlers injured by the dog this past Saturday. As a carriage operator, I’m intrigued by this city of two tails. As quick as the Charleston Animal Society has been to vilify the carriage community after the “Blondie incident”, they offer the very same explanations in their defense that they dismissed when we presented them. Blondie presented no indications of distress before she fell just as Cruz had not shown any bad behavior. This apparently is sufficient explanation for the animal society, yet is woefully inadequate for Blondie’s owner. The experts who will re-examine Cruz will be chosen, or even employed, by the animal society while the veterinarian reporting on Blondie had to be independent, chosen by the city.  That was a demand by the animal society; the reasoning being an expert employed by a carriage operator (our regular vet) is not viewed as impartial because the operator pays them. Will this same level of an independent investigation be applied to the animal society or will their experts suffice? How about the CAS publicly supporting a carriage ban? Should we continue to allow potentially vicious dogs to be displayed at public events in the hopes that people will adopt them or should that practice be banned? After all, public safety is public safety.  City-mandated driver training will result from the “Blondie incident”. Will there be any mandatory training for canine foster parents so they might recognize aggressive behavior? Is there any training program at all? According to the police, Cruz was not immediately taken away from the scene as they requested resulting in the second bite. CAS executive Director Joe Elmore characterized the episode as an anomaly that befuddled experts. Imagine a carriage operator getting away with that explanation. Citing the over 400 dogs placed through their adoptive program, that equates to a dog bite for every 200 dogs adopted. According to city records, carriages experience an “episode” less than once in 6000 tours. It’s pretty obvious which is more of an anomaly. Mr. Elmore concludes, “We may not learn what prompted it, but we regret that it happened”. Does anyone think that the animal society would accept this explanation from a carriage operator? Will this turn out to be the best of times for some and the worst for others, or will the bar set by the animal society be applied to them equally?

Ironically, I’m pretty much in agreement with what Mr. Elmore has offered up because it’s exactly what I offered up after our incidents. Same arguments, question is, will we get the same treatment and if not, Why?


Tom Doyle