I am sure most of you have heard about the Shar Pei who was abandoned with his belongings in a suitcase in Scotland.
Hell, this morning when I opened Facebook it was a top three trending news item.
Admittedly, I clicked on a link and read about the disgusting story of abandon.
Then, I felt like puking.
Because I know so many dogs that were abandoned and I rescued my Toby from being no longer wanted in his previous home, stories like this hit close to home.
Lately, there seems to be an influx of stories on TV and online detailing dogs who have been left or recused from horror.
Knowing what I know from my previous career in media and TV, I am sure these stories create ratings/page clicks and are easily written off as “doing good.”
Today, I am not so sure.
All I can think is that we are highlighting this gross and unforgivable behavior of abandoning an animal.
Is the Shar Pei’s owner somewhere feeling validated by his or her actions because they are trending worldwide?
Does such media coverage promote more of these acts?
What about the millions of animals abandoned who have not received coverage because their former owners didn’t put a suitcase by their side and leave them in a train station?
I realize that all the media attention on this story will lead to a quick adoption for this dog which is great.
I also hope that it can help agencies such as the Scottish SPCA, who are not content thirsty, to locate the perpetrator(s).
However, I think we who have a voice and/or platform need to think a lot harder about spreading this type of thing via TV, blogs, Twitter, Facebook etc. because it is trending news.
In my previous life (pre-Paws to Talk), I was lucky enough to work for a legendary TV broadcaster and journalist who has an unending collection of Emmy Awards and every honor that could ever be bestowed on someone in his profession.
For three years of my life I worked and watched behind the scenes, as he weighed decisions on what to cover for days on end. Everyone’s opinion was welcome, right down to the guy mopping the floor.
Time after time, he taught by example that if you ignore your gut or moral compass there is a price to pay.
My gut tells me that something is wrong here with how these stories are going viral.
When you abandon a child, you get arrested.
But if you abandon an animal you get to trend on Facebook, Twitter and the evening news picks up the story?
What do you think?