News from the Tennessee Valley Opinion
MONDAY, APRIL 16, 2007


Acts of commission, not omission, point to guilt

To The Daily: It is illegal for an animal owner to fail to provide medical attention in the event of an illness or injury that causes pain or suffering to a dog or cat in Alabama.

It is illegal in Alabama to abandon a dog. Lucky’s owner admitted abandoning his injured dog in a Dumpster.

Taping shut a dog’s mouth with duct tape could have been fatal to a dog with no other injuries.

It is difficult to make a criminal case based on omissions, or failure to act.

Taping an injured dog’s mouth shut is not an omission. Placing a dog in a garbage bag, sealed or not, is not an omission. Traveling to a Dumpster, within which to place such a dog, is not an omission. These are all commissions, or deliberate actions, and all of them are illegal.

People who commit acts of cruelty or violence to animals are the people who are the most likely to go on to commit acts of violence or cruelty to humans. For Lucky’s owner to have gone to such lengths to “get rid of Lucky” makes a strong statement that he knew that what had happened to Lucky was wrong.

Alabama’s laws to protect animals are only as good as the enforcement. I would never suggest that a dog’s life is of greater value than that of a human. But how we treat and protect those without a voice of their own is a reflection of the overall health of a community.

Lucky received medical care and love from Dr. Steve Osborne.

Now it’s up to the sentencing judge to impose the maximum sentence for the jury’s conviction.

Mindy Gilbert
President, Alabama Humane Federation

Grant could lead to cure for millions who are blind

To The Daily: I would like to take this opportunity to publicly thank Sen. Richard Shelby for his support of the National Institute of Health grant R01-EY018335 “RDS Mutations: Gene Therapy for ADRP, Macular Degeneration and Pattern Dystrophy.”

This collaboration among four senior vision investigators in Florida and California should lead to a cure for most causes of blindness (

Initial results from early animal tests have restored 80 percent of the sight of a completely blind dog. Funding should be available late this summer for additional animal testing to begin.

Sen. Shelby should be commended for supporting such outstanding research that could restore eyesight to millions of seeing-impaired Americans like me.

Unfortunately, the NIH did not provide the additional $3.6 million that is necessary to prepare for human trials.

I would encourage your readers to contact Sens. Shelby and Tom Harkin to provide this additional funding.

Gene A. Grindstaff

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