Editorial | Paws applause in MoBay
The wave of killings that has overtaken the Island since the beginning of 2018 has plunged many Jamaicans into despair.
And as the murder rate continues its upward climb, Jamaica seems like a country of anarchy. A state of emergency in parts of St James and curfews elsewhere in the island have not had the broader success of quelling crime islandwide. Guns continue to bark and dead bodies are scattered all over.
Thankfully, in the midst of the savagery, we can find something in Montego Bay worthy of celebration. Jamaica is fortunate to have people like Tammy Browne, who runs the Animal Haven of Love in St James, and others like Wendy Lee in St Ann and the dedicated group of volunteers, donors and well-wishers who have committed their resources and skills to work in animal rescue.
This inspiring story in Friday's Gleaner tells how Ms Browne has rescued more than 1,000 dogs, providing second chances for these sometimes abused, homeless and hungry creatures.
Some of the rescued are on their way to a new life overseas. Ms Browne has successfully reached animal lovers in all parts of the world via social media to assist in her mission of mercy.
Ms Browne reasoned that the abuse and hatred one bestows on animals are reflected in how people treat each other and the society in general. Studies carried out in the 1970s concluded that childhood cruelty to animals is the first warning of future delinquency, violence and criminal behaviour. Experts say people who abuse animals do not stop there; invariably, they move on to humans.
The link between animal abuse and interpersonal violence is so well-known that many US communities have cross-trained social-service and animal-control agencies in how to recognise signs of animal abuse as possible indicators of other abusive behaviours.
Despite the overwhelming evidence in Montego Bay, for instance, police statistics are largely silent on whether persons have been arrested and placed before the courts for animal cruelty.
Our thinly stretched and barely mobile police have the greatest challenge keeping pace with gunmen, so in all likelihood, animal cruelty is not a front-burner issue.
Research also indicates that animals are capable of deep emotion. With the dog being considered a man's best friend, owners will concur that their pets are attuned to their emotions and are capable of showing empathy.
Animals can, in fact, teach important life lessons about love, loyalty and companionship to make us better human beings. They also demonstrate how it is possible to live in harmony with nature.
Many children get their early understanding about the natural cycles of life and death from their pets. Perhaps there should be a concerted effort to get more children involved in owning and caring for pets. It may somehow lead to a more genteel society.
We also believe that there should be a greater appreciation for animal philanthropy in Jamaica.
These big-hearted persons who dedicate their lives to building a sense of kindness, respect, and compassion for living things should be recognised for their efforts.
Meanwhile, if you suspect that an animal is being abused or neglected, you should do something about it.