Saturday, April 28, 2012


While many are trying to educate and sensitize our youth that cruelty to animals is a crime against Humanity and All Life, others would trivialize any such acts. Those who would minimize or dismiss these heinous acts just don’t get it and become a major part of the problem. To them life is cheap or just offers the opportunity for a political sound bite. Such is the case here in Dallas, Texas. If you figure that the Michael Vick case got everybody’s attention then you would be wrong…

On April 4, 2012 a gang of what has been characterized as “laughing” teenage boys abused (including strangulation) and ultimately set a puppy on fire in the Pleasant Grove neighborhood here in Dallas. Their efforts to kill would have been successful then had it not been for the brave intercession of a woman who put out the fire. Appropriately, the puppy was named Justice, though alarmingly so, as he was named in honor of another Pleasant Grove dog that was set on fire three years ago. Despite a gallant battle and the heroic ministrations of the animal hospital at Texas A&M, Justice died as a result of burns over 70% of his body.

According to the police report, witnesses identified Darius Ewing as the perpetrator who poured lighter fluid on the dog then threw a lit cigarette on the animal igniting the lighter fluid setting the puppy on fire. An arrest warrant was issued for Ewing even as the investigation continued with the intent to identify and bring to justice all involved in the abuse. Ewing turned himself in and reflecting the seriousness of the charge, bond was set at $100,000.00. Ewing remains behind bars. Police state they have identified other suspects but will not comment further until they are in custody.

Now comes Ewing’s family standing behind the “Reverend” Ronald Wright a self-proclaimed civil rights leader and Executive Director of the newly minted (2010) Justice Seekers Texas. While apparently a fixture in South Dallas no one seems to know much about him but here he is and for $60.00 a year you can join his crusade. His latest demand is that Ewing’s bond be reduced since, “The bond set at $100,000 for killing a stray dog is an insult to the African-American community. It says that dogs are more important when it comes to African-American men." Yes, he really said that – and on television! Family members proclaimed Ewing’s innocence with one commenting that, after all, it was only a stray dog. Hmmmmm.

We say if they want the bond reduced, pursue established legal channels and petition the court instead of publicly playing what is an absurd race card. Forums and threads on the Internet have been overwhelmingly supportive of police apprehending all the perpetrators and the legal system punishing them to the fullest extent of the law for this heinous act. Reputable sources indicate that cruelty to animals has long been an indicator and marker of those who would ultimately do violence against those weak and disadvantaged – the vulnerable in our society - to include the homeless, handicapped, elderly, etc. And let us pose the question - why would a young man be carrying lighter fluid with him…..? I used to smoke and know many others as well and we never carried lighter fluid with us. And that was in the age of the Zippo…

Legal experts have speculated that if convicted, Ewing could face up to a $10,000 fine and/or 10 years in prison since animal cruelty is now a felony. The fact that an accelerant like lighter fluid was used could be interpreted as use of a deadly weapon in animal cruelty cases in Dallas County appropriately adding – further fuel to the fire.

The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) is absolutely determined to find whoever/whomever set the puppy on fire prompting the group to offer a $25,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and prosecution of the dog's abusers, well up from its original $5,000 offer. Bottom Line: 99.9999% of our citizenry is absolutely outraged by this act in direct contrast to Ronald Wright. We are aligned with the SPCA and the greater majority of those who demand that we draw a line and demand justice. All that would be in contrast to those few who, as in the case of Michael Vick, would prefer to just give the kid the key to the city…

While this writer happens to be Christian, we do appreciate the fundamental wisdom of all great religions including Islam. The following quote attributed to the Prophet Muhammad should remind us all of an essential, undeniable truth, “A good deed done to an animal is as meritorious as a good deed done to a human being, while an act of cruelty to an animal is as bad as an act of cruelty to a human being.”


Ned Buxton

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