We now are St Louisans.  Which means living on a new street.  A quiet one.  But to enter our street means passing a house at the end of the street.  The house of the evil dog.

Our next door neighbor quietly called it that when I mentioned my morning run experience.  Running down our peaceful street meant passing that corner house where the Evil Dog lurks.  I am not exaggerating.  It stood motionless, quiet, watching me.  Until unsuspecting I was at optimal range for Evil Dog to rush forward, silent at first, then viciously gnashing.  I was its prey.

TED caught me unaware the first time.   Scurrying paws.  A bristly snarl.  Savage barking.

Saved by the Invisible Fence.  Evil Dog stopped at lawn’s edge.

Now I need to remember it likely is behind the car in the driveway, likely to be waiting until I get close enough.  To startle me.  I would rather not be startled.

Years ago in Detroit the westside household of sisters Toya, Trisha and mother Geri made it clear to me that they felt Detroit dogs are to be avoided.  A pit bull.  A variety pack of mutts.

How many stray dogs are there in Detroit?  Perhaps 50,000.  Some describe it as an epidemic caused by city’s hard times.  People deciding to not take care of their dogs abandon them.  It often creates dangerous situations.  But as this CNN story reports it also causes suffering for thousands of Detroit’s stray dogs.

I believe that the way we treat animals indicates something about the way we will treat humans.

A few years ago we were driving along Highway 160 in southeastern Kansas.  We passed a dog ambling along the road’s shoulder.  It had been abandoned and looked at us as if searching for its owner.  Was that owner back in Wichita?  Tulsa?  Distance had been used in its strategic abandonment.

An abandoned dog whether in Detroit or rural Kansas is a sad sight.  And in the eyes of God.

But the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God; you shall not do any work—you, or your son or your daughter, or your male or female slave, or your ox or your donkey, or any of your livestock, or the resident alien in your towns, so that your male and female slave may rest as well as you (Deuteronomy 5:14)

Does God give consideration to animals?  I suppose one could interpret this part of the law as merely an expansion of God’s intention for human Sabbath activity.  But God expresses creation pleasure in these living things (Genesis 1:21, 25).  And the law continues to address matters concerning animals.

You shall not watch your neighbor’s ox or sheep straying away and ignore them; you shall take them back to their owner.  (Deuteronomy 22:1)

Is animal well-being only a matter of human ownership?  Should we have stopped along Hwy 160 to pick up that dog?  If so, for whose sake, the owner or the dog?

You shall not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain.  (Deuteronomy 25:4)

Consideration of animals is related to how we consider humans.  It may be respect for the owner of a dog or cattle.  Love for your neighbor.

And it is also intrinsic respect and tenderness for any and all living things just as God sees it.  Who then says it is good.

So, is that dog evil?

good dog

good dog