I used to love listening to Paul Harvey’s program, The Rest of the Story. He would share the unknown facts to a familiar story that completely changed what I understood as the truth.
Two incidents happened this week that have reminded me of how much I need to know the rest of the story before I make judgments.
The incident I’m about to share happened this week. Two neighbors had pets. One neighbor had two pit bull terriers, the other a seven-month-old cat. The pits broke through their neighbor’s fence and ran into their yard. One of the pits grabbed the cat into its mouth and bit the cat in half. The cat had been sleeping in as sunny patch in her own yard. Because there are children and dogs in her family she had no fear of the sounds of an animal running toward her. She had no idea she was in danger. Frankly, she probably didn’t even know what hit her. The pit’s family was away for the day and the cat’s family had no choice but to call animal control to do something about the pits in their yard.
Animal control took the pits away and because one of them killed a pet in that pet’s yard they were held under the vicious animal act and were to be euthanized within 3 days. When the owner of the pits returned and learned of their pets’ plight, she put out a plea on Facebook saying her dog killed the neighbor’s cat and that her dogs were going to be euthanized. She asked if anyone outside of the town would be willing to rehome them and save their lives.
That’s when it hit the fan. Comments on Facebook went crazy. All of a sudden people accused the cat of tormenting the dog. One fellow said, “Dogs kill cats all the time.” Others wrote that the only reason these dogs were going to be put down is because they were pits. (Which was not the case. The law states that any animal that tresspasses and kills will be considered vicious.) Some even went on to say the owners of the cat were irresponsible.
How did they come up with such conjectures?
Now for the rest of the story: these pits regularly escaped their yard and ran all over the neighborhood. On multiple occasions several neighbors had asked the owners of the pits to control their dogs, to fix their fence or build higher fences. The owners never complied. On the day of the cat’s death, the owners had left their dogs in the back yard because they were going to be gone for the entire day and didn’t want to leave them cooped up in the house. They did this even though they knew the dogs could escape. Frankly, all the neighbors were sick of being terrorized by these dogs and were relieved to be able to give statements to the animal control agents saying as much.
When the owners of the cat heard of the dogs’ fate, they went to the pits’ owners and said they would do what they had to do to save the dogs if only the pit owners would build a higher and more sturdy fence. The cat’s family also has a newborn son who would soon be toddling around in the back yard. They needed to feel safe in their own yard. But the law prevented the cat owners from intervening. The dogs either had to leave the town or die.
Fortunately, someone out of town offered the dogs a home.
So the rest of the story leads to the correct conclusion that had the owners of the pits been more responsible, this would not have happened and they would still have their beloved pets. However, now neither neighbor has their pet. Thankfully, it was a cat instead of a child.
Remember the story about the doctor being dragged of a United Airlines jet a few months ago? The media portrayed a grim scene. This week I heard the rest of that story by someone well acquainted with the situation. As it turns out this doctor had already agreed to give up his seat and left the jet. However, when he found he couldn’t fly out later in the day, he wanted his seat back and tried to take it even though it now belonged to someone else. Did we hear that side? Nope.
So, both of these situations give me reason to pause. Before I let a Facebook post or a news story raise my blood pressure I need to remind myself to stop and consider, what is the rest of the story?