Tossing pet dog off Sunset Cliffs: Animal cruelty or doggie playtime?

Photos were taken of a man – who appears to be with his family – repeatedly throwing his dog off of Sunset Cliffs and into the ocean in Ocean Beach, Calif., last Saturday. If identified, he may be facing animal cruelty charges.

The woman who took the photos, however, told San Diego Reader that the dog was enjoying it. She said “the dog ‘is fine and knew exactly what she’s doing’ and she ‘did it over and over…she loved it.'”

dog1_t658Source: San Diego Reader, which was originally posted on Facebook but quickly taken down

Most who caught a glimpse of the photo before it was removed from Ocean Beach’s Facebook page weren’t amused. In fact, a few reported it to San Diego County Animal Services.

Some had a different take on it. Jake Ryan Johnson, an Electrician at IBEW, posted this comment in the San Diego Reader article:

Give it a rest… My dogs jump from higher without assistance. Dogs have a higher pain tolerance than humans do. The dog wouldn’t have came running back for another attemp (sic) if it was scared of being hurled back into the water. Belive (sic) it or not… other people/animals have fun outside what YOUR view of fun is.

It is doubtful Mr. Ryan has a background in veterinary medicine. That school of thought about canine pain tolerance is outdated, according to the Winter 2013 issue of Tufts Veterinary Medicine Magazine, which says, in part, “Research has shown that animals and humans have similar neural pathways for the development, conduction and modulation of pain, making it pretty likely that our pets experience pain in much same the way we do.”

Maybe Mr. Ryan is also unaware that a dog will always run back to his or her pack, even when neglected or abused. That’s why they’re known as loyal companions. Does “Man’s best friend” ring a bell?

Also disconcerting is that the dog could have easily become overwhelmed with exhaustion having to repeatedly navigate in treacherous waters, swim to the shore and run back up the cliff to join his or her pack.

As Dan DeSousa, Director of the San Diego Animal Services, told 10News,

[J]ust because an animal enjoys something does not make it legal and criminal charges may be filed.

The language of what constitutes animal abuse and cruelty is quite broad under Calif. Penal code section 597. If the individual is identified, his conduct could potentially rise to the level of being criminal.

Featured image source: San Diego Reader, which were originally posted on Facebook before being taken down

1 Comment on "Tossing pet dog off Sunset Cliffs: Animal cruelty or doggie playtime?"

  1. In may opinion this looks like animal abuse and cruelty. That poor dog does not have a voice and he will always go back to his owner no matter how bed is treated. I think that the owner have to be charged with animal cruelty and the dog have to be taken away from him/them.

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