Friday, October 26, 2007

Read this LA Magazine article: "What's a dog worth?" by Jesse Katz, the guest to the Thursday night J.310 class on Nov. 1

Here's an excerpt to intrigue you:

His name is Roy.

At least for now. Whatever it was before, whatever it might be again, he will live or die as he is known here. The staff of the South Los Angeles shelter came up with it, turned him into Roy, to help improve his odds—of winning someone’s heart, of leaving on a leash. Without a name, he would be just A774623, which has been written on surgical tape and fastened to a chain around his neck. He looks like a Roy. He is old and skinny, the color of faded cinnamon. He has a wrinkled brow and flabby jowls, a face that is weary but earnest. Whenever a stranger enters the kennel, Roy springs to his hind legs, pawing at the metal grate that covers his cinder-block cell. He wriggles his snout between the gaps, sniffing and snorting, his tongue a gush of sloppy kisses. He turns himself sideways, scratching his bony hide against the bars, inviting human fingers to join in. His tail wags. His eyes beg.

But nobody comes for Roy. Not an owner, if he ever had one. Not the people who found him on the street and called the city for help. Not even the rescue groups that scour the shelters for overlooked mutts, fostering them until they can be placed in a permanent home. Roy is not anyone’s idea of a pet. He is not cute. He is not fluffy. He is not tiny. He is not exotic. He is an eight-year-old pit bull, a mastiff-and-Staffordshire mix, whose singular misfortune is to belong to a breed for which supply exceeds demand. Roy is surplus. In our system of animal control—a system few of us have seen, a system most of us will never encounter—dogs like Roy are doomed from the start.


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