The president of America’s Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights has claimed that a dog being saved from being put down after its owner refused to care for him because he thought he was gay is evidence of pro-gay and anti-straight bias.
In a January 31 news release entitled ‘Euthanizing Gay Dogs’ Catholic League president William A Donohue compared the issue of Elton the dog’s rescue to medically assisted suicide in the US state of Washington and the Netherlands – arguing that gay people now received better treatment than straight people or the disabled.
‘This week in Tennessee a dog was rescued from being euthanized … because the condition driving the dog’s death was his alleged homosexuality,’ Donohue wrote in a news release posted on the group’s website.
‘The place where Elton was dropped … encourages dog adoption, but it also promotes dog euthanasia. Not, however, in Elton’s case. The shelter has no stomach for putting dogs down on the basis of sexual orientation.
‘It must be said, though, that the shelter is not exactly inclusive in its policies. … Had poor Elton not been identified as a homosexual, his heterosexuality would not have been enough to save his hide.
‘The moral of the story is being gay is not only a bonus for humans these days, it is a definite plus for dogs as well. As for straights, the lonely and the disabled, that’s another story altogether.’
However Donohue’s version of events is factually incorrect. The shelter that the dog was dropped at, Jackson Rabies Control, did not decide to not put down Elton the dog.
Elton was saved because he was adopted by a member of the public before the shelter’s put-down deadline was reached after a volunteer group that tries to get dogs at the shelter rehoused publicized his case.
Neither the Netherlands or Washington state euthanize people against their will.
But in 2011 the Royal Dutch Medical Association updated its guidelines to allow doctors to consider factors such as ‘vulnerability, loss of function, confinement to bed, loneliness, humiliation and loss of dignity’ in determining if someone is eligible for assisted suicide, while Washington state is debating whether to allow euthanasia for people who are disabled but not terminally ill.