The biggest Non crime, national, or weather story in Orlando the last 24 hours, has been the story of Rufus, a 1 year old Beagle, who is currently being held by Orange County Animal control and is possibly on “Doggy Deathrow” if State Law holds firm.
It started when Rufus bit his owner’s young child on the 8th of April (you can read the Local 6 story HERE) and there has been confusion over the circumstances regarding the bite and whether Rufus is dangerous or not. Either way, no one wants the dog destroyed but state law requires it.
Social Media has since erupted with calls for the Dog’s life to be spared. Catchphrases like “Free Rufus” or “Save Rufus” have spread through Facebook and Twitter.
The dog’s fate is currently going through an appeals process. If the law holds firm, the dog gets a death sentence, and the City of Orlando is “going to freak”.
Voters have a very special bond with “Man’s Best Friend” and very little tolerance for injustice for those who can’t verbally defend themselves.
Don’t think so? Ask Mitt Romney, who dealt with the thorn of his side all of last year, when it was revealed he tied the family dog’s cage to the roof of his car during a road trip.
It sounds ridiculous, but there is Political Capital in standing up for pets in this town. It shows compassion for the vulnerable, initiative to challenge the status quo, a “Fire in the belly” to stand up for what the people know in their hearts is wrong.
Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs released this statement regarding Rufus,
“We love our children and we love our animals. There are state laws and county ordinances to protect them both, including a defined judicial appeals process. That process is underway, and it will ensure a full and fair hearing of all the facts. In the meantime, rest assured I have instructed our staff to take excellent care of Rufus.”
Good for her, but if the Dog doesn’t walk (see what I did there?), the pressure will be on.
The issue turns into a political football and a parade that every lawmaker should try to get in front of. I’m talking statements on social media, graphics, television interviews, it’s just too easy.
And Rufus would appreciate it too.
Want to see Florida Governor Rick Scott’s approval numbers jump 10 points? Have him declare clemency for Rufus. That will win votes. I guarantee it.
I’ll even draw up the first graphic for you.