First they came for the chickens (with apologies to Martin Niemöller)
In a particularly cruel violation of the 5th and 14th Amendment’s protections against deprivation of property without due process of law, a Minnesota Police Chief has made himself judge, jury and executioner in the case of a 5-year old boy’s pet chicken. He claims that the animal violates a city ordinance against “fowls”. Aside from the patently ridiculous and utterly unenforceable nature of an ordinance against birds, which has to be laid at the feet of the local town council, the Chief’s behavior goes beyond the norm for enforcing a minor city ordinance. At most, he would be reasonably empowered to impound, and preserve, the property in question pending a hearing. That the property happens to be a living thing and that he dispatched it in a manner cruel to both the animal and the owner calls into question not only his regard for the rule of law, but his fitness to serve on a psychological basis.
The poor mother, unfortunately, is deluded: “The chicken was like a puppy dog to my son. You wouldn’t do that to a puppy.” To be clear, she is not deluded in thinking the chicken was like a puppy dog to her son, she was deluded in thinking that the police wouldn’t do the same thing to a puppy.
It’s easy enough to write this off as merely a callous way of handling a mere chicken or even the occasional overreaction to a barking dog. The problem, as educated police law enforcement officials would readily agree, is that cruelty to animals is linked to cruelty to humans. The the triad of sociopathy as extensively studied by FBI profiler John Douglas is commonly considered an indicator of future potential for violence, particularly serial violence. The triad is fire setting, cruelty to animals and persistent childhood bedwetting beyond a certain age. It shouldn’t be necessary to ask questions about bedwetting. When public servants display one aspect of the triad, it should be sufficient to disqualify them for a job with the power entrusted to police.
The wanton disregard of the rule of law in violating property rights without due process is egregious enough to call into question this Chief’s fitness to serve. His cruelty to both an animal and that animal’s five year old owner settles the question. First, he came for the chickens…