Perhaps a pet name is more than just a moniker for the animal’s tags, as two neighbors in Northern China recently found in a lawsuit over harassment by pet calling.
The story started with a run-in between neighbors, but it ran over into a dog running in the neighborhood and one neighbor’s running off her mouth.
A Gansu Province pet owner, apparently still hot under the collar over an ongoing dispute with a neighbor over property lines and a 2006 building project affront, used her dog to unleash her ire. Hu Lin allegedly named the pet after her neighbor, Wang Sun.
Then, whenever that neighbor was out and about, Lin supposedly hounded him indirectly by barking angry epithets and profanity at her unwitting pooch, Wang.
A Chinese court ordered Lin to apologize to Sun and to pay a fine totaling approximately $800 for causing him mental anguish.
“Everyone knew what she was up to,” Wang told the Chinese court, reported the Austrian Times on December 17.
And the fur flew.
At least, the pet’s owner didn’t whip it, although it wasn’t a Whippet. And, because certain people still consider the dog a dining delicacy in parts of China, pet lovers everywhere may be relieved to know that Lin’s dog seems to be unharmed by the incident.
It may not have been a Sharpei, but clearly the dog’s owner wasn’t too sharp.
In fact, one might say the authorities were able to pinch Lin, even if her pup with the pointed name was not a Pinscher.
Perhaps ironically, the name shared by the neighbor and the dog has a potentially racy and perhaps derogatory meaning in English, referring to an anatomical part presumably possessed by Sun, but not by Lin.
Could such a thing happen in the U.S.?
Even the most well-heeled neighborhood watchdogs might have a tough time proving pet naming offenses in American courts. The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution may make such cases difficult to mount.
However, laws against public profanity and indecency of language do exist in several states, such as Michigan, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, and Wisconsin. States like Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, and Oklahoma outlaw public blasphemy, or using God’s name contemptibly.
Such cases may be hotly contested, with lawyers baring teeth like Terriers, but the laws are on the books nonetheless.
Pet owners, best beware of passive-aggressive nomenclature of domesticated animals.
- 5 steps for making a long-lasting pet memory box
- Cater to kitty with festive Fun Feline Fishy Treats
- Pottery fragments in Poland point to Stone Age Cheese-making
- Expect to spend $1,800 on your Christmas puppy
Please subscribe to receive free e-mail updates whenever this columnist publishes a new article. Feel free to follow on Google Plus and Twitter. You are also invited to join this writer’s fan page.