Keith Ropp, 26, and Carly McBride, 24, might deserve a break. I understand that when someone harms an animal the public's anger rises to a fever pitch. In cases of someone purposely speeding up to aim for a goose in the road or someone tossing a kitten out of a moving car on a highway, I get it.

There's an unusual case involving this couple however. Even the veterinarian who was eventually involved says he feels sympathy. Keith and Carly had a 10 year old Border Collie named Scout. A sweet dog with a good disposition. The couple says they fell on hard times and simply could no longer afford to keep and care for the animal. What's important in this story is they say they tried for months to get someone to take Scout. No one would because of the dog's age. The missing piece here is I don't know if they only tried to directly find a family for the dog or if they also contacted rescues.

We all know what happens to a 10 year old dog when it's put in a shelter. Soon they are put down because no one adopts them. As far as rescue groups, we took calls Thursday from a number of people who have been in the same situation and were turned down by rescue groups who felt their limited resources would be better spent on dogs with a better chance of being adopted.

We also know when you take a dog to a vet to be euthanized, they charge you for it. If you have tried everything you can think of to get a dog to a new family and no one will take it, and if you're on hard financial times, you might just get desperate. That appears to be the case here.

The couple took the dog to the woods with a .177 BB gun and shot it six times attempting to put it down. It was botched and didn't work. It left Scout only wounded. As terrible as this is, what happened next is telling. They took the dog, even though they presumably didn't have the money to pay for it, and brought to a vet. The veterinarian quickly became suspicious and called police and it soon came out what the couple had done. They've been charged with weapons offenses as well as animal cruelty. Scout is fine now, and went home with the vet.

The couple will no doubt pay dearly for their mistake. I'm not condoning what they did. But I understand what it's like to be broke and the desperation that goes with it. We live in a society that will vilify a person who does this. But a hundred years ago this is what people did with dogs all the time. Today we pay money for a professional to put them down 'humanely', and keep our hands clean.

They could have left the dog alone in the woods. They didn't. After making such a colossally poor decision, they loved the dog enough to get it to a vet and they had to know they'd suffer the consequences. There had to be some caring there. Before we go judging them too harshly, let's recognize that everyone's situation is unique and we haven't had the benefit of crawling inside their skin and walking around in it for awhile.

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