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Reporter's Notebook: Death wishes over cats and dogs
By SHARON UDASIN
11/20/2012
At least 3 people called for my death after I asked about pets experiencing trauma from rocket sirens.
 
When I began posting messages to Facebook and Twitter on Monday morning asking for comments from pet owners whose dogs and cats were experiencing trauma in the South, I did not expect to be called unprintable names and even have at least three people call for my death.

On both sides of the Gaza border, children and their families are suffering — sometimes even dying. Tragedy has struck each of the populations, particularly those too young to even understand the gravity of the situation and just want to be back in school, playing in parks without a constant need to duck their small heads.

While you cannot compare children’s deaths or even wartime anxiety to a canine’s jitters, exploring how Israel’s dogs and cats are faring unveils a slice of life on the home front. As a reporter who regularly covers animal issues, looking at their situation during troublesome times seemed fitting, and still does.

Journalists reach out on Twitter and Facebook for articles all the time, so this was a natural path to take when seeking out pet owners.

But I simply did not consider the fact that I was opening myself up to a barrage of not only ridicule, but also threats.

Throughout the day I received hundreds and hundreds of hostile comments through social media, many from Gazans who slammed me for putting the interests of Israeli dogs over their children.

This could not have been farther from the truth, yet the viral conversations that ensued provided a sounding board for those bent upon blasting Israel’s treatment of Palestinians.

As I explored the psychological trauma of the country’s four-legged housemates, I had no intention of catalyzing political tirades. But this is precisely what occurred.
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