A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast: but the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel. -Proverbs 12:10, KJV
I love my dogs. We even sometimes call them our “fur babies.” Sometimes I spoil them with a trip to the coffee shop that has Puppaccinos for dogs (whipped cream with dog biscuits on top). I feel bad when they do not get their regularly timed walks or step on a sharp rock or hot asphalt during those walks.
Even though I love these guys, if my wife or another human were in trouble, I would choose the human over them.
Some people, however, only view animals as property, at best. Their idea of mercy on their dogs is not kicking them very hard or remembering to feed them today.
Oftentimes, these are people who tend to treat many humans similarly. Whether it is being verbally abusive, deceptive, or simply not caring, this type of person would rather record you having a problem than help you.
This thinking infects most of us in some way, ever since the beginning when Cain asked God about Abel, “Am I my brothers keeper?” In other words, “How is this my problem? What has it to do with me?”
Jesus turned this thinking on its head, most notably in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5). To be fondly and righteous means to make others’ problems our own. It means not thinking too highly of oneself, but as a servant to others. It means having compassion and showing mercy on others.
It might even mean caring about what happens to animals. (But always in regards to human life.)