Target: Daniel D. Reneau, President of Louisiana Tech University
Goal: Stop using live animals as mascots representing university sports teams
Since 1930, Louisiana Tech University has used 20 different English bulldogs as mascots to represent the university’s sports teams. Tech XX, named for the fact that he was Louisiana Tech’s 20th live animal mascot, unfortunately recently suffered a tragic death. Even more unfortunate is the fact that he was not the first live mascot to suffer at Louisiana Tech.
On July of 2012, four-year-old Tech XX was reported as missing. Days later, however, it was revealed that the English bulldog, a breed especially prone to heat related complications, had actually passed away when his caretaker left him outside in scorching 102-degree temperatures. Tech XX died from heatstroke. Tech XIX, Tech XX’s predecessor, suffered from heat exhaustion during a 2007 Louisiana Tech game. Luckily, Tech XIX survived his ordeal and was retired from his mascot duties after the 2007 incident. University employees have expressed sadness over Tech XX’s death, however they are currently planning on acquiring a replacement bulldog to take Tech XX’s place as university mascot.
Two of Louisiana Tech’s bulldog mascots in a row have suffered from heat-related illnesses, one of which resulted in the dog’s death. Bulldogs, being a brachycephalic breed, are poorly equipped to dealing with extreme heat. Still, Louisiana Tech insists on using this breed as its mascot, oftentimes keeping the dogs outside on the field during games despite high temperatures. While Louisiana Tech employees and students undoubtedly loved each of their living mascots, they are putting the dogs at risk. Please ask Louisiana Tech University to discontinue using live animal mascots to represent its sports teams. The lives and safety of living beings should always come before a university’s image.
Dear Daniel D. Reneau,
Tech XX’s recent death was tragic and upsetting. His death undoubtedly impacted the students and employees who loved him. No matter how much joy university members get out of having a live animal mascot, it’s important to think of the well-being of the animal. Bulldogs, being a brachycephalic breed, are poorly equipped to dealing with extreme heat. Exposing these dogs to extreme temperatures during sports games is irresponsible and dangerous for the dogs involved, as by now you should well know.
Please consider discontinuing your live animal mascot program. Two animals in a row have already suffered while representing your school. How many more will have to suffer before policies are changed? The lives of living creatures should always come before a university’s image. Dogs should not have to suffer and die in the name of college sports. Set a good example for your students and help to teach them respect for all living things. Please do not replace Tech XX with another live animal mascot.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Clarissa Davenby