Cowards are going after Floyd County Sheriff’s Department chief investigator Jeff Dalton on WDBJ TV’s web site because he is suing Pet Smart in Christiansburg for attempting to kill his pet Yorkie.

They are cowards because, like so many who revel in tossing brickbats from the safety of anonymity on the Internet, they question his character while not having the courage to reveal their identity so that we can accurately judge their character or their true intentions..

One calls him or herself "no fan of Dalton" while the other uses the screen name of "shopaholic." The should call themselves gutless 1 and gutless 2.

It’s easy to be bold when you hide behind a mask — whether it be the white sheet of a Klansman in Franklin County or the screen name of a message board.

Dalton took his dog to PetSmart to be groomed. The dog he got back was obviously drugged and injured. He took the animal to the vet where it had to be revived from injuries that almost killed the pet.

PetSmart agreed to pay the vet’s bill but refused to do anything more or even admit blame for injuring the dog. They wanted to keep the whole thing quiet. So Dalton went to Jonathan Rogers, the most aggressive, attack-dog lawyer in Floyd and they filed a lawsuit.

Good move. PetSmart should be held publicly accountable for its misdeeds. Any pet owner knows how attached one can get to a dog or cat or otherwise. I consider myself a reasonably tough guy but when we lost a kitten to a brain tumor two years ago I broke down and cried. I couldn’t stop the tears.  A pet is a loved one, a member of the family, and they deserve to be treated as one and not manhandled by a "groomer" with minimal training at a chain pet store.

For the record, Jeff Dalton is a friend. My family has known his family for many, many years. We share a passion for motorcycles. I also admire a man who puts his life on the line for poverty-level pay and a too-often unappreciative public.

I don’t admire cowards who hide out behind the faceless anonymity of the Internet. They are not worthy of respect or consideration.