Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Publish Day - To the Dogs

The big issue in London over the past few weeks has been the possibility of a ban on pit bull dogs. A spate of attacks in recent weeks has once again got everyone's fur standing on end. Seeing as I'm never afraid to add my two cents worth to a rabid public debate, my latest column, Dog owners must be held accountable, appears in today's London Free Press.


xxxx said...

I think any dog can be dangerous in the right circumstances. I used to have a fat, docile Springer Spaniel. She was the sweetest dog in the world. Her only flaw was gluttony. Well, maybe sloth, too. Anyway, she was never aggressive. Then one evening, my 2-year-old niece yanked her tail while she was sleeping. She woke up snarling like Cujo. She didn't bite, but we subdued her before she had the chance. We didn't hold it against her, but we were vigilant whenever she was around young children. You just never know what will set a dog off. I think owners should absolutely be held accountable for anything their dog does.

I'm not a big fan of banning things, because it costs a lot of money to enforce and there are always loopholes. But I really do question why people think they need large or aggressive dogs, unless they live on a farm. Big dogs need lots of room to run around, and some breeds are specifically designed to attack things. Do we really want those dogs running around in the suburbs? Probably not. People should exercise better judgment when selecting their dogs.

Diane said...

But you are making the right point, in my opinion. By banning a breed or focusing on the dog, we are not addressing the root cause: the owners' responsibilities.

Kate said...

Accountabitity? Not here in the US, so why in Canada?

I was bitten once by a dog. I was 12, and walked over to the neighbor's house, I forget why. Their dog, an amazing and lovable Old English Sheepdog, growled, jumped, and bit my face. I was shocked and cried, but I also bled.
I didn't need stiches, but the owners, who were friends of my family, didn't do anything to change the way the dog was kept. No leash, no chain, no fence. He ran free before he got me, and after. Their attitude was, "He didn't mean to do it. It won't happen again." Except with dogs, you never know.

Rachel - Wicked Ink said...

Last winter, my then boyfriend, myself and my four year old son went walking through an orchard covered in snow, to get some stock photos for one of the magazines for which he is editor.

There was a border collie dog at the orchard, which D bent down and petted, and off we went. The dog followed us, and Jager (my son) was ahead of D then I followed. The dog raced beside us, running through the snow, making Jager giggle. He got a little carried away and was throwing snow balls at D, then decided to throw them at the dog. Got the dog in the face, the dog barked, and I coming upon the scene, figured out what happened and instructed Jager not to throw snowballs at the dog anymore.

D looked at me like I was a freak, saying it was probably the most fun the dog had all day, and why would I stop it? I had to stop and explain to a four year old and a grown man, that when one doesn't know a dog, they must gain the dogs trust before assuming that they will like snowballs in the face, (or grabbing of the tail).

It is the dog owners responsibility to ensure their dogs are well trained, but it is also a parents responsibility to ensure that strange dogs and familiar dogs are treated respectfully, without taunting, or anything like that.