It’s a dog of a problem

In the last few weeks, I have – like the the rest of Christchurch – become aware of a spate of violent dog attacks against a range of people from pensioners to the very young. All of them have required hospital treatment for torn tendons, through to puncture wounds.

A pitbull staffordshire cross was put down after attacking a boy in Woolston on Friday. The pensioner was attacked by an unknown dog, and the City Council are still trying to find the owner. All dogs are capable of delivering a dangerous bite, but I tend to agree that some are more predispositioned to attacking without warning than others. There have been several times when I have been confronted with aggressive dogs, but only once when I thought I was going to be attacked. The others were more acting like I was on their ground and they did not know whether to trust me or not.

I grew up with a black female labrador who my parents got as a pup. She made a lousy guard dog 90% of the time but was a fantastic family pet, and really good with visitors and children. Only twice did I ever see it show aggressive behaviour. In one incident, which comes from the 10% of the time she elected to be a good guard dog, two real estate agents tried viewing the house without coming to the front door and she bailed them up against the fence. The other time, was more unfortunate, as a guy had come around to inspect foundations for a conservatory. For whatever reason she took an exception to him – he was not hurt, and understanding when told this was totally out of character. After that we notified people before they came around that there is a dog on the property, which we would tie up prior to their arrival. In her final years we had to be careful not to surprise her when coming home as she went totally deaf and often did not know someone was there until within touching distance.

According to Christchurch City Council information, the Dog Control Act 1996 stipulates that a person convicted of an offence under the Act (infringement aside), may be classified as a Probationary Owner, meaning any unregistered dogs in their possession must be rehomed or destroyed in 14 days; may be required to take a course on dog control but is allowed to keep registered pets. This is live for two years unless the Council terminates it. Probationary owners should not be confused with Disqualified Owners who are not allowed to own a dog for five years, have to have rehomed or destroyed any dogs in their possession and cannot be found in possession of a dog unless it is lost or being held to prevent damage, injury or distress.

In San Francisco, there are dog parks where dogs are able to run free. Because the city is a significant built up urban area with few properties having backyards for dogs to run around in, training them to behave is essential. My brother who has spent the last five years living in San Francisco says that he has never had a problem with dogs in the dog parks, and the owners have good control over their pets.

For me, the owner taking responsibility is the fundamental first step. If a person is not prepared to be a responsible dog owner, they have no business owning one. Simple as that.

The dog is a mirror image of you. If you look after it well and train it properly, you will have many years of fun and friendship ahead. If you don’t it is on your head.

1 thought on “It’s a dog of a problem

  1. IMHO people do not know how to behave around dogs. Dogs are very astute and can scence bad, agressive, intimidating, neer do well behaviour from people. The people include superior adults, stupid teenagers, and annoying out of control children. When faced with those unfriendly people/animals a dog will be wary and liable to use its teeth as a fighting mechanism.

    Dogs in our society follow the full gamut of upbringing from priviledged to deprived, and thus their behaviour reflects that upbringing. This is why a licence to own a dog should be a licenced owner person to ensure a good upbringing for the dog.

    I like dogs, but I do not own one. There are a number of dogs that I am friends with. The dogs that my sons own as family pets, Chardy – a golden retriever, and Oscar a border collie. A friend has a bison frieze lap dog. There is also the dog in the fenced yard I pass when walking down to pick up my grandchildren from school on my assigned day to do this service.

    Sooty is a big black labrador. Sooty used to rust to the gate and bark and bark at us when we passed on the way home, or when I passed on the way down to school.. I spent time talking to him softly from my side of the closed wrought iron gate. Gradually he began to calm down with our regular contact and conversations. One day his elderly owners were in the front yard and introduced me to him. The relationship between Sooty and myself is now cordial and friendly. I can give him the back of my hand to smell before I give him a pat. I enjoy him not barking at me anymore. I need to call him to come to the gate.
    I respected Sooty’s job as a protector of his family and his property. Because I wanted him to know that I was not a threat to either of those things I spent some time nurtering our aquaintance.

    People who are a strangers to a dog, should respect the dog’s devotion to its owner and property. They should expect that they may be attacked if they threaten the owners person or property.
    Intimidating, nefarious and neer-do-welleople, Superiot adults, stupid teenagers, and out of control children who threaten strange dogs will be attacked- end of story!


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