Monday, January 4, 2010

Hello, 2010, or, Having A Dog Is A Privilege, Not A Right

Part of caring very much about an issue is losing one's reluctance to be seen as a scold or a nag. In a previous post, on the eve of Thanksgiving, I wrote about two dogs who, to their misfortune, belonged to People Who Should Not Have Dogs. Happily, for the little Pekingese, a brand new home was found for him with People Who Have Earned the Right To Have Dogs.

Unhappily, the Husky puppy who cried for hours the evening before Thanksgiving remains with People Who Should Not Have Dogs. Repeatedly over the past six weeks, his cries have been ongoing for periods of several hours: sometimes in the afternoon, sometimes in the evening.

The days are long since past when Authorities can tailor responses to individual dog related problems to the individual circumstances. The quantity and severity of pet abuse incidents require Authorities to follow procedures to the letter and act only when a law is violated. A healthy four month old Husky who is very unhappy about being left on a pulley in a backyard for hours and hours and shares his unhappiness with anyone within earshot, is not, by statute, being mistreated, if he has access to food, water, and "some sort" of shelter. If he is not on a pulley, but just on a lead, he is not being mistreated until he cries for more than three hours.

On the other hand, if a citizen lodges a complaint about a crying or barking dog, the Authorities, by policy, write a letter to the dog's owners. A second complaint, by policy, requires a visit to the dog's owners by an officer.

So. When the Husky cries, I call Authorities. Authorities explain to me the limits of the law. I listen. I suggest, perhaps, some required dog ownership classes for the Husky's owners. The officer to whom I speak knows that won't happen. I know, that at least in the foreseeable future, it won't happen. But "procedures" require that Authorities contact the Husky's family because I've complained.

And guess what? It's been almost a week since I've heard that Husky puppy crying for more than a few minutes.

All it takes is for one private citizen to be willing to make herself a Royal Pain.

Last week when Marilyn and I were walking our dogs in a nearby park, not one, but TWO dogs were being run off leash. Marilyn and I have a long history with the owner of one of the dogs. After our repeated reports, he had reluctantly put his large herding mix dog on a 10 to 15 foot lead--well over the legal limit of 6 feet, but we had won in principle.

Last Tuesday, just as we were congratulating ourselves on a non-eventful walk, and heading back to the parking lot, Bingley saw something, let out his "Prey Needs To Be Chased" howl, and pulled on the leash. Sure enough, a couple was running a small, white, fluffy dog off leash.

When we asked them to leash their dog, they assured us he was "fine." I don't know how they thought that since--by then--FIVE sight hounds were pulling at leashes, eager to give chase to their darling doggie.

But as Marilyn and I held our dogs in check and blocked their view of the fluffy white dog as best we could, (for sight hounds, "out of sight IS out of mind") the large herding mix dog, who had been the bane of our walks for months, appeared unleashed ahead of us to our right, and even though our dogs saw HIM, HE was concentrating on the little white dog, who, suddenly, was not "fine", even in the judgment of his carefree owners.

Marilyn and I waited while the fluffy white dog's owners and the herding mix's owner sorted things out and left the area.

Marilyn and I plan to walk our dogs tomorrow in the same park. Will the owners of the fluffy white dog and the herding mix have learned a lesson from last week's encounter? Stay tuned. If not, I suspect that the Authorities will be receiving yet another call from this Cranky Old Lady.

1 comment:

  1. Yes, Cranky Old Lady. Some folks shouldn’t be pet owners. Several years ago, I heard a crying pup next door in the garage for several evenings. One evening, hub and I took a walk and the next door neighbors were sitting in their carport area with a 10 week old German Shepherd Dog. Of course, I stopped and chatted but tried not to lecture about leaving this breed, especially, locked in a garage all day and most of the night. I heard the usual…she’s not potty trained, we work all day, blah, blah, blah. They also had a problem with pup eating her poo. I asked what they were feeding and suggested another brand. They tried the other brand and were amazed at how quickly this disgusting practice stopped. They also asked if I would train their dog. I’m not a dog trainer but said I would babysit her during the day and socialize her to home and people. I obviously had one of my brain-dead moments. They jumped at my idea. So, for the next 6 months, “Dutchess” spent 5 days a week with me and all the critters. She was potty trained in about 3 days, learned to sit and stay in about 2 days, walk great on a lead and was an all around great house guest for the first few weeks.

    Then things started to change come Monday mornings. I had to start from the beginning but by Friday all was well again. I spent time with owners so that we were all on the same training page. This went on for 6 months. However, they finally admitted that they felt guilty for leaving her all day. They didn’t want to be the ‘bad’ people so they let her do pretty much what she wanted to do. They noticed that she didn’t want to leave my house and felt she was getting too attached to me so they stopped my baby sitting and hired a ‘real’ trainer. He promptly told me all the things I had done wrong. BTW, I used a clicker for training. By the time this beautiful, very smart GSD was a year old, she was a blithering idiot and banished to the garage. Occasionally when they had her out front on a lead, and she would see me, she would just scream with glee and they would rush her back inside. Broke my heart! So, Cranky Old Lady, I’m with you. Some folks just shouldn’t own dogs!