AN opinion on an opinion
20 February 2006
By FRANK HADEN
Dogs attacking people should be shot on sight. (So we should all carry guns when we walk our dogs!) As we saw at Tuesday's sentencing of a Papakura woman who sooled her mastiff-cross killers on to police, the recent gutless changes to the dog control laws are not going to make any difference to the frequency and savagery of attacks. (I agree. She got a $400 ticket where as a dog that pissed on a neighbours fence unsupervised gets a $300 fine...hum... Council does need to have a look on how they issue their fines.)
We've become altogether too forgiving, too tolerant of the irresponsible behaviour of many dog owners. (too tolerant? Dog officers aren't)
We read the news report headlined "Boy savaged by dog that pulled him out of tree", nod wisely when we find it was the sixth recorded attack by pitbull- type dogs in New Zealand last month, think comfortably that our own dog would never do such a thing, and move to more entertaining stories. (I don't quite beleive that. More dogs get put down because of an attack. Check out the other dog stories on this blog. 99% of dogs that maul get put down. )
Its not good enough. The only sensible thing is to instruct police to attend all dog attacks fully armed, authorised to shoot first, in the street or anywhere else, and ask questions later. (yup, and lets pledge allegiance to the American flag too! Or why don't we just get the sheriffs from the States to move here. They don't need training, they do just that! )
The latest amendments to the Dog Control Act didn't stop the woman in Papakura, who pleaded guilty to using her dogs as assault weapons. When the officers sent to deal with her retreated and called for reinforcements, they showed how inadequate the new laws are. (yup, I and other responsible dog owners agree. Just like microchipping, the laws are an ass.)
After playing the fool with schoolboyish pepper sprays and wounding one dog, they got a court order to have both of them killed. There should have been no need for court permission. (nah, hell, the next guy that cuts me off at the intersection, I won't just fume, I'll take action. If we can kill dogs on sight, we can kill idiots too. Those are the ones that own the dangerous dogs in the first place)
Never mind the protests a shoot- on-sight policy would provoke from animal rights pressure groups and neighbours upset at their children seeing the executions. Police should make pre-emptive strikes as soon as they know there has been a dog attack.
No one should be allowed to own dangerous dogs. (Remember, dogs don't come dangerous, it's the owners that are dumb and eventually dangerous to themselves!) The latest laws went some way toward restoring order to the community by creating a category of "menacing dogs" that have to be muzzled in public, but there are no satisfactory arrangements for enforcing the rules. (yup, and when I submitted to Parliment about these new dog laws, I actually called for Dog Education. I even told them that Victoria, Australia has been successful with their programme. Why reinvent the wheel.. Did they listen? )
The trouble comes from leaving enforcement in the hands of voter- sensitive local councils. (wrong)
The laws say the councils "may" declare a dog a menace once they have established it poses a threat, but "may" is not good enough. Councils should have no option. They already have no option about proclaiming an animal a menacing dog if it is an American pitbull, dogo Argentino, Brazilian fila or Japanese tosa.
At this point, however, the lawmakers lose their nerve. After stipulating that a dog classified as menacing must wear a muzzle, they leave it up to council officers to decide whether or not it should be neutered. (I think that all males that display ANY violence should get neutured too. Our prisons might empty out a bit. And we might prevent violence too. ) And if it is not neutered it is certain to be used for the lucrative business of breeding. ( lucrative?... when you only have 'official' breeders, then ya get into trouble. )
The other day, as I walked along thinking how nice it would be if I were allowed to carry a weapon to defend myself against onrushing dogs, I was astounded to see, stuck in a shop window, a photograph of red-eyed little monsters. The picture was offering pitbull pups for sale. Did you know that most dog attacks come from Labradors? YES! those sweet little pet dogs.
The damnable things are in the country because of the pigheaded refusal of a previous National administration to bow to widespread representations and ban them. Now the present government is doing nothing to stop them breeding more generations of child- rippers. Pitbulls are getting a bad rape lately, but if you think of those dogs, would you let your little Bichon play with a pitbull? Would you walk on the other side of the road when you see a pitbull? If so, how do pitbulls get socialised? As with all breeds of animals (including children), playtime is a learning time. Without playtime, you get an unsocial dog. I personally don' t like pitbull-type dogs especially when my own dog got attack by one. However, I do know that dogs will be dogs, and it was an unfortunately accident. (thankfully my dog still greets dogs, but has a weery eye on pitbull looking dogs. )
Today's lawmakers also lack courage when they allow everyone to simply carry a leash when taking dogs for a walk. That's a waste of time. As soon as you give people walking dogs the right to unhook them and carry the leash, any protection the public might have had evaporates. (you are obviously NOT a dog owner, nor do you understand dog behaviour)
Similarly, the law says dangerous dogs can get about in public if they stay on a leash. This shows an incredible lack of common sense in the legislators. If dogs are dangerous, they have no business being anywhere but in secure enclosures at all times. (now you are showing your ignorance about dogs...)
Some dogs are just about as dangerous as lions and tigers, and no one suggests giving zoo authorities or circus owners any option about keeping their big cats locked up. The new laws also hesitantly leave it to councils to decide whether to disqualify people from owning a dog if they commit offences under the Dog Control Act. hesitantly?? nah, they don't hesitate. You haven't spoken to one lately, have you? Dog control officer tell lies. They tell you it's just a warning, then you receive a fine through the mail the next week. And you wonder why there is civil disobediency...
Such miscreants should be disqualified automatically.
There is some encouragement in the regulation that from July this year all newly registered dogs, and all dogs classed as menacing, must have transponder microchips implanted under the skin between their shoulder-blades. These miniature receiver-transmitters will enable central databases to keep track of all dogs.
We must hope the government sticks to its uncertain principles in the face of opposition from lobby groups such as Federated Farmers, who say microchipping is a waste of time and they don't want the country's farm dogs subjected to it. What does microchipping have to do with menacing dogs?
# If the politicians can't bring themselves to ban menacing dogs outright, they should at least write into their control legislation guarantees that it will be enforced. If you got a fine for every yellow light you ran through, the police wouldn't have enough time to catch burglars! They could start by deleting all those lily-livered phrases about what "may" be done. Life isn't black or white. MAY we live in the grey!