In the last week alone, we’ve had two run-ins with dogs where the owners were unable to control their pets. Yesterday, we went for a walk at Heartwood Forest near St Albans, which is a Mecca for dog walkers and for kids wanting to build dens. On our way back to the car a dog came running at my four year old growling and barking. It was not on a lead. Luckily, the owner got to the dog before I did.
The owners seemed very nice and were very apologetic claiming that ‘he doesn’t like children?’ This begs the question, why take him to a place where there’s a very good chance you will come across children?
The case for leads
I would never suggest that all dogs should be muzzled nor should they not be allowed to roam free in public places. In this case, I feel the dog owners have every right to take their dog for a walk in the woods but this particular animal should have been on a lead. A few minutes before this we had a gorgeous Husky coming bounding towards us off of a lead, but the owners were able to call it back immediately and I had absolutely no problem with this.
Unless you’re 100% sure of the temperament of the animal and you can stop the animal on a sixpence it should be on a lead in public places. Some people seem to be taking unnecessary risks which could have devastating outcomes.
So, when I returned home and read in the news that a six-year old girl had part of her ear bitten off by a Bull Terrier I flew off the handle. The father had to punch the dog repeatedly and the owner fled, however, he has now turned himself into police. I do appreciate that we will never know the full story and in a lot of the cases children can be to blame for antagonizing the animals.
It may be the media but it seems that dog attacks seem to be on the rise and something needs to be done.
In Canada, dog owners are required to have a dog license, linking the animal to an individual. People pay a yearly fee and if you don’t have a dog license they have the right to remove the animal. I can’t help thinking this would be a good idea in the UK. Apparently, there was a scheme but it was scrapped in the 80s? I would love to know why it was binned.
We do have a local dog warden but they only get involved if there has been an incident. This seems to be reactionary and that something should be put in place to stop it or decrease the chances of it happening in the first place.
Is it unfair?
Many ‘responsible’ dog owners feel that this is unfair as they’re being punished for the bad behaviour of a few and I can’t disagree. And I can see that people are sceptical and rightly so, that it would only be another way of lining the taxman’s pocket with little or no benefit to dog owners. But, what if the money was earmarked for dog parks, beaches, dog rehabilitation, etc?
Would it deter ‘trophy’ dog owners if they were directly linked to the animal and responsible for its behaviour? Would it be a way of vetting dog owners and ensuring the welfare of the animals?
I would love your thoughts on this one.