Tuesday, 8 January 2008

Sydney Morning Herald Today

Run around unleashed is a provocative headline that does not adequately describe a dogs behaviour in an off-lead area. I live on a dog beach and all summer it is crowded with holiday-makers, their children and their dogs. At any time of the day, dog will most likely be sitting next to the family while the child plays in the water.

Overly boisterous behaviour is directly related to how well-socialised the dog is. Restricting owners and their dogs from public places IS A PROBLEM IN ITS OWN MAKING. In other words, laws the prohibit our companion to BE OUR COMPANION cause problems such as over-excitement when (finally) let out for a romp, and barking when left behind.

Many types of dogs are a perfectly suitable pet for units with larger breads commonly being more docile then the white fluff’s. Dogs in high-density, cultured cities such as New York or most European capitals will know how to behave in public, because they are socialised.

A responsible parent will remove a tantruming child from a public restaurant so as not to be a nuisance. A responsible dog owner will choose where and when off-leash is appropriate. Although my dog is a well-trained assistance animal, I will not let her off the lead by a road, yet, we see many dogs walking quietly by their owners along busy roads.

Our own office of local government (NSW) states the majority of dog owners are responsible. Sure there are those who have a vastly different view of ‘responsible’ than you may have, but so too are there wild children, noisy neighbours, irresponsible drivers (and parkers). A vibrant society accepts frustrating annoyances, appreciating the diverse choices we have.
  • Many more families have dogs than children.

  • The City of Sydney proposal is talking about 14% of parks when 42% of homes have dogs (and 30% children).

    Most dogs have $10,000 liability insurance thanks to their home contents policy
  • Laws are there to deal with the irresponsible owners.
  • There is no such thing as the Youth Offenders Act for dogs. This law allows our juveniles to get away with all manner of crimes for dogs, but if a dog graffities your wall - it will be declared dangerous and locked up in a concrete pen for the rest of its life!

Stop maligning the domestic dog; our country would not be what it is today without the dog. Aboriginals kept them as pets and protection and Europeans used them to manage sheep and cattle. Good working dogs for yard and paddock work can sell for $20,000.

The Australian Medical Association attributes dogs to better health and the police credit dogs as protection for the elderly and those living alone or hearing impaired. Also, dog walking is shown to reduce incidents of street crime.