Man’s best friend suffers in the end

For a dog to be good, it needs a good owner as well

I have no sympathy for dog owners who ignore by-laws and then bristle when their pets are impounded and, if accused of having bitten someone, face trial.

But I do have sympathy for all dogs, even those who have bitten me, for they know not what they do. I feel especially sympathetic toward an impounded young dog who, by the owner’s comments, has spent many of his days in the bush while his owner worked, and had little interaction with children.

And I have neither sympathy nor patience for owners, or their far flung Facebook supporters, who bleat awaiting a judge’s decision after they’ve allowed their animal to run afoul of the law. 

I’ve had to skirmish with many a neighbour’s dog and listen to owners’ wimpy, illogical excuses after their dog either crossed the pavement to bite me, tackle my leashed dogs, or followed me home and squeezed under my fence to muscle in on my dogs’ food and territory.

There was the mobile home owner of a nursing chihuahua that bit my ankle as I walked past. “I can’t keep her in!” the owner said. “She jumps out the window!” The dog was impounded; the family moved away soon after.

Or the owner of a 90-lb. boxer that lumbered the length of its driveway to bowl over my old 24-lb. dog in the middle of the pavement. “Why don’t you walk on the far side of the street?” the owner yelled. The dogcatcher warned her three times before she controlled her dog.

Or the owner of a  pup that persisted in tagging along on my trail walks, then followed me home, and crawled in under my gate. The final time I delivered the pup to the owner’s door she accused me of harassing her, and threatened to call the RCMP. “He can’t help himself,” she said, “he’s not neutered. My neighbours should confine their females in heat to backyard sheds.” Both my dogs are fixed.

Somehow it’s always the dog’s fault as though dogs sign their adoption papers with a paw dipped in ink like an Iraqi voter.

In Thornhill’s dog pound, a young German shepherd has already waited five months for a judge to decide its fate. I’ve read 33 comments and conflicting versions of events in The Terrace Standard and many more on a Facebook website seeking signatures on a petition asking for the dog’s relocation to the Kitimat SPCA shelter until its trial in  December.

I’ve also seen the dog’s yard. If wooden fencing visible from the street, too low to deter a shepherd and with two six-inch wide boards missing, is representative of any backyard enclosure, leaving the yard was easy.

According to the RCMP, “Police were called on April 5, at 4:43 PM on a report of a three-year-old boy being bit and two other boys being attacked by a dog in the 3900 block of Mountainview.

“Investigation determined that the three-year-old boy sustained a serious bite to his right hip.  The bite was beyond anything that could be attributed to a playful nip or misunderstanding by the dog.  A six-year-old boy sustained minor scratches to his right hip.  An 11-year-old boy was uninjured but had his pants torn.

“The mother was walking down the street with the three-year-old and six-year-old boys when the dog attacked without provocation.  The 11-year-old boy was playing road hockey on the street when he was attacked.  The 1.5-year-old German shepherd had escaped its fenced yard with another German shepherd.  The other dog was not involved in the incident.  A third German shepherd did not leave the yard. The people involved, witnesses and the owner of the dog, were all spoken with during the course of the investigation.”

The longer this pup is confined to the Thornhill pound where it receives minimal exercise and human interaction, the less chance it has of being rehabilitated and re-homed if a judge grants a reprieve.