Unfortunately, this time it is more serious. A dog owner in Chicago was recently attacked and killed by her mastiff.
I’m not sure there is anything political to discuss in relation to this sad incident. I do think a case could be made for why such dogs – or even any dogs - should not be allowed on public sidewalks or in public parks. That’s political, of course. But this case relates more to personal wisdom since the dog in question killed its owner on private property. So I have to honestly ask why people think it is a good idea to have a
horse 140 lb non-human in the house. Live and let live, fine. My preferences aren’t yours, fine. But it just seems like a bad idea despite the admittedly low risk of a deadly attack. They slobber, they shed, and they often stink. And don’t get me started on people who have such large animals around little kids. Most importantly, dog bites are not rare. According to the American Humane Association, there are 4.7 million dog bites a year in the US alone and 800,000 lead to medical attention. I, myself, have been bitten twice (once by a Rottweiler, causing me to require medical care) while my cousin was scarred on the face for life by a dog.
One thing that really drives me nuts is when people allow their dogs to run leashless in the park, on the sidewalk, or in any other public space – and often even if there is a leash law since dog owners are almost always breaking the rules and then constantly telling others that their dog doesn’t bite (as if this justifies the violation). I often frequent a natural swimming hole in the woods that has a clear no dog rule. Yet it is a rare occasion when there isn’t a dog there, always unleashed and always scaring children.
Here are my suggestions for dog owners:
- Enjoy the company of your dogs at home and on your fenced private property. Don’t allow them to bark with abandon, especially at night.
- Don’t assume that other people like dogs as much as you do; respect their preferences just as you expect them to tolerate yours.
- Care for your animals well and don’t leave them chained in the hot sun (as my in-laws neighbors used to do in Phoenix, AZ!) or outside in cold winters. Don’t abandon dogs even if you do not want them or cannot afford them. Treat animals humanely and with respect.
- Eliminate nasty dogs from the gene pool.
- Don’t allow your dogs to urinate and defecate on the private property of others; the fact that they are animals is no justification. If you wouldn’t do something on another person’s property, don’t allow your dogs to do so.
- Don’t bring your dogs to public parks and other public spaces (with the exception of specific dog parks) even with leashes.
- Don’t allow your dog to sit on your lap while you are driving. I see this more often than you might expect, especially among the older set.
- Don’t bring your dog to work and impose negative externalities on your colleagues.
- Keep your large dogs away from children – period!
- And don’t act like your dog is a child. It really, really bugs the heck out of the rest of us, especially if you seem to have an aversion to ACTUAL children. It is great to love animals – but they aren’t people and there are a lot of real people around you who yearn for your attention.
Here is what the AHA recommends for dog owners:
Twenty-four percent of fatal dog attacks involved loose dogs that were off their owner’s property. Dogs that are allowed to roam loose outside the yard may perceive your entire neighborhood as their “territory” and may defend it aggressively. By obeying leash laws and taking care to properly fence your yard, you will not only be respecting the laws in your community, but you will also be helping keep your dog safe from cars, other dogs and unforeseen dangers.