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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Who Let The Dogs Out? We did.

This wily little black cat has survived several attacks on our cats by dangerous dogs in our neighborhood. The dogs have killed four of her pals so far...

Governments at every level and in many locations across the country are struggling with dangerous dog ordinances. This is America and many people think they have a right to own a dangerous dog and even let it run around the neighborhood once in a while. But I am fed up with these irresponsible pet owners who give no thought to the danger their dogs present to cats and small dogs and children.

Just a few weeks ago the whole country was amazed at the You Tube video of an intrepid common housecat who jumped a dangerous dog right as he attacked a little boy, probably saving his life. This was wonderful, and gave us new insight on our feline friends, but unfortunately my cats are not so fearsome.  In fact several of my pet cats have been killed by dangerous dogs as they lounged in my yard. One Sunday morning, we looked out in our yard and saw two of our cats killed where they lay, and another neighbor’s cat across the street was also dead. These killers are wanton and swift and efficient.

Living near downtown Navasota, we have had terrible luck with our animals. One evening a family walking their unleashed dog in front of our house lost control of him and he chased our cat up on our porch and shook him to death…as my wife looked on.

Just last night a chronically loose pit bull dog ran up on our porch and tried to kill the two cats we have left, my wife screaming and the dog’s owners vainly calling it.  My poor wife has been repeatedly traumatized unnecessarily because our society refuses to stand up to reckless pet owners. How often do we read about an innocent small child torn up and scarred for life by someone’s adorable pet, who “had never done anything like that before.” We cannot hope for the best and pray that nothing bad happens, or wait for these dangerous dogs to evolve into kinder, gentler friends of Man.

Many towns have tried to write an ordinance which outlaws certain breeds, or stigmatizes known trouble-making dogs or dog owners. Usually fines or even confiscation are threatened to inspire plain common-sense and compliance.  But most of these dangerous-dog people are risk takers anyway, to have such a vicious dog, and are willing to pay a lot of money to subsidize their pet companion. People are known these days to spend more on veterinarian bills than our parents did on doctors. Pets are cool, and dangerous dogs in the city are status symbols. Fines will not solve the problem.

It is important that communities protect themselves before they suffer tragedy at the hands of these negligent owners and their often neglected animals. Many cities are taking action to protect their citizens from this growing menace. So here is my solution for Navasota.

Most dangerous dog ordinances are written to control and even punish the dogs who offend. Forget this. We have had it all backwards. We need to aim the dangerous dog laws squarely at the true offenders, the dog owners. We need to fine the dogs and PUT THE OWNERS IN THE POUND with their dog! Seriously, a few nights sleeping on a concrete pad, stinking of dog shit, listening as homeless dogs wail and bark incessantly, would get anybody’s attention. This is not cruel punishment, compared to the pain and destruction and suffering these dog owners can cause.

So we don’t fine them, but apply legal pressure to spend their money on a responsible pet facility. This is usually the problem anyway. After they get out of their stay at the pound, you force them to build a fence or whatever to sufficiently secure their dangerous dog, according to a strict code, inspected by a city official. Otherwise you can condemn their home as unsafe and a health hazard. And this will certainly be true. This will get the land owners and renters involved, and they too will apply pressure to keep their property clear of liens or injunctions or whatever. After all of this unpleasantness, these dangerous dog owners will soon be packing out of here. And they can take their dogs with them.

And that is what we want.

1 comment:

Sharon Ruggerio said...

Thank you, Mr. Cushman, for this heartbreaking but vital message. Like you, we have lost too many sweet souls to unleashed dogs. We have 5 house cats...all rescues. And we feed, water, spay, and neuter any who are in obvious need. It agonizes and angers us when they suffer from the results of violent dog attacks. My husband is currently recovering from injuries incurred while unsuccessfully attempting to save Louie, a gentle, elderly Tabby. Two neighboring Boxers proved to be too much for them. So unnecessary, so traumatic, and so unforgivable. Our neighborhood suffers a plethora of uncaring and irresponsible dog owners. We are weary of these travesties, and there just may be a lawsuit on the horizon this time. I wish you the best, and urge you to continue to speak up for those who have no voice.