Dog owners should be more consciences of others
In Our Opinion
Dogs are starting to become human accessories, tagging along wherever their owner goes. While it is not uncommon to see service dogs in public — because they do act as guides for their owners — some people bring their animals — dogs — to public places, not only the parks and beaches, but also grocery stores and businesses — places where dogs have no reason to be there.
Even at events where dogs are prohibited — like Hoopfest — people still bring them, despite the possibility of getting stuck with a fine or being asked to leave.
We love animals, but feel that dog owners should respect and be conscientious of other people who are not normally exposed to animals. We also understand that it is hard to leave some animals at home and that they require maintenance, but owners are thrusting their dogs into other people’s lives where they shouldn’t be.
Owners should be more consciences of people who normally don’t come in contact with animals and businesses that usually won’t allow dogs through their doors.
Some folks have pet allergies while others get nervous because they are not sure how the animal will react to their presence. Then there are people who just don’t like animals.
In addition to making it inconvenient for people, bringing animals to public places can make it uncomfortable for them. If they’re at home, they are at least at a place where they know the territory. Some animals get anxious or nervous if they are in new places or situations.
While some dogs are timid and will shy away from contact with strangers, others may start barking frantically. If the animal perceives itself or its owner being threatened, they will growl and may even attack whatever they perceive is the threat.
Even owners who tie up their dogs outside of a store are putting them at risk. A stanger could harass, hurt or even kidnap it. There is also a chance the animal could end up attacking a bystander.
Even when they are at — or close — to home, owners should keep a close eye on their pets to prevent them disrupting their neighbor’s lives and property. If their dog stops and defecates in a neighbor’s yard, they should be willing to clean any mess.
If their dog has a tendency to escape the familiar territory and trespass into the neighbor’s yard or roam down the street — potentially causing damage — owners should take measures and prevent their animal’s behavior from causing any more damage or possibly forcing the neighbor to take matters into their own hands.
Spokane had a rash of pit bull incidents in early April, resulting in not only the injuries of bystanders, but also the death of the animals. This could have been prevented had the owners taken measures to make sure their dogs were properly secured in their yards.
New owners who are unsure of what kind of measures to take to prevent aggressive behavior could take a class or do some research to help prepare them for problems down the road.
One example is if their pet has a problem of jumping the fence. According to the ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals), some of the reasons animals roam include exploring a new area and searching for a mate.
Owners could also conduct some research on breeds they are interested in. While dogs like Rottweilers, Doberman pinscher and Bull Mastiffs are good protection, they also have a tendency to display dominant aggression and possessiveness, which could result in them snapping at other pets or people when they feel insecure.
If owners are adopting a dog from a rescue shelter, they should learn the animal’s history. Abused dogs may have trust issues and can be aggressive toward others.
Pets — like children — are a full-time responsibility and owners should have an idea of what’s in store for them down the road. If they are not willing to give the time and dedication to make their dog not only healthy and happy, but also behaved and disciplined, then they should have second thoughts about adopting them in the first place.