I don’t want to suggest that my life is lacking in excitement, or that at times the days seem to blend into a homogenous mass of predictable, middleclassness.  But I will say, that when the man on my doorstep introduced himself as the Sheriff, he had my undivided attention.

Gotta love'em ... John, played by Owen Wilson, tries to get Marley to behave in the comedy hit Marley And Me. Picture: Supplied

And not just because of his uniform. My attitude to uniforms is best seen in terms of arrested development. I developed normally until the age of 5, and that was it. The fascination has not abated.  Matching hats, whistles, reflective patches, holsters – all these things just exacerbate the situation.

As soon as the Sheriff introduced himself, I knew what to do.  I scanned the street for American Indians.  It looked clear.  Maybe it was just bandits? I mentally prepared myself to be saved.

But then I remembered back to year 11 legal studies, and those other harrowing things that sheriffs did.  But we are up to date with our payments and also our payments on our payments.  So, I was at a loss as to what had brought this vision in beige to our door.

He explained his business soon enough though.  He had come in relation to an outlaw sheltering under our roof.

Yes, he had received a complaint about the dog at our address.  “You mean Kipper?”, I queried in amazement.  “But he’s nearly mute and he only bites his tail and high fashion shoes.”

Kipper also squeezes 3mm of his tongue out from between his front teeth when he is sleeping or thinking.  If there is a way to make yourself look more stupid I’ve not encountered it. 

However, he is a boxer.  So, although he is still only 1, he has an athletic build and his face looks like a pending motor insurance claim.

The Sheriff went on to explain that Kipper had got out into the street and that this was contrary to regulations.  But was that really so bad?  Although it wasn’t desirable, it did seem pretty much inevitable that this would happen at some point in the dog’s life.

Certainly, the children had been told not to leave the gate open.  But they had also been told that chocolate worming tablets are not like normal chocolate; that you cannot use nail polish as eye shadow; and not to play with my mobile phone over the toilet bowl.

I have had dogs for decades.  They had all hung out on the footpath at some point.  None had brought the Sheriff to my door.  Was Kipper being picked on because he was so damn ugly? ‘Cause that ugly dog was my ugly dog.  My hand slid to my hip.

But then the Sheriff elaborated.  After Kipper had got out, he had taken the liberty of getting into the complainant’s car.  He hadn’t done anything unfriendly. He just got in, sounded them out for a lift and then got out again. 

I like getting my teeth into a good debate.  I floss with rights and wrongs.  But a strange dog jumping into your car!  The mongrel had left me nothing to work with.  My heart sank as I watched the moral ground crumble beneath me. 

Without hesitation, I commenced the traditional rituals of submission to authority.  I may as well have been on the ground waving my limbs in the air.  I took that official warning and I thanked him for it.  Then I watched him guide his Toyota off into the mid morning sun.

Discussing the incident that night with my partner, I watched him carefully file it under “Domestic” or “Don’t’ Give a”, which, based on his filing system, are very close to each other.  But I wasn’t bothered, I was busy, working out how to make corn grits and thinking about that uniform.

Most commented

66 comments

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    • Mahhrat says:

      06:51am | 16/08/12

      My duo got out about 6 months ago and were at the park around the back, sniffing at the trees, when council workers found them running loose.

      In their efforts to catch them, they got my GSD but muttly Max, having been a street boy before we brought him home from the pound, escaped and in the process of running away from them got hit by a car.

      I have to wonder whether that would have happened had they not intervened.

      I don’t blame them of course - they shouldn’t have been able to escape my yard (though I’d love to know which douche canoe opened my gate for them…I still have suspicions regarding the power company).  I just wonder whether we worry at too early a stage.

      A dog in a car?  Seriously?

    • Black Dynamite says:

      07:45am | 16/08/12

      What’s a douche canoe?

      BD

    • sami says:

      11:14am | 16/08/12

      My dogs snuck out of the carport soon after I moved in, as I didn’t realise the door could just be pushed open. Anyway I awoke to a phone call one morning- my GSD was in a classroom! They crossed a park to a primary school and GSD spotted a room full of kids, obviously thought ‘YAY so many playmates’ and went in to make friends. The kids were stoked. Such characters, those dogs.

      Your poor Max… did he survive? :(

    • M says:

      06:56am | 16/08/12

      Every girl’s crazy for a sharp dressed man.

    • St. Michael says:

      12:41pm | 16/08/12

      Only if he’s got a velcro fly.

    • Huey says:

      07:39am | 16/08/12

      What’s “corn grits”..liked the article but what’s corn grits?

    • Michael says:

      07:59am | 16/08/12

      It’s like polenta but different.

    • Gregg says:

      08:12am | 16/08/12

      What Johny Wayne would cook up over a camp fire between punching blokes out and shooting Indians.
      Clint as Rowdy Yates on the Wagon Train with the Major had a better recipe.

      Did you know about John Wayne toilet paper?
      Takes no shit from Indians!

    • Mr. Nothing says:

      07:53am | 16/08/12

      I only started caring about loose dogs after I had kids. There is just some instinctual thing that kicks in when I’m walking with my young kids and I see a dog I don’t know running around free. It’s even Worse when I’m out with my oldest son, he has in IQ of 55 and goes into a strange panic when a dog comes up. It’s embarising having to chase your screaming 10 year old around in circles trying to settle him down.

      I know it can’t be helped most times but lets try extra hard to keep everyone’s dogs at there own houses peoples. Then we will all be sweet.

    • Ooh shiny says:

      08:14am | 16/08/12

      “He just got in, sounded them out for a lift and then got out again.”

      Wait, what? Kipper must be an extremely intelligent dog to have figured out how to open a car door. Or did he threaten to slobber on the driver unless they let him in?

      Seriously, what on earth happened there? How did the driver figure out who the dog belonged to - after all, obviously *someone* knew who the owner is, considering that it was reported, and the sheriff turned up at the door. Couldn’t people show a little bit of common sense and neighborly spirit? You know? “Hey, your dog got our of your yard and into my car, please can you make sure it doesn’t happen again?”

      Talk about petty waste of sheriff’s time…

    • VVS says:

      11:32am | 16/08/12

      Exactly.

      A few months back I was driving up my street on my way home when I encountered a little dog wandering around on the road.

      So I pull into my driveway, get out, eventually round up the little devil and call the number on the back of her name tag. Leave a message for the owner as to where I had found the dog, and where I was to come and collect her.

      Just for good measure, I knock on a couple of the neighbours’ doors to ask whether they had ever seen the dog around when they were out for runs/walking their own dogs. None recoginsed the dog.

      So she plays in my yards with my dog (or scampers away from him as he chases her wanting to hump her - he’s a randy little cavoodle) for a few hours until the owner rings me back then comes and picks up the dog.

      I thought that was the way normal adults handled such a situation.

      Are you telling me I should have called the cops and wasted their time? People actually do that?

    • ibast says:

      01:08pm | 16/08/12

      Should file a counter complaint of trying to steal your dog, by encouraging it into the car.

    • miloinacup says:

      01:32pm | 16/08/12

      Are you telling me I should have called the cops and wasted their time? People actually do that?


      You may be surprised by the trivial shit people call the cops/authorities over.

    • Rob says:

      04:17pm | 16/08/12

      Calling the ranger over a loose dog that isn’t attacking people is a bit of an overreaction. I’d be inclined to think that there’s something not quite right about a person escalating things that far when it’d be easier to just drop the dog off on the porch.

    • AFR says:

      04:47pm | 16/08/12

      Exactly x2

      Mine once ended up in the doctors surgery (without an appointment). Granted not the best environment for a dog, but the receptionist entertained him, and the patients waiting all had a good laugh, as my embarrassed arse sheepishly walks in 20 minutes after being called to collect.

      I’m making this figure up of course, but i would guess that most sensible adults could assess immediately that about 95% of stray dogs are harmless.

      Society would be so much better as a whole if people actually got to know their neighbours a little and used common sense.

    • Lizzie2 says:

      08:19am | 16/08/12

      Why does so much smug owner-selfishness surround the issue of domestic dog-keeping? 

      You are at fault allowing your dog to enter a public street unleashed (where infants are supposed to be walking without fear of attack).  You are supposed to keep your dog under control at all times.  Do you know how many dog owners say, “Oh my dog would never hurt you”, and do you know how many hundreds of dogs attack unsuspecting infants innocently playing or just occupying public areas in Australia every year? 

      This is why the Sheriff turned up on your doorstep, and you think your irresponsible attitude is funny? Your partner thinks “Don’t give a…”  You both think you are above the law?  What a careless, inappropriate attitude.

      Do you know that barking, uncontrolled domestic dogs constitute the largest number of complaints to local councils?

      Do you not understand that many people regard the confinement of dogs in domestic backyards as an unnecessary cruelty.  Yes, leave a gate open and you will quickly find how much dogs do not like domestic confinement.  That is why they are supposed to be regularly walked and not left unattended for lengthy periods of time.

      You are making a joke about laws that are designed to protect citizens from the nuisance and hazards of uncontrolled dog behaviours. 

      From your flippant and careless justification of your uncontrolled dog getting into someone else’s car, which may or may not have frightened their infant children, I bet you are one of those ill-mannered neighbours who would also justify their dog barking regularly and interfering with the peace and quiet of neighbours.  The same laws require people to keep their dogs quiet, or pay a hefty fine.

      You are not above the law.

    • Tim the Toolman says:

      10:17am | 16/08/12

      “You are making a joke about laws that are designed to protect citizens from the nuisance and hazards of uncontrolled dog behaviours. “

      Do you know how many people go around killing/injuring/abusing other people?  It’s a lot more often than people’s pets.  Perhaps your fears are unjustifiably skewed due to an irrational dislike/fear of dogs.  Just a thought.

      Personally, based on statistics and risks, I’d take a dog off a leash as less of a threat than a human off a leash any day.  Just look at our prison numbers. 

      As a side note, usually the dogs that do attack people have been screwed up by their owners, anyway, so once again, it’s a human at the root cause of the issue.

      There’s my misanthropic rant for the day, anyway.

    • Chris L says:

      10:27am | 16/08/12

      While we’re discussing “interfering with the peace and quiet of neighbours” can parents please control their noisy damn kids? I try reporting the sqealing ten year olds next door to the council, but the neighbours haven’t received so much as a single warning!

    • Ooh shiny says:

      10:36am | 16/08/12

      (where INFANTS are supposed to be WALKING without fear of attack)

      Oh, you magnificent troll, you! You had me going, thinking you’re serious, until I re-read the comment and spotted that gem of the line.

      Well played, madam. You win the interwebz today.

    • M says:

      10:42am | 16/08/12

      Yes, how dare a dog be off a leash. Civilised society is threatened by such wayward and non compliant citizens. We pass these laws for a reason people, what good is there in them when people don’t obey them?

      Somebody has to think of the children.

    • AFR says:

      10:50am | 16/08/12

      Yeah, my 8kg foxy is a menace to society. He might even walk up to you and give you a lick. oh the horror.

      If I’m only going to my local shops my dog is off the leash. He is well behaved, sits patiently outside shops, and when hearing a high pitched “he’s so adorable” from a random girl in the street he will present himself for a cuddle. Prettty much like most other dogs in my neighbourhood).

      Last night an owner of a much larger and quite aggro dog which he could barely control, had the audacity to have a go at me for having my dog off a leash. My answer was “perhaps you could teach your mongrel some social skills”.

      I know that dogs are supposed to be on a leash at all times (and everywhere outside my local neighbourhood I do), but paranoia about dogs to me is worse. I’m much more trusting of a stray dog than person.

    • AFR says:

      11:01am | 16/08/12

      Hey, M, we agree on two things today! Although, I am going against you on the smoking issue.

    • Lizzie2 says:

      11:58am | 16/08/12

      Ooh Shiny, you boring little pedant.  So I meant toddler.  So what.  You know exactly what I mean.  Yes I am serious.  If you’ve sat beside the bedside of a hospitalised 2-year old INFANT (who incidentally can walk) maimed for life by a so-called friendly, unleashed neighbour’s dog) you wouldn’t be making fun of semantics.

      Idiot.

    • PsychoHyena says:

      12:09pm | 16/08/12

      @Lizzie2 so on one hand you’re saying keep the dogs in the yard, on the other you’re saying it’s cruel so let them run free? Or should we just kill all the dogs?

      Another suggestion as well, what if it wasn’t the owner who opened the gate and left it open? If that person is unaware (because they’re out of the house) that someone has attempted to break into the house, that person gets confronted by a dog and runs and leaves the house and the gate open, whose fault is it?

    • M says:

      12:38pm | 16/08/12

      You should have kept that infant on a leash.

    • Lizzie2 says:

      12:47pm | 16/08/12

      PsychoHelena,  dogs do not like being confined on urban allotments.  They are genetically programmed pack animals that like to roam. I do not know how anyone can keep a dog happy when it’s confined to small urban backyards, particularly if absentee owners cannot properly manage their loneliness. 

      As for the excuse of others opening the gate etc. if people choose to keep a dog, they need high gates that are properly locked so the dog can’t get out.  They should regularly confirm with their neighbours that the animal is not barking or being a nuisance, such as charging at the boundary fence whenever someone goes into their adjoining yard.

      Ooh Shiny, you now suggest that a very young child deserves to be bitten if it hasn’t yet been able to understand what a dog likes and what it doesn’t.  Child safety trumps irresponsible dog ownership.

      Obviously you’ve never nursed on a ward where facial and upper limb cuts and psychological trauma to an infant are the result of irresponsibles who do not contain their dogs, but who will still say, after such attacks, “but my dog never hurt anyone before.”

    • Ooh shiny says:

      01:23pm | 16/08/12

      So, Lizzie, what you are saying is if we take the dogs out of the equation, infants and toddlers will be safe on the streets? Because, dogs are the only danger to children out there? Because god forbid that parents have some common sense and try to teach it to their children?

      Boring little pedant I may be, but at least I’m not an hysterical ninny.

    • Dolly says:

      02:39pm | 16/08/12

      Geesh Lizzie. What a ball of fun you are. I’m sure you’re on everyone’s invitation list for their dinner parties.

    • Nilbog says:

      02:41pm | 16/08/12

      What the hell are toddlers and infants doing out of the street in the first place???

      Where the hell are their parents? Why are they unsupervised?

      I think that is the most important issue in this analogy. Call child services!

    • PsychoHyena says:

      04:11pm | 16/08/12

      @Lizzie, that doesn’t answer my question of if someone enters your property and enables the dog to leave said property.

      Personally I’m not a fan of dogs being loose on the street, however I do understand that sometimes circumstances are out of your control, otherwise you agree that someone who takes all the appropriate measures to ensure their children are safe are responsible for any injury to said child should external influences over which they have no control result in child becoming injured.

    • KGirl says:

      08:56pm | 16/08/12

      AFR: Just because your dog is small and looks sweet doesn’t mean your dog can not be dangerous or perceived as a threat to others.  Most frequent dog attacks are by little Chihuahuas, not large dogs. It is small dog owners like you, that help to create the hysteria around larger dogs and certain breeds. You should be a responsible dog owner and that goes for all dog breeds and sizes.

    • Gregg says:

      08:25am | 16/08/12

      A Sherrif for a dog issue!, you’d expect a copper or just someone from the council first eh!

      But dogs can be fun and make for interesting times, especially when younger.
      We got our now fifteen year old fella from the RSPCA when he was supposedly about ten years old, virtually zero history on him and the missus had spied him in the local rag.
      He was listed as a terrier cross (ed) with dunno and is always commented on re his unique looks.
      That did not stop him being a borne escape artist, would wriggle through the tiniest of holes and even climb vines and twice he ended up having B & b with the council, $54 first time, $108 second time and I decided we had better get him company, another X BY X and lovely girl who nearly saw fifteen years, but between the two of them, if the gate was ever left open they were out like a flash and woe behold anyone in the neighbourhood with an open door, even went up on to someones second floor one time for a good captain cook about.

      And the old fella has been known when a bit younger for getting into other peoples cars too, fortunately when I’ve been around and yes it can be a bit embarassing, especially when they resist you getting them out.
      But all just part of the fun and games of having adorable companions.

    • Wisteria says:

      12:16pm | 16/08/12

      It would have been a Sherrif’s Officer.  No way would it have been the Sherrif.  They only turn up when there’s a bikies harley to be seized, they’ve got far more important other things to do.

    • Steve Putnam says:

      08:38am | 16/08/12

      I too had a boxer. He was a magnificent specimen, red with four even stockings, 25 inches exactly at the shoulder and 31.5 kg of solid muscle, but he was as silly as a penny watch. He had no road sense at all and I lived in fear that he would one day be hit by a car. For this reason he was strictly confined behind locked gates and only allowed out on leash. (Every Sunday I would take him over to St Stephen’s in Newtown or some other park where he was allowed to roam free.)
      According to a friend who’s father bred boxers (and had a “Best Dog in the Show” at the Sydney Easter Show in the eighties) they are the jokers of the doggie world. Their clown-like activities are exactly that and exhibit deliberate humourous intent. I never saw any signs of aggressive behaviour from him at all.
      However having said that, Sydney Council’s policy of dogs off leash is a law-suit waiting to happen. A good mate, who is secretary of the local football club, says dogs are a constant problem at training. They see kids chasing footballs and naturally want to join in. In the overwhelming majority of cases, they mean no harm, but the potential for an accident is great and there have also been several incidents when players have been bitten. Additionally there is the problem of dog excrement on the field.
      The attitude of the dog owners is apalling, and several are repeat offenders. The attitude of the Council is even worse. Despite the fact the club pays an annual fee for the use of council grounds they have, it seems, no rights at all. City rangers either ignore their complaints or are too busy booking cars. The Mayor, when alerted to the problem at Council meetings, gets up and makes sanctimonious speeches about how wonderful dogs are and denying that a problem exists. Attempts by the one Councillor (ALP) who is “onside” to find a compromise solution are brushed aside, as are requests for information as to Council’s legal obligations on this matter. What will it take for Council sit down with all parties and work something out; legal action?

    • Dolly says:

      08:43am | 16/08/12

      Did he give his name?  If his name contained the monikers “John” or ““Wayne”, it would have been the icing on the cake.
      Thinking about it, who complains when a dog jumps in and out of your car?  Did said person mosey on down to the sheriffs office and find the sheriff with his feet up on his desk? All questions I would love answered

    • Simon M says:

      08:45am | 16/08/12

      Excellent article Amy

      I had to laugh. I think anyone who owns a dog will see something of their own dog in this Article

    • Louie the shivering Fly says:

      09:09am | 16/08/12

      Hmmmm, Mahrat - that’s incredibly sad. And pointless.
      And Amy.
      I am so lucky up in Townsville - our recently adopted 12 year old Golden Retriever sneaks out at regularly, he’s perfected the silent, invisible slide out the gate when a tradesman calls.
      I can’t tell you how any phone calls I’ve received telling me that some one has “found” him. 
      I got one on the chairlift down here at Perisher last Friday. (Petsitter mighty embarrassed when I rang to ask what Puff was doing at that moment and she replied sleeping in the back yard.)

      Then there was Bronson the Bichon (all of 5kg)  who hated flying, and always went over to the Taxi Rank at Tvl airport when he was having last wees before being checked in for a flight - and the drivers ALWAYS got out and let him in the cab.

      For God’s sake - where are people’s sense of humour and delight in mischievous pets

    • Tim the Toolman says:

      10:27am | 16/08/12

      There is none.  It disrupts there angry little lives.  Just smile and understand that as unhappy as you were having to deal with them for 5 minutes, they have to put up with themselves 24/7.

    • Greg says:

      09:11am | 16/08/12

      What’s your dog doing getting into people’s cares anyway?  the official warning should come with compulsory obedience classes.

      At the same time who calls the sheriff about something like that sure if it happened regularly maybe but for a once off what a wanker .

    • sunny says:

      09:38am | 16/08/12

      A dog went into their car and they called the “authorities”! **giant raspberry** 99.9% of people would laugh that off, but there’s always those one or two who would take the playful behaviour of a dog to be some kind of personal insult.

      If the Sheriff doesn’t ride a horse and wear a ten gallon hat, then he should change his title to Municipal something-or-other. Who’s ever heard of a “Sheriff” who doesn’t ride a horse? It’s false advertising!

    • Tim the Toolman says:

      10:31am | 16/08/12

      I had a giant German Shepherd junk yard dog jump onto my lap while I was sitting in a car once (I was ten, at the time).  He barely got half of his body in.  Nice dog though!

    • Question says:

      10:36am | 16/08/12

      Wow. A lot of people seem very gung-ho about this whole “dog escape” thing. I mean yeah, the idea of a dog getting into some random’s car is kinda funny, but this had the potential to go down pretty badly. What if, while the dog was out, some kid approached it, yanked its tail/ears/whatever and got bitten? Then we would be looking at another “child gets mauled by aggressive dog running free on the streets” news article.

      Moral of the story - be more careful with confining your dog. Not everyone likes to be approached by an unleashed dog in the street - I personally have had a lot of instances where thats happened to me, and the thought running through your mind is generally “is this thing going to go away, or is it going to bite me?” (especially when the dog approaches YOU and starts barking at you). If the sherriff has to call again about the same issue then im willing to bet that the consequences will be more dire.

    • Ooh shiny says:

      10:52am | 16/08/12

      Kids yanking the ears or tails of strange dogs deserve to be bitten. Maybe then the sadistic little brats will learn the lesson that their parents failed to teach them.

    • AFR says:

      10:59am | 16/08/12

      It’s not necessarily being “gung ho”, but that the overwhelming majority of dog owners have taught their dogs to be polite. I’m not proud of my dog having the occasional escape (thankfully no longer happens), but any reasonable human being would see that he doesn’t pose any threat.

      It’s this sort of thinking that brands single men like me as paedos when I say to a little kid admiring my dog “its ok, you can pat him”.

    • Question says:

      02:15pm | 16/08/12

      @AFR - but thats the problem - YOU may have taught your dog to be polite, but other people dont know that. All they know is that there is some strange dog who has walked up to them and is currently sniffing at their crotch, and we dont know if the dog is being nice or if its going to suddenly go apesh*t and bite down. A lot of people dont like that, especially those with phobias of dogs.

      Im sorry, but I dont undertstand this “its ok, my dog is harmless” mentality going around in these replies. Im sure the owners of all those other dogs that mauled small children and had to be put down would classify their dogs as “harmless” too. Fact of the matter is, a dog is an animal. Animals are unpredictable. Whist they may be perfectly fine around you and your loved ones, you cant gaurentee me 100% that its not going to go absolutely nuts on someone for whatever reason, especially if they are wandering the streets alone.

      Dont get me wrong, I love dogs. Im a dog person, and I own two dogs. I trust them and I also believe that they wouldnt hurt people if left to their own devices, but I just cant gaurentee that to anyone, especially when im not around, and I just wouldnt want to run the risk of my pets injuring someone horrifically. Hence I keep them safely within their yard and really try to prevent them from escaping (eg: latticework on fences to stop them jumping over).

      @ Ooh shiny - nice. So if a kid doesnt know how to handle a dog, then they deserve to be hurt by one thats wandering the streets unsupervised? Again, nice. It could be as simple a case as the kid patted the dog a touch too hard for the dog’s liking, and then WHAM!, lawsuit (and potentially a dead or seriously injured child) on your hands.

    • AFR says:

      10:52am | 16/08/12

      My local ranger is a really nice guy. Have met him twice in times my dog escaped (security has been beefed up since), and has given me warnings both times, although the last time he added “AFR, we love your dog but we never want to see him again”.

    • Blind Freddy says:

      10:59am | 16/08/12

      No one likes a dog like its owner. The rest of us just have to put up with them.

    • Alice says:

      11:30am | 16/08/12

      No one likes a kid like its parent. The rest of us just have to put up with them.

    • Chris L says:

      11:40am | 16/08/12

      Much like children, except you can shoo a dog away without the owners demanding how dare you not love their special snowflakes.

    • ibast says:

      01:29pm | 16/08/12

      Actually I’d say people are more accepting of other people dogs, then they are their children.  Other peoples kids are always snotty spoiled brats.  Dogs can be cute.

    • PsychoHyena says:

      01:46pm | 16/08/12

      @ChrisL, sorry but I’ve tried to stop a dog actually attacking my son and the owner’s only concern was that the dog was going to be reported, the fact that it tore a chunk out of my son’s leg didn’t matter.

    • sami says:

      11:04am | 16/08/12

      My dog regularly jumps the gate because I am sure he is half mountain goat, and all attempts to reinforce or barricade it are systematically taken down by him while I’m at work. It’s his favourite project. And I’m in a rental, so I can’t actually affix anything permanent. Anyway Rocky and I have somehow come to an arrangement- he only jumps out when he wants to inconvenience me- when I’m in a rush to get somewhere he will jump over, requiring me to take him back through the house to the backyard where he will remain, as he has made his point. He will occasionally jump over when I’m not at home. In that instance he seems to only go as far as the neighbours place, where nobody is living. He goes in the garage there and plays with his tennis ball that he has conveniently stashed, and he waits for me. He does not ever go near the road, as an incident in his younger years involving a car to the head and the death of his best doggy mate has left him with the fear. He learnt his lesson.

      Anyway the ranger turned up one day, asking if I had a dog. I responded in the affirmative and he informed me that Rocky had been seen ‘at large’ in my front yard the day before. That’s fine, fair enough that he be spotted by someone. But to be ‘at large’? That implies he is a danger to somebody. He is not. Anybody daring to approach the house would be slobbered on and probably peed on a bit as well, as his social skills still leave a bit to be desired and excitement = pee.

      So I relate to this story entirely and it made me laugh, picturing a boxer jonesing someone for a ride… they’re the ultimate clown dogs and I can only imagine the surprise of the driver and the excitement of the dog! If it was me I probably would’ve obliged him with a cruise round the block!

      The flipside of this ‘dog being out of the yard’ issue is the one of cats. I have two cats, both are indoors only. The only difference I can see between cats and dogs roaming my neighbourhood is that dogs are more likely to come up and say hello to you, and some people may not like that, for whatever reason. Meanwhile both have the potential to be hit by cars, to eat native wildlife, to get in a fight, to be poisoned or hurt by someone intentionally and to poop on your lawn. Cats however, have the added annoyance of being VERY VERY LOUD. There are many cats in my neighbourhood that fight and mate for hours, which in turn keeps my dogs barking until they stop. Once it went from about 1.15am to nearly 6am. That was a fun night.

      What can I do? They’re not my cats, and I don’t want anything bad to happen to them. I just wish cat owners had the same stigma as dog owners do when their pet is loose in the street.

    • St. Michael says:

      12:43pm | 16/08/12

      Cat owners probably don’t have the same stigma as dog owners do when their pet is loose in the street because cats aren’t physically capable of tearing half a six year old’s face off.  Which not infrequently happens when dogs are left loose.

    • Luthien Nienna says:

      11:08am | 16/08/12

      Our first cat once jumped in a car parked across the street. The driver’s side window had been left open, and the front seat was nice a warm.

      Luckily I saw Ginger sitting in a strange car, and was able to coax him out. The guy who owned the car was visiting our neighbour, and saw me standing next to his car. He came out and asked what I was doing. I pointed to the cat. He laughed, and said he would close his window next time.

    • Meh says:

      12:35pm | 16/08/12

      Our Lab has got out twice, first time she walked around the corner to the house of someone she regularly gets a pat from when we go for walks, who simply walked her home again. The second time I got a phone call
      - Your dog is out.
      - How do you know it is my dog?
      - She is sitting waiting at the kerbside (she doesn’t cross a road until told).


      When we were living in the city for work and had our home in the country we had the neighbours cat regularly come into the house, do a lap checking out everything, roll-over for a belly rub, then walk home again. Made the house feel much more like a home.

    • miloinacup says:

      01:45pm | 16/08/12

      I remember taking my dog to the supermarket when I was in high school. He’s a little foxy x jack russell, and so I left him tied up outside while I went in to grab a few things. A few minutes later out of the corner of my eye I saw something flash past the isle. Next thing I know here he comes, spriting down towards me. Little bugger had wiggled out of his collar and come inside to find me.

      I couldn’t be mad though. He’s too darn cute.

    • Soraya says:

      02:10pm | 16/08/12

      I had a council ranger (not quite as exciting as a sherrif) call me about my dog being out on the street and harrassing people. I asked if he could explain how he knew it was my dog, and he said it was the same colour and breed as mine and in the immediate neighbourhood of where my dog was registered. I asked if he had been there in person to confirm this, he said he had and was adamant it was my dog. I was amazed at this given that the Council Ranger was in NSW and my dog had moved with me to the NT 6 months earlier (and I had notified council that I moved my dog out of the area).

    • AFR says:

      04:02pm | 16/08/12

      Nice one.

      If it was such an issue, all the ranger had to do was check its microchip.

    • Luthien Nienna says:

      04:16pm | 16/08/12

      Wow Soraya! Your dog must have a lot of stamina to run all the way from NT to NSW and back again! Surely some sort of world record? (Joking, stupid Council).

    • Greg says:

      03:29pm | 16/08/12

      I’m fine with Dogs approaching me generally but like others have said dogs are unpredictable.

      My mum was walking our dog many years ago and he was attacked by a greyhound off it’s lead, lucky he managed to wriggle out of his collar and take off while mum put the boots in, our dog who used to be nice and friendly to all other dogs is still shit scared of greyhounds.

      That’s one thing i’m fine for your dog to come be friendly say hello whatever, but it it tries to attack my kid or my dog don’t get upset if I kick the crap out of it

    • Swamp Thing says:

      04:12pm | 16/08/12

      Red indians actually, or injuns or redskins even.
      Much more authentic in the whole sheriff/cowboy routine you are running there.

    • Hopium says:

      05:17pm | 16/08/12

      There are very good reasons as to why dogs should be kept in yards and only walked on a leash.
      There are many people who are scared of dogs. Maybe the person with the car is afraid of your dog?
      Dogs scared the beejeezus out of my Nanna. It would not be fair on her if she encountered a loose dog on the street. Since councils have brought in warning and fines etc, the problems have lessened as people actually have to think about their animal.
      But what really got her goat was when the local council put a leash-free area on a public reserve (unfenced) that was immediately next to a protected area. Thanks to the campaigning of a couple of dog owners on the council there are no longer any little penguins coming to the beach.

    • Simon says:

      07:40pm | 16/08/12

      You’re barking mad Amy? You are in the right site then…

    • Tracey says:

      10:36pm | 16/08/12

      Am fed up to the eye teeth with the “won’t somebody think of the children!” hysteria around dogs. My neighbour had a German Shepherd which was never allowed out without being on a leash, and had a massive fenced yard around the house so he couldn’t get out. But that didn’t stop the two little turds who lived over the road from teasing and tormenting Max throug the fence. Those two brats were aged 8 and 10, and would poke or throw things at the poor dog. The kids were asked to stop, their parents were spoken to, but the kids continued to harass the dog. The crux came when the ten year old grabbed Max’s ear with pliers, then pulled it through the fence and tried to pierce it (pierced ears on a dog!). Max attempted to jump the fence….the mother of the boy saw Max jump and called the council to say Max was a dangerous dog that tried to attack her son. Max didnt even get over the fence. Myself and an elderly neighbour warned the boys to leave Max alone, and called the parents to tell them the boys were teasing Max again. Max’s owners tried mediation with the parents but that failed. In the end, Max was deemed dangerous around kids and was destroyed.  Some 7 years later, and the people who moved in behind us have toddler who is constantly at our back fence calling out for our dog Jake to come over. This kid has thrown things into our yard to try to get Jake’s attention. We have spoken to it’s parents and asked that Jake (Shepherd x Kelpie) be left alone. We have made a log of each time we had to speak to the neighbours about this, and set up a camera in the back yard to record Jake at all times. It also amazes me how many parents take their young kids into designated off leash dog parks…..and then let them run around with unfamiliar, energetic and over excited dogs. Some parents are idiots.

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      05:58am | 17/08/12

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