Man’s best friend is the product of its owner
It’s illegal to teach your children responsibility by buying them a dog to look after. At least, that’s what my local council would have you believe.
The other morning my wife and I and our dog went to the local oval to meet with a friend and her dog. We live in a small rural area, nothing but dairies as far as the eye can see. At nine o’clock in the morning the only people in the park were the five of us – three humans and two dogs.
Everyone was having a tremendous time, the dogs playing, the humans talking. Then a ranger turned up and told us we weren’t allowed to have dogs on the oval, even on a lead.
One of the reasons he gave was that dogs would churn up the grass. The grass where, every weekend, squads of burly men with studded boots play rugby for hours on end. Another reason was that people didn’t pick up their dog’s crap, leaving it to be found by said burly men, often by their sliding chin during a heavy tackle.
Now granted, this is a horrible way to find a neglected dog poo, but we clean up after our dogs. So we’re being punished for the sins of the idiots with no regard for their fellow human. And therein lies the problem. The lowest common denominator in society sets the bar by which we’re all judged and I’m getting more than a little sick of it.
After protesting the ridiculous nanny-state laws surrounding exercising the family pet, the ranger left us with a pamphlet. He was kind enough not to fine us, but made it clear he would if we re-offended. Meanwhile, we should study the laws surrounding pets and be sure not to become filthy felons again.
Remember when a family might decide to teach their children some responsibility by buying them a dog? They’re allowed that puppy they so desperately want only if they promise to feed it, look after it and walk it every day. Well, if they did, they would be breaking the law.
The Companion Animals Act states: “If your dog is in a public place it must be under the effective control of a competent person (over 16 years old)”
By that very definition, anyone under 16 is incapable of being competent. And we wonder why personal responsibility is going the way of the dinosaur. If we expect our children to grow up with respect for others and a sense of civic duty, let’s not start by accusing them of not even being able to walk a dog.
Sure, it’s not good to leave dog crap all over the place, but responsible owners pick it up. How about actually fining those who don’t rather than restricting the freedoms of everyone?
Yes, an untrained dog is a hazard and induces fear and discomfort in the public. But most dogs are well-behaved and most people I meet are very happy to see my well adjusted, friendly mutt. So how about we actively pursue people whose dogs are out of control, rather than restrict the freedom of everyone due to the idiocy of the few.
There are more than a few humans around who I’d like to see kept on a leash and more than a few children who make our local parks unpleasant places to be. But I don’t automatically assume all people are dickheads and build a lifestyle around restricting and avoiding them. Why do the same thing with dogs?
That ranger who gave us a leaflet made a special journey. No one was there but us, so some busybody we couldn’t even see called in the ranger and he drove out to tell us and our dogs to stop having fun.
Wouldn’t his time have been much better spent driving around looking for people who actually weren’t picking up after their dogs and fining them? Or for people whose dogs were eating the faces off small children and fining them? (The owners, not the dogs or the children.).
After all, a dog is always the product of its owner. Let’s stop treating everyone as irresponsible, anti-social idiots and dogs as pariahs just because a small percentage fall into those categories.
An Iranian friend of mine laughed once when I mentioned living in a free country. “Free country?” he said, incredulous. “This is not a free country. You’re not allowed to do anything!” And you know what?
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