Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Pet adoptions are solving some problems, but are also creating new ones ...

                                                My dog, Mozzie.
OK, I really love dogs, but even I have my limits.
Groups like No More Homeless Pets and the Humane Society of Utah are solving problems, in that they are getting more people to neuter their pets; more pets are getting adopted; and less pets are having to be put to sleep.
However, I'm certain these groups are also helping to create some accessory problems, that I've yet to see anyone else point out.
I've lived in my same house for 30 years this fall.
I'm out and about in the neighborhood and area walking almost every day, for 30 minutes or more, for almost 3 decades.
How come I had ZERO problems with loose dogs until about 4 years ago?
What changed?
My plausible theory is that groups like No More Homeless Pets and the Humane Society, etc., have indeed gotten more people to adopt pets -- and in higher numbers of pets at each household.
The results -- for good and bad -- are more people with at least 2 canines (legal where I live, unless there's a household cat too).
Dozens more households I spot all the time have an illegal 3 or more dogs at the same house, just in my neighborhood. And, where did those animals come from? Surely, some from pet adoptions.
Some cities probably feel they have to have the two-dog limit law or the careless owners would even before worse for out of control.
I think the result is with more dogs out there -- and more households with multiple canines -- there are simply more chances for dogs to be loose, or get loose, and more irresponsible owners who now have dogs as pets.
I simply think more borderline people have dogs now, ones who aren't willing to care for them properly.
Example: I see too many yards where an existing 3-foot-tall fence is supposed to contain a 65-pound dog.
Example: I saw a man just this morning walking his dog with NO leash and the dog was 25 feet ahead of him. (He does this often and I live in a dense subdivision.)
Example: A loose pit bull accosted me and my dog (also on the same day I'm writing this blog). He wasn't attacking, but he was being a nuisance pushing into my dog and crossing back and forth across the road. (In addition, a 4-year-old girl was chasing him, trying to get him back and no parents in sight -- a separate concern!)
There's no way my local animal control could ever enforce the 2-dog limit law now, as they wouldn't have the space to house just the offenders in my own neighborhood -- let alone the entire city.
So, what I'm saying is that while No More Homeless Pets and the Humane Society makes sense in their campaigns and looks impressive on paper, in reality they are also a key contributor to this new trending problem. 
Four years ago, my first encounter with loose dogs in my area, was also my worst. I was attacked by 2 large, loose dogs (not pit bulls, but labs) after dark -- and I did get bit. (I was also some 200 yards from the dogs' yard at the time of the attack and so territory was much of a factor.)
I didn't even consider suing.
The young homeowner just assumed his dogs getting loose would cause no problems. (They had been out many times before, according to what he told me, but two dogs together run as a pack and seem to do worse things together than they would do alone.)
However, now if something like that happened I might sue, to make a point to all the careless pet owners out there.
I have to carry pepper spray and a retractable pole at all times now.
If it's hardly safe for me to walk, or jog in my neighborhood, who is safe? How long before some young kid gets attacked?
I also almost got attacked again last year by two loose pit bulls. A whiff of pepper spray and they backed down. Still, those two dogs were some 600 yards from their home at the time.
The problem isn't the dogs, it is their irresponsible owners.
Once No More Homeless Pets, the Humane Society, or another shelter groups, makes an adoption, they can't control how the animal will be treated or contained.
So, that's the accessory problem as I see it. They do get adoptions, but at what cause and effect?
I think they spread the thinking that people should CONSIDER having more than one dog and frankly, some people shouldn't even have one, as they are bad pet owners.
My older generation seemed to get by with mostly one dog as a pet. The newer adult generation thinks they have to have 2 or more dogs -- and hence the two-edge sword problem.
Yes, more dogs have homes and less dogs are put to sleep, but I'm finding more loose dogs and more careless owners as a result.
--ALSO, in a related concern, many animal shelters try to encourage people NOT to be breed sensitive, hoping to undue the bad publicity some breeds, like pit bulls and rottweilers, seems to always receive.
Even if I overlook that on any national Google search for dog attacks -- where those 2 breeds have the most severe attacks -- you simply can't be ignorant of the physical factors of these breeds.
I look at it like this: if my Australian Shepherd, Mozzie, attacks and bites someone, it's of the .22 caliber magnitude, given his jaw muscles. However, if a pit bull attacks and bites, we're talking .357 Magnum damage.
So, yes all dogs are different and not all pit bulls are aggressive or bite, but when pit bulls do bite -- it will likely be more severe than with other dogs -- and sometimes they won't let go, if they bite another dog. Pit bull jaws and accompanying muscles are massive.
You can't ignore these physical differences.
So, in my view, if you own a pit bull, for example, you need to be more diligent in ensuring it is under control and contained, even more so than with other breeds.
All breeds are not the same.

                                   Henrie, my Daughter-in-law's dog.

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