Re Dead Dogs, published Wednesday:
I’m sad for the dogs in this story, because they are the ultimate losers in this. As an animal owner, and a former raiser of chickens, I can really identify with both sides of this story.
1) To come on to someone’s property and shoot their dogs without even attempting to contact them first, while technically legal (as per the territorial dog act), is a gross overreaction.
2) The dogs’ owner shares a significant burden of responsibility by not having their dogs under control. That is ultimately the dog owner’s responsibility, and it is one that I have seen neglected often in the territory.
We owned chickens at Marsh Lake, and we had neighbourhood dogs break through two fences to kill 12 of our 25 chickens. I heard the ruckus, and ran down to the chicken coop and was able to identify the dogs in question. I can tell you that the problem of roaming dogs is a major one at Marsh Lake, and apparently other places as well.
We drove around the neighbourhood, identified where the dogs came from, and I then did some research. Upon reading up on the territorial dog act, it presents pretty unambiguous language. (See http://www.gov.yk.ca/legislation/acts/dog.pdf.)
Section 5 deals with dogs at large.
Unfortunately, this section seems to be largely ignored in the territory. Dogs are running at large everywhere, it seems, and this, to my mind, is at the root of this issue.
Owners have long shirked the responsibility of being ultimately accountable for ensuring their dogs are kept under control. This is something we take seriously with our dogs, and we take every effort to make sure they’re not roaming free.
Section 9 deals with dogs and livestock, and gives the livestock owner the right to kill dogs that are interfering with their livestock.
While the man in question had every legal right to kill these dogs, I do not agree with his approach and feel it was excessive.
When we were faced with a similar situation, I got a copy of the dog act, printed it off, and approached the owners of the dogs who attacked our chickens, and warned them.
The owners did not do anything to stop their dogs from roaming about freely, but they didn’t attack our chickens again, so I took no further action.
I believe the man in question should have at least talked to the dogs’ owner first, and given them the opportunity to rectify the situation.
So, as I said at the beginning, I’m sorry for the dogs, as they are the ultimate losers in this.
I also do not blame the laws specifically, because it is the owner’s responsibility to ensure the law is adhered to, and far too many just don’t bother, which is also why we have such serious dog population problems in the territory.