An open letter to dog owners:
I do not love your dog.
I don’t necessarily dislike your dog nor do I dispute your right to have a pet. In fact, I like dogs.
I walk around the Junction daily, know most of the dogs in town and am greeted in a friendly manner by the dogs I meet. They come up, say, “Hi,” get a pat on the head and go back to their homes.
A couple of them will even join me on my walk and are good company.
These dogs are well-trained and under control. Others are behind a fence and will also say hello and come to the fence for a greeting. Some are tied up and bark at my passing. That’s fine: they are tied up.
Good dogs mean good owners.
I’ve lived in other rural areas where not all dogs are under control. Some were downright vicious and the owners of these animals were constantly amazed (stunned might be a better word and in more than the amazed sense of the term) that anyone could take exception to their dog’s right to roam around unsupervised.
In BC in the ‘70s, a Rottweiler running at large attacked a young boy and tore the flesh and muscle from the boy’s arm from the elbow down. He got a prosthetic out of the deal.
The owner lost his dog and fought to keep it.
I assume that the kid felt the same way about his arm.
Some dogs will chase wildlife, domestic animals, kill chickens etc., and the Dog Whisperer notwithstanding, the cure seems to be to get them off the planet or fence them in and/or tie them up.
The situation in Tagish could obviously have been better handled by the people who lost the chickens. If a person has something to communicate to another person, face-to-face is a good way to do it as opposed to relying on the usually reliable moccasin telegraph to relay the message.
A letter or chat with the police would work, as well, if there is the possibility of the discussion rising verbally or physically to unacceptable levels.
I saw the RCMP handle the case of an unprovoked attack on a teenage boy a few years ago in BC. The owner was told in no uncertain terms to have the dog neutered, fenced and tied up immediately and another incident would result in the dog being put down.
That seemed reasonable to everyone involved except for the owner who felt picked on.
Even the teenager with nine stitches in his scrotum was relatively mollified.
If your dog or dogs aren’t around for a period of time, a responsible owner will find out where they are and what they are up to. They are pack animals and will most likely not be running around improving things in the world.
Dogs don’t lay eggs and the serving of a dog at a Thanksgiving dinner would be frowned upon in most circles – so even the most amazed dog owner might be able to figure out, given enough time, why someone who raises farm animals might not regard their precious pets with the same block-headed adoration as the dog owners do.
So dog owners, please keep in mind that not all of us love your dog (or the lumpy evidence of a momentary stop), and control it accordingly.
Oh yes Ã‰ and please carry a bag and clean up after it relieves itself. I don’t love that either.
Paul Cadogan Haines Junction