Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - Shari Tagli­abue fol­low Shari on Twit­ter at www. twit­ter. com/ shar­itags

That is the rea­son for the very small dog, and yet she, too, has been mon­stered by a loose labrador and a rot­tweiler, de­spite own­ers yelling out, “Don’t worry, it’s friendly!”

IAM the owner of a very small dog, so small that kids are drawn to her like a mag­net, with typ­i­cal com­ments ‘ Aaaw!’ and ‘ Oh my God look at the tiny dog!’

Fel­las often re­fer to my pooch as a ‘ ro­dent’. When this hap­pens I am tempted to tell the story be­hind the su­per- small breed se­lec­tion, but I don’t. I don’t be­cause it’s dis­tress­ing, even six years af­ter the fact.

Prior to the cur­rent min­i­model, I al­ways had large to medium- sized woofers. I love big dogs, and had never even con­sid­ered hav­ing a small dog, un­til both of my furry fam­ily mem­bers were at­tacked on sep­a­rate oc­ca­sions.

Both were on a lead, both were set upon by a neigh­bour’s dog that had es­caped when the owner was en­ter­ing their prop­erty.

De­scrib­ing the ex­pe­ri­ence is near im­pos­si­ble; it’s fast, fright­en­ing, fe­ro­cious and trau­matic. There are ter­ri­ble sounds, some of them are from you, some are from your dog not to men­tion the pri­mal sounds from the at­tacker. Fi­nally, when it’s over, your dog is noth­ing like the happy cam­per it was min­utes be­fore, ex­cited for its walk, it is a trau­ma­tised vic­tim re­quir­ing emer­gency treat­ment and if it is lucky enough to sur­vive, will re­quire around the clock care and heal­ing time be­fore it can re­sume its happy- go- dog­gie life.

Some pets be­come more fear­ful, as do their own­ers, so if you are some­one who walks their dog with­out a leash where other peo­ple are around, please un­der­stand this; spot­ting an un­leashed dog is ter­ri­fy­ing for some of us. It doesn’t mat­ter if the dog is well trained, harm­less, ‘ wouldn’t hurt a fly,’ all those usual cliches, we don’t know that.

What we do know is that this dog is a po­ten­tial in­ci­dent, once you have seen your beloved pet mauled by a large dog on the loose, a small dog that you can eas­ily pick up and hold out of harm’s way doesn’t seem like such a bad idea at all – bite my legs, not my dog.

So that is the rea­son for the very small dog, and yet she, too, has been mon­stered by a loose labrador and a rot­tweiler, de­spite own­ers yelling out, “Don’t worry, it’s friendly!”

No it’s not, it’s ag­gres­sive, un­pre­dictable and ter­ri­fy­ing.

There have been a num­ber of dog at­tacks re­cently that in­cluded an owner bit­ten and his pet killed, an­other fam­ily’s pet was mauled in their own yard. Al­most more shock­ing was Townsville City Coun­cil say­ing it can’t tell the own­ers of the vic­tim pet any de­tails of the out­come, due to pri­vacy laws. What has pri­vacy got to do with it? Vic­tims of vi­o­lence know the fate of their at­tack­ers, why are pet own­ers treated dif­fer­ently?

If ev­ery­one used leashes in public and had ad­e­quate fences, at­tacks shouldn’t hap­pen. Be­cause they don’t, I often yell, “Put your dog on a leash!”

Don’t shoot the mes­sen­ger – it’s not just for my pet’s ben­e­fit, it’s for yours, too. Avoid­ing an at­tack doesn’t only spare my dog and I from a ter­ri­fy­ing ex­pe­ri­ence, it might just save your ‘ friendly’ pet from a death sen­tence.

Fair trade?

TER­ROR ON LEASH: Own­ers of vi­cious dogs should be brought to ac­count.

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