Owners the problem
Two more vicious dog attacks occurred recently. One was in Kawerau on a two-year-old girl, the other in Masterton on a four-year-old girl. The dogs may have been micro-chipped. If so, this will help identify the owners who should then be prosecuted and never allowed to own a dog again.
But the micro-chipping did not stop the dogs attacking these little girls. Micro-chipping was a knee-jerk reaction by politicians after the Carolina Anderson dog attack in 2003.
Micro-chipping simply identifies the dog and therefore their owners. Of course, most of the people who own dogs likely to be involved in dog attacks won’t have them micro-chipped anyway.
There are just two components in these cases; the dog and the owner.
In dog attacks we are not talking about a single bite from a dog that is frightened and lashing out defensively.
Dogs involved in attacks are displaying a very base feral hunting or fighting instinct and viciously maul a human ( or another dog or cat) delivering multiple bites, often to the face and limbs. Their intent is to disable or kill.
Dogs that are genetically bred or used for hunting or fighting, or have had poor or bad upbringing, or both, are more likely to be involved in dog attacks.
Then there are the owners. Most dog owners are great. Even if they have a problem dog they try to control them properly.
However, some owners don’t care or even worse train dogs to be vicious. This includes William Campbell, of Porirua, who in 2009 set his dogs upon Lincoln, a 14-yearold Titahi Bay dog who had been stolen to be used as bait.
Micro-chipping will never stop these attacks.
Licensing of dog owners may help but as long as there are people who don’t care about others in society they will choose not be licensed and will continue to own vicious dogs that are probably not micro-chipped. Education and societal change are the main ways we will reduce these horrible events happening in our communities.
Invariably it is the lawful majority of people that end up suffering by bearing the social and financial costs of the few that choose not to follow the values and rules that are necessary for a decent society.
Dr Ian Schraa is an experienced veterinarian and the owner of Rappaw Veterinary Care.
Looking for a fight: Micro-chipping doesn’t stop dog attacks.