Own­ers the prob­lem

Kapi-Mana News - - OPINION -

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.

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