In Memory of Kody

A dog’s life cut short

Thursday, April 22, 2010:  The 9 year old red Shiba Inu was tied to a tree outside his owner’s home when the two dogs next door escaped through the front door.  The dogs, who had previously been involved in aggression towards another neighbour dog on March 9, went straight for Kody and attacked.  The larger one “broke the chain holding Kody and dragged his limp body two houses down.”

I don’t know what I would do if this happened to me.  When our friends’ dog “Buddy” attacked Tierce, I was frozen and luckily, my friends were able to control him.  That was also a case of owner error – Buddy had been attacked before and I should never have let Tierce just rush up to him, even on leash.  Both dogs were on leash and were easier to control – which you can tell was not that easy if you read that post.

But in this case, when the dogs were just allowed to rush out the door after being at large previously and showing aggression?  I’m pretty sure they would have to restrain me from going after the fucker who owned them.  When I read Kody’s story, I really wanted to take a trip to Woodbridge to beat her until she lived the rest of her life in pain.

Extreme?  Yeah, to a person who isn’t as bonded to their pets as I am, it might seem extreme.  However, despite all of these people bleating about vicious dogs and oh, what do we do, the population at large – in Canada OR the States is not rising up as a whole and demanding that people be held responsible for their dogs’ actions.  Note that this waste of skin was claiming that this was ‘the first time her dogs had done something like this’ when another resident of the area tried to testify that the dogs were running loose before and behaved aggressively towards her dogs.

When are we going to stop whining about this breed and that breed and hold people like Kari Baker responsible for setting them up so that they are in the position to harm others?

You might note that I didn’t make mention of the breed of dog that attacked.  That’s because the breed shouldn’t matter.  When we go of on tangents of “oh, this breed is evil!”, we ignore the fact that a human CHOSE to own this dog, a human CHOSE not to socialize and/or train it, a human CHOSE not to confine it properly.

I am so tired of the concept that people are somehow incapable of comprehending that their dog could cause trouble when allowed to run uncontrolled.  I am sick of the idea that people are allowed to drive cars and have children, but can’t be expected to know dog behaviour or the potential of their dog to hurt someone.  I am absolutely sick that someone can allow their dog to run loose habitually and not be at risk of anything more than a minor fine and a waggled forefinger.

You want things like this not to happen? Educate people in the schools.  Teach children how to deal with dogs as part of their curriculum.  Make the laws for uncontrolled dogs harsher.  Make the laws for uncontrolled aggressive dogs on the level with manslaughter.  Make irresponsible dog ownership so unpleasant that people avoid it because they don’t want to lose their homes, their livelihood and all their assets.

The Pit Bull Placebo

But wait!  This isn’t about Shibas!  It is, however, about dogs labeled as “bad” and the chronicling of their history.  This is something that all dog owners should be concerned about, as dangerous dogs – actually, dangerous owners – are a daily threat to some people and their Shibas, as Bella’s story amply illustrates.

This is a PDF and is quite a long read, but it is fascinating.

The Pit Bull Placebo: The Media, Myths and Politics of Canine Aggression

Pet of the week

My Google Alert for “shiba inu” informed me that Savannah, a Shiba inu mix was Broward’s pet of the week.

Savannah, a 6-year-old Shiba Inu mix, was given up because her family is moving and could not take her along.

Every fucking day there are animals abandoned by their owners because of “moving”. I know that some people are going to moo and bleat, “Well we didn’t have a CHOICE!” “It was unexpected!” “We couldn’t find anywhere to keep her!” I’ll tell you right now, if you think that moving is an acceptable excuse for abandoning up a companion animal that you CHOSE to bring into your life, you are not just an irresponsible dog owner, you’re a crappy human being.

When people give up pets for spurious reasons, they do it with the air that they couldn’t possibly have foreseen that they might move/have kids/lose jobs/blah blah blah blah fucking blah in the fifteen years it takes the average family dog to live and die. Which is bullshit. People who can’t understand the future and how changes can affect it are either below the age of majority or are candidates for the nearest mental health unit. If you’re neither of these things, then there is no reason why the rest of us, on whose shoulders your selfish choice to abandon your dog lies, should not hold you responsible for your pet animal’s welfare.

I have marginally more respect for people who take the time and effort to rehome an animal that is not working out for them. Marginally. Most of the time, I see people who didn’t think when they got an animal and are now trying to foist the animal’s bad habits off onto other people. Buyer beware. “Moving” can be dog ownerese for “Ill-trained animal from unprepared people who are only too glad to have an excuse to give him up”.

Tips on moving and keeping your dog:

1. Don’t act like a fucking moron and expect sympathy. You are capable of predetermining whether you should take on the responsiblity of a dog. You are fully able to figure out where your life might take you and develop a plan to maintain your dog’s welfare that doesn’t involve abandoning it for other people to take care of YOUR RESPONSIBILITY. Think about where your life might take you and how you are going to manage it so that your dog doesn’t suffer for your mistakes.

2. Be financially prepared for a pet’s expenses. Keep a sum in the bank or stuffed into the mattress to deal with emergencies – if you have to board your dog while you look for permanent accommodations, then you will have the money.

3. Keep up with regular examinations/shots/pest prevention. Get references from your veterinarian to show prospective landlords. A well-cared-for dog is more likely to be a dog that will not damage property or infest it with vermin.

4. Crate train your dog and invest in an exercise pen. People are a lot more likely to entrust their property to you if you can assure them that the dog will be contained when not actively supervised.

5. Get impeccable references from your current landlord, including a letter indicating that you left your house in pristine condition, despite having a dog there. My family was able to find a rental property with three dogs and two cats due to the sterling recommendation by our previous landlord who found his house cleaner and in better repair than when he rented it to us several years previously.

6. Start and maintain friendly relations with your neighbours. A reference from a neighbour, stating that your dog has never bothered them with barking or with midnight visits to their pansies can open up doors. If you have had any problems with a neighbour about your dog that was rectified satisfactorily, consider asking for a reference from them as well – it proves that you are a responsible dog owner who respects the rights and property of others.

7. If your dog is annoying people, do whatever you can to stop it. If your dog is lonely in the yard, bring him inside. If he barks while you’re at work, take him to doggy daycare or advertise for a companion to spend the day with him. Pay someone to take him for a walk every day while you are at work. Do not let him run loose if his recall is in any way shaky.

8. Get your dog involved with obedience classes and get your dog certified as a reliable companion animal if your country offers such certification. In Canada, it’s called “Canine Good Neighbour” and based off of the American “Canine Good Citizen“. It is a certification that proves that your dog has a good temperament and is well socialized.

9. Have a game plan prepared for your landlord regarding the dog. Bring a copy for the landlord to keep. Offer a pet deposit specifically for the dog. Bring along samples of pet rental contracts. Bring copies of reference letters, vaccination records, spay/neuter certificate, and obedience/temperament testing diplomas. If possible, bring your impeccably groomed, obedient, friendly dog to meet the landlord.

10. Put up posters at vet offices, groomers, pet supply and the local animal shelters. Advertise through word-of-mouth. Make up business cards detailing what you’re looking for and showcasing your dog’s rental-friendly qualities. Hell, go to the newspaper and see if they’re interested in a human-interest story. Make your dog-friendly home search everybody’s business.

In short, do everything in your power, no matter how ridiculous or over-the-top it seems to keep the dog that you chose to bring into your life. A dog should never have to be a “pet of the week” when they could have been one for a lifetime.