Letters to the Editor

Letter: Warn others if your choice of dog is dangerous

To the editor:

On Aug. 5, 2011, when my child was attacked by a then deemed aggressive dog (because of a previous incident), then deemed dangerous after the attack on my son, my husband and I wrote a letter to the RDCO with a few “hopes,” one such being signage put front and back on homes where dangerous dogs were kept.

With the new living document passed on Aug. 24, 2013, by the RDCO, comes that “hope” written into the bylaws, as well as micro-chipping and the word “provoke” taken out of language that addresses dogs that perform less than safely in our towns.

In the time since then, I have read about hundreds of dangerous dog incidents, and how the word provoke is used by dangerous dog advocates. I’ve read them saying weather is a provoking factor, I’ve seen a child smelling like infant formula blamed, I’ve seen jogging on the wrong side of a dog blamed—the asinine list goes on.

Once upon a great time in society, we wouldn’t have had conversations like this surrounding dangerous dogs. Owners “regulated” them without question, it was rare that a dog’s supposed rights would come before what it hurt. It is a sad turn when those who choose to keep these types of dogs have to be told to warn the rest of society.

Being the parent of a child attacked by the breed of dog most statistically likely to cause death when attacking, I’ve learned many things. I’ve learned firstly how to be grateful, my child is alive. I’ve also learned that many of those who advocate for dogs blame everything else instead of looking at the most obvious problem, and that is dangerous dogs (whether by action or statistic) and those who keep them.

I hope that those who choose to keep dangerous dogs, or even aggressive dogs take heed, and do the right thing—put that sign up! Give others coming to your house or onto your property the chance I never had, and that was to make a choice. That choice being whether or not to take the chance of being subjected to the potential forever consequence your dog may inflict.

Muzzle and short leash your choice if you feel compelled to take it into public spaces, and then, most importantly, buck up and take responsibility for any potential future incidents. Get yourself some liability insurance, don’t leave expenses up to the victim.

I hope this living document continues to evolve, and that the RDCO Advisory Board (one I resigned from late 2013) continues to look at ways to hold the feet of those who are irresponsible with their dogs even closer to the fire.

I appreciate dogs, I have a dog, but a breed that is exceedingly safe, one who doesn’t have unpredictability and a killing bite anchored in its genetics. I often ask myself, what kind of dog owners choose less than statistically safe breeds or wonder about owners who keep dogs after dangerous incidents? Guess that is their choice, but what is their responsibility? It is indeed to set up as many safeguards as possible to make sure no innocent soul (human or animal) suffers the consequence of that choice.

Tamie Williams,

Kelowna

 

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