Recently I had a friend who’s cat was killed by one or two huskies in her street. There are scant details in the social post, but from the comments thread it appears that several different people take these dogs for walks, and that they have ‘difficulty controlling them’.
One person says that the dogs should have muzzles, and a threat to notify the rangers is given.
I love cats and dogs however since I am a dog walker, I would like to add some clarity from a dog owner perspective. Dogs in public places are usually required to be on lead and ‘under effective control’.
Many councils have got so ‘gun ho’ on dogs, that they also bring up the effective control warning in off led dog parks if a dog is more than 20- 30 m away from you. This is utterly against the notion of social dogs having a small measure of freedom in society. It also stops dogs from learning to be social.
The council warnings range from – warning to seize the dog or a large monetary fine for the owner. These punitive methods have had many people I know not want to exercise their dogs off lead in these dog parks. Leading to less social dogs in society, but that is how the councils run. One of the major issues is that ‘dog parks’ are not actually for dogs anymore. They are usually listed as “shared spaces”, where the dogs get the lowest priority.
I would also like to say that the vast majority of huskies and husky owners I have met in off lead dog parks, really take socialisation and fair play very seriously. Doing their best to train and keep their dogs social – which is very commendable.
The issue that they are struggling with of course is that huskies are an ‘ancient breed’ of dog going back to be on of the closest breeds to the grey wolf they evolved from. This mean their kill instinct, and chase instinct is higher than many breeds of dogs. That coupled with their large size can make training difficult for many people – and with draconian dog park laws, many owners are forced to only take their dogs on lead throughout the streets, ONLY. And unless a dog is declared a dangerous breed, most councils do not make the dog wear a bite muzzle.
The problem with cats in the suburbs
Many councils have strict no cat outside the house or yard laws, but many owners flaunt this. This leads to cats running across roads (getting harmed or causing accidents), killing birds (native and introduced) and often teasing dogs (I have seen this first hand). Not all cats do this of course. And I have owned cats, and this is not an anti cat post.
This does not excuse the deadly situation in this blog and we have few facts at hand, but I am trying to present a balanced case for cat control and dog socialisation. So these incidents are less likely to occur in the future. All we know is that the cat was somehow accessible to a dog that was on a lead. How the council or law deals with that is your guess.
Why off lead dog parks
An idiot owner is an idiot owner. No amount of open space or safe enclosed dog parks, are going to ensure that owners and dogs do the right thing. But with the reduction in off lead areas, and councils openly being hostile to owners (I have seen this first hand), in favour or people pushing prams in dog parks, or having picnics on the ground and being upset when a dog visits, I can see why even those few parks around aren’t as popular as they could be.
After pro dog training and reinforcement at home, and DAILY off lead dog walks (back on lead or muzzled if the dog does wrong), most dogs learn what is acceptable behaviour and learn to be dog social. If they learn to be dog social, they are usually very social with most humans too.
The problem for cat owners, or guinea pig owners or rabbit owners etc, is that these kinds of dogs are the size and species that like most wild dogs still want to hunt to survive. It takes very specialised training and often at great expense to curtail an ancient breed dog, or hunting dog’s instinct. They were born to be alpha in their region, and NATURALY want to cause harm to what they consider prey freely wandering the streets, or teasing through fences.
Daily off lead dog walks in combination with specialised de-sensitisation training and maybe even shock collars (if the owner is experienced), might be a solution if your dog has a strong prey drive. But I imagine that many dog owners are also going to consider that cat owners have some measure of accountability in this equation too. Consider the outrage if a dog is found wandering off lead in the streets, compared to a cat …
We are sorry to hear of any loss of life to cat or dog.
BIO: Bruce Dwyer is a professional dog walker based in inner west of Melbourne Australia. From an original career in Electronic Engineering and Corporate Marketing he chose to concentrate on the dog service industry. His company ‘Dog Walkers Melbourne’ has been in business since 2010 and is based on providing the best dog walking and pet sitting solutions for people in Melbourne. The only two times that he has been away from his own dog, he has used his own company’s 24 hour pet sitters. His own dog Archie (an 8 year old spoodle), enjoys TWO dog walks per day with many of the images and videos from his daily off lead dog pack walks featured on the following sites:
www.dogwalkersmelbourne.com.au | facebook.com/DogWalkersMelbourne.com.au | twitter.com/DogTreatMan | https://plus.google.com/+HealthydogtreatsAu1