The effects on others of irresponsible dog owners

No Pets Allowed. How could that be? The motel had always taken dogs. “We’ve just had too many incidents of people leaving their pets unattended in the rooms; too many soiling accidents; too many complaints about barking,” the owner explained.

Once again, the irresponsible pet owners of the world had spoiled it for the rest of us. Although responsible pet owners far out number those who are not, it only takes a few bad examples to affect everyone negatively. Here are the main categories where bad dog owners are ruining everyone else’s fun.

Irresponsible Breeding. Whether it’s the guy who wants to make some bucks off his pregnant Pit Bull in the backyard or the puppy mill who cranks out hundreds or thousands of genetically inferior “purebreds,” the physical and temperament soundness of the target breed is compromised. Those who breed puppies just to make money don’t bother to check out the owners to be assured that the animals will be cared for properly. Many of these pups are then allowed to have more litters and the cycle continues.

Irresponsible Ownership. Dogs were meant to be companion/work animals for man. They are not supposed to be macho symbols of toughness. For every person who encourages their Pit Bull, Rottweiler, or Doberman to exhibit these traits, the breed as a whole suffers. The many owners who enjoy the fine qualities of all these breeds now find themselves on the “Do Not Insure” list from their insurance agents.

Irresponsible Containment. Dogs who roam the neighborhood are a nuisance and a possible danger. They can menace livestock, chase bicyclists and children, soil yards, and become injured in traffic. Owners who don’t bother to put identification on their pets (ideally microchips) contribute to the thousands of pets who become lost every year. Sadly, many of them wind up in shelters and are euthanized.

Irresponsible traveling. From the person who leaves a dog alone in a motel room to one who allows an unfriendly dog off leash in a public place, the enjoyment of all pet owners is restricted as more and more places post the “No Pets Allowed” sign. People who allow dogs to ride in the backs of pickup trucks endanger their animals and others on the road. People who leave dogs in overheated cars endanger their dogs’ lives. Taking a pet away from home for an hour or a week requires careful planning to provide for the needs of the pet. Leashes, food, water, bedding, and arrangement for pet-friendly motels all have to be arranged for. Abiding by local ordinances is a must. Pet owners must realize that they are guests away from home and that their actions and those of their pets will determine the future of whether or not pets are allowed.

Well mannered pets and owners are welcome parts of any neighborhood. Children enjoy petting friendly dogs. Visitors enjoy homes where they are greeted by a dog who barks to announce their arrival but who doesn’t menace. Those who frequent dog parks enjoy the recreation and camaraderie of like-minded individuals whose good manners extend to their dogs. Pedestrians don’t mind sharing walkways with dogs whose owners pick up after them.

It is the duty of every responsible pet owner to encourage others by example, education, and legislation to make their dogs responsible canine citizens. With constant effort, perhaps some of those signs which say “No Dogs Allowed” will be changed to “Dogs Allowed.”

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