A dog-gone disgrace

Last updated 09:12 03/12/2012

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Shame on you, irresponsible Marlborough dog owners.

The revelation that the Marlborough District Council has to destroy dozens of dogs taken to the pound is sad indeed. Council animal control subcommittee chairman Peter Jerram has rightly slammed those who have failed to take responsibility for their dogs. Owners failed to claim 158 of the 281 dogs taken to the pound in the year to October, and 80 of these had to be destroyed. What a sad indictment on an uncaring section of our society.

Owning any pet, but dogs in particular, is a real responsibility. Dogs are pack animals and will quickly attach themselves to their owners, repaying the care and attention they get with unswerving loyalty. They're not called man's best friend for nothing. So abandoning them is a particularly cruel thing to do. It beggars belief that people can be so callous towards a pet that has probably formed a real attachment to its owner.

And then there is the cost. Responsible Marlborough ratepayers foot the bill for capturing, impounding, feeding and eventually destroying these animals. It probably amounts to hundreds of dollars each time.

It requires a significant investment in space, time and money to keep a pet properly, so you have to wonder why anyone who wasn't prepared to make this commitment would have a pet in the first place. Perhaps that cute puppy has now grown up and caring for it is just too much of a bother, but leaving it to be destroyed is a cold-hearted solution.

With microchipping now a legal requirement, theoretically, there should be a reducing need for impounding dogs. They can be instantly scanned, their owner details uploaded from the National Dog Database and the dog returned directly to the owner's home with the appropriate fine. But it seems a large proportion of dogs impounded will not only be unregistered but also not microchipped, another sign of irresponsible ownership.

And to all those other dog owners out there who haven't abandoned their pets : A recent stroll along the Taylor River reserve on a sunny Marlborough evening saw many dog owners out exercising their pets and a good many dogs roaming free, as they are allowed to do. However, there wasn't a poo bag in sight. Do we have the best toilet-trained pets in the country, or are dog walkers pretending that if they didn't see it, they don't have to deal with it?

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- The Marlborough Express

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