Man’s best friend is not everyone’s best friend, especially when they bark incessantly or wander the streets unaccompanied.
In fact, these delinquent dogs quickly become a serial nuisance, generating more complaints to councils than any other issue.
A yapping Fifi next door can test nerves of steel, as can a free-spirited Fido who insists on using your yard as a toilet.
Curiously, when approached about the issue, pet owners can become quite aggressive, defending their pooches, making excuses, even denying the crime.
Who would want to be a ranger wading into this belligerent battlefield?
But as in any war zone, there are the good guys and bad guys. The baddies keep their pets cooped up in small yards, rarely exercise them and spend most of the day absent so they don’t witness the bad behaviour. Alternatively, the animals escape, wander the streets, litter the neighbourhood and launch the occasional attack on unsuspecting victims.
Then you have the responsible owners doing the right thing – exercising their dogs, picking up their excrement, keeping them under control. The difficulty is when the council does a “blitz”, bailing up the good guys but failing to pull in the baddies.
So it was in our Shoalhaven village recently. The trigger was several photographs of a couple of escapees – a blue cattle dog and white Maltese terrier – sent to council by an irate resident.
I witnessed the photographic session, sympathised with the fellow who said the dogs barked incessantly and were always escaping. I managed to get bluey back into the yard but the fluffy number evaded my efforts.
The next day the ranger sailed into town, headed straight to the foreshore where a few of us were having our early morning constitutional and harangued us for having our dogs off leashes.
We were the only people around, the dogs were sniffing beside us, we had leads in one hand, litter bags in the other, and were enjoying an amiable chat.
“Hey man, we’re the good guys,” I protested. “I know there are some bad dudes in town, but we’re the responsible dog owners, the ones who look after our pooches, exercise them, make sure they are not harassing anyone.”
“Bad luck,” he replied. “You picked the wrong day to be out walking.”
“How can it be the wrong day when we are out walking every day?” I retorted.
It is a dilemma for council. Theoretically we were in the wrong as our dogs were off leashes, but there were no behavioural problems and the pooper scoopers were in action.
One lady who has four elderly pooches – old Jess has to sit down every few metres to rest – abandoned her recreational ramble for a time; a poor outcome for her, her dogs, and community engagement.
The problem is there is plenty of beautiful parkland in our town but no designated off-leash area. As with many of our beaches, it would make sense to decree certain parts off-leash areas in the early mornings and late afternoons, with the bulk of the day on-leash.
Such a simple solution – one that would keep many two-legged and four-legged friends very happy and leave the rangers free to target the bad guys.
Postscript: Bluey was hit by a car and killed outside his home a week after starring in the council photos. Some people should never be allowed to own a dog.
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.