Sunday, April 22, 2007

Slippery Slope...

Tell me why we pass laws that affect EVERYONE whenever you have a tragedy? It is like we have all been warped into some kind of big, soppy talk show where everyone grieves over the tragedies of others.

Here is a recent story of dog attack in New Zealand (a country that still can't figure out how to make reasonable dog laws). I like New Zealand and it's people... but I am appalled at their approach to dealing with dogs.

"Whenever you get an attack like that, it's worth going back and having a look at the legislation."

Why? The dogs "were roaming free on a property that was not fully fenced." And someone got attacked.

The proposed legislative solution?

"Why don't we simply ban dogs that look like killers – thick short legs, nasty snarls, heads like pigs and jaws like bolt cutters?" Miss Clark said personally nothing would please her more. "I think it's horrific that these dogs are running loose anywhere in New Zealand," she said. "But you often find there's a lot of passion excited among dog owners on the issue. It's not as simple to make progress as you might think." The incident is the fourth fatal dog mauling in New Zealand since 1997.

Yep, more useless legislation. Read the article. It says there is only one animal control officer in the area, dogs are allowed to roam free, these dogs were left unsupervised in a yard that wasn't fenced, and someone got hurt in the process. How about the following instead: enforce the laws already on the books; provide sufficient funds and personnel to enact the intent of the laws; enforce leash laws; and penalize owners who let their dogs roam free according to the intent of the owner, negligence of the owner, and the severity of the harm to others? This owner is apparently going to be charged with manslaughter, which is the killing of a person without malice or intent to kill, or in the commission of some unlawful act. Normally, it involves commission of an unlawful act that might reasonably produce the death of someone else. Such a conviction would result in prison. However, the article says that no one figured these dogs would attack, based upon knowing the dogs. And just because a fence is faulty or incomplete doesn't seem to me to be a reason to justify charging the owner with manslaughter... just my opinion.

Banning dogs based on looks won't fix this kind of thing. And convicting this woman just because her dogs were a certain breed doesn't make sense either. I have worked with many pit bulls and pit bull mixes that wouldn't harm a fly. In fact, almost all the ones I have worked with, with a few exceptions were this way. But, I could say that about every breed. Look, apparently in this community they let dogs run free, and she was doing what everyone else did, only in this case, her dogs did the deed. Why not charge all the other people in the town with being negligent and put them in prison while you are at it?

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