Animal Advocate: Loose Dogs

Jennifer Clarke
By Jennifer Clarke June 15, 2010 15:45

Jennifer and friend

The foothills are beautiful. No wonder so many choose to retire here to get away from the urban lifestyle and out into the country. So whats the harm in letting Fido and Rover free to enjoy rural living as well?

The truth is, the consequences of letting dogs run at large can be deadly serious.

Dogs are predators. Man has utilized their instinctive behavior to develop different breeds for different jobs. Some breeds have a higher prey drive than others, but almost any dog in a pack setting is capable of joining in an attack. Dogs at large attack and kill livestock on a regular basis. Goats, sheep, pigs, llamas, poultry and even wildlife are common targets.

Not only do these animals suffer, but someone’s livelihood can be affected. Pets are at risk also. It is very sad to hear from someone traumatized by seeing their beloved cat or small dog killed by a wandering dog.

People are also at risk. Some dogs are aggressive in certain situations and will bite – ask any jogger or cyclist! Dogs can be territorial and do not understand the concept of property lines. They may consider it their job to protect the street in front of their house, or their neighbors yard, from passersby. Often, people are bitten while trying to defend their own leashed dog.

Apart from the more serious threat, loose dogs can be a nuisance. I have yet to meet a person who enjoyed having dogs scatter garbage or defecate on their lawn. The dog who makes the rounds to “visit all the neighbors” may not be a welcome guest.

A roaming dog risks harm or death. Animal Control responds to many calls for dogs hit by cars. Unfortunately, not all survive. Dogs are sometimes shot when venturing onto ranches or farms. It is perfectly legal to defend ones livestock. Dogs at large also  risk encounters with possibly rabid wildlife. And predators such as mountain lions and coyotes can kill dogs.

Tuolumne County has a leash law: No dog shall be off its property (or property it has permission to be on) unless it is on a leash held by someone capable of restraining the dog. Calaveras County requires that dogs be under the owners control at all times, or, if not being directly supervised by the owner, contained on the owners property.

These laws exist not only to prevent people, animals and property from being harmed; but also to protect the dog itself. Ultimately, it is the owners responsibility to protect mans best friend.

Jennifer Clarke is the manager of Tuolumne County Animal Control, 10040 Victoria Way, Jamestown (694-2730).

Jennifer Clarke
By Jennifer Clarke June 15, 2010 15:45
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1 Comment

  1. Nikole April 30, 09:37

    A friend of mine is battling in court to keep his dog alive because he kept escaping the yard, the dog is not vicious has not bitten anyone or killed anything, the owner has now built a complete kennel at his home reinforced with concreate, I know this dog and I also have extensive experience with this breed, as well as in owning rehabilitated fighting dogs, I had to have a federal background check to own the dogs I do, I know behavior and have spent many required hours with a dog behavior specialist. Would I be able to give any helpful information to animal control to possibly help save this dogs life? It’s been almost 6 months this dog hasn’t been able to come home. Any advise may help I have been attending court dates with my friend in hopes of possible helping but have yet been allowed to speak, and animal control has a huge part on the decision, I could even bring in all my documentation stating my knowledge and experience with dogs whom were actually vicious at one point.

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