The Right to Dog Paws

I was going to write about guns, but I don’t want to get a lot of angry mail.  So let’s talk about dogs instead.

I believe that much of the violence in this country is due to the fact that there are just too many unregulated dogs in the streets and in our homes.  I’m not just talking about dug up yards or the occasional chewed-up pillow.

I’m talking about how every day hundreds of people are injured and sometimes even killed by a canine.  You read of mail carriers and delivery people bitten at work, of innocent pedestrians injured by strays in the park, and children ending up as chew toys in the home.  And all to often there is the tragedy of a mad dog on the loose claiming random victims.  Clearly we need to have some control over the wanton proliferation of dogs.  If nothing else, we should at least ban those little “Saturday night lap muts” which can be so easily concealed.  Or perhaps we should require licenses to purchase dog food.

dog paws

But the vocal dog-owning constituency, especially members of the American Kennel Association, claim they have a constitutional right to “dog paws” or “bear arms” or whatever.  Some even believe they have a right to own dogs intended for use by the military, such as pit bulls and Doberman pinschers.  And there are those who think that if everyone owned a dog there would be less crime.  But I think that is just a lot of poop.

I admit that hounds and setters are great to go hunting with, and that almost any kind of barking mongrel can protect homes from intruders.  However, it is a fact that dogs are much more likely to bite a family member than an intruder.  Dog lovers say such tragedies are unlikely with proper training and handling.  They maintain that if you are worried about your pooch’s temper, make sure that it is out of reach of children, particularly when it is eating.  That may be good advice, but it’s not always possible to muzzle your pooch or to keep it leashed in a safe place.

Clearly there are too many dog lovers in the country for there ever to be a complete ban on the pets.  But licensing is certainly a sensible measure.  It’s not only a way to make sure dogs are disease free, but provides a means to track them when they are lost or stolen.  However, the rabid (excuse the expression) dog lover objects to even this reasonable attempt at regulation.  They argue that you might as well license cats and birds because they too can inflict infectious wounds.  Maybe, but pet birds and cats don’t usually come at you from a distance.

I heard one member of the ASPCA say that when dogs are outlawed, then only outlaws will have dogs—which makes eminent sense.  But to this I say, it’s not people who bite people, it’s dogs that bite people.