I just read this one on Dogster and am cross-posting it for everyone on Terrific Pets. Read it all and follow the tips.
This post is very long and has several very important parts. Please read all of it and CROSSPOST!
THIS IS IMPORTANT TO ALL ANIMAL OWNERS! For some reason beyond my comprehension and all reasonable or ethical thinking, our legal system seems reluctant to place any responsibility for human behavior when it comes to “dog incidents.” The owners of Pitts and Rotts are fully aware that the dog is always blamed regardless of how instrumental the behavior of the “victim” or the “owner” is in causing the “incident.” It is irrational and lazy to say the least! But you do not have to be the owner of a “marked breed” to suffer from the current mindset. If we don’t act now, it will only get worse! All dog owners are at risk! Every time a dog is punished for the actions of a human, precedence is set and public opinion becomes more anti-dog. Here in this post are two MAJOR things you can do to stop this. First, read carefully the tips to protect your dog and yourself. Then, read about Congo and send a letter to the people on the list, and keep making your voice heard on this issue!
RESPONSIBLE DOG OWNERSHIP: HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF AND YOUR DOG. • No matter what kind of dog you have or how timid they might be, ALL dogs can bite! There are lots of unscrupulous and irresponsible people out there just waiting for an opportunity to get bitten and blame it on someone else! Fight back! Reduce the chances and speak up!
• IF YOU have a backyard, fence it, or a portion of it for your dog and put “Beware of Dog” and “No Trespassing” signs out. No matter how unlikely you think it is that Fluffy will ever bite someone, this will help give you leverage against uninvited trespassers. Do this even if your dog does not usually stay in the yard! Check with local authorities, some states require specific wording.
• PUT STURDY LOCKS AND CLOSERS ON GATES AND KEEP THEM LOCKED! NO ONE gets into my yard unless I personally unlock the gate for them. If they are unlocked and someone enters and is hurt, in any way, you could be liable! I also have an iron security door on the front door with an industrial self-closer and deadbolt. Make your yard and house escape proof, see more tips at www.rosiethunderpaws.com.
• INSTALL second “catch” gates and fences so that meter-readers do not have to enter the space where your dog might be.
• NEVER walk your dog anywhere without a leash! Most cities have laws, and you can’t trust the other guy or his dog!!!!!
• NEVER let your dog ride in the car unrestrained. In an accident he can be thrown out of an open window or could bolt if the right stimulus is provided.
• NEVER leave your dog unattended in your vehicle, even for a minute! There are hundreds of dog bites each year from people reaching in a cracked window to “pet the puppy.”
• NEVER leave your dog tied outside a store while you “run in.” Dogs are more likely to be stolen, poisoned and injured when unattended. Additionally, you are making him vulnerable to the person who wants to greet him and may get bitten. Ditto, don’t leave the dog with a child! A child is not equipped to protect the dog properly!
• When walking your dog, walk to the side of the sidewalk that he walks on. Put your dog on the outside of the pathway so that he is never between you and other pedestrians. Protect him from others and others from him.
• Never allow people to approach your dog without permission, especially children. I stop them, make the children ask first and then put the dog in a sit and make sure the dog is comfortable with the interaction. My standard response for those who ask “Does she bite?” is “All dogs can bite, it is their way of talking to us when they are frightened. When you interact with any dog you take that chance. If you don’t frighten or hurt the dog you reduce the chances.” I have a t-shirt that says “My dog is as dangerous as you are stupid.” Strong but effective.
These are some basics, if you have more to add please do! The sign on my gate says “Trespassers will be bitten by dog or shot by owner….survivors will be bitten or shot again.” I would rather have people miffed at me that expose my dog to harm or legal action.
It is sad to think that if Congo’s owners had just kept the gate to the backyard locked the stupid gardener would have never been able to access the dogs! This does not nullify the improper behavior of the gardener, but we can only control our own behavior so we need to do the best we can for the animals we love. I hope Congo’s owner’s sue the creep for assault and trespassing and I hope he gets deported, but then our government does not seem to be willing to enforce the laws that exist on that issue, so don’t hold your breath.
**Now read about Congo and take a half hour to send some letters! Here are the basics:
For those not familiar with Congo's case: 1. Two illegal immigrants were gardening at the family's house 2. They arrived an hour early 3. They were told by the husband to stay in their truck until he could get out of the shower and get some clothes on 4. The husband speaks Spanish and spoke to them in Spanish so there is no question they understood 5. They directly disobeyed the husband and walked into the backyard 6. The two adult German Shepherds and their puppies came running 7. The gardeners panicked 8. ONE GARDENER GRABBED THE WIFE AND WRESTLED HER TO THE GROUND, USING HER AS A PROTECTIVE SHIELD 9. Congo thought his owner was being attacked and went after the gardener 10. The gardener used his rake to beat at the puppies and inflicted some injuries on them. 11. the gardener changed his story three times (interesting note on official bias: when the owner said the gardener changed his story five times, the dog warden said "No, he only changed his story 3 times.") 12. The animal control officer called to the scene LOST his original paperwork and the original statements from all parties because a dog in the cab “ate it”…hmmmm 13. The illegal immigrant got $250,000 dollars over the incident 14. The courts sentenced Congo to die, the governor refused to pardon the dog, but the case is going to appeal 15. Congo is home temporarily during appeal
**This was posted on Itchmo 11-26-07, and I could not agree more! This has been my point of view all along! Lets support this bill and urge all states to adopt it! A proposed bill introduced in the New Jersey state assembly could save Congo’s life. There has been nationwide attention over Congo, a German Shepherd, that was ordered to be put down after attacking a landscaper on his owner’s property. Congo’s owners said that their dog was simply protecting his family, but the municipal prosecutor said the attack was unprovoked. A municipal court judge ruled that Congo was dangerous and should be put down, but Congo’s family appealed the decision to the Superior Court, and they are awaiting Congo’s fate. Last week, New Jersey Assemblyman Neil Cohen introduced a bill called Congo’s Law [A4597] that could possibly save this dog’s life. Cohen believes current laws in regards to dangerous dogs are outdated and unfair. Some of the provisions in the proposed law will include a definition of provocation that will take into account the dog’s point of view which includes “causing or inciting a dog to defend itself, its offspring, or its owner or a family member of its owner, by engaging in threatening actions or behavior” such as “entering property without the presence, permission, or direction of the owner”. In addition, a dog would need to be found vicious “beyond a reasonable doubt”. Dogs would also be allowed to return to their owners while their cases are being decided if owners comply with the conditions for “potentially dangerous” dogs. The proposed bill would provide an alternative for euthanizing dogs declared “vicious” by allowing their owners to comply with the same precautions mandated for keeping a “potentially dangerous” dog. If the law is passed, it would apply to current and pending cases and retroactively to dogs facing euthanasia by court orders back to January 1, 2007, including Congo. Cohen said, “The nature of a dog is to protect those around them. Self-defense and the defense of others is a justification for human violence, and dogs should have the same protection. Congo’s situation points up the need to modernize the law and make it fair to the owners and the animals.” **WRITE ASSEMPBLYMAN NEIL COHEN to thank and support him for this bill!!!!! http://www.njleg.state.nj.us/members/cohen.asp **LETTERS-Write a letter and send it to EVERYONE YOU CAN! Some important things to include in your letters: • Victims of dog bites and dog owners need to be held responsible for their actions during the incident. It is unfair to punish the dog for the actions of people. When someone trespasses on private property, especially after being told not to, the fault should be theirs, 100%. Humane precedence needs to be set and people need to be held responsible for their parts in these incidents! Don’t punish the dog, punish the people! • We need to have laws that are more fair to the reasonable care of and interaction with animals. The Federal government should be involved in designing basic structure of such laws so that they apply to all states. • Officials and politicians need to educate themselves and their citizens on the reality of animal behavior and protect the animals’ right to behave accordingly when necessary. It is ridiculous for anyone to think that they can abuse, trespass or make a threatening gesture toward a dog without taking responsibility for a possible bite. ( Most of us would be in the right to strike out at someone who touched our person without permission, touching my dog without my permission is just as grievous a trespass! Coming into my house or yard without my permission is a crime, if you are bitten in the commission of a crime why should someone else be punished for it?)
**Governor of NJ—the state Congo is in. They are taking a phone tally, it’s easy and quick. Office of the Governor PO Box 001 Trenton, NJ 08625 609- 292-6000 Email by going to his site: http://www.state.nj.us/governor/govmail.html
**Use the Subject 'SAVE CONGO' to write to the local papers and those who are covering this story: • Linda Stein firstname.lastname@example.org or (609) 989-6437. • email@example.com • firstname.lastname@example.org • email@example.com • firstname.lastname@example.org
**Attorney fighting for congo: SAVECONGO@AOL.COM
**Politicians noted for fighting for animal welfare (from 2005 award list): • Sen. John Ensign (R-NV) • Sen. George Allen (R-VA) • Sen Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) • Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) • Rep Linda Sanchez (D-CA) • Sen Ron Wyden (D-OR) • Rep Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ) • Rep Rob Simmons (R-CT) • Sen Richard Durbin (D-IL) • Sen Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) • Sen Edward Kennedy (D-MA) • Sen Carl Levin (D-MI) • Sen Olympia Snow (R-ME) • Sen Arlen Specter (R-PA) • Rep Gary Ackerman (D-NY) • Rep Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) • Rep Sam Farr (D-CA) • Rep Elton Gallegly (R-CA) • Rep Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) • Rep Tom Lantos (D-CA) • Rep Christopher Smith (R-NJ)
**Write others and YOUR OWN reps and urge them to pass similar bills to define and more fairly assign responsibility in animal provocation cases!!!!!