Follow by Email

Friday, January 20, 2012

The Plight of Snoopy

   I was recently pulled into a drama (well, not really, just emotionally. Same thing, right?) by my Mom. She sent me an article about a little Pit named Snoopy who had recently found himself in heaps of trouble. His story takes place in Volusia County, Florida, which personalizes it a bit more for me. I consider Volusia County my 'other home'. I spend time there, with my dog, every chance I get. I'm not terribly well-read in terms of dog-laws and regulations, but I'm quickly learning that it would behoove me to be a little more aware. Murphy is a service dog which means things are somewhat different for him, but he IS a dog and he IS a Doberman; I'm well-aware of the ill-informed prejudices that still exist. It's my understanding that in some places, Dobermans are banned. Murphy is protected under federal law here, but the fact that these prejudices exist mean that the laws are often beyond unfair to certain breeds of dog, even where outright bans DON'T exist.

    And that brings us back to Snoopy, a dog who was just out for a walk (on a leash) with his owner. They were doing everything right (except Snoopy wasn't muzzled...we'll get to that). Snoopy and his person were out for a walk when a smaller dog broke free of his owner and attacked Snoopy. Snoopy defended himself, and was subsequently impounded for a "second biting offense". When I first read this, I was appalled by how over-the-top ridiculous this situation was. I mean, really; what dog wouldn't defend themselves in this situation? How, by any definition, can this be considered a "biting offense"?

   As I read on, I learned that Snoopy had a prior incident of attacking another dog. Because of this he was labeled 'dangerous' and was required to wear a muzzle when out in public. I thought to myself that maybe this wasn't as cut-and-dried ridiculous as it initially appeared. If Snoopy was dog-aggressive and was supposed to be wearing a muzzle, why wasn't he? Even so, this second incident, in my opinion (and in the opinion of much of the dog-owning public) still was not anything close to resembling an 'incident'.

   I dug a little deeper and learned that Snoopy's first 'biting incident' was nothing more than getting into a spat with his housemate (also a pit) in his own back yard. It happened once and never before or since. Huh?! I am DEEPLY concerned that Volusia county considers this worthy of a 'dangerous dog' label and calls it a 'biting incident'. It is the equivalent of arresting a child and convicting him on assault charges for slugging his brother. As most of us who have had multi-dog households will tell you, sometimes fights happen, the breed of dog is irrelevant. So, add the second incident to the first, and it seems to me that we have a dog that's been nothing but railroaded. NONE of what I've learned about Snoopy's behavior is at all worthy of a 'dangerous dog' label, so what gives? How did this happen? Is this the kind of thing that's happening in other places?

   I can't get involved with the dog-laws in Florida because I'm not a resident, but I am about 90% positive this sort of situation would never fly in Vermont. I am also wondering (as I'm sure others are) if the dog that attacked Snoopy was given a 'dangerous dog' label? It is my understanding that it has not. If you've heard otherwise, please let me know. That dog's behavior actually IS dangerous, so I would really like to know the answer to that one. As much as I would hate to see any dog being unfairly treated, I think there should be some serious consequences for the owner of a loose dog that has the opportunity to attack another dog , irregardless of size or breed (or perceived breed). I understand this owner WAS fined.

   Fortunately for Snoopy, he has a lot of people fighting for him. But it is my hope that BOTH of the incidents on his record disappear because they are both erroneous. It would also be great if people who actually knew something about dogs were the ones making the laws for them. Maybe then, things like this wouldn't happen and breed specific legislation and breed-bans would be a thing of the past so that laws that REALLY offer protection to the public could be put into place. Ah...better days....

If you are interested in Snoopy's story, you can learn more here: Effort underway to save "Snoopy"

No comments:

Post a Comment