Yup, this one is surely going to get some feathers ruffled but it’s a must. Yet again I heard a story from a fellow dog professional who was called in to evaluate a dog for placement in a new home. Why? Because the humans are idiots. I hear this all the time and the vast number of people who own dogs, and shouldn’t, is having an increasingly negative effect on responsible dog owners everywhere. My suggestion? A new form of dog license. Just like you have to pass a test to drive a car you should have to pass some type of test or evaluation to own a dog.
According to the ASPCA there are almost 80 million dogs owned in the United States. Re-read that last sentence. Can you picture that? Can any of us really comprehend what that looks like and what that means? Also realize that number does not include strays nor does include those who simply haven’t been accounted for.
Why is that statistic directly under what I labeled as “THE PROBLEM”? It’s a problem because common sense simply says that we don’t have that many
responsible dog owners! Those of us dog people who read and watch the news are constantly hearing about some negative dog related incident in the media. From babies getting bitten, loose dogs roaming neighborhoods, and even the horrid crimes of animal abuse all plague our dog heavy population. If you are a dog owner and have ever tried to acquire a rental you are very familiar with the scrutiny and crap you have to deal with to convince the potential landlord you are not one of “those” dog owners who will allow dog excrement to destroy their unit.
When I have a dog with me for training I have to be very careful what time of day I take them for walks. I have designated windows I try and stay within; before 6am, 11am-2pm, and after 9pm. Can you guess where I came up with those times? Those are when I am least likely to encounter another dog owner in my neighborhood! It still blows m
y mind that people open their front doors and garages and let their dogs “hang out” to go to the bathroom. I’m a dog trainer who even when I have complete control over a dog, I simply don’t take that chance because I am conscious about the consequences.
Almost every situation I have ever come across or heard of regarding a child that was bitten by a dog, the entire situation could have been prevented by the dog owner. Stupid, idiotic, ignorant people who allow dogs and children to interact unsupervised, or even worse, who allow children to abuse their dogs because they think “its cute”, are more common than any of us want to accept.
I have a solution that would move the negative trend of idiot ownership of dogs in the right direction.
If you want to drive a car you have to take a test and pass an evaluation. Why? So that we as a society can make some attempt to curtail utter and complete morons from getting behind the wheel. If people without the license get caught behind the wheel there are consequences. Does that solve the problem of people who shouldn’t be behind the wheel being there anyway? Not 100% no. To expect 100% success though is just as retarded as expecting that every person who has a dog knows how to care for it, train it, control it, and protect society from it. It is a step in the right direction though.
I have met more people with dogs who should NEVER own a dog in their life than I have met who should. Remember the above figure, 80 million dogs. If we could weed out th
e most incompetent of those dog owners society would be better off for it along with the responsible dog owners.
There should be a basic written test that would require somebody research and learn the most fundamental aspects of dog ownership. This test to acquire a dog license would cost money to take and when you pass it, just like a driver’s license, there are regular renewal fees. Yes, I am suggesting that you pay fees to acquire a license to own a dog. You have a problem with that? Really? Think about it. If you cant afford 50-60 dollars every 2 years then you DEFINITELY can’t responsibly afford to take care of a dog. End of conversation on that point of contention. The money could go towards maintaining the entire process with a portion going towards maintaining and supporting animal shelters.
Less idiot dog owners means less dogs in shelters. Money being put into the system through fees and testing costs would be put back into the system to assist existing shelters. Plus, those found in violation would have monetary penalties that would create additional revenue to help the various programs to assist dogs in the community.
The list of potential upsides to this is endless. The biggest problems with dogs is humans. Here is a way to cut down on the number of people who own dogs yet have no business owning them in the first place. For the pit bull community this would have a DRAMATIC effect helping this breed avoid some of the negativity it currently is experiencing due to human related issues.
What do you think?