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It's A Dog's Life-Dog Owner's Responsibility



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It’s A Dog’s Life—

Dog Owner’s Responsibility

By Mary Jane Anderson

“All domestic animals have a right to life. All civilized people have a responsibility to protect that right, but all too frequently the people defend the right and ignore the responsibility.” SPCA

For a dog owner, responsibility is two-fold: protecting the dog’s rights and the rights of the neighbors in the community in which they live. Let us first consider, what are a dog’s rights?

A dog has a right to life. This means a dog must be fed daily along with fresh water and exercise. The dog has the right to be checked by a veterinarian yearly for preventive medication as well as cared for in sickness. A suitable shelter, constructed and maintained, is also essential for an outside dog. Dog owners are required by law to have their dogs have a rabies vaccination and be licensed at 6 months of age. A license is important to identify an owner of the dog is stolen, lost, or roaming.

A dog cannot be responsible for his own care as his ancestors were centuries ago and cannot survive without care. Dog owners must take responsibility to protect these rights of their dogs, which is a lifetime commitment.

Most dog owners provide these essential needs for their dogs. However, when we move to the requirements of a responsible dog owner on the neighborhood level, we find too many owners neglecting the rights of their neighbors. Too many owners believe that dogs would provide their own exercise. These dogs become a big problem in the neighborhoods throughout the towns and cities in Connecticut. The serious problem of roaming and troublesome dogs reflects the mounting cost for dog owners.

Many times if you read the pet section in the local newspapers, you will find ads for a “free puppy” or “dog looking for a good home with plenty of room to run.” The room to run, of course, means that the dog can run freely around the neighborhood.

Recently, I received a letter from a local dog owner. She was very upset about the roaming neighborhood dogs. She said, “It seems to me if dog owners cared about their dog’s safety and well-being for their neighbor’s property, they’d show a little consideration and keep their dogs at home where they belong.”

It is amazing that this part of a dog owner’s responsibility is taken so lightly or not at all. Aren’t there laws in Connecticut and other states that dogs are not allowed to roam freely? Every dog owner should be familiar that the dog laws of the state. In the Connecticut General Statutes, Section 22-364, the law states:

“DOG ROAMING AT LARGE: No owner or keeper or any dog shall allow such dog to roam at large upon the land of another and not under control of the owner or keeper or the agent of the owner or keeper, not allow such dog to roam at large on any portion of any public highway and not attended or under control of such owner or keeper or his agent….”

How long will this disregarding of dog laws continue? Any dog owner who believes that a dog needs “plenty of roam to run” off leash, had better get on their walking gear, attach his dog to a leash and walk for exercise. The town where dogs are free to roam just does not exist in our society today. Dog owners who faithfully clean up after their dog, take them for on-leash walks and generally enforce rules of good behavior always seem to pay the price of irresponsible owners. After all, good pet owners are not born, they are made!

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