It's always great to get an email from an owner telling me that they were able to solve a problem they were having from advice they read in this column.
I wish I could be as helpful when the owner's problem concerns a bad dog-neighbor. While the people who read this column are for the most part already responsible dog owners looking for help solving their dogs' behavior problems, "bad dog-neighbors" are self-centered, don't care if their dog's behavior is a nuisance to anyone else and are unlikely to be reading this now.
Week in and week out I get calls and emails from people asking me what they can do to protect their dog from the neighbor's dog that is allowed to run loose and attack their dog while on walks (a letter to the editor from Terry J. Hogan on Monday, March 24 echos their lament, "I can't take my dogs out for a walk without being armored with pepper spray and a club to keep the dogs off my dogs") or how to deal with (my personal favorite) the neighbor who leaves the dogs outside to bark 24/7.
Sure, we have penal codes stating that allowing dogs to run loose or disturb the peace are violations with warnings issued for non-compliance followed by fines. But if you've ever tried to go that route you know it's an exercise in frustration, and after a slap on the wrists the bad dog-neighbors just go back to what they were doing. And there's another scarier component to filing a complaint; while some people simply want to avoid getting on bad terms with a neighbor by confronting them about their dog, many have told me they are hesitant to file a complaint (even as a last resort) for fear of retaliation by the neighbor against them or their dogs.
Besides, since dog nuisance offenses fall into the lower than low priority range, you stand a better chance of getting a response to your problem if you report someone for panhandling.
That brings us to the fact that it's pointless and unfair to lay the blame for that on the officers of the police/animal control departments whose limited numbers dictate that they respond to the more serious crimes committed against people and animals in our city on a daily basis.
All of which leaves us responsible dog owners where?
Well, speaking personally, it makes me mad as hell!
I am sick and tired of paying city license fees for my dogs, which are never off my property without a leash while neighborhood dogs (not strays) run the streets year after year unlicensed and unleashed.
I resent paying $60 as a punishment for keeping Gilligan intact so I can enter him in dog shows while the same neighbor dogs breed on my street corner in front of schoolchildren every six months (fear not, no matter how many spay/neuter vouchers are handed out, bad dog neighbors will continue to keep the shelters well-stocked).
I'm angry that I can't walk my well-behaved city-licensed dogs on city streets without the fear of them being attacked by neighbors' dogs, and that I, like Terry Hogan, must carry an arsenal of weapons.
But most of all, I'm infuriated that bad dog-neighbors who get away with never having to fork over yearly license fees may be right, we ARE fools for paying dog license fees and they ARE smarter than the rest of us.
Saturday and Sunday, the Kern County Kennel Club holds All Breed Dog Shows, Obedience and Rally Trials. The event takes place from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Kern County Fairgrounds.
Sherry Davis is a dog trainer/owner of CSI 4 K9s. Email her at csi4k9s@ yahoo.com. These are her opinions, not necessarily The Californian's.