Let's Talk About Owner Responsibility

DanL

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#1
The thread about Mocha and the neighbor sparked some thoughts about how we as a forum react to different posts. Many posters here seem to have a double standard when it comes to owner responsibility. Like, if the dog is loose and someone hurts it because they are a jackass, we have to give lots of hugs and sympathy, and gloss over the root cause of the issue. If more than one person brings it up then we are harrassing the poster. But if someone lets their dog get pregnant by a stray, people jump all over them for being irresponsible, and keep beating them down until the thread is locked. If someone lets their dog run loose in their neighborhood and the dog gets killed by a car, they get jumped on as irresponsible. If someone has their dog outside unsupervised, and a roaming "dangerous" breed attacks it, we have to have sympathy, and ignore the root cause of the problem. Yes, we can say fine, the owner is remorseful that it happened so let it go, but that happens on an inconsistent basis depending on the circumstance. We can say I'm really sorry that your dog got hurt, but this is absolutely your fault it happened, and maybe by having more than 1 person tell them this, the seriousness of the situation will sink in and it won't happen again. It's not meant to harrass the person, but to heighten the awareness for EVERYONE as to what the consequences are if you don't act responsibly with your dog.

Let me make a hypothetical example.

My GSD is out in my front yard. I'm working on my car, so I can't watch him every second. A neighbor walks by, and my GSD bites him.

My GSD is out in my front yard. I'm still working on the car. He runs over to my neighbors house. My neighbor hates me so he hits my dog with a hammer because the dog came in his yard.

My GSD is out in my front yard. I'm working on the car as usual. He runs to greet a friendly neighbor, and gets hit by a car as he crosses the street.

In all of these examples, who's fault is it for what happens with my GSD? MINE, and mine alone. I can be remorseful that it happened but that doesn't change the fact that I have given my dog too much freedom or unsupervised outdoor time. Whether the injury to the dog is inflicted by a person with ill will, a car, or the dog inflicts injury to someone else or another animal, the bottom line is it is ALWAYS the owner's responsibility to prevent their dog from being in ANY circumstance where he might get hurt, or hurt something else.

When we stop looking at the logic of this, and rely on our emotions, we end up with threads that end up with bad feelings amongst our fellow forumites. We should all be together here- we are all here for the same reason, we love our dogs. So speaking bluntly about subjects such as this should be accepted among all of us.
 

sparks19

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#2
However, accidents happen. If that were to happen because your GSD slipped through the fence and you didnt' realize there was a problem with the fence or that he could fit through. how is that your fault? Hind sight is 20/20

You see we can blame people till the cows come home.

it's not quite so black and white as you see it.
 
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stickner

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#4
sparks19 said:
However, accidents happen. If that were to happen because your GSD slipped through the fence and you didnt' realize there was a problem with the fence or that he could fit through. how is that your fault? Hind sight is 20/20

You see we can blame people till the cows come home.

it's not quite so black and white as you see it.
If you didn't realize your dog could fit through, that is the owners fault.

If you are not checking the maintenance and condition of your fence on a regular basis, that is also the owners fault.

If your dog gets out - the bottom line is that it is your fault regardless of the circumstances.
 

DanL

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#5
Yes, accidents happen. My auto shut gate didn't shut one day when I went out to wash off something under the spigot. All 3 of my dogs got out, but I was right there in the driveway and called them all back before they made it out of my yard. Luckily no one was around to give them a distraction. Now, I double check the gate whenever I go in or out. If my fence has a problem then I would address it. Walking the perimeter, making sure gates are closed and boards are secure. It's still my responsibilty in the end.
 

DanL

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#6
oc_spirit said:
Also in the eyes of the law you must always have your dog under control. You can get charged if he''s out and about at large.
Thats a great point- one that maybe should have been mentioned in another thread?

I allow Gunnar to come out front with me a lot. He comes into the garage while I load up my band gear in the van, or just putter around the garage or front yard. But he's under my control, always within 10' of me, and not roaming around. If he decided to bolt, it'd be my responsibility, 100%. I take every precaution to prevent that with training and supervision.
 

sparks19

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#7
I agree it is always the owners responsibility however I don't think they should be subject to public humiliation because they made a mistake. I don't think it makes you a terrible person because you trusted an autoshut gate without thinking twice about it until something happened. Hindsight is 20/20. You learned from your mistake. that's what mistakes are for. However I do agree you are responsible for your pet but sh*t happens to even the best people.
 
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#8
So long as he''s in your yard you can have your dog any way you please. Now IF he bolted and someone happened to get hurt because of him it''d be your responsibilty and people need to realise that before they just let their dog loose in their yard. They must be prepared to take responsibility in the case that the "if" happens. If they aren''t then they shouldn''t take the privlidge of having their dog offleash anywhere.
 

DanL

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#9
I'm not denying that mistakes won't happen, but I don't think that by more than one of us telling someone they made a preventable mistake is public humiliation. It's the double standard. If I had a female that got knocked up I'd be publicly castrated for not spaying her, but if I have just as much irresponsibility that my dog is unsupervised and runs off and gets hurt, that is somehow more acceptable?
 

DanL

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#10
oc_spirit said:
So long as he''s in your yard you can have your dog any way you please. Now IF he bolted and someone happened to get hurt because of him it''d be your responsibilty and people need to realise that before they just let their dog loose in their yard. They must be prepared to take responsibility in the case that the "if" happens. If they aren''t then they shouldn''t take the privlidge of having their dog offleash anywhere.
This is 100% right on. Substitute the dog hurting someone with the dog getting hurt- does this make it any better? Nope, still the owners responsibility, yet this is what brought on so much ill will among our members in the other thread.
 

bonster

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#11
how is that your fault? The fault is not realising. Harsh but true. Lets be careful, and lucky, out there. Lapses in concentration and accidents do happen - hopefully with little or no impact most of the time.
 

sparks19

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#12
DanL said:
I'm not denying that mistakes won't happen, but I don't think that by more than one of us telling someone they made a preventable mistake is public humiliation. It's the double standard. If I had a female that got knocked up I'd be publicly castrated for not spaying her, but if I have just as much irresponsibility that my dog is unsupervised and runs off and gets hurt, that is somehow more acceptable?

I don't agree with either. I don't publicly humiliate people because their pet got pregnant. I would tell give them advice on where to go from here and tell them it can be prevented in the future by spaying her.

There is a difference between pointing out that it could have been prevented and that they better take precautions and telling them that they are flying off the handle and only blaming the neighbours to make her own guilt go away (I am not accusing you of saying this but this is basically what was said in one of the posts) Telling them that they are ridiculous for being upset or even thinking the neighbours could have done it.

thats not constructive in either situation. Belittling someone is not going to get your point across and will probably make them more likely to ignore your advice since it can't be presented in a respectful manner. Telling someone they are over reacting or that they are ridiculous for allowing such a thing to happen isn't advice.

I would still be pissed if my dog got hit on the head with a hammer no matter what the circumstances. Unless that dog is attacking you there is no reason to injure it no matter who's responsibility it is.
 
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#13
Dan, many of the Chazmembers have stepped up to the plate and told the castigating parties to lay off when there's been an accidental pregnancy and just help the person . . . THEN try to educate. But, as you know, sometimes it's hard to call the dogs off of a scent! And sometimes some of our members just get frustrated when a person doesn't realize that there are very unfortunate consequences from an oops litter. Just about everyone feels the consequences when their dog is hurt though, and there's just no need to rub salt in the wounds.

Sometimes people need a pat on the back and a chance to cry a bit before we start trying to help them correct a problem. If your dog is injured or feeling under the weather you don't start a heavy session of training for a new behaviour, do you? :)
 

Roxy's CD

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#14
IMO, personally with me, I would blame myself in EVERY one of those circumstances.

It's like a child. It does not understand and is not respsonsible for it's actions. I AM.

If a friend is over, and when they leave Roxy darts out and gets hit by a car. MY FAULT. I should've either trained her to not do that, or known that she would've and been prepared. Even if I had told that friend to watch for her, it is still my fault and my responsibility.

The only people I will leave my dogs in the hands of, is Brent or my parents. If I leave my dog with anyone else and something happened, it is MY FAULT. *I* decided to trust those people therefore if something happens *I* was wrong to place my trust in them.
 

DanL

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#15
I understand where you are coming from Renee. I guess I feel that if I had an issue with my dog, that hearing from the forum that I made a mistake would let me realize even more that I am accountable for my dog and he is dependent on me. It doesn't mean that I wouldn't be hurting inside if my dog got hit by a car or something. Maybe my mistake and the responses I got from the forum would help prevent someone else from making the same mistake as I did.
 
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#16
I'd love to say that if something like that happened no one would beat you over the head and try to make you feel worse - there is no worse feeling than making a fatal mistake in the care of your dog . . . but I can't be sure that someone wouldn't do that. But I can say that it is utterly unnecessary. We don't have to be cruel to get our point across.

If you think about it - our dogs would never act that way! Maybe we should just try to live up to our dogs' standards - minus the butt sniffing, of course :D
 

jess2416

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#17
DanL said:
Maybe my mistake and the responses I got from the forum would help prevent someone else from making the same mistake as I did.
There is a HUGE difference between the educational responses, and some of the bashing responses that have been given lately...

Sometimes the responses are just down right rude when someone comes here, and asks a question about certain things, or tells about something that has happened...that people dont agree with...

and its just not fair for someone to be slammed because of something that has already happened..
 

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#20
i agree with your posts, dan. however, weve already proven that clearly my expectations and feelings of responsibility are not echoed by others on this board.

i am ultimately responsible for everything that happens to my dog.
 

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