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Sensible Sentencing Goes to the Dogs

Sensible Sentencing Goes to the Dogs

"What sort of cowboy outfit are they running?" Christchurch based canine behavourist and trainer Natalie Perzylo comments on Invercargill's canine justice.

Following the media mis-charactersiation and inflammatory language of events surrounding two Neapolitan mastiffs released without authorisation 'by commandos' from the Invercargill Dog Pound, spokesperson for the highly popular website doglinks.co.nz, Ms Perzylo says this is really about the inadequacy of the ICC pound facilities to provide duty of care while due process is exercised.

The very graphic injuries and pitbull stereotyping on TV One's CLOSE UP item [17April] "Dog Vs Human, then What?" amounts to emotional blackmail when in the light of day the owner had no objection to the offending dog being euthanised and, being entitled to her day in court insisted, and rightly so, on civil procedure for its docile companion.

"The media portrayal of the extensive injuries from pitbull bites misdirects the public on this issue" says Blair Anderson of the School of the Naked Dog (nakeddog.co.nz). "NZ research earlier this year suggests it is Fox Terriers, Labradors followed by Chihuahuas that characteristically bite family members inside their own properties."

Anderson points out that we have created rules, regulations and enforcement where recent Massey conducted research suggests as much as four out of five of 400,000 or so registered dogs are not getting the required daily activity. "It shows we are increasingly keeping our dogs behind high fences and on short leads now. This is leading to the very problem we set out to solve". We were sold track and trace microchips and a national database of ownership as a politically expedient solution.

Our policy is fraught with downsides; people with smaller dogs are increasingly fearful of any larger dog on or off lead. This is made worse by ill-informed bred specific prejudice largely media driven.

Socialisation is key to public safety. Yes, some people need some help and guidance, while others only need confidence. Due to recent legislative changes and the increasingly dire consequences (huge fines, serious jail time, crippling veterinary fees, punitive pound fees and medical and legal costs) we now have a shortage of competent qualified and professional trainers and so many dogs, and families, in need.

Doglink's spokesperson Natalie Perzylo agrees with Anderson's streetwise canine knowledge further questioning how CLOSE UP failed to question Bill Watts?

"The ICC Environmental Services Director wants both dogs dead (presumably because he lost them both) yet according to media sources, the bites to the victims arm 'became infected' some time later suggesting they did not warrant prophylactic antibiotics, a precautionary measure taken first in any bite laceration scenario." No one wants to diminish the personal anguish of the victim here but lets enable discovery and ensure the truth of the matter. Courts are good at that. Cowboys aren't."

"Contrast that with TV One's shocking images of teeth punctures and open wounds. Where is the investigative journalism here? It is an emotive argument feed by moral panic and little substantiating fact. That is why we must leave it to due process. But if we are to learn something from this it may be that 'the policy' may be contributing to the problem and we need a more informed community for our companion animals."

"We know Kiwi's seek out guidance on dog behaviour, its such a popular topic" says Ms Perzylo who keeps a good tab on the SPCA's endorsed website. The traffic statistics prove "hundreds of New Zealander's are learning something canine everyday. Territorial authorities collect some 20 million dollars a year from dog fees alone, I am sure NZ's dog owners agree that education is better than intolerance and injustice."

The School of the Naked Dog commences the next of its eight week 90 minute socialisation [and bite inhibition] classes using the Ian Dunbar endorsed "KinderPuppy" curriculum at its Merivale, Christchurch venue Sunday the 26th. At nakeddog.co.nz/kinderpuppy is the opportunity to register, without obligation, anyone interested, be it Christchurch, Invercargill and Nationally, and we'll look to bringing the program to your district, school, or facility.


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