Hi dog forum dog lovers,
I am a professional dog walker in Melbourne, and over the last month I have been threatened by someone who said he would come back with a knife to fix up my dogs and me, and last week I was nearly punched in the face. Many other people at this park have had a similar experience and some are just giving up on walking dogs there, or on walking their dogs full stop.
This conflict happened because of of the dogs in my social pack of dogs a) approached a jogger (that is what he said). b) had the audacity to put its paw prints on another leg as the dog was running past chasing birds. This violent man then changed his story to the dog tried to bite him, even though I had two witnesses standing next to me. He tried to punch them too. One of them was a mid sixties man who was just trying to get the guy to stop from punching me.
Joggers here hate to have to think about other people. These dogs have never bitten anyone and never looked like doing so here.
THE problem is that these shared resources have people in them that either hate dogs or have no idea about dogs. They easily get hostile and hate to see dogs playing. If my dogs are not running around having a good social time, I worry about them being normal.
This is all in an off lead dog park. In Melbourne we tend to get off lead areas only where waste dumps have been or where land is unsellable for some reason.
I love the fact we have parks at all, but many local joggers and bike riders who have no understanding of dog behaviour (yes they may approach another person or dog out of curiosity) are becoming violent to many dog owners. I used to run in state championship and used to ride a bike 30 km to work, so yes, I do understand both sides of the story.
People with dogs are being treated like smokers in this country. Councils turn a blind eye, and police will only get involved if their is actual violence and you want to prosecute (ie get a lawyer and go to court). Personally I dont want these psycho's to know my name and address.
I am sick of the way that dogs and owners are getting treated, so I have made up some guide lines of how to convert a dog park to a dog sanctuary. A single purpose park, where dogs have right of way, and friendly dogs can play. I call this ARCHIE'S LAW - Dog Sanctuaries.
Of course it will never happen while councils bow to other special interest groups and go the path of least resistance (as their lawyers advice them always to take the path less likely to result in them being held responsible for anything).
I dont know what you think of this, but this is the CORE part of the article I have created on the concept.
Archie's law - DOG SANCTUARIES for DOG and HUMAN safety.
No Bike riding, skate board riding, wind surfers or any form of mechanical apparatus riding.
No golfing, No model car or other hobbies, No jogging
Park access hours should be unlimited or at least up until a reasonable time at night time (assuming that dogs barking will cause havoc in the neighbourhood.
Parks should have proper fencing and gates, just like child enclosures have.
Dog Sanctuaries should have massive signs at all entrances. They should read with information similar to below:
This is a dog Sanctuary. This means that dogs have right of way. They are here to play not be yelled at.
No access without a dog. (This rule might trigger outrage by civil libertarians who do not own or walk their dogs. But as dog owners who walk their dogs off lead have almost become an extinct species, why not look after dogs rights for a change)?
This rule would mean that more 'dog people' would be among the dogs and prevent the conflicts with people who do not understand dogs.
No running or riding or any activity in this park that will cause a dog distress or create a chase.
No violence in this dog sanctuary. If you choose to be aggressive to another owner or dog, they have the right to report you to an authority that will deal with the issue including prosecuting you. (A special authority would be set up to protect dogs and dog owners and take the stance that the dog is innocent until proven guilty (as is the right of humans). False reporting would attract heavy penalties (ie the dog was attacking me).
If you believe that a dog is threatening you, stand still and call the owner. Do not actively escalate aggression against the dog or the owner. You may actually be at a fault.
The full article can be found at: Archie's Law - Dog Sanctuaries replacing dog parks - keeping dogs safe. V1.0
I doubt that this will get any attention in Australia because everyone is wrapped up with Oscars law and anti BSL legislations. These are fine causes, but what about something practical that can affect every dog owner every single day (if they walk every day that is.)
When a daily dog walk off lead in a safe area can fix 90% plus of dogs problems (yes you may disagree) - why not fix the immediate large issue?
Imagine if dog sanctuaries existed, were close enough to use, and you would feel safe in them? Just people who know how to handle dogs having a good time.
Thanks for listening ... just hoping something gets done before I get stabbed or knocked out. By the way, the parks I mention in the article are not the main park that prompted me to write the article.
If you like the concept. please feel free to champion it at your local council.
Archie & I can dream ..