Opinion

EDITORIAL: One thing is clear in dog death debate: look after your pets

Protestors gathered outside Richmond City Hall, hoping to save two Rottweilers  that the city wants destroyed.  - Martin van den Hemel
Protestors gathered outside Richmond City Hall, hoping to save two Rottweilers that the city wants destroyed.
— image credit: Martin van den Hemel

Two Rottweilers are sitting on doggy death row.

Their crime? The dogs escaped from their owner Prabjot Nijjer’s Alberta Road home last October and wandered over to a construction site.

Dustin Wang was working on the site when he noticed the dogs. He got up from his crouching position when one of the dogs turned toward him and began to approach. He quickly retreated through the townhouse’s front door before he noticed a slight pain coming from his upper thigh, just below his left buttock.

The larger of the two dogs had apparently nipped him on the leg, causing an injury that didn’t tear his jeans or draw blood, but left a dime-sized contusion on his skin.

Funny enough, Wang, whose wound has now completely healed, is shocked the city wants to destroy both dogs.

“It’s not the dog’s fault, it was the owner’s fault,” he told The Richmond Review earlier this month.

The dogs’ owners have hired a lawyer and are going to court to try to get a reprieve.

Animal lovers are outraged at the city, especially over the death sentence given to the dog who didn’t bite anyone.

However, the case to save the dogs isn’t quite so simple.

Another incident in 2010 was serious enough that the city labelled these two dogs dangerous.

The 2013 incident didn’t “seriously injure” Wang, as the city’s court application might have the public believe, but it did set off alarm bells.

In a litigious era, the city wants to make sure it isn’t left liable for what the dogs might do in the future.

If the city doesn’t act now, it could pay the price later in civil court, not to mention dealing with the aftermath of another injury for which it could be held partly culpable in the eyes of the public.

And even though it has decided to act, the optics aren’t great, considering the most recent injury was extremely minor in nature.

What’s the lesson here?

Dog owners need to remember they are completely responsible for their dogs actions.

Rottweilers aren’t normally a dangerous breed, but their size alone makes them intimidating.

And if your dog’s been labelled dangerous, it’s on a short leash in the eyes of the city.

Strike two might just put them out for the count.

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