Dog Licences Are A Good Idea But…

Following a horrific dog attack on a young girl, the West Australian RSPCA is flagging the idea of introducing dog licenses:

“We’re not blaming the breed, we’re blaming the deed,” Ms Bradshaw said. “Nasty tendencies” could be brought out from any dog through irresponsible ownership.

“Any dog can become a menace if it’s not looked after correctly,” she said.”What I’m saying is: should a component of the registration of the dog or the purchase of the dog go towards some sort of training, kind of like a driver’s license?

Ms Bradshaw said the RSPCA was lobbying for improved owner responsibility across Australia.

Well, at least this time they are not blaming the breed.

I think a ‘dog license’ is in principle a good idea but… let me explain my problem by using a personal example:

The clients at my Veterinary clinic are varied and straddle both sides of the ‘socio-economic fence’.

Here we have ‘Pete’ – a large unemployed male with shaved head and tattoos. ‘Pete’ cares about his Pit Bulls – as long as they terrify half the neighborhood. ‘Pete’ would willingly pay and money and attend any course to keep his vicious Pit Bulls and continue training them to attack.

There we have ‘Dawn’ – an old lady with gout, arthritis and a Chihuahua. ‘Dawn’ can not get out of bed much these days and she doesn’t have much money left over from her pension. So if a ‘dog license’ is introduced, there is no way ‘Dawn’ would be able to keep her harmless, beloved Chihuahua.

And here lies my problem – a ‘dog license’ by definition would paint everyone with the same brush with profound unintended consequences. More often then not, it’s the law-abiding who suffer as a result.

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About Dr Vadim Chelom

Dr Vadim Chelom is a Registered Veterinarian, a writer and an educator

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