Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Responsibilities when owning a vicious dog

Pet ownership has certain responsibilities. You must care for your pet. You must keep it fed, watered and innoculated against disease. The animal cannot pose a threat to other animals and humans. This is where responsibility comes in.
My dogs have always had the best care. I would challenge anyone I know, or don't know for that matter, to find where I had been a responsible owner. My dogs, with the exception of one, have always loved people and gotten along with other animals. It is the exception this column is about.
Jasper was born in a woodpile in east Bradenton. His mother was a purebred Rottweiler and his daddy was the neighbor next door. When I arrived to pick him up, I found his mother chained to a tree and all the puppies living in a woodpile. I knew a lot less then than I do now about dog rescue.
I took him home where he instantly bonded with my husband and that was where the problems began.
John was anti-social and proceeded to keep Jasper anti-social. I was working all the time and the majority of his raising and development was left in John's hands. I was left with an unsocialized, not neutered, very powerful dog who hated everyone and everything except those who lived within his home.
I worried constantly. If anyone came to visit, Jasper had to be locked away. When walking Jasper, you had to constantly be aware of any other animals or humans on the road. Jeremy, who grew up with Jasper, had problems bringing his friends home. The house stayed on high alert all the time.
We had a fenced backyard with a lock on the gate. I checked it on a daily basis for holes or attempts from Jasper to dig out.
It was not a good way to live. We all loved Jasper, but understood he was a dog who could never be around others. I do not believe Jasper was born that way, but evolved due to his upbringing by John.
Jasper, in any other household, would have been euthanized because no one could handle him. When he got sick and was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, I knew I had to let him go. He was not a dog who would have handled cancer treatment well, and his quality of life would have been very diminished.
When he died, I swore I would never allow one of my animals to be raised unsocialized to the point of being vicious. I have lived up to the promise I made to myself.
I allowed my husband to be in charge of the dogs. Every time I tried to interject my feelings about Jasper's behavior, they were poo poo'd away.
I will never make that mistake again.

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