Cracker by Damian Christie

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Cracker: Flashback

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  • Rob Hosking,

    Yeah, I know rural dogs go bad (I'm a farm boy origianally). But they tend to attack animals. Farm dogs seldom, in my experience, attack people.

    But I do wonder whether keeping - for example - a large Alsatian on a small urban section isn't just asking for trouble.

    And I actually like Alsatians, once I get to know them. I found, when I was a postie, that if the owner introduced me to the Alsatian, that dog would not usually worry about me delivering the mail. They'd usually keep a wary eye on me: there would be this 'Oh, well, the boss says you're ok, I suppose, but I'm watching you' attitude.

    There was one section on the corner of Cowan St and a small side road which had two Rottweillers behind a high fence. They would always kick up a huge row when they heard the mail shoved in the box. One Saturday the owner was home and had left the gate open...they heard/smelt me coming across the middle of the crossroad and came barrelling out the gate in full fury.

    You know that saying 'my bowels turned to water'? Not just a saying.

    South Roseneath • Since Nov 2006 • 805 posts Report Reply

  • Damian Christie,

    Rob, I totally agree with what you're saying - all of which seems to be about enforcement of existing laws. It seems disgusting (and slightly surprising) that Dog Control wouldn't act to pick up stray dogs - especially stray Rotties running around kids.

    And yes, this blogger does occasionally stray into such neighbourhoods - I have relatives in Conifer Grove where the boy was attacked, in fact I used to help my cousin deliver papers around there a couple of decades ago, and surprise surprise there were dangerous dogs roaming the streets then too.

    So I don't have a problem with the media making a big issue of this. It has already had a big impact on how councils enforce the laws.

    Yes, while it can be the role of media to highlight something with a view to influencing behaviour, I don't for one second believe that's why the Herald (et al) is reporting every single dog attack. It's a beat up, it serves their purpose in making it seem as though all of a sudden, dogs have started attacking all over the place.

    I guess what I'm saying is that the Emperor has always had no clothes. He's still naked, we should definitely do something, but let's not pretend we're shocked by his sudden nudity.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1130 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Hosking,

    Damian,

    Of course they're running with dogs as the cause of the week for their own reasons. I've long since stopped expecting pure motives from newspapers (or anyone else, pretty much)

    Let's not forget what starteed this round of concern was someone got killed. And its 'raised awareness' of the issue. As it should have done.

    If its a good outcome I don't care about the motives of the Herald On Sunday for running the stories.

    It still won't make me buy that paper, mind you. I've given up on the Sundays.

    South Roseneath • Since Nov 2006 • 805 posts Report Reply

  • Kim Wilson,

    At (slightly) the other end of the scale, I thought it was most odd that the family of the woman who was killed in Murupara started off, according to the Herald, calling for the dog owners to take responsibility for their actions (I'd post the link but have no idea what I'm doing - the story is dated 23 April and titled "Family grief turns to anger over killer dogs") and then the following day the Herald reported that the family didn't want the owner prosecuted because "he is the family's nephew" (story is dated 24 April and titled "Relatives of dog victim don't want charges laid").

    I would have thought that taking responsibility would have included being charged.

    Nth Canty • Since Dec 2006 • 23 posts Report Reply

  • Riddley Walker,

    AKL • Since Feb 2007 • 890 posts Report Reply

  • Riddley Walker,

    AKL • Since Feb 2007 • 890 posts Report Reply

  • Muriel Lockheed,

    Strong feelings on this one, partly because I was a postie for two years

    I am not a dog person. I had problems with a pack of dogs wandering (not wondering) at my place a few years back. It came to a head one day when there were five of them in my yard and they would not allow me to leave the house, bared teeth, growly tones, so I was trapped indoors for an hour or so till they left. Don't ask me why I felt it necessary to pull the curtains during all this! My imagination was rampant- my own Stephen King horror playing in my head. I was actually quite scared. I rang dog control and they came up and set up "cage trappy things"; the only dog caught was an adorable little dog from down the road, that I don't think would hurt a fly but however had wandered into my yard. I did feel rather guilty about that.


    Funnily enough the dogs never came near my place again and no longer wander, I am not sure whether dog control had anything to do with this or not. I am just glad to see the back of them.

    Enforce the current laws I say!

    Wellywood • Since Nov 2006 • 44 posts Report Reply

  • Hadyn Green,

    I would have thought that taking responsibility would have included being charged.

    Not all the time. The family discovered who owned the dog when a relative showed up at the house with two large bags of watercress. The relative was invited in for a cup of tea, but declined. People have different ways of dealing with things within their families, then when dealing with strangers.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2081 posts Report Reply

  • Kim Wilson,

    Many thanks Riddley.

    Nth Canty • Since Dec 2006 • 23 posts Report Reply

  • Kim Wilson,

    People have different ways of dealing with things within their families, then when dealing with strangers.

    That makes sense, and I can understand it/have seen it happen within my own family - but for some reason I'm just having a little trouble getting my head around it.

    Different cultures have different ways of dealing with things too and perhaps that's where I'm struggling.

    Nth Canty • Since Dec 2006 • 23 posts Report Reply

  • Ben Austin,

    I know some farmers claim to have a shoot on sight policy for strange dogs on their property. Not sure if it is just talk or not, but when hydatis or stock killing are valid fears then I suspect not.

    London • Since Nov 2006 • 896 posts Report Reply

  • andrew llewellyn,

    I believe that in rural areas yes, farmers can shoot animals worrying their stock. I think guns-in-residential-area laws trump that though.

    But today, because of this, I was directed to this, and issued this.

    Pigs/dogs, what's the difference?

    Since Nov 2006 • 2074 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    I'm a dog owner of a still fairly young dog. It's proven to be more difficult than I originally thought before we got him. We've done all the right things (chopping off hits bits, registration, puppy school), but he's still too full on when meeting strangers, and we're going to have to take him back to school for more training. He tends to jump up and scare people, and while he's not massive, he's well above 'medium' and it's not good. I live out of town so we don't get many visitors, so he's not socialised enough with people.

    I find the idea of owners letting their dogs wander really bizarre. We put a fair bit of work into securing our property so that he can't get out of either the front or back yard. Anything else, no matter how good your dog is, is irresponsible. Round the dogs up once, and charge the owners the hundred dollars or so to get them back. If you get the dogs a second time wandering, clearly the people aren't up to owning dogs at present, and the dogs should go the pound.

    As for unregistered dogs. Seriously. Apart from anything else, this is people avoiding the cost of important services for dogs - parks etc. If more people paid that, perhaps I'd have one within ten miles of my house.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6208 posts Report Reply

  • James Green,

    I know some farmers claim to have a shoot on sight policy for strange dogs on their property. Not sure if it is just talk or not, but when hydatis or stock killing are valid fears then I suspect not.

    Bahaha. There was a couple of farmers on the front page of the paper a few years ago with guns over their shoulders. I think they had shot one dog that had been mauling their sheep, and were threatening to shoot any more dogs they saw around.

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 689 posts Report Reply

  • Eric Olthwaite,

    Damien touched on how people have no idea how to act around dogs. He is right. There are some rules that if followed would make some people's lives a bit easier.

    1) Do not pat a dog that is not your own if the owner is not present.

    2) If the owner is there, make sure you spend some time being friendly to him or her so the dog can realise you are not a threat.

    If you then get permission to pat the dog then remember this - The owner has given permission for you to pat the dog, the dog HAS NOT.

    If you want to lessen the chance of your getting bitten then do this.

    Kneel down to the dog's level - do not stand over it, or stand at all - this is aggressive to a dog.

    Do not look the dog in the eyes - this is aggressive to a dog.

    Do not give it a big toothy smile - this is aggressive to a dog.

    Do not pat the dog on the top of the head - this is aggressive to a dog.

    Whilst kneeling, slowly put a hand out so the dog can sniff it. Let the dog be in control of the situation, it touches and sniffs you first. Then, if you must, slowly pat or stroke the dog on it's side or back - a few soft "good dog's" won't go amis but watch those teeth.
    3) Do not go near a dog with food (in both meanings - as the woman attacked by a Doberman found out.) Even my spineless Golden Retriever growled at me once.

    now I have a Ragdoll cat.

    Auckland • Since May 2007 • 20 posts Report Reply

  • Ben Austin,

    Hmm, well for one pig hunting (knives pref.) is a popular sport in NZ Perhaps we could put this blogger in touch with the local association?

    London • Since Nov 2006 • 896 posts Report Reply

  • andrew llewellyn,

    well for one pig hunting

    this thing is so in my face since it turned up it hardly counts as hunting :)

    Since Nov 2006 • 2074 posts Report Reply

  • merc,

    Pig dogs love it when you get down to their level, especially ballers.

    Since Dec 2006 • 2471 posts Report Reply

  • Damian Christie,

    Eric: Nice list. Although some dogs obviously do like being patted on the head, having their head scratched etc. But there's definitely a 'better safe than sorry' aspect to all this, and I think you've outlined it pretty well.

    I was just thinking about a list to avoid being scratched by an average cat. It would be something like this.

    1. Do not pat the cat if you smell like dog, OR the moon is in its first phase, during the first half of the Bluff Oyster season, or on any date being a multiple of 3

    2. Do not walk past the cat expecting to escape unharmed if you are wearing dangly shoe laces, OR if you own a Mazda, or it is within 2 months either side of the cat's birthday or it's a Wednesday

    etc...

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1130 posts Report Reply

  • Riddley Walker,

    yeah good post, thanks Eric. getting a ragdoll is also great advice, they're so placid you should consider one Damian.
    most cats are pretty good at telegraphing when they're pissed with their body language. forget the tail (there are many divergent causes for wagging), just watch the ears.
    the ears never lie.

    AKL • Since Feb 2007 • 890 posts Report Reply

  • merc,

    I want Guinea Pig body language O' Cat Whisperer...
    I think there are only two things any Council ever needs to consider,
    1. clean
    2. safe
    ...for anything. Dogs come under Council auspices (they collect fees), they should maintain safe streets, (see, comes under safe).
    Unfortunately alot of dog attacks are ambush. The trick with cats is to blink at them and wiggle your ears (I can, I am a freak, I can also wiggle my eyes, same, a freak)...they go nuts round me, as they are my minions, mawhaw.

    Since Dec 2006 • 2471 posts Report Reply

  • Hadyn Green,

    We trained our cats not to scratch. Ok, you can stop laughing. But generally they don't. The only times they've got me were times I deserved it (i.e. teasing them with the catnip too long).

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2081 posts Report Reply

  • Che Tibby,

    also important to remember that cats don't speak english the way dogs do.

    i've always communicated to cats in tongue clicks.

    seriously. they respond incredibly

    the back of an envelope • Since Nov 2006 • 2026 posts Report Reply

  • merc,

    ...er I thought that was dolphins...?

    Since Dec 2006 • 2471 posts Report Reply

  • Damian Christie,

    Okay then, let's rename this thread the Pet Advice Discussion Forum...

    1. My cat (see my avatar, left), wakes me up at about 4am every morning. Sometimes it wants to be fed, sometimes it wants to be let in, sometimes it wants to be let out. Sometimes both. I've considered a cat door (renting, landlord doesn't know I have a cat) but have also come to the conclusion it has far more to do with my cat's desperate need for attention. Apple, tree, doesn't fall far from etc.

    2. My cat eats wool. Mostly in the form of expensive jerseys I've stupidly left lying around the house, but sometimes just socks. It doesn't happen all the time, but it does happen.

    3. There's also the odd poo. But I tend to just accept that.

    4. By odd I mean occasional. They're perfectly formed.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1130 posts Report Reply

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