An incident involving an escaped pitbull and a poodle has gotten a fair amount of attention.
The pit bull, which escaped from its owners back yard, attacked and killed the poodle – 15-year-old “Ringo.”
At times, it seems that people today become overly attached to their pets, treating them as if they were babies, dressing them up in little outfits, cooking gourmet meals for them and framing photos for their family mantels. But then something like this happens, which spins a little bit of perspective onto the situation.
Fifteen years is a significant portion of a person’s life.
Losing a pet is hard enough, but to have it taken away by an ill-tempered fellow canine is a different level of loss entirely.
Who do you blame? Is the animal naturally aggressive, or did the trainer raise it to be that way? What could have been done to change the situation?
It seems to come down to a classic case of nature versus nurture. Is the pet born with natural aggressive traits, or did it acquire them under the watch of its owner?
To some, it seems a little farfetched to think that the animal is just born a natural killer. Many pit bulls go their entire lifespan without doing harm to anyone, human or canine.
Yet, on the other hand, a ban to eliminate the entire pit bull breed has been a suggestion by some who claim the animals are inherently combative.
There may not be any way of knowing for certain where the problem stems from, or who is to blame. But one this is for certain: owning a pet is a responsibility.
It is the owner’s responsibility to train the animal to behave around other animals and people, it is the owner’s responsibility to ensure their pet is secured when left outside, it is the owner’s responsibility to discipline the animal so it knows right from wrong, and it is the owner’s responsibility to make sure the animal receives the kind of care it deserves.
Likewise, it is also the owner’s responsibility to right any wrongs that happen as a result of his or her pet’s behaviour.
A pet is just that, a pet. It is by no means able to apologize or rectify its own behaviour. Sure, it can lick your face or wag its tail, but it can’t take action to make another pet owner cope with losing their beloved pet.
If your dog harms another person or animal, it is up to you to take full responsibility for that misfortune. Although you may not have been able to control the situation, it is a part of the responsibility you take on as a pet owner.
If that involves an apology, then you must apologize. If that involves paying compensation to the harmed individual or pet owner, then that is a price you pay — whether financial or through the courts.