End fetish for attack-focused dogs
THE EDITOR, Sir:
The reports of horrific dog attacks leading to tragic loss of life on public roads in Jamaica are a cause for great concern. These attacks are evidence of a growing cultural belief that it is not enough to own a dog to alert to a possible intruder, but that one should own a 'big bad dog' to 'nyam tief'. Hence the proliferation of large dogs.
The question goes unanswer-ed as to how the dog is to know 'tief' from 'fambly member' or innocent user of the public road.
Persons who train dogs for a fee tell us that the Jamaican who wants his dog trained will not settle for the usual 'control' obedience training, but makes specific requests for 'attack' training. Attack training without obedience results in an out-of-control, biting dog.
In Jamaica, it is not a criminal offence to allow a dog to stray on to a public road, and little responsibility is shown when the same dog attacks a person with horrific results.
Any dog of any size will guard his/her territory (home) and will alert the householder to the presence of an intruder. This is all that should be required of a household dog. Obedience training will make this dog easier to live with. The dog can only develop a sense of 'territory' and effectively 'watch' if he/she is in good health and confined to the premises with adequate fencing and closed gates.
Unfortunately, some strong legislation will have to be applied to develop responsible dog ownership in Jamaica.
E. MARILYN DUFF
For the Obedience Group
Jamaica Kennel Club