Having spent the last 2 months supporting clients in Hertfordshire against a Housing organisation and the council who wanted to remove someone’s 3 dogs despite only one allegedly having bitten, I wonder about councils and dogs.
Thankfully we have just been told that they can keep their dogs, but it has taken media, reports and arguments that I think were unneccessary. A simple meeting, assessment and discussion could have sorted this. We are still awaiting the result of an investigation into why a council workman was at the property with no appointment, resulting in a dog bite when there was an express agreement with the council this wouldn’t happen due to extremely vulnerable children living there. The council “expert” told the housing people that as one dog was aggressive they all would be (had never met them) and that therefore they all had to go. This is utter rubbish. They told me the expert is the dog warden, not a behaviourist and my fear is that others have been forced to rehome/put down dogs on the strength of this.
Over the last 2 years I have offered numerous councils courses and projects. Ranging from education for status dog owners to community self help groups. Not one, despite often paying lip service to it has ever taken me up on it and two of them cost nothing! So what happens to people told by a Housing Association (HA) or a Council that their dogs are a nuisance/dangerous and they have to get rid of them? Fortunately my clients found me and we fought this as the dogs were no more dangerous than anyone else’s. But what happens in other cases? Has anyone else fought a council and won? Do people realise they can fight?
It has long amazed me that councils have no education policy for pet owners yet spend tens of thousands policing strays, breeding, barking, nuisance and ASBO’s. All stick and no carrot. I want to see people who have a complaint made against them regarding their dog sent on a course instead of compulsory removal notices being served. It happens for speeding, so why not for dog problems? I’d also like to see a proper code of conduct created by landlords of any description to ensure responsibility. In some cases this should include microchipping, neutering and no breeding without permission. Maybe then we’d also have a weapon to fight the back yard breeders with.