Let's call irresponsible owners what they really are: "reckless owners." It's easy to understand and memorable. More importantly, cops and policy makers get the concept of reckless: We don't let reckless drivers drive, do we?
She goes on to say -
Reckless owners differ substantially from dog guardians — the responsible folks who love their dog, control their dog, and understand the importance of public safety.
There is evidence to back up the theory that reckless owners are involved in the majority of dog bites. According to the National Canine Research Council, 84 percent of dog-related fatalities in 2006 involved reckless owners. If we want to start reducing dog bites we need to target reckless owners in our laws. These folks are often recidivists, yet they are rarely prohibited from owning animals in the future.
Many communities, and some states, are finally starting to get it right. Tacoma, Wash., has a "problem pet owner" ordinance that forbids such people from owning pets. St. Paul, Minn., targets reckless owners.
The entire state of Minnesota prevents people whose dogs have been deemed dangerous from owning dogs. Illinois prevents convicted felons from owning unsterilized or unmicrochipped dogs. The Land of Lincoln also has a law that mandates psychological counseling for companion-animal hoarders.
Countless communities and quite a few states — including Texas — are targeting reckless owners by putting restrictions on dog chaining or tethering. Yes, Texas, not the most animal-friendly state in the union. Pretty darn amazing.
We need to stop focusing on the dog and start focusing on the owner.
I have cherry picked these sentences from the article because I thought they were so fabulous - so you should go and read the entire article and follow the links that are there - but you get the idea - I have talked about this concept before ad nauseum - that when you hear stories about negative encounters with dogs in the news - it is NEVER the dog's fault - it is always the dog owners fault - so why should the dog have to suffer the consequences?
Sometimes the dog is irretrievably aggressive and has to be put down - after it's been deemed too aggressive - but it's definitely always the pet owner who should face the harshest consequences.
Because why? Because they are reckless and have no care for public safety - or the safety of their own family or their pet. Period. They have proven that over and over.