Thursday, February 18, 2010

Waddell Inquest

I was reading through the Waddell Inquest report from back in the mid 1990's. I have always loved that report. Quite often I am asked by my co-workers advice on whether or not they should get a dog for their family, and I always ask how old their children are - because that really is the key. And then I always point them to the Waddell Inquest Report (thank you to Chicobandido for maintaining this website) and tell them to read the recommendations. It gives the reasons why they should or should get a dog, and when they can start to think about it. It's great.

If you don't remember - the inquest was ordered because of the death of a 4 year old boy after he was mauled by 4 rottweillers in New Brunswick in 2003. It delivered recommendations for parents, for municipalities, for physicians, public health nurses, and for veterinarians. It was fabulous. It was just the beginning of some wonderful things that have come out of New Brunswick.

In going through it tonight - I came upon some great paragraphs that not only have to do with anti-chaining legislation - they also have to do with owner responsibility when it comes to responsiblity for attacks on other dogs and people (ie current cases before Halifax's municipal court) - as well as whether Municipalities should operate shelter's AND Animal control facilities! I tell you - this document has everything! I couldn't believe it! So I'm going to quote all the good stuff I found - so bear with me. Here it is -

The first part I thought was great was in the "recommendations to Parents" - it said:

Recognize that dogs require frequent contact with social partners to maintain balanced behaviour. Social isolation as a result of being tied outside or kennelled excessively will predispose dogs to a wide variety of behaviour problems, including aggression.

Isn't that awesome?

Then it goes onto "Recommendations to municipalities"

It says -

With the understanding that a significant number of community members will continue to own dogs, but that not all dog owners will behave responsibly, it is the responsibility of municipalities to adequately fund the personnel and facilities required for effective animal control (including registration, enforcement, and public education), similar in many respects to the support provided for police, fire, and other municipal services. Municipal officials should take the lead in demonstrating respect for animal control personnel, providing a role model for community attitudes.

Fund and maintain animal control separately from shelter/adoption facilities, as the former is a municipal responsibility and the latter are generally non-profit organizations.

Adopt and enforce dangerous dog by-laws to restrict or prevent the ownership of dogs by individuals who have demonstrated themselves to be irresponsible,

and to provide a process for appropriate decisions regarding the humane destruction of dangerous dogs.

Banning particular dog breeds is unlikely to be effective in reducing the number of serious incidents in the long-term, unless steps are taken to prevent irresponsible owners from adopting a different type of dog.

In its recommendations to veterinarians it even goes so far as to recommend -

Promote positive dog socialization experiences through:
- puppy classes
- fenced dog parks
- dog trainers who use positive reinforcement methods

These are all things that I have been writing about ad nauseum for the last couple of years. It's unbelieveable, really.

I will tell you though that I am definitely cherry picking. It also recommends things that I don't particularly agree with, like mandatory spay/neuter, early spay/neuter, increasing the cost of licencing of dogs, mandatory microchipping of dogs and things like that - so there are some things in there that I don't agree with - but by and large - if this report would have been implemented in 2004 - we'd be living in a different world right now.

It's funny - because I wrote a blog post in 2004, and I said - "New Brunswick is currently gearing up to study what to do about dangerous dogs because they've had a lot of attacks lately involving children and they even had an enquiry last year after a child died after being mauled to death by 3 rottweillers. But anyway - they're contemplating enacting a law where all dogs have to either be on leash, muzzled or CHAINED OR PENNED whenever outside the owners house!" I was writing the post because a child had been mauled - where else, on a native reservation - and the dog that had attacked him, and another dog on the property, were now dead. I ended the post saying -

has anyone else noticed that with the exception of the drunk breeder in Toronto walking the 2 pitbulls in the middle of the night that almost killed him (for what reason they attacked him we may never know) it seems that just about ALL the dog attacks in the news in the last couple months - and there seems to have been an explosion of them - have been either
1. unattended children approaching unattended dogs who are chained or confined in some way;
2. unattended dogs running at large attacking strangers - and the dogs are usually running at large because the owners weren't properly supervising them because they were chained outside and didn't realize they'd gotten off their chain and because they'd been on a chain all their life they weren't socialized at all and were therefore just a ticking time bomb.

Marjorie at has once again gotten it all right when she says that the key to not getting bitten by a dog is
1. Avoid unsupervised dogs;
2. Never leave children unsupervised with dogs and;
3. Ensure our own dogs are properly socialized and adequately supervised at all times.

Unfortunately though, I think we're fighting a losing battle in regards to certain breeds of dog and having them banned. The Sue Sternberg dog is going to win (dogs under 30 pounds who are soft and fuzzy and cute looking with no apparent issues). They can kill children too, it'll just take a few more chomps. So enjoy the extraordinary love that your bully dogs give you - you may be the last generation who does.

That was 2004 - this is 2010 - things haven't changed much, have they? Except I think a lot less people know who Sue Sternberg is, which is a GOOD thing!

1 comment:

  1. that was great --thanks for condensing--but i would like to go and read the entire report as well. your work on anti tether legislation is very commendable. It would put the power in the hands of the SPCA to sieze tethered dogs if necessary, which i didn't realize before...
    i am going to try to make it this weekend with the hounds...hope to bump into you--and i am glad you won't be selling your own liver...