Your News: Safety is a dog owner’s top priority

Gyll Mauchline of Three Counties Dog Rescue.

Gyll Mauchline of Three Counties Dog Rescue.

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Tragic stories about a young child mauled by the family dog occur all too frequently.

In the most recent incident the dog had been brought home following a visit to the pub. At Three Counties we often come across unwanted dogs that have already been passed on from person to person.

If a legally enforceable code of practice had to be followed whenever a dog was found a home, by a breeder, a rescue centre or privately, these terrible happenings would become rare. Before a dog is re-homed by Three Counties we establish its temperament, how it behaves around humans, other dogs and cats. A prospective owner can then be matched to dogs that suit their circumstances. Homing in families with very young children is rare. By discussion we establish such things as whether the dog would have to be left for long periods (four or five hours is the maximum), whether there will be children around, what would happen to a dog homed with an older person if they were outlived by the dog. A home check is carried out to ensure the dog will live indoors as a family pet in a secure environment. A visit to the kennels to see the dogs that might be suitable takes place and we suggest prospective owners then go away to think about their options. After all that a dog is taken on trial and only when both parties are happy is the dog signed for and a payment made.

Contrast that with taking a dog from someone at the pub or from a “free to a good home” site and you can see which option leads to tragic outcomes.

A code of practice following the Three Counties practice and coupled with a requirement to neuter, vaccinate and microchip would go a long way to eliminating tragedies. Enforcement would be against the original owner or the current owner if they could not identify the previous one.