Off Lead Advice:
Here are our off lead rules, in the context of current dog laws and the real threats facing off lead dogs outside the home (and inside also, but we are not covering that here). We no longer live in the 1950s where dogs were off lead on streets. We no longer live in the 1970s where dogs got into fights and everyone shook hands and parted company, understanding these situations do happen. We no longer live in the 1990s, where if you left your dog tied up outside a shop you could guarantee it would be waiting for you when you returned, or might have bitten an over-zealous child. AND we no longer live in 2010, where if your dogs got into a squabble over a ball and a person was inadvertently bitten you wouldn't end up with a destruction order on your dog and a criminal record to boot. Or a control order with your dog needing to be muzzled whenever outside the house. The law sees you, the dog handler, as the responsible person, not your dog. We advise owners to keep their dogs on a lead outside, especially during the first several months, when you are still developing a bond.
Current Dog Law:
Dog laws changed in 2016! Over the past 10 years, zero tolerance and anti-dog culture has been developed by the press, with the public taking a hardened attitude toward dogs and, in particular, towards Bull breeds. We consistently receive homing applications exhibiting the naivety, innocence and expectation that most dogs will achieve safe off lead status. We often need to spell out some of the realities, which we hope will make you think about the expectations placed on a dog’s shoulders when it is off lead.
A few facts:
According to the Dogs Trust Stray Dog Survey 2014, only 90% 0f Local Authorities reported their figures. The other 10% probably have a high kill rate, so are embarrassed to declare their figures. The survey reports that over 110,000 dogs were found stray. Of these, 55,253 (50%) were passed back to the owner; 7,805 (less than 10%) were put to sleep; and 29,236 (20%) were passed to welfare rescues (with many not making it through to homing, as many rescues are not 'no kill'); and 20% were unaccounted for.
Source: https://www.dogstrust.org.uk/news-event ... ogs-survey
Rescue Remedies is a responsible rescue. We help council pound 'death row dogs' that have been handed in as supposed strays, or who were genuinely stray from being lost off lead or escaping from insecure gardens. Council pound dogs get seven days to be reclaimed, and often cost at least £100 to reclaim. Even when owners claim they sold their dogs on, or deny ever owning them, from April 6 2016, owners will face hefty fines for failing to change ownership details on their dog's microchip.
Unrealistic Expectations Placed on an Off Lead Dog:
All dogs must achieve 100% recall despite distractions such as cats, squirrels, birds, running children, joggers, cyclists, or other dogs. They must never chase or jump up in excitement, especially if they are a Bull breed.
Dogs must show exemplary behaviour when off lead, never intruding into an unsociable dog’s space; they must walk away if another dog challenges or starts a fight, and they must never run across a road or out of a park gate.
The off lead dog must not risk its health by going down a hole, drinking from a river, and possibly catching Weils disease, contracted from rats urine, or scavenge discarded, rotten food.
Dogs must never challenge or steal from children, anglers, picnickers, and must never take another dog’s food, toys or balls.
IF OR WHEN my dog ever has an altercation with another dog, and one or both get bitten, I will stand by my dog, take full responsibility, and pay the vet bill for the on lead dog. I will accept a visit by a council official to my property and from then on live by the resulting 'Control Order', where I have to muzzle my dog in public, never to come off lead again, and know I am the one that will be prosecuted, despite the fact that I may blame my dog.
IF OR WHEN a member of public gets inadvertently or accidentally bitten, for example, by an over excited dog patted by a stranger, or during the separation of 2 dogs, I will stand by the dog when a police officer visits, and I receive a Control Order or possibly a ‘Destruction Order’, which could result in my dog being put to sleep. Or I will accept my dog may be seized and fight for it through the courts to prove its character, and save my much treasured pet’s life.
OUTCOME: I wanted my dog to be an off lead dog! I have ended up with a dog that by law must now be muzzled. We both have to bear this cross and deal with all the social stigma that comes with the use of a muzzle but, I won’t blame the dog, will I?
AFTERMATH: If I then decide to 'get rid' of my dog, I will spend two days on the phone trying to make a rescue believe in my dog - a dog that I put far too much expectation upon before it failed to meet my grade. I will tell them it’s my fault, not the dog's, or perhaps I will put the blame on the dog and put my dog to sleep for not meeting my ideals. After all, it was the one that didn’t walk away when provoked; it was the one that didn’t read the other dog who didn’t want an over social dog in its face, who was held on a lead by a responsible owner who tried to call this to my attention. I wasn’t paying attention, and it’s my fault my dog jumped up at a family who didn’t want a dog saying hello, or they knocked over a child, or caught their coat with their claw or plastered mud on their suit on route to work. Will I pay the price, or will my dog by losing its home or its life?
Some Rescue Remedies rehomings, where we trusted first time owners to take their dog and themselves on a training course, have not done so, but call in a behaviourist within weeks of homing, placing the blame on the dog. Some fail to grasp basic breed traits which give them chase drive and exuberance, or forget the impoverished background the dog had. Some families who insisted they will keep their new dog on a lead, call us to say the dog has been missing for four hours and they are worried sick, or that it is fighting for its life after being run over, or that it got into a fight with an antisocial dog.
Some families ask us to take our dog back after rehoming, as it isn't that ‘100% all singing, all dancing, perfect mannered’ dog they’d hoped it would be. Many of our responsible rehomers do stand by our dogs and ensure they are on lead, are supported with dog encounters, and are safe in public. These dogs go on to enjoy fulfilled and cherished lives.
Would you like to Volunteer Foster for us? The process is explained here and includes a link to our Fostering Questionnaire. We need Volunteer Dog Walkers too! Find more details here!
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