These responsibilities include:
The proper feeding of nutritious foods to their pets- not the cheapest junk one can find at the Big box store. Just because your dog eats it doesn’t mean it can be converted to something their bodies can use. There is some pretty nasty stuff on the market, filled with soy, corn, cheap vitamins and minerals that are basically nutritionally unavailable
Proper socialization. Most dogs at shelters are there because the people failed to socialize and gently teach their dogs which behaviors are appropriate and which are inappropriate. Then , they turn their dogs into the shelter and say the dog has no manners! They turn in dogs that jump on people, don’t walk on a leash without pulling hard, dogs that are shy because they haven’t been around people and different places. Dogs that are aggressive with other dogs and cats because they haven’t been taken out and properly learned to meet and greet other animals. Dogs that don’t know how to sit, stay, lay down or come when called because they were never taken to puppy training class. Dogs that knew nothing because the family members were all doing something different to “train” the dog because they weren’t taught that consistency is the key. Some dogs are actually taught obedience through punishment rather than reward! Total lack of education on the part of the owners.
Getting your pets spayed and neutered is also a responsibility. Whether pure bred or not. A lot of people don’t neuter their purebred dogs thinking they will breed it and make some money. This practice is simply greedy, irresponsible and harmful to all animals. It more creates more unwanted dogs, more dogs in the shelters that end up being euthanized.
People that don’t spay their mixed breed dogs because they don’t want to spend the money on them shouldn’t have a dog. Here is a simple rule: If you can not afford to properly care for your dog, and that includes good food, spay or neuter, vaccinations, medical care when the lack of fencing allows them to be hit by a car – then don’t get a dog! Some people actually allow their females in heat to run loose, get bred with a male that is also running loose, then when there are puppies born, they either advertise “free puppies” or they simply dump the newborn puppies. What is wrong with people??
Giving away unwanted puppies or even adult dogs is a irresponsible act. You committed to the situation, deal with it. One may think they found good homes, but what they really got in many cases where another irresponsible home from someone who doesn’t realize the responsibility of pet ownership. Does one really think their free puppy will be properly fed, spayed or neutered or kept from being hit on the road? Another thing that people don’t know is there is a whole underground world of experimental laboratories and dog fighters actively looking for free and low cost puppies. A Rochester man and woman regularly advertise for wanting puppies. He says he gives them all of their shots and then places them in loving homes. It is widely suspected that these puppies actually are sold to labs to be used for experiments. This , and other people in this trade are very crafty and good at making themselves look like a family wanting a puppy. They even bring kids along with them to look real. Free dogs and puppies often end up as bait and practice for dog fighting rings. People “adopting” these dogs are masters at deception.
When a dog is suddenly unwanted or inconvenient, people often take the dogs out for a ride in the car and dump them, assuming that some kind person will come along and care for their dog. This is tragic and irresponsible. I have seen a lot of these dogs slaughtered on the roads, or shot by people who are afraid of them. Many, when picked up by the dog warden are then euthanised when no one claims them. It is rarely the idyllic end that people think their dog had.
Here is a favorite…. an ad in the paper that says “moving, can’t take dog”. If you know you rent, or you know your future is insecure, then don’t get a dog! If you have to move, then find a place where you can move with your dog, don’t just throw the dog out. What if the new place said “no kids” would you dump the kids? Hopefully not, but honestly, I wonder about a lot of people. If you have to move, you made the commitment, take your dog too.
If you know you have a large breed puppy, then expect the dog to be very large when it grows up. I have seen over and over again “the dog is too large, it has to go.” In Great Pyrenees Rescue, we see this a lot.
If you don’t have children yet, and decide when the baby comes along you will give the dog away because of myriad reasons, you should not get a dog! “New baby and the dog must go!” this is a common one for the dog rescues. Very irresponsible. Have some foresight folks.
If you live near a road, and most people do, have a fence or a tie out, or invisible fence and keep your dog off the road and away from the neighbors homes. It is your responsibility. The cost of a fence is far less costly in most cases than that initial vet visit when your dog is hit by a car.
There should not be a such thing as an “outside dog”. People actually chain their dogs to dog houses and there they stay. Out of sight and out of mind. Imagine being locked in a room for your entire life. Dogs are bred to be companions to man. To chain them out to a dog house away from the home and way from interaction with people is sentencing the dog to a life time of torture. I have seen dog houses at the farthest end of peoples property. The dogs are always chained out there, living their lives in solitary confinement and often in brutal weather conditions. They live like that and die like that, chained outside. If that is how you intend to keep your dog, then why not just get a stone dog statue to look at instead? There are groups that bring awareness to dogs chained like this. If you know of a dog chained out, and you have Internet access (and I know you do!) a simple search will reveal groups in your area that can help.
There are many more examples of irresponsible pet ownership, and if you would like to comment on this blog and post your “pet peaves” I will gladly post them.