The sheep were either dead or mutilated, scattered about the farmer’s meadow. It had been a trying morning. The one bright spot was the capture of the dog that had done all the damage.
People sometimes say the darndest things in defence of their animals, and this one was no exception. The dog owner on the phone, who hadn’t been out to the scene of the crime, volunteered the following:
“I’m sure he was just playing with them”, he offered in sincere tones. Given that his dog had eaten a fair chunk of one ewe’s leg during its ‘playtime’, it was lucky he wasn’t making that earnest explanation to the irate farmer counting his losses.
In the same vein, we were interviewing the owner of a dog that had rushed out of its yard and attacked a much smaller dog being walked sedately on a leash by an elderly person.
“It’s not my dog’s fault”, the owner explained. “Seeing another dog on a leash always makes him mad”. Unfortunately, that particular defense didn’t stand up well in court.
The same went for the man who kept a dog that aggressively grabbed another dog by the throat, shaking and throttling it. That animal needed veterinary attention to close its wounds.
The man insisted his attacking dog wasn’t vicious. “He was just playing with the other dog”, he told our staff. “When he grabbed its throat, it was just by accident”.
Its amazing how often dog attacks are put down to accident by their keepers. Take the case of the small Pekingese, bowled over in the mud and severely mauled by a much larger dog. The Peke suffered deep punctures, and barely escaped with its life.
The big dog’s owner had a ready explanation for why he shouldn’t be penalized. “I’m sure he thought that small dog was just a rabbit”, the man tried his best to convince us: Without success, I should add.
Then there was the fellow whose dog kept getting picked up for wandering, and picking fights with other dogs. “It’s just when his hair is long”, the owner said. “He stays home more when his coat is trimmed short”.
A novel defence, but perhaps true. Maybe the dog didn’t care to fight if he felt cold. We had to think on that one a bit, but the fine was still levied.
In my business, some of the things you hear can be downright funny. The man with the Rhodesian ridgeback was struggling to come up with the correct name for his dog. “It’s one of those African dogs”, he told our staff.
I think we needed a better description for our licence records. The man was doing his best to give us the information. “I know”, he suddenly burst out happily, after much mental pondering of the subject. “He’s an African Hatchback”.
My old friend Bill could never get his tongue around the name of the dog his wife had always wanted. “You know, Dan”, he’d say. “It’s one of those Apple dogs”. I knew what he meant, but I never did find his wife a Lhasa Apso.
I often chuckle when I see spelling mistakes in the pet ads. The Blue Heeler is invariably described as a Blue ‘Healer’. Maybe that’s an all round dog for what ‘ails yer’. Who knows?
But one of the funniest ones came zinging over our counter just the other week. The man was a nice enough guy, chatting with our staff, and he wanted to get a very special small pet dog.
He was having trouble, just as a lot of people do when they’re talking about aShih Tzu, that little dog from Tibet.
I nearly choked on my coffee, laughing to myself in the back room, as his voice boomed out with scatological descriptiveness. “I wanna get me one of those Shit Poos”, he loudly informed my people. I guessed he might if he couldn’t house-train it properly.