It’s not just humans who are getting publicly shamed for their ill doings – at least, not if some Toronto decision-makers have their way.
According to the Toronto Star, a new report recommends changes to the existing Toronto Municipal Code to publicly shame dog owners who have pets who have bitten humans or other pets.
Owners of the dogs would be required to visibly display warning signs on their property and the dog will have to wear a label itself to notify others of its past behaviour.
The amendment will also give the city access to the outside of any property where a dog is living (apparently, this measure is to ensure the proper treatment of animals).
So, what would reduce a dog to social pariah status?
“What we’re putting forward (as a definition) for a ‘dangerous dog’ is a dog that has severely bitten a person or a domestic animal,” said Toronto Animal Services manager, Elizabeth Glibbery, as the Toronto Star reports.
This applies even if the dog has only acted out once.
Glibbery said the goal is to “protect people from dog bites and to hold the owners accountable for their dog’s behaviour.”
Dogs that have given non-severe bites to people or domestic animals twice will also be considered dangerous, as will dogs who currently live with a muzzle order.
“The dog tag will be obvious; it will likely be coloured so you can identify it at a distance,” said Glibbery.
It’s not enough for owners to apologize for the behaviour of their dogs these days – and some of the city’s dog parents are not too happy about it. They point to slippery slopes in defining what constitutes a “dangerous dog.” They call the move excessive and unnecessary.
“Dogs are dogs, and it’s situational,” dog owner Alan McIntosh told the Toronto Star.
“If a dog is attacked, it might bite the other dog in return, so would it be labelled if it didn’t start the fight? I don’t think a simple label of ‘dog bit something’ is enough information to warrant labelling a dog dangerous. . . I think if something happens multiple times, perhaps, but on one occasion? I don’t think so.”
The report will be considered by the Licensing and Standards Committee on Sept. 21.
It will be open to public feedback until the end of October.
While I don’t have a dog and likely won’t in the near future, I can’t help but wonder…if we can mark the homes of “dangerous” dogs with blatant warning signs, why can’t we do the same for dangerous humans too?
On a lighter note, for a little Friday afternoon pick-me-up, you may want to check out these 25 pooches that are way cooler than you are.