Submission to the Government during its
Review of the Dog Control Act 2000

TOPIC: Owner Suitability

It has always been the case that many dog owners are inadequate for that role, or refuse to
accept their responsibilities, or are otherwise unsuited to animal ownership.
Should such people receive mandatory training and demonstrate good husbandry to a required
standard, or should they be denied the right to keep a dog until they do?

The Paper Noxious Barking elaborates further:

When there was an abundance of open space where both species could free-range at will there
was no trouble from barking because dogs in the wild did not bark. They could freely do what
nature intended.

With mankind's exponential increase in numbers and because of the tremendous economic and
social advantages made available by concentrated suburban living, man has graduated to this
totally different abode and adopted an entirely different lifestyle.

Despite these profound changes, today's man has not altogether discarded his biological
conditioning and evidently still requires his accompanying dogs. He feels uncomfortable without

But now with so many of his neighbours just a few metres away and not over the next range as
before, man has failed to recognise that the everyday environment for his companion animal is
now totally different too.

Whereas man with his superior intelligence developed the capacity to adapt to radical change,
his thoughtless expectation that his companion animal would adapt in parallel has proven
unfounded. Dogs remain dogs. These creatures remain the descendants of wolves and their
animal nature and instincts are still just under the surface.

Man has foolishly tried to anthropomorphise his companion animal into malleable horizontal
replicas of himself, but no matter how much he indulges in this delusion the unpalatable fact
remains that he has failed. It cannot be done and he never had any right to try. But in his
mindless selfishness he persists as if by force of personality he can achieve what nature never
intended, and he still tries to dominate and exploit another creature by sheer determined

Thus has developed a suburban environment where half the population recognises that dogs are
substantially unsuitable animals for it, while the other half denies the fact and defends its
position fiercely.
This division between the haves and the have-nots causes enormous trouble, misery and
conflict - a battle of wills wherein those who've still not recognised the realities of the totally
changed environment have become entrenched in their determination to retain what they
perceive to be their inalienable right.

Cruelly confining his companion animal to its wholly unsuitable and unnatural backyard plot the
owner goes away, oblivious to the torment he so mindlessly inflicts upon his dog every day. This
is the main cause of so much suburban barking.


1. That where an authorised person is of the opinion that an owner is unsuited to the ownership
of a particular animal, he may require that owner to demonstrate a suitable standard of animal
care in order to continue that ownership of that dog in that location.

2. That in the event an owner cannot demonstrate or otherwise convince a council of his
suitability for ownership then that dog may be seized and relocated at the owner’s expense.

3. That councils be required to record all such events against the owner’s name in its Register
of Authorised Owners.