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A Dog Day Afternoon

By Rupert Truscott-Hughes on March 8, 2012 in Other

I’ve really got nothing against pets. Most of the time I’m an animal lover. Some pet owners, on the other hand, really get my goat. In fact, I’m pretty sure a small, increasingly vocal minority have completely lost the plot.

You see, some pet owners seem to think that their pets deserve equal rights to their fellow humans. Yes, I am serious.

Recently I noticed on The Beast’s Facebook fan page a bit of to-and-fro between the editors of this little magazine and a disgruntled dog owner. She was having trouble finding pet-friendly accommodation in the area having been evicted from her previous digs for, I assume, housing her hounds there without the permission of the landlord.

Said dog owner wrote that property owners “should not be allowed to dictate what people do in the houses they secure rental income from”, and went on to refer to it as “discrimination”.

As the owner of investment properties in the Eastern Suburbs, I could not disagree more strongly. Firstly, owning a pet is a choice, and one that is made knowing full well that some property owners prefer not to rent to pet-owners. Also, it is quite difficult to find tenants who will treat a property as though it is their own.

An Eastern Suburbs property is a big investment for most people and the rental yield is meager at best without having to worry about the damage a dog is doing to it and the expense that will be incurred when trying to remove dog hair and whatnot to make the place habitable for the next tenant.

As the owner of the property, and the one who has forked out considerable amounts of coin to do so, one is well within their rights to choose whether or not they want pets living it. To say, “If you want to control what happens in your house, don’t rent it out. Do not receive any money from it. Keep it locked up,” is just plain ridiculous, and rather selfish in my opinion.

Moving along though, not only have some dog owners completely lost the plot when it comes to their rental ‘rights’, others are just downright rude. In fact, I’d go as far as to say that some pet owners are as bad as inconsiderate smokers who puff away at restaurants, or the folk from out west who blast brain-numbing bass from their hotted-up Hyundais.

Can I quickly say that if I had a baby in a pram and a pooch started prodding it’s proboscis in there I’d promptly land a punch not only on the snout of the offending canine but also on the beak of the bloke who was walking it untethered. While domesticated, dogs are animals, and thus, like a Bra Boy after a handful of beers, there will always be an element of unpredictability about them.

I’m also not too pleased about people taking their pooches onto the beach either, especially off leash. I noticed my favourite fashionista, whose smoking habits I mentioned a month or so ago, doing just this down at Tamarama on Australia. I bet the tosser doesn’t pick up his dog shit either!

Finally, probably the most annoying thing in relation to dogs and their owners is that a number of dogs bark incessantly at all hours and their owners do nothing about it. I realise that not every dog has this problem, but live near one that does and your life will quickly be turned upside down. Far too often the dog owner just ignores the problem and their neighbours suffer as a consequence.

Come to think of it, maybe I do have something against pets, but not nearly as much as I have against some inconsiderate and irresponsible owners.