On the evening of August 22, this year, an evening walk for two kids along with their mother turned into a nightmare, when a Rottweiler jumped out of a compound wall and attacked the two siblings in Taleigao causing them serious injuries. The facial injuries and bites on their bodies were so grievous that the children had to be admitted to Goa Medical College, Bambolim.
Five months down the line, in a similar incident a 10-year-old child from Camurlim Bardez was mauled by another Rottweiler, who was left unattended at home.
In both the cases, the owners and caretakers were booked under sections 289 (negligent conduct with respect to animal), 337 (causing hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others) and 338 (causing grievous hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others) of IPC.
However the question is, can these big dogs be tamed? Who should own them? Are they fit for Goan surroundings? Gomantak Times Digital spoke to trainers, vets and owners, who feel having pets comes with responsibility.
"This is the second incident in recent times. We urge immediate government intervention on the domestication of such breeds. There should be significant responsibility on the part of pet owners to prioritise child safety. It is essential to create awareness, enforce responsible ownership practices and implement strict regulations on breeds with higher risk factors,” said Peter Borges, Chairperson of the Goa State Commission for the Protection of Child Rights.
CREATING AWARENESS ABOUT THE BREED
Do you know the temperament of your pet? Well, it's better to be safe than sorry. Pet trainer based in Margao, Oscar Silveira, said, “In other countries, ferocious breeds like Rottweilers, Pitbulls and Malinois need to undergo training before their registration. These pets have jaw strength and they can even fracture a few bones. Along with training there is a need to socialise them. I know of a Rottweiler who is extremely ferocious because he wasn’t trained well. The owners brought the pet and asked me to train him. Pets like these need to be trained at a very young age, not when they are 5-6 years old.”
While there is a lot one can read online, consulting a vet before getting into a long-term commitment of owning a pet is advisable. “I get very few people who consult me when they want to get a pet,” said Dr Adrian Camara, a vet from Margao.
“You need to know what kind of pet you require, if you need a companion, a watchdog, or a dog to play with. Based on all these criteria you need to select a pet. There are some people who buy a Shih Tzu or a Pomeranian because small pets are good in an apartment. But they don’t realise that these pets have a temperamental issue. You need to know what kind of pet will suit your lifestyle. Only because a pet looks cute as a baby, doesn’t mean that it will stay the same forever,” said Adrian.
Dr Adrian Camara, a vet from Margao
RESEARCH ABOUT YOUR PET
You stay alone and do not want a pet that requires less maintenance? Opt for an Indie. You want a dog to keep you company and have a lot of energy? Get yourself a Labrador. But it is always better to know the type of person you are and what qualities you are looking for in a pet.
Dr Sasha Pinto, a vet from Panjim, said, “It is always better to find what you want in a pet. Sometimes, we get people who come to us to find out what kind of pets they need to keep at home. Pets like labs need a lot of attention and are very friendly, but since they have a lot of energy, they need to vent it out too. So a place which has a big property to run around is better.”
Dr Sasha Pinto, a vet from Panjim
OWNING A BIG DOG MEANS BIG RESPONSIBILITY
After these two incidents, the risks of owning of Rottweilers and Pitbulls have taken centre stage. “We are being asked if the dog is trained well? Or, if the dog will attack them? And this is the reason I have been leaving my pet inside the house, where he can be free. They are huge and look scary, but if they are trained and socialised well, there are very few chances they will attack. Our dog is trained, in fact we have our neighbours who love to play with him, but we fear being targeted after the incident. We knew from the start that owning a big dog meant big responsibility,” says the pet-mom of a Rottweiler, based in Panjim.