I worked for 22 years on farms where dogs were routinely used to round up sheep and cattle.
Obviously those dogs were bred for that purpose and in addition they received intensive training. The result was they would obey verbal commands of all kinds, even when some distance away.
I have now lived for 15 years on Phillip Island and the town dogs I see here are not capable of being trained to round up cattle but they could be trained to obey verbal commands, even when off leash.
Unfortunately, their owners appear to not regard that as something they wish to do.
The result being that regularly off leash dogs run through my unfenced front yard and chase our cat up a tree or jump about in the garden bed.
Some dog owners allow their dogs to do as they please unless I happen to come out front and ask them to control their dog.
Invariably, their commands are ignored and it is only by walking across my lawn and putting a leash on the dog that they regain a measure of control.
In addition, several times a week I have to clean up dog poo from my lawn and nature strip and if that is not enough, on walks through the local school grounds I come across dog poo in the school playground.
Furthermore, my elderly neighbour has complained to me several times about dogs running up to her and jumping up.
Their owners’ inadequate response is along the lines; “Don’t worry, he is only being friendly”.
I have on occasion confronted dog walkers who do not clean up after their dogs and I have also seen them looking furtively up and down the street to see if anyone is watching and then walk off quickly dragging the dog behind.
Some dog owners become aggressive and recently early one morning I found about six heaps of dog poo outside my entrance – obviously an irate dog owner taking revenge on me.
I could fill several pages with more examples of bad dog related behaviour but will spare you that.
OK, not all dog owners are irresponsible, but it is up to the responsible ones to also take a hand in reprimanding those owners who run their dogs off leash in suburban streets and do not pick up after them and who allow their dogs to intimidate elderly people or children.
I have had to do this myself on many occasions and do not see many dog owners calling the irresponsible ones into line.
The attitude seems to be to look the other way and hurry on.
Doug Willmott, Newhaven.