Thursday, March 09, 2006

Your home is not your castle

Census takers go on to people's properties. Over the space of a week or so nobody knows when they will turn up. In Kapiti three Census takers have been bitten by dogs. One a ridgeback-mastiff cross which bit a man on the arm, the second a labrador which bit a woman on both legs, and the third was unspecified but the collector received minor bites on her elbow.

Get this. The Census area manager says,"We have contacted the police and Kapiti dog ranger and requested that the offending dogs be destroyed."

The dog ranger says,"We will be checking to make sure dog owners adhere to common law, which states quite clearly that every home has to have dog free access."

Quite clearly nobody can have a dog for the purpose of security or deterrence. Anybody who cannot afford or doesn't want to fence from their gate to their front door can't have a dog - not even a miniature poodle. This edict is another abuse of property rights.


Anonymous said...

The dog ranger says,"We will be checking to make sure dog owners adhere to common law, which states quite clearly that every home has to have dog free access."

While the law is there, that's what happens.

As for property rights, a dog is property, and a bitten human is a human (with me so far? :). The law generally considers harm to people more seriously than harm to property.

It would be the same as leaving broken glass, asbestos and other potentially injurous things lying around for people to harm themselves on when visiting.

I have no problem with the idea that we don't respect property rights sufficiently in NZ, but when it comes to a dog biting a law abiding visitor to your home, that's not quite the same as shooting the knee caps of someone about to rape the missus.

Any non-police dog that bites another human, however sad and however unfortunate is simply at risk of destruction.

In that case, consider the dog-as-a-protection-device spent and buy another one.

A little more compassion for the bite-ee instead of property rights seems appropriate.

Anonymous said... are talking bollocks.If you enter the property of another uninvited and get bit by a dog specifically there for the purpose of home security then tough titty and get a life! The same applies to broken glass and other potential hazzards...if you are not wanted there then its your look out if you come to grief.Enter at own risk is as valid today as it ever was.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm... My son is a courier driver. He has to deliver parcels to houses with dogs... I guess it's his fault if he gets bitten too.

And I guess if a police constable wants to ask some questions around a neighbourhood about activities in the area, it's their problem if they get bitten also.

And I pity the poor metre reader. Come on guys, get real. There is no excuse for owning a dangerous dog.

Lindsay Mitchell said...

Courier drivers don't have to enter properties with dogs. They leave cards in letterboxes. Don't get me wrong. Dangerous dogs are a danger to everyone, including their owners and other dogs. But because a very small minority is dangerous every dog owner has to comply with state requirements about how their property must be arranged. How did we ever manage before we had these laws? And they have only recently been introduced.

Anonymous said...

My observation is that the dog problem has got a lot worse over the last 10 years. I do not walk in my neighbourhood becuse of the dogs. Even the ones behind fences are a risk as often the fence is inadequate to stop an angry dog. The dogs running free are simply an unnecessary risk to the public. I have no problem with responsible dog ownership, but there is a huge number of dog owners out there who either don't know or don't care about making sure their 'pets' do not upset or attack other people.

Lindsay Mitchell said...

Blue tune, I sympathise with your observations. I had to pull some rabid brute off my own dog not that long ago. But I still believe this law penalises the responsible and does nothing about the growing problem of uncontrolled dangerous dogs. You've identified the problem. Bad owners. And I don't have a problem with the local dog ranger going after them. It's a damn shame you feel so insecure you can't walk in your own neighbourhood.

Anonymous said...

I have done some research, it would seem that a census taker DOES NOT have aright to enter your property, in fact, only the police, local authorities and military have that right, and only in certain circumstances. in fact, if the police enter your property you are entitled, at any stage to ask them to leave and unless they have reasonable grounds on only a handfull situations to stay then they must leave immediatly. as for dogs, if there is a warning sign up i.e. due notice is given to the general public that there is a dog on the premisis you have NO REQUIREMENT under the current law to provide safe acess to your front door. as long as all local and nation animal controll laws have been observed. if the person opened a gate which had a warning sign on it about the dog, proceeded anyway and got bitten it is their responsabitity, if they really needed to gain acess to the site and saw the sign it is up to them to call animal controll BEFORE entering. they call it strategic risk minimisation!