We've had a hell of a week.
Betsy's brutal death on Tuesday was a massive turning point in our lives. If you're squeamish just skip the next couple of sentences: The dog next door ripped a hole in the fence that had been deemed suitable by the shire to contain a dog that was listed on the dangerous dog register. He attacked Betsy, dragged her through the fence and then mauled her to death. But do you know what's even worse than that? This was the fourth time he'd attacked another dog. And the shire that we live in, the one that happily demands our rates every August, makes sure we adhere to its rules and regulations - especially the ones that make no sense - has ignored, covered up and generally not followed through after every single attack. The last attack resulted in the doggy victim needing 70 stitches. And the vicious dog was returned to his owner, listed on the dangerous dog register and we were all told to let the matter drop as the shire had done all that it could do and we'd be safe now. Well guess what? We weren't and Betsy paid the price. We would never had brought a puppy into our home, our lives and our yard if we had thought for one minute that this would happen. We believed the shire when they said the fence would contain the dog. We believed the shire when they said that the collar the dog had to wear under the conditions of the Dangerous Dog Act would stop it from going near the fence.
This week we made a firm promise that we would not let this go. That we would not rest until we had justice for Betsy. We have spent the week fighting to have the dangerous dog put down, to have the owner forced to take responsibility for her dog, to have the shire face up to its accountability. We've used facebook to get the message out and to help us get people making a lot of noise. Hubby was interviewed by one of the drive-time talk back radio stations. We've spoken to some politicians and emailed and written to others.
In the meantime the kids have been nervous, jumpy, having nightmares and wanting the lights left on all night. They have not mentioned getting another dog even once. And they've been close to panic every time the cat has gone outside, despite the dog next door having been impounded by the ranger. They don't feel safe in their own house. And I'm helpless to do anything about that. But I will make sure they never have to feel like that again. And that no one else's kids have to either.
The good news is that the owner of the dog has finally been given the destruction notice for her dog. And before you get up in arms about that, the dog has attacked one dog and its owner, another dog was attacked twice - 6 months apart - and now it has attacked and killed Betsy. So yes, it is good news. That said, she's still got seven days to appeal the notice so it's definitely not a done deal. And even if it does go through it doesn't mean the battle is over. Now we have to keep fighting. We want the owner to be fined to the full extent available. That's $10,000. It won't bring Betsy back but it might make the owner think twice about getting another dog. And then we're going to keep fighting until the shire gives clear and open disclosure about their mis-management of this whole situation. And then we're going to do our absolute damn best to get the Dangerous Dog Act changed. Because the way it is now? Just doesn't work.