Enough with the pet bullies!!!! Are you crossing the line between discipline & abuse?

If there’s one thing that brings on my ugly frown and makes me contemplate action that may lead to a fight , it’s seeing people being rough with their animals. There’s a few too many people out there that confuse the line between fair discipline and bullying your pet for your own dysfunctional reasons.

Today I witnessed these young girls shouting and whacking their puppy on the bum. Now the fact was…. this puppy was about 12 centimetres long and 100% still a baby. A baby that is still getting used to being away from it’s mum and should NOT be being yelled at or smacked. PERIOD.

The girls were reveling in being mother figures, a new fun game, but tough love is not what a baby animal needs, least of all by kids who don’t get it.

They complained how naughty the puppy was, keeping them up all night crying. There’s nothing naughty about a baby crying just because it’s not of the human kind.

I admit when it comes to my dog Marley, I may be a little on the ‘treat him like a human’ side of things, but he’s a happy little thing and the very worst he’s ever done is poo in the wrong place.

Maltese Shitzu’s, as he is, are hardly a dangerous breed and I do totally respect that discipline is paramount for all breeds, especially those that without such could be a danger to the public, but it needs to remain fair and not about the owner’s anger issues.

How many times I’ve been down at a park, when I see these Rambo style owners screaming blue murder at their dogs. And I’m sorry but often it reeks of a total abuse of power, and nothing to do with what the dog is doing with its ball or where it’s running.

I also know that some large dog owners out there can’t stand small dog owner types, but that’s their issue and certainly not mine.

Although I am honest with myself and don’t believe I would suit a big dog, I still think they’re beautiful because all animals are. Until such time as they’re officially deemed a danger, and even then there’s possibly been a problem with their history with humans.

Anyone that’s been an angel enough to rescue a dog from the pound will tell you, many of these poor creatures come with anxiety issues because some damaged individual has exerted the sort of cruel behaviour, discipline, or anger at the world, that should result in them being locked up for some time.

Animal abuse needs to be more tightly regulated. It even needs to be monitored at the level that you decide to get a family pet. Children should not be left to look after a newborn until the parents are clear that they are not acting like the parents that they are used to seeing. Shouting orders and feeling that it is their job to let the puppy know who’s boss is not the right way to start.

I’ll never forget as a young girl and playing in a family friends daughters bedroom, her new kitten called Argo was thrust into her dolls’ bag while she proudly swung him back and forth in front of me. I’d never had a pet before but my alarm bells went off and I raced out to tell her mother what was going on.

“Oh she just gets a bit carried away with excitement!” she explained without even bothering to check up on the poor cat. I couldn’t help but worry whether Argo was even going to make it to his first birthday in the hands of this girl that had a mentality that did not yet stretch to understanding how to deal with a pet. The parents fault.

Animals are there to give us love, and if you can’t measure the discipline with the same amount of love you give back, then perhaps you’re not someone that deserves to have a pet?


33 thoughts on “Enough with the pet bullies!!!! Are you crossing the line between discipline & abuse?

  1. You’ve found my soft spot. Animal abuse is right under our noses and not enough attention goes into regulating or policing this issue. Especially puppy mills, back yard breeders and the “aggressive” breeds, which are so neglected. In answer to your question, where is the line between discipline and bullying a pet? I think phyisical punishment should not be tolerated. Dogs (and all animals) don’t speak the same language as us, we have to expect communication issues. Hurting your animal is only going to result in a scared and confused pet. Children should not be left alone with baby animals at all (babies + babies= trouble) The animal beings need to be valued and respected for the unconditional love and support they bring to the human race. Imagine a world without animals?? It gives me the shivers…

    • Hello beautiful girl! I agree, young kids should not be left with baby animals and should be trained just as much as the animals in how to treat them. I didn’t expand in the column about these kids I witnessed but they were the kids of the people that owned a hotel my mother and i were staying in in Italy, and although we liked the hotel, we got so angry every day seeing these upstart, aggressive kids carrying on each day with this tiny, divine little puppy that we just couldn’t bare it. The parents were never around and it just killed me. I had words with them a few times, as did my mum but they just totally ignored us as they were really getting off on their new found power and control. It was really bad……..they didn’t deserve the puppy and I wished I could have taken it off them. Any wonder some dogs ended up biting people. Some of provoked and then they look like the problem. Not cool or fair.x

  2. I agree with this, we have 4 dogs, 3 working kelpi’s for the 2000 sheep & cattle we don’t even let the dogs bite while they muster, they wear muzzles that are fitted correctly and are taught to work/ I stopped truck drivers coming to our property with cattle prods as there is no need. All animals need is patience and time, take the time to teach them not smack them. My husband even caught 3 feral kittens and tamed them through touch & food so they now live in the house and are treated as valued members of the family.. Pets are companions, working animals protectors and deserve love and humane treatment

    • I LOVE that you made this comment Robyn as so clearly even if the situation where you’re working with animals, you have shown you don’t have to be cruel in order to get the job done. Those cattle prodders are horrible. And as for your adorable husband who obviously has patience and truly cares about animals in order to have turned the kittens from feral to family. There’s a lot of feral humans out there that could learn a lot from a man like this. Good on you both and thanks for sharing your thoughts. Lots of love to you and the whole family. Kittens included.x

      • Jo-Anne Grovermann I also agree with your column Amber. I don’t think the laws are strict or stong enough to deter people from treating their pets with utter disrespect and abuse when all the animal wants to give is unconditional love.
        19 hours ago · Like · 2

        • Margaret Weddell i agree with you 100%, amber, those people should be put in jail for at least four years. in new york there is this place called the aspca, and they have the same powers as the pol…See More
          19 hours ago · Like · 4

          • Lauren Brewer Completely agree with you column Amber. The force some exert is plain animal abuse.
            19 hours ago via mobile · Like · 1

  3. Hi Amber. There has been a lot of press recently regarding increasing dog attacks, and your article brings to light perhaps the reason for the increase. I however disagree with the big dog, small dog owner hatred. I also disagree with the fact that you have stated that big dogs are dangerous? Being a veterinary medicine student, with a large dog, the biggest sook in the world, I question where you get your information regarding ‘until such time as they’re (big dogs) oficially deemed a danger” ? Are you not perhaps just a small dog owner who is inciting the owner hatred/ misunderstanding. My dog runs around the dog park with Chihuahuahs !

    • HI there, thanks for taking the time to comment on my column this week. So I just wanted to confirm I certainly wasn’t saying big dogs are dangerous, I was just careful to cover myself by saying that I understand discipline is certainly necessary as there have been some atrocious attacks by dogs so an out of control dog is dangerous. But I totally agree with you that big dogs are often the sweetest and most gentle dogs in the world. I notice that alot at the park and I actually feel very sorry for some breeds that people instantly fear because of bad press. Like staffies, which are mostly the most loyal and as you say ‘sookiest’ dogs ever but people freak out a bit around them. And then there’s me with my little white fluffy Maltese Shitzu who has plenty of attitude (small dog syndrome) but no one’s scared of him. I think he’d like to think they are though. And no I would never incite hatred of any kind, it has just been my observation and over hearing comments from a certain few large dog owners about small dogs which I find kind of pathetic and pointless. In fact one guy with his dog was so rude to me one day, as we walked past him sitting at a cafe with his dog and his dog growled at mine – to which I didn’t think much of, until he starts mouthing off loudly enough for everyone to hear that small dogs these days are not trained properly and the owners’ need to be more accountable. It made no sense at all given what had gone down. anyway that’s my two cents worth, thanks for yours. And say hi to your dog!!!!!! From myself and Marley.

  4. I do consider all of the concepts you have presented in your post. They are very convincing and will certainly work. Still, the posts are very quick for beginners. May just you please extend them a bit from next time? Thanks for the post.

  5. Hi Amber.
    I totally agree with you about the bullying. I have 6 rescue dogs and of those 6, 5 have been abused, 2 were badly abused and it took months of work to get them to trust again.

    The problem with big dogs is not the dog itself, it is the idiot who holds the leash and thinks he is macho for having an aggressive dog.
    All dogs can be loving, loyal and gentle given the time, training and love they need.

    I admire what you said, I like that you are a voice for those who can’t speak.
    Keep up the good work.

    • Thank you so much for your comments but ESPECIALLY for being one of those angels that rescues dogs. I so hope to have the time and space to be able to do the same one day. I couldn’t do it now as I live in an apartment and it’s just not big enough. I also need more spare time to do the nurturing that you have so kindly chosen to do. I have no problems with big dogs at all, don’t get me wrong. In fact as I said to another person that wrote to me, big dogs are often the biggest softies of all. It’s just that when they are treated wrongly, or abused, they can be dangerous. Aggressive behaviour always leads to more aggressive behaviour. There’s NO need for it. Nearly all creatures in the world, including us humans respond to love. And give it in return. Loads of love to you and your doggie harem. You’re amazing.xxx

      • Connie O’Brien RSPCA do not do enough with how much profit they make. They still have the highest kill rate of all pounds in Australia and will get involved in abuse cases only if it suits their own ends. This I know from past experiences and I used to support them 100% until I found out the truth. Now they will get no support from me
        37 minutes ago · Like

        • Connie O’Brien I disagree Amber, the RSPCA are now a business, they profit they made was far in excess of $120 MILLION dollars last financial year and yet they still have the highest kill rate of all shelters. I have repeatedly reported abuse/neglect issues to them, but unless photographs etc are supplied, they won’t even check it out. My daughter rescued a badly neglected elderly Akita recently, she was starving and losing coat. She called the RSPCA to report it and that the owner also had another neglected dog. She was told that nothing will be done because she took ownership of the Akita and they were unlikely to check on the other one even though the dog was still there. I deal with animal rescue every day and to be honest with you RSPCA do so little with so much, whilst non profit shelters and rescues do so much with very little. They also try to go the NO KILL way. They had an ad up for a media manager a while ago and his salary was more than most people make in a year. Here is the sample taken from the ad “Median communications manager wanted by RSPCA. Salary $1500 per week average PLUS 9% Superanuation.”
          8 minutes ago · Like

          • Amber Petty That’s interesting stuff, thank you Connie. You and your daughter of are obviously big animal lovers. Tell me, what are some of the best not for profit animal shelters, we should give them a little mention here for what it’s worth. Thanks for sharing all this.x

          • Connie O’Brien There are so many Amber. flicks cat rescue, saw dog rescue, moorook animal shelter, help save the furry ones and pound rounds are just a few I know of and have dealt with. x
            a few seconds ago via mobile · Like

      • Amber Petty Hi Connie – from my experience or knowledge the RSPCA don’t get nearly enough money and what do you mean they only get involved in cases if it suits them? Can you give some examples? I only ask as you seem to have had experiences that have made you cranky with them so I’m interested. Cheers
        a few seconds ago · Like

  6. Hi Amber, and Wolfie well done from rescuIng all of those dogs! Agree with you both about the macho owners who do not train their dogs. Any dog that is not socialised from 4 weeks on may become aggressive, despite their size or breed. I am just sick of people assuming that large dog = aggressive. I have seen more smaller dogs that are aggressive than my massively oversized Shepherd Cross 2 year old sook. Unfortunately with so much press of late relating to mid sized dog attacks ( which is completely unacceptable) the general consensous is “oh quick, let’s cross the street… Look at the size of that dog”. My reply is that “he is friendly, but THANKS for asking!” Those dogs who attack, we’re also probably physically punished as puppies, such as the one in your story. Very sad.

    • Yep J, I agree, and that was really my point, about stupid owners being aggressive with their dogs and then damaging the dog. Small dogs that are damaged bite as well, just as much but of course it doesn’t make it to the press because it’s not as serious I guess. But it all comes down to those shockers that abuse their animals. I could really lose the plot if faced with enough of that in front of me. I almost did with the kids that I mentioned in the article. They were big enough that I could have shouted quite happily at them but I tried to tackle it more diplomatically but I gave up in the end. It is sad when people presume a big dog is a scary dog cause they are so cute!!!!!! I get a bit mental when I see that because I actually fear the dog knows they’re being judged. I don’t care so much about the owners feelings but I worry the dog knows. yes, I may be over thinking it just a tad. 🙂

  7. Thank you, Amber, for highlighting the cruelty that is often inflicted on animals by children “playing” with them. All children (all people) should be taught that animals have feelings – they feel pain, fear, terror, dread, much as we do – and need to be treated with care and consideration for their physical and mental welfare. Once again, thank you for writing that article in the Advertiser.

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