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Good Housekeeping
by Chrissy Icamina-Dalusong
Animal adventures with shih tzu Papi and his pet-loving person
February 28, 1289

Is it against the law to run over a dog?

Dogs run out of houses all the time--sometimes with tragic consequences. Chrissy ponders on who, if anyone, is to blame.
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100908_running_dogs.jpgHouse gates are open. Dog smells a cat and runs after it out on the street. Car accidentally runs over dog. This is one of a dog owner’s worst nightmares. All dogs pass away, but hearing about those who have lost a beloved pooch this way—totally unexpected and virtually at the hands of someone else—saddens and scares the dog poo out of me.

I recently heard of a husband and wife losing a shih-tzu to a speeding SUV, and, knowing how much they loved their dog, you can’t really pin the death of their dog on negligence. Accidents happen. And if it had been a little child who had run out of the gate and got run over by a speeding vehicle inside a gated community, I’d hardly think anyone would blame the kid’s parents.

But why do dogs take off like escaped convicts, anyway? If your dog is male and unneutered, something must be in the air: a bitch in heat. Having your furry best friend neutered stands a 90 percent chance of reducing his, well, animalistic needs.

Another reason a dog likes running off is because all work and no play makes Bantay a dull—and very bored—dog. Boredom kills, and in this case, it may do so literally for an active dog. Regularly walking and playing with your dog will stimulate his mind and body. His dog instincts may also compel him to dash out of your house. Seeing a cat, mouse, or even another dog will drive him to run after it. So if you know your furry best friend can sprint like an Olympian, keep him leashed whenever someone opens your house gate.

On the other hand, fear often causes flight. Loud noises such as fireworks, construction, or thunderstorms may frighten the poor thing. If he’s scared, he may go on running until he feels he’s gotten out of harm’s way. Once you’ve figured out what scares your dog, try to make him feel safe by keeping him away from his source of stress.

But what if the worst happens? Is the driver of the car that runs over the dog liable? In some states in the US, if you do a hit-and-run with a dog, you will be cited for leaving the scene. A driver whose vehicle hits a dog or cat is required by law to find the animal’s owner or at least inform law enforcement within the vicinity while taking necessary steps to make sure the injured animal receives proper medical attention. Pets are also considered “owned property” in the US, so hitting one is much like running over a household’s mailbox—you have to pay for it to be fixed or replaced, which auto insurance plans can and do cover.

Here in the Philippines, Section 6 of Republic Act 8485 or “The Animal Welfare Act of 1998” states: “It shall be unlawful for any person to torture any animal, or to neglect to provide adequate care, sustenance or shelter, or maltreat any animal or to subject any dog or horse to dogfights or horsefights, kill or cause or produce to be tortured or deprived of adequate care, sustenance or shelter, or maltreat or use the same in research of expressly authorized by the Committee on Animal Welfare.”

The law means well, however vague it may be. But if a much loved dog, a member of a family, has been run over by a careless driver inside a subdivision with a speed limit and where children feel safe enough to play on the streets, I wouldn’t blame the dog owner who entertains the thought of taking the law into his own hands.

(Photo by Thang Nguyen via Wikimedia Commons)

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  • Joy Sep 08 2010 @ 05:52pm Report Abuse
    i myself experienced this, i literally saw my dog being runned over by a car, it was very devastating for me because he was my best friend :(
    Last modified A long time ago
  • Bona Sep 15 2010 @ 10:48pm Report Abuse
    My dog did just that one evening. Luckily, the driver hit the breaks in the nick of time. Doggie injured his paw but it was no biggie. I definitely wanted to maul the young man behind the wheel. But he didn't flee the scene. He even checked on Doggie who was licking his wound. He even offered to pay for vet fees. We got lucky I guess.

    Last modified A long time ago
  • nudork Sep 21 2010 @ 10:44am Report Abuse
    Its just about management, if a dog isnt taught to remain within the perimeters then it wont know not to run out.

    There is a school in makati that helps families with their family pets and train the family members management tools for their pets that focus on positive reinforcement. Its called better dog. They have an agility course and U.S trained instructors.. Im pretty sure they can teach dogs not to run out of gates and doors. Im sure this dreadful accident could have been avoided with training.


    [i]Chaotic neutral geek cheerleader, nitro nerd ,wannabe 3p1c alpha geek of the new dork renaissance and generally slightly confused half of the time.[/i]


    Last modified A long time ago
  • Cherleen Oct 10 2010 @ 10:45am Report Abuse
    It is already stated... "It shall be unlawful for any person to... KILL or CAUSE..." need we say more?
    Last modified A long time ago
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