Dogs who cry wolf in the night
There's a lot of yapping in my tiny one-soi housing estate. Almost all my neighbours own a dog or two, mostly ankle-biters like miniature poodles, shih-tzus and Lhasa apsos, or mixtures thereof, all yappers.
The top dog of the soi is not small, being a lovely mixture of Alsatian (the European variety) and some other breeds. He's also usually silent. My neighbours tell me that he knows who lives where. In the middle of the night, should a stranger attempt to enter any house, this dog howls, alerting everyone to danger.
After last week's column on Tua-Poo, the beautiful but homicidal chow-chow from hell, a number of readers have sent me their comments. "I'm glad it was you and not me who met the doggie," wrote one reader cheerfully.
For all of Tua-Poo's life, however, his house was the only one in the upscale housing estate that was never robbed, or if it was, no one ever found the burglar's body.
Tua-Poo was never allowed outside his owner's spacious compound, and Top Dog's owner keeps him inside except in the mornings and evenings, when he is allowed to make his inspection rounds of the soi.
Top Dog has very gentle brown-green eyes. As I look at him through my fence, he turns his gaze away, a very polite behaviour indicating non-aggression. Let me step onto the soi when Top Dog is making his rounds, however, and his owner calls gently to him and orders him inside. He knows his dog better than I do, and although I've never seen Top Dog attack anyone, I don't want to find out the hard way if he has aggressive tendencies.
In complete contrast to this thoughtful owner, a reader tells me of a pack of Rottweilers allowed to prowl his soi at night. They don't even allow a motorcycle past.
Their owner has met the reader's complaints with: "Oh, they won't hurt anyone," but he was never around, was he, when the reader tried to motorcycle past the dogs at night.
Initially reluctant to bring in the police, he finally, in desperation, lodged a complaint. The police had the good sense to check the problem out at night, not during the day when the dogs were in the house, and instructed the owner to cage his dogs or move them to a less populated area.
The situation remains dangerous. By law, the police can only warn the owner. He is liable for just a Bt1,000 fine should his dog bite someone.
Early this morning, I heard Top Dog's howling, a distraught wail that carried through the night air. At first I thought his owner was beating him, but when I looked outside, I saw neighbours on the street or peeking out of windows, waiting for a traumatised burglar to emerge.
"It's all right!" the owner finally called out. "No one's here! The dog is just making noise!" We all relaxed and went back to bed.
So what if the dog cries wolf occasionally? At least we know the burglar alarm works.
Questions about your pets? Fax (02) 751 4446 or e-mail email@example.com.
By Laurie Rosenthal