Document Type

Response or Comment

Publication Date



In his article, "A Strategy for Dog Owner Education," (2(1):13-15, 1981), Dr. Ian Dunbar reveals his masterplan: Pet owners are not, he claims, irresponsible, they are for the most part merely "ignorant." We must, therefor, educate them, and to do this we must somehow contrive to have potential pet owners apply for a license before they may obtain their dog. At the same time as this initial application is made, the hopeful candidate would be issued with an information package, the content of which he or she would be tested on at some indeterminate future date. Although a failure to score well on this quiz might not incur an outright rejection, it most certainly would spark a further onslaught of "information" designed to eradicate the offending areas of ignorance. The opportunity to finance this program might very well be eagerly embraced, according to Dunbar, by the "exposure-hungry" pet food industry, and the end result would be a humane society which had happily abdicated its role as "exterminator" in favor of the more gentle and refined practice of licensing.

On the surface these suggestion appear to offer a utopian solution to the nagging problem of what I, for one, still prefer to call irresponsible pet ownership. However, in the final analysis, I fear that the plan stands on questionable theoretical and practical grounds; I would caution against its implementation.


Written in response to the article "A Strategy for Dog Owner Education," by Dr. Ian Dunbar, which appeared in Volume 2, Number 1 of the International Journal for the Study of Animal Problems.

Dr. Dunbar's rebuttal will be carried in the next issue, Volume 3, Number 1.