In Mastic Beach, New York, the Suffolk County SPCA detectives have charged a dog owner with animal cruelty. According to the Suffolk County SPCA press release, Brian Hills, 41, faces misdemeanor animal cruelty after an investigation alleges that Hills repeatedly shocked his two-year-old Doberman Pinscher with a shock collar – severe enough to cause the dog to cry out in pain.
Hills is scheduled to appear in the First District Court in Central Islip on February 1. If found guilty of the offense, he could face up to a $1,000 fine or a year in jail.
Shock collars came into use in the 1960s and were designed to train hunting dogs. In modern times, the collars are used to train dogs out of stubborn and unwanted behaviors – excessive barking, train puppies, food aggression or chewing on those designer heels. Normally the collar is safe and can get a dog’s attention and deter certain behaviors, but care should be taken when setting “shock” mode levels and should be directly associated with the behavior an owner is trying to discourage.
Dog owners are advised to think twice before resorting to a shock collar. Below are some concerns:
Most pet owners would never want to cause pain to their pets, and even checking the intensity of the shock, behavior modification via punishment is not recommended. Good trainers use positive reinforcement to correct behaviors.
Dog owners never want to train a dog with fear. Shock training may cause dogs to fear people, objects or situations they associate with the collar.
If a dog owner isn’t home, bark collars and electric fences may render a shock and cause an over-correction to a problem that doesn’t even exist.
No Positive Reward
A shock collar can deter unwanted behavior perhaps barking too much or jumping on a baby, they do not reinforce good behavior with a positive reward such as affection, verbal approval or a delicious treat.
According to Chief Gross, animal cruelty will not be tolerated in Suffolk County. Anyone witnessing an animal being abused or neglected in the county, is urged to contact the Suffolk County SPCA at 631.382.7722.
(Information via the Canine Journal)
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