Many people around Canberra, particularly in the Gungahlin region, will be familiar with Franklin. No, not the suburb of Franklin. Franklin is a dog, a Maremma Sheepdog. He’s beautiful. Long white fur, a big doggy grin on his face as he trots along. Franklin is famous. He has a Facebook page and a legion of fans. But Franklin is homeless. He doesn’t have an owner.
Franklin was adopted a few years ago by a family in Downer but he escaped that same day and ended up hanging around in Franklin (hence the name!). He wanders around Gungahlin, from suburb to suburb.
There is a bit of a debate going on at the moment as to what should be done with Franklin. The majority of people seem to think Franklin should be left to do as he pleases because he’s not hurting anyone.
While Franklin may be mostly harmless (however there are social media reports that he has tried to bite people on more than one occasion), but we, as a community, can not let this dog live on the streets. People have this romanticised fantasy about the fluffy white magical dog they see wandering around their suburb. Would people behave the same if Franklin was a staffy or a bulldog, with a short brown coat rather than a long white one? Of course not. Everyone would be calling for him to be trapped by DAS, no matter how friendly or harmless the dog is.
Franklin has no proper, coordinated care. There are many people that are kind enough to feed him so he doesn’t go hungry, however there’s no actual record of what Franklin is being fed and what kind of nutrition he’s getting. Franklin was witnessed being fed cooked chicken bones on at least one occasion. Cooked bones are extremely dangerous for dogs as they can splinter in their stomach. People are also said to provide Franklin with worming treatments but again, there is no record or official process of who is giving Franklin what. The poor dog could end up overdosed on worming medication.
Then there’s the roads. Gungahlin is getting busier and busier as the population grows. Franklin has no road sense, as demonstrated by the many photos on his Facebook page showing him wandering up the middle of roads and the numerous anecdotes left on the page by residents saying they have nearly hit Franklin with their car.
This is no life for a dog.
Franklin needs to be relocated.
I am not suggesting Franklin goes to the pound or to the RSPCA. I am not suggesting Franklin should be euthanised. I am not suggesting Franklin be rehomed in a suburban backyard.
The Maremma breed of dog likes to roam in wide open spaces. They often don’t do well as your typical backyard pet dog.
Maremma Rescue in Victoria have offered to help capture and rehome Franklin. If these efforts were successful, Franklin would be rehomed on a property or a farm where he can roam far and wide but do so safely. He would receive proper veterinary care, have consistent nutrition, and wouldn’t be in danger of being hit by a car.
Franklin is a beautiful dog and while it’s an absolute joy to see him, he deserves better than this. It’s time for Franklin to go to his new home.
Image from Franklin’s FB page.