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It’s time to do the right thing by Franklin

By Guest Contributor 2 February 2016 19

franklin

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.

What’s Your opinion?


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19 Responses to
It’s time to do the right thing by Franklin
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ungruntled 10:13 pm 10 Feb 16

Alexandra Craig said :

henryans said :

>Maremma Rescue in Victoria have offered to help capture and rehome Franklin
Ok then, you know what you have to do.
Get off the keyboard and go and help him

I don’t think it’s as simple as that – they legally can’t trap on public land and would need permission to trap on private land… I remember reading in the news the other day that they tried to do this once but no one in Gungahlin would give them permission to trap in their yard.

How selfish is that? I like being able to look at him, so I’m not going to let him have a good safe life

joingler 7:38 pm 05 Feb 16

dungfungus said :

This is starting to sound like a publicity stunt for the soon to be released movie “Oddball” which is set in Victoria and is about one of these dogs protecting an island with a fox-depleted colony of Fairy Penguins on it.

Oddball was released months ago. Great movie as well

Ghettosmurf87 10:22 am 05 Feb 16

dungfungus said :

This is starting to sound like a publicity stunt for the soon to be released movie “Oddball” which is set in Victoria and is about one of these dogs protecting an island with a fox-depleted colony of Fairy Penguins on it.

Considering the responses here and on FB that acknowledge the existence and plight of this dog, I would suggest that maybe what you see is what you get and there’s no need to huddle under the sheets in fear of the reds under the bed.

dungfungus 8:46 am 05 Feb 16

This is starting to sound like a publicity stunt for the soon to be released movie “Oddball” which is set in Victoria and is about one of these dogs protecting an island with a fox-depleted colony of Fairy Penguins on it.

Alexandra Craig 1:40 pm 04 Feb 16

henryans said :

>Maremma Rescue in Victoria have offered to help capture and rehome Franklin
Ok then, you know what you have to do.
Get off the keyboard and go and help him

I don’t think it’s as simple as that – they legally can’t trap on public land and would need permission to trap on private land… I remember reading in the news the other day that they tried to do this once but no one in Gungahlin would give them permission to trap in their yard.

henryans 11:40 am 04 Feb 16

>Maremma Rescue in Victoria have offered to help capture and rehome Franklin
Ok then, you know what you have to do.
Get off the keyboard and go and help him

Mysteryman 9:58 am 04 Feb 16

No_Nose said :

Whilst many people think this it is wonderful for this animal to be a ‘roaming free spirit’ the simple fact is that without intervention this will not end peacefully, well or in a pretty fashion.

Animals in the wild do not just pass away peacefully in their sleep surrounded by friends and family.

At the risk of being moderated for stating gruesome facts, they die painfully and slowly usually with parts of their bodies becoming infected and rotting often with their eyes being picked by birds or insects whilst they are still alive and too weak to do anything about it.

I’m sorry for that image spoiling some peoples morning latte, but it is a fact for wild animals. Is that what we want for this domesticated animal?

Intervention is needed sooner rather than later.

Agreed. The laws exist for a reason. I’m tired of the starry-eyed, fantasy-land dwellers thinking anything that makes them feel warm and fuzzy should be an exception to the rules.

Alexandra Craig 8:31 am 04 Feb 16

prescott said :

I don’t particularly feel he’s a danger to the community, and I would hope my kids have been taught enough sense to not go and pat random dogs on the street. I’m a dog owner and from what I’ve observed he’s not in any distress, and is quite happy doing what he’s doing. And yes there’s some romanticism to his story, and he lights up people’s days. Don’t we need more of that around here, and not less?

It’s not so much about him being a danger to others, although I personally know someone who Franklin tried to bite, but moreso about his lifestyle being a danger to himself. All these people that love seeing Franklin, would they be happy to see him bloodied and broken on the side of the road?

gazket said :

While Franklin may be mostly harmless (however there are social media reports that he has tried to bite people on more than one occasion),

social media reports. It must be true then hey. If the dog had bit people I’m sure this would be major news in a sooky town like Canberra . People here get scared because there crowds at certain time of the year.

It did say “tried to bite”.

prescott 12:53 am 04 Feb 16

I’ve seen him around a number of times (e.g. today), including crossing at a pedestrian crossing, so I think his lack of road sense may be underrated 🙂

I don’t particularly feel he’s a danger to the community, and I would hope my kids have been taught enough sense to not go and pat random dogs on the street. I’m a dog owner and from what I’ve observed he’s not in any distress, and is quite happy doing what he’s doing. And yes there’s some romanticism to his story, and he lights up people’s days. Don’t we need more of that around here, and not less?

gazket 4:56 pm 03 Feb 16

While Franklin may be mostly harmless (however there are social media reports that he has tried to bite people on more than one occasion),

social media reports. It must be true then hey. If the dog had bit people I’m sure this would be major news in a sooky town like Canberra . People here get scared because there crowds at certain time of the year.

JessP 3:33 pm 03 Feb 16

In the olden days when I was a kid, dogs roaming the streets wasn’t unusual. Maybe not a great idea but not unusual.

Whilst I like the concept that Franklin runs free, it was heartening to see that he has been going to see Barbara and Andy in Gungahlin who appear to be feeding and caring for him. Maremmas are solitary animals who generally bound with their flocks (sheep/cattle/whatevers), they aren’t as people orientated as your average dog, although he has built some relationships.

The problem I guess will be if one day he doesn’t cross a road safely or does get sick away from the people caring for him.

Isn’t there are property somewhere near Canberra where he could be rehomed? And a flock – and family – he could call his own?

Genie 12:57 pm 03 Feb 16

Smithers said :

I’m confused why this pooch hasn’t been captured by the usual folks? How come its been dragged out this long?

http://www.mygungahlin.com.au/posts/franklin-the-maremma-of-gungahlin

The linked post is a little out of date now, but he was proving too difficult to catch so an agreement was made to let him be.

squib 12:05 pm 03 Feb 16

Owners details are on his microchip and registration so yes they are legal owners.

Should he be caught, Maremma Rescue Victoria would contact the owners and see if they are interested in surrendering him to them and signing change of ownership forms. If contact is made with the owners and they do not want to surrender him, then it is up to them to decide what they want to do with him.

If no contact can be made with previous owners he would need to be impounded for 7 days and could then be released to rescue.

Smithers 11:32 am 03 Feb 16

I’m confused why this pooch hasn’t been captured by the usual folks? How come its been dragged out this long?

rommeldog56 6:57 pm 02 Feb 16

rubaiyat said :

He is probably pining for the sheep he is bred to guard.Not finding them anymore in Gungahlin he has settled for the next best thing, the Canberrans who have replaced the sheep.

If you mean the Canberrian “sheep” who take the ACT Gov’t spin on Light Rail, who think that the BCR of 1:1.2 is such a great ROI that we will throw b$1 of ratepayers $ at it, that Canberra actually has real traffic congestion, that Canberra needs to “grow up”, that Light Rail is the solution to Canberra ‘s traffic woes, that Light Rail is actually about public transport – rather than development, that the Light Rail, however imperfect the route “is better than nothing” and that it really will extend to Woden/Tuggeranong/Belco, etc, that there is no ACT budget or fiscal priotities setting problem, that Annual Rates need to triple just to pay for the upkeep of the place, that more MLAs will deliver better decision making, that the smell from the Mugga Lane tip doesn’t exist, that think that Tuggeranong Labour MLAs actually do anything to represent Tuggeranong residents….etc…..etc.

Yep – those apathetic Canberra “sheep”. Then I agree with you.

Dreadnaught1905 2:50 pm 02 Feb 16

I’m somewhat confused about what the legal aspects are regarding everyone’s favourite Gungahlin Maremma, Franklin.
I’ve seen in multiple places now the statement that:

Franklin was adopted a few years ago by a family in Downer but he escaped that same day

Does this mean that this family are the current registered owners of this dog, and are therefore responsible for him?

Is Franklin considered abandoned property? Can such a concept exist with a dog? I had a brief glance at the Animal Welfare Legislation in the ACT, but apart from abandoning an animal being an offence, there was nothing to indicate what the legal process was once the animal was abandoned. It does not seem to be covered by the Uncollected Goods act (presumably a companion animal is not considered “goods”).

What are the legal implications if Maremma Rescue in Victoria have a wander up to Canberra and re-home Franklin without explicit consent from either TAMS or the owners in Downer (if owners they be)?

Can anyone shed some light on the legal aspects?

justin heywood 12:52 pm 02 Feb 16

No_Nose said :

Whilst many people think this it is wonderful for this animal to be a ‘roaming free spirit’ the simple fact is that without intervention this will not end peacefully, well or in a pretty fashion.

Animals in the wild do not just pass away peacefully in their sleep surrounded by friends and family.

At the risk of being moderated for stating gruesome facts, they die painfully and slowly usually with parts of their bodies becoming infected and rotting often with their eyes being picked by birds or insects whilst they are still alive and too weak to do anything about it.

I’m sorry for that image spoiling some peoples morning latte, but it is a fact for wild animals. Is that what we want for this domesticated animal?

Intervention is needed sooner rather than later.

Sadly, I think you’re exactly right. Beautiful dogs Maremmas, and the idea that he just wanders around being cared for by the community might please us, but it probably won’t end well for him.

rubaiyat 12:48 pm 02 Feb 16

He is probably pining for the sheep he is bred to guard.

Not finding them anymore in Gungahlin he has settled for the next best thing, the Canberrans who have replaced the sheep.

No_Nose 9:45 am 02 Feb 16

Whilst many people think this it is wonderful for this animal to be a ‘roaming free spirit’ the simple fact is that without intervention this will not end peacefully, well or in a pretty fashion.

Animals in the wild do not just pass away peacefully in their sleep surrounded by friends and family.

At the risk of being moderated for stating gruesome facts, they die painfully and slowly usually with parts of their bodies becoming infected and rotting often with their eyes being picked by birds or insects whilst they are still alive and too weak to do anything about it.

I’m sorry for that image spoiling some peoples morning latte, but it is a fact for wild animals. Is that what we want for this domesticated animal?

Intervention is needed sooner rather than later.

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