Coledale resident Dean French is one Tamworth householder who swears he feels safer at home with dogs in his backyard.
He is one of a growing number of residents who have assumed dog ownership for protection purposes and was among scores taking advantage of a free microchipping day at the Tamworth pound this week.
Mr French backed up comments from Detective Senior Constable Graham Goodwin earlier this week that one of the top tools in upgrading personal security at home was to get a dog – because the “gutless cowards” picking on many frail home occupants in the wave of recent break-ins would rather avoid houses with dogs.
Detective Senior Constable Goodwin suggested dogs were a good early-warning system but said in many cases, particularly in unit developments and multiple-occupancy blocks, dogs were not allowed.
Mr French says many others are following his lead in becoming dog owners.
“You can’t live in Coledale anymore without a dog. There are people running through your backyard and house, using it as a pathway to escape another house or stay out of sight,” Mr French, the owner of Cindy and Lucky, two large boxer-cross cattle dogs, said.
He said the suburb had become a hotspot for dog owners, with many buying canines for personal safety.
Kate Foley, another at the pound this week, recently got a staffy-cross cattle dog, which she is going to have trained to defend her house, because she feels unsafe at night.
Buddha will share a home with Crim, another new addition to the canine world, and a pitbull-cross staffy which has barely opened its eyes.
Buddha and Crim will add more security and a safety net for Vikk Perkins and Ms Foley.
The women say the dogs will help them sleep easier at night, not only protecting the home but also the owners and children who live there, in a suburb they say “is getting worse and worse”.
Mel Walsh, from Coledale, recently bought Happy, a fluffy Maltese-cross whose only purpose is to yap and bark and would probably only lick an intruder to death.
“But the bark is enough to keep them away and out of the yard,” Mrs Walsh said.
Robert Bullen owns six-month-old bull mastiff-cross Speckel.
“There are kids and people always jumping fences in everyone’s backyard. Speckel here is just to give them a fright, keep them away with a few barks, as well as be a good pet,” Mr Bullen said.