Animal shelters are full of good intentions gone wrong.
Dogs that were bought as cute little puppies often end up as big out-of-control dogs with no manners -- and families make the hard decision to get rid of the mistake they made.
An event is being held Sunday in Merced to help dog owners, and people who are thinking of getting a dog, learn how to be a good owner.
Responsible Dog Owners Day is an event started by the American Kennel Club in 2003 as a way to draw attention to what it means to be a responsible dog owner.
"We saw there was new legislation coming out that was targeting irresponsible dog owners and hurting responsible dog owners," said Lisa Peterson, spokeswoman for the AKC. "This is a great opportunity to let people, especially first-time dog owners, know what it's like to own a dog."
The event Sunday at the Merced County Fairgrounds is being sponsored by the Yosemite Kennel Club and is free to the public. Kathy Brown, a longtime Shetland sheepdog breeder in Merced, is chairwoman of the event.
"This is an opportunity for all dog owners, owners of mixed breeds as well as purebreds, to come together and learn," Brown said. "It's a very informal day, a day for families."
Included at the event will be a variety of purebred dogs, obedience demonstrations, grooming demos, games for dogs and their owners and contests.
The contests will include best kissing dog, best dog trick, best singer and best costume.
"The contests will be judged by the audience," Brown said. There will also be prizes for the owners.
The Merced County Sheriff's Department will have both drug-sniffing and protection dogs at the event. Flyball and agility dogs will show their talents. Pictures of dogs and their owners will be available for a nominal fee.
"We want people to come and have fun and learn about activities they can do with their dogs," Brown said.
Reporter Carol Reiter can be reached at (209) 385-2486 or firstname.lastname@example.org.