Friday, 29 March 2013

Man bites Dog


To relax from the grind of work and the horrors of commuting I have become a serial dog walker.  My elderly Golden Retriever and I enjoy the amazing free amenity of walking through our beautiful countryside on a network of footpaths that have been a right of way for centuries.  Occasionally, this rural idyll is shattered when we meet an owner who has a killer dog for a pet.  There is no nice way of saying this but these owners are not the Mercedes driving, Barbour wearing crowd who offer a polite good morning as we pass.  No, they are more likely to be wearing an over-sized baseball cap and huge trainers.  One cannot help wondering if their choice of dogs isn't also an important part of the image - as its is for us Golden Retriever types!

Would you live with this in your home?

To safety navigate the killer dog owners without having my dog eaten or my leg bitten is an vital skill to develop, where ever you live in England.

This day to day problem is the backdrop to the awful news earlier this week that an English teenager was mauled to death by a pack of dogs (Staffordshire Bull Terriers and Bull Mastiffs) when visiting a friend's house.  Her death has left a community devastated, a family distraught and the public debate on what to do with dangerous dogs raging.

We should be appalled by this incident but should we be surprised. The sad truth is that for a section of our broken society dangerous dogs are something of a fashion accessory.  Strutting around the district with a four legged killing machine gives a growing minority of dog owners a kick and some much needed self esteem.  Also breeding these dogs is a helpful way of generating income in inner city areas. Puppies from a Staffordshire bull Terrier will sell for £300-£400 each, so the industry now vies with drug distribution and racketeering as a gainful employment for a broken underclass.

We have failed to deal with this growing problem over the years and this is mainly because our liberal elite are always nervous of legislation that obviously penalises this section of our society.  This social distinction in the ownership of these killer dogs is the main reason the dangerous dogs act has been such a failure.  We can be sure that the toxic cocktail of dogs bred for killing (Staffordshire Bull Terriers were bred for bull baiting) and owners who haven't the first clue in animal husbandry will be the cause of more deaths.  The statistics are already worrying with over 120,000 dog attacks every year and most of these on children.  Almost one in three dog owners have been bitten or attacked by a dog.

There are some initiatives on the way - micro-chipping of all dogs by 2016, and the introduction of  Dog Control Notices, as introduced in Scotland and currently under consideration in Wales, and might be extended to England.  My preference is to beef up the dog licencing to ensure that any dog owner can prove:
  1. They can afford to keep a dog, including a more expensive licence
  2. They understand how to train and take good care of the dog
  3. They understand their liabilities as an owner 
And we should also ban the pet ownership of our most dangerous breeds like we have banned hand guns.  - list here http://www.thedailybeast.com/galleries/2010/10/29/dangerous-dogs.html

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