Deed not Breed

The other night I watched a program called Barking Mad, it was about the level of dog attacks in the UK and the current legislation around dangerous dogs. The bit that really upset me was watching a 10 month old stray dog Marley be put down. He had been categorised as a pit-bull and because of this there was no option of re-homing him. He had to be destroyed. I felt so sorry for this young pup; he hadn’t done anything wrong and was put down for what he looked like.

I understand there were four breeds of dogs banned in the UK some time ago but apparently this has not reduced the number of dog attacks in the UK.

I can’t believe it’s taken nearly 20 years to realise that banning a small number of breeds will not wipe out dog attacks. I’m not saying I have the answer either. One of the things that was talked about was micro-chipping all dogs. Now is it me or does this not make sense? I mean a microchip will not alter the way it behaves. I understand that if a dog did attack then it is easier to trace the owner but isn’t that a bit like closing the stable door after the horse has bolted?

My dog is micro-chipped; this is because I love her dearly and if she were to go missing there is a chance that if she were to be scanned I could be contacted. It’s sad to think that not all dog owners feel the same way, especially as there are often opportunities to get this done for free. If this legislation were to be introduced would it be the police who would enforce it and how would this happen? What impact will this have on dog attacks?

Another suggestion is that all dogs should be muzzled in public. In my personal opinion I don’t like this idea, mainly because it seems all dogs would be punished for the deeds of a few. To be honest I just don’t like the look of muzzles. The weather here has been humid over the last couple of days so one evening I left it until around 9pm to walk Daisy so it was a bit cooler for her. When you walk at the same time everyday it is inevitable that you see the same people and dogs. Going out that bit later meant there were different people and dogs around. I noticed that most of the dogs being walked at that time were muzzled. They looked intimidating and made me wonder what they had done to need a muzzle?  Most of the owners seemed a bit on edge and some were being dragged by their dogs. They were bigger breeds and it gave me the impression that these dogs weren’t to be trusted and the reason they were out later was to avoid meeting other people / dogs. It made for a strange atmosphere.

The one thing I did agree with is that if a dog attacks on private property then the same rules should apply as in the public. There was a post-man who had been mauled by two Staffordshire Bull Terriers, it happened on private property and there were no prosecutions and no come backs. I found that pretty unbelievable. That man was going about his job, I’m sure he said it was on the driveway of a property. I cannot believe that there wasn’t one piece of legislation that made neither the dogs or the owner responsible for that attack. I don’t believe dogs should be kept in a front garden if people want their post delivered. Obviously if someone breaks in and the dog attacks well then the rules shouldn’t apply there, the owner doesn’t have a chance to keep the dog under control. I spoke to my partner about this and he described a case that happened recently where a young girl went into a neighbours back garden and a dog mauled her face. Now this is a very tricky one. I have every sympathy for both the young girl and her family, this is a tragic situation. However, there is a part of me that also feels for the dog and its owner. If the dog is secure in its own back garden then I can’t see that there is much the owner could have done to prevent the situation. I’m assuming the dog felt threatened by someone intruding on its property. Honestly all I can say is what a terrible situation. My dog is completely daft with people and when anyone gives her eye contact in public she immediately rolls onto her back for a belly tickle. I joked that she wasn’t much of a guard dog and she would do the same if we were burgled. Then one day I had been locked out so I went around the back to try the backdoor in the small chance it had been left open. As I started walking down the path Daisy was barking like crazy and launching herself at the window. I had never seen her like this and it scared me. I spoke to her through the window and she recognises me, before starting to cry and whine. Her reaction was obviously instinctive and has definitely not been trained into her.

My only offering is, and it’s not that great as it’s the same scenario as the micro-chip idea – council run dog obedience courses. I wanted to take my puppy along to a dog obedience course and I didn’t know where to start, there are all sorts of people out there claiming to be dog experts and accredited trainers etc. How am I to know these people are genuine? I asked around friends and family and had some good recommendations but no one could point me in the direction of someone local. I then saw that the council were running courses as part of the adult education they run. I was gutted that the course had already started a few weeks before and enquired as to when they would be due to run another. Unfortunately no one got back to me. But I believe the course would have been ideal and also quite reasonably priced. I’m not saying that the council / government should take responsibility for everything, but I did think this was a fantastic idea. Lots of opportunities could be made of this but again I’m not claiming this is the solution as people who want to be irresponsible dog owners would not take part.

Anyway, I just believe that the legislation around breeds should be scrapped. It should be the deed that counts.



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