Give A Dog (Campaigner) A Bad Name…

July 31, 2012 14 Comments
By

Scores of people are to take to the streets of Nottingham this weekend in protest against dangerous dog legislation.

Good! Protesting that it’s useless and doesn’t go far enough, I presume?

Rescue workers and dog lovers alike are demonstrating against Breed Specific Legislation, which under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 (Section 1) bans certain types of dogs in the UK.

Oh. Great.

Now, while I might have some sympathy with the anti-BSL people, and find the DDA about as useful in protecting the public as a wet paper bag, what’s done is done.

Certain breeds were considered so inherently dangerous that they were declared persona-non-grata in this country. Rigorous enforcement of that legislation (which is where all such legislation falls down, really, isn’t it?) should have seen the last one die of old age years ago.

We have enough large legal breeds capable of mayhem. We don’t need to encourage more.

That said… well, the campaign has its PR problems, in its less coherent members:

Pauline Cole, who has been helping to organise a number of the protests, maintains it is “a racist law” .

*stunned disbelief*

She’s got room in that mouth for another foot, though:

“It’s heartbreaking to see what people are going through,” she said.

“You just see the high profile cases, that’s all people see. They don’t see the normal family at number 52 whose dog had been taken, incarcerated and murdered.”

Animals aren’t ‘murdered’. And when you look at the claims made that ‘normal families’ have been affected unduly by this legislation, you come up somewhat short.

Most children savaged by these dogs are the children of the owner, or friends of the owner. Attacks on strangers are, mercifully, rare.

The Dangerous Dogs Act Study Group, made up of animal welfare organisations, veterinary professionals and local authorities, maintains the legislation has created a ‘status dog’ problem.

No. lax enforcement of anti-social behaviour legislation, police indifference/incompetence and court-sanctioned tolerance of irresponsible owners has created a ‘status dog’ problem.

As a result of their complaints, campaigners are calling for a number of alterations to be made. Firstly, many say microchipping is a vital first step. The Dogs Trust believes “compulsory microchipping of all dogsshould form a central part of any future policy on tackling irresponsible dog ownership.”It explains: “Microchipping will not prevent attacks, but we believe that it is the most effective way to link a dog to its owner, and to make irresponsible owners accountable for the actions of their dog.”

Looking back at the last handful of cases of attacks on pets or children, identification of ownership of the dog has hardly ever been an issue.

So just why should microchipping all dogs be suggested as an answer? It makes me wonder who it is that has stock in pet chip companies!

Protesters also advocate the removal of the stipulation to kennel dogs while court proceedings are pending. As it stands, seized dogs are kept by police until a decision is reached on whether it needs to be destroyed or released. This can take several weeks or months, during which times owners are not allowed to visit their dogs.Many campaigners also believe mechanisms should be put in place to allow responsible owners to make applications to court for their dog to be registered, and for magistrates to be given a new power to allow a dog to be returned home on ‘bail’ pending a case being concluded. This, campaigners say, would improve welfare for dogs.

I could care less about the ‘welfare’ of a dog that’s savaged a child or another pet (maybe to death) or that is seized by the police because it’s thought to be one of the banned breeds. And, frankly, if the length of time it takes to get to court is an issue, fix that! Don’t simply release Fang back to the care of his useless owner.

The problem with the large bull-type breeds is that, no matter how careful and responsible the owner, they are autonomous beings, and they have the potential to cause great damage should they flip out.

As is pointed out in the comments:

by freesia66

“Whilst you lot held your protest today, my 16 week old puppy was attacked by a Staff both dogs were on a lead, and had met before, the owner was a pleasant elderly gentleman who assured us he would’t stand for that kind of behaviour from his dog. My springer pup has had to have a tear in his ear sewn back together and received punture wounds to his skull. It was unprovoked and without warning, the owner of the staff was more shocked I believe than we were, come on people, we can’t control the dogs who arn’t on the dangerous dogs register, what makes your think we can manager the even stonger ones that are???? Lets bear in mind this staff attacked a puppy. By the way this little incident which you lot obviously don’t care about has cost us over £300. This incident could of been alot worse if the staff had managed to get a better hold on my pup.”

Precisely!

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14 Responses to Give A Dog (Campaigner) A Bad Name…

  1. July 31, 2012 at 9:28 am

    I’m gonna have to disagree at least a little. I fully agree that if a dog attacks someone then it needs to be dealt with, but we need to consider protections for those who are accused but innocent.

    For a lot of people a dog is part of the family, and having your dog taken away and stuck in kennels for months on end while you can’t even visit would be heartbreaking. By all means, punish the guilty – but what about protecting the innocent? At least visits should be permitted…

    • August 1, 2012 at 6:54 am

      If the system was speeded up, visits wouldn’t be necessary.

  2. Mudplugger
    July 31, 2012 at 9:34 am

    Guide-dogs, sheep-dogs, sniffer-dogs and rescue-dogs etc. all perform valuable services and are to be admired. The rest are an affectation – there is no logical reason for domestic dog ownership.

    Similar to motor-cars, all dogs have scope for great danger to the innocent and their ownership should be similarly managed, with legal responsibility attributed to the ‘registered keeper’.

    And we already have a perfect system in place to manage it – the DVLA car ownership system. This requires that each unit be uniquely marked, that every change of ownership is reported promptly, that the current registered keeper is held responsible for its offences, and it requires that each unit bears a minimum level of third-party insurance.

    The dangerous dog problem has become a sick joke because no-one has ever grasped the key issue of domestic dog ownership itself. By tweaking the DVLA system to accommodate all Fidos, we would start to create order out of this chaos by defining dog-ownership as a known, but voluntary, high-risk activity which comes with responsibilities.

    Is that libertarian ? Well, you’re still entirely free to own a dog, but you must then face up to the full responsibilities which go with that. Your choice.

    • July 31, 2012 at 1:05 pm

      I respectfully have to disagree. That argument can be applied to almost anything. Here, let me try:

      The world is overpopulated, and people suffer because there is not enough to go around. Many people want to be parents – a selfish desire for companionship that places a burden upon the state and those around them. There is no logical reason to have a child.

      Similar to motor-cars, all children have scope for great danger to the innocent (particularly when grown up – over 93% of all murderers were once children, according to a recent study) and their parentship should be similarly managed, with legal responsibility attributed to the ‘parents’.

      And we already have a perfect system in place to manage it – the DVLA car ownership system. This requires that each unit be uniquely marked, that every change of parentship is reported promptly, that the current registered keeper is held responsible for its offences, and it requires that each unit bears a minimum level of third-party insurance.

      The dangerous person problem has become a sick joke because no-one has ever grasped the key issue of domestic parentship itself. Parents simply refuse to take responsibility for their offspring, and often excuse their actuons. By tweaking the DVLA system to accommodate all children, we would start to create order out of this chaos by defining parentship as a known, but voluntary, high-risk activity which comes with responsibilities.

      Is that libertarian ? Well, you’re still entirely free to have a child, but you must then face up to the full responsibilities which go with that. Your choice.

      (I’m not saying that there’s not a problem with dangerous dogs – but the number that are not a problem outweigh those that are by a massive amount, and the legislation proposed will impact all dog owners to a disproportionate amount)

      • abrupt
        July 31, 2012 at 10:01 pm

        “the legislation proposed will impact all”

        This is now the standard approach:

        1) Fail to enforce existing law.

        2) Announce new legislation that will “solve” the problem.

        3) Ensure the new legislation affects the whole population by including negative reporting. (You must repond if only to say No)

        4) Stand idly by as the unruly few continue to flout the new law.

        5) Gaze fondly on the revenue stream provided by the lawful majority who comply but fall foul of the small print.

        6) Establish a Quango to “mission creep” the smallprint and increase income.

      • August 1, 2012 at 6:57 am

        Also, 9 times out of 10, the authorities KNOW where the danger dogs are, and who owns them. They lack the will to deal with them.

  3. David A. Evans
    July 31, 2012 at 2:38 pm

    I’m not a dog lover but have been a dog keeper always by inheriting said dogs.

    As I said, I’m not a dog lover but I also seem to have an empathy with dogs and have been chided for checking a dog that seems to have done no wrong. That’s where the empathy comes in, knowing what the dog is going to do before it does it.

    Any dog can be dangerous and my experience is that small dogs are in many ways the worst, Yorkies & Jack Russells are particularly bad if they’ve not been brought up with strict discipline.

    No dog can be trusted alone with children, even the best behaved can turn. The so called dangerous breeds are really a symptom of dangerous owners, nothing inherent in the breed.

    DaveE.

    • Voice of Reason
      July 31, 2012 at 3:03 pm

      I disagree. Many dogs have been bred to be unstable, and some are just too powerful. However, as you point out, the small dogs are often the worst in behaviour.

      • David A. Evans
        July 31, 2012 at 11:05 pm

        All dogs can be trained. As I said, I have been in the position of inheriting dogs which means I had to undo years of bad behaviour. Two of these were a Yorkie/Sheltie cross and a pure bred Jack Russell. Sam, the Yorkie/Sheltie cross, I never quite trained but could control by pre-empting his behaviour. Max, the Jack Russell I managed to curb his aggression through discipline.
        I’ve seen well behaved American Pit-Bulls but unfortunately, generally speaking, the type of person that wants that type of dog wants an aggressive dog. Hence my characterising bad owners, not bad dogs.

        DaveE.

        • August 1, 2012 at 6:59 am

          Spot on! Very few of these dogs are owned by people that are responsible enough to be in charge of them.

      • August 1, 2012 at 7:01 am

        The difference being, if a chihuahua goes berserk, no-one’s going home in an ambulance. Unless they trip over it.

  4. Dave_G
    July 31, 2012 at 4:20 pm

    What is wrong with a mandatory requirement for using a muzzle when the dog is out in public? No muzzle – detain, fine, release.

    • David A. Evans
      July 31, 2012 at 11:42 pm

      As Julia indicates, most dog attacks are actually in the home.
      What good is a muzzle in public relating to that?
      Like children, any dog can be trained. With children, hopefully, training is followed by education.

      DaveE.

      • August 1, 2012 at 7:02 am

        Also, why muzzle 99 dogs to affect the 1 likely to need it? Muzzles can slip, are not 100% effective.

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