Thursday, 9 February 2012

You Thought The Last Lot Of ‘Dangerous Dog’ Legislation Was Useless..?

Well, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet!
Environment Minister Lord Taylor told peers yesterday he was ‘close to finalising a package of measures to tackle irresponsible dog owners’.
Hurrah! About time! This will resolve the pro…

Oh. Hang on:
He added: ‘We see microchipping as one measure we can take to address an increasing problem.'

Every puppy born will have a microchip implanted under its skin, in a procedure that costs up to £35 a time.

The dog’s details will then be stored on a database, which the police and RSPCA will have access to.

The scheme is expected to be phased in over a period of time, starting with puppies, before being extended to cover Britain’s eight million pet dogs.
/facepalm

FFS! Once again, we see that the measures taken DO NOT tackle ‘irresponsible dog owners’, they impinge on all dog owners.

Collective punishment again, all because our stupid, cowardly, lazy officials are too stupid, cowardly and lazy to write legislation that gets to the heart of the matter…
Ministers believe the plans will make it easier for the police to trace the owners of violent dogs and strays, as well as helping to home lost dogs.
And yet proving ownership isn’t always a problem. In all the cases I’ve covered under this tag, I don’t think it’s been a factor.

Indeed, in these two recent cases, the ownership of the dog in question hasn’t been an issue:
An 83-year-old man has died after being attacked by a pitbull-type dog that had escaped from a neighbour's garden, Scotland Yard said…. Police arrested the suspect yesterday before releasing him on bail, pending further inquiries.
And in this one, it was the owner’s own dog!
A mother may have been savaged to death by her pet Alsatian as she tried to protect her children.

Neighbours heard screams as petite Cassandra Smith, 49, was attacked by the large dog in front of her son and daughter at their flat in Nuneaton, Warwickshire.

The terrified children ran next door to the home of William Brown screaming, 'Mum's dead!'

Mr Brown, 49, ran around to her flat and tried desperately to revive the woman, but without success.

Police were today probing the possibility that the dog turned on her as she patted it on the head.
No-one seems to be asking whether a ‘small, slight woman’ with three young children shouldn’t have been allowed to get a powerful, adult dog (provenance unknown) and keep it in a flat in the first place, do they?

Presumably, so long as it was microchipped, she’d have been OK even under this proposed legislation. And of course, she’d be just as dead…
The microchipping idea has the support of both the RSPCA and the Kennel Club.
Well, sure it does! And the support of the vets union too, I wouldn’t wonder. Because they stand to ‘profit’ by it!
But some critics are concerned that it will be hard to force irresponsible dog owners to comply.
Whew! Thank god there are some critics.

And no surprise the name mentioned is Dick Puddlecote’s blog mascot:
Tory MP Philip Davies said: ‘My instinct is that it is likely to end up penalising responsible dog owners.

‘The danger is that you introduce a new tax, and all the bureaucracy that goes with it, on law-abiding dog owners while making no impression on the irresponsible ones.’
Well, quite. Why can’t anyone else see this?

Frankly, chips are pointless. Unless you’re going to implant one in each dog’s head to control the aggression centres, then give the owner the remote control....

Update: Anyone wondering why the 'Mail' story link isn't working, well, it's because (as it turns out) thanks to @fieldproducer we learn that she wasn't savaged to death at all, but died of natural causes. There WERE injuries, but they have been determined to be post-mortem. The dog that is thought to have caused them wasn't an Alsatian (though she did have one as well!) but a bull mastiff/Staffie crossbreed.

Rather than update their information, as a blogger would, the 'Mail' (and also the 'Sun') has pulled the page and the story altogether.

Remind me again, who is it that thinks journalists should have a 'kitemark' system...?

17 comments:

Angry Exile said...

No-one seems to be asking whether a ‘small, slight woman’ with three young children shouldn’t have been allowed to get a powerful, adult dog (provenance unknown) and keep it in a flat in the first place, do they?

Don't have a problem with her being allowed, but at the risk of being insensitive she's just demonstrated why it can be a really bad idea. And at the risk of being even more insensitive she won't do it again.

The problem I have is that there's a lack of meaningful legal responsibility. Surely I'm not the only person, not even the only person with a dog (albeit quite a shit dog that's intimidated by cats and might even think he is one), who feels that when a pet dog eats someone to death the owner should be looking at the possibility of a manslaughter charge?

Anonymous said...

Every baby and person will be chipped soonest ...

Gallovidian said...

Personal responsibility for the owner is what is required; the dog's actions must be the owner's absolute, strict liability, responsibility.

That would concentrate the little minds of some of the trailer trash.

Able said...

'Patting it on the head' I don't think so! Dogs are quite predictable to those who actually bother to understand them, and unless some idiot has mistreated them or failed to train them correctly and even then it would not have simply gone from quiet benign pet to rabid attack without showing many signs that it was going to do so.

The size of a person is immaterial. I personally knew a petite granny who, as a breeder, had sixteen St. Bernards and would walk all, under control, without a single problem. In almost every instance of a dog attack the problem is either the owner deliberately encouraged aggressive behaviour or failed to control the dog correctly.

Being allowed isn't an issue either, it's a question of personal responsibility again. If she didn't know what she was doing, what the dog had been treated like, then SHE shouldn't have taken it into her house. But of course it is always someone or somethings elses fault.

As per usual it won't be the people who keep dogs as weapons of intimidation or as fashion accessories that will suffer, will it?

jaded said...

The RSPCA (aided by my colleagues in some cases shamefully) will prosecute a few token old ladies who didn't get their poodles chipped whilst Chavvy Mcstab will carry on flouting the law as usual with his killer dog.

Captain Haddock said...

"The danger is that you introduce a new tax, and all the bureaucracy that goes with it, on law-abiding dog owners while making no impression on the irresponsible ones" ...

Permit me to alter the words of Mr Davies very slightly .. by simply substituting the word "tax" for the word "law" .. and the word "dog" for the word "gun" .. and we all know just how spiffingly effectively that worked out, don't we ?


"Frankly, chips are pointless. Unless you’re going to implant one in each dog’s head to control the aggression centres, then give the owner the remote control" ...

In most of the cases we see here, on a regular basis, it might perhaps be more effective to implant the chip in the owner's head .. and give the dog the remote control .. ;)

Peter Risdon said...

"No-one seems to be asking whether a ‘small, slight woman’ with three young children shouldn’t have been allowed to get a powerful, adult dog (provenance unknown) and keep it in a flat in the first place, do they?"

I expect they have. Zoe Williams aside, there'll be a few heads at the Guardian turning in that direction. It's just very surprising to see this suggested, even obliquely, by you, Julia, when it's so opposite to the notion of personal responsibility, and the taking of the consequences thereof.

There's an analogy with car ownership. Cars are far more dangerous than dogs. Cars kill and injure far more people, by orders of magnitude, than dogs. Should people *really* be allowed to own cars?

Anonymous said...

Got a nice little dog--wouldn't hurt a fly.

Won't be registering her, won't be chipping her, won't be complying with any of their bullshit.

They are drooling at the thought of 30 million dog owners on a database. When they know who has a dog they can go for the jackpot. 50pound dog licence or maybe 50 pound a year.

The state's permission to own a dog--go fuck themselves

JuliaM said...

"The problem I have is that there's a lack of meaningful legal responsibility."

Sadly, the sort of people that own those sorts of animals are usually blind to any kind of consequences and so would be equally blind to the prospect of a hefty sentence.

"Every baby and person will be chipped soonest ..."

I'm sure there are those who'd welcome that!

"That would concentrate the little minds of some of the trailer trash."

But it wouldn't, for reasons I've outlined above. And it's too late, once someone's dead.

"As per usual it won't be the people who keep dogs as weapons of intimidation or as fashion accessories that will suffer, will it?"

Nope! It'll be soft, easy targets all the way.

JuliaM said...

"The RSPCA (aided by my colleagues in some cases shamefully) will prosecute a few token old ladies..."

Spot on! And for those old ladies this is yet another (extra) expense while for the welfare class there will probably be a claim for it.

"In most of the cases we see here, on a regular basis, it might perhaps be more effective to implant the chip in the owner's head"

Heh!

" It's just very surprising to see this suggested, even obliquely, by you, Julia, when it's so opposite to the notion of personal responsibility, and the taking of the consequences thereof."

As I pointed out out, the notion of personal responsibility and heavy fines/imprisonment is all very well, but

a)the people involved are often unable to comprehend such a concept and

b)it's too late when someone's had their face ripped off.

"There's an analogy with car ownership. Cars are far more dangerous than dogs."

Bit of an unhelpful one, though, isn't it? You see, we train and register and certify people to drive cars.. ;)

As I said on the last thread about this subject, I can't own a wolf (or a tiny reptile) without jumping through all sorts of hoops and getting endless certificates I could paper walls with. But I can go buy as many wolf-killing dogs as I want, no questions asked...

JuliaM said...

"Won't be registering her, won't be chipping her, won't be complying with any of their bullshit."

Well, this bill has to go through first, and I suspect when it does, there will be all sorts of exemptions and caveats....

"They are drooling at the thought of 30 million dog owners on a database. When they know who has a dog they can go for the jackpot. 50pound dog licence or maybe 50 pound a year."

Oh, yes! Spot on.

JuliaM said...

That 'tiny reptile' link I flubbed last time!

Anonymous said...

How ridiculous! Responsible dog owners already pick up their dogs' shit and also microchip their dogs (I do both) already so this is totally pointless.

Nex stop ... horse and cat shit. You never see anyone picking up horse or cat shit do you? FACT.

JuliaM said...

You used to see people picking up after the horses - great fertilizer for the garden, and free!

Anonymous said...

Julia 5:37

A bit like tobacco and alcohol then. Either all drugs should be banned or preferably none banned.

Peter Risdon said...

"we train and register and certify people to drive cars.." - after which, cars are far more dangerous than dogs.

I bet the car accident rates wouldn't change much is there were no training or certification, though. It's too much for a comment box, but see John Adams' stuff on risk and seat belts.

You can advocate ripping out yet another part of the texture of life, exterminating entire sub-species of beautiful animals and breaking a bond that pre-dates the evolution of fully modern humans (we co-evolved with dogs), all because there are a few irresponsible people.

Or you can argue people be held legally responsible for the actions of their animals (or kids, or their own damn actions come to that).

I take the latter approach.

And as a rescuer of large and sometimes difficult dogs, I can tell you you're completely wrong about them: they're as trustworthy as any other animal when rehabilitated.

JuliaM said...

"I bet the car accident rates wouldn't change much is there were no training or certification, though. "

Judging by the standard of driving I've noticed just in my own area, you could be forgiven for wondering if we did indeed have any!

"You can advocate ripping out yet another part of the texture of life, exterminating entire sub-species of beautiful animals..."

Eh..? Who's advocating that?

*checks post again*

Doesn't seem to be me...

"And as a rescuer of large and sometimes difficult dogs, I can tell you you're completely wrong about them: they're as trustworthy as any other animal when rehabilitated."

Ah, and there, indeed, is the rub.

My car's sitting downstairs on the drive, incapable of killing anyone unless I take the keys out of the drawer, get in, start it up and guide it.

Not so for a dog (or any other animal), which is a living, breathing, semi-autonomous being, capable of moving around under it's own power.

My local vicar had a very expensive pure-bred Labrador bitch puppy. Excellent pedigree, we joked that it was amazing that she condescended to talk to us.

Unfortunately, she had a nasty streak that meant she couldn't be trusted. He did the responsible thing. Many people wouldn't, and so rehoming a dog is a rather risky prospect for someone.

Would you bet your hand or your child's face on the temperament of an animal with a mind of its own?