Monday, 21 September 2015

Let's Ask An Independent Expert!

An interesting venture came to my notice recently. What appears to be a dog vigilante group, intent on naming and shaming dogs and owners for alleged dog attacks. The organiser claims to be looking our for public interests by keeping a publicly available list of local 'dangerous dogs' and their owners deemed irresponsible.
Apart from huge concerns about the legality of such a list, we do have an existing legal system for reporting dogs and owners that injure or may injure people, along with other civil laws regarding dogs that may hurt other dogs.
And it works so well, who needs this?
Naming and shaming groups could focus on a mistaken area of risk. The tabloid press tend to focus on specific breeds, fatal incidents with dogs, and skims over the mass of dog bites and injuries that occur from family pets. By far the majority involve family dogs and children who are reasonably familiar to the dog.
By exaggerating rare incidents, we miss the genuine and real risks, that of the dog next door, the grandparent's dog, our own dog and our own kids who when together may not get along as nicely as we would like.
Gosh, this chap seems to be quite the expert, doesn't he?
My colleagues and other professionals in this job struggle against sensationalism to spread the useful safety advice to those that need to know.
As you have now read this column, please go ahead and share.
'Colleagues', eh..? Just what is the interest here?
I have written assessments of dog behaviour for legal cases as well as recommendations to help a court decide what may be appropriate action within the law.
Often it was a lapse in judgement, a poorly dog or owner, or a sudden, unexpected thing known as an 'accident'.
Ah! I see. God forbid these 'dog vigilantes' queer your nice little pitch with some unfortunate evidence, eh?

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