First up, it’s champion of the people, Brownie, rolling on his belly with a shamefaced grin, tail tucked up, peeing himself in submission as he cringes before his authoritarian master in Westminster:
Most people who own dogs will already have some form of pet insurance. I have medium level cover for around £16 a month. It costs me getting on for twenty pounds a week on food and treats for my beagle. Then there’s the kennels if we go away, the bog-standard worming and flea treatments, the odd shamppo, etc.. The idea that this additional premium will result in hundreds of desperate owners queued outside their local vets to participate in a countrywide canine community cull, is a figment of your overactive and professionally offended imagination.In other words ‘Get insurance, you peasants, it doesn’t cost much’. Of course, £16 a month is a big bite out of your outgoings if you are on low income, but who expects the left to worry about that these days?
And of course one books one’s hound into the kennels when one goes to Tuscany. Doesn’t everyone?
And of course, if our Labour masters say this is needed, then that’s good enough! Who needs to do any questioning of the figures?
The number of people being treated in hospital following dog attacks has nearly doubled in the last 12 years (just saw it on the news).Whether that’s ‘throat ripped out, D.O.A.’ or ‘stitch to little finger, 2 aspirin issued’, it’s all the same, right?
I’m sympathetic to your point about simply removing the problem dogs, but I suppose the problem there is that a lot of dogs will wind up being put down just because they’re unlucky enough to have irresponsible owners.Or poor ones. Who knows?
Who really cares, eh, Brownie?
And next comes Graham, who despite claiming to be some sort of educator, seems remarkably ignorant about other dumb creatures:
If you wish to keep a potentially dangerous animal in an environment where human beings are the most likely things to be bitten should your property turn nasty then yes you should expect to pay insurance. Of course there should be recourse to appeal for The Dowager Mother Teresa and her chihuahua but I see no more reason why the owner of a staffordshire bull terrier should be exempted than the owner of a tiger in a zoo./headdesk
And then we have people like Michele Hanson, showing in ‘CiF’ that there really are a few dangerous bitches on the loose that really do need muzzling, and possibly neutering too.
Here’s some choice extracts. Comment is utterly superfluous:
There are too many bad owners around nowadays. So it's marvellous that at last the government is trying to do something about them…
Sadly, unlike the dogs, the law has no teeth. You can't take someone's dog and microchip it without permission, or enter a house, stop the home-breeding and neuter the dogs, and vets can't report dogs injured in fights…
So perhaps the government needs to toughen up on dog owners and ignore the whingeing "good" owners who are worried they'll be penalised along with the nasty ones. If they really cared about dogs, they'd want everything possible done to get things under control.
Then we can really go for it. All dogs to be on leads in the street. Police and wardens patrolling with scanners, confiscating any dog which isn't microchipped, and neutering it. And when the numbers are down, compulsory training for anyone wanting to own a dog.Oh, wow. Just wow!
If a dog was slobbering that much, I’d suspect rabies…
Even previous authoritarian nutcases on the subject of dangerous dogs are starting to panic, in realisation that they have a pitbull by the tail:
The massive impact of the plan became clear yesterday as it emerged there will be a 'dog MOT' with annual checks by officials on every family dog to make sure it complies with the law.Real thundfering condemnation there, Kit. Careful you don’t strain yourself…
Tory deputy London mayor Kit Malthouse said: 'The proposals go a bit too far. We think that insurance and mandatory chipping is a bit crackers.'
He told BBC Radio: 'It will just create a huge bureaucracy. They will have to produce a kind of DVLA for dogs.Working as intended..?
'We are going to see police officers stopping perfectly innocent dog owners in the streets and asking to see their papers and documents.'Of course we are. It’s what’s happened with all other legislation created by this mangy government, after all…
It would be better to tighten existing laws and 'enforce them more assertively', he said. Councils have the power to levy £100 on-the-spot fines on people whose dogs are out of control in public.*sigh* Hardly surprising, when you look at the sort of people liable for these fines, is it?
But there were only 3,331 such fines in 2006, the year they were introduced. By 2008, the number had dropped to 2,071.
Tory Shadow Environment Secretary Nick Herbert said: 'The problem of dangerous dogs is growing and the current legislation is clearly not working, but the Government's proposals risk penalising millions of law-abiding dog owners with the blunt instrument of a dog tax.Yes, indeed we should.
'We should be targeting the minority of irresponsible dog owners, not the vast majority who are responsible dog lovers.'
So, are the Tories going to oppose this on principle? It would be nice to know. It would be nice to see the opposition stand up and say ‘No! This is unworkable and unjust and we will not support it. We are different to Nu Labour’.
My predictions? After the storm has abated somewhat, and anxious MPs have heard from their constituents, the watered-down legislation will be:
- Breeds over a designated weight – the large breeds – will require the insurance, all others will not.
- There will be grants available for those unable to afford the insurance, but they will need to fill in a form to get it. A 450 page form.
- The unemployment benefit will include an extra payment for dog licensing, to cushion the blow for Labour’s core voters.