Wednesday 27 July 2011

Bad Dog? No, Bad Owner!

Now, I don't normally pay a lot of attention to squawking charities, especially ones with a vested interest in being the agents of control. But I think they've got a point here:
Three of the UK’s leading animal welfare charities – Battersea Dogs & Cats Home, the RSPCA and The Blue Cross – have expressed their mounting disappointment and frustration at what they see as the Coalition Government’s apparent inability to address the country’s most pressing dog control issues.
Their main issue seems to be bull terrier breeds, currently clogging up pet rescue centres left and right as the recession bites and Stabby McChav finds it's a case of Stella or food for Fang, and makes the obvious choice.

But you don't have to wander too far through the local papers to find plenty of stories about people who have dogs and absolutely no bloody idea how to control them, usually because there are no financial or legal consequences for not doing so:
She said: “Like I would on any other day, I walked past lots of dogs with their owners. I saw a lady on a mobile phone with three dogs, a doberman, a great dane and another dog, who looked reasonably docile.”
Three dogs, two of which would be a handful for a full-grown man if untrained, and not even paying any attention to them..!

Not that men aren't equally as useless:
Ms Jones, 36, from Laitwood Road, Balham, is so traumatised by what happened to her beloved pet that she has decided to leave London.

She said: "She was just walking them past the Lido and she heard it coming towards them.

"It went for Leo and then Lily tried to defend him. But it let go of Leo and just turned on Lily.

"The owner came over and held the dog down on the floor. But it escaped and went for her again. He then just picked it up and said to the dog 'What did you do that for?' and walked off towards Aldrington Road without saying anything."
And then there are those who just don't give a damn at all:
Waterfall, 20, of Valley Road, Chilwell, was three hours late for yesterday's hearing at Nottingham Magistrates' Court. The case went ahead in his absence and he did not arrive until after it had finished.

The court heard he was repeatedly late for hearings in relation to Asbo and did not attend at all when he was given the control order.

That hearing heard Waterfall stood by as his dog attacked two of the animals, and that on one occasion he did not intervene because he did not want to get his trainers dirty.
The usual calls for dog licenses, for tougher police and court action, etc get made in comments. It seems that dog-on-dog attacks just aren't treated seriously, until a person is inevitably injured.

So, should the police take a firmer hand with out-of-control dogs attacking other animals?

It seems they don't take it as seriously as they should*, despite the clear public danger when owners and bystanders intervene:
A spokesman for Cheshire Police said: “The dog received minor injuries.

No members of the public were attacked or received injuries.

“The owners of both animals were spoken to by police.

No offences were reported.”
Or should it be merely a civil matter?



SBC said...

"Stabby McChav finds it's a case of Stella or food for Fang, and makes the obvious choice."

..and feeds Fang next door's Siamese or his 14 year old girlfriend's baby.

SBC said...

"Three dogs, two of which would be a handful for a full-grown man if untrained, and not even paying any attention to them..!"

Not so long ago I witnessed a dog walker get pulled clear across the main road by her pooch, into heavy traffic.

Pooch was a 3 year old Rhodesian Ridgeback and the 'walker' a girl not old enough to be in control of anything larger than a My little Pony.

Some parents are really really stupid.

"Oh but he's such a sweetie, and good round kids"

...which may well be true (infact it is as I know the dog) BUT he was still bred to fight off lions and can generate enough torque to power a small car.

staybryte said...

"Stabby McChav finds it's a case of Stella or food for Fang"

I reckon the dog would go for a case of Stella every time. They could change it's name to "wifebiter".

Budvar said...

I'm against banning of pretty much anything. It's invariably done by TPTB because it's easier than actually doing something about specific offenders, and it justifies their existence by showing the masses, look we're actually doing something.

Thing with railroading through ill thought out legislation is the law of unintended consequences.

You know the type of thing, like anti-social behavior by young "Stabby" and his mates, the subsequent howls of protest of "Wont someone just think of the cheeldren", we get an across the board ban on carrying a knife in public.

We then get butchers, landscape gardeners and little old ladies being "clotheslined" by dickhead CSOs after walking out of asda with a new breadknife she just bought and hauled before the courts because the law is the law.

Instead of railroading through draconian legislation, it might be a better idea to enforce the laws already on the statute books.

richard said...

In N. Ireland it's going to be compulsory by next Spring to have your dog microchipped. The reasons given are to "reunite pets with owners" after they stray and - somewhay more plausibly - to facilitate in the issue fines, because people often give false details to dog wardens. If your dog isn't chipped you won't be able to have it licensed, and so it'll be for the chop if found "straying."
With your dog reduced to the status of a council-issued hairy ID card, you will be fined when it's made "law" to have the pooch on a lead and muzzled. In effect, a scampering tax.

blueknight said...

The Dangerous Dogs Act was created as a result of a knee jerk reaction to a serious dog bite incident.
The 1871 Dogs Act was better in that applied anywhere public or private, a dog could be dangerous in its general behaviour, not just its behaviour towards a person and the Court could destroy the dog or issue a control order. The only down side is that there is no power for the Police to seize the dog.

Angry Exile said...

Stabby McChav is one of the funniest things you've written. And you owe me another keyboard.

As for licensing, it goes against the grain to say this but it's not a bad idea. We have to pay annual registration fees for the dog and the cats and all of them have to wear an ID tag on their collars at all times, and it's much dearer than I think the old UK dog licence used to be when they scrapped it. They'd be even more expensive but for the discounts you get for animals that are chipped and neutered, but as it is two cats and a dog cost us over $100 for the last renewal. Not only that but you can be fined for any number of other things from the dog not being on a lead where it's supposed to to not having bags to clean up dog shit (though I've never heard of anyone checking and I don't know how they'd know you hadn't just used your bag to pick up some crap with), and if it gets hit by a car when it's loose the dog owner is liable for the damage repairs (and quite right too).

As a result there seem to be far fewer irresponsible dog owners here than there were where we lived in the UK, and most noticeably a lot less dog shit all over the place. Might vary from council to council and I expect some just sit there counting the money while others use it to help pay for animal control etc, but licensing seems to make a difference. Wish there was an exemption for cats that aren't allowed to roam but that's probably complicating a simple system and asking a lot. Cat licensing might be going a bit far in the UK (I can understand some of the reasoning here) but I really don't understand why it doesn't do something similar.

JuliaM said...

"...BUT he was still bred to fight off lions and can generate enough torque to power a small car."

Yup, I've seen local chav kids struggling to restrain a Dogue de Bordeaux (apparently the pooch of the discerning dole-ite on the local housing estate).

"I'm against banning of pretty much anything."

I'm not in favour of banning either, for much the same reservations.

But are the laws on the statute books the right ones? Blueknight seems to think they were better before the DDA, kneejerk legislation that it was.

"In effect, a scampering tax."

Dogs are cheap and easy to breed. The chavs won't bother with this.

"Stabby McChav is one of the funniest things you've written."


"As a result there seem to be far fewer irresponsible dog owners here..."

I read you've still got a pitbull and 'status dog' problem. So is it a case that the underclass just ignore this law like any other?

Vir Cantium said...

Hete's another one for the record:

The fact that the thing is called "Tyson" tells you all you need to know.

Anonymous said...

I bet that Tysons and Rockys are treated more cautiously by Vets than ones of the same breed called Fred or Benny.

Angry Exile said...

I read you've still got a pitbull and 'status dog' problem.

I didn't say there was no problem, just that from what I see in my local area there is far less of a problem with irresponsible owners.

So is it a case that the underclass just ignore this law like any other?

A combination of things, I reckon. First that there is such an underclass, though I think it's far smaller both in absolute terms (pretty obviously) and proportionately. Second, that there are some people, pig hunters for instance, who need large aggressive dogs, and it's not easy to tell a ute with a couple of idiots and their status dogs in the back from a couple of hunters with their pig dogs in the back. And of course some are idiot hunters who don't control the dogs properly when they're not hunting. Third, as I said before there are no doubt some councils who really can't be arsed to apply the laws since some idiot being dragged along by a dog weighing nearly as much as he does is considered far less of a problem than, say, a local business emitting too much CO2 or someone smoking a cigarette too close to a photograph of a non-smoker.

Then we've got the media desperate for scare stories to help flog copy to a diminishing market, and they'd would just love there to be a bigger problem with pitbulls etc than there really is. So naturally they beat it up, fitting in stories of 'Killer dog looked at me really sternly' in between bagging Qantas nearly every week ('More in flight shame for Qantas as flight runs out of Pinot Gris over ocean'). Even then I look at The Age and The Aussie every day and most days and I can't recall the last dangerous dog story I saw. There was that bloke who did the mad dog impression, which was in a different state and more than a year ago. Certainly there have been a few more since but off the top of my head I couldn't tell you details except that some of them sounded like they involved the last factor, feral dogs and maybe dingo hybrids. Apparently these are really nasty animals that would happily eat your face off.

Dead Dog Bounce said...

I really struggle in these situations to understand why the Powers that be don't just make it uneconomic to have an out-of-control dog.

Pass a law that says that emotional suffering from witnessing a pet being mauled to death is worth an instant 50 grand in compensation. Make the compensation deductable off the top from benefits. 50k is enough that bounty hunters will go after Stabby McChav for a percentage.

No dangerous dog problem.

Angry Exile said...

And having said all I did yesterday what do I find on the nature strip outside my house but an enormous dog egg that looks like it was laid by that giant three headed thing in the Harry Potter film.