A dog which attacked and killed a 79-year-old man in Liverpool was not a banned breed under the Dangerous Dogs Act (1991), police confirmed.Whew! I guess we can all sleep safer in our beds knowing that the two dim, careless bitches that owned the beast they were unable to prevent from killing their neighbour and menacing the neighbourhood weren't lawbreakers...
So, just what was the creature?
The dog involved was a bull mastiff crossed with "either a Presa Canario or a Bandog", Merseyside Police said.Ah. Right. So, just a powerful legal breed (despite causing deaths) crossed with a dog with a history of similar attacks and a known fighting breed not on the DDA, then?
And almost certainly a dog that, had anyone had the time or inclination to investigate, could almost certainly be said to fall under the act's non-breed-specific instructions.
But no-one did. Because it's time-consuming and expensive and the courts don't give a damn, because judges don't live in the areas where these types of dog are commonplace.
Judges live in areas where if a family gets a dog, it's a cocker spaniel or Labrador. Where the rest of us have to live or work, it's bull mastiffs, indeterminate Staffie crossbreeds or the other chav's favourite giant breed, the American Bulldog.
I saw one of these at a bootsale at the weekend, a huge brindle & white beast being walked by its peroxide and permatanned owner, with a chest harness that looked like Conan The Barbarian had given it to charity because it was too big for him, and a chain that could have anchored the Titanic in dock. It saw an elderly greyhound being fussed over by a family in the next row, and headed there. It did this despite the shouts of 'No!' and 'Heel' of its walker, who it merely dragged along, stilletto heels churning up dirt as she struggled in vain. She might as well have tried to halt a car.
Luckily, it was only just out of puppyhood despite its size and power; the tail was wagging and its intentions were friendly - when it reached the greyhound, it merely wanted to play.
But had its intentions been otherwise, this woman had neither the physical strength not the authoritative control to prevent it. Absent Tarzan showing up, I'm not sure who would.
Luciana Berger, MP for Liverpool Wavertree, supported calls from Mr Clarke's family for tighter dog controls.
She said: "I want the government to give this issue the attention it deserves and take some serious action... and look at how you can prevent the attacks from happening in the first place."Perhaps by paying less attention to the specific type and breeding and temperament of the animal at one end of the leash, and a hell of a lot more on the specific type and breeding and temperament of the animal at the other?