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Man's best friend or lethal foe?

Microchipping laws won't stop dangerous trophy dogs from continuing to cause tragedies, says Larry Neild

Published on March 22nd 2010.

Man's best friend or lethal foe?

I’VE GOT a bone to pick with politicians who see the canine equivalent of didentity cards as the answer to dangerous trophy bull dogs mauling people in our communities.

The Dangerous Dogs Act was supposed to control vicious animals; the legislation was a dog’s dinner. But it was a start, and amending it differently could possibly resolve most of the issues.

First we had a group of Liverpool city councillors calling for the most draconian set of rules since pooches were domesticated in the Stone Age, including keeping all dogs, regardless of breed, on a lead at all times while out in public.

Then earlier this month, the Government, who should concentrate on keeping troublesome MPs on a leash, proposed compulsory microchipping and third party insurance. It later did a u-turn on the latter, although who is to say the proposal won't return to the table?

We’ve had a couple of awful tragedies right here in Merseyside hitting international headlines. But it seems to me the law suggested would not have prevented either, which happened in domestic situations.

The proposal will be almost impossible to police. Insisting on microchipping for every dog because a small minority are potential beasts, is a like slapping an ASBO on every teenager because some step out of line.

Ask the police how many people are attacked or bitten by dogs in local parks every year and the number is a small handful. Ask the police how many people are attacked in parks by fellow humans and it is not inconsiderable.The reality is the vast majority of dogs are trouble-free, valued pets, posing no threat to society at large.

So let’s sink our teeth into what is the real problem – the explosion of trophy dogs. Most of us would wonder what regular, law abiding individual would want to own a breed of dog known for its potential to harm? Most of us would never expose anybody to a creature from a breed or part breed capable of suddenly turning on people.

The Dangerous Dogs Act was supposed to control vicious animals; the legislation was a dog’s dinner. But it was a start, and amending it differently could possibly resolve most of the issues.

Firstly I would introduce a law stating specific breeds, or part breeds and certain large dogs required an owner’s certificate. Those dogs would need to be insured and microchipped, but the eventual aim would be to phase out those breeds as they die off.

Oh, and to qualify for the certificate, owners would need a course in control and ownership responsibility. The registered owner would be responsible for the actions of the dog even if it was being walked by another person.

Even the things I’ve suggested won’t prevent more tragedies. As long as owners convince themselves their own dogs wouldn’t hurt a fly let alone a child, they will occur. That is down to responsible ownership and not the dog.

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13 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

Chow for nowMarch 22nd 2010.

I see it is taking two people to hold that yellow dog down and none for the dog which actually starred in that banned Frankie Goes to Hollywood video. See, it's all down to looks and bad press.

Hello SausageMarch 22nd 2010.

On a serious note it is very true about looking at who is holding the lead rather than the dog on the end. Dogs are like people and they dont all like eachother and fight and yes it is appreciated that these so called dangerous dogs are more poweful. But I think with all the hysteria people are forgetting that NO dog should be left with children etc and that people are responsible for their dogs! Whether they are small or big. There is also the problem of people with smaller dogs or those classed as more docile that let them roam around and have little or no control over them. I always have my dog on a lead yet I am confronted by people saying oooh my dog is only saying hello and then their dog pounces on mine. Followed by ooh he has never done that before. I am a staffordshire bull terrier owner and the consensus is that people either love him or hate him - when he really is as daft as a brush and great with children - but I would still never leave him alone with the kids (partly because I think they would annoy him). And I am always mindful of other dogs big or small 'dangerous' or toy - its a shame that some do gooder owners didnt show me equal respect. In the recent case where the rotweiler killed the baby the expert witness advised that it was not the dog's fault. It had been kept in isolation with no stimulation and saw the child as a prize when dangled over to it.

DigMarch 22nd 2010.

Much obliged.

WappingMarch 22nd 2010.

I found your sarcasm Dig, it wasn't on the Teenage21, it was stuck to the sole of my shoe. I'll drop it off next time I'm passing.

Colonel GingerMarch 22nd 2010.

What we need is a good war

DigMarch 22nd 2010.

What a great idea. Slapping ASBO's on every teenager. Team it up with a curfew and Britain would be great once again. Sensible adults taking charge of the nations streets once again.

DigMarch 22nd 2010.

I see my sarcasm is lost on you.

WoofWoofMarch 22nd 2010.

Remember that old, and sensible saying .... never trust a man who doesn't like dogs. So the rants will be interesting then.

Teenage21March 22nd 2010.

What a ridiculous statement to make Dig. Just like with saying all dogs are capable of causing harm because of a very small minority you can't claim that all teenagers are out to cause trouble because of an unfortunate small number of society. As for your claim about sensible adults....... have you ever been into Liverpool city centre on a Friday or Saturday night? Those so called "sensible" adults are out causing all sorts of trouble and blaming it on the alcohol!

Allie KhatMarch 22nd 2010.

I can name that group, they're called The I... AAAARGH!*falls down dead*

AnonymousMarch 22nd 2010.

Has anyone spotted the fact that in recent years dog ownership has come under ever more determined attack at the same time as our Pubs are being closed down in record numbers?Now we have school skirts being challenged because they might impact upon the rights of transexuals!!! Now can anyone name a group of people that despise dogs,alcohol and girls showing a bit of leg?What a strange "co-incidence"that these issues should come along at this point in history!

WalkinTheDogMarch 22nd 2010.

You can usually sus out what the dog is going to be like by the look of the person holding the leash. Often you feel its the owners that need to be chipped and muzzled.

WoofWoofMarch 22nd 2010.

Remember that old, and sensible saying .... never trust a man who doesn't like dogs. So the rants will be interesting then.

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