When I was a kid a family who lived near us had a beautiful black labrador. He was gorgeous, that dog. They bought him from a pet shop, and he was soft and bouncy and friendly, always licking your face and happily letting everyone pet him.
But one day while everyone was playing at their house a little girl we all knew went into the kitchen while he was having his food. He turned round and bit a chunk out of her face, scarring her for life.
The problem with dogs is that they are unpredictable and so far the law has been largely ineffective. Now plans have been made to microchip all dogs.
I'm not sure even this will help.
I frequently see a man exercising his dog in our local park. The dog is a banned breed, the Japanese Tosa. He is enormous, this dog, the size of a pony. The man exercises him without a muzzle, or lead, and yells at parents and children to get out of the park – he knows exactly how dangerous that dog is. Of course the parks police always arrive just that bit too late to catch him. And I don't know how many 'pit-bull types' I've seen in our area. The same 'types' that are known to savage babies and children.
I'm not sure what the answer is. Personally I'd like to see the reintroduction of the dog licence. But putting babies and children before pets, educating people about owning dogs and a clampdown on pet shops, puppy farms and possession of dangerous breeds would be a start.
written by Liz Jarvis