Dangerous dogs and a bit of a rant

Mar 9 • Featured • 826 Views • 19 Comments on Dangerous dogs and a bit of a rant

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


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19 Responses to Dangerous dogs and a bit of a rant

  1. Hayley says:

    Everything you have covered is what needs to be brought in. There should be a licensing on owning a dog and required lessons with that dog as well to train people in how to deal with it and to train the puppy if it is so. Its shown as well that puppys that come from puppy farms etc are more likely to attack due to their breeding etc. The genetics or soemthing. So this needs to stop! There are far too many stories frequenting our newspaper fronts of children being attacked or killed by these vicious animals, how many have to die before something is done?

  2. J.Mitchell says:

    I agree that dog licences would be a good idea. I was born in a country that has dog licences and they do help to a degree- even if just to pay for dedicated dog wardens who can act more quickly than the police and deal with all matters doggy. They don’t stop the complete meatheads though; I suspect they are forced ‘underground’. I would like to comment on your statement that "The problem with dogs is that they are unpredictable ". Most dogs are NOT unpredictable. Attacks on people are rarely without some kind of warning- it’s just that people don’t understand their body language and the warning signs that come before an attack. In the case you mention above, anyone with a knowledge of dogs would be thinking ‘What was a child doing in the kitchen, alone, with a dog that is eating?’. Not that that helps the poor child any, but if children are taught some basic rules about interacting with dogs, then the majority of dog bites to children ( and adults) would be avoidable. More information is available at http://www.safeandsoundwithdogs.org.uk Dogs are part of our community these days and they aren’t going to go away. It would be better to teach people about these rules than make a blanket statement about how ‘unpredictable’, and therefore dangerous, dogs are.

  3. Brit In Bosnia says:

    It is a tough one. There is no doubt that some dogs are dangerous, very difficult to control and should not be owned by people. But how to define the dogs is very difficult. I think that a compulsory microchip and registration scheme would be a good start. There is a lot to be said for teaching your children how to act around animals. Many accidents, such as the one you describe, are avoidable. Children need to understand that dogs must not be disturbed whilst eating because the dogs natural instinct is to protect their food which means that they are more likely to bite. Children should also know how to behave around dogs. If you run from a dog waving your arms in the air, the dog may well think that you want to play and will probably chase. I’m making a conscious effort to teach my children to be responsible around dogs and to make them understand that whilst our dog will put up with a lot of ear pulling, other dogs won’t. Because much as we train our dog responsibly, I can’t guarantee that everyone else does. If my boys can act in a way that will minimise any problems with dogs, they are less likely to be involved in an incident.

  4. Gappy says:

    I also think that there’s a problem with the use of dangerous dogs as status symbols. Men particularly sometimes use aggressive looking dogs to bolster their feelings of masculinity and power. These are often the types of dogs that have been flagged up as being unpredictable around children too. I don’t personally own a dog (far too squeamish to deal with the poo) and I am very careful with my children when we see dogs out and about. There should certainly be very strict laws concerning leads and muzzles in my opinion. I guess the problem then is how you enforce them.

  5. lorraine says:

    As a former owner of a much loved "Staffie", I would just like to put in a good word for at least one of the so called dangerous dog breeds. This is a breed of dog that I have had personal experience off as an owner on more than one occassion. Both of the Staffordshire Bull Terriers that we have owned were loving well behaved family pets, they never gave us a moment of concern when arround people or other dogs, both loved children and all the children that they came into contact with loved playing with our dogs as Staffies are as a rule very playful. However even though this was the case I woul never leave a child alone with any dog, no matter what the breed. I beleive that children should be taught to have respect for the animals and treat them properly and responsibly, because as Brit says just because we are careful about the training of our dogs , there are people out there who are not, these sort of people will never take part in any sort of scheme to monitor their ownership and ultimatly the dogs and the people who are attacked suffer for this.

  6. Liz (LivingwithKids) says:

    @Hayley Yes, totally agree @J.Mitchell @Brit in Bosnia You’re right, children should be educated about how to behave around dogs. But I would argue that it’s actually the adult owners who really need educating. My friend was savaged while the owner was in the kitchen also. @Gappy yes you’re right, that’s definitely a problem where we live @lorraine Yes sorry – just to clarify the Staffordshire pitbull terrier isn’t banned. It’s the American pit bull and Irish pit bull and the Irish blue nose.

  7. Crystal Jigsaw says:

    It’s a good idea in theory, but the problem is the "riff raff" of the country will take no notice of micro chipping and insurance and just carry on as if the rule hadn’t been made. And most of them will get away with it. The more refined and responsible dogs owners (like myself I’d like to think) will adhere to the rule and probably have to pay a fortune in order to compensate the irresponsible nutters with pit bulls and banned dogs. It won’t make the job of the RSPCA any easier because no matter what law we make in this country, it gets ignored by those who think they are live outside the law. Dogs are indeed unpredictable, even great auntie’s westie, but unfortunately, dogs are also the most sought after pet. And in many cases, the most neglected. Sorry to add to your rant!! CJ xx

  8. TheMadHouse says:

    I agree that some sort of licience should be brought back in, if you can afford to look after a dog then you can addord a licience. My MIL has 4 laso’s and although they are small I have and never would leave the boys alone with them.

  9. Kerry @andthenallithoughtaboutwasyou says:

    This is a problem, and it is going to be difficult to resolve, as dog owners ourselves and I like to think responsible one. We never let Baba be in a room with T on his own, and he knows that when it is T dinner time we all leave him in the kitchen on his own, as you never know. T is great with Baba but there could be a time that he was not in the mood. He does put up with ear pulling, and as he is a beagle there is lots of ear pulling but we try to teach Baba that not all dogs like this. I agree that some dogs are used as a weapon to boost peoples status, and are trained to kill. These people should not be allowed dogs, I don’t know whether any of you saw the documentary a while ago on BBC3 MY DOG’S MY WEAPON? These owners would train the dogs to kill, for dog fighting and to be their weapons in gang fights. These type of people will never follow any law about dog ownership. Whatever the rest of us do! It is something that needs to be sorted but how is the biggest problem…

  10. @LolsThomas says:

    I have an ancient Staffy (inherited from a deceased family member) who is lovely… except she would most definitely like to savage any other female dog bigger than herself – and has tried on several occasions. I don’t let her off the lead, ever. I would never leave any dog alone or in a close vicinity to a child, even my own – and she is a people loving dog. But I don’t pretend to ‘know’ her well enough to think she couldn’t suddenly become a different dog if she felt threatened. However, it’s so unfortunate that the dogs themselves are usually seen as the sole problem. As has been mentioned, it’s also to do with breeding, training and incompetent people owning dogs. I agree that the licence should definitely come back – compulsory training, microchipping should be introduced etc. But whatever is done, no-one can stop nature – there will always be incidents of ‘domestic’ animals (e.g cows, dogs & zoo park whales) attacking people and I don’t suppose that will ever change. If we have animals as pets, trained or not, we know we’re taking on a certain level of risk (even hamsters bite!) but we should do what we can to minimise it.

  11. Vic @ Glowstars.net says:

    The thing that baffles me is that if you go to court having been found with a banned dog, your dog can either be destroyed (sad, but it does make sense) or granted an exemption and added to the Index of Exempted Dogs. Fine, it’ll have to be neutered, muzzled, insured etc but is there any guarantee that the conditions of an IED will be kept to? It’s definitely enough to worry a parent. Personally, I’m not a dog person and tend to be quite wary of them, no matter what the breed. The husband is the exact opposite. Luckily, my caution seems to be rubbing off on the boy. Education and proper supervision of kids is definitely key, but also suitable training of dog owners.

  12. @LolsThomas says:

    Also I meant to add – I think it should be made law that all dogs should be on a lead at ALL times. When my dog has had a go at another, it’s been because the other dog has been off the lead and has come charging up to her. Drives me nuts that some people think it’s fine to have their dogs off the leads and then THEY are offended/angry when your previously well-behaved controlled dog starts snarling at their dog who’s harrassing them! I’ll shut up now 🙂

  13. salome2001 says:

    I just wanted to let people know that there is a great resource available to teach toddlers how to avoid dog bites called "the Blue Dog Project". You can get it online or from any vet- they can order it through their drug supplier.

  14. Victoria says:

    I’ve noticed in recent years that dangerous dogs have become more fashionable. Even people who look like they should know better are parading around the common with Rhodesian Ridgebacks, a dog that is bred to fight off lions. I think this is a definitely shift fromm a few years ago when everyone wanted a lab or retriever. My husband was attacked on Clapham Common by a dangerous dog, whose owner laughed when the OH asked him to control it. He called the police and of course the guy was long gone, no CCTV etc, however, he was eventually caught after a number of other incidents. I do think that any form of control would be an improvement as things have got laxer since the scrapping of the dog licence.

  15. yuri @ urbanvox.net says:

    Ummm… I don’t know… I’ve always been a dog sorta guy… while I grew up we always have had a dog in our house… Of course there are certain rules that need to be respected, like for example: don;t mess with a dog when he is eating… but then again… that is true for any pet… My wife’s cat would rip your hand off with a scratch if you messed with her when she didn’t want to be messed with. At one point I had 7 Filas… and if you know the dog I’m talking about you will know they are HUGE… and they are gooffy and they are stupid… But if you treat them well and train them from when they are puppies they can be docile as any other pet. The only dog I ever had that bit me is considered to be one of the more docile dogs ever (a blue merlow Collie). and even though he did it while we were playing. On the other hand I had a Chow Chow named Harry that once fought and killed one of the 2 Rottweilers that invaded out estate once (we later discovered they belonged to the town’s sheriff that lived 3 doors from us… they escaped their pen and were terrorizing the neighbourhood) and my dad’s current dog, a labrador called Julie, is the best guard dog he ever had (and she would stand guard in front of my son’s buggy protecting him against anyone she didn’t know… even Vic (@glowstars) would sit with her and even pet her in occasions (I have photographic evidence) and she is a cat person through and through… I am all for training dogs and believe that Discipline has to be imposed if you want one as a pet… but I am also all for training people to know how to treat them as well. I sound activist.. but hey… it is the truth… half the time problems caused by dogs are a consequence of human behaviour so maybe what should be controlled is who is allowed to have dogs… if you know what I mean…

  16. Rachel says:

    It is a sad fact that at least in urban areas, dangerous dogs ARE a big problem. I understand all the pro-dog comments here, but they are from people who seem really responsible and their dogs would not be a problem anyway. Around my area of South London, young guys breed dogs to be aggressive so that they won’t get arrested for carrying (a gun or knife), but can still intimidate. These gang-kids mistreat the dogs. I know people who breed them on an estate in Battersea and feed them steroids to bulk them up and mke them more aggressive. On our common, they make them fight and beat them with chains. The Parks police know all about this and do sweet FA. I was set about by one, while out with my kids last year, and it was absolutely terrifying. Sadly, I think a license would only penalise the law-abiders- people in gangs won’t give a monkeys about it. We have adequate laws, there just isn’t the political will to police them sadly, Why? Probably because it costs money. So, until such a time as action is taken, I have had to educate my children to stay away from these dangerous dogs (we all know which ones they are) and sadly they can’t play in the park safely. Rachel 🙂

  17. Manda says:

    Id like to say that dogs behaviour is all down to the owner… but my mums dog bit her face when she was a child and she is scarred… she said it was an unprovoked attack. A neighbour used to bring his staffie round to our house when he was passing – it had been brought up by him since a pub, and he was a good dog owner, it had also been brought up around two babies that are now at primary school… my son used to roll around on the floor playing with it – I felt I knew the dog and trusted it though. I was brought up never to go near or touch a strangers dog, only stroke ones you know very well. I think this is the best advice for our children. As for dog owners – I see young wannabe thug looking lads with it bulls and staffs etc etc and I think they sometimes buy the dogs for image, which is the wrong reason. Maybe owners should be vetted properly and maybe have to have training courses on dog care, but where would the finance for that come from and would something like that ever be brought into force… I think not!

  18. sus says:

    there is a flaw here. The dogs that the laws are aimed are not always owned by people who care about the law. It wont take long before the chips and insurance details are available fraudulently I applaud the initiative as it will deter some from getting a dog. But that leaves the already over run shelters with more unhomed dogs, and is unlikely to remove the dangerous dogs from the streets. It will probably encourage inter breeding to change the appearance of dogs or dogs being kept out of sight.

  19. Erica says:

    Having just become a dog owner myself for the first time (although not for image! she’s a king charles cavalier) I’m finding this discussion quite interesting. I don’t believe a dog license would change anything as others have said the people who want these illegal dogs will take no notice. The behaviour of the dog is the owners responsibility, much like being a parent really.


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