Sunday, December 30, 2007

Twits in the U.K.

After reading this U.K. Telegraph article, I can only say that the Liberal Democrats in the U.K. embody the definition of insanity - repeating the same action and expecting different results.

These UK Fiberal Undemocrats sound like their namesakes, the Ontario Liberals, who trotted out their unfounded, unjust, vague and shoddy province-wide breed-specific legislation when their approval rating was extremely low, creating anxiety and pandering to the uninformed (including Liberal MPPs). This is the "look at me, Ma, I'm doing something!" syndrome.

It has been proven time and time again that breed-specific legislation does absolutely nothing to prevent dog bites and attacks. The only element that affects the dog bite rate is the responsibility of dog owners.

The flashpoint for this yelping seems to be the death of a toddler, described in this Telegraph article. I point out some statements in this article which lead me to believe that this toddler's tragic death was entirely preventable. The owners had the 2-1/2 year old dog for six months. Was it spayed, or was it in season? Despite their claims of socialization, the dog lived in the yard, and there are reports that the dog was territorial, rushing the fence. Was this dog at all socialized with humans, had it received any obedience training, was it a pet or a yard dog? The toddler was being carried by a seven year old girl. What was a seven-year-old doing carrying an infant? Knowing how children squirm, what was the dog's perception of the child? Was the child perceived as a toy, or food? Did the dog perceive the children as intruders on its territory? Each is quite possible. Why was a seven-year-old allowed to carry an infant out to interact with a dog? Why was this interaction not supervised by adults?

Yvette Van Veen, a noted Canadian dog behaviourist, trainer and award-winning writer, wrote a wonderful article about a mauling from the dog's point of view, available for about a week from today on the Londoner (which doesn't seem to archive articles). People have got to stop thinking that their dogs think as they do. A dog is a dog is a dog, thinks like a dog, and behaves like a dog. Until the uninformed and uncaring get this hammered through their thick skulls, dog bites and attacks will continue to happen.

The story of this child's death is the same sad story heard over and over again. Children left unsupervised to interact with a dog. Dog bites, child is injured or dies, dog dies. Politicians yelp. Media rub their hands with glee at increased profits from "if it bleeds, it leads" headlines. No one stops to think that common events are not reported as news. Remember the old saw, "Dog bites man is not news. Man bites dog is news." It proves how uncommon these tragic dog bite incidents are, to garner media coverage.

Karen Delise's excellent book on dog attacks, Fatal Dog Attacks (available at tells the true stories behind the statistics. Data is not truth.

The UK Liberal Democrats should do some research before opening their yaps and yelping. Their cries for further "breed bans" make them look uninformed and uncaring, playing with a tragedy for their own ends.

And UK dog owners had better open their eyes because when breeds start to fall to legislation, it's the domino theory, running until the last one falls.


kcdogblog said...

The UK has seen a 50% increase in dog bites that have required medical attention since the DDA was updatedin 1997. Their laws have been a disaster...and the fact that they're looking to ban more breeds vs realizing they're wasting resources targeting the wrong end of the leash is really pretty appalling. There will always be another breed available for people to be irresponsible with.

Caveat said...

They, like every politician who utters 'ban' about anything including dogs, are complete idiots.

Duh, your stupid 'breed' ban isn't working. Get it? You've wasted over ten million pounds on kennel fees and court costs and your bites have increased. Hello.

Trouble is, most attacks take place on the owner's property. So, if you have stupid, complacent or careless owners, you sometimes, very occasionally, have a serious bite or fatality. People's expectations are way out of whack, plus a lot of the cases involve a fairly recently acquired adult dog and a young kid.

The dog probably tried to pick the kid up and crushed the head or something by mistake. People forget dogs don't have hands, they use their mouths which are full of teeth.

I'm not blaming the victim here at all. I just don't get why some people choose large dogs from the Working (or Terrier, or Herding) group and then treat them like pets from the Toy group, ie, expect them to be placid and quiet around people, happy to lie around the house with the occasional walk and so on.

This has nothing to do with the dog, except maybe some obedience training, socialization and proper introductions to kids would have helped.

I'm so fed up with the media ghouls, I can barely read my Google alerts any more. Politicians with their BS are running a very tight second.