Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Let the hysteria begin.

Initially I wasn't going to blog about this story, as it had been pretty well written about, but having perused a number of papers this morning I felt I should say something on the rising and tpyical hysteria in the meedja.
Ellie Lawrenson, five, bled to death in minutes after being mauled at her gran’s house in St Helens, Merseyside, on New Year’s Day, where she had been staying as her parents rang in the new year. At around 4:30 her grandmother heard her screaming and rushed to her. She found Ellie being savaged be a pitbull, Rueben, owned by Ellie's uncle. The grandmother, suffering sever bites managed to drag the dog off and lock him outside, but it was too late to save Ellie, the litte girl died at the scene from her injuries.
Right so. Horrific, disturbing, heartbreaking for the family.
But what have we got?
The sun- voice of the people that it is- comes charging with the screamer...'The dog that killed little Ellie Lawrenson WAS a banned pit bull terrier type, police revealed last night."
Okay, what does this mean exactly? A pitbull 'type'. Which type? Type usually indicates mutt to me. I.e not a pure bred dog. Are the sun advocating destroying all mongrels?
In the comments sections we have folk screaming for 'all' dangerous dogs to be destroyed.
Okay again, aren't all dogs dangerous in some way? If you annoy a Yorkie will it bite? Ever been been chased by an angry Westie or those vicious Kerry Blues? For that matter as I have said often here, I run in the park and am chased and snapped at constantly by Jack Russells. Should we destroy them as a breed? What about Dobermans? Are they 'dangerous' I had one, he wasn't. What about collies? I was savaged by one of them as a child, will they be listed?
Cippity clup, hot on the heels of the Sun come the Daily Mail...
"The owner of the pit bull type dog which killed five-year-old Ellie Lawrenson is a convicted drug dealer
Kiel Simpson, uncle of Ellie, was jailed for 21 months in 2003 for possessing 44lb of cannabis worth £24,000 with intent to supply."
OOOOOO, see, now we've got it down pat, he was a drug dealer. His niece is dead, his family bereft, what exactly has this got to do with the price of tomatos in Guatamala?

Then we have Lord Baker offering up his opinion. Lord Baker said the Dangerous Dogs Act, which he brought in as Home Secretary in 1991, had been watered down in 1997 to give some dogs a "second chance" without being automatically put down.

"This dog had a second chance* and I don't believe that should have happened at all," he said. "I think it is absolutely tragic that 15 years after the Act was implemented there are still pit bull terriers in our country."
(*this is in dispute, there is no record of the dog attacking any one before although he may have had a go at another dog)

Lord Baker called for the law to be tightened, with other breeds, including bull terriers, Alsatians and Rottweilers, registered and muzzled in public places.

I think a pitbull is a terrible choice for a family pet because at the end of the day they are bred to be fighting dogs, aggression was and is prized in them, as is fearlessness and tenacity. A very dangerous combination. Put this into the hands of a young man- and it is frequently young men who own them- who wants to be seen as a bit of a tough lad and you can have a real problem on your hands.
Most larger breeds of dogs need to be trained properly. They need obedience, socialisation and to be treated with a a firm kind hand. Any sign of aggression need to be addressed immediately and dealt with accordingly, and that includes food aggression and aggression towards other dogs.
But it is folly to think that it is only the 'dangerous breed' dogs we need to watch for. All dogs can be dangerous, most dogs can over power and seriously harm a child. I have always said toddlers and dogs don't mix and I will say it until the day I give up the ghost and go to the shoe shop in the sky.

For what it's worth I agree with registering dogs, I think it is a sound idea. I think people should be held resonsible for their dogs and their actions.
I think all dogs should be microchipped, spayed and neutered too, unless they are a show dog, or owned by reputable breeders. Maybe then our pounds and shelter would not be filled with unwanted animals.
But what I don't agree with it the hysterical bullshit that comes after every single dog related tragedy.


Anonymous Annie said...

Most pit bulls are very sweet dogs, but yes, they do have the potential to do great harm, more harm than other breeds because of their build. People who encourage their dogs (of any breed) to be mean are the dangerous ones. How many chances do we give those morons?

1:03 p.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

That's just it Annie, the sort of person who wants a tough dog to go with a 'tough' image is exacty the sort of person who should not be allowed to own a dog of that nature.

1:43 p.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Totally agree with Annie.

It depends how one defines the term Pit Bull too, doesn't it? Do they mean American Bull terrier? Bull Staff (an English breed)? Blah blah blah. You're right, of course. The dog breeds aren't dangerous: of course, some breeds have the tendency to be very headstrong and need careful and firm handling, which is why only experienced/responsible people should own one. But that doesn't make a difference in the long term. You can be savaged by any type of dog.

I have two large breeds, neither of whom I muzzle when I walk, nor will I ever. Muzzling a dog for no reason is as likely to frustrate them than to keep them safe and well-behaved. However, I never allow them off the lead and certainly never allow them roam. And I never, NEVER, allow my five-year-old play with them unsupervised. That's insanity. Small children and dogs don't mix - small children haven't the capacity to be carefully cynical and bossy to the right level around dogs, and dogs are ANIMALS, and therefore don't know when something small and shouty is trying to play as opposed to trying to pull its ears off.

1:51 p.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

Staffies are well known to be excellent dogs with families, patient and loyal. But there again, most folk can't tell the difference between a staffordshire, a bull terrier- think shark nose, bull dogs, think Gorge Hook, American Bulldogs, French Bulldogs-my great loves, and whatever other variety of bulldog there might be, including pit bulls. So how can a ban be implemented? Are all of the breeds to be tarred with the one brush? As the Sun squeals, the dog in this attack was an American pit bull 'type' whatever the hell that is supposed to be.

2:03 p.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not sure if the breed of dog is the issue. I think, though, that some people select certain dogs as weapons, not pets.

So how do you deal with that? Does a dog-owner have to pass an IQ test?

"No, you can't have a dog, you fucking moron, and here's an implant to paralyse you every time you come within ten yards of a canine. Now fuck off."

I think that would work. Maybe the same gadget could stop them reproducing, if we implanted it in the right place.

7:09 p.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

bock you are spot on, except that i think it's okay to have a dog as a weapon, or defense, as long as you care for it and train it.

FMC, for xmas i got a set of French Bull espresso cups. they have darling little French Bull heads on the bottoms of the cups & saucers, and every time i tipple one i think of you.

happy new year!

7:40 p.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think you're overlooking the obvious solution which is to kill all children under the age of 7.

7:51 p.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

Finn, very groovy baby.
Bock you're spot on, I like the implantation angle, I would also use it on Honda drivers and people who call their children after grapes.
Twenty...nah. If you killed them all who would drive us around in later life and cut up our meat?

8:04 p.m.  
Anonymous Dorty Nordener said...

How about we get rid of the the pit-bull terriors AND the filthy right-wing tabloid rags? Oh, and the Sunday Indo too.

9:20 p.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My mates dog bit me on boxing day when I tried to tie him up after he was lusting for our coal sausages. I kicked the cunt in the head and he was pretty subdued after that and let me tie him up. The moment those beasts think that they've got one over you then it's all over. It's hard for children to be assertive like that. Or to throw a hard kick to the head.

9:31 p.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

Get rid of The Sindo! What would the liars and spoofers that work there do for the money then? Organ stealing and crypt robbing perhaps, maybe pensioner bashing. Stealing lillipops from cute children and kicking puppies.
A Jagd, Barbara Woodhouse would have pierced him with her gimlet eye. I'm sure your method worked too.

9:56 p.m.  

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