Tuesday, March 09, 2010
Pit Bull on a String
Here's another idea from government that at first glance would appear sensible but on reflection and from a local perspective may be unworkable:
'Dog owners face a new pet "tax" in a government initiative to tackle the menace of dangerous dogs.
Compulsory microchipping of every dog — which would cost owners an average £30 — is included in a consultation report published today.
It also suggests that the six million dog owners in Britain should be covered by third-party insurance to cover injuries to victims of dog attacks.
In an attempt to give greater protection from "weapon" or status dogs, owners of unruly dogs would be subject to new antisocial behaviour orders, already dubbed "Dogbos". These dog control orders would make it unlawful for a dog to be out of control in any place, public or private.'
You may recall that I measure my walks from Westgate to Margate in 'Pit Bulls' these days. It's a form of personal amusement to count the number of fierce dogs roaming about. Strangely enough, yesterday morning I spotted a Ford Focus, 'walking' two animals along the promenade between the Westbrook car park and Nayland Rock Hotel, but this didn't count because a large Mastiff was involved.
Anyway, can we seriously imagine that the unemployed and feckless owner of a Pit Bull terrier on a string is really going to bother about insurance or chipping? Indeed, who is going to enforce such legislation in the first place? While here in Thanet, for example, wardens hand out more fixed penalties for dog-fouling and littering than anywhere else in Kent, recovering the fines is another matter because more frequently these involve a part of the population who have no stake in society and know that they are immune from the weak and ineffective sanctions from the judicial system.
While I should add that there are a great many responsible dog owners who own 'fierce dogs' there is also a sizeable minority of the familiar anti-social type, which you can see around Thanet on any day of the week. So do we believe that the latter are going to run-out, chip and pin their dogs and buy personal liability insurance against the eventuality of Fido savaging a Labrador or a small child? I think not somehow.
I had thought that certain breeds of dog were banned under the law anyway but the RSPCA now reports that their kennels are brimming with unwanted, sick or injured 'Staffies' of exactly the kind that are supposedly illegal. Finally, pity the poor dog warden who has to confront some of these so-called dog owners when an offense has been committed; it requires remarkable courage on their part.
Meanwhile, a report from Your Thanet today better illustrates the problem:
"A violent thug who used a claw hammer to batter a dog to death mocked his sentence and vowed he would do the same again to another animal.
Showing no remorse for his crime, unemployed Christopher Dance unleashed a string of obscenities outside Sittingbourne Magistrates Court on March 4 shouting: “I’m happy with what I got, I beat the s**t out of that dog and I’d do it again as well. This tag is nothing, I’ll p**s it and I p*iss on them [magistrates].”