Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 24 May 2016

It’s barking mad to indulge this trend for devil dogs

By Lindy McDowell

Published 04/04/2013

How did the thug dog ever become so popular? The ‘pit bull-type’ is now the canine of choice for many households. Including, unbelievably, families with young children who maintain their wee Gnasher would never, ever harm a fly.

Well, he could and given the chance, he most certainly would. In recent days a pack of dogs of varying ‘Staffie’ origin attacked and killed a 14-year-old girl in England.

Despite having Beware of the Dogs signs on her property, the woman who owned them didn’t appear to think there was any particular reason why guests in her house (including children) should, well, beware of the dogs.

A child is dead but who to blame? It’s not the poor dogs’ fault, we know that. Cared for by responsible owners, properly trained, properly exercised, what are labelled dangerous dogs pose a threat to no-one.

The dogs’ owner, then — should we blame her?

Immediately after the child’s death many people — including, inevitably the Twitter hordes — did just that. Proof that the human pack can be every bit as savage and merciless as any canine version.

The poor woman was forced to go into hiding. I say poor woman because I do not think she imagined for one moment that her dogs were capable of such a terrible thing.

So who do we blame, then?

It has to be the lax authorities who have encouraged the keeping of the dodgier breeds by, on one hand, talking up the ‘dangerous’ label that makes them seem all the more appealing to the yob fraternity and on the other hand failing to do anything much to tackle their proliferation.

There needs to be a crackdown — a real crackdown — on the breeding of these animals.

The time for coo-chee-cooing around ‘pit bull-type’ brutes is long gone.

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