Attack Dogs Are The Real Terrorists
Published 18 March 2010
On the way back home today, I was reading in the Evening Standard how this pitbull dog mauled a black Labrador guide dog, while its blind owner listened in horror to what was going on. The pitbull only released the guide dog when its owner ran over and kicked it in the face. The guide dog later needed medical treatment with injuries to its head, and luckily survived. The thing that sent a shiver down my spine was the fact that it took place close to where I live in North London.
However, as it is all too common, the owner of the attack dog fled the scene of the crime, and the Islington police have no leads or evidence. As I read this story, I thought back to all the other stories over the weeks, months, years of dogs attacking people, children, and even babies. In allof these cases, the dogs in question were undoubtedly big attack dogs; when was the last time you heard a poodle or a shih tzu cause any harm except excess high pitched barking?
As always, there’s a media outcry that these dogs should be banned, their owners should be prosecuted, and just last week, there were proposals by politicians for a dog liability insurance.
On the Tube ride home, I started thinking of other pet animals, and came to the realisation that the reason why nothing is being done about dogs is that regardless of how dangerous they are, there must be some dog-loving group that is hard at work lobbying MPs to do nothing. Imagine if I had a snake, a python no less. I would of course have taken all the precautions, by training it, de-venomising it, etc. But even if it posed no threat to society, even if I sedated the python before going out, there would be a massive outcry if I boarded the London Tube with my pet python or went into a supermarket for a spot of shopping with it wrapped around my shoulders.
Most likely the police will come and issue me a warning; I might even get a caution or a fine for “endangering the life of others”. But how is this different from bringing out a pet attack dog that has the potential to be as lethal as a wild wolf? Owners will say that they have trained them, that they have been domesticated, that they have not been violent before. But I could use the same arguments about a pet python and but still fail to pull the wool over the public’s eyes.
As a society, we need to change our perception about dogs. Specifically, the perception that all dogs are cute and fluffy and stare up at your with big brown eyes. An attack dog might seem docile and peaceful until the attack, but so do most murderers. Owners should be required to put a leash and muzzle on dogs that are a certain size or a breed especially known to be vicious. And the punishments should be severe for rule-breakers.
The above solution will be effective to curb random attacks by dogs. But what if the owner purposely sets a dog onto a person, perhaps as part of a crime? Today there was the story in The Times about a gang member who set his dog on a rival gang member, using his Staffordshire Bull Terrier–Bull Mastiff Cross to immobilise his victim. What to do about dogs that are purposely being bred and used as weapons? As you can guess from the name of this mixed breed dog, it has been purposely created to combine traits from some of the most fearsome and vicious dogs in the world.
The only solution would be to ban convicted criminals from keeping dogs, but again, this will only be possible after the first crime has occurred. The other alternative would be to ban all savage attack dogs, but that is akin to banning all knives or cricket bats because they can be used as a weapon. There is a Dangerous Dogs Act that bans the most vicious attack dogs, but it doesn’t go far enough and allows dogs that are capable of taking a human life freedom to roam the streets.
A vicious attack dog is like a terrorist; they often lead very docile, under the radar lives. But when they strike it is too late. The claim innocent victims; people who had no way to defend themselves or know what was coming. And there is often no reason for the attack, and it can happen anywhere. Hopefully more and more people start demanding that our politicians do something about it.
Article written by Boon Koh.