Blame The Owner, Not The Dog!!

This morning I logged onto Yahoo to be greeted with the very sad story of a toddler who has been attacked by two dogs. The two year old was apparently “mauled” by two dogs “believed to be Staffordshire Bull Terriers” on Sunday.

Now, before anyone tries to shoot me down for having an opinion, of course I feel sorry for the little boy… no child nor person should have to go through an animal attack, it will leave longterm physical scars and psychological effects which could affect this child’s future.

Staffy bitch

The problem I have is the stereotypical negativity towards Staffies as a breed. Comments such as:

“Another small child mauled, thanks to boneheads and their status dogs”

“Ooh its not the dog’s fault its the owners!” Yeah but as soon as I read the headline I thought to myself it will bound to be another Pitbull / Staffie / Rottweiler / Akita. Its never a Border Collie, a Springer Spaniel or a Golden Retriever is it?”

“DRAW A MENTAL PICTURE……..of the owner, what he looks like,how he lives and where he lives . Sadly you will turn out to be exactly right. Says something doesn’t it ?”

Comments like these do not help the situation nor do they help with the recovery of this injured child.

Typically when there is a dog attack, the same comments come around that any “bull” breed should be banned, all dogs in public should be muzzled, Staffies are all vicious, etc etc… this is not the case!!

Interestingly enough, according to a Government website, Staffordshire Bull Terriers are not listed in the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991. You are allowed to own this breed of dog. If they were so dangerous then they would not be allowed in this country so perhaps it’s time people started to look at owners rather than the animal who the owner trained!!

Have you ever actually looked into the breeds which are listed as dangerous dogs? I thought not as many of the breeds listed are breeds owned by families who think they are safe… would you consider a Dalmatian to be dangerous? Would you think Disney would make a film about 101 dangerous dogs?

After reading through various websites, from various organisations and agencies, the world’s Most Dangerous Dogs are listed as:

* Pit Bull

* Rottweiler

* German Shepherd

* Husky

* Alaskan Malamute

* Doberman Pinscher

* Chow Chow

* Great Dane

* Saint Bernard

* Presa Canario

* Boxer

* Dalmatian

Dogs grow up to be what their owners make them! You treat a puppy with respect and it will grow up to be a good-natured adult dog with respect for you and your family. If you treat your dog with aggression, brutality and anger then your dog will think this is normal and reflect your behaviour in their own actions.

How you want your dog to behave is all down to how you train them… no dog is pre-programmed to be good or bad, they learn from your example and it’s about time people started to place the blame with OWNERS rather than with the animal!!

Children and dogs should never be alone together. Small children cannot comprehend the danger and are fascinated by eyes and teeth, which is where their attention is drawn. This gives dogs a big problem and if they can’t get away from what they perceive to be a threat, they attack. This is not a sign of a dangerous dog, but a sign of an irresponsible dog owner who cannot show dogs the space and respect they need and deserve nor teach a child the responsibilities of respecting animals.

There are too many stories about dogs attacking children (and adults) and too many dog destructions because owners and handlers won’t take proper responsibility. It’s time something was done to protect these animals from their “status symbol” owners.

I have just come across an article online titled “From Status Symbol To Nanny Dog” on the Safe Pets UK website:

Animal behaviourist, Debbie Connolly, has campaigned for many years to improve dog breeding practices and the responsibilities of pet ownership and is currently doing talks and seminars at UK shows about pet and child safety.

As consultant to several animal rescues, she is very aware of the problems facing the bull breeds and rotties due to over breeding from back yard breeders – resulting in a large number being put down on a daily basis.

Media stories quite rightly feature the tragic and truly terrible stories of these breeds injuring and even killing children, but Debbie believes that the public misconception to tar them all with the same brush is unfair.

Debbie commented: “The dogs that are biting people are not strays and they are not escaping from rescue centres and terrorising people. They are owned by macho, lazy and selfish people who need a status symbol to raise their profile on the street and they use the dog to achieve it. This kind of person would make a poodle dangerous because through fear and aggression, that’s what they teach the dog to be and how to behave.”

A recent Panorama programme highlighted the tragedy of Staffie types being put down on a daily basis for no other reason than there is simply no room for them – new Staffie’s arrive every day and space has to be found. This is the reality in every pound across the country every single day and whilst many rescue centres lighten some of the load by taking and helping these dogs, the simple fact is that there are just too many coming in and too few going out.

Debbie feels that the publicity has not helped the problem and says: “Sadly there are many stories of bull breeds and rotties hurting adults and children and so the public fear adopting them. This is a common misconception – the Staffie was known as the “nanny dog” because of its tolerance for and the love of children – yet this important fact is lost in the media hype and the terrible reputation brought on by the breed being used as a status symbol. The result is too many overlooked dogs in rescue centres and more healthy dogs killed every day.”

Dog Friendly Beware of Owner

It’s time that the owners of these potentially harmful dogs were banged to rights, made to stand up and take responsibility for their actions and face the consequences because right now there is nothing to stop them havng one dog impounded and replacing it with another to ‘train’ in the same ways.

It’s also time that EVERYONE looked at the bigger problem… the owner rather than the dog before they start lecturing people about what’s right and what’s wrong.

Yes, I am an animal lover and a dog owner… we have four dogs each of whom knows their boundaries, they are calm natured, friendly and gently BUT I would NEVER leave a child unattended with ANY dog, too much can happen in a short space of time and if the dog reacts to a tormenting child then dog is automatically laid to blame.

WAKE UP and realise that the dogs aren’t always at fault, they defend themselves and their territory, they are like us in that they can only take so much and when they have reached their limit and cannot get away froom the situation, their only option is aggression.

Look at the bigger picture before you criticise!!

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