Today I had this post shared on my facebook page courtesy Of Linda at ARC:
I must admit, I dont see a lot of TV, so this is one of the reasons I like social media, things get shared between us Doggy people. Another friend asked my thoughts and I realised it would take more than a facebook entry.
I believe we need to be sure that legislation is not passed as a knee jerk reaction in response to high profile or antagonistic reporting. I am of the view not just the Dangerous Dogs Act, but a lot of other animal welfare legislation could also do with an overhaul. My views may be overly simplistic but here goes.
Dog registration: I just about remember the days of the dog licence 37 1/2p If I recall. I have three dogs all of whom are microchipped. At present this relies on me as an owner notifying the database keepers of a change of ownership. Having dealt with Rescues, I know some Dogs come in, are chipped, but the last owner will state “I gave them up/ sold them 12 months ago etc” How about we use whats already there and make it compulsary for every dog to be chipped. Ive seen this advertised as low as £10. Then, in the same way as when a car is passed on, any failure to notify new owner details is penalised. Yes I know there are those that dont do that as well. But imagine, stray Dogs picked up by the warden, pass the bill to the last keeper, Dogs causing accidents, again pass the bill to the last keeper. Any dog ending up in rescue abandoned..you’ve guessed pass the bill to the last keeper. Personally I wouldn’t have a problem with this, and hopefully in time it could prove an effective deterrent. Just imagine all those irresponsible breeders having to cope with this.
Breeding: I will make it clear I have nothing against responsible breeders, or the accidental pet litters( here I would mention the options of spaying / neutering). What I hate to see is the back yard breeding, over breeding by those whose main interest is the money. How about a licensing system whereby anybody having more than one litter a year, has to be licensed and open themselves up to inspection for welfare etc. The first injections and microchipping should be the responsibility of the breeder. To sell a dog away from the owners premises should be illegal. A limit to how many times a bitch can be bred from, and dare I suggest that any bitch is well looked after till the end of her natural days, not just whilst she is generating income. Im sure other people can think of more to add to this.
Breed specific legislation: I would like to think Im an advocate of Deed not Breed. Every dog is capable in the wrong hands of developing behaviour problems. Even with well looked after dogs I have had more warning nips from yorkies than I have alsasations. There has recently been the case of Lennox in Ireland, a dog deemed to be of a specific breed and deemed dangerous. In an ideal world we would identify dogs before they bite, and yes some have caused horrific injuries to children. I appreciate things happen quickly, and at times the child will have done nothing out of the ordinary, but I often wonder how many of these incidents are down to a lack of supervision. My dogs have never bitten, and my kids are now teenagers, but I still keep an eye on them when they are together.
Animal abuse. Last time I looked there was criminal legislation covering this, so why are some high profile cases been dealt with by the RSPCA. These should be dealt with by CPS. I understand you may need expert witnesses, but surely donated money to the RSPCA, should be used for the treatment and rehoming of animals, and government should pay for the prosecutions of criminal offences.
Personally I think the RSPCA is in danger of losing the respect it once held. There have been several high profile cases giving them bad publicity recently, and its reported that its public donations are down.
One website promoting issues regarding animal abuse is http://www.pawsforthought-alfieslaw.co.uk/
So how do we move forward? for me I would like to see a dedicated government agency, that looks after the welfare of animals, prosecution of offenders, education in schools etc. I’m sure part of the infrastructure that is in place could be used. Yes it would require funding but if items like microchipping were under its remit, any fines levied against offenders directed back to its purse, Im sure we could find a way. Yes its a big ask, and maybe we are taking steps in the right direction. A simple overview perhaps and Im sure Ive only touched on the edges.