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David Miller Online. Dog Laws Must Be Tightened

David Miller Online. The Dog Laws Must Be Tightened.

This is one of those occasions when I agree with John Banks.

Banning vicious dogs, even in the wake of the horrific attack on the young girl in Auckland over the weekend, is not the answer to preventing people being attacked. If the politicians are to deal with this problem seriously and effectively then it is the owners and breeders of these animals who must be held accountable and they must face harsh penalties if found guilty of breeding dogs in a manner that makes them maim and potentially kill. To simply try and ban all breeds of dogs that can be considered potentially dangerous is not practical. After all, a dog does not have to be a breed such as Rottweiller in order to turn vicious. Any decent sized animal with the right amount of mistreatment and training can become a lethal weapon.

The dog involved in the weekend’s attack was an example of this. It has been described as a cross between a Bull Mastiff and a Rottweiller. Both breeds are known for their strength and aggressiveness and I suspect that this is the reason why people are calling for these breeds to be outlawed. However this should not be the case. I have a friend who recently bought a Rottweiller pup not because it will one day make a good guard dog and tear the limbs off anyone who comes through the front gate but because of the animal’s appearance and strength. My friend is a keen mountain biker and runner and there is no doubt that his pet will one day make a suitable and welcome companion on such endeavours. To ban this kind of dog because of the actions of a handful of idiots and cruel people would be to deprive sensible and responsible owners and breeders of much satisfaction.

Hence I agree with Mr. Banks that it is the ‘two-legged’ animals that must suffer the consequences. Not only that but the SPCA and other animal welfare agencies must be given the tools and resources to make sure they can police this issue effectively. It is no good if the SPCA is allowed to track down those who breed dogs for fighting or in a manner that makes them attack people if the legislation and judicial system does not support them with harsh penalties. Dog fighting is alive and well in this country and considered a favourite past time by some very sick and cruel people and only if there is the possibility that these people will go to jail, be heavily fined and prohibited from owning dogs in the future might they cease their appalling activities.

I hope that the owner of the dog that attacked the young girl is prosecuted with the maximum force of the law. If reports in the media are correct then this man also gave false information to the girl’s father and left the scene as though nothing had happened. If this man is caught then the judiciary must make him an example to others who mistreat animals in this manner that the owners are responsible for their dog’s behaviour. Only then can the two -legged animals that Mr. Banks talks about, be neutered themselves.

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