Dangerous Owners

Something most bizarre has just occurred: someone has appeared on BBC Look North and talked some sense.

There has been a lot of discussion in the media following the tragic death of one year old Archie-Lee Andrew Hirst in Wakefield, who was killed by a pet Rottweiler. Much of the discussion has revolved around breeds of dog that may, or may not, be dangerous.

This enrages Mr TLC, who always maintains that there is no such thing as a dangerous dog, only dangerous owners.

Ryan O’Meara, the editor of K9 Magazine, appeared on Look North and said exactly the same thing. He was also very clear on another point: no dog is ever completely safe.

Mr O’Meara is very clear on how dog owners can ensure a child’s safety: no one should ever leave dogs and children unsupervised.

He’s right of course. It isn’t the breeds that need regulating, it’s the owners. Anyone can own a dog (or cat) regardless of whether or not they live in suitable accommodation and regardless of whether or not they have any idea how to train and care for the animal. Then when the animal reacts to a child in a way that humans find unacceptable it’s the dog’s fault. The dog is destroyed, the owners can just go out and get a new one. Whilst the courts can ban individuals from keeping pets, this is rare.

I can see that regulating pet ownership is likely to be fraught with difficulty, but perhaps making owners accept responsibility for the actions of their unsupervised pets might be a step in the right direction.

3 comments to Dangerous Owners

  • Ah, this was part of one of my four that got away today 🙂

  • Well if this is just PART of one of the four, I foresee some heated debate!

  • Ham

    The attempt to make laws that are frankly medieval in their attempt to legislate on animal behaviour and makes me steam at the edges.

    I have a suspicion that there was a missed opportunity: instead of abolishing licensing, it should have been formalised and an element included for compulsory 3rd party insurance. The license could also have been an annual opportunity to ensure that each owner knew and understood their responsibilities.