And just when I thought that Ireland couldn’t get any more dog-unfriendly the Dublin County Council goes and issues a list of banned dogs and there is a severe threat of this going to become nationwide.
I really wonder where this anti-dog sentiment comes from. How come that dogs are still seen as a farm animal by most people rather than a companion and/or a member of the family.
It’s not only the fact that we have people issuing a list of banned dogs. There is also the issue of a complete lack of structure to make sure that dogs can be properly trained and socialised to make sure that they fit in well in any neighbourhood and are not seen as a threat.
These dogs are not “naturally” aggressive. People who claim they are, are people that should really start reading up and educate themselves on dogs and the different characters of dogs. These are probably people that would point out that these dogs are characterised as courageous, fearless and other characteristics that these people see as a threat.
What these people fail to notice and make note of is the fact that these dogs are also characterised as ideal family pets (yes indeed, educate yourself before dismissing these facts!).
So what does seem to be problem with these dogs?
Unfortunately these dogs still have an image that attracts the attention of such characters that most likely have not been able to finish any form of descent education (don’t want the start using the common terminology i.e.: kn***ers (damn done it again)). And therein lies the problem.
“Banning” is not solving the problem. It’s dismissing quite a lot of facts, let’s just close our eyes and the problem will disappear, of which one is that you do not have the opportunity to properly train and socialise your dog “on an ongoing basis” in our country. And I cannot stress enough how important this fact is! It’s not enough to give your dog a four week (so called) obedience training. Or one of the other trainings that we get offered here in Ireland. When will we FINALLY understand, just as they have realised practically all over the world, that a dog needs a point to socialise and train social behaviour on an ongoing basis. All over the world they have so called dog “schools” where you bring your dog weekly and on an ongoing basis, not just for four weeks.
Of course I do wonder though how much we would be charged (read: ripped off) for something like that in Ireland knowing that the four week courses cost up to 155Euro. While other Europeans are charged approximately 50Euro for a full year’s subscription to a dog school.
Why would this be part of the solution? Because as I said before, these dogs are not naturally aggressive they do not derive fun from being aggressive. And we need to control “who” gets their hands on these dogs. Yes the old cliché that it’s not the dog but the owner that’s the problem. Some other European countries have put these dogs on a “dangerous dog breed” list, although I still do not agree with the terminology, it’s better than “banning” dogs . People that would like to acquire one of these dogs will have to proof that the dog is kept in proper conditions (these dogs need family integration and not to be locked up outside in a pen) and that the dog attends dog school on a frequent basis and is therefore socialised properly. These dogs are also “micro-chipped” and every dog that the police stops that is on the list and is not micro-chipped will be confiscated.
I can hear all the sceptics already yelling “who’s going to pay for all of that!?”. Well… the dog owner! This is again another way to prevent that these dogs end up in the wrong hands. You want a dog that’s listed, proof you’re up for it and willing to endure the extra costs it brings with it! And not just some knobhead that doesn’t know his arse from his elbow and just wants a dog like that because he can’t grow enough hair on your chest.
Let me just briefly come back on the issue of some dogs being excluded from family live and being locked up in pens outside.
This kind of brings me back to the idea in Ireland that it’s “OK” to keep dogs outside in a pen. It’s OK for “some” dogs to be kept outside in a pen but most certainly not all breeds. If that’s what you want make sure that the dog you’re getting is suitable for it, not all breeds are. There are a couple of different reasons for this. Some are purely down to the physical build of the dog and some are more psychological. It is NOT healthy for all breeds to be outside, some dog breeds do not fare well in our cold humid climate being outside all the time. Other dogs need to be integrated in a family life as they thrive on being part of a pact (your family) and need constant love and care . Strangely enough most of the dogs put on this Banned Dog List issued by DCC are part of the latter group and some are even part of both.
What’s the relevance of this? The fact that some people hold these dogs purely as an image thing, for parading them among their other macho and brainless friends, excluding them from being part of a pact and not exposing them to any form of socialising can turn these dogs bitter.
Looking at the whole issue from a statistical point of view (please note, to this date there has been NO proper dog bite statistic published in Ireland. Some are in the making but none have been published yet. So data is taken from other recourses). Statistically speaking the Golden Retriever, Labrador and Dalmation are accountable for the majority (almost 77%) of dog bites all over Europe.
Yes, the fact is that if one these so called dangerous dogs do attack the consequences are more severe and can be lethal. But let’s put this into perspective. Fatal bites constitute less than 0.00001% (yes I’ve checked the 0’s and they’re right) of all dog bites annually. This figure is based on roughly 8 million dog bites. Fatal bites have remained relatively constant over time, whereas nonfatal bites have been increasing.
What does this tell us? These banned dogs are not as “aggressive” as people (like to) think. And although bites are more severe and more suitable for media coverage (sensationalism) the amount of these dogs biting are nearly nihil (0.00001%).
The contrary is even true. These dog’s “bite threshold” is a lot higher than for example a Golden Retriever, Labrador, Dalmation and other (more likable) breeds.
Little know fact is that there have been fatalities recorded caused by breeds such as Dachshunds, Yorkshire Terriers and Labrador Retrievers.
So shall we just ban all dogs!? While we’re at it, let’s ban children as well as they have the “potential” to grow up and become a murderer. Does the latter sounds absolute ridiculous? Indeed, and that’s exactly how ridiculous it sounds to ban dogs that have the “potential” of being dangerous.
These dogs shouldn’t be banned! It should be regulated who can own a dog like that and there should be alot more facilities provided to train and socialise your dog on a weekly basis (preferably without being ripped off… but hey, it’s Ireland after all).
Btw; It's really good to see some of the actions that are being taken for example by ANVIL. More than 27547 signatures