An adult or child is attacked or killed by a dog, I blame the owners. Children should never be unsupervised with dogs. Never trust a child alone with a dog.

Those who do are courting with danger.

During the past year in  Europe many children have been killed by dogs and every day we learn of dogs that have injured a young children. This has been well reported on National and International News. I  receive calls most days
  about a neighbours dog which has bitten someone. But nothing is done about it.

The University of California reports that half the children in the world are bitten by a dog before the age of fourteen years, most before the age of nine.

Now I am being asked why?

Of course there are many defence barriers which come into effect when someonehas been bitten. ‘ My ‘Baby’, He didn’t mean it” ‘He is not dangerous’ ‘He has never done anything like that before’ ‘He is wonderful with our children ‘etc.

I blame owners
Cars do not kill people, it is the drivers.
I do not blame  dogs, I blame the owners for not keeping the dogs locked up in a safe place. I blame the owners for not caring about their community, and their neighbours. I blame the owners who are breeding unhealthy dogs and have not neutered their pets. Dogs that pull on the lead are out of control, and I blame the owners for not being able to control their pets.
If you see a dog pulling the owner along the pavement, cross the road, get away this dog is not being controlled.

I blame parents
I do not care how good a dog is, children and dogs should always be supervised. If a child gets bitten, I blame the parents for lack of supervision. Children must be taught that the dog’s ears are not for pulling, we do not poke the dogs eye’s, we do not stick a pencil or pen up the rectum,and we do not pinch dogs.

I blame local rescue charities

Many  small rescue organisations allow any dog to go to any home. Anything to get rid of a dog. Many go out via street markets. Most dogs that leave their shelters are not neutered. Many organisations which are run by some wonderful ‘do gooders’ never offer any literature on husbandry, management or any other educational leaflets.

All pets shops should be closed, one does not need to be too clever to understand that any breeder that loves dogs would not part them from the mother and put them into shop windows.

The NCDL, RSPCA, PDSA , The Blue Cross, and The American Humane Society do recommend that no person should buy from a pet shop or from a street market. In fact in many countries it is illegal to sell in a pet shop and those who attempt to sell on the streets in the UK, go to prison. British readers may recall years ago the famous ‘Club Row’ in the East End that sold all kinds of animals in the market. This is now illegal.

The large animal rescue societies have a rule that ALL pets are neutered before leaving their centre’s.
All animal rescue societies keep a check on animals they have placed. ( Or should do)
Un neutered pets are more likely to escape in order to seek a partner and can be roaming the streets. Often if approached, they can be dangerous.
These are the dogs who return to the shelters.

I blame the breeders
The area of ‘catchment attention’ is the breeders from whom the dog was purchased. The pet shops and breeders are the main area of misinformation.
It is a sad fact that all new owners will take advice from ‘breeders’ when buying a puppy. Anyone can get the title of breeder, simply  use your pet for breeding purpose.

I am of the opinion that a lot of misinformation comes from breeders who know little if anything about canine behaviour. I meet pet owners every week who think it is good for their female to have a litter of puppies. No health tests have been carried out or indeed to check if their behaviour genes are suitable for breeding. Dogs with unhealthy eyes, ears, hips or elbows can have behavioural problems.

My own dog Sukie who is 18 months old has just had two new elbows, and she needs two new hips so what kind of life can she have? I blame the person who bred her and they had no right to mate and bring unhealthy puppies into the world. Dogs with pain can be dangerous.

I blame lack of training
All breeders, pet shops, and vets should make their clients aware that a dog needs to be trained. Most readers of this column believe that dogs
should not be trained until they are 6 months old. This is complete nonsense. All dogs should be trained as soon as they arrive in the home.
All dogs should be attending a social class as soon as possible in order to get them used to other dogs, children and people. All dog owners who fail to go to such classes, in my opinion are irresponsible and could eventually be the owner of an aggressive and dangerous dog, whom they are unable to control who might injure or indeed kill a child.

I am not advocating that pet dogs should be trained like police dogs. I am of the opinion that all owners should be able to walk their dogs without pulling on the lead, and they should be able to make their dogs sit and go down. Sit and stay is a useful exercise. Owners who are unable to do this with a dog before the age of 4/5 months are irresponsible.

I blame the vets

The next area is the vet when the animal goes for its vaccinations. Most owners listen to their vets.
Vets see dogs everyday, otherwise they would be out of business. Vets should recognise that owners have no control over their dogs. Vets should be directing these dogs and owners to local training clubs. Vets who do not recommend training are in my opinion irresponsible and could well be blamed for dogs registered with them who are aggressive and dangerous to humans.

If I was involved in an investigation into the death of a child, I would want to know the name of the vet. I would want to know why he did not recommend the dog to be trained. I would ask if he wrote to the client recommending training.

Lack of information on feeding, causes dogs to be hyperactive.
Misinformation or lack of information about neutering causes dogs to wander and to be more aggressive. Why do some vets say that pet dogs who are not suitable for breeding should not be neutered ? Veterinary Colleges around the world recommend early neutering for pets who will not be used for breeding.

I blame parents
Any large breeds like the Rottweiller, German Shepherd and Doberman are not suitable for homes where there are children. Most parents forget that children have friends. When little Johnny’s friend Tommy comes to play, what assurance is there that the dog will like Tommy? If the children play rough there is a good chance that the dog could attack Tommy.

When one addresses the truth of where faults lie, then the truth hurts and I must add that if the hat fits wear it.

Muzzles
My own dogs are fully trained to a high standard and can only go out of my home with a muzzle on. I am now recommending owners of large breeds that their dogs wear a muzzle. In my social class all dogs wear muzzles and all dogs and owners are happy.

At this time of the year we must think of those parents who are in mourning for their children who have been killed by dogs. Who’s child will be killed next? It could be your child or grandchild.

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