Friday, 18 May 2012
Best Friend or Worst Enemy?
What on earth would a 4 year old, 8 year old, a pregnant woman and an 83 year old all have in common? Here's a clue, they were all killed.
But what might surprise you is that the culprit is commonly known to us as 'mans best friend', the dog. What is it that turns an affectionate pet into a vicious killer? Or did we try to turn a vicious killer into an affectionate pet?
The 4 year old was playing with her mother at home when the neighbour's dog simply walked in from off the street and attacked her. The 83 year old was attacked whilst in his own garden by an escaped dog. The pregnant woman was found unconscious in her home with her own dog standing over her, she later died from the injuries. So not all dog attacks take place outside of the home, and not always at the hand (or paw) of an animal unknown to the victim. Apart from the deaths caused by dogs, there seems to be a high increase in the amount of horrific injuries.
I have a great concern how specific breeds of dogs are deliberately being used as weapons, especially by youths within the gang culture. These dogs are being used to cause fear and intimidation to control their victims. In one situation the dog was used to bring down the victim who tried to run away before being stabbed and beaten to death by the gang.
So are dogs dangerous by nature? Or is it just some breeds that are innately aggressive and therefore should never become pets? If so, what should we do with those breeds?
I love dogs. I grew up around Alsatians, German Shepherds, and various other breeds. Our dogs were under strict control at all times and was placed on a lead whenever we left the house. Nowadays, you see groups of teenagers and even adults who always seem to have a pit bull type looking huge dog with them, hardly ever on a lead roaming the streets as a display of status. The sheer size and power of the dog compared to the owner is usually disproportionate. At times you can clearly see that the dog seems to be taking the owner for a walk. I know that if the dog was to switch, there is no way that the person would be able to control it.
Given the opportunity I would love to have a dog again, but these events which are on the increase, raise serious questions for me. Regardless to how much time you spend training/nurturing a dog, whether you muzzle it or keep it on a leash, a dog can become unpredicable with no prior warning. If a dog decides to attack for whatever reason, you may find yourself in a situation where you cannot control your own dog.
In light of all the above, if a dog becomes aggressive and attacks, should the owner be held totally responsible and face the full strength of the law?
Should the dog be held responsible therefore giving it an automatic death sentence regardless to the injuries caused?
What are your views?