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Friday, 23 August, 2002, 14:06 GMT 15:06 UK
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My mum had a Staffordshire Bull Terrier for 17 years and right up until the day Laddie died he was the best natuerd dog in the world. My nine-month old brother was swinging from his tail and he never once snapped. At Christmas we bought another Staffordshire Bull Terrier pup (Laddie again) and he is very gentle, very affectionate and sociable. Staffordshire Bull Terriers should not be branded 'devil dogs' .
Laura-Anne Mallon, Glasgow, Scotland
I was badly attacked by a Bull Mastiff when I was six and nearly lost my right eye, ear and leg and had to undergo hours of reconstructive microsurgery. I know people who have also been attacked by uncontrolled dogs and think that owners need harsher deterrents and punishments for irresponsible dog handling.
Irresponsible owners should be charged - an animal out of control is worse than a speeding car. The police are overworked, the RSPCA are unable to help. Dogs,cats and horses - they must all be kept under control and not used as a weapon!
On 19th June our West Highland Terrier was attacked from behind unprovoked and without warning whilst on a lead. Our dog was killed by the other dog in front of my 2 children - aged 3 & 7 - who are now terrified to go out of the front door as this dog lives opposite us. I was bitten by this dog as I tried to separate it from my Westie. It was unrestrained by its elderly owner who could not stop it's brutal merciless killing. Who's at fault? The elderly couple who own it or the RSPCA who knowingly sold an uncontrollable dog to these elderly people who do not have the strength (physically or emotionally) to control this beast?
With regards to "dangerous dogs" and the banning of them. All dogs are dangerous. We have bred them selectively over hundreds of years to enhance various aspects. However, all of them are descended from wild dogs. People focus on Rottis/Dobermans/Staffs, forgetting that there are more nasty Jack Russells/Yorkies/Toy Poodles. The problem is not with the animal but with the owner. Also, all animals should be identichipped, and anyone found in possesion of an unchipped animal fined. This would decrease the amount of strays and put more onus on the owner to be responsible.
Douglas Whyte, Scotland
My father trained dogs for the RAF and I grew up around an Alsation trained to take down fully grown men. That dog was the most vicious I have ever seen. But it knew its place. Dogs live in a family tree system with a leader at the top. All of our family were above that dog and never had any problem with it. And my brother and I were 5 and 7. Dogs need to be taught where there place is in the pack - it's when people train these animals for fighting and gaurd dogs and protection that problems arise.
Dangerous dogs are a product of dangerous, uneducated owners and irresponsible breeders who don't care who they sell their dogs too.
Blame irresponsible owners not the dogs when these tragic events happen. A badly socialised dog which is not properly trained is a menace but the owner is the architect of the tragedy as it is his failure which has led to the dog being out of control and a risk to the public.
Owners need to be educated at least as much as the dog needs to be trained in the first place.
It is my opinion that any dog regected by the police after having received training should not be released to the general public as a pet
As stated in the programme these dogs are generally kept by anti-social type characters and used as a status symbol. Without wanting to stereotype most of these unsavoury characters are involved in some form of criminal act. One aspect of the German act would be to intoduce the law banning people with a criminal record from owning such dogs. We should review the act by looking at other countries and pick out what works for them.
I believe that all dogs can be dangerous and as such I would like to see some type of licence system brought into place where prospective owners would need to have some form of training for themselves and their dogs before being allowed to keep them, with a higher level of training required for the more dangerous dogs (Rottwielers and the like). You must have training and a licence to use a car, the same goes for a gun. Both can be very dangerous in the wrong hands. The same goes for dogs. I was attacked by a Labrador dog as a child which my father had to beat off of me. I fear for the safety of my children even in the apparent safety of our own street. Something has to be done, this is just my suggestion.
We own a ten month old English Bull Terrier puppy. Having watched the programme this evening we were disappointed with the one-sided reports. We can't be the only people struck by the absurdity of blaming the breed of dog and not the owner. A car is a dangerous weapon when used irresponsibly - do we ban the type of car or do we punish and re-train the driver? Owners of any breed of dog need to be trained and competent and we would have been happy to sit a test before being allowed to own a dog. We do object to people crossing the street to avoid our friendly dog.
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