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Owners are to blame for dogs’ behaviour
2:06pm Thursday 19th July 2012 in Letters
I AM responding in disgust to a letter published in the Guardian, July 5, in which a pet owner called for compulsory muzzling of Staffordshire bull terriers.
Firstly I extend every sympathy to Mr Sawers for his unfortunate experiences. However his suggestion is an ill-targeted measure of mass discrimination.
It completely ignores the underlying problem of addressing anti-social behaviour within the wider dog community, instead demonising one entire breed due to a minority of reckless owners. I am a proud owner of two dogs – a lovely staffie and a labrador, who live together in perfect harmony.
Far from the ‘fighting dog’ Mr Sawers would describe him as, he is every bit the lover not fighter, both in his human and canine (and in fact hamster) interactions. I would suggest that, on the whole, owners of not only staffies, but also German shepherds, rottweilers, and other powerful breeds are acutely more aware of their responsibilities to ensure their pets are well disciplined and widely socialised. In our experience, these are the very owners who address behavioural issues through the use of muzzles, leads, and openly discuss problematic traits with approaching owners.
In contrast, we have lost count of the occasions where small breeds have exhibited atrocious behaviour in public, which has gone without correction from their owners.
Aggression and anti-social behaviour by any dog should be a source of concern for its owner regardless of size or breed. This leads straight back to the fact, not opinion, that bad owners pose a real risk regardless of the breed under discussion.
A far more appropriate suggestion for Mr Sawers to table would be to make behaviour and socialisation classes compulsory, with muzzle requirements for any dog who fails to pass these courses or whose owners fail to demonstrate appropriate control and etiquette.
NICOLA CORLETT Old Hall