WHEN I was growing up, I had more aunts and uncles than I could reasonably count (that’s what you get when your mum and dad both came from Catholic families of Irish descent).

They say the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree and in my family’s case that was certainly true with my mum living within a five minute walk from three of her older sisters.

It was a simpler time then. No internet, email, mobile phones or family WhatsApp groups to bother with.

So how, then, did my mum and her sisters communicate? How were those messages sent?

Put simply, all the kids were the in-real-life equivalent of Facebook Messenger. Need to tell Aunty Doris something? Off you go son.

Got a message for Auntie Hilda? Well you can call there after you’ve been to Doris’s.

Things did get better when I got my first proper bike. I could do all those little errands much more quickly.

But there was a problem which haunted me then and still clouds my opinions today...dogs.

You see back in those simpler times, dogs were left to roam the streets. No one bothered about it apart from me it seems.

The issue I faced was that to get to any one of my three aunties, I had a straightforward choice – go the (very) long way round or take my chances with the mongrel that had taken a very distinct dislike to me.

Now when I was a little boy, this dog seemed like a cross between the Hound of the Baskervilles and a Game of Thrones Direwolf and it made my life a misery.

Every time I rode past it, out it would come from its garden, barking and snarling at me. It would then proceed to chase me down the road.

At some point after a 100 yards or so, it would give up and slouch back to its lair to lie in wait for my return journey.

On more than one occasion it actually caught me and drew blood from my ankle.

Those experiences left an indelible mark – physical and psychological – and I have never liked nor trusted any dog ever again.

And yet I know I am in a minority. We seem to be a nation of dog lovers but I really can’t stand the things. I feel physical revulsion when I see someone kissing their dog.

Interesting, then, that dogs have been making headlines this week.

First off we had the complaint that the litter bins in Orford’s Peel Hall Park hadn’t been emptied, leaving them overflowing with dog poo.

I have a simple stance on this issue and it goes something like: It’s your dog; it’s your dog’s mess and it’s your responsibility to clean up after it. Don’t blame someone else.

Then we come to the sad tale of Fudge, a 12-year-old Cairn terrier that was seriously injured in a ‘savage, unprovoked attack’ by a French bulldog in Northwich’s Marbury Park

Poor Fudge had to be taken for treatment to an emergency vet.

Fudge’s owner Joanna Williams said: “It [the bulldog] was on its lead but at the end of its extendable lead so basically under no control. The owner of the dog didn’t seem to care and just walked off.”

I have a simple stance on this issue and it goes something like: It’s your dog; it’s your responsibility to keep it under control. If you can’t or won’t, you should be banned from owning a dog.

And my third and final dog-related offering is the story that Royal Mail is refusing to deliver to two roads in Padgate after a postie was bitten by a dog.

Understandably people who are not getting their post are annoyed but as someone who can still vividly remember what it’s like to be bitten, I would suggest that anger should not be directed at Royal Mail.

Increasingly I wonder if the government should consider bringing back dog licences but perhaps make a more realistic charge, say £250.

Then we’ll see who the real dog lovers are.