Saturday, 13 April 2019

Enough is enough!!!!

The mauling to death of a young boy by a dog yesterday brings the number of UK child fatalities in the past ten years to fifteen. That's fatalities, not unreported attacks, maimings, and scarrings. I myself have had to visit casualty or the local surgery on three occasions in the past eight years, following completely unprovoked dog attacks. In every case the owner said:

* He's just playing!

* Oh! He's never done that before!

* He was scared by your camera / telescope / camouflage

I've seen unleashed dogs attack (and kill) other dogs, seal pups and sheep and run though tern colonies, wader roosts and grazing marshes with breeding birds on nests. Would I be allowed to let a pet Cheetah (if I had one!) off its leash on a public beach? Certainly not! So why is it apparently acceptable to ignore 'short lead' or 'no dog' signs and allow Alsatians, Staffordshire Bull Terriers, Lurchers and other 'highly strung' dogs to roam unchecked? Virtually every time I visit Holkham, Wells, Cley, Titchwell Beach, Buckenham and Winterton I come across large dogs 'enjoying themselves'  off the lead. And don't even get me started about the green or black excrement bags hanging on bushes or lying on paths...

'Professional' dog walking has reached epidemic levels in rural Norfolk: there is almost always someone unloading half a dozen large dogs out of a light van at Buckenham these days. This begs the question: why buy a dog if you don't have the inclination / time / space to walk it yourself?
How can one small female control six large unleashed dogs?

What can be done?
* Draconian penalties for owners and their dogs that attack livestock, human beings or wildlife
* Accepting photographic evidence for prosecutions

* Reintroduce licences at sensibly high prices: unchipped dogs to be destroyed.
* Dog Wardens to check for licences and chips
* Far more rigid control and licensing of breeding kennels
* Licensing and far greater control of dog walking services

I have no doubt this post will annoy some people, but it's not aimed at responsible dog owners who would never ignore signs or allow their dog to run amok in the countryside.


Unknown said...

twice in 12 months I've had dogs go for me at Buckenham. Both times the owners have just laughed. Personally I don't believe dogs should be on the reserve full stop. Why bring one there in the first place.

Robin Smith said...

I agree entirely. That clever invention - a dog lead - needs using far more. I was at Stiffkey last summer and a couple turned up with 4 Dogs and they let them run everywhere over the saltmarsh.

easternbushchat said...

Hi David, you are spot on. I couldn’t agree more. My friend Darren in Newcastle is conducting his personal record of ringed plovers around the area he lives and the single biggest factor affecting their breeding/feeding is dogs let wild and loose. Everywhere you go there are dogs off the lead, saw three at Buckenham the other day and have seen them running across the eye field at Cley in the breeding season and elsewhere. It’s reached the stage where a dog is an accessory in the same mould as a new mobile phone, and people don’t seem content anymore with just one, it has to be three, four or five. New licensing laws and putting the onus on owner responsibility would help, but we all know dogs aren’t animals, they are treated as small humans. There’s no chance any government will risk upsetting pet lovers, but well said. Barry

David said...

Thanks for the comments, guys...