i Editor's Letter: What should we do about dangerous dogs?


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The Independent Online


There are too many occasions when I write this letter in the wake of another dog attack (and even one occasion is one too many). I cannot imagine how the family of poor Jade Anderson must be feeling this morning,  not only at the death of their “lively, popular” 14-year-old,  but also at the senseless manner of it. You would need a heart of stone not to feel for them.

This time, I am not going to voice an opinion. By now, I think you know what mine is on this subject. Every time an attack happens, I say my piece and then the dog lobby writes in to criticise me, shouting that I am reacting in a kneejerk fashion, being anti-dog and don’t know what I am talking about. Plus some other, less printable, comments.

So, today, instead, I’d really rather hear from you. Avoid the clichés: don’t tell me Staffies are the sweetest, most “adorbs” creatures who smile when you come home; especially don’t tell me to blame owners, not pets. Instead, you dog owners and lovers, you tell me what should be done to control the spread of dangerous dogs; reduce the fear so many communities feel towards them and help prevent attacks of the nature that poor Jade Anderson must have endured.

Reintroduce licences? Responsibility tests? Compulsory spaying? Outright bans? You tell me, because I accept I do not see the other side of the argument. To me, it’s very black and white and the Government simply needs to have the will to tackle the problem in a way that doesn’t make ownership of such dogs even more of a status symbol. We’ll give you the space. Over to you.