Matthew Bell: Rant & Rave (17/04/11)

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The Independent Online

Rant

So why do dog owners refuse to take responsibility for their animals? Take the case of Judge Beatrice Bolton, the circuit judge being investigated by police over claims her slavering Alsatian sank its teeth into the postman last weekend.

Only last December, a court found her honour guilty of failing to keep her dog under control, a decision she branded a "fucking travesty". That raised some eyebrows at the Office for Judicial Complaints, who launched an investigation into her unseemly behaviour.

Yet even now, Judge Bolton defends her cretinous hound. Speaking of December's verdict, she said last week: "Will you kindly stop publishing that my dog took a chunk out of Frederick Bekker, because he didn't. Everybody agrees that the injury was a scratch."

But the point isn't the size of the injury. It's the fact that Mr Bekker was minding his own business sunbathing when little Georgie hoved into view and came straight at him, jaws a-gape.

Now, I'm as fond of dogs as the next Englishman, so long as it's of the doe-eyed, bow wow variety. The point of owning a dog, as against a cat or a herd of ferrets, is that you are its master and the dominant half in the relationship. Dogs that love, obey, and respect their masters are fine. It's the ones that are encouraged to think they're special, whose owners give a benevolent chuckle as they piss on your leg or cause mayhem in restaurants, that make me reach for the keys to the gun cabinet.

Rave

I've never been to Margate, and find even the nicer bits of Kent depressing. So attempts to regenerate the area with a new art gallery are, of course, welcome. But you have to love the people of Margate, who have staged a protest against Tracey Emin and the arts world busybodies responsible for dumping the new Turner Contemporary gallery on their seafront. They've covered it with signs saying "Ladies" and "Gents", as they feel the gallery looks like a public convenience, and is full of, ahem, effluent.

Childish? Maybe. But no more so than a bed littered with used condoms or a tent decorated with the names of your former lovers.

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