Wednesday 21 March 2018

Adrian Kennedy: 'Will people ever learn that leaving children with vicious dogs is a grave error?'

Image: Getty
Image: Getty

Adrian Kennedy

Are you the owner of a dog on the restricted breed list in Ireland?

If so, you may not be happy with what I am about to write.

Last week, there was a report in the Irish Veterinary Journal which suggested it may be time to get rid of Ireland's restricted dog breeds list.

The study also suggested that there is no correlation between a dog's breed and the likelihood it will behave badly.

It said Ireland's approastch to legislating for specific dog breeds as "dangerous" has no scientific basis.

Really? Look at the news and you will see how dangerous these animals can be.

How much scientific evidence is needed?

Last year there was a huge public backlash when Fine Gael councillor, Alan Tobin established public safety notices reminding the owners of restricted breeds about the regulations in place they must adhere to.

Dog owners targeted Alan with online abuse. But at the end of the day, safety should be a priority. He was right.

At present, Irish law imposes restrictions on 11 different breeds of dog including Alsatians, Rottweilers and Staffordshire Bull Terriers.

Regulations include a requirement that a dog be muzzled in public and kept on a short, strong lead by a person aged 16 or over.

But is this enough? Should there be an all-out-ban on owning these dogs? Only in June of this year, Teresa McDonagh, a grandmother in Galway, was mauled to death by two Bullmastiff dogs in her son's back garden - dogs on the restricted breeds list.

In May, a three-week-old baby in America was also killed by a Pitbull when she was left alone in a room with the dog.

Will people never learn?

I have noticed how defensive dog owners can be. Some of them even allow their young children to hang off the dogs, play boisterously with them and ride them like horses.

That is an accident waiting to happen.

I regularly see people posting pictures of their young children sitting on the dogs and pulling their ears etc. on Facebook.

Wouldn't you snap if that were you? It baffles me.

People need to pull their heads out of the sand. The restricted breed list was created for a reason - and needs to be enforced.

If you are going to have one of these beasts - and I advise you not to - at least familiarise yourself with the risks (because there are risks).

Don't let your kids treat the animal like a cuddly toy.

It could be the biggest mistake you ever make.


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